You know who rocks? U2. Man, those guys have been rockin’ forever. You know what wouldnot rock, though. Going to see U2, only to find out they’re playing a rhythm-section only instrumental set with no Bono or the Edge. Hey, switching gears, do you know what is positively delicious? Bacon cheeseburgers. Wow, I could eat bacon cheeseburgers all day long (if it wouldn’t kill me in about 38 hours). But you know what would totally suck? A bacon cheeseburger…with no bacon! That’s just wrong! There is no U2 without Bono and there is no bacon cheeseburger without bacon! And guess what else? There is no Survivor challenge without Jeff Probst. Until now, that is.
Selected tribe members from Galu and Foa Foa showed up for a reward challenge, but instead of hearing that all too familiar “Come on in, guys!” there was no Probst to be found. So they waited. And waited. And then began fighting over chickens. Probst, it turned out, had gone all Doug Henning on us and disappeared. What gives? Where was Probsty? Maybe he was sick. Maybe he was recuperating from Ben beating the crap out of him for snuffing his torch. Maybe he couldn’t take seeing Foa Foa get their collective ass kicked yet again. Or maybe he just knew the challenge was so deathly boring — bocce, seriously? — that he decided to finally break his Cal Ripken Jr-esque ironman streak of challenge-announcing, and sit this one out.
Whatever the reason (and I’m guessing Probst is shedding some light on the subject over on his EW.com blog), it was weird. Don’t know what you got (till it’s gone), 1980s hair metal giants Cinderella once opined. And while that song is sandwiched somewhere between Poison’s “Every Rose Has Its Thorn” and White Lion’s “When the Children Cry” on the list of Awesomely Cheesy Power Ballads, its words — and incredible video featuring the singer for some reason playing a piano out in the middle of a desert — ring true after seeing a challenge run without Probst’s Al Michaelsian play-by-play to ramp up the drama. Instead of Probst letting us know where everyone stood throughout the course of the competition, we had to settle for less-than scintillating Big Brother type recapping from the contestants themselves (sample from Dave: ” At this point we are not going home with the chickens.” Thanks for that, Dave-O.). Instead of Probst raising both hands in the air at the end while exclaiming, “Galu wins!”, we had Dave and Dreadlocked Russell doing their own measurement and just sort of hovering over the winning bocce ball throw. (Wow. Intense.)
If Probst’s absence was some sort of Survivor experiment, it was a failed one. It actually reminded me of back in 1980 when NBC aired a football game between the Jets and the Dolphins with no announcers. (Anyone else care to date themselves and admit to remembering that?) If anything, all it did was serve to enforce how good Probst is at what he does. Who knows, maybe the whole thing was one big contract ploy by the host to give his bosses a peak at what they’ll be missing if they don’t resign him to a fat new contract when his current one expires after season 20. Actually, you know what the challenge should have been? Find Jeff Probst! It would have been like Where’s Waldo, only without the bitchin’ barbershop motif. It also would have been a hell of a lot more fun than bocce, that’s for sure.
NEXT: Jaison goes from hero to zero