Episode One: The Importance of Being E...est
By Dan Krovich
Sixteen of the most nondescript reality television contestants ever walk through some poor woman's hanging laundry. This is how we introduce the cast of the number one reality show on television? Couldn't they at least have had them run through a line of cheerleaders and break through one of those paper walls? Jeff goes over the list of dangerous animals that live in Thailand, explains the rules, as if we didn't know them already, and ay-yi-oy-yi-oy-yi-ay-ya - we're off.
The survivors get motor-boated to the island where they will be staying. It looks smaller than the Mall of America. They do some quick intros, and for some reason Clay is the only person who doesn't give his occupation. I'm guessing he's an advisor to George W. Bush. Brian doesn't declare his occupation as soft-core porn star. They take the two oldest people as team captains and they pick their tribes, with a contingency to makes sure the tribes are even gender-wise. Jan (Chuay Gahn tribe) picks a mostly older team, while Jake (Sook Jai tribe) goes with a team of young, athletic-looking people. Good move, Jake. Fill your team with people who all seem to have more in common with each other than with you. Also make sure that you're the weakest person in your tribe so you become potentially expendable.
The teams return to the boats (Hey! Who took the motors?) to row to their new homes. Sook Jai, appropriately enough, rows their boat bass-ackwards, which seems like a symbolic foreshadowing about how they will do everything. Over in the Chuay Gahn boat, John starts showing the bossiness...er, leadership, that often results in an early boot. The good news for Chuay Gahn is that when they get to camp, they find a cave that will serve as a shelter and also find food pretty easily.
Shelter? Food? Nah, at Sook Jai they seemed to be mostly concerned with climbing trees and swimming in the ocean. Stephanie decides on a nighttime skinny dip. Robb, the skateboarder, attributes that to her independence and comfort with her sexuality, but you know he's really thinking, "Heheheheheheheh, she was naked, boobies, boobies, naked, NAKED!" So about midnight, Sook Jai decides maybe some sort of shelter would be good, so they lean some sticks against each other and go to bed.
It's the next day, and at Chuay Gahn, Tanya isn't feeling so well. Oh yes, that means we get to see Tanya vomit, another sign that you're in danger of being voted out. The tricky thing about the Chuay Gahn campsite, we learn, is that the nearest fresh-water source is apparently in Burma. Difficulties in reading the map make it even more difficult. During the search, John endears himself further to his tribe by going off on his own, leaving them to drown, and then playing a joke on them.
Sook Jai has nearby water, so they decide to concentrate on the shelter, so they begin work on what seems like an overly complicated structure. While the others work on the wine cellar, Jed and Shii Ann decide to try to search out food. Ken and Robb spend the day chopping and seem concerned that the damage it's doing to their hands may interfere in their planned circle jerk for later in the evening. When Shii Ann returns from searching for food, we have our first conflict. Robb continues with his hand fetish. "Look at my hands!" "Let me see your hands!" Shii Ann eventually gives in and has him talk to the hand. Then it starts to rain.
It's time for the first immunity challenge, which promises to combine brawn and brains. The cocky, younger Sook Jai tribe thinks they have the brawn portion down. Robb is expecting the overabundance of "hot chicks" in their tribe to be the deciding factor. From this point on, I shall refer to Robb as Bbeavis. The challenge involves rowing a boat around the island and completing three tasks along the way. Surprisingly, the older Chuay Gahn tribe is much better at the brawn portion of rowing the boat (Maybe Sook Jai should have tried going backwards). Chuay Gahn has a huge lead heading into the third task, a puzzle. Ghandia panics as Sook Jai catches up and passes them to win the challenge.
That means that Chuay Gahn will have to vote someone out, and it comes down to three obvious candidates: Ghandia, who single-handedly lost the challenge for the tribe; John, whose bossiness is getting on people's nerves; and Tanya, who has been ill most of the time so far. The tribe votes out John, who receives six votes. He attributes that to some sort of early alliance that has been formed, not realizing that he was simply the least-liked person of the group. Thus ends a rather unexciting start to the new season. Of course, we can look forward to some real excitement next week when they golf. Nothing says excitement like golf.