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Survivor recap: Holding on for Dear Life

Rodney throws a birthday pity party.

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TV Show
Reality TV
run date:
Jeff Probst
Current Status:
In Season

“The greatest snowstorm in more than half [a] century left the Washington area smothered under at most two feet of snow yesterday—a magnificent white menace that virtually imprisoned the city and sent road crews battling to reopen streets for this morning’s commuters.” —Washington Post, page A1, Feb. 20, 1979

I remember this snowstorm all too well, because it hit on my birthday of Feb. 19. I was a little kid, so birthdays were a big deal then. Anyway, I had a party planned for the day but because of the “magnificent white menace”—which sounds more like a description of Gheorghe Muresan than anything else—the only kids who could make it were Jeremy Zucker and Campbell Waldrop, because they lived close enough to walk/trudge. Allow me to say: no offense to Zucker and Waldrop, but that party sucked.

It also didn’t help matters that the reel-to-reel film my dad had rented (which is what you had to do back in those days before the advent of VHS, then DVDs, then Netflix) was The Wackiest Ship in the Army. I’m pretty sure he selected that film because it was the cheapest one they had and it contained the word “wackiest” in the title…which he must have figured would be the right maturity level for kids who still wet their pants on occasion. The movie was terrible. Everything about the entire day was terrible. It was as if my entire birthday was smothered in a thick layer of weak sauce. But here’s the thing: I still complained less about it than Rodney did here. And Rodney is a grown man. Allegedly.

Have you ever heard more bitching and moaning about birthday treatment in your entire life? I hope I am not going to offend any of you out there, but I honestly don’t get people that make a big deal about their birthday. And then there are folks like my wife. She insists I acknowledge her half-birthday every year. Did you hear that? HALF-BIRTHDAY! Is she insane?!? Well, no. Her choice in a spouse notwithstanding, she’s actually a much more intelligent person than I could ever hope to be, yet she seriously thinks that celebrating her birthday is not enough and that I have to mark the halfway point between birthdays as well. (Either that or she brings it up just to mess with me, which is entirely possible. Like I said, she’s smarter than I am.)

Look, unlike Tyler, I’m not a robot. (Sometimes I wish I were and could shoot floppy discs out of my mouth and have a voice like a 1980s Speak & Spell, but that is another matter altogether.) I get the appeal of a birthday. Even though it signifies we are one year closer to death, which is mildly depressing, it offers another excuse to force people to pay more attention to you than you have to pay toward them. I’m not completely immune to this. Sure, an acknowledgement is nice and if a coworker wants to buy me a cupcake I’m not going to complain, but I also would never in a million years insist people give me special treatment just because the day on the calendar happens to match the one on which I was born.  

Evidently Rodney feels differently. I get that he hasn’t been on a single reward. I get that people told him they’d give him their reward spot and then didn’t. I get that he hasn’t been able to lift weights in a month, which for Rodney could be considered a form of cruel and unusual punishment. Still…chill out, man. Getting this angry about the fact that someone who earned a reward did not volunteer to give it up just shows you are a dude who likes to get angry. You should hold yourself to a higher standard—you know, like women. (Sound familiar?)

I kind of feel like Rodney’s birthday accounted for approximately 98 percent of tonight’s episode, but let’s go through it nonetheless to see what’s what, and also talk about the big announcement about next season of Survivor. (You can also get some exclusive intel from Jeff Probst’s about that right here as well as hear from the 32 contestants vying for 20 slots in that “Second Chance’ season.)

The episode begins with the gang returning from Tribal Council after Mike threatened to give Shirin his idol. Dan is furiously trying to figure out the two people who voted for him. “Let’s not do this,” implores Will. “Stay focused.” Of course Will does not want to do this. BECAUSE WILL VOTED FOR DAN! Will is like the guy who got caught eating a chocolate cake and to avoid incrimination tells everyone those crumbs on his face are not cake at all but rather he was simply pooping out of his mouth. I have no idea what that means. It doesn’t even make sense. And it was super-gross, too. What is wrong with me tonight? (Perhaps I am just out of sorts over Sally Schumann being left off the list for next season. #KneeSocks4Eva)

NEXT: Rodney loses…again