Thursday, March 14, 2013

The Arthur Of My Elimination

Gandhi once said, "A small body of determined spirits fired by an unquenchable faith in their mission can alter the course of history." He also said, "No one can feed me without my permission. I FEED ME!" But that's neither here nor there. Across the fabric of time, a handful of people have emerged from the ordinary in order to beat the odds and deliver us something extraordinary. Some call them prophets or saints. Others call them soothsayers or shamans. I like to call them short and stocky deliverers of truth. Brave souls conquering Herculean tasks in order to put us on the right path and guide us through this labyrinth we call life. Divine beings with headsets plugged directly into deity. You may see them barefoot standing on a milk crate in a back alley shouting out a mishmash of Ace Of Base lyrics and nursery rhymes. Or you might stumble across one on your favorite reality show right after he urinated into a United Nations sack of cornmeal and pounded a litre of Windex. Where or how they choose to verbalize their message is of no consequence. The question is: Will you listen to it? Will you inhale their tangy aromas and act accordingly? A message isn't a message unless someone spreads it - much like cholera. Similarly, a cult can't function without at least 6 sister wives (and a ritual killing). Standing here skyclad under a starry night, I give myself over to this man who speaks in broken English and flexes misspelled tattoos. LIL HATZ in a childish scrawl means something to me. It means that there is hope, that the lines can be crossed and blurred and wiped away. It also means that we need to quickly decide what to do with this large man in the feather headdress that is strapped to the altar. Blood always spills during the noblest of missions. And today, my friends, we're about to change the world. Let's recap, shall we?

With the night damp and thick with humidity, we open today's neverending Filipino tale at Goiter (Gota). The weary ruffians have shuffled back to their bamboo cage and now they sit around the campfire tossing platitudes like pinecones into a hearth. "No hard feelings to Whippet (Laura)" lands with a plop and a sizzle while "This is our turning point" slowly catches aflame and burns steadily unto itself. "We have to win challenges," cries Duck Dynasty (Matt) as an ornery pinecone tumbles away from the hearth and sets Freebush (Sherri) on fire. And then, with the cones turned to ash and the dank stillness of the air weighing heavy on everyone's thoughts, there is a brief silence. And by "brief", I mean 0.25 seconds because here comes Dame Reynold and I think he's performing Ophelia tonight...

And I, of ladies most deject and wretched, 
That sucked the honey of his music vows, 
Now see that noble and most sovereign reason,
Like sweet bells jangled, it was totally time I dumped that Idol y'all,
It was way too divisive. 
And then he climbed up into a tree with the wily agility of a spider monkey. Gazing out upon the night sky, the branch he was standing on cracked almost instantly and down Dame Reynold and his petticoats tumbled into a babbling brook. Don't worry. He's not hurt. His Ophelia always does somersaults.

Michael, always a fan of the dramatic arts, applauds Dame Reynold's brave interpretation of a Shakespearean classic and whispers to no one in particular, "That was so clutch. He's really clutch. What a clutch guy!" At first I thought being "clutch" was a good thing, like maybe something to strive for and put on your dream board. But as Michael goes on, we discover that clutch is both good and bad. From what I can gather, being called "clutch" is a compliment. Only, don't be too clutch because if you're too clutch you become a threatening clutch and no one likes a threatening clutch. Or something like that. Basically, Michael is happy Dame Reynold no longer has the Hidden Immunity Idol. It takes his clutchiness down a few notches.

Over at Baklava (Bikal) the scene isn't all that different from what we just witnessed with the Goiters. Our leading man, Lil Hantz, is giving his own soliloquy and, like Ophelia, he too is distraught and heartbroken. With the moon as his key light and the thunder as his soundtrack, Lil Hantz slowly unfurls shiny pearls of truth. He begins by telling his tribe that those who walk this world with passion in their hearts are the most real people he has ever come across. Passionate people are emotional people and emotional people are often unpredictable people. Sometimes they say things out of the night sky that will leave you scratching your forehead wondering what dimension you're in. But if you look past the flailing hands, the Lee-zee-anna drawl and the fact that Lil Hantz has an entire arm of disembodied mustache tattoos, you just might discover some kernels of wisdom hidden deep down on the hairy underside of his campfire confession.

And so, like men at crossroads before him, Lil Hantz is unable to reconcile how incredibly selfish it is to play a game with a clown in pink panties doing the crab crawl around the shelter when he, Lil Hantz, could be at home with his family. It is an inner struggle we've seen before in Lil Hantz only this time it is not about boobies. This time he looks around at the utter ridiculousness of the company he has been keeping and asks himself, "Is it worth it to leave my babies for this?" I could almost call it his Andy Millman (Extras) moment. Remember Andy sitting in the Celebrity Big Brother house looking around himself, at the bimbos in their bikinis, at the aging entertainers seeking fame at any cost, at the fictional world he was placed in that slowly becomes more and more nonfictional with each passing second? I submit to the Jury (all you Bitches) that Lil Hantz is having his own moment. His eyes have finally opened to the Victorian Freakshow he finds himself embedded in and the realization of it all is slowly beginning to tear him up inside.

However, unlike Andy, Lil Hantz's cosmic realizations affect him just a tad more dramatically than they would, oh let's say, you and me. He is a Hantz after all. Sure, I think he had a profound moment and it is normal at his age to discover what is truly important in life, but I'm also not completely blind to the fact that he grew up at the edge of a swamp on a diet of gator skin and squirrel meat. So when Lil Hantz wants to get up and leave a scene that is making him uncomfortable, he doesn't simply walk out the back door. He threatens to pee in the beans and rice and set his tribe's shelter on fire. It's not because he wants them to suffer or fail, it's because he wants them to experience the same anxiety he is experiencing. It's not enough for Lil Hantz to learn life lessons on his own. He has to force them on anyone and everyone around him who will listen. He has to cram it down their throats and dribble it into their beans.

Thankfully, for Baklava, Lil Hantz decides not to defecate in the food supply. Instead, he tells his tribe that the next time they go to Tribal Council, he will calmly and casually volunteer to go home. This is all fine and inconvenient and whatnot and, normally, it could be something for the tribe to absorb and get past. But. But! Lil Hantz, doing that honesty diarrhea thing of the mouth he does so well, also tells his tribe that they could have woken up eating Arroz con PeePee with a side of Refried Urine Beans. Naturally, the tribe, particularly Corinne, is horrified. She wants Lil Hantz and his pee-rific Mexican menu off the island as soon as possible.

As night turns to day and darkness gives way to light, so does Lil Hantz. Today, with the breeze gently blowing and the sun peeking through the clouds, Lil Hantz has decided that even though he's here for selfish reasons and those reasons eat away at him like a flesh eating bacteria, he will stay and play as hard as he can. In fact, he no longer wants to quit now. So if all y'all can forget that stuff about the marinated beans and yellow rice, Lil Hantz promises not to burn your bed while your sleep. He's thought long and hard about it and even though greed has the camp wrapped like a mosquito net, he'll go out there and give 110%. I mean, it is a Reward Challenge after all. And who doesn't love a Reward?!

And this brings us to the big Reward Challenge. Come on in guys! For today's challenge, two members of each tribe will hold onto a rope attached to a net. The remaining members of the tribes will then shoot coconuts into the nets making them heavier and heavier. The last tribe member left holding onto the net wins Reward for their tribe. Wanna know what you're playing for? An incredibly ridiculous barbecue that none of you deserve yet because it's way too early in the game for you to win such extravagant meals.

Since the Favorites have 85 people too many, Mascaroni (Andrea), Calgon (Dawn) and Erik will sit out. We have Phillip and Lil Hantz holding the nets for Baklava and Michael and Duck Dynasty holding the nets for Goiter. Survivors ready, go!

The shooting starts with Dame Reynold quickly scoring for the Goiters. Mowgli (Brenda) shoots and scores for the Baklavas while Freebush trips over her reindeer legs and spills a handful of coconuts over the side of a cliff. While she tumbles down after them, Golden Boy (Malcolm) begins shooting his coconuts underhanded from between his legs (rawr) which the others quickly copy. And then, as if a silent agreement was made from one Goiter's eyes to another, the Goiters band together (sans Freebush who is now stuck in a tree hanging precariously over raging waters) to target Lil Hantz's net.

"Kunta Kinte!"
"Excuse me Phillip, do you have something to say?"
"Come again?"
"Miss Jane Pittman!"
"Are you just yelling the names of movie slaves?"
"Two can play this game. Prissy!"
"Amistad was the boat you twit."
"Ya mon. No woman, no cry."
"Oh shut up!"

Meanwhile, Dame Reynold continues to lob coconut after coconut into Lil Hantz's net. Lovely soft air balls that land with a weighty kerplunk and rip the young lad's hands to shreds. Try as hard as he might, Lil Hantz begins to lose his grip on the coarse hemp. It tears through his skin and releases the giant of coconuts which lands at the precise moment that Freebush has crawled her way back into the game area. All we see now are tufts of blonde air and tanned ankles poking out from under the pile o'nuts. Brandon is out and Freebush is probably dead.

With Lil Hantz out and only Phillip left to redeem the Favorites, Golden Boy tosses all his nuts into Duck Dynasty's net sending him out of the competition with a glorious "Quack!" And that leaves us with Phillip versus Michael. With Michael holding his rope like it's a piece of fancy alpaca yarn he's about to turn into a cable knit sweater, his net drops, Phillip shouts, "Mr. Tibbs!" and FAVORITES WIN REWARD!!!

Back at Goiter, Theddie (Eddie) is exthremely frusthrated. He was convinced that with Whippet out of the picture, they had no choice but to win. This was supposed to be their big turnaround not another loss! Dame Reynold then slowly rises and approaches the foot candles. "We need to try something new," he says. "We need to try something new," Michael echoes. "This isn't working," Dame Reynold says. "This isn't working," Michael nods. Meanwhile, Freebush sits alone in the Mezzanine grumbling to herself about how getting rid of Whippet didn't help them out in the challenges after all. She sticks a Playbill in her mouth in an effort to keep her mouth shut instead of screaming over the balcony that the plan to keep the muscle isn't working. Um, pork chop, the tribe still has you! YOU were the one Dimples called worthless in the challenge. YOU are just as bad as Whippet. So please, keep that Playbill in your mouth a little longer until it dawns on you just how physically unfit you truly are.

With another loss behind them and nothing else to do, the Goiters begin to rise one by one and steal themselves away from the camp. First, Freebush tumbles down the theatre stairs and out into the foyer. Next, Dame Reynold gathers his fan, his sword, his petticoat and his parasol before sneaking out into the woods. Right behind him, Michael holds his breath and tiptoes in Reynold's footprints which are easy to spot because he likes to wear a distinctive "Louis" heel when he's performing. Even Theddie and Duck have set out on their own journeys. All have the same goal and none are bothering to keep it a secret - it's Idol Hunting Time. Since Dame Reynold played his last week, another one must be out there somewhere.

Speaking of Dame Reynold, here he comes. I can hear his skirts swishing. "Quick, Producer fellow, place that pouch right there at the base of the tree. No, don't even bother to hide it. Just set it down. Ok, now get out of frame. Here he comes!" With his petticoats grazing over pebbles and leaves, Dame Reynold glances down while looking through his opera glasses. With one toe daintily peeking out from underneath his skirts, he curtsies to the side, picks up the velveteen pouch, opens it revealing an Idol and declares to the monkeys and tapiers at the back of the house, "This... *pause for dramatic effect* is how you play Survivor." And then he fist pumped and rubbed it against his butt.

Over at Baklava, there's a feast a-cookin'! Our very own Lil Hantz is flipping steaks and grilling some veggies. But what should be a happy moment isn't all that festive. Lil Hantz is sullen and quiet as he pokes a pork chop on the grill. When the group finally settles in to enjoy their bounty, Calgon and Erik are quick to compliment the young lad on how well he did in the competition. They did it for two reasons: 1) They could clearly sense that Lil Hantz was melancholy and 2) Brandon may have dropped his net, but he fought through the pain and handled a hell of a lot of coconuts while he was out there. So we can look at Calgon and Erik with big smiles and nod at them. They were simply doing their part to help lift Brandon's spirits. But then, we hear it... from across the picnic table...

"When I was playing basketball for the 4H club and intramural water polo for SD-6, I learned how to hold a net of coconuts the right way. It's all about upper body strength."

And just like that, Lil Hantz is awakened from his melancholy slumber. Just like that, with Phillip Sheppard *clicks heels* taking ownership of the tribe's win for himself, that little fiber in the prefrontal cortex of Lil Hantz's brain snaps and the embers in his belly begin to burn. And then when Corinne asks if they should reassemble their wet shelter and Phillip replies that he needs to save his energy in order to win the next challenge, a whoosh! goes off in Lil Hantz's upper respiratory area as his soul ignites and his entire face begins to turn a lovely Chanel Red. He can't take it anymore! He can't! And neither can I. I'm sick of Phillip sauntering around camp with his stupid names and his stupid stories and his ridiculous weapons and imaginary comrades. I'm sick of it! I don't want to watch The Phillip Sheppard Show anymore. If I was a Nielsen family, I'd give The Phillip Sheppard Show a negative eleventeen in my ratings book. So when little poots of smoke start to eek out of Lil Hantz's ears and the whites of his eyes begin to turn yellow, I get it. I GET IT! I so get it. I get it and I can now kick back with a glass of Chablis thrilled that someone else is about to do what I've wanted to do since day one. It is extremely satisfying that someone finally has the cajones to call that ridiculous Phillip Sheppard out on his parlor games.

And that is what this is all about. This isn't about CBS casting someone unfit for the show. This isn't about a network being irresponsible for letting an unstable kid be broadcast to millions of people. This is about someone finally being brave enough to speak up for what you and I have been thinking about Phillip Sheppard ever since we met him back in Nicaragua. He is a ridiculous clown who lives in a land of make believe. If anyone is being exploited here, it's Phillip Sheppard - not Brandon.

So imagine my surprise when The Dominatrix and The Fornicator stand on the sidelines as Brandon confronts Phillip and shake their heads - tsk tsk - at how Brandon has finally gone off the deep end. Yo, Corinne, Lil Hantz was defending you! Phillip gave you some cockamamie excuse about how he has to prepare for battle and can't fix the shelter now and since you're too much of a pussy not to question him about it, Brandon did it for you. You should say, "Thank you" not run to a camera and call him crazy. And you, Golden Boy, you make fun of Phillip all the time! You snicker behind his back and talk about how ridiculous Stealth R Us is every time someone gets a new nickname.

Meanwhile, in the next shot, this is what we get: "I'm not going to have some young punk tell me to shut up! He just doesn't know. I'm a street fighter." *sighs* No, Phillip, you are not a street fighter. You are not Chief Indian. You are not Girl Scout of the Year. You are not a member of the Jets from West Side Story. You did not kill Abu Nazir. Sydney Bristow is not your partner and you do not report to the President. Joe Carroll is not telling you what moves to make and you are not a member of Originals. How do I know you're not a member of the Originals? I know you're not a member of the Originals because the Originals is a fictitious group of vampires from a CW show. What you are is a pathological liar who keeps getting cast on a TV show purely for us to laugh at. Only, you're not that funny. You're kind of old and sad and you make us all wonder why you're not being medicated.

Oh, I'm not done ranting...

Hasn't someone ever chewed their food too loudly or snapped their gum like a cow to the point that it makes you want to yank your hair out of your head? Has someone slurped their Dorito fingers so loudly that you finally snapped and told them to cut it out? Personally, I do it all the time. I'll tell strangers in movie theaters to stick a cork in it when they're open mouth munching on their popcorn. I glare at a passenger in the seat next to me on an airplane because I know she just farted. I know it. I heard it and I know it so now I'll glare at her and let her know that I know it and hope she doesn't do it again. You see, I'm out here trying to make the world a better place and I think my buddy, Lil Hantz, is doing the exact same thing.

Only Lil Hantz has those pesky moral dilemmas that I don't that make him ferocious one minute and like a pussycat the next minute. So after sticking up for an ungrateful Corinne, Lil Hantz goes to talk to Phillip to try to straighten things out. Only Phillip is still off in Never Never Land. He tells Lil Hantz that he was working his way up the corporate ladder and about to be invited to the next board meeting, but he slapped the gift horse and now it's back to the mail room for Lil Hantz. If I had a conversation like this with a giant douchebag like Phillip Sheppard, I don't know how I'd keep a straight face. I really don't. Could you do it? Lil Hantz, to his credit, keeps it together much better than I ever could. He knows that smacking a gift horse is the same thing as biting the hand that feeds which, oy, means that Phillip has just anointed himself as the hand that feeds.
And since you and I are getting to know Lil Hantz extremely well this episode, we know that this infuriates the young lad. Who the hell is Phillip to call all the shots? Why can't Brandon call his own shots? Why, indeed.

All this turmoil, this angst, once it is let out into the ether, it spreads and infects. This current rift has reached the heavens and caused the sky to open up and cry in response. It's raining, bitches! It's raining at Goiter and it's raining at Baklava. The Survivors are wet and bloated lying in the open air wishing for grim death. But at Baklava, one Survivor in particular isn't letting a rain sour his puss. It's Lil Hantz! In fact, he's rolling up his sleeves and trying to lighten the mood with a nice cozy fire for his tribe mates. But once that fire is lit and those flames go shooting up and reflect into his glassy eyes, they keep shooting and keep reflecting... all the way down into Lil Hantz's soul. That wasn't just a fire he made. That was a mission statement. A manifesto. A new tattoo. Lil Hantz doesn't bite Phillip's hand that feeds. He feeds himself, "I'm a Hantz! I FEED ME!"

I'm a Lala. I feed me too! *pours a tumbler of gin*

But before Lil Hantz or myself could feed anyone anywhere, Cochran reads a Tree Mail for the next Immunity Challenge. Phillip listens carefully and then decides that instead of winning this next challenge like he said he would, instead of "leading" his tribe to victory, he wants to throw the competition and get rid of that firestarter Lil Hantz because, and I quote, "He's not sane." Phillip Sheppard, street fighter and CEO of a fictitious corporation, has just called someone else insane. Oh, this is just the tip of the iceberg, my friends. He then tells Mascaroni that they should throw the challenge to get rid of Lil Hantz and, wait for it, she agrees! Up until this point, Lil Hantz hasn't done anything but defend Corinne, question Phillip, and light a fire. Who is the paranoid one here? Inspector Gadget, that's who.

Now, Lil Hantz may have a straw hat for a family crest (HATZ) and may not know how to properly say every single vocabulary word out there, but his instincts aren't so bad. Something in the awkward air at camp tells him that Phillip is planning to throw the challenge. Not only does it strike Lil Hantz as ungrateful (since he apologized and takes care of the fire around the clock), but he's beginning to boil. All the juices and embers in his gut are starting to swirl together and if he doesn't do something physical, he could spontaneously combust. But first, he'll confront Phillip in a civilized manner and ask what's going on.

Standing in the rain with nothing to hide, Lil Hantz tells Phillip that he thought they squashed their disagreement. He thought everything between them was OK now. Phillip looks at him quizzically and asks,
"So what are you supposing? You are making a supposition which means you are supposing." 
"I was talking to Mascaroni and she told me you wanted me out."
"I'm not sure I can trust you. Your activities have been pretty active. You've been sharing information with other people."
"When I pulled you into Stealth R Us..."
"Can you drop the Stealth R Us? It's like playing with a child."
*whips right breast out and dunks into a bowl of red glitter*
"It's true. It's true."
"Nobody is the Exfoliator or the Exterior or the Exterminator. It's really bullshit."
*whips out left breast and dunks into bowl*
"Actually, it's really fun for us."
"It's not! Nobody likes it! Nobody likes their name! Everyone, actually, doesn't like you!"
*dunks head in bowl and blows*

*stands as red glitter rains onto the carpet and applauds*
Lil Hantz, thank you. Bless you. Thank you for telling that twit how ridiculous he is. Look, watch, I'm gonna dunk my ass just for you. *dunks ass* See? Pretty.

I'm going to go out on a limb and say that in that above conversation is when Lil Hantz finally became a man. When he told Phillip how childish and completely rah-tarded his laughably phony office games are, his balls dropped. I felt it. There was a distinct *thwump thwump* that jostled North America last night.

And then... and then... they kind of crawled back up a little bit because Lil Hantz promptly dumped out both the rice and the beans. *sigh* It was funny and dramatic though. I'll give him that. That's our Brandon! *jaunty music plays before mashing into the Cape Fear theme*

Immediately, Calgon scurries over to the spilled rice with a Mr. Clean Magic Eraser and some good old fashioned elbow grease. She shows Erik how to scrub each grain ever so gently before instructing Corinne and Mowgli on how to use Soft Scrub on beans. She has a casserole planned for tonight and some little boys fighting is not going to stop her!

And this brings us to the big Immunity Challenge. Come on in guys!

Dimples takes one look at Lil Hantz shuffling back and forth and knows something is amiss.
"Lil Hantz, how are you doing?"
"I had a little outburst this morning. Can I talk to the other tribe?"

Dame Reynold then saunters Center Stage and dramatically opens a hand painted Chinese fan, "Wh-where are you going?" *fan flutters*
Before Lil Hantz can answer him, Corinne raises her hand, "We realize this is a challenge for Immunity. We would like to forfeit the Challenge and go forward to Tribal."
*a single drop of pee runs down Dame Reynold's stockings*
"We respect the game and hope you respect our decision to go to Tribal."
"They don't respect the game! Let me help you out here, they don't respect the Fans! That's bullshit!"
Lil Hantz then turns to the Fans telling them how much he loves underdogs only to be interrupted by Dimples who calls him over to stand next to him. "OK Lil Hantz, tell us what's going on."

And then Lil Hantz goes. He goes and he goes and he goes for Phillip's jugular. He tells the Fans about their cartoon names back at Baklava and how degrading it is to be treated like paper dolls. He doesn't stop there though. Oh no! Here is where he really delivers the goods, "Stop talking 'bout yourself! Boston Rob took you to the end of the game!" *bites fist and giggles* "You ain't gonna tell me you running the game! I took MYSELF out of the game!" And there you have it. Lil Hantz wants to be the arthur of his own elimination. There is no way in hell he is going to let some guy who talks to feathers be the architect of his demise. And you know what? I don't think it's all that crazy. There is only so much you can take from someone where you just finally put your foot down and reclaim you. So, while everyone out there is saying that Brandon is the crazy one, I respectfully disagree. I am awarding my point to Phillip. Phillip Sheppard wins the crazy contest hands down.

Oh, but we're not done! Lil Hantz then lays it all out for us. He tells us that he had a difficult time after he first played Survivor. It changed his life and it changed who he was as a person. Watching himself onscreen, he didn't like what he saw - none of us did! This time around, he made the conscious effort to not let anyone walk all over him episode after episode. The problem is that not only did Phillip start to walk all over him, but the rest of his phony corporation was too afraid to stand up for themselves in the process. Sure, Lil Hantz could have tried harder, but, somehow, Phillip has all those dimwits snowed. They're listening to him, doing his bidding and even playing along with his cockamamie games. To a person like Brandon who can't keep his feelings bottled up, it was like living in a pressure cooker.

In the end, after a deep tissue massage from Dimples and more tears from Mascaroni, the Favorites, in a live Tribal Council vote, unanimously make Brandon the 6th person voted out of Survivor Caramoan. It is especially unfortunate it went down like that because it looks like the tribes will be shuffled next week. But hey, Lil Hantz, I don't think you're nuts. I think Phillip is the real tribe psycho and you probably dealt with him much better than I ever could. Good luck to you and thank you for not being a Jesus freak this time around.

So, what did you guys think of last night's episode? Is Brandon as crazy as everyone says or is Phillip the true culprit? If you had to share a living space with Phillip, would you kill yourself or the rice? If the tribes get shuffled, which one gets the Mr. Clean Beans? Comment it out bitches and have a great day!