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Surviving the Amazon, Episode 1: Behind the 8-Ballby David Bloomberg -- 02/14/2003
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Survivor fans have waited two long months, but now it's finally time to head to the Amazon for the long-awaited battle of the sexes. Ah, but the contestants did not arrive knowing that they would be split by tribe. Instead, after host Jeff Probst tells us it's 103 degrees, there are crocs and piranha and anacondas - oh my - then he reads names and tells the players to individually climb down the rope ladder to the first boat. Woman. Woman. Woman. Woman. Woman. Hey! When the fifth woman's name is called, everybody suddenly realizes that something funny is going on there. Looks are exchanged all around. The women are in the Jaburu tribe, the men in Tambaqui. That may well be the last time I use those names, because it's a lot easier to say, "the women" or "the men."
Deena says she is overjoyed that she's on an all-female team. They can let their hair down and pee in front of each other. Well… isn't that special?
Roger begins the list of manly men comments by saying the women may have the will, but not the strength. Daniel says the guys are pumped - there is no way the women will beat them, whether in physical or mental challenges. They will never go to Tribal Council. Big words, guys, big words. In fact, Jenna says they are so cocky that it makes the women want to win even more just to shut them up.
Probst tells them all a story about Amazon women warriors. Then he tosses them maps to camp and tells them there are meager supplies awaiting them there. Off they go, rowing on the river. Well, almost. The women can't get their boat untied. Shawna says she feels so stupid as the guys row off.
Ryan isn't thrilled to be on a team of all guys. He says all of his pre-planned strategy is out the window, because now it's going to be one big sausagefest. Jenna feels similarly about her team, as she can't use her womanly powers to manipulate the women like she could the men. In case you've forgotten, Jenna is the swimsuit model.
The men arrive at camp and are excited to get going, build a fire, and make shelter. They discuss how if they lose, they won't be able to return home. But they aren't worried. Ryan says a lot of the girls are "eye candy" and not very useful.
In their supplies, they find five gallons of water, fish hooks, flint, lanterns, a pot, machetes, manioc flour, and a box that says they can't open it 'til they get the key - when they least expect it. Rob is pumped because his parents never would let him have a machete.
When the women get to their camp, Christy reveals to them that she is deaf and asks them to look at her when they speak. Also, she wants that hidden from the men. Jenna wonders privately how Christy will be able to work with the group.
Back with the men, Butch suggests everybody walk around, check the place out, and then return to discuss. He openly acknowledges that nobody wants to be the leader because that's the first person voted off. Good man - he's done his homework! Rob says that when you meet a guy named Butch from Illinois, you think he's a redneck. But not this one - he's sharp and Rob likes him. Hello - people from Illinois are rednecks? Why I oughtta… You just wait, Rob - I'm gonna drive my pickup truck with the gun rack over to your house right after the NASCAR race and tell you a thing or two! (Full disclaimer: I don't have a pickup truck, nor a gun rack, though I have been getting into NASCAR in the past couple seasons. And I'm not named "Butch" anyway.)
All the men split the work in what seems to be an agreeable fashion. They make fire easily once they discover that the lanterns have kerosene in 'em. The women, however, are not having the same success. They try and try and try to build the fire, but without any luck. In fact, Shawna calls it a "fiasco." It's unclear if they don't know about the kerosene or what.
Even in the "working together" area, the women are not doing as well as the men. Deena brings people together to ask them what is important so they can do it. Heidi says Deena is too bossy and it the type where if six people want to do something but she doesn't, she'll dismiss the idea. Hmmm. Now paging Debb from Survivor 2 (and Patricia from Marquesas and… well, okay, there are plenty of 'em - enough that Deena should know better by now!). Eventually they split up to work on the shelter and fire.
The men, meanwhile, make a bed of fronds. Butch tells the others that he works with middle school kids and these kids aren't like them - they are not dreamers and don't have goals like these guys. He is prepping them so they don't think the banner he brought with is corny - it says, "Believe in Yourself." All the guys think it's a good motto.1 2 3 4 Next-->
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