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Meanwhile, Back at the Ranch: Survivor Ponderosa Videos – Episode 7by William Hammon -- 04/03/2011
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Welcome, readers, to the return of the Life at Ponderosa series for Survivor: One World. For those unfamiliar with this little diversion, here’s a quick overview.
Starting a few years ago (I want to say around the time of the Cook Islands season), the producers had the rather brilliant idea (seriously, no sarcasm) to show the audience what happens to the individual members of the jury after they’re voted out of the game. This web-only series was developed to show us all what life is like after “the tribe has spoken.”
Once the jury phase begins, the individual jurors are sequestered together in a resort with the rest of the crew. As the days wind down in the main game, the jurors welcome new members, have new adventures of their own, begin the process of adjusting to real life again, and most importantly, speculate about who deserves to be crowned “Sole Survivor” and be given the million-dollar prize.
For the last two seasons, the series has been delayed by a couple of weeks because of the Extended Failure Island format (we still love you, Cochran). Even though there were several votes post-merge, there were no jurors until players lost their duel (or truel, quattruel, etc.). Now that this element of the game has at least been temporarily retired, we can return to the normal format for the series.
Jonas, Part One
The first step in returning to the normal format is the reinstatement of the traditional opening for the series. We begin at Tribal Council, where host Jeff Probst reveals the vote that seals Jonas’ doom. The vote is announced, Jonas gathers his things, Probst snuffs his torch, and the jury phase officially begins!
As Jonas walks down the dark path away from the Tribal Council set, he tells us that he went out exactly the way he wanted to. He went down with a fight. Echoing the sentiments of millions of fans, he adds that he would have paid money for the opportunity to play this game. The fact that he could have won money is just a bonus.
Per Ponderosa tradition, Jonas’ first stop is to a medical hut to get checked out by the on-set doctors. As is customary, he steps on a scale to learn how much weight he lost in the great outdoors. Jonas is excited to learn that he’s lost about 12 pounds during his time in the game. He feels like he’s in the best shape of his life, and he hopes to maintain the weight loss. If the previous seasons are any indication, as the first juror, he’ll eat so much at Ponderosa over the next few weeks that he’ll actually have a net gain for his troubles.
Jonas gets into the waiting SUV and makes the trek to Ponderosa proper. As there has been in previous seasons, there is food and drink waiting for him in the vehicle. In past seasons, many players have gone immediately for chocolate and/or peanut butter (I blame Heidi and Jenna for this obsession), but for Jonas, all he cares about is eating a simple cheese sandwich and drinking a bottle of clean, cold water.
Upon arrival, Jonas goes to the titular Ponderosa area, which is really just a rather large covered patio. When he enters, there is already a dinner buffet waiting for him (and for the rest of the crew), courtesy of head chef Simon. Simon “makes [Jonas’] year” by offering a dish of miso and fish. Remember that Jonas himself is a sushi chef, so such a dish is right up his alley.
We spend the next few moments watching Jonas have a mild orgasm as he eats his dinner, which consists of fish, miso, rice, chicken, and salad. With each bite he moans with contentment. In between mouthfuls, he sputters out that he’s never enjoyed eating food so much in his entire life.
After the meal, Jonas checks out his home for the next several days. I didn’t notice at first due to the darkness, but this season’s Ponderosa resort is the same location as last season (which sort of makes sense – no point in complicating matters by booking two different resorts when you film your seasons nearly back to back).
This season’s jury, like last season, will live in individual tents situated inside tiny gazebos. Inside are a small bed and a shelving unit, as well as a fan, which is operated via an electrical outlet mounted on the side of the gazebo. That kind of sucks, because it means Jonas has to keep his tent partially open in order to use the fan, which invites bugs to sneak in while he sleeps, completely defeating the purpose of having a tent.
Jonas’ possessions are also waiting for him inside the tent. He scrounges around for a few basic toiletries, including a new toothbrush and paste, as well as his nail grooming kit, as he shows us where he sliced his fingernails with the hunting knife at camp a few days previous. More important than all those items, however, is his floss. He celebrates mildly when he finds it, which even he notes is a bit weird. “I mean, who gets stoked over floss?” Jonas asks the camera.
Announcing that he’s going to take a much needed shower, Jonas grabs a towel and heads for the communal bathroom. Once inside, he looks at himself in a mirror for the first time in nearly three weeks. He’s stunned by his appearance, noting his beard and chest in particular. He describes the experience as being akin to meeting a stranger he’s known his whole life. The clip ends with Jonas telling us that he’s just going to relax, eat whatever he wants, and enjoy everything that Ponderosa has to offer.1 2 Next-->
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