The hangover effect. I don’t know about you, but that’s what I expected for this week’s Survivor. After all, we’ve been getting filthy drunk these past weeks on the most epic duel in Survivor history: Russell vs. Boston Rob. (Not to mention that some of us had merely been getting filthy drunk on Milwaukee’s Best.) Now that Boston Rob was gone, how could anything possibly measure up? That’s okay. We can’t always expect greatness. As long as they didn’t give us an episode with something super lame like bowling, I figured we’d be okay. DAMMIT! Bowling? Really? In an all-star season filled with all-star challenges, how the hell did freakin’ bowling make the cut? Didn’t we have to sit through this just last season? Now, don’t get me wrong. I love the game. I stole my fair share of bowling shoes back in the day, ”Life in the Fast Lane” is one of my favorite Simpsons episodes, and while I may not bow down and worship at the altar of The Big Lebowski, I certainly respect the wisdom of The Dude.
But again, one of the best challenges ever? Watching contestant after contestant tossing gutter balls? Kind of appropriate considering the entire challenge missed the mark as well. I start with this anti-bowling screed because what shocked me most about this episode was how the bowling boredom was pretty much the only dull moment of the entire entry. Don’t get me wrong: I’m not insinuating this episode matched the strategic highs of the Russell vs. Rob feud, but this season has been way overdue for a dull installment. Yet it refuses to come. Every time you think one is on the way, Russell starts flashing his toothless grin, Coach starts clenching his fists and pointing to the sky, or Courtney comes out of editing exile and starts mocking ”Jeffrey” Probst at Tribal Council. And if all I can find to complain about is the fact that contestants are tossing balls instead of themselves through a challenge, then all is right in the Survivor universe.
Let’s take it from the top. Episode 8 started the same way episode 7 started. And episode 6. And every episode this season. With Russell giving himself props for being awesome. Every time I listen to Russell promoting Russell I think back to my teenage years and listening to the Beastie Boys’ License to Ill in the car with my mother. My mom made a pretty astute comment back then, saying, ”If they have to keep repeating their names all the time to remind people who they are, they must not be very popular. ” She was wrong, of course. The Beastie Boys were extremely popular (even if ”Girls” does hold up as perhaps the worst rap song of all time — seriously, go back and listen to it). But the point about their constant need to reaffirm who they were and their dominance in the fields of rhymin’ and/or stealin’ was pretty interesting.
One person considerably less than impressed with Russell, however, was Coach. Right after the vote, Coach decided Russell was a bully. Coach decided the tribe wouldn’t win another challenge and was ”toast.” Lost in all of this, of course, was the fact that Russell is not the one who flipped on Rob. Coach did. And don’t blame the bully, but rather the person who allows himself to be bullied. Try that one alongside your Sun Tzu and Nietzsche quotes sometime, Mr. Wade.
NEXT: Where have those hands been. J.T.?