On ''Survivor,'' party pooper Ashlee learns, too late, the importance of faking enthusiasm; plus, the challenges leave the castaways dizzy and gasping for air

By Dalton Ross
February 25, 2005 at 05:00 AM EST
Ashlee Ashby: Robert Voets/ CBS
  • TV Show

”Survivor”: A party pooper departs

So, I’ve got this party coming up, and I’m deciding whom to invite. My uncle Dale is on the list, because he can play guitar, which means free entertainment (okay, so I’m a bit of a cheapskate). My old college buddy Ludwig is definitely in the mix because he always ends up with his lips surgically attached to a beer bong, and truth be told, that’s free entertainment as well. I think I’ll also invite Will Smith, just so I can tell people, ”Hey, Will Smith might show!” One person I won’t be putting on the guest list? Ashlee. Sorry. Seems nice enough. Is attractive. But there’s one thing my party doesn’t need, and that’s a party pooper.

Ashlee was as good as gone once she began separating herself from the group. You’re not hungry and don’t want to eat with the rest of the group? Fake it! Take some food and chuck it behind a bush (a time-tested variation on the old feed-the-veggies-to-the-dog-under-the-table trick we all played as youngsters). Don’t want to swap stories by the campfire? Fake it! Just sort of sit there, nod along, and then nod off when no one’s looking. The one thing you never do is isolate yourself. Survivor is not just a test of strength and smarts; it is a test of social skills as well. There have been winners who were not that strong (hi, Amber), and winners who were not that smart (hi again, Amber) but never a winner who wasn’t a key member of the group (even if said group was a bunch of knuckleheads). I also had a sneaky suspicion Ashlee would be sent packing just by the sheer number of shots in this episode aimed squarely at her enormous breasts. It’s like Mark Burnett and company felt they had to take advantage of the boobalicious blonde while they still could.

Unfortunately, since we hadn’t really had a chance to get attached to either Ashlee or her Ulong tribemate Kim (who is too busy getting attached to Jeff), it was hard to really care which one got the boot, so the last 10 minutes were a little dry. (Although we did get some classic eye rolling and facial squinting from Angie, James, and Stephenie. That stuff cracks me up. As does the enormous gun sitting behind Jeff Probst at tribal council. If someone gets a little sassy, is he allowed to use that thing?) And other than when Ian (my personal favorite so far, mostly because us lanky dudes have to stick together) recovered Koror’s fire-starting equipment from the bottom of the sea, there wasn’t a whole lot happening at the camps in this episode. Thankfully, we got two good challenges to liven things up.

Actually, good isn’t the right word for the reward challenge — more like insane! Was I the only one feeling dizzy after watching that wham-bam-thank-you-ma’am affair? Bobby Jon was either getting bloody or smacking himself silly, Angie was completely falling out of her suit, Katie couldn’t make the first swing to save her life, and Coby . . . well, I don’t know what the hell Coby was doing with that while moment-of-Zen thing, but it was quickly followed by a moment of pure hilarity when he took one step and then wiped out. Who knows, maybe I was just disoriented the whole time by Jeff Probst’s lime-green shirt. Looking at it, I sorta felt like those Nazi guys who opened the ark in Raiders of the Lost Ark and had their faces melt off from the extreme brightness. Not quite sure if that shirt took C or D batteries, but I do know this: It was loud and it was proud.

The immunity challenge was pretty bitchin’ too. Honestly, I don’t know if it was the way the challenge was designed that I loved or just the pleasure of watching one team blow a huge lead and then get absolutely smoked, but either way, it was good stuff. (I even dug the little submarine sound they inserted every time one of those distance-marking buoys rose to the surface. (Why a submarine noise? I have no idea. But I enjoyed it anyway.) Now, it is true that Kim didn’t even try to dive down and pull the trunk, but c’mon, that challenge should have been all about Ibrehem, Bobby Jon, and Jeff, and those dudes did not do squat. (Just look at how Tom was hooking up Koror!) So I don’t really blame her too much for that. I’d invite her to my party. She would come too, because who knows? Will Smith might be there!

What do you think? Did Ashlee blow it by isolating herself? Will Jeff and Kim’s cuddling help them or hurt them? And does Ian score extra points for calling out The Bad News Bears?