Smash TV: Survivor Gabon, Weeks 9 and 10

Wednesday, December 3rd, 2008 | SMASH TV with

Survivor Gabon

After Week Eight’s GREATEST EPISODE EVER in the “Survivor” enterprise, this week’s episode was CBS’s way to do the yearly Thanksgiving catch-up. This is the time for all families who have been belching up their turkey meals on a Thursday night to snooze in front of their fireplaces and remind themselves what a blast Survivor Gabon has been this season. And, there is ample opportunity to hop in and join all the shenanigans. Because this week, CBS managed to actually show not just some nicely edited recaps from the first several weeks, but it also unveiled some of the contestants’ application videos. Some were quite revealing because it helped explain some of the treacherous and evil behavior of some of the castaways up to now.

Before we go through a castaway-by-castaway rundown on where the current or remaining survivors are now, and what their individual pathology seems to be, it’s worth doing a brief recap on the aforementioned GREATEST EPISODE EVER, the most outlandish and sinfully funny climax to any Survivor in the history of the show. So how did we get here?

Randy and Corinne became a very bitter pair after their alliance partners had been picked off, almost one by one, by a group of people they would probably call “losers”. But they’re not. They are just not the most physically dominant, either. Both watched as Jacquie, then Marcus, then Charlie were voted out by swing votes by Ken, Crystal and especially Susie. Later, they somehow added Matty and Sugar to the mix, since the “other” alliance is actually the five of them. So rancorous is Corinne’s hatred for Susie that she seems to shake and show seething anger. I was almost ready to ascribe her rage at dowdy Susie, the 40-something-housewife as not wanting someone brown-skinned around. But her anger is deeper. More about that later.

Everyone’s talking about the “event” that took place. Actually, it’s better to call it a “non-event”. Would you believe that 1) Randy and Corinne are dense and stupid and that 2) they would believe that Bob was smart enough to find the hidden immunity idol on Exile Island and 3) that Bob could be convinced to use it on Randy? The audacity! Then again, why would he? Why would Bob want to save his alliance partner when Randy was hell bent on being the most obnoxious and odious Survivor ever –especially as a strategy (!) in this episode. No, Crystal he is worse than a “troll”. He is a reprobate. Telling Susie to “shut the fuck up” and saying to Matty that he was “whoring himself out” –well, that’s pitiful.

Let me back up a bit. Randy’s evilness has been pervasive all along. But it reared its ugly and smelly head during one of Survivor’s famous, patented food auctions. The survivors are given money to bid on items that either covered or uncovered. Real food for starving, desperate contestants. See how Sugar devoured that small bowl of chocolate squares with peanut butter. Randy grabbed the cold beer and peanuts. Even Susie got a hot bath and toiletries —-which, wouldn’t you know it, she climbed into (and out of) right there on camera. Yikes. Ken bid on sending a member to Exile Island, and take that person’s money. (He sent Bob.) Corinne bid on and won an advantage in the next Immunity Challenge.

Then the Cookie Incident. Randy and Sugar, whom he detests, got into it about his cookies that he was obligated to pass out. She refused. Later he offered her again, but then he gave her cookie to Matty. Randy was offended. Sugar didn’t care. Randy felt emasculated or simply bothered by all this, and he went on and on, whining about it all, and not caring that he was about to start what is essentially a bitch festival that he was the star of. As he made himself more and more hateful –as if there was a limit to this—he and Corinne concocted a plan in which they would assume Bob had the idol and that he would use it to save Randy.

What they didn’t know was that in his first visit to the island, Bob didn’t find it, which he told Sugar. See, Sugar has the idol. She didn’t tell him she had it. In fact, neither Corinne or Randy know she has it. (The others do). She marveled at the creative chops it took for Bob to make a makeshift but phony idol. Later, she hatched a brilliant (though mean, in a schadenfreude way) plan to have Bob give the fake idol to Randy so he could use it, and in that way totally humiliate him because he would have received 4 votes to oust him. Bob agreed but not necessarily because he wanted Randy’s comeuppance; he wanted to see how much leverage that would give him this day forward. As it stood, he was in the alliance with Corinne and Randy still.

When Tribal Council came, the stage was all set. Randy was so extremely smug, even chafing at the mention that he would be sent home –a possibility held out by Jeff. He said he would be angry if he were sent home, and in his
he probably
believed this because
he was
minutes away from
“saving himself”
in his mind he probably believed this because he was minutes away from “saving himself” with the fake idol. This was too rich. This was positively diabolical since the only people who didn’t know what was about to transpire were Randy and Corinne —and possibly Jeff (although that’s debatable). The mood was totally palpable. Giggles. Stifled smiles and laughter. Sugar, for all her craftiness and smarts in finding that idol on Exile Island, sure isn’t much of an actress. Neither is Crystal, who almost can’t help herself either. And then the moment:  Randy tries stoically and defiantly to give Jeff the immunity idol before everyone is to vote, thus trying to ensure that he won’t subsequently be voted out. He then smugly goes back to sit down. The next moment is priceless, and this is why I think Jeff was in on it –he deliberately seems to mock him by revealing slowly that “this” is not the immunity idol. Cock of the head in surprise for Randy, burying of head into hands for Corinne, and cackles of laughter by the rest. Randy was pwned big time on national TV and it was all there for millions to see. As Conan O’Brien’s red on-screen graphic screams, this was a big “ASS” moment.

The rest went as planned –with Randy, Corinne and Bob voting for Susie, and Ken, Crystal, Matty, Sugar and Susie voting Randy’s ass out. It’s interesting and smart (perhaps) that Bob still voted for Susie and thus upheld his alliance’s wishes, even if it was he who gave the fake idol to Randy. He could credibly make the claim that he thought it was real when he gave it to Randy and thus maintain his innocence. We know better and we’re all glad that he agreed to Sugar’s idea to humiliate Randy in the most wretched and fitting way. This now leaves a very scared Corinne and a Bob who may or may not defect to the Underdogs alliance. Stay tuned.

The recap show was mostly a way to get everyone caught up. About the only real interesting bit was a uproarious bit of deleted footage of Corinne. And all I can say is that she is far worse than we have imagined. Here we thought she was just evil for no reason —bossy sales rep, would sell you in a heartbeat, mad, obsessive, may even eat her own offspring. Why did she hate others so much, like Susie? Well now we know: she is a former sorority girl! Who knew? Well of course she is on a path of destruction, of not letting anyone get in her way, of trampling and savagely choking any other rodents in her path. Yeah, we get it. And when she went ballistic in that off camera interview whilst her tribe was eating that reward feast a few weeks back, saying they didn’t know what a cornichon was, well, that was it. Cornichon! She is so above this! She will either be next or she will continue her rampage. And oh yeah, Randy’s psychosis explanation? He lost his dog a few years back.

Week 9 Reward Challenge Winner: All except for Bob
Reward: Beer and peanuts, spaghetti and meatballs, burger and fries, chocolate and peanut butter
Immunity Challenge Winner: Ken
Player of the Week: Bob, for taking a risk

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