Survivor Psyche, Episode 6: Banishedby Melinda Smith and Suzanne Tromblay -- 03/25/2003
A shocked Christy confronts Dave, Roger, and Butch as to why she wasn't voted out at Tribal Council instead of Jeanne. Roger gives the reason that Jeanne had skills comparable to Butch's, while Christy had "different strengths" - which was news to Dave. He was under the impression they were voting out Jeanne as part of a status quo "she was going anyway" decision. Christy is very pleased at Butch and Roger's compliments and nods happily. Heidi twitches. She explains her decision to vote for Jeanne by saying that not voting with the men meant "they wouldn't be a team(?)" Again, Heidi represents one of the worst female stereotypes - the brainless twit who can't make a decision for herself if a dominant male is around - or two, or three. A team of three women doesn't seem to count.
Further shocks await the women in the morning, when the men cavalierly go off to fish, leaving Christy and Heidi to dig out a new latrine. Heidi is so startled at this treatment, she actually speaks directly to Christy, more or less. "Did I make the right decision? This is a bunch of - crap!" she confides in all seriousness to the camera, with an occasional glance toward Christy.
Alex, Matt, and Rob are enjoying the perks of the Jaburu compound - plenty of toothpaste, female attention, and soft bedding. Rob sees teeth brushing as a lure to attract women. "Does anyone wanna make out with me right now?" The only response comes from Alex; not the gender Rob had in mind.
Even though Deena was "rattled" when the guys first appeared, she confesses to the camera how fascinating they are and how she "adores" them. But Jenna is the one who is the most guarded, rarely smiling and keeping her distance. She's a one-dimensional Walt Disney ice princess, shutting herself away in her ivory tower. The men are a threat she has yet to figure out how to deal with. The camera has been a buffer between her and the opposite sex til now. The gender split kept the men at a safe and familiar distance, but now, all the rules are out the window.
Now we move to Shawna, Jenna's polar opposite, in terms of friendliness and charm. Shawna welcomes the men with open arms, even to the extent of becoming the communal pillow during co-ed naptime. She turns her love light on Alex full blast, but Matt is also drawn towards her warmth like a moth to the flame. Her many layers of grunginess don't seem to be a turnoff for them. As for Rob, he's on the outside looking in again, making his usual snide comments. He's like the Peeping Tom outside the bedroom window of the slumber party.
Reward Challenge: Take a Dive
"Give Your Meals a Helping Hand." Deena remarks to Rob, "We can safely assume we have graduated from Coke to food," when they pick up the mail. The challenge consists of a balancing act on a log placed over a mud pit. The prize is a basket of fruit and spices. Two players face off at a time by gender. Everyone is evenly matched - with a few surprises. Principal Butch, not the buffest bit of man-meat in the jungle, manages to outplay both his opponents. Heidi the gym teacher is trounced by hers. But the most satisfying match-up is between Christy and her arch-nemesis Jenna. Christy sends sinks Jenna's battleship not once but twice, indulging in more and more expressive happy dances each time. Christy's final encounter against Jenna was the winning one for the Tambaqui tribe. Everyone celebrates by breaking into their own victory dance versions, much like the party scene in A Charlie Brown Christmas. (Christy was Snoopy!)
Jenna consoles herself with this explanation of her tribe's behavior. "We're still together as a tribe, so we're gonna take a bath to celebrate." Her voice rises into the "perky" register at the end of her speech, as in "I'm still cute!"
Deena delivers another flawless observation in her inimitable deadpan style. "The communal bath involved a lot of little pecking and brushing and monkey grooming." (We're wondering how much time was dedicated to de-lousing Shawna's mane. Meeeoowch!)
Jenna is swimming in familiar waters during the bath. The camera lingers on her leopard-themed bikini as she methodically strikes a pose in the water. Jenna is used to displaying her body to its best advantage for the admiring gaze of others. Despite her beauty, Jenna is still an Ice Queen. The bath water comes in three temperatures: hot for Shawna, warm for Momma Deena, and ice cold for Jenna. Those poor frozen piranhas never knew what hit them.
Rob is so agitated by the experience, he nearly blurts out his inner dialogue to the group. "I just took a bath with two hot chicks. One was a swimsuit model - I'd like to repeat - One was a swimsuit model," he gushes to the camera. (Yeah, the closest you'll ever get to her is drinking her bath water, dork, and don't think we'd put it past you. Well, it would be the coldest drink in the jungle.)
Despite Rob's constant self-congratulating as to his game playing abilities, all he can do during the bath is gape and drool. "Oooh! Boobs!" But prosecutor Deena is the master player. "I'm sittin' back suckin' it all in cause I know where the players are playin' and I know where the players aren't playin'."
Fruits of their Labors
Back in Tambaqui camp the victors enjoy the spoils of war. Butch singles out Christy for her performance during the challenge. He makes a pointed reference to Christy's triumph over Jenna, who gave Christy the cold-shoulder on so many previous occasions. "I needed her to go down like that," Christy confesses.
Principal Butch is so inspired by Christy's achievement he calls it "a defining moment" in his life. "Last night when Christy realized we kept her for her talent and the smile that came across her face was unbelievable. And then today, when she climbed out of that water, she knew her value, she knew she was one of us." Christy begins to take on a glow brighter than a tropical sun. "I strive through my whole life trying to prove that to people, to show people that there's nothing wrong with me," she says simply. Butch gives Christy a hug, saying, "You don't have a disability, that's how I feel about it." (Christy is building a relationship with Butch, and also Roger, as seen in last week's episode, as profound as that of Rodger and Elizabeth from Survivor: Australia and Paschal and Neleh from Survivor: Marquesas.)
Castles in the Air
Evil court jester Rob states that Alex is losing his momentum by choosing to "make friends" versus playing the game. (Who would you rather hang out with, Rob or Shawna?) Then Rob hits on a brilliant scheme: join in an alliance with the other odd-(wo)man out, Deena. Deena readily accepts Rob's proposal, calling it an "alliance of the hungry."
Rob then stalks his next strategic dupe, Matthew the cosmopolitan chef, entrepreneur, and cream of whatever social circles he's used to inhabiting. Instead of getting rid of Matthew, Rob has decided he needs his vote. "He's annoying, but I'll have to suck it up." (Funny, that's how everyone else feels about you.) Rob approaches Matt with the fairy tale that it's still a guy thing for them and Alex until the merge, when they'll vote off Dave or Roger.
Naive Matthew is completely suckered by Rob's "I'm just shy and always liked you, really!" approach. "It was a really nice," says sentimental Matthew. "It seemed like a real genuine offer." (Matthew makes Dave, the previous Tambaqui star child, look like a hard-boiled cynic by comparison. Matthew reminds us of a fairy tale prince, whose life in the castle has left him ill prepared for dealing with the knaves and ruffians of the "real" world.)
The kids indulge in a session of "The Dating Game" when Shawna proclaims that the men can compete for her grubby hand by coming up with imaginary dream date scenarios. Alex goes first (of course) with a nice, basic outline of their date. Matthew goes next, and his offering is like a classic fairy tale. He dreams of sweeping Shawna off her filth-encrusted little feet to his Neuschwanstein in the clouds. But schmoozy Rob wins the contest by exploiting his gift for telling other people exactly what they want to hear, in this case, Shawna. His dream date of a snowy winter afternoon in New York has Shawna and Jenna in girly raptures. "That was the most incredible date ever!" (In reality, we're betting that Rob's version of an ideal date with Shawna involves him sitting naked, watching Internet porn. Shawna minces in wearing a Victoria's Secret number while holding a plate of nachos and a couple of Zimas. Later, Rob has her pop the zits on his back while telling him how studly he is.)
The next day, Matt/Lancelot approaches his ladylove as she sleeps in her tarantula-strewn bower. He slips his ruggedly handsome head onto Sleeping Beauty's lap before Alex/Arthur can intervene. (Look up "cuckold" in the dictionary, kids.) Deena La Fay watches and plots. "Anybody who gets together exclusively with somebody poses a threat to me."
Immunity Challenge: Feeding Frenzy
The tribes get a giant leg bone with an inscription alluding to an eating challenge. "I don't want to meet the dog this goes to," Butch tells Christy. Giant hunks of meat at the challenge grounds greet the two tribes. Jeff instructs the hungry campers to have at it, but he wants them to go bobbing for gristle without the benefit of using their hands. They must tear off mouthfuls of meat and drop it into baskets suspended from scales. The tribe with the most beef in their basket wins. We haven't seen so many grotesque shots of bloody meat hanging out of people's mouths since we ran into Anna Nicole Smith at the Golden Corral. We were even treated to shots of teammates helping each other out by pulling meat out of one another's mouths like human dental floss. In the end, Tambaqui wins by a "tiny margin."
At first, a teary Shawna offers herself up for the vote. But when Alex says his vote is going Matt's way, Shawna decides she's in it for the long haul. The realization that the vote is going to either Shawna or Matt throws Rob's plans into a tailspin. "I've been putting a lot of energy into talking to this guy, which is absolutely exhausting, trying to get him on my side. Now that I've got the guy in the palm of my hand, we're gonna vote him off!"
Tribal Council: Banished
Probst brings up the whole "dateability" thing, by saying everyone has a weird vibe, and asking about the tribe's interaction. Deena, extra-blunt at Tribal Council, declares, "There's some sexual heat there." When Matthew admits to Probst that he feels his role is that of provider, Rob goes into extreme eye-roll mode. (He's so blatant in his mockery, we thought even oblivious Matthew would have to notice. But no, the Dream King is still safe in his Utopian reverie.)
But, it's dear, sweet Shawna's fate to be the sacrificial victim tonight. She neatly offers herself up, with innocent declarations of loyalty and camaraderie. Like Eve from her Eden, Shawna is cast out of her earthly paradise of torrid tropical nights and handsome swains.
Next week: Heidi makes good on her threat to unleash her concealed weapons during a challenge. But naked skeletoid Heidi resembles Medusa more than a Siren to an astounded Butch. "My eyes! My eyes!"
Let's look at the players.
Butch: Your motivational skills are helping your star pupil Christy to blossom. Maybe it's all that fertilizer you've exposed her and Heidi to when delegating chores.
Dave: You've joined Roger and Butch in appreciating Christy's potential. You made her face the fact that she would prevail in the challenge.
Christy: You've shucked off the mantle of oppression and let your light shine. Your bubbly and fun personality now has free reign. Cinderella is having a ball. Not even latrine duty can get you down.
Roger: You showed your manliness this week by affirming Christy's intrepid spirit. Beauty has tamed the Beast. You're a kinder, gentler spirit and we're really enjoying it.
Heidi: Your vote against Jeanne has left you vulnerable in your new tribe. Christy is now the golden girl, and you're the Ugly Duckling. Here's a tip: actually make eye contact in your "conversations" with Christy.
Alex: You showed the rest of your tribe your Achilles' heel, Cuddlekins. Now that Shawna is gone, who is left for you to ally with? Start flirting with the Ice Queen and see what happens.
Deena: You've managed to reassert yourself as Top Dog instead of Underdog this week. Use your skills and experience as a prosecutor when analyzing any words that fall from Rob's forked tongue.
Matthew: The clock has struck midnight, and your carriage has left with the princess. Don't let that snake charm you, but see him for the frog he is.
Rob: Your Slytherin insight has allowed you to play Deena and Matthew to your advantage. You were able to suck up your irritation and use Matthew's naiveté, instead of just getting rid of him. Beware of letting your Cloak of Invisibility drop or the Griffendors will see you for what you really are.
Jenna: The cheerleading squad is officially kaput. Even if you manage to hook up with the other stepsister, Heidi, after the merge, you have no solid alliances anymore. You'd better find a Fairy Godmother in Deena or you'll soon be joining Shawna in exile.
Shawna: You found your Prince Charming, but the other denizens of the Kingdom were not charmed by your Fairy Tale romance. Take your place at the tower window while you await your Prince's return.
Melinda Smith is a technical illustrator and writer with a background in graphic arts. She and her family live in Cincinnati, Ohio. Her sister, Suzanne Tromblay, is a licensed social worker with the State of Ohio. Melinda can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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