Bruce Fretts
August 17, 2000 AT 04:00 AM EDT

Sean’s gone

It turns out Sean’s not so stupid after all. ”This is the most conniving group of people I’ve ever met,” the numskull neurologist said before he was voted off by the Richard/ Rudy/ Susan/ Kelly alliance on the latest episode of CBS’ ”Survivor.” ”There’s not an honest one in the bunch.” Maybe that’s why this was the series’ least enjoyable installment yet: After last week’s ouster of the immensely endearing Colleen, there wasn’t a single likable person left on the show. Sean Kenniff was the most sympathetic of the remaining Tagi players, but he was simply too spineless to admire.

Not that there weren’t highlights: Susan and Kelly had a screaming match after the truck driver accused the river guide of sucking up to the Pagongs; Kelly cleaned up in the reward challenge, carrying 15.9 pounds of volcanic mud on her body; the alleged nose biter also won the immunity challenge (more on that below). So how did the episode disappoint? Let me count the ways.

The whining Frankly, I’m a little tired of hearing the castaways moan about how much they miss civilization. ”I’ve been wishing for home since the day I got here,” Sean said. Be careful what you wish for, buddy.

The corporate plugs It was funny at first when ”Survivor” started sneaking in products from such sponsors as Target. But did they have to turn the reward into one big Budweiser ad? (Kelly won a Bud Light and a trip to a bar where she drank — you got it — Bud.)

The self referencing Kelly also got to watch the first five minutes of episode one of ”Survivor.” Her reaction couldn’t have been less interesting: laughing, clapping, and observing, ”That was so cool.”

The lame ”Blair Witch” parody The immunity challenge was an oh so untimely takeoff on last summer’s scary movie. Contestants were each given a video camera and instructed to run through the jungle finding masks and answering questions scrawled on them.

The unfair challenges The questions were based on alleged island mythology that host Jeff Probst recited before the race. How can you expect a senior citizen like Rudy to have as sharp a memory as a whippersnapper like Kelly? Called upon to recall this mumbo jumbo, the ex sailor shrugged and admitted, ”Shit, I dunno.”

Don’t get me wrong: I still love ”Survivor,” and I’ll be glued to my couch for all three hours of next week’s finale/ town meeting. After a run of 11 amazing episodes, the show was due for a clinker. And even at its worst, ”Survivor” still beats the hell out of spending an hour with those uniformly unlikable housemates on ”Big Brother.”

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