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Episode 5: "A Bunch of Idiots"
Filmed: August 12-14, 2011; Aired: March 14, 2012
  • Reward challenge: "Dear Liza" - the newly gender re-integrated New Salanis take out the hapless New Manonos, winning peanut butter, jelly, and the rights to the old One World camp.
  • Immunity challenge: "Basket-brawl" - A lot of wading and splashing, but essentially 3 easy lay-ups for 18-foot tall Michael (the second on around 2743 shots), versus one jump shot for Monica. Salani wins.
  • Hidden immunity idols: Kim finds Salani's, conceals it in her crotch. We are not making this up.
  • Voted out: Monica, 5-2 over Tarzan. Because competence in challenges will not be tolerated on Colton's watch.

We would like to thank SEG: First, for ending the stupid men-vs-women twist. Even if it meant also losing the One World format, at least the show is now mostly not about trotting out trite, awful stereotypes. Secondly, for editing this episode into something other than the Colton Show. He wasn't even that irritating this time! That's some editing magic right there.

Trolly: Tarzan
Trolly
ICU!: Tarzan
ICU!
Beasty: Monica
Beasty/Sitty
Slitty: Kim
Slashy/Slitty
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trollyThe Russell Hantz Memorial Troll of the Season award (the "Trolly"): Tarzan
Honorable mention: Colton

We are as shocked as you are that Tarzan staged a comeback this week, shoving Colton aside, even as he (Tarzan) tripped over logs. And yet there's simply no other conclusion than Tarzan being this week's Trolly winner. How else to explain his contributions to Survivor lore, such as teaching Jeff Probst the meaning of "neologism" (Probst really didn't already know that?), and introducing "nominal aphasia" into the hierarchy of Most Entertaining Tribal Council Vocal Tics, although it still falls slightly short of "dry mouth." And we haven't even mentioned "shan't," although we're already weary of "the game is afoot," mainly because it's neither particularly creative, nor (since this is Manono we're talking about) accurate.

 

Perhaps a top hat?

Oral contributions aside, Tarzan also applied other, more skimpy, schemes to get himself noticed. While we're sure he'll (eventually) blame this particular sartorial decision on production, it's hard to overlook the overtime labor that Tarzan's Speedo-style briefs have put in as part of his quest for attention. Sure, he had a swimsuit that he wore for the immunity challenge, but why risk getting that sandy around camp, when barely-there-underwear are so much more flattering? Although we wouldn't mind if he paired it with his late-'80s shirt-of-many-colors occasionally. Or a monocle. Tarzan really could use a monocle to complete his Speedo outfit. Possibly also spats.

 

Despite all of these efforts, however, Tarzan came away with a grand total of... ZERO confessionals, which is why for the first (and possibly last?) time ever, Tarzan is the lucky recipient of a joint Trolly/ICU! award. As with all things Manono, Tarzan tried desperately (well, slowly, awkwardly, and without breaking a sweat) to attract the attention of the editors, and yet... failed miserably. More Don Quixote than Scaramouche. Yes, yes, we know... it's difficult to get a word in edgewise when that motormouth Jason, er, Jonas is near the cameras, but come on editors: Give the mustachioed gentleman a break. We keep hearing other people go on and on about loquacious Tarzan is, wouldn't it be more efficient just to show this to us directly? Why does everything have to be second-hand? Besides the challenges, we mean.

 

That is, of course, unless Tarzan growled at his interviewers every time they pulled him aside: "Why yes, I could tell you all my plans, but I shan't. The game is afoot." If so, all is forgiven, and you have our eternal gratitude for sparing us.

icuThe Purple Kelly Memorial Invisibility Cloakee Unmasked! award ("ICU!"): Tarzan
Honorable mention: Kat

See above, mostly.

 

Um, her face is up here, guys

For the honorable mention, Kat continued her general trend of Cheshire-dom for the series, getting zero confessionals (again), and generally being present, yet invisible, around camp, except as one of "the ones in the ocean." Maybe the editors saw the blonde hair, ad assumed "Kat" was short for "Kelly"?

beastyThe Colby Donaldson Memorial Challenge Beast award (The "Beasty"): Monica
Honorable mention: Michael

As someone unlikely to be mistaken for a Greek god (being from New Zealand and not Greece, obviously), there's a certain amount of delight to be taken from the newfound vulnerability of challenge beasts in this game. Especially after two straight seasons of Redemption Island, which appeared to be designed specifically to give an artificial lifeline to those some people, who are, season in and season out, always Jeff Probst's favorites (as long as they're male). So it's particularly satisfying that, in the first post-RI season, instead of the challenge-oriented players being dumped immediately post-merge, as has been their traditional fate, they're now being targeted right out of the gate (Nina, Matt, Bill, and now Monica). And Michael, the guy who single-handedly won immunity for Salani this episode? Apparently lowest person on the new Salani totem pole, if the Kim-Jay-Troyzan discussion is to be believed.

 

Shown here in happier times

On the other hand, it's still a bit sad to see some of these people go, if only because this group has included quite a few fans, and that instead we're left with the models of Salani and the collection of odds and ends in Manono. Monica in particular deserved better, but if we're starting to make a habit of handing out Beasty awards to departing contestants, at least there's this, right?

slashyThe CIrie Fields Memorial Smiling Backstabber award ("Slitty"): Kim
Honorable mention: Colton?

Wow, it's as if this episode was edited with an eye specifically for winning this prize. Essentially every word that came out of Kim's mouth this episode was strategic gold, from preparing for the post-merge game with Troyzan and Jay, to using the hidden idol to correctly cement a second alliance with Chelsea. More, please.

 

The delicate art of concealment

And as we said on twitter as it happened: Why can't they fill an entire cast with 18 people like Kim, who know how to play Survivor? Why, in the show's 24th season, are we instead forced to groan, audibly, week after week, as a tribe like Manono gradually sheds itself of all the people who, on day 14, are still only barely aware that the game they're playing involves voting people out every few days? Let alone that if they simply banded together, they might be able to take out the same person they all complain about? Why?

 

Obviously, Kim walked away with the Slitty this week, even though she didn't attend Tribal Council. It would not be illogical to instead hand one over to Colton, who did, to be fair, correctly play both sides of his tribe, leading to a blindside, while still holding on to his idol. But that would be unfair, because, as he (and the episode's title) said, he appears to be playing with a bunch of idiots.

See also:
Other recaps you probably wish you would have read instead of ours
Recaps and commentary Exit interviews
  • Rob Cesternino at RobHasAPodcast: "Survivor Monica Culpepper on Getting Sacked by the Swap"
  • Daniel Feinberg at HitFix.com: "Monica Culpepper talks Survivor: One World"
Podcasts Watch the episode on Clicker:
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