Survivor Vanuatu: Episode Eleven

Culture Shock and Violent Storms!

By David Mumpower

November 18, 2004

Could this show *be* any more emasculating?

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When we last left Survivor, the women were beating the men like a pinata. A pig had been adopted by the babes (That'll do, Lunch. That'll do). Julie had dumped Sarge for Ami. And the man named Lea (poor thing) had been eliminated from competition, reducing the men's ranks to two.

Will He-Man Woman-Hater Chris and one-legged butt kicker Chad overcome the odds and stage a comeback? The Magic 8 Ball says 'hell, no', meaning this is going to be a boring couple of weeks on the show until we get down to Battle of the Boobie Bearers.

Of course, there are a few questions to be answered as we start the show. Chief among them is this. Chris, what the hell were you thinking putting the shiv in Sarge on his way out? The cardinal rule of Survivor is that you do not betray your allies unless it gets you something. The guy already had all the women against him. Why the pile on from his buddy? Here I was finally starting to dig you after that loathsome first impression and then you pull a nonsensical stunt like that.

The other nagging concern at this point is how the various women's alliances stand. Scout clearly likes Twila in a way that 11 states just voted sinful. The crusty lass seems more interested in reuniting with the fellas than experimenting with the hippy chick, though. Meanwhile, Julie and Leann contine to make goo-goo eyes at one another after their magical first date at the edge of a dormant volcano. These two appear to be the safest bet to be two of the final three at the moment.

The odd woman out in their power alliance would seem to be Ami. The power player of the season to date has recently shown signs of growing cocky - when will players ever learn? This happens every year. Also, now that everyone knows she has been calling the shots, insurgent instigation is likely to begin as soon as the two remaining penises have been circumcised.

Out of all the ladies, no one's position is seemingly more precarious than Eliza's. In addition to being one of the most annoying, shallow contestants in the history of the show, she also has prevented the other cast members from chowing down on the pig. They hate her already and now she keeps them from experiencing the joy of bacon for breakfast, ham for lunch, and pork chops for dinner. What fantastic strategy skills she has (ha!). Of course, I still expect Eliza to make an unexpectedly deep run. The reason is simple. Every remaining competitor could beat Eliza in a final vote. That knowledge alone makes all of them inclined to carry her along to the finish line if at all possible...even if she is more vapid than Anna Nicole Smith.

As if sensing he would get face time at the start of the episode, Chris proceeds to explain to the women what he had done. Describing his betrayal as the "toughest Tribal Council", Sarge's buddy creates a fictional conversation between the two men wherein Chris is asked to vote against his friend. Unbeknownst to him, this move is eerily reminiscent of the one Rory made a few episodes ago. Seeking to demonstrate he is ready to deal, all that Chris accomplishes here is to make the women consider him a snake. And we saw how well that worked out for Survivor fraud Rob Cesternino during All Stars.

Then, something shocking happens. Scout, who has been living inside the Purple Haze for the entire month, suddenly realizes there is strategy to be employed. Sensing that she has fallen out of favor with the power trio, Scout schemes to save the men (and her beloved Twila) while targeting mortal enemy Eliza and leader Ami. If Terrell Owens walked up to me and confessed that he was tired of the spotlight, I would not be more surprised than I am witnessing Scout develop a cunning plan.

The reward challenge message includes the odd request to bring the pig. I think they are referring to the animal instead of Chris, but I am not 100% sure. When they arrive in Probstland, our host has a buff waiting for the little hamhock. Then, he informs the group that the winning foursome will get to go visit a local tribe for a day. The pig they have so cleverly named Piggy (hey, they had to pull an all-nighter coming up with the designation, but you can't argue with results) will be a present for the tribe. My question is this: Why give the pig a tribal buff if you are going to feed it to the locals the following day?

The challenge itself indicates that it's Bondage Week on Survivor. Two of the most attractive women, Julie and Eliza, are hog-tied and left to the disposal of their teammates. The other three people on each team pull, push, lift, shove and even throw the hapless victims in order to slowly liberate them from their restraints. The women lewdly roll around in the sand to a degree that would make Pamela Anderson blush as they seek freedom. It's the easy winner for Most Arousing Survivor Challenge of the season. In the end, the team of Eliza, Chad, Ami and Chris beats Twila, Scout, Leann and Julie. Both Eliza and Julie are to be heartily commended for their effort here. NFL special teams wedge blockers don't take this sort of abuse during a game.

The foursome's reward is a plane flight to a once-in-a-lifetime experience. Always keeping her eye on the prize, Eliza's focus during the flight is on the fact that Piggy had to go potty. If Eliza won the Presidency, she would spend the first three minutes of the acceptance speech complaining about the height of the podium. And the temperature in the auditorium. And the constant clapping and whistling from the crowd.

When the quartet arrives at the village, Chris hands the tribe leader the pig. In return, a new pig is given to them. They dutifully accept it but Chris notes to the camera that they had every intention of leaving it there. Presumably, the pressure of coming up with a name equal to Piggy would have been too overwhelming. Alas, Piggy II, we hardly knew ye.

A fun segment unfolds as the tribe offers a communal performance of singing and dancing. I haven't seen such a performance from a group of tribesmen since The Air Up There (look it up on IMDb).

Afterward, the group is honored by a ceremonial drinking of a tribal brew called Kava. Gee, guess who complains about the taste. Is there any button on my remote control that can set Eliza's bitch to zero?

The folks at Alinta are not having quite as much fun. It's rained the entire time, and the mood at camp is bleak. All the ladies do their best Eliza impersonation as they complain about the conditions. Ladies, just wait until your first Survivor convention. Boy, Tina and Colby will have some stories to tell about genuinely terrible weather.

The following morning sees a morale boost as Scout, Twila and Julie start to fantasize about how nice camp will be without Eliza. While I strongly agree with that sentiment, Leann's arched eyebrows speak volumes about the inevitability of a different conclusion. She has the same look that a six-year-old has when they are just about to go tell teacher about misbehavior. I expect Ami to step on the neck of this in record time.

The immunity challenge this week is a combination gut check and show of strength. The contestants start at the top of a totem pole and must support their weight. Another factor is the sweat, which depreciates the ability to maintain a firm grip. To no one's surprise, Julie, who took a beating the previous day, is first off the pole. Shockingly, Chris follows soon after. Other contestants drop until Twila and Chad are the only remaining competitors. Despite his physical handicap, Chad shows tremendous grit in hanging on so long. In the end, though, Twila's willingness to hang on by any means neccesary (including her teeth) wins her immunity.

It's time to play We Swear It's Eliza! But no one is buying it. Scout broaches the subject with Ami, and is rewarded with a curt "No." Twila gets involved, asking Ami who to vote for. Surprisingly, the queen bee claims it's not up to her. Twila wanders over to Leann and Julie and eloquently states her case against Eliza. "I just don't like the bitch." Wouldn't you love to watch Twila in a political debate?

Several minutes of debate ensue, but only the most naive of people really thinks this is up in the air. Once tribal council begins, it's obvious that despite her tremendous aggravation factor, Eliza is a woman, and women will not be turning on each other for at least one more vote (barring an immunity challenge victory for a man). Her paranoia button has been pushed, but in the end it's Chad who is doomed to the walk of shame. Gee, what a shocker.

The dullest season of Survivor ever continues to limp along sans mystery. Methinks reality television has hit the wall.



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