And once again the curtain drops. This is not the black curtain of my depression. Rather, it is the scarlet curtain of a performance that has reached its end. It is closing night and the tattered playbills are littering the sidewalk. Pages waving au revoir in the breeze. The theatre once alive with the roar of an audience stamping and clapping in approval now sits in silence. No more are there rosy powdered reflections in the mirrors. No more pins and corsets and tape and hose. The dressing rooms grow dank with neglect. Threadbare crinolines sag limply. And in the playhouse, where art imitates life, a property blade is all that remains. A grim reminder of how every action, whether good or bad, has a reaction. "Drop a handkerchief and it will return to smother you," John Wilmot insists. As a thick layer of dust begins to form on the stage, the chairs have no choice but to hug themselves in depressed loneliness. Like you and I, they sit and wait for an encore. But if you stop for a moment and listen, if you reach back into the dark recesses of your mind, you can almost hear the applause… the clicking of heels across the floorboards, skirts sashaying stage left to right, roses plopping one after the other into a fragrant pile. Hold onto those memories, my friends... I remember the time I knew what happiness was. Let the memory live again. Let's recap, shall we?
Our hopeless opus continues under a starry sky. Had they a choice, the stars would have dimmed out of respect for everything we have lost. They would pull down the shades and shame their luminescence into hiding. But, like us, they have no choice. And so together we must dust ourselves off, dry our tears and trudge on. It is under this starry sky that the tarsier spits and farts in the faces of the returning Edamame (Enil Edam). You heathens choose to congratulate yourselves? Pffft! Loogie incoming. You pat one another on the back in celebration? A toot up your noses and a pox on your families! And it is here that Dame Reynold rises to make an announcement...
Oh, that this too, too sullied flesh would melt,
That, and resolve itself into a dew,
Or that the Everlasting had not fixed
His canon 'gainst self-slaughter! O God, God!
How weary, stale, flat, and unprofitable
Seem to me all the uses of this world!
I have no choice but to carry onward,
To win immunity five times over!
Too right, Dame. Since you cannot take your own life, you have no other option but to succeed. To win! Prosper! To kick sand in the faces of those who have sent the Golden Boy (Malcolm) to the Poop Water Lagoon.
Upon hearing these optimistic and determined words from Dame Reynold, Mascaroni (Andrea) simultaneously stifles both her giggles and her panic. She giggles because the Fans are hopelessly outnumbered, but she panics because week in and week out her MeMeMe disease rages and festers. What began as mere hallucinations are beginning to take hold and putrefy. Those wistful "Me Me Me's" whispered over the past 288 weeks have finally come to fruition. They've latched onto both her flesh and her circulatory system. The stench of rot and plague follows her everywhere now. Even young Cochran has noticed it. He's noticed it and, quite frankly, he doesn't care for it. Instead of letting the tribe leper call the shots, he'll call the shots from now on. He'll grab the game by the short and curlies and give it a good jitter.
And this brings us to the big Immunity Challenge. Come on in guys! For today's Challenge, you will balance on a triangular platform in the water with your bare feet perched on narrow footholds. At regular intervals you will move your feet higher up the platform. The last person standing not only wins Immunity, but a Reward in the form of information. Survivors ready, go!
With the wind blowing all around them (note: the wind was me frantically doing the dance of the seven veils in the direction of everyone not named Dame Reynold), the Survivors stand on the widest perch as the challenge begins. But how boring would a challenge like this be without a sassy seducer tempting the starving innocents with tray after tray of tantalizing treats? And that is exactly what Dimples does. Not 30 seconds into the Challenge, he emerges from behind his podium to reveal a plate of donuts and an ice cold glass of milk. Immediately, Erik mumbles, "I want that." Not so fast patchouli breath. Theddie (Eddie) also wouldn't mind getting a little frosting stuck in his neck beard.
(Little Darlings, 1980)
At home I wanted to be surprised by Theddie's willingness to give up so early in the Challenge, but let's face it. Theddie doesn't even realize where he is let alone that there is a distinct possibility Dame Reynold could win Immunity thus making Theddie the next target. For all Theddie knows, he's away at Camp Tomahawk for the summer. Yesterday he made lanyards, today he'll eat donuts and tomorrow he'll try, yet again, to get Kristy McNichol to give him her virginity. Survivor is a carefree coming of age romp for the lad where he'll get to roast some marshmallows, meet some new buddies and maybe, at the end of it all, go home with a million dollars in his pocket. And so, without a care in the world, both Erik and Theddie dive off their perches for some donuts.
Some time passes and the Survivors must move their feet up to the next perch. Again, Dimples runs to his podium for yet another platter to tempt them with. This time it is hot dogs and a soft drink. Pasty and slumped, Cochran looks to his fellow alliance members and asks, "I'm going to take this, ok?" Mascaroni sneers as Calgon (Dawn) shakes her head in disapproval. Cochran whines, "My thighs are killing me." His entire alliance then turns their back on the lad as he stumbles face first into the water. Even Dimples is disappointed as he puts his hands on his hips and shakes his head. So much for being a Challenge beast, eh?
Giddy from the anger wafting off of Cochran's former friends, Dame Reynold beams and begins to taunt the others. With a point and a karate chop, he teases Calgon with dance moves from Rock Of Ages. Not the Tom Cruise vehicle Rock Of Ages, but the Constantine Maroulis Broadway Rock Of Ages. An unsullied Rock Of Ages, if you will. The problem is that dance moves from the 80's require a lot of hip gyrations and pelvic thrusts that aren't exactly conducive to standing on a shaky perch in the middle of the ocean. Lucky for the Dame, he, like Gene Kelly, has a very low center of gravity and is able to redeem himself.
Finally, we arrive at the final tippy top perch where the gravity of plunging estrogen is simply much too much for both Freebush (Sherri) and Calgon. Splish, splash... both ladies tumble into the water leaving Dame Reynold, Mowgli (Brenda) and Mascaroni still alive. But what's this? It's Freebush and she's swimming in front of Dame Reynold's perch with wild abandon. She pauses in front of him like a spastic mermaid lurching her bosoms back and forth in hopes of toppling our dandy. Fortunately for the Dame, Freebush cheats about as well as she competes and he is able to recover and regain his composure.
But like Cats, all good shows must come to a close. All wigs must be returned to the prop master and all theatre lights must dim for the Dame was only able to hold on for so long. But what do you expect from a guy who starred in the second longest running show on Broadway? Eventually he'll lose his oomph and motivation. It happens to the best of us. 8 shows a week wearing a tail and whiskers makes one rickety and nervous, not agile and graceful. And so, with a most balletic splash (his toes were pointed!), Dame Reynold is out of the Challenge.
This leaves us with Mascaroni and Mowgli. Two Survivors unwilling to make a deal with one another. Two Survivors happy to duke it out to the very end. As it should be! Quitters in Challenges are shameful! (*ahem Theddie, Erik and Cochran*) Only, Mascaroni doesn't view Mowgli's persistance and determination as respect for the game. In fact, she sees it as a personal attack on her very being. Oh give me a break, Mascaroni. You expect Mowgli to quit for you but you won't quit for her? Such hypocrisy. The MeMeMe coursing through your veins is most unbecoming especially since after all your bitching and moaning, you won anyways. Burble. Mascaroni wins Immunity despite her penchant for bitchassness. No pictures or capital letters for you.
Back at camp, Calgon does what Calgon does best - she gushes over Mascaroni's win and then prepares the batter for a bundt cake. You'd be surprised how easily monkey droppings can mold themselves into a ring shape. The Dame, however, is preparing his eulogy. That last Challenge was a do or die situation and things are beginning to look a little grim for our Dame. Hark! Those pesky Favorites do have an alternate option though. What if they were to take this opportunity to blindside one of their own? That Jury will be stacked with a whole mess of Favorites come Judgment Day so why not use this time to take out a threat with the voters? No matter how much we can surmise or wish or hope, ye olde Dame Reynold isn't the conductor of this orchestra so he'll just have to wait patiently and hope for the best.
As it turns out, he didn't have to wait long at all. Mascaroni is still bunged up that Mowgli stayed on her perch as long as she did. To hear Mowgli tell it, she doesn't have her panties in a twist over the fact she lost, she just didn't want to lose by quitting. That's all. Mascaroni's mind, quickly turning to sludge from the MeMeMe-itis, interprets Mowgli's audacity of playing the game as a secret mission to take out Mascaroni. In Mascaroni's world, if you don't quit and give her what she wants, then you're an enemy with a Mascaroni burn book hidden under your bed.
To make matters worse for Mascaroni, she promised to share her Reward Information with Mowgli. I'm not going to pretend to understand the logic in Mascaroni's head especially since she inexplicably also decides to share her Reward Information with every other member of her alliance as well. She says it is so she doesn't appear "suspicious" and that could very well be true. Suspicious you are not, Mascaroni. A greedy clepto, you are. When the information turns out to be a clue for the Hidden Immunity Idol, the Favorites, en masse, go hunting for it. And when that shaggy poodle unearths it and then holds it up for all to see, Mascaroni snatches it out of his hand and looks very pleased with herself. Both Cochran and myself stared in disbelief, not at Mascaroni being a sticky fingers, but at Erik not shoving it down his pants and using it for himself! It's like the guy is in a never ending game of hot potato whenever he gets his hands on an Idol. Ouch! Hot, hot, hot! Here, take this!
Feeling the power of I don't know what in her hands, Mascaroni fondles the Idol and wonders to herself if perhaps now is the perfect time for a blindside. Between blindsiding someone else or getting blindsided herself, she'd much rather it happen to someone else. And that someone else is Mowgli. She workshops the blindside scenario to both Cochran and Freebush as they all loll about lazily in the water. Freebush nods and tips over while Cochran is annoyed that people are already thinking about their individual games at this point. He would rather the alliance of 6 keep moving forward together as a single unit which makes me wonder... what final 3 alliance has he already made? I think it's obvious he has something going on with Calgon, but could his other secret alliance be with Freebush? If you think about it, back during that amazing Tribal Council when Golden Boy whipped Idol after Idol out of his pockets, why didn't the Favorites dump Freebush? Why was it such a frantic drama trying to figure out who to get rid of? Freebush brings them nothing of value, she's crap at competitions and she's not even a Favorite! Something is going on, something we're not seeing. There is a strategic subplot that has nothing to do with Dame Reynold being a threat. Or maybe I'm just so bored with this show right now that I'm making crap up to numb the pain I'm feeling from having to write this drivel.
And this brings us to Tribal Council. *dims the lights and puts on some smooth jazz* Dimples asks someone something about something, but I wasn't paying attention. My notes simply say, "HAIR DOWN." In the background, voices are doing that Charlie Brown teacher thing where all you can hear is "wah wah wah wah wah" while in the foreground a bowm chicka wow wow thumps with a merengue backbeat.
I think I heard Theddie mutter something about trading in his pride for donutsth, but at home I was doing the Kim Basinger stripper dance from 9 1/2 Weeks which got me this reaction from Golden Boy. Look, even Phillip is happy about it. And Gay (Michael), well he's gay so of course he has to put his head down and wait for the song to end.
As Tribal Council continues Dame Reynold offers up his services as an instrument for anyone who wants to use him. Calgon thinks about it for a second, but then turns her attention back over to the bleachers. She may be an older gal fighting off the menopause, but she's not dead yet. She knows a succulent piece of man meat when she sees it.
Alright, let's get to the votes. As if one week of stabbing me in the heart wasn't enough, these jackasses go ahead and do it again. It is with great sadness that we bid adieu to one of the most favorite characters I've birthed from my own loins. Dame Reynold, you are the 13th person voted out of Survivor Caramoan. The show may have come to a close, but you received rave reviews. Now blow us all a kiss and take your final curtsy.
Back at Edamame the starry skies once again have no choice, but to go on. Once again they have to listen to Mascaroni and Calgon yap yap yap about how great they're feeling right now and how close knit this tiny little group of chumps is becoming. At home I watch it all with indifference. Who am I kidding? I don't care anymore. I don't. All of my interesting characters are gone and with them, my inspiration. So when Mascaroni stands there talking about blindsiding either Mowgli or Calgon I fight off a yawn and pry my eyes open with some clamps.
Cochran, however, sits up wide awake hearing the name Calgon escape Mascaroni's lips. As we've always suspected, Calgon and Cochran are tight allies and most likely in a final two deal. Just the fact that Mascaroni is even considering her sends Cochran into damage control. With Mascaroni off somewhere polishing her Hidden Immunity Idol, Cochran scurries to Calgon and Mowgli and tells them that Mascaroni mentioned voting the both of them out. Calgon and Mowgli take one look at each other and, without a word being spoken, they know what they have to do - get rid of Mascaroni.
And this brings us to the next Immunity Challenge. Come on in guys! For today's challenge, you will push a buoy through a series of obstacles to a post holding a key. Once you have the key, you'll unlock the chest filled with ladder pieces. The first person to build their ladder and raise their flag wins Immunity. Survivors ready, go!
The Challenge begins with Erik and Mowgli off to a quick start. Freebush tries to push her buoy from one obstacle to the next, but somehow her foot got tangled in the ropes and there she stays for the rest of the Challenge whimpering for someone to come untie her.
Erik and Mowgli maintain their lead throughout the Challenge with Mascaroni joining them as they unlock their chests. After some complications finding his first step of the ladder, Erik begins to make headway pulling ahead of both girls. No matter how quickly Mowgli begins to piece her steps, it is too late to catch up with Erik and ERIK WINS IMMUNITY!!!
Back at Edamame, Calgon once again lavishes the Immunity winner with compliments before retreating to the kitchen where she checks on her jello mold with chunks of clam inside. Mascaroni, on the other hand, has other things on her mind more important than her stomach. She yanks Calgon out of the kitchen by her apron strings and grabs Cochran by the scruff of his hair. Once she has them all to herself, she makes her case for getting rid of Mowgli tonight. A) She hasn't pissed anyone off. B) She's a fierce competitor. C) She didn't quit when Mascaroni wanted her to. Plus, Theddie will be so grateful that he's staying in the game that he'll vote however Mascaroni wants him to vote. And with a wipe of her palms and a smug satisfaction, Mascaroni is confident that tonight will play out exactly like she planned.
Speaking of Theddie, he's just happy people are talking to him. It's been 900 days of being on the outside and not knowing what the hell is going on so it's sthuper excthiting for him when Mascaroni tells him they'll be voting out Mowgli tonight.
Where Mascaroni screws up is when she asks Cochran what he thinks would happen if Theddie made it to the final 3. Strangely, Cochran thinks Theddie would win. I disagree most ardently, but that's not what is important here. What is important is that all of the pieces are finally coming together in regards to Mascaroni. The fact that she even mentioned taking Theddie to the finals means that it is something she has thought about. It also means that she's probably not planning on taking Cochran with her. Mascaroni's best case scenario would be taking someone like Freebush with her. If you'll remember way back in the beginning, Mascaroni's end game has always been stacking the Jury with as many people that will vote for her as possible. Well, sitting between 2 Fans at the end sounds like a sure way to stack that Jury with fellow Favorites.
Cochran quickly tells the other Favorites how Mascaroni wants to take Theddie to the finals. As a group, they agree that she needs to go now. The only hiccup in the plan is the fact that Mascaroni has the Hidden Immunity Idol. Cochran suggests to the others that they split the votes with Theddie just in case Mascaroni decides to play the Idol.
And then there's the matter of that curious question mark, Erik. Erik, the guy who plays with an imaginary hacky sack and waits day in and day out for someone else to tell him how to vote. And then when those two opposing sides finally do tell him how to vote, he marvels in the misconception of how he's running the entire game. I don't know, I guess it's a strategy to be completely aloof and spend your days watching the wind blow. I mean, it has gotten him this far. Still, it doesn't make him interesting and it doesn't make him someone you want to see win the game. And if there's anything that I take as a personal insult, it is boring people on reality shows... and Erik is their king.
And this brings us to another Tribal Council. *puts on something groovy and spins the disco ball* One night with The Fornicator and our once demure Dame has morphed into John Holmes. What in the sam hell is going on back at that Ponderosa? I'm picturing shag carpets, mustard colored walls, a slew of underage Filipino women, and Gay behind the camera shouting "That's purrrrrfect Phillip. Yes, Golden Boy just like that. Dame, stroke your mustache while you thrust." I knew that Dame would find a way to keep performing. I just didn't think it would be in a 70's-style orgy. I guess you take the parts you can get.
Since Golden Boy put his hair back up I can actually focus on what's happening here at Tribal Council. We begin with Dimples noticing that Theddie is the last standing Amigo. He wonders if maybe the Favorites plan is to keep Theddie around for a little longer. Theddie nods and then does something remarkable - he quotes Cochran, "Timing isth everything in thisth game." Who knew Theddie was even paying attention? Here I thought he was planning a panty raid over at the girl's camp after the camp counselors went to sleep. Anyhow, Theddie says that if a blindside were to happen, now would be the time. Actually, people have been saying that for the past 3 weeks so maybe Theddie isn't that profound after all. Back to your s'more's Theddie.
The conversation turns to lying and, no surprises here, but everyone assumes they've been lied to in this game at one point or another. Cochran then chooses to go into detail about the lies people have possibly told him. Specifically, lies about wanting to go to the final 3 with him. At home I began to freak out a little. I thought the point was to make Mascaroni feel completely comfortable and safe so she doesn't play her Idol. But hearing Cochran talk about final 3 lies, we get the concerned look above from Mascaroni and I begin to worry.
Alright let's get to the vote. If anyone wants to play their Hidden Immunity Idol, please don't do it now because I want your ass sent home. Mascaroni sits quietly and does nothing. At home it was my turn to sit in smug satisfaction as Mascaroni is the 14th person voted out of Survivor Caramoan. Finally! It doesn't make up for the loss of my men, but at least it's something.
So, what did you think of last night's episode? Do we all have the will power to finish out the season together? Who would you like to see win the million dollars? How much do you think Gay will charge for Ponder-HO-sa? Comment it out bitches and have a great day!
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