Thursday, October 27, 2011

Survivor South Pacific: 23.7 Ozzy Christ Superstar

It will all make sense.  Have some faith.

It was mentioned at the end of last week's episode, & again at the start of this week's: the tribes are even, so the outcome of the next Immunity Challenge is a big deal, as the merge will probably happen soon.  But you won't make the mistake of forgetting it a second time, because you will be reminded of it many times in this episode.

When they return to camp, Oompa Loompa has the discussion about Brandon's instability that they should have had during tribal, so they could have voted him out instead of Mikayla.  Tribal is, after all, the place for full disclosure.  No?  It's only Brandon who thinks that? Everyone else speaks cryptically & guarded?  My bad.  Coach says not to worry - if there comes a time when Brandon becomes a liability, there will be a bullet in his head, like Lennie in Of Mice and Men.  Lennie, of course, was mentally disabled, & had issues with attractive women.  This comparison is awesome, but Coach, I cannot express my disappointment that you would choose such an undignified weapon.  Where is your sword?  Are you a dragonslayer or not?

At Redemption Island Arena, Cochran looks rightly shocked that Mikayla was voted out of Oompa Loompa.  They get rid of the pretty people over there?  The duel involves removing planks from a crate, making a bridge with the planks, & solving a puzzle with the planks.

Planking may or may not have also been a part of the duel.  There were so many planks, it's hard to tell.

Mikayla came from behind to complete the puzzle first, but it was slightly wrong, leaving it open for Christine to win for the 5th time in a row.  Mikayla leaves for really reallz, & Albert is saddened - losing your genetic soulmate can do that to a guy.  Christine says "I have always been a legitimate force.  My whole life."  This gives Ozzy something to think about.  "If the merge is coming, & if we lose the next challenge, it might be worthwhile to send somebody to Redemption that can beat Christine & come back in the game & even out the numbers."  But who this man could be, I just don't know.

Before they reach Steve Vai, Ozzy tells Cochran what he's thinking.  "I don't want to go to Redemption, but if it comes down to it...I will go." Cochran restrains from screaming "Wheeeeeee!", & instead just says "that's...that's unbelievable."  Ozzy Christ Superstar continues, "I only want to say - if there is a way, take this cup away from me.  I don't want to taste its poison."

At Oompa Loompa, Coach is praying. DRINK!  We hear a screeching hawk as Coach does Tai Chi in the ocean.  Love it.  Coach decides the tribe needs a boost, so plans to let everyone know they have the idol so they can all rally behind it.  Also, they will pray.  DRINK!  Everyone gathers & Coach leads them in a prayer to please, God, let them find the idol that Coach already found & has hidden from half the tribe.  Sophie finds it icky, but is keeping her mouth shut, which is exactly what I would do if I found myself stuck in a cult.  She somehow manages to not roll her eyes at the camera, which only tells me she didn't spend enough time with Christine to learn the proper eye-rolling etiquette. Christine knows that when participating in the first of many group prayer circles, EYE-ROLLING IS MANDATORY. 
Coach is all "hey, look what we found", & Brandon practically weeps with joy.  "We found the idol not even 5 minutes after we got done praying.  It's definitely an advantage having The Big Guy Upstairs on your tribe."  Bitch, please.  Like God is hanging out at Oompa Loompa when his son, Ozzy Christ Superstar, is on Steve Vai's tribe.  AWKWARD.  I wonder if Brandon is having a crisis of faith, given that prayer had nothing to do with finding the idol.  It was just Coach getting it from the place where he put it.  It's a miracle!

The Immunity/Reward Challenge is next, although this week the "Reward" is debatable.  Everyone shows up painted & adorned like one other person - their twin.  I'm sure there's a perfectly good reason for this. 

I absolutely love how striking Cochran's paleness is. That popped-collar is doing its job!

Probst breaks the news that the "reward" will be a private screening of Adam Sandler's new movie, Jack & Jill, where he plays twins.  So, do you get it now?  Twins?  And you're all painted?  To match another person?  Like you're twins?  Like in this movie?  Somehow, no one is as excited as they are when the reward is pizza & beer.  This challenge is a blind obstacle course the "twins" have to go through together to bring back tiki heads to solve a puzzle - you have to match the "twins".  Wow, they are trying really hard to make this work.

Coach starts praying in the middle of the challenge. DRINK! Probst's commentary seems to only update us on the status of Cochran's work, as Steve Vai starts to lose their big lead.  "Cochran is in charge of the ropes...Big malfunction...Still struggling with the ropes...lost a tremendous amount of time...Once again, having trouble with the ropes...Cochran was in charge of getting them hooked in, & he did not do a good job...Ozzy's gonna unhook & rehook the rope the way it should've been done in the first place." AWFUL WINGMAN.  Cochran gives Probst a look like he can't believe even the principal is picking on him.  Cochran messed up, & it cost Steve Vai the challenge. 

Oompa Loompa was celebrating by, you know, hugging, & cheering, but Coach will have none of it.  "On your knees!  On your knees!"  He grabs Edna & forces her to the ground.  Woah.  Then they pray.  DRINK, but this time a little apprehensively because it's getting creepy & maybe we weren't right to make fun of something Coach & Brandon are taking a little too seriously.  This is how wars get started, you guys.  Coach says "This challenge was about family (they got it, Jeff!), hidden trust, & um, some blindfolds...but we give God the glory - we prayed before the challenge, during the challenge, & we gave thanks & knelt down before Him as soon as we won the challenge."  Someone get Sophie out NOW!

Probst reminds Oompa that by winning Immunity, they'll have a one member advantage.  Cue Brandon to point to the heavens, for that is where their extra man resides, & cue the awesome foley guy to put in a church bell.  A screeching hawk AND a church bell?  A true artist.  Probst then says "You're going to enjoy Jack & Jill", but his dimples are shaking their heads.  They know.  Coach shouts, "Jack & Jill, baby!"  Does Coach think Jack & Jill is a dark retelling of the nursery rhyme?  Because only that could explain his delight regarding this movie.

Ozzy is angry, frustrated, punchy & kicky, & with his painted face, I'm thinking another Lord of The Flies moment may be coming.  But turns out, he's just pissed that they lost, when they could've won easily.  Everyone knows Cochran is to blame.  But to blame for what?  For Steve Vai NOT HAVING TO SIT THROUGH JACK & JILL?  Everyone, send Cochran your thanks now, for he sacrificied himself for the good of the tribe.  Alas, nobody sees this silent sacrifice but me, & everyone agrees Cochran is going.  But they still want him to beat Christine at RI, & then rejoin them, obviously.  Cochran feels "a new level of ostracism", one that suddenly has cheerleaders for his downfall: "You can do it, Cochran!"

Cochran feels terrible, & is ready to accept the consequences.  There goes the Ozzy RI plan - he's not as sure as when they started.  "Instead of sending Ozzy, the Trojan Horse, to Redemption Island to shock everybody in a merge & destroy Christine & even the odds, they're sending the court jester, & I don't know what I'm supposed to do apart from a funny little dance or shake my hands around in a comical manner, & it's not going to win the challenge."  Um, unless it's a Woody Allen-off, in which case you win.  And you'd better get your agents lined up, Cochran - I have a feeling Columbia Pictures will jump on this chance of promotion, & plan a remake, starring you:

Danny Kaye.  Sigh.

Cochran is unsure of himself, saying "I don't know how well I can pull off the whole, like, 'I'm indestructable, so you better be shaking in your boots, you stupid bitch'."  Ozzy: "Why not?"  Um, he just explained to you why not, Ozzy.

Ozzy went to bed planning to send Cochran to Redemption, but wakes up bathed in a holy light.  He knows what he must do, & is willing to sacrifice himself.  It's Survivor: Gethsemane!  No more sleeping in the garden, Ozzy!  Ozzy Christ Superstar shows the idol to everyone & offers it to Cochran.  Says he wants to go to Redemption Island, because he has a better chance of defeating Christine, & doubting Keith doesn't like it.  But really, could you ask as much from any other man? 

At tribal (or should we call it Cavalry now?), Steve Vai tells Jeff their hopes that whoever goes to RI will beat Christine & rejoin them.  Probst wonders why Cochran would put his life on the line for them, & Ozzy says, "the thing about it is, Jeff, I'm putting my life on the line."  "BLAM!", said Stacey from home.  Ozzy Christ Superstar goes on to explain that if he goes, numbers could be their reward.  He can show you that he will not be voted off in vain.  Why should he be scared to finish what he started? (Well, what Cochran started.  Ozzy didn't start it.) 
Ozzy plans to tell Christine a story casting Cochran as the villain, which is an idea that Cochran lurves, by the look on his face.  Probst brings up the possibility of not merging so soon, or Ozzy not winning the duel & looking like a fool.  Cochran is like, Are you for real, Jeff?  Ozzy Christ Superstar is undeterred, saying he will drink the cup of poison.  Kill me, take me now, before I change my mind.  Cochran is thrilled on many levels - his ass is saved, & as a Survivor nerd, he's never seen a move like this in 22 seasons, & now he is right in the middle of it.  Amazing.

After the vote, Probst asks about idols, & for a moment, Ozzy Christ Superstar looks like he did change his mind, but then laughs & hands the idol to Cochran.  I take a deep breath & unclutch my pearls.  Probst reads the votes, all for Ozzy.  Keith looks like he's crying a little bit.  Ozzy skips off to the Ascension, I mean Redemption.
I have to say, I've never been a big Ozzy fan, especially this season, but this is a remarkable move.  Stupid, when playing for a million dollars, but remarkable nonetheless.  I really hope he beats Christine, someone who I was also starting to like.  It's funny, because Christine would switch to Steve Vai in a heartbeat if she gets back in the game, so she's your extra number right there.  But I'm sorry Christine, you'll have to count me in as a new member of The Church of Ozzy.
Please enjoy (& I really mean it - I'm not Jeff Probst) a clip of Ozzy Christ Superstar's decision making early that morning.  You have to agree that I did not work as hard to make this connection as Probst did re: Jack & Jill.  This one is right there, wanting to be noticed.

I also threw in a Joseph & The Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat reference, as I am in a sold-out (!!!) production of it at the moment & I couldn't resist.  Anyone spot it?

Friday, October 21, 2011

Survivor South Pacific: 23.6 Shuffleboard & Coconuts

Following the tribal council that saw his tribe take Elyse out without consulting him, Ozzy goes against everything in The Zen Surfer Dude Handbook, & throws a tantrum.  For best results, please read in a "sucky brat" voice: "I am now what's called a free agent, & I'm playing for myself, & you guys can play for yourselves."  Guess he won't be sharing any of his tasty fish & loaves this week.  "If it doesn't work, I've always got Redemption."  Way to be the "new, strategic Ozzy" we were promised in the first episode.  Ozzy goes fishing & he holds up a small, freshly-speared fish.  See this?  I'm going to start my own fire over there.  I'm going to cook this fish, & eat it all by myself.  Later, I'm going to hunt wild boars, paint my face with blood, put the boar's head on a stick, accidentally kill Simon, murder Piggy, & terrorize Ralph. 

In other Steve Vai news, have Keith's eyebrows always been so prominent?  It appears as though he has 3 eyebrows, with his burgeoning moustache - Keith could be the elusive Bonus Jonas. 

Everyone at camp is talking about Ozzy's hissy fit, leading Cochran to suggest he's behaving "like a stupid bitch".  Why you gotta be hard on all the stupid bitches, Cochran?  Also, I believed Jim paid Cochran in coconuts to utter those words, & you can't change my mind about that.

The Oompa Loompa tribe is cooking again.  Remember when Survivor didn't have so much food, & everyone was actually hungry all the time?  Contestants literally stripped naked in the middle of a challenge to get some peanut butter.  Ah, the good old days.  Brandon goes looking for the Immunity Idol, & finds the clue very quickly.  This amuses Coach, who chalks it up to Brandon having Russell's "same bloodhound scent for the idol".  Coach does a fantastic impression of Russell's determined walk.  At this point, Russell gets a flashback shot.  HE'S NOT EVEN IN THIS SEASON AND HE GETS MORE SCREEN TIME THAN WHITNEY.  That's amazing, & you just know Russell is loving every mention he gets.  You know it because he tweets about it all the time.
Coach is unsure whether to tell Brandon he already found the idol.  Um, NO???  Coach seriously needs to stop being concerned with playing the game honourably.  He said he was going to play differently, but it seems he still cannot seperate the game from reality.

Christine & Elyse enter the Redemption Island Duel Arena, & Probst prompts Christine to cry.  "Has Redemption Island become your home?" "Unfortunately."  "Unfortunately?"  He's the new Barbara Walters.  Christine cries, & it seems that RI has broken her.  What is not broken, however, is her eye-rolling ability.  That is still strong.  Now it's time for the Redemption Island Duel, & when I say duel, I actually mean shuffleboard.  I guess the producers thought "Well, if Christine & Papa Bear's bean bag toss duel could be that exciting..."  They were wrong.  It's boring, not dramatic, & Christine wins.  Probst asks Elyse what she'll take away from this, & Elyse gives her exit speech: "I'll take a sense of accomplishment. I gave my all.  I did. I never would have known that I could push myself so far had I not come out here.  I'm stronger than I think I am."  If only she had thrown in "I'm not here to make friends" & "I'm in it to win it", she would have had 90% of reality TV cliches covered.  At least there's no more "calling on her ancestors".
Probst says what I guess is the new leaving-the-game-for-really-realz line: "Your adventure has come to an end."  I don't like it, but then, I am not a fan of the whole Redemption Island deal.  Not at all.  Goodbye, Elyse.  I hope you really, really enjoyed the experience of being voted out.  And leaving Survivor because you lost at shuffleboard.

Back at Steve Vai, Ozzy sees the error of his ways & apologizes & says he wants to be a team player again.  Jim is smart & sees no problem with that, as Ozzy will help them get to the merge, & then be a bigger threat after the merge.  I say you have to get rid of Ozzy before a merge, or at least flush the idol out now, but nobody mentions this. 

This Immunity/Reward Challenge is one of the coolest challenges ever.  Construct a wheelbarrow, pick up coconuts along an obstacle course, then transform the wheelbarrow into a slingshot, & fire coconuts at targets.  I want this set-up in my backyard.  Oompa Loompa gets a huge lead, but not much luck with the targets.  Coach tries to take Mikayla out of the game after she misses a few targets, but the girl is a competitor, so that's not going to happen.  Coach seems really annoyed, but it looks like he doesn't make any targets either, so I'm not sure why he's so frustrated with Mikayla.  Jim turns out to be a rock star at launching coconuts, & wins it for Steve Vai.

The reward is a picnic at a beautiful natural waterslide, & Cochran is hesistant to follow Ozzy's cliff-diving display, as he is "not physically or emotionally capable of that".  Is he not a water person?  "I'm a sparkling water person."  AGAIN, Cochran has the best line of the episode.  Here's a clip of Ozzy having fun on the reward:

Coach is pissed back at Oompa Loompa camp, & wants Mikayla gone because she doesn't follow orders.  "If I'm going to coach this team..."  NOT real life, Coach - you're nobody's coach out here.  JIMMY JOHNSON didn't claim to be coaching his tribe, so maybe Coach should back off a bit.  Albert tells Mikayla that he will go to war for her.  He sees the value in keeping Mikayla over Edna, & also maybe he knows their babies would be perfect physical specimans & they owe it to humanity to procreate.

All of a sudden, there's a shot of a bee hive.  STACEY IS A PROPHET!  SHE ACTUALLY STARTED A BEE'S NEST!  I'm really excited at this, but my husband is looking at me strangely, so I stop rewinding.

Rick & Sophie are on board with voting Edna out, & Brandon wants Edna gone, too (she makes him uneasy on account of the lady parts) but unfortunately, he's crazy, so he's going to vote Mikayla.  All because he once said he wouldn't vote out Edna.  "I want to be a radical for God."  So, a terrorist?  Well on your way, sir!
Coach doesn't respond well to Albert's logical reasoning for keeping Mikayla.  Coach breaks it down "one coach to another...Mikayla hasn't won anything for us."  Except for that one time, a few days ago, when she picked meat off the dirt with her teeth.  Coach makes Edna sound pathetic, which she kind of is, but I would be too, in her position.  I just wouldn't be wearing the ridiculous tree-mail visor.  I'm all about sun-protection, but come on!  Coach appeals to Rick to switch his vote to Mikayla, & Rick is confused, but unfortunately does not start stroking his magnificent moustache as he ponders his decision.  Opportunity missed!

At tribal, Probst asks Edna what it's like to be weak.  "That's just the way it is with me."  If that's your defense, I see why you need Coach to stay in the game.  The tribe talks about going into the merge with loyalty vs numbers. With every episode, Albert seems smarter AND hunkier, & tonight is no exception.  "Loyalty can be faked.  You can't fake strength." 
Then, right on cue, Brandon has a crisis of conscience & being a radical for God when it comes to doing good leads him to call out his alliance on praying-to-false-gods charges, or something.  "We had a pact to take the 6 of us, so Mikayla, I love you (does he ever!), but you're going."  Then Brandon, thinking himself righteous, declares "Vote me out today if we're going to play disloyal".  Probst's eyes almost fly out of his head, but Brandon will not be deterred & continues from his mighty pulpit.  "Nowadays people get the misconception that we can tell a half-lie, or a little bit of a lie.  Oh, it's just a game, oh, it's just one cigarette, oh, it's just a little bit of marijuana..."  First of all, those aren't really lies at all.  Secondly, what was next, "she said she was 18"?  "A smile is consent, right?"  PSYCHO.  Oh & thirdly, isn't Brandon 19? What 19 year old says "nowadays"?  Old Testament Brandon states: "There is no grey.  It's black or white, period."  That's a fun guy to have around you 24-7.  Why Sophie didn't start a "Vote Brandon Out" movement right there at tribal is beyond me.  Rick ends up siding with Coach & Brandon, & Mikayla is voted out.  Ridiculous.  I hope she does well at Redemption Island against the broken Christine.

One thing, though - who can Brandon vote for now?  He's in an alliance with everyone that's left, so voting for any of them would go against his word, so I'll be looking forward to watching that struggle.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

We All Go Back To Where We Belong

R.E.M. has released their final single as a band.  It's gorgeous & moving. 
A lush, horn-heavy arrangement that has Stipe's voice front & centre.  Perfection.
We All Go Back To Where We Belong.

Yes, it has taken me a month to cohesively put together my thoughts on R.E.M.'s breakup.  When the news broke, I had condolences pouring in from family, friends, & even a few high school acquaintances who remembered something about me. I loved R.E.M., and EVERYONE knew it.

Why this band resonated with me, I don't know.  I'm a good decade younger than the majority of hardcore R.E.M. fans - the ones who have followed them from college radio & van tours to #1 albums & stadiums.  I remember the first time I heard them - I was about 11, & the Chris Eliott sitcom "Get A Life" came on.  Stand was its theme song, & I thought it was a Beatles song for the longest time.

I know.  But you can see the appeal it had for an 11 year old.  After that, I heard Shiny Happy People, & thought R.E.M. was a band that made really, really happy songs that the Mini Pops or Alvin & The Chipmunks could cover really well.  But then I discovered the rest of Out of Time, & I fell in love.  In love with the music, in love with Stipe's love with Stipe himself.  Absolutely my biggest - & longest lasting - celebrity crush.

I had an R.E.M. scrapbook, filled with newspaper & magazine clippings.  It started as an English Media project, but I still have it in my closet upstairs.  I did one of my required Concert Critiques for Musical Repertoire class on an R.E.M. concert.  I convinced my English teacher (a fellow fan) to give me bonus points every time I could fit an R.E.M. reference into an assignment, as long as it made sense.  It always did. My brother had a portrait assignment in art class, & made this for me:

It hung first in my locker, then my bedroom, then my apartment, & now it's in the scrapbook, because my husband thinks it's creepy.  I have one clipping from a classmate's assessment of an essay:

So, yeah, the news of the break-up made me more than a little sad.  It was broken to me by someone I'd describe as my high school music nemesis (at the risk of sounding like Survivor's Coach!)...he hated R.E.M., & I hated The Tragically Hip (his favourite band), almost to comic exageration.  I admit, at first I thought his post on my facebook wall was a joke.  R.E.M. have been through so much in their 30+ years as a band: constant speculation over Michael Stipe's sexuality, a guitarist's meltdown on a plane, & of course, their drummer's shocking onstage brain aneurysm.  They had just released a wonderful album (Collapse Into Now) reminiscent of their earlier work...and now they decided to "call it a day"?

A quick search told me it was true, & I was immediately saddened that I will never go to another R.E.M. concert. Though their breakup makes the 4 concerts that I did attend in Toronto very special.

June 1995 - Molson Amphitheatre, with Luscious Jackson opening, with my friend Jen.  They were awful lawn seats - this was back in the day when you had to physically line up for wristbands on one day, then go line up on another day, only to have a random wristband number selected to be the start of the line.  That sucked.  My first REAL concert, only a few months after Bill Berry's near-fatal aneurysm & subsequent amazing recovery - the only time I would ever see that original lineup. Those 4 guys together - Bill Berry, Peter Buck, Mike Mills & Michael Stipe were R.E.M.  Their album Monster had come out earlier that year, showcasing a new gritty, dirty guitar sound, & the video for What's The Frequency, Kenneth? revealed a newly bald Michael Stipe to match his eratic dancing. 

To this day I have a thing for bald guys.  Imagine my disappointment that my husband did not inherit his father's receding hairline.  I snuck my huge walkman recorder into the concert, where I recorded the whole show in a horrible quality I will always cherish.  Yes, it is marred in plenty of places by the guy behind us yelling "Orange Crush!" throughout the show (& no, they didn't play it), but it was a dangerous act of rebellion for 15 year old me. 

My next R.E.M. show was in support of UP, their first album as a trio.   My friends & I had better seats than the lawn seats in 1995, & I swear Michael Stipe made eye contact with me.  Magical.  Earlier that year, R.E.M. had done an interview at MuchMusic, so of course, I dragged my friend Craig & a then boyfriend downtown to be there for it.  I stood right next to Mike Mills, & when we were outside, Michael Stipe walked past me & smiled.  AT ME.  He was small, & in a lime green peacoat, & huge nerd glasses before nerd glasses were cool.  It still makes my heart flutter.  It was an amazing day.  I have a worn-out VHS somewhere of this interview & you can see me.  Right next to them.  Of course, you can also see my then-boyfriend, which explains why the video is still in my Mom's basement.

The next concert was my favourite.  May 2001, a free concert outdoors at Yonge & Dundas. I went with my future husband, who is not an R.E.M. fan.  At all.  We were about 10 rows back, Michael was lovely, funny, sweet, & still crazy sexy to me.  The band sounded great, I loved their new album, Reveal, & my future husband even admitted they were fantastic live.  Or he at least said "good".  The most memorable R.E.M. moment was when it started pouring, & Stipe started singing CCR's "Have You Ever Seen The Rain?"  My husband has noted that my love for Stipe's voice is odd, as I am a vocalist myself.  No, Stipe's voice is not the most technically sound, but truly, it is magical.  Here it is, the clip from that very concert:

The last R.E.M. concert I attended was in 2003, which was not memorable at all, unfortunately.  It was a huge venue, & even with seats considerably close, it couldn't compare to the outdoor show.  I was unable to attend the next few shows R.E.M. played in Toronto, which turned out to be their last shows here.

It's a weird thing when a favourite band breaks up.  Another favourite band, Dream Theater, saw the departure of their drummer last year - a founding member & huge force within the band.  It was shocking, & there's a feeling of nervousness & anticipation to see what the next move will be.  At least, it was like that for me, but I've been said to take my music very seriously.   The R.E.M. break up wasn't quite that unexpected - they have been a band for 31 years, practically an eternity in the music business.  But they have been the soundtrack from my adolescence to adulthood.  Almost every R.E.M. song has a memory attached to it.  And that's why it's sad to say goodbye to R.E.M.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Survivor South Pacific: 23.5 Gasoline Drawers

Stacey & Christine are reunited on Redemption Island, & I can only hope they will have some sort of "Good Morning Long Island" talk show when this season is over.  Imagine the drinking games you could have: Christine rolled her eyes?  Drink!  Stacey made up a phrase?  Drink!  (Of course I would be DVRing this show & watching in the evenings...)  Stacey foresees her former tribe mates "going to hell with gasoline drawers on".  I googled this, & it's an actual saying, & even a song that I kind of can't stop listening to now.  Skip to 1:08 for the awesomeness, although the whole song has a repeatability you can't deny.

Stacey also wants to expose the OompaLoompas to Steve Vai, which sounds worse than it is.  She wants to "start a bee's nest".  I googled this as well, & turns out this is not an actual saying.  Which makes sense, as you'd probably have to be a bee to start a bee's nest.  I think she meant stir.  But who knows with Stacey?  ZAP!

Surprise! A date has been added to The Brandon Hantz Apology Tour, as Brandon apologizes for waking everyone up with tree mail.  Cut to him crying!  He's upset because Mikayla said the thing she disliked the most about Brandon was that he's a Hantz.  Aw, don't cry Brandon!  I'm sure that "being a Hantz" is way at the bottom of her now very long list of why she dislikes you & you have to stay 500 yards away from her at all times.

Stacey goes off at the duel, refusing to call Coach "Coach", & instead, calling him his actual name: The Name That Must Not Be Named.  How she knew this would piss him off, I don't know, but it worked.  Voldemort will answer to Tom sooner than Coach will answer to The Name That Must Not Be Named.  The one thing that upset me about Stacey's Secret Spillage (possible segment on Good Morning Long Island?) is the revelation that Coach has been telling stories & jokes that haven't aired!  Halloween & ChuckECheese jokes!  STOP HOLDING OUT CBS!  They better be on that never-before-seen-footage episode mid-season.

The ball chute duel is a joke, as Christine has a strategy, while Stacey doesn't even pay attention & drops a ball very early.  Stacey says goodbye & reminds us that she's a Funeral Director.  With every embalming, a free pair of gasoline drawers to go to hell in!  We realize this is a difficult time, so choose your coffin & POW!  We'll make everything hunkadory.

Over at Steve Vai, we see there are a lot of bullies on this show.  Did everyone miss all the anti-bullying PSAs? Was this season of Survivor filming when they went viral?  I just want to write letters to all of their parents, demanding apologies for my beloved Cochran.  Leave gingers alone!  And nerds are cool now - did you guys miss that as well?

The Steve Vai tribe has become a cliquey high school, where there's only one student not failing his classes, & everyone else makes fun of him for it.  "The Little Cochran that could"?  Wow, that's not patronizing at all.  Cochran leaves, & Elyse praises Ozzy for acknowledging the lowly guy who's working hard around the camp, "You're a good guy."  Didn't the Natives have an awesome torture technique, where they would cut open a belly, nail the intestines to a tree, & make their prisoner run around that tree until they just couldn't anymore?  Strange how that tidbit from my Canadian History class just popped into my head.
Ozzy is a total moron, revealing his poker hand to the marijuana selling poker player: "If Coach is smart, he'll get rid of Albert soon."  Dum dum DUMB.  Ozzy is reminding me more & more of the character Max from NBC's Parenthood.  You know, the one with Aspergers?  Ozzy is void of all emotion, & his monotone voice just cements it for me.  Ozzy has dead eyes.

Albert is concerned that Stacey blabbed to Steve Vai.  "It's painful to my cause."  Know what's not painful?  Albert walking around in his underwear.  It's like Probst knew something had to erase the memory of Phillip in his.  Hunky Albert finds the Immunity Idol Clue, but can't find the idol itself, so enlists the help of Coach & Sophie.  Coach finds it, & is so happy he starts speaking about himself in the third person.  It's nice to see a happy Coach.

A fishing expedition for OompaLoompa, where Cochran admits he has "zero experience, zero ability & zero confidence."  But your adorableness is through the roof, Cochran!  Who else would say about Ozzy that he was "superhuman, Mowgli-esque" & now he's "middle-aged Ozzy".  AWESOME.  Ozzy hunts a bunch of fish spectacularly, & his return to camp & subsequent adoration brought to mind one thing:

It was only fish, guys, not fish & loaves.

The Immunity/Reward Challenge is pretty gross, although not as gross as when Probst makes personal sea slug gut/jellyfish smoothies.  They had to tear big hunks of pork off to bring back to their basket, using only their mouths.  Yum.  Disgusting, & the basket-cam was completely unnecessary.  Serves me right for wondering how it would look if Survivors puked on me.  Halfway through the challenge, it started looking like a preview of AMC's The Walking Dead.  Poooorrrrrrrkkkkkkk.  Gross.  Rick drops a huge piece on the ground, & leaves it, even though Probst brings it to his attention.  Rick will make out with Brandon, though, to get a piece of pork that's stuck in his teeth, but dirt is just too gross.  Rick needs to work on his ideas of hygiene.  Mikayla has no pride (that whore!), & gets that dirty meat, maybe adding the extra 2oz her tribe won by, even though Ozzy somehow has the entire pig in his mouth, looking like a guilty labrador (though lacking all the emotion of a labrador).   OompaLoompa wins Immunity, veggies, spices & bread, AND they get to take all the gross meat they just spit out of their collective mouths.  Brandon points to the heavens, because we all know God was watching over Brandon as he tore meat off another of His creatures, for a televised game.  Keep your enemies closer, & all that.

OompaLoompa washes the spit off their meat, & they let Brandon cook dinner.  Brandon has apparently settled on "good" for the day, saying, "We're a team, & we're a family." A family that hopefully doesn't frown upon incest...wait, maybe he settled on "evil"...MIKAYLA, DON'T EAT THAT! HE ROOFIED YOUR PORTION!  Coach is really happy tonight, first with the idol, & now with the food.  "Taste the victory!" "This is freaking unbelievable, man!"

At Steve Vai, Jim & Cochran are rallying their troops to get Elyse out.  Dawn's on board, & Jim has to explain very slowly to Keith why they can't tell Ozzy about their plan.  Keith has trouble understanding this. "But...what happens when Ozzy..."  "We don't tell Ozzy."  "But then....he's not gonna trust us."  Awww, he's trying so hard.  Whitney & Keith both want Elyse gone, but don't want to vote for her & piss Ozzy off.  If only there was a way we could vote for someone else, & she'd still go home.  You can!  Do exactly what you just said!  And seriously, these people did not know that cold sores are herpes?  And that the challenge they just participated in is very likely to have transferred some communicable disease or another?  Cochran, don't tell them that the earth is round!  They'll vote you out on grounds of your insanity!  How awesome would it have been if Cochran had been put on OompaLoompa, with Albert & Sophie?  Super awesome.

Tribal Council infuriated me.  Hey, let's all pick on Cochran.  That adorable guy, who when asked about injuries from the pork, says, "I haven't been wearing my retainer as much as I should be".  He's concerned about the alignment of his teeth.  How can you not like that guy?  More importantly, can you not tell that this guy is going to be a fan favourite when you're out there playing?  I wouldn't want to be on TV, picking on the ones that audiences are going to fall in love with.  People rallied around Mikayla, & I bet a nerd army will be even stronger.  In brain power.  Probst asks "how often is Cochran charming, & how often is he just annoying?"  WTF Jeff?  You are a horrible wingman.  You cannot make up for that by getting Cochran dates on twitter.  You sucked tonight.  Dawn is even worse, saying "he's a real character", & "I'm learning to be more tolerant".  Tolerant?  Cochran has a condition called being-way-more-awesome-a-human-being-than-the-rest-of-you-combined.  Dawn needs a talking-to from Stacey. 
Elyse is even worse than that, saying "we've all been picked last".  Like that time that she wanted some of her ancestors spiritual guidance, & they pretended not to know her.  Then she says something so ridiculous that the only thing that made me not slap my TV was knowing she would be voted out in 5 minutes:  "One thing to appreciate is that he's such a big fan that whether he stays or goes to Redemption Island, he's going to appreciate the experience." 
Time to vote, & Keith & Whitney somehow figure out what to do, & Elyse goes home without them voting for her.  Guess what - Ozzy's still going to be pissed.  Or can he show that emotion?  We'll see.  Elyse is gone to Redemption Island, & I just really, really hope she enjoys the experience.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Nerd Home

Check out my first post for Erica Ehm's fantastic website Yes, that Erica Ehm!

All about decorating your home to reflect who you are. In my case, that would be pretty nerdy. Dragon tables, sword-holders...all that's missing is the actual sword. That's coming.

Thursday, October 06, 2011

Survivor: South Pacific 23.4 Apology Tour

Lots of talk about Russell & manipulation this week, so before I get into the recap, I want to touch on my Survivor pet peeve: people who confuse this game with real life.  To use a Dawnism, it irks me.  This house loved Russell.  He was clever & opportunistic, not evil.  In his first season, he was there to win $1,000,000 with a bunch of people who were there to get a great tan.  I would be cautious playing the game with him, but I don't think who you are in the game has to be who you are in real life.  Maybe he's an awful guy in real life, & I'm way off base.  But I remember how much passion he had for the game, & I absolutely shed a tear with him when it was clear he was playing with a bunch of morons who didn't get the game the way he did.  Everyone should play the game as hard as this guy did, & quit trying to play the game with integrity & honesty.  It's too bad he completely forgot about the social aspect of the game, & lost it for himself.  I also like Coach, which seems odd considering my integrity/honesty statement, but he has always struck me as a genuinely good guy, who really would like to be recognized for being a good guy.  Don't even get me started about Coach ending up on the Villain tribe in Heroes vs Villains, because it was more blasphemous than Brandon's thoughts about Mikayla.  Brandon should have kept his name secret for the purpose of trying to play his uncle's game.  Instead, he tried (& failed) to keep it secret because he was ashamed & didn't want the association.  This guy should never have even had the chance to be in this game because he doesn't understand it.  Also, he might molest someone.  OK, rant over, here we go...

We start at Steve Vai camp, where Ozzy & Elyse are swinging on a hammock.  Elyse asks if his whole family is outdoorsy, & Ozzy tells her no, & that Robinson Crusoe inspired his survivalist ways, but I know the true answer is yes, BECAUSE HIS FAMILY IS MADE UP OF OTTERS & MONKEYS.  Jim starts to worry about Ozzy & Elyse pairing up, so he goes to Cochran (finally a reason to like Jim) with a plan to vote Elyse out.  Jim says "I hate doing this" while looking like he absolutely loves doing this, with his "suspiciously white teeth".  Jim admits it's too bad Elyse has to go because "she's freaking hot".  Think of how messed up Brandon would've been if he'd been on this tribe, with girls in bikinis who actually flirt, & not, you know, fish, & build shelters & stuff! 

At OompaLoompa, Brandon is again struggling with evil, something good people do not have to do.  "I've decided to be a better person, a better player, a better Survivor."  So naturally, the first thing he does is start his tribe-wide APOLOGY TOUR, coming to a campfire, shelter, or Redemption Island arena near you!  Brandon first gives a half-assed apology to Mikayla - half-assed because she doesn't even know the half of it.  Will he apologize to Mikayla next week, for not apologizing for everything he should have apologized for?  Imagine the apology he'll be giving her after this season airs in its entirety - most likely via cut up words from magazines that her security team will never let her see.  Brandon then goes to Edna, where he unnecessarily tells her she's not really in the alliance she thinks she is.  And the reason for this cruel confession that makes Edna sad?  Because he feels bad about lying to her.  This is when my husband & I just stared at each other in disbelief.  IT'S A GAME, YOU MORON.  After displaying the worst game strategy in the world, Brandon says "This is probably the worst game strategy in the world."  Holy shit, this guy does not deserve to be here.  I'm thinking Russell is legally changing his name to distance himself from that guy weeping in church with the "Hantz" tattooes.

At Redemption Island, the bean bag toss between Christine & Papa Bear is way more exciting than a bean bag toss has any right to be.  The spectators are cheering & gasping, & there's even a clutch of hands to the head courtesy of Cochran, who gets more adorable with every episode.  Probst is thrilled by how intense this bean bag toss turned out to be - you can tell by his dimples, which are so deep I'm concerned they might be cutting off his airflow.  Now the threat of Probst choking makes it even more intense.  There is no way I'm letting my kid do a bean bag toss ever again.  The stakes are just too damn high.  Christine wins her second duel & she still appears super tough & pissed.  Papa Bear is really sweet & shakes Probst's hand on the way out of the game for good.  I predict TeddyPapaBears will be the hot Christmas toy this year.

At OompaLoompa, Edna's idea of being cordial & polite & playing a great social game is excruciating to everyone else.  Stacey imitates her donkey-braying-laugh, & says Edna "doesn't have an off switch.  She needs to be disconnected."  Mikayla is annoyed by the constant questions Edna asks, but when Edna dies in a buffalo hunting accident all because she didn't ask Rick enough questions, you'll be sorry, Mikayla.

Back to Steve Vai, where Cochran manages to make Dawn think getting rid of Elyse is her idea.  Very subtle, & nicely done.  I love Cochran's line: "Getting rid of Elyse is going to devestate Ozzy & it might make the other pretty people feel a little bit less secure."

The shot of a double rainbow sweeping right into the Immunity/Reward Challenge is beautiful.  But what does it mean?  This challenge is all about weightlifting, & the reward is a cage of 2 chickens & a rooster, which Probst reminds us can provide you with "eggs, or the other".  Is PETA a sponsor now?  Since when is there a problem saying you can also decide to kill these birds & eat their tasty roasted flesh?  Dawn is a rockstar in the challenge, winning for Steve Vai, owing perhaps to her spiffy new Mormon-approved swimsuit. 

Back at OompaLoompa, Coach attempts to lift Stacey's spirits, as she dropped her weights, leading to Dawn's victory.  Obviously, he assumes too much, as her spirits aren't down at all.  Stacey's actually quite rude to Coach, who is just trying to keep his tribe united, & I really like Coach, so why doesn't everybody? 
Coach: "That was awesome." 
Stacey: "What?"
Coach says something nice (because he's Coach!), but in his head you know he's all like "um, you know, holding all that weight for as long as you did, & you know, not losing the challenge for us, but oh wait, you did, but maybe if you'd been holding it not in a weird-ass way you wouldn't have lost?"  Stacey thinks Edna should go before her, because she's weak.  She says something about "Bones on bones can't lift bones on skeletons that are just bones."  She tries to get info from Coach, then says something snarky, to which Coach replies "I really like you.", & then she makes a face after he walks away right into the camera.  Again, blasphemy.  You don't break the fourth wall, Stacey.  You are not Jim Halpert.  Then she says something like "I will lie to kick it, to get in, to fit in, to kick it."  I liked Stacey more when she spoke in comic book captions.  KAPOW!
Coach proves his awesomeness again as he shuts Brandon's panicking down right away.  I love how he talks to him like you would a child.  "Stop it.  Just stop it.  I want you to stop it."  Yes, they respond to repetition.  Brandon says "I think I'm a good judge of character." which is pretty laughable,  but then Coach says "I think that Brandon is a great guy & I want to be with Brandon every step of the way."  Um, Coach might be a worse judge of character than Brandon is. Coach, I love you, but you have to stop trying to find the good in everyone while you're playing this game. 

Tribal confirmed one thing I had been thinking - there is absolutely nothing annoying about Albert.  I feel like Rick was thinking "his extreme handsomeness is annoying", but instead went with snoring.  Mikayla says Brandon is a good kid, & part of me is thinking about how much she must regret saying anything remotely nice about him, & the other part is thinking I should start brushing my teeth with a twig & ash, because damn, her teeth look super clean & white.  Brandon gets emotional about the negative effect this game has had on his family, regarding Russell.  Again, holy shit people, it's a game.  A game Russell played better than anyone, although I will admit his social game needed work.  It's a travesty that he didn't win that first time he played, as that was his only real shot at winning.  I am very, very curious as to what a Survivor scholar such as Cochran thinks about Russell & his game, & what Cochran will think if & when he finds out Brandon is a Hantz.  Well, obviosuly he knows now, but I meant, while still in the South Pacific.
Stacey is voted out, & Coach misreads the situation again, & tries to offer a hug that gets walked straight through by pissed off Stacey.  Poor Coach.

Mikayla, Edna & Christine are now the proud owners of a lovely tour t-shirt; design shown here: