Survivor recap: The Lame Game
Osten is pissed. I mean really pissed. He’s heard the talk. He knows the word on the street. And he doesn’t like it. All this chatter about G.C. being the lamest Survivor contestant ever — well, Osten from the Pearl Islands season doesn’t want to hear it. He called me up last night to explain.
Osten “What the hell? I mean, seriously, what the f—ing hell? Why is everyone ready to crown this clown the worst ever?”
Dalton “Well, Osten, I mean…he was pretty damn bad.”
O “Oh, please. I was much worse. Much, much worse. No way is this punk taking my title.”
D “I can’t really argue with you, Osten. You were horrible on many levels.”
O “Yes! Yes, I was! Exactly! Now, that’s what I’m talking about!”
D “But G.C. was so versatile in his uselessness, and I’m sorry, Osten, but you simply have to respect that.”
O “Respect nothing! Did the dude show up as big as a house, mock the less physically imposing members of his tribe, and then fold like a cheap suit? My lameness far surpasses his.”
D “Look, I hear ya. But there was just something special about G.C. Something about the way he simply stopped competing in challenges. Something about the way he accepted the role of leader, and then simply refused to lead. Something about the way he argued about rice with every member of his own tribe. Something about the way he went AWOL in his kayak before an immunity challenge and then, upon being informed that his tribe almost left without him, responded by saying, ‘That would have been cool with me.’ And finally, there’s just something about that goofy-ass nickname. These are facts, Osten. You simply can’t deny the facts.”
O “But he didn’t quit! I quit, he didn’t. End of story.”
D “He totally quit.”
O “Then why didn’t that big meanie, Jeff Probst, make him say the words ‘I quit’ and humiliate him the way he did me by throwing his torch down at tribal council? Riddle me that, Ross!”
D “Because Probst has gotten a little gun-shy since he was accused of pushing Janu to quit in Palau. Not to mention the fact that you opened the floodgates to quitters, so producers are now content to let people simply ask their tribemates to vote them off instead of having every other tribal council become one big Quitters Row.”
O “See, you just said it yourself! I’m the pioneer when it comes to quitting. They’re all just swiping my hype!”
D “You know what, Osten? You’re right. You are the lamest. But look, I have a column to write. Can I go now?”
Actually, Osten had already hung up, since he is not exactly one to see things through to the end. But he did convince me that he is, in fact, lamer than G.C. Just not by much. I talked with G.C. before the game started (although I insisted on calling him Danny), and he was a totally nice guy. A young guy still searching for himself, to be sure, and a guy who didn’t strike me as particularly interesting or engaging, but he was pleasant enough. I do remember thinking to myself, damn, this dude needs a Jolt cola or something. The excitement and energy didn’t seem to be there. I’m not exactly sure how the hell he made it through casting.
NEXT: Ricegate 2008
I was at that first tribal council, and the back and forth between Probst and the original Fang went on much, much longer than what you saw on the screen as the host pushed and prodded the tribe to get it together and pick a leader. No one wanted to step up. G.C. finally did by default, and I very distinctly remember thinking, This is a really, really bad idea. It was clear he didn’t want it, and clear no one was really gonna respect his leadership anyway. Truthfully, it’s hard to respect pretty much anything about G.C. in this game. A few weeks back I compared G.C. to that crappy Eddie Murphy movie Golden Child and said that at that point G.C. was actually playing worse than that movie and was performing more at a Pluto Nash or Norbit level. You know what? I’m now taking him down another notch! Are you crazy, Dalton? There’s no level below Pluto Nash! That’s as far down as you can go! Au contraire, mon frère. Dare I say it, but G.C. has now sunk to “Party All the Time”-level Eddie Murphy. “Party All the Time” is a most apt comparison because Eddie Murphy actually expected us to take him seriously singing that god-awful song, as did G.C. in this game, but it was simply impossible to do so on either count.
All right, not everything in this latest episode revolved around G.C. (thankfully). The episode began with Ace and Ken arguing over the rice, with Ace advocating that they save some for Sugar, who he believed had not eaten in 3 days, and Ken advocating for Ace to shut his possibly-phony-British-accent-spouting face. Ace then kindly informed us that “I’ve got Sugar in my pocket,” which may or may not have been a euphemism for his penis. Meanwhile, the members of Kota were busy repeatedly touching a fish that sent electric shocks through their hands. This couldn’t help but remind me of The Simpsons episode where Lisa ran a test to see if her brother was dumber than a hamster, and Bart kept touching the cupcake rigged to shock him, long after the hamster had moved on. But I don’t blame the Kota crowd. Fact is, it gets pretty boring out there — anything for a jolt. Too bad that fish was the most shocking thing we’ve seen so far this season….Get it? Shocking? The fish? Okay, never mind.
NEXT: The call of the wild
Fang, however, had more seriously threatening animals to deal with — specifically, an elephant. I have to say, seeing elephants out there in the wild is a pretty intense experience. Trying to get the most nature bang for their buck, Matty and Ace took the boat out to get a closer look. In a truly shocking development, G.C. told them to “leave the elephant alone” because he was scared the beast would charge. I don’t blame him. Had the beast charged — and this would have been quite a feat in itself considering he was separated from them by a large body of water — G.C. would have probably decided to run away, gotten tired and decided it wasn’t worth the effort, argued with the elephant about the rice, and then allowed himself to get trampled.
Matty, on the other hand, appreciated the gesture and the opportunity to “step out of the game for a second” — although I’m not quite sure homeboy has yet to step in the game. (Side note on Matty: Every season there is one person who the press interviews that we think is a total bore, yet Probst says, “Really? We love that person.” Sometimes, that person turns out to be okay. Other times, they turn out to be Danielle from Panama, who was snooze city. None of us were really high on Matty. He seemed like a totally agreeable fellow, but also appeared homesick and over his head without a lot to offer. Plus, his answers to our questions simply weren’t very interesting. Then again the questions probably weren’t very interesting either. Anyway, Probst has insisted that Matty would prove to be a fan favorite this season. We’ll see.)
So it’s off to the reward challenge we go, where contestants must throw fruit through holes — and past opposing tribe members attempting to whack the food down — and into a bucket. The challenge started with — again, shocker! — G.C. sucking by repeatedly throwing the fruit right into Bob’s stick. Meanwhile, Randy was making like Terrell Owens, dropping down to the ground to make a catch. (Actually, maybe I’m being too kind — T.O. definitely would have dropped it. That’s right! Suck it, Cowboy fans!!!) But the highlight of the event was clearly Ace getting popped in the face with a watermelon. Contrary to a lot of you posters, I actually really, really like Ace. Is he cocky? Sure. But he backs it up with his performance and is a totally engaging character. I love watching Ace on the show and I love the way his head is constantly in the game. Plus, he makes fantastic goofy-ass faces at tribal council — always a good thing. I’m very pro-Ace. Sue me.
NEXT: Sugar gets no love
Kota won — again — causing Charlie and Marcus to engage in another passionate embrace (I’m thinking at least one of them may have had Sugar in their pocket as well, if you know what I’m sayin’). Speaking of Sugar, Kota sent her to Exile (non) Island yet again. It was a decision that Nick Lachey described as “No strategy — purely comedy.” (He’ll be here all week, ladies and gentlemen…unless, of course, you know, he gets voted off.)
So, off Sugar went to Exile to munch on pineapple. I totally get why producers did the comfort or clue choice thing this season, and maybe it will pay dramatic dividends down the road, but I am really not into seeing people enjoying themselves when sent to Exile. It’s supposed to be a miserable place! In past seasons, sure, you would maybe find the idol, but you’d suffer in the process. And if you already had the idol, then you were just gonna suffer. It may make me an awful person, but I want to see the misery, not lounging in a hammock eating fruit and talking about how wonderful everything is. These people are playing for a million dollars, dammit — don’t make life so ridiculously easy for them!
Over at Fang, Crystal and G.C. (him, again?) were arguing over — you guessed it — rice. Seriously, I have never seen a group of people bicker so much over food since John Belushi did his zit impersonation in Animal House. What happened to good ol’ fashioned Survivor disagreements over who backstabbed whom and who’s not doing enough work around camp? Freakin’ Fang — even their arguments are lame. I’m gonna start printing “Free Ace!” T-shirts if this keeps up, because I am seriously sympathizing with that guy right now.
Upset over ricegate and, well, everything else that had happened over the past two weeks, G.C. informed us that “this game is changing me, and it’s not for the better.” Jesus, I hope not! Because if this is for the better, then I hate to see what pre-Gabon G.C. was like. Dude, I’ve already downgraded you to “Party All the Time” level. There’s not much further down I can go. G.C. took his personal pity party out on the water. One problem: It was time for the immunity challenge. (Actually, maybe that’s not so much of a problem, considering the way he’s been performing.) His tribemates yelled out his name repeatedly to try to find him until he finally appeared, rowing in slow motion back to the dock. Kelly informed him that they were about to leave without him, to which G.C. — and folks, it doesn’t get any more G.C. than this — responded, “That would have been cool with me,” a comment that surely made Osten cringe that he was about to lose his coveted Lamest Survivor Ever crown.
NEXT: The blind leading the blind
Going into the challenge, Matty rated his tribe’s chances of victory as “slim,” and that was a kind assessment. The competition involved rolling big balls down a hill while a blindfolded member of the opposite tribe tried to block them with a shield by following directions barked out by a fellow tribe member. Fang started off in trouble when caller Sugar made the curious strategic decision to offer no guidance whatsoever, leading to this precious exchange:
Ace: “I can’t see anything. You have to talk. What’s happening?”
Sugar: “Nothing’s happening.”
Ace: “No, not right this second, I can hear that.”
Not quite as great as “I hit my head back there.” “I don’t care.” “I know.” But close enough. Of course, Dan allowed Fang to creep their way back into it by stopping his own ball. (How Dan is that?) Then Ace’s face was the recipient of another blow. Look, I want to make sure I’m perfectly clear on this count: I lovewatching people get brutalized in challenges. As far as I’m concerned, the closer it is to a mash-up ofJackass, America’s Funniest Home Videos, and a brutal Japanese game show, the better. But this one kinda scared me. Getting stabbed near the eye (as opposed to hit with a watermelon) is frightening stuff. Not to imply it didn’t make good TV; I just didn’t rewatch it eight times in slo-mo like you would normally expect. (Who knows? Maybe I’m getting soft. Like G.C.) Of course, Fang eventually blew it, with Randy making the genius call to bark out conflicting orders to Ace to momentarily freeze the facially unfortunate one. We should note, however, that if you took a look at the wide angle shot, there was no way Ace would have gotten to the ball anyway, but still, props to Randy. For a guy that prides himself on being so unlikable, Randy has become pretty hard not to dig on screen. He’s performing in challenges, playing strategically, and giving choice sound bites. What more can you ask for from the man? Except, maybe, for him to get rid of that awful tropical vomit shirt.
So the question at Fang became, who to get rid of — quitter boy G.C. or hidden-immunity-idol holder Sugar? The term “hidden immunity idol” has become something of a misnomer, because as we’ve learned (A) It is hidden really, really poorly and (B) you can’t hide it in your bag. I actually really don’t like this second rule. I think contestants should not be allowed to look in each other’s stuff. Sure, Sugar could hide it at camp somewhere instead, but what if they mix up the tribes again and it gets left there? If they want to truly keep the does-she-or-doesn’t-she element in play, producers need to stop letting people snoop in other people’s stuff.
NEXT: Kota talks strategy in a deleted scene
At tribal council, G.C. told us all about what a hard life he’s had, and I don’t doubt him for a second, but that doesn’t mean he wasn’t being a quitter. And I do think Probst should have ended the charade right then and there instead of letting it go to a vote. I guess producers feel the fraud of a phony vote is more dramatic than having someone out and out quit, yet I still maintain it would have been more dramatic to see G.C.’s torch thrown down than sit through another by-the-book early ouster by a meaningless vote because the person in question had already pulled a Fairplay and told everyone to send him home. I realize I’m one of the few dorks that actually care about the “integrity of the game,” but it’s that integrity that separates Survivor from all those other D-list reality shows. And not to belabor this point any more, but don’t you think if that threat of public humiliation exists, it may actually cut down on the number of people willing to throw in the towel for fear of being made to look like a doofus on national television? Just a thought.
You know who else has some thoughts—Jeff Probst! See what he has to say about G.C. in his weekly EW.com Survivor blog. Looking for a little bonus strategy session that you didn’t see on TV? Then be sure to watch our exclusive Survivor deleted scene, in which a celebratory Kota decides over bananas what Fang player they’d like to bring over to their side after the merge. Who they discuss may surprise you. Check it out below. And then be sure to get your post on. Will Fang ever win again? Is G.C. lamer than Osten? And what fruit would you want to be whacked in the face with? Let us know. The store is open for business, people.
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Strangers starve themselves on an island for our amusement in the hopes of winning a million dollars, as host Jeff Probst implores them to "DIG DEEP!"