Riding Coattails: Taking One For The Team

The theme of Survivor’s episode this week was definitely team players versus individual players. And it looks like some people (cough, Ami) can’t decide where they stand in their strategy. The opening argument among the Lopevi men set the tone of the entire show, when Bubba was arguing with his tribemates about his tendency to hog the prime seat by the fire. Sarge said, “We didn’t come out here to be individuals,” which fits perfectly with everything he stands for. My question to Sarge would be, are you going to hold tight to that philosophy once a merge occurs?

Not even the skillful editors at CBS could make the outcome of this week’s tribal council suspenseful. Bubba was gone, no question, and everyone knew why. It’s a shame, really, because anyone who has the chutzpah to walk onto a national television stage clad in a Bob Barker shirt (and an orange one, no less) is someone I’d like to see a lot more of. When the season began, some fans of the show were touting Bubba as the next Big Tom. Um, not quite. He has the accent and the funky sayings, but not the staying power. And I have to wonder if he dances.

The whole switch-up was a lot of fun to watch. I burst into a fit of giggles when the Vanuatu natives left Sarge standing on the beach wearing his groovy new chief necklace and clutching his totem with the most bewildered, unchieflike look in his eyes. I doubled over again when Scout made the exact same face two minutes later. All hail the fearless leaders!

And my prediction that Julie and young John will hook up is coming closer to fruition. They’re on the same tribe now and the previews for next week show Julie taking it all off, most likely as a ploy to keep herself around. No doubt the boys all had to go off into the jungle and calm themselves down after exposure to that luscious sight.

Twila may not have the same killer bod to shield her from votes, but she certainly has the ability to kick it with the males. It was so endearing to see her bonding with Chris over construction stories. I find myself liking Twila more and more. I’m genuinely pleased that she’s now in her element. She deserves to stay.

And Ami doesn’t. Her behavior in this episode was incredibly cold and hypocritical. Exhibit A: the coconut incident. Lisa wanted to show Bubba and Rory her new, Dah-taught coconut splitting skills and Ami got all bitchy about it, saying that they didn’t need to show the boys all of their secrets. Yo, Ms. Thang, if you were truly team-minded, this kind of us versus them attitude would never have occurred to you. But it did.

Exhibit B: Ami said, “I’m sticking with the ladies” and “[The guys] need to prove themselves or they’re out of here.” It’s understandable that Ami wanted to hold with her original alliance, but by not even giving the new guys a chance, she’s in effect saying that her “team” really consists only of the females. When Bubba asked her something like, “Are y’all planning to vote for me?”, “y’all” ostensibly referring to the women, she totally blew him off and told him to talk to the boss, adding, “I don’t do that whole y’all thing.” Yeah, obviously.

I have to wonder if there’s any hope left for Rory. I cracked up when, at tribal council, he spoke of taking his lumps from the women. This is coming from the guy that I slammed so emphatically in past columns for his misogynistic remarks in the first couple of episodes. Oh, how the story changes when women are actually present! His act is probably very convincing to the women, but I wonder what they’d think of him if they’d been privy to his previous comments. If they want a guy with a more respectful attitude toward females, they’ll have to do a recount on Bubba’s ousting and bring him back.

On a final note, I’d like to publicly state that I think Jeff Probst’s behavior on the show has reached an unprecedented level of jerkiness. As the Yasur tribe stood before him after the immunity challenge, he lectured them about how much they sucked and how they’d done “some of the worst paddling” he’d ever seen. OK, biggus dickus, I want to see you hop into that outrigger canoe and paddle it with the agility of the Amazon’s Mateo. Give them a break, already. They know they blew. I think Mark Burnett should seriously consider running a season in which Jeff alone competes against a tribe of eight players so he can finally show us how it’s really done. And Burnett should allow Richard Hatch to fulfill his dream of acting as host, handing a starving Mr. Probst one-eighth of a Pringle chip and verbally assaulting him when he fails to single-handedly build a 20-foot bonfire faster than the other team. I’ll never happen, but it’s a lovely thought.