Survivor Psyche, Episode 10: (AL)Exedby Melinda Smith and Suzanne Tromblay -- 05/01/2003
A Mayzie Kind of Day
It's Spring Break for Alex, Heidi, Jenna, and Rob as they laze in the heat of the tropical sun. Kingpin Alex assures us of his compatriots' superiority, both in numbers and "coolness." "It's a little bit like High School. Jenna, Heidi, Rob and I have the luxury of doing a little less work because we have a majority and the other three know it." Wait a minute - this is precisely the same grandiose speech that we've heard from previous ringleaders. Alex seems to have come down with the same case of Elephantiasis of the Ego that Dave, Roger, and Deena suffered from.
While the help toils to provide firewood, fish, and fresh water for the tribe, the lazy birds openly ridicule Christy, Butch, and Matthew. "They need to get their act together," mocks Jenna. "I'm booked all day trying to think of funny things to say," pipes The Cat in the Hat. "And I'm booked all day trying to think of a really cool outfit to wear to the challenge," Jenna preens. Jenna takes time from her sunbath to show off her warm and fuzzy side. She's an only child who's used to being spoiled rotten by her parents, she tells the camera, and loves having a "core group of people" who idolize her to help her cope. Heidi tells us that Jenna is worried about her mom who has cancer.
But the ripe odor of revolt is wafting up from the servant's quarters. Head Scullery Maid Christy lodges a protest against the unfair working conditions in camp. It's hard to keep a good work attitude, she says, while the others are doing "jack sh*t." Her fellow flunkeys chime in. "I find their behavior to be incomprehensible," Matthew muses in his courtly way. "Maybe the final four will be made up of Jenna, Heidi, Rob and Alex, but by betraying the other three members of the tribe and treating them like dirt, they've basically guaranteed that Butch, Christy, and myself will vote against them if anyone of them makes it to the final two." Butch, Christy, and Matthew gape in astonishment when they arrive back in camp to find the fab four sunning on a beach blanket. Butch struggles manfully with his feelings of outrage. "That's just … ridiculous!" he sputters.
Reward Challenge: Sharing the Wealth
Heidi and Jenna prove that they are different in more ways than just hair color in their reaction to the Tree Mail. The sight of wallets stuffed with money sends Jenna shrieking back to camp, while Heidi gazes at the empty container in blank confusion. It's the Food Auction, of course, you silly girl! Everyone in camp, except Heidi, who seems to have been raised by Chinchillas, has been drooling with anticipation over this challenge. Appetites reach a fever pitch. ""Oh, My God! I am so excited I can't even control myself!" Jenna shudders as visions of peanut butter cups overcomes her. (Suzanne and Melinda place bets as to whether Jenna will opt to save valuable time by stripping before the event.)
Each player gets $500 to spend, with a hint by Probst that the auction will consist of more than just food. Heidi wins course #1, a plate of cheesecake. "It's all you've ever wanted," Probst deadpans. He prods Heidi gently to get her unstuck from the bidding table and back to the bleachers with her plate. "OK," she trots off obediently. Alex wins the Let's Make a Deal dud prize with a plate of manioc instead of lasagna. Matt fares better with a large order of fries, cheeseburger, and mayo. "He doesn't care. If it was gross, he'd eat it anyway!" Rob blurts out.
We finally get to the object of Jenna's affection. She gasps so loudly at the sight of peanut butter & chocolate platter she almost swallows her tongue. Lest we viewers forget Jenna's reaction to pb&c, Probst gives us a helpful reminder. "That's very familiar to Jenna and Heidi. They took their clothes off a few weeks ago." But it's all water off a duck's back (or a halter off a tramp's back, in this case) to Jenna. She focuses on her prize with ferocious intent and scores!
Butch wins his own heart's desire, a giant working man's breakfast. But that's not all - Probst pulls out a giant fluffy mattress roll and pillow. Go Butch! It's his first ever reward, and well deserved too. Mini auction items of energy bars, protein shakes and more cake go to Rob, Matthew, and Heidi. (Where's Christy's food, we wonder?) The last course is a giant steak dinner, won by Alex, who is roundly complimented by his alliance members. But dinner's not over yet. Probst has more surprises hidden behind the auction table. Tears start to fall as he pulls out a clutch of envelopes inscribed with the players' names. And you guessed it - they're up for bid, too. The producers have taken pains in this episode to convince us that Jenna is the deserving one, Jenna has the saddest story, Jenna is the one everyone has been clustering around. But Christy, the orphan at the table, has been quietly biding her time, and spends $340 to win her letter from home. She gets a congratulatory pat from Principal Butch as she collects her prize, but not a word from the other players.
All eyes are on poor Jenna, sobbing into her bandanna, and soaking up the sympathy of Rob, Alex, and Heidi. Probst finally breaks the mood. "I don't want this to be a bad thing." He pulls out the other envelopes and places them back on the auction table for more bids. "But only if Christy is good with it cause you paid a hefty price." Christy unhesitatingly nods yes. (Now here's where it gets weird. We realize we've been cutting Jenna no slack in this article, and we'll get to that later. Even though Jenna has shown zero friendliness or support to Christy throughout this game, we thought for sure Jenna would at least pretend to be grateful for the enormous kindness Christy now shows her. Think so too? Read on.)
All the other players agree that Jenna's letter should be put up for bid. If Jenna's cohorts were so concerned about her happiness, why they didn't pool their money in the first place, we can't figure out. Even now, Heidi bumbles into Jenna's territory with her own bid, but Jenna graciously chooses to ignore the action. She uses her last $120 to win her own letter. And, on her way back to her seat, Jenna says - wait for it - "Thanks, guys." That's right. Not "Thanks, Christy," not even a token grimace in Christy's direction that could be taken as a smile. Nothing. And, what does Christy do? She chooses to take Jenna's "Thank you, guys" as a response to herself, smiles warmly at Jenna, and nods.
"Two Sizes Too Small"
It gets worse. As soon as Heidi and Jenna get back to camp, they start sniping at Christy, who is sitting by herself reading her letter. "When she outbid Jenna, I was like…" Heidi hides her head in her hands in horror. "I was surprised that she did that, but not really - that's OK," Jenna shrugs graciously. Far be it for Queen Mayzie to let an Ugly Duckling like Christy ruffle her feathers.
Apparently, Jenna's posse has been going around maligning Christy for daring to outbid Jenna. Matt, who marches to his own drum, gallantly comes to Christy's defense. "My feeling is, Christy deserved the letter. I realize it would really elevate her spirits and I felt she deserved it. I felt Jenna was being selfish. - A person's a person, no matter how small!" Horton says staunchly.
Jenna gets the news she's been hoping for - the cancer treatments have shrunk her mother's tumor by 50%. Alex, Heidi, and Rob cluster around Jenna to show their support. Lovely, you say, and very touching to see how much Jenna loves her mom, and how much her buddies love her. And then … what? Do any of these tenderhearted feelings ever extend to someone, anyone, else? Does it ever occur to Jenna or her friends to wander over to the deaf girl crying under the tree to simply ask about her letter? Never do we see any instance of common courtesy from Jenna, let alone Heidi and Alex. Jenna's mask-like face hides a shrewish disposition, while her shriveled little Grinchy heart opens only so far and no further. It only responds to people who are clean and pretty and lavish lots and lots of hugs and kisses and sweet nothings on her.
Meanwhile, Christy-Lou Who, who would gladly forgive and forget and let a parade of Grinches sit at her feast, sits under her tree weeping as she reads a letter from a high school friend. "Knowing that there's people out there that love me is such a good feeling. Maybe I can't talk to anybody out here but I can definitely talk to people back home."
Hatching the Plot
While the other players are bogged down in their own mundane realities, Matthew's highly refined brain has experienced the stirrings of enlightenment. "Now is a critical time - there are a number of subgroups that have formed. One potential subgroup that has formed consists of Alex, Jenna, Heidi and then there is Rob." Matthew and Butch hunker down and brood over their plight. Matthew tells Butch that Rob must realize that he is just a wad of gum on the shoe of life to Alex. The plan is to get Christy to join the other Who's down in Whoville, otherwise they're all sitting ducks.
"No matter what happens,
"A Wonderful Awful Idea!"
Like Lex in Survivor: Africa, A-Lex feels free to tell his vulnerable alliance member that he's going down. Alex oh so nonchalantly informs Rob that since Heidi and Jenna are tight, Rob will be the first to go when they reach the final four. On the surface, Alex and Lex are both easy-going fun guys, but who, when the situation presents itself, cheerfully throw their former allies into the nearest shark pit without a second's hesitation. "Hey Dude! It's nothing personal. I'm just being "honest" with you!"
What's this? A blatant threat to Rob's painstakingly plotted position in the game? It's a battle between self-preservation and social standing!
Rob had an idea!
When tree mail arrives, the tribe members scurry off with their very own, extra secret Cosmo quiz. The quiz asks each Jacare' to answer key questions pertaining to the others, and proves to be another eye-opener for Rob. "The questionnaire was more of a slam book type quiz. 'Who would you trust with your life' and a bunch of very interesting questions that really got me thinking about a number of things."
On Day Twenty Nine, in the Jungle of Nool,
Rob's heartfelt soliloquy is accompanied by handholding, tears, and outpourings of trust, honor, fraternity, and other manly bonding stuff. In contrast to Jenna, scheming Rob's Grinchy heart has grown three sizes today. "I give you my word, I appreciate your honesty. I will not betray you," Horton replies earnestly. "An elephant's faithful, one hundred percent!"
"I am very aware of the arrogance of my alliance. I think that it's gonna help me here and I don't think it's gonna be very difficult to sway the opinions of the three people that are in this alliance," Rob promises Matt in return.
Now it's Christy-Lou Who's turn to be charmed by the Cat.
At first a disbelieving Christy can't process the news that Rob is choosing her to ally with over Alex. "Dude - I'm with you! I'm with you to get Alex out, just because I could care less about Alex!" (Gag) "He's always drooling over Jenna and Heidi." To the camera, Christy wonders if Rob is sincere or "just trying to stir up something."
Immunity Challenge: Game and Match
Players answer the questions that were posed to them earlier in the questionnaire, in a game show format. The most popular answers were tabulated and the first player who guesses five answers correctly wins immunity. Some of the questions show the warm and fuzzy sides of the players, while others were posed to reveal some players' darker personality traits. Speaking of witch, instead of being elected Homecoming Queen or Most Popular, Jenna is shocked to be voted School Slut and Helpless Jungle Kitten by the majority. "I don't know whether people think I'm sleazy or really cool," she wonders.
On the other hand, Matthew shows off his wacky, buccaneer style of game play. He votes for himself several times, including the ones for most popular, and most in need of therapy. "Everyone should be a little crazy," he grins. In the end, Matt and Rob have four correct questions each. When Probst asks, "Who do most players have a crush on?" Matt cheerfully nominates himself for this title too. But Rob plays it straight by guessing "Heidi" and wins the necklace! When Probst places the necklace around Rob's pencil neck, he promptly gets verklempft, rapidly blinking back tears. It's a scene straight out of Sleeper, with Rob as a deliriously happy Woody Allen who believes he's just been crowned Miss America! All that's missing is the tiara and the runny mascara. "This is the best day of my life!" Rob gushes.
Swing vote scenario #3. "I have an alliance with (insert player here), and (insert different player here) wants me to switch. What should I do?" Rob again finds himself in his favorite position - Monkey in the Middle.
Roger/Deena/Dave/Alex is SURE (s)he has the game in the bag. He mocks Matthew for not "trying a little harder" to win the immunity necklace. Heidi sniggers helpfully in support, and Jenna and Heidi prepare themselves for Tribal Council by dolling themselves up with cute Care Bear symbols.
Tribal Council: "Stars Upon Thars"
It's evident to the viewing audience that Alex has put himself in the same position as Roger, Deena, and Dave, before they were voted out, and he's just as oblivious as they were. He smugly admits that he's feeling "really good" about how well he's doing. Christy, however, candidly admits her vulnerability. She says she would "not be surprised in a heartbeat," to be voted out. As always, Jenna turns away her flat-stony face when Christy is speaking. (Note Jenna and Heidi's refusal to acknowledge Christy's presence in any way when she is speaking. They don't talk to her. They won't even look at her.)
In a stunning revelation, Probst reveals Jenna and Heidi's true Seuss characteristics when he questions them about the tattoos on their faces. "You have a star on your face?" he asks Heidi. Sneetches! That's what they are! Jenna and Heidi have flaunted their "specialness" and popularity in front of the lowly ones, even going so far as to "mark" themselves with a sign of their elevated status. And Dr. Seuss has something to say about people like Heidi and Jenna.
Now, the Star-Belly Sneetches
The moment arrives we've all been waiting for. It's a hilarious contrast of expressions between Matthew and Alex as Probst reads off the votes. Matt has a Zen-like attitude, laughing silently and lounging in his seat. But as each vote against him is read off, Alex becomes increasingly rigid, adopting a rapid eye blink to deal with his stress. And then, it's official - four votes for Alex and three for Matt!
It's a giant wake-up call for the Star-Bellied Sneetches! Jenna and Heidi are flabbergasted that their Star Quarterback has been kicked out of the game. The commoners have risen up and made their voices heard!
Finally, at last! From the small Starless Sneetches
Next episode: Now that the prom king has been ousted, the cheerleaders turn on the band geek.
Now let's look at the players.
Butch:Who would believe it, your "go along to get along" approach has landed you in the winning alliance! You had a better run in this episode, gaining some praise, social standing, and a cool futon!
Christy:You may not have the Devil's mark on your cheek, but you're a star in our eyes. Like Cindy-Lou Who, your trusting nature has left you vulnerable to the Grinches in the game. Step back from your emotions a little - it's time to be logical and clear sighted about your team members.
Heidi:You're next! Rob is calling the shots, trying to position himself for the final two. You're a physical threat as well as being a hell of a lot more appealing than Ice Queen Jenna.
Alex: Oh, when things go wrong! You were such a fun guy in the beginning, standing up to Roger's bigotry, and always keeping things light. Too bad, your baser instincts overwhelmed your common sense and turned you into a mean, mocking, lazy, lascivious schemer.
Matthew: This episode showed off your best attributes. Your faithfulness and integrity helped to convert the most conniving and untrustworthy of the players. (I meant what I said and I said what I meant. An elephant's faithful one hundred percent!)
Rob: Two characters in one! You started out as the small hearted Grinch. But, like the Cat in the Hat, you're entertaining, and you manage to clean up your mess in the end. We just hope your shriveled heart stays in the right place. But can you pick up the pieces with Heidi and Jenna? Do you care? Either way, revealing your conniving side to the others has put you on the radar screen.
Jenna: What can we say that hasn't already been said before? You had your big chance this episode to act like a decent human being. You are not the center of the universe out here, even if that's how you've been treated all your life. Grow up a little already, and notice the shining qualities of the people around you.
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.
Be sure to sign up for our e-mail update so you can stay informed about new articles on the site! And take a look at the rest of the site. You can find all of our recent Survivor articles at the Survivor: The Amazon page and take a look at our sections on Joe Millionaire and The Osbournes. You can even buy reality show stuff at our Reality TV Store!