Survivor: Amazon

Episode Two: Storms

By Dan Krovich

The Smiling Granola Bar Smuggler.

The tagline the entire week on Survivor has been how they set up a battle of the sexes and the women beat the men. Yes, the men were annoyingly overconfident and cocky and it was nice to see them taken down a peg, but let's face it: the women won the immunity challenge, but if we were giving out points for camping and survival ability, the men would be way ahead. The women would agree as they examine the sad state that is Camp Vagina. There is no shelter of which to speak other than a few logs strewn across some haphazard supports. It's so pathetic that they haven't even been able to complete the floor. The excuse according to Heidi is that they are all too busy keeping the fire going and getting water to work on the shelter. Yes, it apparently takes the constant vigilance of eight people to keep a fire going. The women do seem to uphold the stereotype that they are better communicators than men as they continually discuss what needs to be done. Nothing actually ever seems to get done, mind you, but they discuss it in depth. They talk about the multitudinous options of how to build the shelter and come to the conclusion that they don't need cathedral ceilings, but I would like to suggest that a ceiling of some sort would be a good idea.

At Camp Penis, on the other hand, the guys completed their shelter days ago and seem to have already completed all the major arrangements to move into a fairly routine, relatively comfortable subsistence existence. They are eating fairly well with the supplied manioc flour. (Am I the only person who never heard of the stuff before? Manioc fun fact #1: the plant root that the flour comes from is poisonous and has to be grated, pressed, and baked to remove the poison.) The guys have the time to relax a bit and then try their luck at fishing. It's also interesting to note that the booting of Ryan doesn't seem to be an issue at all. It's not brought up once and everyone is getting along pretty well. Fishing, though, isn't going particularly well, as they don't seem to be catching anything with their net. The attempts are cut short by an approaching storm and the guys hightail it back to camp as the downpour begins. It's raining heavily, but the guys stay dry in the erect Penis Camp shelter.

Now any good Survivor fan knows that this is the cue to cut to wet Vagina Camp where the women make no pretense to try to stay dry. The women are dripping wet and the best they can legitimately hope for is to miraculously keep the fire burning because we know how long it took them to start it in the first place. They are miserable and their pathetic shelter is falling apart even more. They apparently thought they would have more time to get a shelter ready before they were rained on, this being a RAIN FOREST and all.

So yes, we have further established that the men are doing a much better job at camping than the women. Of course, this is Survivor, and actual survival skills are the least important aspect of this game. This leads to the next challenge, the reward challenge, which is the ever popular blindfold everyone on the team except for one person and have the person without the blindfold guide them through tasks. In this case the task is to retrieve thirty puzzle pieces, and once they are all retrieved the team can take off their blindfolds and put the puzzle together. Because of the one-person advantage, the women must sit out someone, and of course it is the hearing impaired girl. The direction-givers are Joanna for the women and Butch for the men. The women take advantage of their communication skills and take a commanding lead. A note to the guys: when you are choosing someone who is going to be given instructions to blindfolded people, make sure you pick someone who KNOWS EVERYBODY'S NAME. So, yes the women win the reward challenge easily. Their reward? Bait.

So now the women have their bait, and it's just in time because they are tiring of eating only the manioc, even though they have come up with an interesting recipe, which involves intentionally burning it. (Manioc fun fact #2: one of the uses of manioc is to make, in your best Sue Hawk voice now, tapioca.) Armed with their hard-won bait, they make another attempt to catch fish, though more accurately you would have to call it feeding the fish. They haven't gotten the hang of this fishing thing. Now, I'm no expert fisherman, but I have watched an episode of Fish On or two, so I would like to provide one tip: when you actually get a bite and have a fish on your hook, the standard technique does not involve dropping the fishing rod.

The foreboding drumbeat indicates that we are now heading into the "controversy" portion of the episode. Roger, who has already broken Survivor Rule #1 by taking a leadership/bossiness position now moves on to breaking Survivor Rule #2: never ever get into an argument on a hot button issue. Alex takes issue with Roger's less-than-enlightened views on homosexuality. Now, it's all well and good for Roger to have his own opinions, but in this game political correctness is key - don't want to offend anyone cause they may vote you off. It's just simply not a good idea to express strong political beliefs, especially when the rest of the tribe disagrees with you. Rob is taking notes, strategizing on how to use Roger's mistake against him.

Joanna is making a similar mistake by trotting out her strong religious beliefs. Again, it's fine to have strong beliefs, but being too outspoken about them is a sure way to annoy your tribemates and give them a reason to vote you out. It seems that Joanna is taking the idol portion of the immunity idol completely seriously. Apparently, she seems to think that she is expected to worship the monkey-man idol thrown together by a couple of CBS props guys and accept Jeff Probst as her new savior, but thankfully she's more secure in her conviction to be swayed by this evil cultish plot. The one good thing about this entire scenario is that it does lead to an amusing little tiff between Joanna and Christy, who expresses her opinion that Joanna is being a little silly, and yes, ladies and gentlemen, here it comes in three, two, to the hand.

But the controversy has not ended yet. In Australia we had the Beef Jerky Scandal, and now we have Granola-Gate. The women find a granola bar in their camp, but no one fesses up to bringing it with them. My guess is that one of the cameramen dropped it there or else it fell off one of the many granola trees that grow in the Amazonian rainforest. The stray health food treat causes quite the commotion and stirs up paranoia and distrust. I saw Goody Janet with the granola bar! The only solution is to sacrifice the granola bar in the fire. Ironically, it's Joanna who carries out this vaguely pagan ritual.

Tree mail announces the next immunity challenge and the guys are a bit nervous because they are already zero for two in the challenges. For this challenge, they get two minutes to study a mock-up of a village, and then they are quizzed on what they saw. So this is the first challenge that involved absolutely no physical strength, stamina, or dexterity, and the guys earn their first challenge victory.

Now the Vagina Tribe has to go to their first tribal council and we'll get our first glance at how their dynamics are unfolding in the pre-council strategizing. Christy, who is already in some hot water because her communication difficulties are considered a weakness, continues to dig a deeper hole. First, she tries the approach certain to win friends of calling everyone else lazy and claiming to be the only one working, and then continues to be just plain difficult to deal with. She's not the only target, though, because there's the age factor and granola bar accusation working against Janet. The voting is actually somewhat interesting in that four different people receive at least one vote, probably the largest number of different individuals to get a vote in a tribal council since the first season. Still, in true Survivor form, the oldest member of the tribe, Janet, is the first to go by a pretty clear margin.



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Wednesday, December 12, 2018
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