Meanwhile, Back at the Ranch: Survivor Ponderosa Videos – Episode 8by William Hammon -- 04/10/2011
Michael, Part One
Host Jeff Probst reveals the final vote, sealing Mike’s fate as the second juror. Mike rises, walks to Probst, gets his torch snuffed, and we begin this week’s Ponderosa series.
As he walks down the long path away from Tribal Council, Mike voices over that for him, the trek felt a lot longer than it actually was, because as he walked, every step just reinforced the fact that the game was over for him. Still, he feels that after 22 days, it’s better to be backstabbed and blindsided than to know he was going.
Mike approaches the medical hut for the traditional post-game check-up and weigh-in (that was a lot of hyphenated words). He checks in at just over 181 pounds, a loss of about 14 since the game started. Also, for anyone who cares, the scales are no longer using the metric system. I guess the medics got tired of doing the conversion math. As he climbs into the waiting SUV, Mike adds that you can feel the weight slipping off of you every time you go to Tribal Council. As the fat in your butt starts to go away, those stools get more and more uncomfortable.
Inside the vehicle, Mike chows down on a sandwich and continues to geek out over his blindside. He says he trusted Kim 100%, and hopes that it wasn’t her who orchestrated his demise. According to the episode, she didn’t necessarily come up with the plan (as Kat came up with the same idea while Kim was on reward), but she did ensure its execution, including duping Troy and playing damage control with Jay. Mike adds that he didn’t expect to go until the former Manono was all gone. Part of me wonders if he expected to go right after that point, and if he’s just upset that he didn’t get the extra eight days or so that he had planned on having.
Mike arrives at Ponderosa, and as soon as he gets out, he shouts to Jonas in the distance, joking that he gets to spend the next three days with the one person who called him out as a threat at the last Tribal Council. He tells Jonas (who is waiting with a welcoming beer) that he’s happy to have been blindsided, and he adds that it was the girls who got him, meaning that they’re going to be seeing all the guys very soon.
Jonas welcomes Mike with a handshake, a hug, and (as previously mentioned) a beer, even though Jonas himself doesn’t drink. Once inside, Mike finds a mirror standing up in a chair, so he takes a good look at himself, announcing that he looks like an idiot, particularly with his scraggly beard and tan.
The two sit down to a dinner of roasted chicken and egg rolls (you can do that when you eat buffet-style). Jonas is thankful that Mike bears him no ill will. Mike tells us that being in the game makes you appreciate food, as well as friends and family. As fun and exciting as the game is, real friends and family members won’t backstab you.
After dinner, Mike heads to his tent/gazebo and immediately lies down on his bed. Even though it looks too small for him (he is pretty tall, after all), he instantly notes that it’s better than bamboo.
Mike then grabs as many toiletries as he can fit into one massive armload and heads off to the bathroom for a shower. On the way, he stops and shaves his beard off using a hand-held mirror as a guide. He tells us that he’s never had his facial hair this long before, and that it looks really goofy. Once the initial trim is complete, he enters the bathroom for his first shower in 23 days.
Michael, Part Two
A new day dawns at Ponderosa, and we find Mike enjoying a nice breakfast of eggs, bacon, and fruit. Stating the obvious, Mike says this is way better than sharing a cup of rice amongst 12 people. “This is a reward-challenge meal, right here,” he brags. Jonas laughs from off-camera.
The biggest difference for Mike is that he and Jonas are friends now. They really didn’t get along during the game, but now that they’re out, they’ve found that they have a lot in common, especially when it comes to game theory. They also both commiserate on the fact that they were taken out by the same people.
Mike introduces us to some of the features of the Ponderosa resort, particularly the TV room. It’s a mid-sized hut with lots of furniture, a big-screen TV, and hundreds of DVDs at their disposal. There’s also air conditioning, so Jonas takes the opportunity to nap on the couch.
Having a bit of an upset stomach from gorging himself, Mike walks down to the beach to just relax and let his stomach settle. Contrasting Ponderosa to the main game, Mike notes that in the game, you can sit on the beach and have a conversation with someone, and then five minutes later, you can see that person talking with one of your game adversaries, which allows you to become extremely paranoid. Here at Ponderosa, however, you can just sit and stare at the ocean, and be at peace.
Back at his tent, the editors play some tuba music while Jonas shows us his stomach. He’s gained nine pounds in the last four days. When he arrived at Ponderosa, it almost looked like he had six-pack abs; now he’s got a little bit of a gut again. This concerns him, so he decides to work out. He takes a jog around the resort, then performs some triceps lifts using some patio furniture. As he tells us, it’s the first time he’s broken a sweat since he’s been here, apart from eating too fast.
It’s dinnertime, and Mike has nothing but praise for Chef Simon. I can’t even tell what they’re eating (it looks like falafel and crab cakes, but I can’t be sure), but Mike calls it “insane.” He compares it to the types of meals that people pay hundreds of dollars for in five-star restaurants, and yet they get it for free, whenever they want it, and as much of it as they want. Call me crazy, but I’d still rather have a million dollars.
On the morning before the next Tribal Council, both Mike and Jonas are suffering for their epicurean excess. They’ve both gained back almost every pound they lost in the game, and they have severe indigestion, so they’re limiting themselves to coconut milk.
Mike decorates a seashell with some designs from this season of the show, and tells us how excited he is for his first Tribal Council as a juror. He loves the fact that he’ll be clean and well-dressed while everyone else is dirty and grungy. He just wants to sit back and enjoy the show, because he’ll be passing judgment on all of them. He and Jonas wish they could bring a tub of popcorn with them. The clip ends, as always, with Probst introducing the jury at the next Tribal Council.
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If Bill Hammon ever gets to Ponderosa, he promises to spend as much time as possible in the TV room. If he has to go a month without TV, he might as well make up for lost time. You can reach him at email@example.com or follow him at twitter.com/WilliamJHammon. You can also subscribe to his podcast on iTunes or at realityrant.podomatic.com.
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