By Jeff Probst
March 13, 2009 at 02:04 PM EDT
  • TV Show

Okay, I’m done talking about Coach. For now anyway, let’s turn ourattention to Stephen and one of my favorite quotes of this episode:

Ext. Camp – Day
Stephen scratches the back of Taj.

Stephen: “I’ve never brought such pleasure to a woman before.”

Did this comment catch anyone’s ear? I have a few explanations for this comment:
a. Stephen is gay, not that there’s anything wrong with that
b. Stephen is straight but has limited experience with women
c. Stephen is going for broke and playing this game full on

I vote for C. I think Stephen is one of the most sophisticated andsubtle players in the game. He is letting people believe that he’s thequiet, “one beat behind” city kid just happy to not have bugs crawlingup his arse. Who knows, he may be gay and/or he may have limitedexperience with women, but that is irrelevant. This guy could go deep.

Word on the street: People like Taj and I can see why. She’s coming across as a likable, hard working, and industrious player. But boy did she make a potential million- dollar mistake when she gave the idol to Stephen.

Let me answer your question before you ask it…Stephen is absolutely correct that at this moment, the idol belongs to him. Case closed.

INSIGHT: Within the rules of Survivor, Taj has absolutely zero claim to the idol. If you give the idol to someone for “safe keeping” you better trust them because the person who possesses it owns it. Period. The only exception is theft –you cannot steal the idol from someone.

So the moment Taj handed that idol to Stephen she gave away the single most powerful thing in the game and trust me, Stephen is aware of this stroke of luck. Even if she had put conditions on it, such as “you have to give it to me if I need it” – doesn’t matter. Remember Dreams and Yau-Man and the car negotiation for a vote that never materialized. Same thing. A Survivor agreement is only as good as the word of the person on the other end of the negotiation.

Man, oh man I love how easily Sierra can improv a lie…on the spot. She asked Deb for the most valuable information, “is everyone with you?” Deb’s response gave Sierra an open door to talk freely with Brendan. What’s wrong with you people?!! Have you not watched Survivor before? You don’t leave people alone to strategize. It’s like watching a horror movie when the sexy woman goes back in the house and you yell at the screen, “Haven’t you watched horror movies!!!? You never go back in the house!” Dumb. Just plain dumb.

Drumroll please…not only is this my favorite quote from this episode, it tops anything Coach has said thus far:

Ext. Charmin Café – Day
The tribe enjoys their coffee and pastries. J.T. gets up to stretch and finds a collection of envelopes sitting in a hammock. Excitement breaks out as the Survivors scream to one another:
Sydney: Oh cool, what is it!!!?
J.T.: I don’t know what it is.
Joe: Is it a menu?
Taj: Is it a gift certificate?!!!

“Is it a gift certificate?” “Is it…a…gift certificate.” When I saw the first cut of this episode I must have watched that moment twenty times and I giggled myself silly every single time. Yeah Taj, it’s a Survivor gift certificate. Good for use at your local Survivor store where you can buy anything your imagination can dream up! It’s only good for one year so be sure to use it soon. Restrictions apply, consult the back of your gift certificate for full details.

There’s nothing wrong with Taj’s comment. It wasn’t mean. It didn’t hurt anyone. She wasn’t being selfish. What I find so fascinating about Taj’s comment is what it reveals. Nestled there in the jungle with her coffee and donut, Taj felt safe enough to let her guard down just for a moment and in doing so revealed so much about her life back home. Clearly, Taj loves her gift certificates and when that is the first thought that comes to your mind you obviously get them quite often. Evidently Eddie is very good to Taj.

And while we’re at it, let me just address those of you who will write something along the lines of “how can these idiots get so emotional over a damn letter from home? It’s not like they’ve been gone that long anyway.”

Well the logical answer to that question goes like this: If a “thing,” any “thing,” continues to happen season after season, from one group of Survivors to another then there is probably something to it. Kinda like when you water a plant and it always seems to grow. Okay, that analogy sucked, but you guys know my analogies suck and you get what I’m saying anyway. Moving on.

I know I said I wouldn’t talk about Coach but I have to address his ability to predict the weather. It was shaman-like. Spooky. Dude is gifted. Touched. In the head perhaps, but touched.

J.T. was an animal in the reward challenge. He nearly singlehandedly won that challenge for Jalapao. He just needed a little bit of support from anyone else on his tribe but he didn’t get it.

Now to the tooth issue. Here’s what happened: He didn’t lose his entire tooth. He only lost half of his tooth. Not so bad, right? It was as if you shaved the top layer off, so he still had a tooth in his gum, it was just half as thick as normal. J.T. is one tough dude. J.T. reminds me how tough I’m not. I’m not sure where it all went wrong….I was born in Kansas, that’s “tough guy” country, but damnit, if I lost half a tooth I would have milked that like a Holstein.

INSIGHT: After the challenge, you saw me give J.T. the tooth. He then took it back to camp but decided he didn’t want it. Had no use for it. Didn’t care that the rest of his tooth might fall out. “I’m a cowboy. I don’t need my teeth anyway. ” Okay he didn’t actually say that but he might as well have. He gave it to medical and they gave it back to me and I now have it in my house. It’s in a plastic bag and I will bring it with me to the live show in case he’s changed his mind. Otherwise I will sell it to the highest bidder, so start saving your pennies.

Taj – I like seeing Taj get mad for no other reason than I just enjoy it. She’s fun when she’s mad. Was it a good move? Absolutely not. Fun to watch? Oh yeah. You know that woman can go off on people!! I would not want to be on the other end of Taj getting mad, like say, for instance, if you forgot to give her a gift certificate or something.

Finally – Spencer. I dig Spencer. I like how he carried himself in the game. He was much younger than most everyone else in this game, he was a huge Survivor fan, and he was endlessly enthusiastic. Maybe that’s what did him in. I wish he had lasted longer because I know how badly he wanted to play this game.

INSIGHT: Spencer was an alternate this season. We don’t even usually bring alternates, but this season our casting director, Lynne Spillman, just had a hunch we might need one so she insisted we bring Spencer, “just in case.” It was the night before we were set to begin and it didn’t look good for Spencer making the show. He was really bummed. We tried to keep his spirits up by reminding him that there was still a chance that he could be a part of next season.

Then in a strange Survivor twist of fate, one of our contestants did not pass the mandatory final physical exam. He would be unable to participate and we had an opening. Dave Burris (Exec Producer) Dr. Liza, (show psychologist) and I went over to share the news with Spencer. We decided to have a little fun with him knowing that ultimately we had good news to present. We pulled him aside from everyone else and with very sad faces said, “Spencer…about next season…it’s not gonna work out.” This put an end to the last glimmer of hope Spencer thought he had of being on Survivor. We let the sadness hang for only a moment before continuing, “…because you’re on this season!!” He erupted in joy to the point where we had to quiet him down so the other contestants wouldn’t hear him and figure out he had been an alternate all along. It was one of the most enjoyable moments in the history of my time on Survivor because he was so excited.

So long Spencer, it was short but hopefully it quenched your Survivor thirst.

OKAY LISTEN UP: Because of NCAA basketball on CBS, our schedule will change a bit over the next 3 weeks. Here it is:

March 19 (next week): We are NOT on at all! (Bummmmer, I know.)

March 25: We are on WEDNESDAY NIGHT with a really cool “never before scenes” special. There are some great scenes that will crack you up, including Coach conducting. It’s really good stuff. I know a lot of you guys hate this episode so we worked especially hard to make it rock! One of our best producers Daren sweated night and day for weeks to find stuff worthy of your time. Give it a shot if you’re around.

Thursday, April 2: WE ARE BACK! I’ve just seen the episode. It’s fantastic. You’re gonna love the rest of this season.

Later dudes.

Now check out our exclusive deleted scene below and then read Dalton’s ‘Survivor’ TV Watch .

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Julie Chen hosts as the houseguests battle it out.
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