Welcome to Season Twenty Freaking Nine! of Survivor, a show that will always have a warm place in my heart, and that warmth is probably a sunburn.



We’ll dispense with the get-to-know-you pleasantries real quick. There are a handful of players worth noting early on, and it all begins with that charmless meathead former Major League Baseball pitcher who once said that he found riding the New York City subway depressing because it’s like you’re riding through Beirut (a place I’m guessing he can’t find on a map) “next to some kid with purple hair next to some queer with AIDS right next to some dude who just got out of jail for the fourth time right next to some twenty-year-old mom with four kids.” So I’m thinking he should do real well in this game.

And wait a second—are those the Twinnies from The Amazing Race?! They are! And they’re both awfully quiet for screeching banshees. I can only hope that they both get voted out at the first Tribal Council before they find their voices.

We’ve also got a pair of Broadway staaahs, Josh and Reed, so if emoting is key to any of the challenges, these two have it locked up. And another notable twisteroonie is the return of Exile Island and this new thing called a Hero Challenge that I’m just going to pretend does not exist. Instead, we’re going to skip the whole dividing into two teams and someone yelling at someone else to chop bamboo faster and get right to Josh’s epic case of pink eye, earning him the title (from me, at least) of Pink Eye. He’s also a bit of a ginger so his skin looks like it’s pinking up to match. His tribe used some kind of poisonous sap sticks and leaves for the roof of their not-otherwise-shabby hut and they have to remove it before it cruds up anyone else’s peepers. Plus, there are scorpions all over the camp. Nice touch, Probst.

Come on in guys! The two exiled tribe members, Val and Keith, return from two days of togetherness on Exile Island. I don’t know. Unless you’re there by yourself, is it really exile? For the first challenge, it’s an under obstacle bag grab and ooh! This one is new. There are three walls and all sorts of difficult ways to hurl your teammates over the top. It’s like the producers finally poked the props department with a stick.

Whoa, I have never seen teams scramble like this before…several dozen bodies are scurrying underneath an obstacle course and not caring one bit if they head butt a teammate or an opponent or a stick of bamboo. That crappy human formerly known as a baseball player makes it up the wall in no time and is quickly followed by the rest of his team. For their third wall, the lunkhead just hurls his team to the top. The other team (seriously, there is no way that I will ever remember the names—blue team and yellow team? Does that work until some other identifying feature rears its lulzy head?) starts the inevitable catch-up because the yellow team kind of sucks at puzzles and bing bang boom, blue team wins immunity.

At Tribal Council, Jeff gives Twinnie a platform to talk about The Amazing Race and boy she just runs with it, and there’s not much of an off switch. She’s yapping about turning lemons into margaritas and her primal needs…shudder…and then she insultingly refers to Pink Eye as a girl because he’s gay. Can someone smack her upside the head already? Anyway, Pink Eye is looking like blinking is very difficult and some old guy tries to pitch his value as Firemaker Extraordinaire (totally not factoring in the flint and fiery torches the tribe gets to take back with them at the end of the night) while crappy baseball player and worse human John Rocker just sits there like a caveman. The only smarts in the game at the moment is a lady with a Boston Strong t-shirt (no relation) who implies that she might’ve scrounged up an Immunity Idol on Exile Island. Hey, you play the cards you are dealt.

The votes are way too scattered until the old guy and Twinnie are tied. Twinnie picks up another vote and the first person voted out of Survivor is Twinnie. Ha! Goodbye, noise factory. Aww, and she went out with an “it is what it is.”


photo via CBS


Linda Sue Strong is the founder of entertainment blog TerribleTelevision.com and an occasional attorney. Her life has not yet been turned into a reality television show. Follow her at @themisslinda.


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