Thursday, April 7, 2011

Grab Your Balls

Once every 5000 years a planetary alignment takes place. Gods are created, the winds howl, volcanos erupt and thus begins the wrath of the parasitic sea. Angry, foamy, cantankerous. The sea belches forth swallowing up anything and everything in its path leaving behind a stench so pungent and thick, the hairs inside your nose sizzle. Only one man on Earth can tame the parasitic sea and that man is Phillip Sheppard. A warrior with a strict moral code, Phillip Sheppard can talk the ear off the Pacific and turn it into a gentle babbling brook. The Atlantic could be a bubbling acidic cauldron of death and Phillip Sheppard would conversate it into submission. A true test of a man's skill and worth is his mastery over the sea. Tsunamis, hurricanes, gales... with spear in hand they are no contest for one Mr. Phillip Sheppard. With his pink panties hanging loosely around his nether regions, Phillip Sheppard commands them to "cease and desist" and then he reads them their rights or some shit like that. Poseidon Schmoseidon. Phillip Sheppard, he who chews his food in logarithms, is the real god of the sea. Let's recap, shall we?

Our Nicaraguan tale continues in the thick of night with the downtrodden Zappas (Zapatera) mourning the loss of that gangly tribe adornment Sarita. The Cuddler (Steve), especially, will miss his stringy bedfellow. He liked staying up late with her and making dream catchers by the crackling campfire. She was a good lady with a big heart and now all that lies in her place is a beat up old briefcase called Julie. Julie is also sad that Sarita is gone, but she knows that getting rid of the weakest link, as well as buffing once a month with a soft cloth and leather cream, is the best move for her and her tribe right now. Meanwhile, Lawyer Dave reassures Rooster (Ralph) that there are no hard feelings about how he voted to which Rooster replied, "Yea'un I'n meanin' ta tawk to yer 'bout that." David swishes Rooster away and mutters, "Nah, it's cool man." The tribe then settles around the campfire with a heavy silence hanging overhead. They must win every challenge from here on out. Their numbers are dwindling and the thought of losing again makes The Cuddler want to cry into his cocoa. Maybe now with that cagey nuisance gone they can get down to business and start making things happen.

Over on Rhode Island (Redemption Island) a flaxen-haired beauty sleeps peacefully in his tiny bamboo cottage. He dreams beautiful dreams of rainbows and lilypads, butterflies and wildflowers, ladybugs and crucifixes only to be rudely awakened by that herky jerky rooster lady Sarita. "Hi Matt, it's Sarita", she crows. The Pretty Pony (Matt) smiles to himself as he knows this flighty squawk of a woman will be a piece of cake to beat in the Duel. Pretty Pony's only real concern is all the scary stories he's been hearing about Zappa. Do they worship the devil over there? Do they not go to church every Sunday? They're not Jews, are they?! These are things he needs to know. Sarita assures him that the tribe is lovely and full of amazing people. In fact, she's thrilled that she can share the magic that is The Cuddler, Rooster, Mike and Leather Lady with Pretty Pony. Pretty Pony is a good kid and if she can help him out by setting him up with some of her sorority sisters then she's glad to help. The Pretty Pony absorbs the info he's been given and wonders to himself how to use it. Does he realign with Omarion (Ometepe) or does he use this information to make a big move and create a new alliance? You could almost see the little angel and devil sitting on the pony's shoulders. This is a terrific inner struggle for him of biblical proportions. He's been sent to play Survivor by the man upstairs *points to sky* and the last thing he wants to do is let Him down. Maybe this is all a test. Maybe switching sides isn't really a sin. Or maybe loyalty is the greatest gift of all. Oh why can't there be a Book Of Probst in the New Testament? It could go right after Acts and before Epistles. There's room. Just jam it on in there.

While the Pretty Pony slept fitfully wondering what Purgatory is like, Omarion slept like champs and greeted the next day with a new spring in their steps. Boston Rob retrieves the tree mail and the entire tribe is instructed to attend the Duel that day. Phillip runs to light the Merge signal fire while the rest of the tribe sits in quiet contemplation and sighs. It's Merge time. They have to pack, Rob has to make sure everyone's microchips are functioning properly, he has to see that Phillip gets dressed, lots to do, lots to do. Phillip, on the other hand, thinks that packing is for suckers. He got a message from Langley on the coconut wireless earlier that morning and his handler said that everyone would move to Omarion. The handler also told him to "Beware the frog people. Iceman cometh. The data on the MiG is inaccurate." Sooo yeah, whatever. In the end, Phillip concedes that Rob might be right about packing and off he scampers to collect his aresenal of twigs and shells.

Over on Zappa, the same tree mail message is received. Lawyer Dave mumbles, "Merge" while Mike goes into the war room and begins making plans. Up until now, Mike has been a flatlining piece of flesh in combat boots, but upon hearing the word "Merge" he springs to life and starts to say things like "targets", "sink my teeth into", "go toe to toe", "take that guy out". Well, it's about time Captain. Better late than never I guess. Mike has a mission now and that mission is to take out Boston Rob. *snickers to self* Good luck with that. This isn't Iraq son, this is Survivor. Enemy combatants are all around you on a daily basis. You can't peace pipe your way through half the game and then suddenly decide to play. On second thought, if you team up with Phillip Sheppard and start running military drills on the beach I might reconsider my opinion of you. I'm just not sure which one of you will be Goose and which one will be Maverick. I'll think about it and chew you an answer later.

On Rhode Island, the Pretty Pony is injured. *clutches pearls* He was out frolicking in a meadow earlier with his mane billowing behind him and he got a pebble stuck in his hoof or something. I'm not exactly sure what went down (stigmata), but the pony's tootsie is bleeding and we need a rainbow band-aid up in here stat! Like any good soldier of God, the Pretty Pony puts on a brave face and prepares to battle whatever sin might leap in front of him. Sarita, on the other hand, is off in some corner smoking the cheeba telling us that she thinks she's a worthy opponent. Whatever you say sister. And don't bogart that when you're done with it. Pass it around.

The competitors enter the arena and are surprised to see the stands full of all sorts of dirty people. That battered book binding Julie waves to Sarita while Rob sits in silence with a worried look on his face. Dimples drops a bombshell and tells the players that the winner of this Duel will reenter the game. The Pretty Pony is beside himself with joy. He looks up to heaven with a wink and a smile and in that moment a rainbow shot out of the sky and a baby chick learned to fly. Meanwhile Sarita began twirling to the Blues Traveler song in her head while Rob fidgeted uncomfortably with his baseball cap. Pretty Pony reentering the game is the last thing Rob wants right now. The possibility of defection is high and Rob already has his hands full with Phillip. Just this morning Phillip stumbled over one of his own trip wires and got his ankle caught in a bear trap he made out of sharpened oyster shells. It took all three girls and Grant to wrestle the behemoth free. It was getting Phillip to stop kicking that was the biggest challenge. With shit like that going on everyday, worrying about what the Pretty Pony is up to might be too much for Rob to handle.

Ok, so for today's Duel, players will brace themselves up against two walls while their bare feet are perched on very narrow footholds. Every fifteen minutes, they'll move to an even smaller foothold. The last person left standing will reenter the game and continue their quest to win a million dollars. Are you kidding me? The pony cuts his foot and the Duel is a challenge all about feet?! Is Jesus napping again or something? Either God really is testing Matt or the devil is playing a magnificent trick right about now. All I know is there's a parable in there somewhere. Survivors ready, go.

Pretty Pony and Sarita take their spots and all I'm thinking is, "That Care Bear band-aid better hold!" Sarita closes her eyes and The Cuddler burbles from the sidelines, "Zen, Sarita." The first round goes by rather painlessly and the players descend to a smaller foothold. Mascaroni (Andrea) takes a deep breath, furrows her brow and watches in a panic. I knew in that instant that her love for the Pretty Pony was still there. You just don't get over a blonde Adonis that quickly. Impossible. It's here that Dimples, for God knows what reason, asks Phillip to give some insight into the challenge. With one lick of his lips, we are then treated to a 22 minute lecture on The Prosciutto Code. I'm pretty sure Phillip meant to say "Bushido", but it came out "Prosciutto" and that was all kinds of awesome. We learned fascinating things about warriors and melons and how a hint of prosciutto in a bolognese adds a robust flavor to the sauce. There was something about a samurai cutting himself across the abdomen and I smiled to myself knowing he was talking about seppuku. Seppuku is a ritual suicide meant to restore a failed samurai's honor. It's a deed of bravery and I wondered to myself if Phillip could ever be so brave to bless us all with his own seppuku. I know everyone else on his tribe was thinking it - eyes rolling, mouths giggling.

Eventually, Dimples has to interrupt The Prosciutto Code and the players are instructed to take another step down to the third and final foothold. That ottoman Julie cracks her face and tells Sarita, "Zen, baby." and I wondered to myself what's up with all this Zen talk. I'm about as Zen as a vat of Dexedrine. Peacefulness of mind is not something I'm familiar with. To me, "Zen" means an uncomfortable mattress, some calligraphy on the wall and a distinct lack of couches. I just don't get it. Anyhow, Sarita zens her way into leaning to one side while Pretty Pony keeps adjusting his foot. His little tanned tootsie comes off the perch at one moment and I covered my face with my hands shouting, "No! It can't end this way!" Thankfully, it didn't end that way and he regains his composure. The Zappas begin to get more vocal in cheering on Sarita so Phillip decides he'll pipe up and cheer for Pretty Pony. I wanted everyone to shut the hell up so I stuck some cotton candy in my ears and waited for someone to fall. It turns out I didn't have to wait long. Sarita bit the dust and PRETTY PONY STAYS ALIVE!!! *glitter falls from the sky*

Sarita is bummed, but who cares? It's Merge time! Dimples tosses the players their new fancy buffs and everyone claps and cheers. Pretty Pony makes his way through the crowd shaking everyone's hand while Mascaroni lurks a few feet behind him waiting for her kiss. They finally embrace and it was very sweet. Mascaroni blushes and giggles while Pretty Pony gives her a good squeeze. Now, in 9 short months we'll have a baby Mascapony. Cute! But let's not get caught up in romance. Dimples has another bomb to drop. Beginning with the next Tribal Council, Rhode Island starts again. Oh for fuck's sake. Enough with Rhode Island! I don't want it anymore. It takes away from all the good camp drama. Between Rob and Phillip getting all the air time, I hardly know anything about any of the other players. I mean, does Grant even speak English? He could be from Finland for all I know. And what's the deal with Natalie? Does she do anything other than guard the crispy? Rhode Island was fun while it lasted, but I think we're at a point in the game where we can ditch it.

So, all the castaways arrive at their new camp to find an enormous feast awaits them - chicken, fruit, prosciutto (!), wine, beer, nuts. Phillip grabs the bottle of white and pours the whole thing down his throat. Grrreat. Phillip drunk is all this new tribe needs right now. He's probably a frisker. I'm a flirty knee grabber, but I'm pretty sure Phillip is an inappropriate groper. I shudder to think of the airline pat down he'd give the Pretty Pony. All that's left to do now, besides build an entirely new shelter, is name the tribe. Rob suggests Murlonio as it means "united from the sea" in Spanish. I scratched my head and said to no one in particular, "No, it doesn't". My Spanish isn't perfect, but I know Murlonio isn't a word. Sounds more Italian than Spanish anyways. It turns out I was right. Murlonio means nothing at all. Murlonio just happens to be the name of one of Amber's stuffed animals. Naturally, my next question is: why the hell does Amber have stuffed animals? Rob didn't say they were for his kids. He distinctly said, "Amber has all these stuffed animals." Interesting. Anyhow, that sofa cushion Julie looooves the name and a new tribe is born: Murlonio.

After the meal, the tribe dutifully gets to work on building the new shelter. The hammers are whacking, Rooster is lugging beams around, Phillip is building a moat to protect the fortress from enemies... you know, typical shelter stuff. Pretty Pony and Mascaroni work on one part of the shelter together. They touch each other's arms, screw in some screws and make googly eyes at one another. Lurking in the background is Mike. Covered in camoflauge he sits in a nearby bush and wonders how to woo Pretty Pony for himself. Mike is ready to make a big move and Pretty Pony is the key to making it happen. Under the guise of collecting water, Mike snags Pretty Pony and pitches him the idea of flipping and bringing Mascaroni with him. He'll even protect them with the Rooster's Immunity Idol if he has to. Mike makes a very appealing offer saying that he's even willing to vote off members of his own tribe to make it to Final Four with Pretty Pony. Pretty Pony's interest is piqued as he knows he can no longer play this game passively like he did before. He needs to pray on it though before making any decisions. He's 99.9% sure that "Thou shalt not betray one's own tribe" isn't a commandment, but he's gonna look it up anyways and double check.

Night falls and it's a rainy thundery mess. Omarion is nestled cozily together underneath a tarp while Zappa sits in the rain and looks on with envy. The Cuddler's hair is getting all wet and Julie's skin is beginning to pucker. You know what water does to leather, don't you?! Anyhow, Mascaroni and Pretty Pony have stolen away into the night to reacquaint themselves with one another. Mascaroni swears she didn't know about Pretty Pony getting voted out while Pretty Pony assures her that she's his closest ally. He tells her how wants to make a big move and get rid of the Omarion tribe. First, he wants to vote out The Cuddler so as not to arouse suspicion. Then, he wants to get rid of Phillip because, you know, Phillip's a freak. THEN, he wants to blindside Rob. Mascaroni gasps and is all like, "Oh my god, oh my god!" Pretty Pony reprimands her and tells her to calm down and I knew in that instant that Pretty Pony is one of those Christians who likes his woman at home with the kids and not serving up any lip. Alexis Bellino's husband flashed before my eyes and I gasped in horror. Could it be that this glitter-filled image I've created of Pretty Pony is all but a dream? Is his hair really not made of spun gold? Will he bless the Mascapony every morning before he leaves for work? I feared for Mascaroni in that moment. It would be a pity if she turned into a giant boobed duck-lipped robot.

The next morning we find Mike reading the gospel of Matthew from Pretty Pony's bible. Really, dude? Can you be anymore transparent? As a cynical person who hates almost everyone, I would have taken one look at Mike and laughed in his face. Pretty Pony, however, is a nice person without a suspicious bone in his body. He laps that bible reading shit up and the two begin to talk about how Jesus fasted for 40 days and 40 nights and how Survivor is almost 40 days long. *sigh* Pretty Pony is a strapping young buck, but he's not Jesus. He never was Jesus and he never will be Jesus. If Jesus had anything to do with Survivor, do you really think Richard Hatch would have won the first season? No. Hell no. Someone light and fluffy would have won and it would have been a travesty. Look Pretty Pony, you're a sexy guy, but God did not put you on Survivor. I know how it is to read something and think it pertains to you. When I read Interview With A Vampire, I was convinced vampires were stalking me. I was morally conflicted just like you. Could I really kill people to feed my insatiable appetite for blood? Probably. A girl has to eat you know, but that doesn't make me a bad person does it? Come to the dark side, baby. Leave all that Sunday school stuff behind and let me dress you in leather pants and get you a tattoo. Can you play guitar cuz that would really be a bonus?

While all this religion stuff was going on, Rob was observing from a few feet away and shaking his head. He has nothing against God, but he doesn't like it when he sees a group of people together with a common interest. I feel the exact same way about fraternities and Mormons so I totally get it. Rob knows how this game works and anytime a pair or a group forms, it has to be broken up as quickly as possible. He doesn't care what they're bonding over. It could be romantic comedies or oreo cookies. The problem is that they're bonding and that can't happen. Since Mike looks like the ringleader, Rob makes a note to get him out if he loses Immunity.

This brings us to the first Individual Immunity Challenge of the season which I love because endurance challenges are always great fun. For this challenge, Survivors will stand perched on a log while balancing a ball on a wooden disk. At regular intervals, more balls will be added making it more difficult. If any of your balls fall, you're out of the challenge. Last person left standing wins Immunity and is safe at Tribal Council. Survivors ready, go!

The challenge begins and right out of the gate Phillip is shaking on his log. His ball almost topples over the side of the disk, but he recovers it and says, "I got rhythm baby!" As I interpreted that to mean something sexual, I scooped my eyeballs out with a rusty spoon and swallowed them whole. Gross. Phillip, not my eyeballs - those were tasty. A little MAC eyeliner with some salt and pepper. Yummy! With only 15 seconds left in the first round, Julie's wallet of a body begins to fold upon itself and she falls off her log.

Round 2 begins and one of Lawyer Dave's balls makes a run for the border. While he's arguing it back into place, Assley drops her balls and is out of the game. Lawyer Dave made some very convincing arguments, but they were overturned as his balls fall too and he's outta there. A breeze begins to pick up on the beach and one of Rooster's balls clucks it way to the edge. He manages to keep it on the disk as round 2 ends.

We're now in Round 3 and this time there's no time limit. It's whoever lasts the longest. Survivors add 3 balls to their disks and like that one time I tried waitressing, Mascaroni's tray topples over spilling all of her drinks. Grant and his creepy black toes fall next while Mike stands lifeless and unflinching. I knew he didn't have a pulse! The wind picks up a little and out goes Pretty Pony, Rob and Phillip one right after the other. It's down to Rooster, Natalie, The Cuddler and Mike. One of Rooster's balls makes it's way to the edge and Rooster whistles at it to get back to the center. That whistle may do wonders for a goat or a cow, but it does nothing for balls and Rooster is out. The Cuddler goes next and now it's just Mike and Natalie. Out of nowhere a fly lands on one of Mike's balls. It must have been one of those evil mischievous flies because it pushed Mike's ball all the way over the edge and NATALIE WINS IMMUNITY!!!

Back at Murlonio everyone is congratulating Natalie, but Mike is a bit of a Bitter Betty. He thought he had it. He was in the zone. He was sure he was coming back with that Immunity Idol. Instead, a barefoot teenager with no military training got it and now he fears he's on the chopping block. In a preemptive strike, he gathers up the Zappas and asks Rooster if he'll play his Idol in order to save him. Rooster replies, "Iffin ah nee to." and that was that. I believed Rooster in that moment and I became sad. What happened to the Rooster of yesteryear? The Rooster who stood up to Lucifer. The Rooster who strutted with his feathers out. What we have here is a subRooster. A demi Rooster if you will. I wonder if the game has messed with his confidence. The Rooster I used to know didn't let anyone push him around. Sure, we never understood a single word he said, but he spoke authoritatively. He spoke with conviction. This Rooster is stuffed with a lemon and set to roast at 375 degrees. It's not right.

Meanwhile, out on a cliff sits Rob and Pretty Pony. They're enjoying the view, feeling the breeze on their faces and simply relaxing. Pretty Pony begins to talk about how he's learned a lot from the game and that devil part inside of me said, "But you haven't been in the game!" Shhh Devil Colette, shhh. Then Pretty Pony tells us that he knows Survivor is a game, but he wants to honor his God and, for some reason, turning on Omarion offends God. *sigh* Where is the bible passage that says that Pretty Pony? I demand to see it. I call bullshit. I began to flip through a bible I stole from a Marriot to find the passage that could have influenced Pretty Pony when all of a sudden I hear him laying out Mike's entire plan to Rob and admitting that he considered joining Zappa. I thought maybe I still had some cotton candy stuck in my ear, but no, I was hearing correctly. Rob smiles and nods his head, but inside he's buying Matt a one-way ticket back to Rhode Island. And just when you thought it couldn't get any worse, Mascaroni approaches and Pretty Pony tells her - in front of Rob! - that he came clean and decided to stay with Omarion. *smacks self in head* So, not only has he made an incredibly dumb move for himself, but now he's unwittingly dragged Mascaroni down with him. Mascaroni is furious and rightly so.

Rob wastes no time gathering up the troops and telling them they're voting out Pretty Pony again. Natalie giggles at the thought of him back at Rhode Island, but you know what? I think that might be the best place for him. He seems to flourish there. He'll get a house all to himself, plenty of prayer time and none of this pesky sinful Surivor stuff to get in his way. Everybody loves him and no one wants to hurt him, but I think it's best we admire the Pretty Pony from afar. He's lovely and majestic and all that, but he should be on the other side of the rainbow not in a stinky Survivor camp where evil lurks around every corner. He should be playing with balloons and streamers or some shit like that. Either Pretty Pony stays an innocent pony or he turns completely evil and becomes my pool boy. There can be no in between here. It's all or nothing.

Pretty Pony sees the rest of his tribe whispering without him and he begins to feel a little ostricized from the group. Mike loves that Pretty Pony is beginning to feel paranoid so he feeds on it and tells Matt again that he needs to cross over and bring Mascaroni with him. I can only imagine what's going on inside of Pretty Pony's head right now. He's too innocent for these sorts of shenanigans. These people are destroying his rose-colored view of the world. Good and evil is becoming a giant mash up of "Huh?". Hot and cold are now just lukewarm. Black and white is an ugly grey. I can literally see the sparkle leaving his eyes as he prepares to wander this new confused, lukewarm, grey world. *tear*

Rob sees Pretty Pony getting an earful from Mike so he snags him away and they begin to work on the shelter together. Not wanting to lose any headway he may have made with Pretty Pony, Mike hands him a note while pretending to work on the shelter. The first chance he gets to slip away, Pretty Pony takes to the beach and opens the note, "Matt, vote for Grant and I'll take you to the Final 3." Then he waved it over his head and ran through the streets shouting, "I've got a golden ticket! I've got a golden ticket!" Oh Pretty Pony, never lose that magic.

And this brings us to Tribal Council. Rooster says that camp is really rough right now and Rob agrees saying that no one is talking to each other. Lawyer Dave bitches about getting wet while the Omarion peeps slept cozily under the tarp. Assley shrieks, "But we won the tarp!" and Lawyer Dave appropriately puts quotation marks around her "won". The cat is out of the bag as Lawyer Dave admits to throwing the challenge. Not wanting to shy away from a good warrior metaphor, Phillip chimes in saying, "That's the distinction between the two tribes..." Lawyer Dave cuts him off and laments, "Oh puh-lease." *giggles* Finally! Someone to call Phillip on his bullshit. I know Rob can't do it just yet, but I'm soooo glad someone else can do it.

Unphased, Phillip continues and we meet the parasitic sea. "There are some in that tribe like the sea *pause for effect* which can be beautiful and glorious (Julie, clearly). As you know when it recedes outward it sometimes leaves a stench! (yes, exclamation point) You know that it's probably carrying something parasitic and therefore you don't want to approach it. Prosciutto, Francreepyesca, federal agent." Omarion bursts into a gaggle of giggles while the Zappas look on horrified. Keep in mind, this is probably their first major Phillip non sequitur. It's a big moment in anyone's life. I know it was in mine. It's like the first time you got drunk or had sex... you never forget it.

Dimples turns the focus to Pretty Pony and he's so precious, isn't he? He laughs at his own jokes and says that life was so much easier on Rhode Island. The rest of the group was silent and I shifted uncomfortably in the awkwardness of the moment. Mike steps in and says that Pretty Pony is the man in the middle. Rooster says he's the man you want on your side. It was sweet the way they stuck up for him, but they don't want Matt for Matt. They want him as a number. The poor pony has been gone for so long that he doesn't have any real friends on either tribe. Let's end this misery and get to the vote. If anyone wants to play the Immunity Idol... "Yeah'un Jayff ah wan pley't on Mahk." OK so any votes for Mike will not count. No one voted for Mike, but six others voted for Pretty Pony and it is with a tinge of sadness that I say... Pretty Pony is the 8th person voted out of Survivor: Redemption Island. :-(

So, what did you guys think of last night's episode? Are you sad the Pretty Pony is gone again? Are you surprised Mike has a pulse? Don't you think Julie would make a fetching leather coat? Comment it out bitches and have a great day!