Survivor Psyche, Episode 11: Silencedby Melinda Smith and Suzanne Tromblay -- 05/07/2003
Cry Me a River
It doesn’t take long after Jenna and Heidi get back to camp to crack open their junior edition of Big Jungle Misery Tales. “I heard the vote and I almost passed out! I felt betrayed more than I ever felt in MY LIFE!” Jenna wails. “Rob betrayed the alliance. He betrayed me and Heidi. He betrayed Alex. I can’t imagine how Alex felt … (Insert appropriate Care Bear emotion here.) We HATE him! Me and Heidi cannot ever forgive him!”
Rob dodges and weaves as he tries to deflect Heidi and Jenna’s verbal peltings. “Wait a minute here girls, Alex was trying to double-cross me, isn’t that right Matt?” is Rob’s ingenuous ploy. “I have experienced many instances when he has been deceptive,” Matt dutifully responds. Heidi arranges herself atop some moral high ground before telling the camera her version of the events. “If I would’ve talked at that point, I would’ve had every single cuss word come out of my mouth,” she huffs. (Seeing Heidi go off would be like watching an enraged gerbil attack its exercise wheel.)
The waterworks continue even after the others have gone to sleep that night. Heidi blubbers on and on to Rob about how it’s just not fair and how much she’s helped three of the guys, for cryin’ out loud, and it’s no way to treat a nice girl like her. “Butch wouldn’t even be here right now (if it wasn’t for me!). Sob! Rob interjects a little camp counselor wisdom between outbursts. “It’s time to evaluate what you’re willing to do to win this game.” But, Heidi’s lament is unchecked as Rob’s eyeballs roll helplessly in his head. “Jenna and Heidi were under the impression that they were in the majority and they were gonna ride this majority to the end. But now the tables are completely turned and it’s Jenna and Heidi who are gonna have to kiss some ass in the next few days to insure that one of them makes it at least three more,” he tells the camera gleefully.
A wet miserable dawn greets the remaining players when they get up the next morning. That’s assuming that they get up. Matt, Butch, Christy, and Rob scramble to erect a watertight new shelter while Jenna and Heidi remain in a sulk-induced stupor in the old one. “The shelter was not waterproof. Water was leaking through the roof. The roof wasn’t built correctly from the beginning and everyone was miserable,” Matthew tells us matter-of-factly. (What?! Master Builder Roger’s construction project was Not Up To Code! Someone inform the Building Commission!!) Super Renaissance Man Matthew effortlessly guides Rob, Butch, and Christy through the construction of the new fire shelter. No tantrums, no manipulative power plays for this guy … wait a minute – did you think we were talking about Grumblina and Poutalotta, here? They’re still sulking in the old shelter, hoping the other players notice and pay them some attention. “No way we’re throwing in the towel,” Jenna fumes. “We’ve done all we can do. Someone stabbed us in the back and eventually they’ll pay!”
Craftily, Heidi and Jenna wait for Christy to trudge by under a sodden load of palm fronds so they can pull her into their lair. Hyper Heidi begins her rapid-fire stealth campaign to win Christy over. “I’ve never lied to you,” she hisses. (Fifty bazillion viewers are screaming at their TV screens. “No – that would require you to actually SPEAK to Christy first – THEN you would have the opportunity to lie to her!!!”) “When we’re gone – you’re next!” Heidi threatens. In a desperate attempt to persuade Christy of the righteousness of their cause, Heidi searches the far reaches of her frontal lobe for her calculator. “We’ve got a chance to go either 1, 2, 3, or we’ve got a chance to make it to the top 3,” she says in her most authoritative “Sesame Street” voice.
Never the one to be outdone by a bunch of wannabe schemers, Rob takes Christy on a little walk down Liar’s Lane. In order to keep Christy malleable and trusting, Rob gives her the “wicked stepsister” version of events. “Jenna said she worked so much harder than you. Jenna said her tree was bigger than your tree.” It works like a charm. Gullible Christy swallows the bait and swears her fealty to Trickster Rob, while mocking her archenemies. “So now you need to talk to me. Maybe if you’d shown some responsibility and consideration throughout the whole game, it would be different.” Privately, Christy debates her standing in the game, and her potential to “kick butt.”
Reward Challenge: Catching Up
We almost witness a meltdown of titanic proportions this week, when Probst announces that the winner will get a “visit from home.” “Are you two all right?” he probes as Heidi and Jenna bawl in each other’s arms. Then it’s on to the challenge.
It’s another brawn then brains event this week. Since Matt is extra endowed with both, he easily:
Finds the hidden paddle
Rows the tippy boat to the puzzle buoy
Answers the question correctly to find the puzzle bag
Rows back without falling in
Assembles the snake puzzle correctly to win!
While Matthew sails on to victory, Jenna and Christy opt to swim to the puzzle buoys, while Rob decides to stick to his boat, even though he gets pitched into the water at the beginning. He finally catches up to Matt at the end, just as Matt is piecing together the stomach section of the Anaconda. Butch and Heidi watch supportively from the beach.
Probst sets up the next part of the event in moralistic fashion. “Is it better to give than to receive?” he asks Matt. Shrewd Don Matteo grasps what Probst is after. “Give!” he pipes up obediently, then offers to relinquish his reunion with his mom so the other players can meet their own loved ones. “Oh you don’t have to!” Jenna and Heidi wail as they pitch themselves into Matt’s manly arms.
Butch gets a visit from his wife, Christy from her boyfriend, Rob from his mom, Heidi from her mom, and Jenna from her dad. “It was really touching to see all the emotion. I felt like I was a God for a moment,” Matt says in his amused, but detached way.
The players and their loved ones have 10 minutes of quality time to catch up, and in Rob’s case, spill his guts. (It’s like when a toddler finally spots his mother after a full day of daycare and goes from happy play kid to bawling clinging hold-me-touch-me kid.) “I’ve been pretty bad!” Rob whispers urgently to mom as they’re sitting at the picnic table. “I’m shocked!” Mom replies in mock surprise. Everyone catches up over cheese, crackers, and wine, but before they know it, their conjugal visit is over. The loved ones pile back into the boat and sail off into the sunset.
But wait! Matt gets his just desserts. (You knew it was coming!) “I too believe in the philosophy it’s better to give than to receive,” Probst announces. “Really?” Matt says sardonically. Here comes Matt’s mom! They get their own reunion on a private island, complete with a lavish KFC buffet and authentic Amazonian entertainers. Matt loses his usual Zen-like composure when he spots the chicken wings. “I haven’t had fried chicken in so long!”
Matthew unbuttons even further as he talks about his mother. “My relationship with my mom is great! It’s not the conventional mother/son relationship. My mom is tough, my mom is independent.” But Matt reverts to his old formal ways when he and mom sit down at the dinner table. Mom: “I’ve missed seeing you at home, son.” Son: “That’s nice, mom, I appreciate that.” Mom: “Loosen up, buddy. This is your mom you’re talking to you, not your accountant.” (Matt’s stilted interaction with his mother reminds us of Spock trying to squelch any warm and fuzzy feelings he had when dealing with his mother, Amanda.) “It sucked to express some emotion; cause I hate doin’ that,” Matt grimaces.
Why, you ask, did the producers supply the Survivors with such a surfeit of booze? (Because getting half-starved campers drunk is good television. Just ask the FOX network.) We see the Jacares stumbling about, making fools of themselves. Christy does her impersonation of a Rockette and gets her foot wedged in a tree. Butch turns out to be a sappy drunk, getting in everyone’s faces to earnestly spout about the importance of “feeling good”. (We’re just betting he mows the lawn wearing shorts and black socks – what a party animal!) Rob turns up in a little Speedo, looking like he’s trying to smuggle grapes. If that doesn’t make the girls spit up their Boone’s Farm, I don’t know what will. “The girls are in their bikinis, it’s like a rap video!” he gloats. (Yeah, a Beastie Boys video, except without the cool guys. Or the hot chicks. Or the good tunes.) Rob’s awful karaoke version of Bob Seger doesn’t help, either. In a moment of boozy sentiment, Rob beseeches the girls to let bygones be bygones. “We are normal. The game makes us abnormal,” Jenna sagely protests. (This is Jenna’s idea of being deep.)
Rob wraps up the evening in a schizophrenic Motivational Speaker Moment. “I just want them (the girls) to remember all the fun we had and not all the bad things I did to them. I don’t know why people dwell on the negative!”
Robby Goes A’Courtin’
In his own special way. “In this game, you want to be standing next to somebody at the end that’s more disagreeable than yourself. I planned on going to the end of the game with Matt. I thought that I would be able to beat him cause he’s a spaz.” Rob cooks up alternate scheme No. 3.14159265+, wherein he will ditch likeable Matt for a player who’s bound to trigger everyone’s gag reflex.
”Hey Jenna! Lookin’ good! How bout you and me to the final two, baby!” Normally diplomatic, Rob is apparently suffering from a major hangover, because he bluntly informs Jenna how nobody likes her! “You’ve rubbed a lot of people the wrong way.” He then tells her an edited version of his plan to take her to the end, but not all the plan because she’d “reveal all that” to Heidi. So what does this Bond Girl do? Runs right back to her best buddy and spills the beans, that’s what!
”He says that most people on the jury don’t like me and like him more!” Jenna wails in protest. She then launches into the biggest hissy fit of the entire season. We won’t bore you with the fatuous details. Suffice it to say that Jenna views herself as a young lady of impeccable moral character and integrity –not like certain other slimeball players, whose name might be Rob. (Bwaaah Haaaa Haaa!!! Sorry, we just had to get that out of our systems.) “I have morals and ethics and he has none! I refuse to go along with his crappy plans!”
Heidi is equally addled in her thinking as she protests to Rob. “I told my mom I did really good and gave up a lot of stuff for other people.” (What might Heidi mean by this peculiar declaration? Did she perhaps donate some spare unmentionables to an Amazonian Goodwill dropbox? “I dropped my drawers for the betterment of all mankind, I’ll have you know!” ) Heidi finishes off her blitzkrieg with a triumphant; “You’ll win the game if you continue to screw everybody!” (I figured it out – give me a prize!)
Rob wanders off to lick his wounds and restore his sense of worldly superiority. “I am an alliance of one. I’m a lone wolf in this game – a mercenary if you will. I just pick up the bottom feeders as I go. They go with me cause I promise them the dream of getting to the end. Everybody tells me how much they believe me and they trust me. Have any of these guys been paying attention the last 31 days?” Matthew and Butch manage to restore Rob’s battered self-esteem. “You’re a good guy who’s taking the heat!” goes Principal Butch’s pep talk. Rob assures Matthew that Christy is still with them.
Christy, however, has assumed Rob’s classic position – monkey in the middle. She says that Heidi and Jenna are doing a good job of “kissing my ass” but wonders why they weren’t nice to her from the beginning. “Why would I want to give them something if they haven’t done anything in return?” Privately, Christy exults that she “has the power!”
Immunity Challenge: Holding Their Ground
In a spin on previous challenges, the players must shatter their own nameplates in this version of the game. Each player gets 10 marbles and a slingshot to try to gain five pucks. The pucks will be used to play Survivor shuffleboard. Given Matthew’s expertise with spears and machetes, he’s just plain awful with the slingshot. (More die-hard cynics than we are would suggest that Matt might have thrown this challenge!) Jenna and Butch win 5, Heidi wins 4, Christy 3, Rob 2, and Matt just 1.
Jenna is the mistress of the board, playing with smirky competence. No trifling hangover is going to hold back this girl! What might be considered a handicap for most players is familiar territory for sorority girl Jenna. (Note Jenna’s Rush Zeta sweatshirt in this episode.) In the end, she easily knocks Heidi and Rob’s remaining pucks out of range and wins the game.
Jenna’s win has sent Rob’s fragile master manipulator persona into a tailspin. ”My stomach is in knots. I need a bottle of Maalox, a fifth of Vodka, and a pack of cigarettes, cause I don’t know what I’m gonna do right now.” He rigidly stuffs down his freaked-out-ness as he approaches Christy. (Sigh – here’s where it all goes wrong.)
Rob, trembling with angst: “Please tell me you’re still solid and will vote against Heidi!”
Christy, carelessly lounging on the shelter: “Oh, I don’t know. I’ll have to think about it…”
Rob, holding onto his crumbling empire with all his might: “Let’s-take-a-walk-then-Christy…”
Christy, dreaming of her seat at the final two: “When I have pen in hand … that will be my decision.”
”Aaaaarrrrrgggghhhh!!!!” You can just hear the cogs in Rob’s head spinning in overdrive as he hurtles himself towards backup patsies Heidi and Jenna. “The thought of Christy defecting terrifies me, which got me to really start thinking about an alternate scenario.” Heidi, who is in the same position as when Dave approached her at Tambaqui, quickly succumbs to Rob’s overture. “Let’s just make this really easy on everybody and vote out Christy tonight,” he proposes soothingly. “Can we do that?” Heidi asks vapidly before finally pledging her troth. ”This is really crazy stuff. I can’t believe I’m back in Jenna and Heidi’s good graces,” Rob exults.
Tribal Council: Hearing Adjourned
Probst is up to his usual insightful skewering tonight. He gets everyone to admit that they didn’t think they’d make it this far in the game, then zeroes in on Jenna. Despite being bluntly told that the other players think that she uses her looks as a weapon, that’s she’s helpless, and just plain obnoxious, Jenna deals with it all with an old-fashioned, “they’re just jealous” attitude. “Sometimes people just don’t like you and that’s the only reason they have for voting you out. I’m judged all the time on just outside looks. I don’t think that women take to me very well. You’re a stupid model – you can’t hack it – so I’ve felt like I’ve had to work twice as hard to get here and I think Heidi fells the same.”
Alas, Christy is still feeling the topsy-turvy effects of too much Spongebob-like optimism. “Are you ready for the vote, Christy?” Probst inquires. “I’m Ready! I’m Ready! I’m Ready, Ready, Ready, Ready, Ready!” Even Jenna surrendering her cherished Immunity Necklace to Heidi can’t burst Christy’s bubble. “I’m gonna try and go all the way. I think I am in the driver’s seat – I make the final decision!” Then it’s time to vote and, like previous over-confident players before her, dear Christy finds herself on the wrong side of the torchlight, with Rob, Heidi, Jenna, and Matthew voting for her.
In her exit speech, Christy gives full voice to her feelings of anger and betrayal at the hands of Heidi and Jenna. “I’m gonna make sure that those wicked evil stepsisters of mine are not gonna win the million dollars!” she vows.
Next episode: They’ve taken off everything else, and next week, the gloves come off too, as Heidi and Jenna enjoy an old-fashioned catfight. “Having Jenna out works to my advantage,” Heidi says nonchalantly.
Now let’s look at the players.
Butch: Time to turn off the automatic pilot in your cerebral cortex and take over the controls. Do you ever have an independent thought, ever? You resemble a wedge – the simplest tool in the box. Believe in yourself and be your own man!
Christy: Sob! You were our favorite. Strategically, your game sucked, but you were a good sport and a happy camper all around. Enjoy the amenities at the Lodge (three hots and a cot) and plot your revenge.
Heidi: You have your beloved Jenna to thank for saving your scrawny butt this week. How someone so selfish, stupid, and lazy got this far in the game is beyond us.
Matthew: What the hell are you thinking! You’re still King Theoden, swayed by Grimma Wormtongue’s bile dripping in your ears. Wake up and smell the coffee cause you’re expendable.
Rob: Duck and cover – there’s bound to be fallout from all that sh*t you’ve been slinging. It appears that Matt and Butch are still willing to follow you – for now. Your victims are piling up in the jury box, and they might not be inclined to forgive and forget.
Jenna: Hearing you and Heidi vent about morals and ethics is like hearing Jerry Falwell preach about the corruptibility of the flesh. Or, Anna Nicole blather about good taste and high art. Or, Andrew Dice Clay expound on feminism and equality. What kind of world would we have where you two are considered role models?
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 email@example.com.
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