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Survivor Psyche, Episode 2: Granola Barredby Melinda Smith and Suzanne Tromblay -- 02/25/2003
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The Jaburu women still haven't gotten their camp together. Their "shelter" consists of three pixie sticks roped together with slivers of grass in a lovely palm frond motif. Their drinking water is tainted with essence of dainties, thanks to Jenna. And even with some Moms in the tribe, breakfast consists of scorched manioc gruel, thanks to Heidi. "I tried to burn it a little bit more, since it was wet in there," she explains to the others. Thanks to the added maggots, there was an extra dash of protein. (We wonder what the Iron Chef could do with that secret ingredient.)
Mark Burnett has provided the tribes with an opportunity to compete on an even playing field with this Reward Challenge. The teams are blindfolded with the exception of a team leader, and sent out two-by-two to pick up puzzle pieces, guided by the sound of their leader's voice. The women elect expressive and uninhibited JoAnna to call out directions. The men appear to have selected a good candidate to call out instructions in Principal Butch. After all, doesn't he get paid to remember everyone's names, make snap decisions, and order everyone else around? Butch botches the job and wastes valuable time by stumbling over the guys' names while they stumble over obstacles thanks to Butch's confusing verbal directions. It ends up with the women sprinting through the course and whipping the puzzle together. Who would have believed that a bunch of women would be so excited over a jar full of smelly fish bits? We're told that the chum makes excellent fish bait. So far, it's only a fish story.
Over in Boys Town, the producers would have us believe that it's all a good-humored male campout. Because the men have a completed shelter, they have the luxury of sitting around, instigating arguments, and scheming. We know who was paying attention in Home Ec - it was Matthew the chef! He handily grilled up some very toothsome manioc croquettes. He's a Will without a Grace. They're fishin' and boatin' and scratchin' to their hearts' content. On the surface, it resembles an episode of The Andy Griffith Show in the barbershop, where the good old boys are hanging out. Until you see what gets stirred up in their leisure time.
Roger introduces his pet diatribe in a circuitous manner, by first claiming that "he's OK with it," "doesn't bother me," etc., until the usual dogmatic rant emerges. "I don't like to see 'em flauntin' it though." Uh, oh. Flaming alert! (It's the old macho homophobic 'tude. Who would have thought Roger would be so narrow-minded?) He's trying to draw easy-going Alex into agreeing with him. But Alex resists coming over to the Dark Side, and tries to fend Darth Roger off with polite rejoinders. (Melinda expected Roger to whip out his utility Bible here to cement his position on why homosexuality is "not natural - period!") Alex finally brings the rant to a halt by asking Roger if he'd only "procreated twice." Daniel sits on the sidelines, blinking nervously, while his elders spar. Meanwhile, would-be Machiavelli Rob watches from the bleachers, perfecting his game plan to lure Alex over to the youngsters' team.
But the men weren't the only ones subject to a fanatical diatribe. Deena previews the upcoming pyrotechnics by saying that, "half the tribe went a little nutty." When darkness falls, a lightning-storm rolls in, backlighting the immunity idol. (Suzanne says it reminds her of an old Night Gallery episode, where the idol comes to life and attacks JoAnna.) While the women are huddled in their rainslickers under the dripping frond roof of their shelter, JoAnna of Arc spouts off in a trance-like mumbo jumbo. "When the devil met the (mumble) in a tournament - they try to steal our roof." (Huh…? Suzanne suspects that JoAnna is suffering from a bad case of ergot poisoning. Here's your history lesson kids. Remember the Salem Witch Hunts of the 17th century? Some historians believe that cause of the religious paranoia and delusions that led to the witch hunts was a particular mold that grew on the rye eaten by the Puritans. This mold caused hallucinations, paranoia, and delusional thinking, consistent with the behavior of Cotton Mather and his ilk. Perhaps the moldy manioc may be to blame.) JoAnna is obsessed with the heathen creature lurking in their midst. The idol is evil, she claims, and is the reason they're experiencing rain in the rainforest. The more worked up JoAnna gets, the more rapid-fire her rehearsed religious spiel becomes. The idol is so heinous, JoAnna believes that "as soon as we lose - we lose the idol(!)" Like we did with Janet last week, we are forced to ask, "have you ever watched this show before, woman? Are you willing to lose a challenge to satisfy your religious fanaticism?" And, this occurs while the other women are trying to sleep! When someone asks if JoAnna would whisper (let alone SHUT UP!!!) JoAnna snaps "No." Just like Roger, she thinks her moral imperative justifies steamrolling over everyone else, even to the exclusion of good manners and common sense. And she's a guidance counselor?1 2 3 Next-->
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