This was a special episode of Survivor that was intended to Blow.You.Away. It blew me away all right...all the way down the dial, back to CNN, where the fighting was less one-sided and the camera work was better.
They're pretty much the same show anyway.
The show, like the war, opens at night. Alex is lamenting the loss of his fair maiden Shawna at the last Tribal Council. "Woe is me," he sniffles. "Of all the tribes in all the seasons in all the world, I had to switch into hers." Rob solidifies his Smart People Pact with Deena, whose eyes mysteriously are not illuminated by the crappy night vision, lending further evidence to the supposition that she is indeed Lucifer.
The next morning, the duo have a chat with the whole group. "Once we merge, we'll all stick together and pick them off, starting with the men."
"Sure, sounds good," says Matthew, snickering under his breath.
"Sure, sounds good," says Jenna, snickering under her breath.
"My head hurts," says Alex.
Treemail arrives. It's a placard attached to the long-awaited Key. The placard says "Do not use this key until Day 36," but the Jaburu are so excited they run straight to the box, encircling it with little jumpy movements and grunting noises like the apes in 2001.
We switch to Tambaqui, apparently still part of the show, opening their own box. Not with a key, mind you, they just realized it had been unlocked all this time. And what do they find inside? Al Capone's treasure? Letters from John Cheever? Coupons for Old Country Buffet?
Nothing! Absolutely nothing! Stupid! You're so stupid!
Okay, no. It's just a note. And "Peace on Earth" was it all it said.
Okay, actually it said: "You've come this far as girls and boys, Switched together like Burnett's toys, Now it's time to live as one, The merge camp may be found on the island of Aaaaarrrggghhh..." Perhaps he was dictating.
So the players on both tribes rush around like ants, grabbing what they can, taking only the bare essentials. "The Coke!" barks Roger. "Save the Coke!" Though oddly he pointed nowhere near the freezer. Butch sheds a tear as they depart Tambaqui for the last time. "I'll never forget this place," he blubbers. Ah, the memories. Yelling at Ryan. Yelling at Daniel. Yelling at Ryan and Daniel.
The two tribes paddle up the creek. Rob realizes that Heidi is following their boat surreptitiously, clinging to a log, but he decides to ignore it. They meet on a tiny little island in the middle of the river, one of those pitiful little islands with the single palm tree like in Far Side cartoons. Probst is there waiting for them, and as Dave steps onto the shore the host flings himself at his feet."Oh, thank God you're here!" he sputters. Burnett stranded me and I've been here for days! I had to eat bugs to survive, and the only person I had to talk to was this volleyball I named Colby."
Probst regains his composure and explains the "sweeping change" to the tribes: they're merging. Somewhere in America, Shii Ann Huang begins filing her lawsuit. The players are given flashy new red buffs and a map to their new home. Roger introduces himself to Deena, extending his hand and saying "Hi, I'm Roger, nice to meet you," while Deena snaps back "How could you be so sexist, you inferior male pig!"
A glorious picnic awaits them at their new merge camp, which they name Jacaré in honor of, well, some damn thing. They break out the lite bubbly and a good time is had by all, except, that is, for Roger, who I imagine prefers kosher meals. He gets up away from the spread and starts chopping down trees and muttering obscenities at his tribemates and the government. "We're all voting for Roger, right?" asks Jenna, and all nod in agreement. Roger continues chopping. "So Roger is being voted out?" All nod in agreement. Roger continues chopping. "Okay, it's settled then. Roger is gone." Roger continues chopping. Rob calls to Roger: "Rog, we're voting you out next, okay?" Roger nods and waves, and goes back to his chopping. "Heh heh," he muses. "Looks like everyone's a target except me."
Alex: "Hey Rog, we're going to nail you to this later. Is that okay?"
Roger: "Sounds good to me!"
That night the tribe gathers around the campfire and has a serious heartfelt discussion about global poverty. Christy tells a story of how she led a successful protest march in Washington to demand relief aid to Somalia, while Rob admits that his only goal is to make the final three with Heidi and Jenna so they can form a charity organization to feed homeless children in Southeast Asia.
Day 20 dawns as Roger wakens the group with lots of noisy chopping and such. "I'm not hung over," he says. "Why should they be?" Apparently not much else seemed to happen this day, since we skip right to Day 21.
Day 21 brings an immunity challenge. Probst snatches the idol away from Jacaré and shows them the new immunity Necklace, which appears to be one of those braces that people wear in court when they're trying to fake an injury. "Here's the deal," he explains. "You're all going to get on those platforms in the water. You have to stand up on the platforms for as long as you can. Last one standing wins this necklace. Wanna know what you're playing for?"
Everyone looks around quizzically. "Um...the necklace?" Heidi asks.
"That's right. This necklace. You're a smart girl, Strobel!"
The players take their positions and start standing. Wow, such gripping television. Ten people standing on poles, woo boy. Probst surveys the row of challengers. A shotgun, he thinks to himself. All I'd need is a shotgun right now. Solve all my problems. I could escape into the jungle and they'd never find me. Just one shotgun.
Jenna and Heidi decide that they can distract the males into falling by disrobing. Off the clothes come, replaced by digital blurs that indicate Burnett still retains a shred of compassion for his viewers. The girls' plan succeeds marvelously when they are the first to dive off the poles for food. Well done! You've become the Trailer Trash Sweethearts of America! Bravo!
Sadly, despite lengthy, intense negotiations, Probst was unable to convince other contestants to join his Coalition of the Willing to Strip.
Roger, knowing he is perfectly safe at Tribal Council, is the next to take the plunge. Though it is not obvious, he also stripped off his clothing for food, but that scene is only available on the Yahoo! Platinum service. Alex, Rob and Butch dive for a pizza, which was actually the remains of Joanna, whom God punished for accidentally glimpsing the idol out of the corner of her eye back on Day 5.
It begins to rain. The crocodiles orbiting the challenge area begin to get testy. "Screw this," one mutters. "Burnett promised us some of his day crew, but it's not worth getting rained on!" The wind picks up, knocking Matthew over like a house of cards, and Dave jumps for buffalo wings, too dense to realize that buffalo don't even have wings, silly
So it's down to Christy and Deena, the babes of the show. Neither is budging, so it's time to break out the standard Survivor compromise of rock-paper-scissors, the strategy that worked so well for Clarence back in Kenya. Deena's rock obliterates Christy's scissors, and so the lawyer outplays them all once again. In a stand-on-a-pole challenge where a contestant gives up for peanut butter and the winner is decided by rock-paper-scissors, and is then congratulated by Jenna with a hearty "Way to go Tina!", how much more original can you get?
The plotting begins. The guys want to pick off the girls. The girls want to pick off the guys. Roger approaches Alex and asks if he's solid. "Sorry Roger, we're voting you out tonight," Alex shrugs. Roger responds, "That's nice, but you're voting out Christy tonight, right?" Rob, Deena, and Jenna make a final three pact, though Rob later realizes his orgy plans were now taking on a slightly different outlook. Heidi takes Dave aside. "Okay, we're voting Roger out first, then you. Is that okay?" Dave considers this and nods. "Yeah, sounds good, as long as we're still in an alliance."
"Oh, sure, definitely," Heidi nods back. Everything works out.
At Tribal Council, the tribe forces Roger to sit as far away from them as possible, and Deena remarks that she's voting for "a player whose name rhymes with Roger." Roger nods and says, "I'm completely safe tonight! Things couldn't be better!" Deena, with all the logic of an extremist conservative, claims that "Roger thinks women are inferior, because he is a stupid arrogant inferior male pig. I hate people that demean others based on gender. Rotten males." Roger himself votes for Christy, turning back towards her when making his peace so she can see his lips move. Rob intends to vote for Roger, though he is so wrapped up in making a Casey Kasem joke that he actually writes "Casey" on the ballot twice before getting it right.
And so the maniacal dictator is overthrown, and the people of Jacaré are liberated. Now the Boob Coalition must work at building a new regime. I wonder how Michael Moore feels about that.