Dammit. How can one man be so terrible? It’s embarrassing, really. And to perform this poorly right in the public eye! Actually, embarrassing doesn’t cover it. It’s more like, I don’t know… humiliation. Abject and utter humiliation. I am speaking, of course, about the fact that for the 17th season in a row, my episode 1 pick to win it all has flamed out in spectacular fashion.
It wasn’t always this way. There was a time where I actually picked three straight winners (Yul, Earl, Todd) in a row. And then my next pick, Cirie, would have won the following season after that had Survivor: Micronesia gone with its now traditional final 3 instead of downsizing to a final 2 due to too many injuries. (How’s that for irony? Me, of all people, actually complaining about a final two.) But the numbers don’t lie: It’s been a pretty pathetic display since Survivor: China. And that piss-poor track record continued with Anna’s elimination this week in Survivor: Kaoh Rong.
Let’s take a look at just how bad I’ve been picking winners over the past 8+ years:
Picked 1 Fan & 1 Fave: Cirie Fields (3rd place — So close!) and Alexis (6th place)
Pick: Charlie Hershel (9th place)
Pick: Brendan Synnott (9th place)
Pick: Betsy Bolan (18th place — OUCH!)
Survivor: Heroes vs. Villains
Pick: Honestly, I can’t remember whom I picked, but he/she didn’t win
Pick: I picked either Sash (3rd place) or Brenda (10th place). Again, I can’t recall. Mostly because I’ve tried to forget this season ever existed.
Survivor: Redemption Island
Pick: Ashley Underwood (4th place)
Survivor: South Pacific
Pick: Elyse Umemoto (15th place — Yeesh!)
Survivor: One World
Pick: Chelsea Meissner (3rd place — Ack! Another finals loser!)
Pick: Mike Skupin (2nd place tie — Dammit! Yet another finals loser!)
Picked 1 Fan & 1 Fave: Dawn Meehan (2nd place tie — Are you kidding me?!? Three straight finalist losers?!?) and Michael Snow (11th place)
Survivor: Blood vs. Water
Pick: Aras Baskauskas (11th place)
Pick: Spencer Bledsoe (4th place)
Survivor: San Juan del Sur
Pick: Jeremy Collins (10th place — Crap. I picked him one appearance too early)
Survivor: Worlds Apart
Pick: Joe Anglim (10th place)
Pick: Spencer Bledsoe (2nd place tie — First time I picked the same person twice, and I paid the price with another finalist loser performance.)
Survivor: Kaoh Rong
Pick: Anna Khait (13th place)
So my exercise in futility continues on! Beware the Dalton Ross Episode 1 Pick to Win It All Curse! It is real, and it is deadly. I’d also like to offer my public apology to Anna for selecting her as this year’s honoree. I thought her poker smarts would take her far, but then Jeff Probst CLEARLY engineered a tribe swap just to make me look bad yet again. (Payback, no doubt, for some of the things I have written in this recap space over the years.) Anyhoo, my bad on that, Anna.
Okay, let’s get to all the events that preceded Anna’s untimely departure. We begin with another medical situation! This time it is Joe’s finger, which appears to be on the verge of infection. But Joe’s pain could be Peter’s gain as the surgeon realizes that it is “strategically crucial that I start pandering to these people.” Although that pandering has left Peter feeling “like a neutered dog right now.” By the way, Peter’s version of a neutered dog simply means that he brags about his superior smile and intelligence 31 percent less than normal.
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Of course, Peter could help himself out more by doing what Neal is doing — namely, searching for the hidden immunity idol. Neal undertakes a series of tasks that involves locating a clue, digging for an idol box, getting another clue and map, making a big stick to knock a key off a big tree, spinning on his head while reciting the entirety of Geoffrey Chaucer’s Prologue to The Canterbury Tales, unlocking the box, and, finally, retrieving the idol. And you know what that means: ICE CREAM PARTY!!!
Timing is everything, and Neal finding the idol before his next trip to visit Jeffrey Probst proves fortuitous. Because when the three tribes come together, the host utters those three famous words: drop your buffs. They are words that would no doubt cause confusion, repulsion, and even perhaps a pump or two of pepper spray to the face in normal society, but here they mean it is time for either a merge or tribe switcheroo. With 13 people left, this one could have gone either way, but it is indeed the latter as three tribes will go down to two with the obliteration of the Brawn tribe.
NEXT: Meet your new tribes!