I’ve never been to a nude beach. Nor will I ever. I mean, I honestly don’t understand the appeal. There’s always just, like, stuff hanging out everywhere. Dude stuff. Chick stuff. Just way too much stuff in general. And your choices pretty much suck: You either look at it and you come off like a perv, or you don’t look at it and you come off like a sexually repressed perv. It’s a no-win situation. Plus, let’s be honest—not all the merchandise belongs in the display window, if you catch my drift. Speaking of which, I know people don’t want to check out my stuff, so that adds a whole other layer of humiliation into the proceedings. A nude beach is my biggest nightmare.
I bring this up because everyone was getting naked this week on Survivor. Jenn and Hali had a hearing-people-only skinny dipping expedition, Max hides his face with a beard but left everything else out for show, and even Shirin went bottomless while bending over in all sorts of awkward positions while hunting for crabs, because what is more sexy than that?!?
What’s with the sudden obsession with going au natural? Is it all about shedding the last shackles of society? Is it just getting out of a dirty and possible chafing swimsuit for a bit? Or, is it a coy ploy for more airtime? I can’t help but feel that with someone like Max—who has studied this show and the contestants who have played it—it might be more about being a “character” and getting that extra camera time. Max is smart enough to know that to be a person who stands out and is invited back you have play to the cameras… even if that playing happens to be in your birthday suit. (He even admitted as much that he was doing it as a tip of the cap to players before him. And how would he know who had done it before him? Because it always made it onto television! Camera time guaranteed.)
Let’s just all thank our lucky stars that Dan did not also walk around free-ballin’ after getting hit by a wave and losing his shorts while performing the patented Survivor “aqua dump” out in the water. He also managed to lose his “Manties”: that vomit-inducing banana hammock he rocked last week. Because Dan lost his underwear, he couldn’t put his long pants on due to the fact that “I can’t raw dog in jeans”—which, by the way, is going to be the name of my next concept album—so he used his shirt as a skirt, Rupert style. Anyhoo, this got me thinking: Which is a more horrifying sight—Completely Naked Dan or Budgie Smuggler Dan? Both are approaching Medussa levels, but I actually think the Manties version could be worse. Alas, let’s bid farewell to Dan’s crotch cradle with one last look.
I’m sorry I did that to you, dear reader. I had no right. Clearly, I have overstepped my bounds. So to make it up and hopefully get back in your good graces, allow me to recap the latest episode of Survivor: Worlds Apart. We’ll skip all the Dan Manties stuff—or “Danties,” if you will—since we already touched on that. Ugh. I can’t believe I just used the words “Dan Manties” and “touched” in the same sentence. I need to go Purell my entire brain right now. But hey, if I have to suffer, you have to suffer with me. So with that in mind, here you go once again:
Again, my apologies. That was the last time—I swear! But the poor guy! To reiterate, HE CAN’T RAW DOG IN JEANS! What kind of life is that if you can’t “raw dog”? I’ll tell you what kind of life—a terrible one. So let’s fast-forward past the assorted tribe nudity and get to the really good stuff instead—namely, tears. And in this case, Nina’s tears, because she thinks she’s being ostracized due to her deafness. She calls out Hali and Jenn for not inviting her to disrobe and claims “You guys have ignored me since day 1.” Jenn’s response: “Well, you haven’t been jumping into the conversations either.” Hmm… I wonder why that is? Could it possibly have something to do with—and I’m just spitballing here—the fact that, oh…I don’t know…SHE HAPPENS TO BE DEAF?!?
I love this entire argument because it boils down to Nina saying she is being ignored because she’s deaf, and Jenn arguing back that they are only ignoring her because she is not partaking in the conversations… that she cannot hear. The logic of this is astounding. It reminds me of the time I tried to convince my daughter Violet that a work shed near our house was actually a “zombie container.” The conversation went a little something like this:
VIOLET: “What is that thing?”
ME: “That’s a zombie container.
VIOLET: “Dad, there is no such thing as zombies.”
ME: “Then why do they need a zombie container?”
VIOLET: “That’s not a zombie container.”
ME: “Oh yeah? Well then where do they put the zombies?”
This would continue back and forth with no backing down on either side until poor Violet finally realized the futility of her position and the whole situation ended in tears (for her) and laughter (for me). By the way, have I mentioned that I am a terrible parent? As for the chicken-and-the-egg No Collar argument, there’s no doubt that Jenn and Hali come off pretty poorly in this whole exchange, but there is often more happening at the camp than we get to see in the little snippets that make it on to air. Not defending them by any means, but also not ready to destroy them either… yet.
NEXT: Vince tells Joe to tell him how awful Joe is[pagebreak]
The women aren’t the only ones feuding. The other strife pretty much begins and ends with Vince Sly. (Again, best name ever. Last week I said it sounded liked the name of a rogue cop who doesn’t play by the rules or a duplicitous WWE character. This week I am going to go with esteemed reggae artist or cartoon enemy of Inspector Gadget. Go…Go…Gadget Feather Remover!) Vince is still stewing in his jealousy over Joe, which is not a good look for a No Collar. Vince is annoyed that nobody notices when he goes out and collects crabs because “around camp it’s all about Joe.” I don’t know why Vince thinks he’s so special. After all, he is certainly not the first Survivor contestant to catch crabs—on or off the island. (That one was for you, Parvati Shallow. 14 seasons later, you are now no longer the only Survivor contestant I have accused of catching crabs.)
Anyway, this leads to a truly bizarre conversation in which Vince tries to make Joe admit to how lame he is. “I just need you to acknowledge that you steamroll progress,” Vince informs Joe. Joe looks stunned, but, in his defense, I’m not sure how you’re supposed to look when you are being addressed by a guy with a feather in his hair named Vince Sly. The end result is—shocker of all shockers!—the three youngest people in the tribe are in one alliance and the three oldest are in another. You can White Collar/Blue Collar/No Collar all you want—in this game, it often still all comes down to differences in age. (Which I guess is an indirect way of giving props to Survivor: Panama.)
If you’re a big Blue Collar tribe fan then it is my unfortunate duty to inform you that outside of any alleged raw-dogging taking place, there is not whole lot happening over there this week. While I do like the three-tribe format, this is one unfortunate drawback: That the two non-losing tribes at the challenge usually only receive cursory updates and look-ins. So for Blue Collar this week what we get is the ol’ Survivor favorite: the one workaholic dude who bitches and complains when the younger members of his tribe don’t work as hard as he does. Ironic that this should take place on the Blue Collar tribe, of all places, considering this was the group of people that Probst promised us “love to work with their hands” and “built America.” Then again, in their defense, they are kind of on vacation from their jobs at the moment. And this isn’t America (unless you mean Central).
But Mike isn’t having it. He gets upset when the others have the audacity to play island basketball. The whole work around camp issue is fascinating, because while there is a lot to do, there is simultaneously only so much you can do. You work on your shelter, you collect firewood, and you collect food (by either fishing or foraging). That’s pretty much it. So, yes, that stuff does need to get done, but even doing all of that leaves plenty of time to sit around and chill and talk about your favorite Survivor seasons and players of the past (which happens a hell of a lot judging my experience eavesdropping out there). But some people just can’t hit the off switch, and Mike appears to be one of those people. Lest you think this is an isolated incident, it appears judging by the previews for next week that the work ethic beef will continue. Which means more footage of Rodney. I guess you can consider that a warning. That’s pretty much it for the Blue Collar tribe. I mean, we could always go back and talk about this…
NEXT: Will drowns No Collar’s challenge chances[pagebreak]
Let’s head to the challenge where we have the rarest Survivor sight of all: a water challenge in Nicaragua! I was out on location for season 29 when they had to cancel a challenge out in the water due to the currents, and there was a question as to whether they would be able to stage such contests at all during these seasons. Will probably wishes they hadn’t. In this one, contestants have to dive into the water and swim to a platform with buoys on a rope. They then need to maneuver a buoy through obstacles and swim to another platform, and then the next person goes. After all five buoys are retrieved, they must be shot into a basket. First place gets immunity in the form of the zombie-voodoo Mr. Peanut action figure and a massive fishing reward; second place gets immunity and a smaller fishing kit; third place gets Jack and S—. No collar sits Nina out as their extra member while Blue Collar sits Kelly—at least I think her name is Kelly; not sure I have ever seen her before—after Dan insists on competing, telling Probst, “I’m going to surprise you for a fat guy.”
While such proclamations are often met with embarrassing results, this time Dan backs up his boasting and beats Vince and Tyler in the first heat. RAW DOG IN THE HOUSE! Then Hali gives No Collar the lead in the second heat. It will not last. That’s because round four is where Will meets water… and the introduction does not go well. He simply cannot handle being in the ocean and getting the buoy through the obstacle. Lindsey passes Will. Then Shirin pass Will. Then dignity passes Will as he is almost lapped by White Collar. As Will struggles to stay afloat, I can’t help but hear Gervase’s voice ringing out “DON’T LET THAT FOOL YOU!” at the top of his lungs. But this is fooling nobody. The No Collars are done.
“Water has always been the black man’s kryptonite, and it got me today,” Will says later at Tribal Council. It’s a funny line, but also masks the unfortunate stereotype Survivor has had with African-Americans in water challenges in the 30 seasons of this show. For every swimming dynamo like Jaison, there have been tons of black contestants who have struggled big time when they have had to take the plunge. Even though it often creates either drama—or, in the case of Gervase, hilariously nonsensical reverse boasting—it always makes me cringe a bit. Just wish this wasn’t the impression that continues to be made over and over again. (Are you listening, casting?)
So White Collar wins it, followed by Blue Collar, and we are left to see which free-spirit-rule-breaker will be cut loose from the No Collars. Back at their beach, something interesting happens. For all of his rampant jealousy, Vince wants to keep Joe in the tribe. And Joe wants to keep Vince as well. Both men feel tribe strength is too important and cannot afford to lose the other, so Vince targets Jenn while Joe sets his sights on Nina, with a split-vote plan in case she trots out an idol. The wild card is Will, whom both sides are counting on, but the gas-pumping “Living on a Prayer “ crooner (check YouTube) knows he’s just a vote and nothing more for Joe’s alliance, so he goes with Vince and Nina.
However, never underestimate the power and influence of a single offhand comment. After Will tells Nina he is siding with them, she innocently asks how he’s doing—you know, having sucked in the challenge and all. When Will acts slightly put out by the question, Nina charters a bus, gets behind the wheel, runs over Vince, backs up the bus, and runs over him again by telling Will that Vince was concerned Will’s health was getting in the way of winning challenges. And that, ladies and gentlemen, is all it takes. That little seed of doubt starts to sprout in Will’s mind: “Oh, he’s thinking of getting me out? Well, I’ll get him first!” If Nina just keeps her mouth shut there, we have a totally different result. One sentence doomed them.
NEXT: Jenn loves going to Tribal Council (that is so No Collar of her)[pagebreak]
We head to Tribal Council, where Nina gets to relive her #SurvivorBreakdown, Jenn tells us how much she loves being at a place where people get voted off (“It’s fun being here. It’s Tribal Council!”), and Will informs Probst his post-Tribal plans are to “let these bugs eat up some more of this chocolate and see less of you. I don’t want to see you till the end.” In the end, Will switches sides and gets rid of Vince, which on the surface seems like a terrible move. Now he’s a fourth wheel with a tight threesome, and even if his plan is to make it to a tribe reshuffling and then find a new crew, that still most likely puts him on the outside looking in. And Nina is totally screwed, but she can’t blame this one on the skinny dippers. This is a mess of her own making.
Which brings us to the final words of international man of mystery Vince Sly. Most people have two reactions upon being voted out by their peers. There’s the resentful take where they curse everyone and everything and talk about how dumb they all are for getting rid of them. And then there is take #2, which is my personal favorite. This is the one where the ousted party subtly gives him/herself props for being voted out because their superior gameplay was clearly noticed by the tribe, who then had to immediately get rid of the massive threat. Predictably, this is the route Vince Sly takes: “They made a good move because I was going to take then all out,” Vince informs us. Sure you were, Vince. But any joy over enjoying this delectable delusion is put on hold after he follows that up by informing us that, “I enjoy exploring every element of myself.” Ewwww.
Wow, that is a terrible note to leave you on. I don’t know what to say. That’s just the way these things work sometimes when you go chronologically. I mean, it could be worse. We could have ended with this:
Now, see that’s a terrible note to end on! But I won’t, because you deserve to be rewarded for me throwing Dan’s junk in your face repeatedly. And your reward comes in the form of an exclusive deleted scene from last night’s episode that you can watch in the video player below. And your reward comes in the form of our weekly Q&A with Hostmaster General Jeff Probst. And your reward comes in the form of the best damn Survivor message boards anywhere, which you can now join to wax poetic about your favorite moments and players. And when you’re done with all that, you can follow me on Twitter @DaltonRoss. That’s not really a reward per se, but it does come complete with daily links to my 8-track collection (because I am mildly obsessed with obsolete entertainment delivery systems). So there’s that. Okay, that’ll do it from me this week. Go have at it on the boards and I’ll be back next week with another scoop of the crispy!