The opening of this seventh edition of Survivor was quite
possibly the most interesting and intriguing I’ve seen. Something
about it captivated me and I think it wasn’t only because
of cool pirate ship pictures.
Pearl Islands, down near the Panama Canal. Piracy and looting.
Rugged jungles, bad weather, stunning ocean views, sharks,
stingrays, those ugly eels with sharp teeth, and cool whales
that like to jump out of the water and do massive cannonballs.
(I asked an expert and apparently whales really do this for
fun. It’s called ‘breaching’ and if I were a whale, I'd do
it all the time. "Check out this splash!")
The opening was excellent. We learned that they told the Survivors
they were several days away from starting the game and were
heading out to take publicity photos. And, "those suitcases,
so carefully packed with essential outdoor clothing... worthless."
I was intrigued and captivated and it made me want to watch
Survivor and forget all about the horrible anti-climax that
was Survivor 6 and Jenna.
For those unfamiliar with my episode recaps, I’ll explain
a bit of what you can expect. Since I know that most everyone
who’s reading this has watched the show,I write about things
that capture my attention and inspire me to comment and blab
in philosophical, psychological ways.
I also plan on opening up Forum
discussions on Ponder-worthy topics. This way, you will be
able to easily comment on my comments, which will surely make
me want to comment back, to which maybe YOU will comment back
again thus leading to one happy comment-fest.
One more thing: Any quote is a direct quote UNLESS it is in
italics. If it’s in italics, I may have sort
of maybe made it up just because I’m crazy like that.
Ok, enough of that. Let’s dig in to the show.
Jeffy opens the show with a nice welcome to the Survivors,
tells them, "The game is on," and then explains, "You’re going
into this game with the clothes you have on your back, just
like if you really were shipwrecked."
It's possible I may tire of this pirate theme, but for now,
I'm kind of liking it.
of the nice attire they had on were an Armani suit, strapless
dresses, high heels, and various other nice outfits. They
were dressed up for a Saturday night out on the town. Except
for two people. The hairy guy wore a tie-dyed t-shirt and
jeans ("This is my dress-up outfit. New blue jeans!").
And some woman thought it would be a good idea to wear her
Boy Scout’s uniform. (I’m wondering if the producers sort
of nudged her in this direction just to make things a little
Jeffy took all of their personal items, passports, wallets,
jewelry, and one guy’s stolen wine and CD player he had hidden
in his pockets. Everyone was looking at each other like, "They’re
really going to make us wear only these clothes, aren't they?
Those damned pirates…"
for the first time, the tribe names aren’t some weird crap
that I can never remember. They’re based on two of the most
notorious pirates in Panamanian history: The Drake
tribe, after Sir Francis Drake and the Morgan tribe
after Sir Henry Morgan.
Mr. Probst began dividing up the tribes. After several were
called, a moppy-sock-hat-wearing-hip-wannabe-thinks-he’s-cool-but-he’s-SO-not
was called and we see an interview excerpt of the guy and
it’s clear who CBS has chosen as the token Thinks-He’s-Funny-and-the-Life-of-the-Party-But-Is-Just-Super-Annoying
guy. "I go by the monitor of Johnny-Fairplay: I don’t play
barf on his wannabe-coolness.
Jeffy picked the tribes, then gleefully threw all their shoes
in the water and told them to get off the boat, to which a
few heartily jumped in while a few others sort of were just
a little too careful crawling over the edge. (I wonder if
we’ll see all their clothes and baggage on eBay anytime soon?
Jeffy would make a killing because they showed a LOT of baggage.)
It soon becomes clear who's going to be a most entertaining
fellow. Every time I see the hairy guy, I wish he would add
"AAARGHH!" to everything he says. For example, he described
the swim to shore, "With my big denim jeans, my legs were
rubber. It took all I had to keep kicking and getting into
shore. I was spent and it hadn’t even started yet." To which
he should've added, "AARGH!"
I’ve decided to go ahead and do this anyway. You'll see what
tribes arrive in the village and set off to beg, barter, and
purchase their supplies. One tribe scatters with no organization
or plan. The other has a secret weapon.
The tribe that scatters thought it would be a good idea to
leave all of their belongings unwatched next to the big hairy
guy who looks more like a pirate than the pirates, themselves.
He explains, "AARGH! The other team, Morgan, came up, sat
their stuff down next to us. And all left. This is definitely
a pirate adventure. Pirates pillage, pirates steal, pirates
take advantage. If they were going to be silly enough to put
it right next to me..."
Big-Hairy guy was already true to character and I'm giggling.
"All the trade goods, all the little women's shoes, the insoles,
everything that I could find in theirs, I took... We are pirates.
So we pirated. AARGH!"
Osten decides, for the good of the tribe, to sell all his
clothes. PREDICTION: Rainy, breezy, cold night, quietly in
the dark we'll hear him ask, "Can I wear your shirt because
I'm freezing and I was an idiot for selling all my clothes
except for these baggy drawers."
He then suggests to the women that they flash their boobs
to get stuff for the tribe. This, of course, would work incredibly
well, but isn't all that likely to happen and so he should've
never suggested such a thing unless they were already drunk
and needed to pay for that pizza without having any money.
And then we see the SECRET WEAPON...
Sandra, the Hispanic fireball.
woman knew how to wheel and deal. She took charge. She spoke
the language and bartered the people in the market like it
was something she did every Saturday. She got fishing gear,
cooking utensils. She got a huge amount of already-cooked
chicken complete with aluminum foil, the ketchup, hot sauce,
barbecue sauce, cutting board, and knife. She even traded
hottie-sitcom-Mom Trish to some lesbian for a lamp and some
After their market excursion, as the tribes headed out to
their boats, a few tribemembers compared what items they'd
gotten. It reminded me of the Charlie Brown Halloween show.
"What did you get?"
"We got a whole bunch of stuff! Toothbrushes, flint steel,
knives, a live chicken, fishing line, a bunch of hooks, fishing
spear, wine, a huge tarp, two machetes, and I think a maid,
a chef, a luxury suite at a local hotel... If we'd had a few
more pair of shoes, we would've had our entire 39-day vacation
catered, complete with open bar. What did YOU get?"
"I got a rock."
I've decided to call this latter tribe...
They even had money left, money which could’ve been used to
buy more crap. Tall-Super-Skinny-With-No-Persuasive-Skills-Whatsoever
boy tried to point this out as his tribe rushed to the boat,
"Uhh, guys…We got money. Are we going to the boat now?
Don’t we want any more fruit?" He runs after his team, trying
to catch up. "We’ve got more money…"
you happen to wonder if this was how this little village lived
every day? They must’ve read a spoiler, "Tomorrow, Survivor
is going to unleash their castaways on our little island.
Their New Vacation Home
Tribe Idiot arrived on their beach with little fanfare. Tall-skinny-I’ve-never-exercised-once-in-my-life-except-for-when-I-jump-up-from-winning-video-games
wanted a little celebration. He said, and I totally agree,
"Seeing the flag, I'm thinking, I can't believe I'm here.
This is the coolest thing that's ever happened to me in my
entire life. I think that should be the first big celebration,
the sheer excitement. There was none of that."
Instead, Way-Enthused-Acts-Impulsively-and-Idiotically guy
ran up and down the beach gathering wood, shouting directions,
digging holes, and was just hopped up on the game.
The Ever-Important Shelter
They then set out to build shelter. The tribe all put their
heads together and said, "Hey, look at the extremely unstable
shale wall. Let’s build a lean-to against it. Sure, large
rock chunks fall when we lean our bamboo against it, but hey,
maybe when it rains or if any animal or person walks above
it, these same large rock chunks won’t come crashing down
on us when we sleep. Go Tribe Idiot!"
learn later that night that not only does their lean-to get
bombarded with falling rocks, but it seems as though it’s
home to their beach’s comes-out-at-night crab population.
Either that or the cameramen decided to have a little fun
releasing a bucket of crabs.
We see the other team arrive at their camp and there is much
rejoicing and excitement and team high-fives. "Yeah! Woohoo!"
Remember the Justice League? This is the comic strip/cartoon
series whose all-star roster includes Superman, Batman, Wonder
Woman, Green Lantern, The Flash, Hawkgirl, and Martian Manhunter.
I’ve decided to call the Drake tribe…
Team Justice League
Maybe you can help me come up with names for each of the tribe’s
"superheroes" based on each of their unique "amazing abilities."
Jon (moppy-headed-sock-hat boy) could be Annoyance Man! With
but one stupid joke he is able to paralyze anyone within hearing
distance. When he laughs at his own Annoyance Man jokes, people
literally start foaming at the ears.
at Team Justice League, Super-Sitcom-Mom woman, fresh from
her lesbian adventure, describes her team quite well, "I was
surprised at how quickly we all worked together. I mean we
didn't know who we were, what your name was yet, and within
a matter of probably ten minutes, we all sort of spread out,
and it worked out pretty well."
But all is not well and perfect. The two take-charge studmuffins
may just be a little too take-charge while maybe not being
the best listeners. Sitcom-Mom says that they've already alienated
a few people.
says, "Shawn is being a pain in the BUTT. We’re a strong little
team, but the dynamic duo there that are posturing for the
lead role need to be a little more careful, because they’re
going to make EVERYBODY hate them. AAARGH!"
The BIGGEST problem
We soon see what power little, tiny bugs have over man. One
of the mosquitos, not having had the pleasure of taking in
some caucasion human flesh and blood, decided to give it a
try. It liked it and soon word spread throughout the island
that a mosquito all-you-can-eat buffet is to be had.
people looked dreadfully bitten. "God, these bastards are
Meanwhile, back at Tribe Idiot, they search in vane for a
quality water source only to find what looked to be a mud
puddle. Night falls and still no water.
During the night, the crabs come out and start knocking rocks
onto their lean-to shelter. They also roam the sleeping bodies
causing general havoc. And the biggest, strongest guy... "It's
hilarious. We call him Scary Mary because he's never really
been in the jungle environment. Any little thing, if it touches
his toe, he leaps out of the air and just shrieks."
Annoyance Man Returns!
There was a bad Japanese giant monster movie in which the
monster got bigger and stronger and more deadly the more the
military bombed him and shot him with small rockets. Annoyance
Man is the same way except that his power source is alcohol.
Big-Hairy Man describes Annoyance Man: "Jon, he reminds me
of me boys who I mentor who just pop off STUPID stuff, you
know? Talk about getting some honey, or smoking something,
drinking something... AARGH!"
of course Annoyance Man is totally oblivious to his powers.
He says, "Everyone laughs at all my jokes. I knew going in
that was going to be a huge bonus for me, because I am not
very strong, and I don't profess to be. However! I'm a funny
The truth comes from the powerful Fire-Breathing-Mouth-Spewing-Minority-Figure
woman of Team Justice League, "I really can't stand him. He
talks too much crap, all night long, cursing. He thinks he's
cute, but it isn't. It gets old. It's already old."
The pain of having to wear the same clothes day-in-and-day-out
is already setting in. Big-Hairy man says in his pirate-raspy
voice, "Man, I got to cut these damn pants off. I'm wearing
my fancy... My dress jeans." (I giggle because I know a lot
of people from Missouri who have a pair of dress jeans.) "The
suckers were THICK and HARD and heavy. Them pants killed my
crotch. Where nice wet denim RUBS FOR A DAY AND A HALF and
just starts EATING that skin away. AARGH!!"
(In case you haven't figured it out, anytime I capitalize
Big-Hairy Man's words, you must read them in that raspy, intense
pirate voice because that's exactly how he says it.)
The tribe started cutting up all their clothing -- making
shorts out of the Armani pants, cutting the dresses shorter
and making other dresses from the material.
once again, the guy whom the camera just can't get enough
of, Big-Hairy Man, proves that he is truly confident in his
masculinity as he quickly dons a skirt, "My god, my thighs
feel so much better. I got the little teasing and laughing
with the girls as we made it, and I put it on and I looked
really silly... DONE. I'm wearing a dress."
And I must admit that if it were socially acceptable, I'd
wear dresses all the time. They look so much more comfortable
and free than having to wear pants. Freedom, baby! That's
what it's all about.
More Idiocy from Tribe Idiot
The Beautiful-but-Squeaks-a-lot girl from Tribe Idiot got
a brilliant idea: She looked at the map and noticed a curious
They rejoice. Tall-skinny-guy and Possible-Looney-Scout-Uniform-Wearing-Middle-Age
woman set out to the well and she whispers, "We ain’t gonna
tell them where it’s at."
Cool! Possible-Looney woman might just be able to forget her
boy scout uniform and play the game to win.
More Big-Hairy Man Camera Time
The two alpha males in Team Justice League grab the spears
and quickly spear a fish. While this was roasting, the cameramen
nudge Big-Hairy Man, "Pssst... you haven't been on the
screen for almost a minute."
And so, he starts fishing and doesn't stop, sunburn or not,
because, dammit, he's the man and the man hunts for food.
"AARGH! I got to the point where I thought I was going to
get eight of them. Everybody was going to get their own fish."
Abandoned Lifeboat Mail
The tree mail was actually situated in an abandoned lifeboat
of sorts. And the mail announced the next challenge.
Prince Andrew said something that wasn't entirely idiotic
and so Tribe Idiot instantly said, "Let's make HIM our
leader because he's not a friggin' idiot like the rest of
But Baggy-Pants-Way-Enthused-Acts-Impulsively guy begs, "But
guys...? I thought I was the leader. I yelled the most and
ran up and down the beach the most and gave the most orders.
Come on, guys. Please...?"
The IC was the push-or-pull-a-big-heavy-object-through-an-obstacle-course
challenge. Before this, though, the guys from Tribe Idiot
came up with a good idea to show their packages and not make
it look like they wanted to show their packages.
Andrew states, "The biggest concern from my standpoint, from
our tribe, is Osten was having difficulty with his shorts
staying up. We said during any activity against the other
tribe if his shorts go down, Ryan and I told him that we're
a team, we're a family and we won't make him embarrassed by
being nude. So we'll do the same."
In an interview before this season started, Jeff Probst said
that no matter how good a shape a guy is in, he just doesn't
look good naked. I agree with Jeffy. No matter how you look
at it, naked guys are just dorks.
The team immunity challenge was full of thrills and spills.
First one team led, then was passed, then regained the lead
again. People screamed and cheered and groaned and leared.
(Leared? I had to think of something that rhymed so that would
And yes, Osten's shorts came down and so Prince Andrew and
There-But-Not-Really-There-No-Charisma man got naked and they
ran through the jungle, "I'm free! Free at last!"
(If you've never walked outside totally nude, you should try
it. At first, it's a little weird, but after a moment it's
quite liberating. Try it out. Just make sure you give yourself
enough time to adjust and begin to appreciate nature to it's
After a bitterly-fought battle, it was down to the finish,
just a few feet from each other...
Drake wins immunity!
Now just wait one gosh-darned minute. Where’s the public outcry?
Those guys took their clothes off! And why? Was it so that
they’d get food they needed very badly? No, dammit. They took
their clothes off just so that the Wished-He-Was-The-Leader-But-I’m-Still-Cool-Because-I-Still-Have-My-Baggy-Shorts-HipHop-Roots-Overly-Enthusiastic-to-the-Poiint-of-Idiocy
didn’t feel bad when he lost his baggy-shorts shorts.
I am appalled! And so I asked around...
My Survivor confidante questions their motives in getting
naked. She says, "They wanted to do it because of arrogance,
sort of like a competition. It wasn’t because they wanted
to show solidarity. They wanted to show the world that they
have hot bodies, all the while pretending that nudity isn’t
really a big deal with them and that it’s a guy thing."
So, it’s kind of like a naked-schlong-dangling-team-cheer-high-five-Rahr!-jump-up-and-bang-our-chests-into-each-other
kind of thing.
Team Justice League made fun of those boys who "took their
panties off" and rejoiced in the water with their win. "The
coolest thing is we don’t have to send anyone home tonight."
Meanwhile, back at Tribe Idiot, Prince Andrew gave surprisingly
good advice without sounding all smarmy-feel-good-fake-motivational-I’m-full-of-crap-but-I-read-self-help-books.
He said, "You know, that sucked any way you look at it. We
lost by about a foot. We learn from it. We move on and we
kick their butt the next time. And we remember how cocky they
were when they won, all right?"
I think I may actually grow to like Prince Andrew. He comes
across as though he's on the fine line between great guy and
arrogant ass. Until the latter shows, I'll say that I like
I almost forgot one of the greatest picture moments of the
entire episode, something that the geniuses at SurvivorSkills.com
Let the Scheming Begin!
Now that they must eliminate someone, Tribe Idiot discusses
who should go. Prince Andrew wants Tall-Super-Skinny-Aligns-With-Wrong-Person
boy because he wasn't working that hard in the challenge.
Someone else mentions Possible-Looney-Boy-Scout-Leader woman
because of her age. (They have no clue as to what a Boy Scout
girl decides to make an attempt to boot Squeals-a-Lot girl
because she's much more naturally beautiful than her and because
she can get pretty annoying with that voice when she's excited
or agitated. The problem with this choice is that everyone
likes Squeals-a-Lot girl and recognizes that she's not only
pretty sharp but also a good athlete.
girl's plan fails miserably and soon she starts spinning a
web of lies in an attempt to cover her ass.
It doesn't work and everyone in the tribe concludes she is
not one to be trusted. Plus, I saw someone giving a massage
and it WASN'T the massage therapist. One would think that
she would at least demonstrate her dominant skill and its
benefits to the tribe.
Ah well. What can you do?
Jeffy explains the whole "When your fire is gone, so are you"
thing and starts with the questions: "Let's talk about the
challenge, the reason you guys are here tonight. It's one
thing to get naked for no apparent reason and win, but it's
another thing entirely to have three guys walking around naked
and lose a challenge. Any regrets about that?"
Overly-Enthusiastic-Leader-Wannabe gives a useless generic
response, "Absolutely not. Not a regret. What’s in the past
is in the past. We did it and we’ll move on. Period."
Look at this, kids! We have yet another cliché-spewer! Yippee.
They talk about how rough it is out there in ideal vacation-land
with all the bugs and such. Possibly-Looney-Scoutmaster woman
is asked about her outfit and blabs on and on about the Boy
And my oh my, already, in just this first tribal council,
this tribe points fingers and mildly insults each other. None
of which looks all that good for the scheming massage therapist
nor Tall-Super-Skinny boy.
It's Time to Vote
It was unanimous...
"First person voted out of Pearl Islands…
Usually, the first person voted out is someone who’s clear
and above a looney or super-annoying. Nicole wasn’t. She wasn’t
entirely likeable, though, and this was probably because she
so quickly started plotting and saying one thing to one person
and then changing her story to others.
There were a few people who I thought were picked just because
Survivor always needs a first person voted out. Nicole was
one of these people (along with tall-skinny-super-geek and
Maybe Nicole had something special that we never got the chance
to see. Now we’ll never know. She has just moved into one
of the following typical Survivor categories:
First person voted off
Muscles of the tribe
Schemer who got caught
Old vs Young Representatives
Final Three (usually just the third we remember)
What I mean by typical Survivor category is that people can
usually name the person from each Survivor series that fits
in the category.
As far as Nicole is concerned, the First Person Voted Off
category is the one where people usually don’t remember their
names but can picture them or describe them in some way. For
the most part, since she wasn't entirely bad or horribly annoying,
I'm thinking Nicole will soon be forgotten entirely.
How many can YOU name in each category? Check out the LetusPonder
Forum and ponder former categorical castaways.
The Reward Challenge winning tribe gets to loot one item from
It's a desperate battle of mind and body for Immunity, where
every last second will decide the winner in a photo finish
you must see to believe.
(From CBS’ site) Rupert, Morgan tribe's "Blackbeard," goes
into a rage after learning that a tribemate has lost something
crucial to Morgan's survival, but is determined to recover
it at all costs. We see this in the previews; "AAARGH!" he
says. "That's why I wanted to be the only one that," he breaks
a tree limb as if it’s Shawn’s neck just like a pirate would
do to make a point, "did that."
And apparently, a member of the Morgan tribe wants to quit.
Let me take a wild guess and say that it’s…
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