Survivor Vanuatu: Monty Brinton
Dalton Ross
November 18, 2004 AT 05:00 AM EST

”Survivor”: Only one fish left in the barrel

Dear CBS,

It’s just not working out for you guys on this season of Survivor. First off you had to give it that long, goofy title, Survivor: Vanuatu — Islands of Fire. Then you hoped to recapture some of the magic of the Amazon season by staging another battle of the sexes but unfortunately got saddled with a hardcore sophomore slump. The main culprit? Casting. On an individual basis, it wasn’t horrible. You managed to get some characters in there like crazy Rory and a guy named Lea who insisted everyone refer to him as Sarge. But it’s like you guys ended up with all nitros and no glycerin. There just hasn’t been any spark. Even worse, the booting order has been the most predictable yet — yes, even worse than Thailand! Every week it has been plainly obvious before the episode even aired as to who was going to be the goner.

So, I have a suggestion for you. It may be a bit crazy, but it’s so crazy it just might work. Here it is. Skip next week’s episode. Look, we all know Chris is a goner. You can try to throw us off the scent all you want, but the man is as out as spot bleach jeans. So just skip it! It’s bad enough the episode is going to be on Thanksgiving night, so we’re all going to be falling asleep anyway from all the turkey we’ve eaten. You honestly think we’ll be able to stay awake knowing the last man is inevitably going to get kicked to the curb? We don’t need it. Just hook us up with like a five-minute recap of what would’ve happened in the episode, and then get to the steel cage match between the women, when they finally are forced to start turning on each other.

I don’t blame you or Mark Burnett for this mess. You’ve obviously tried everything you can to spice things up. Why, in this last episode you made the contestants take part in a reward challenge that was a cross between Twister and some sort of bondage orgy, with two hot young women being tied up and dragged through an obstacle course while being fondled by members of both sexes. (I especially liked the shot you put in there of Chris grabbing Eliza’s breast — classy.) Then you forced the amputee on your show to get wasted on something called kava. Again — classy. You even went so far as to make Jeff Probst wear sunglasses to look cool during the immunity challenge . . . in the middle of a rain storm!

All valiant efforts, but they couldn’t make up for the fact that the end result was so predictable. (Although Chris’s speech about women ”opening up the back door” was certainly close. Was he talking about what I think he was talking about? Probably not.) Admittedly, you guys had our hopes up with some skillful editing that made it seem as if Chad actually had a chance to stick it out over Eliza, but deep down we knew that Ami’s sway was too strong. Again, you had Probst do everything but beg for the women to shake things up and gang up on her, calling Ami out at Tribal Council for having ”a smile on your face that’s so smug” and then giving some speech after Chad was tossed about how ”suddenly the one man left could prove very valuable,” which basically was code for ”We’re dying here. If you all want to score any endorsement opportunities after this is over, go make a new alliance and vote off someone who isn’t packing a penis.” It won’t work, of course. Which is why we should just dispense with next week’s episode and get to the good stuff. That’s when the show will no longer be held hostage to ”the woman-power thing” (Chad’s words, not mine).

Speaking of Chad, I’d like to applaud your restraint in not constantly highlighting his missing foot. Sure, you couldn’t resist throwing in that close-up of his prosthetic while he was dancing during the reward-challenge prize, but for the most part, you treated him like any other contestant. Maybe its because he was so damn boring and you just decided, ”Oh, what the hell’s the point?” Or maybe you figured any air time on his fake foot was air time better suited for Eliza and Ami’s cleavage. Whatever the reason, well done.

But there’s still next week’s episode to deal with. I know my suggestion may be seen as radical, and could pose some problems in terms of prearranged corporate obligations you have with Pontiac and Pringles to provide ”game changing moments” and ”great moments in Survivor history,” but do me a solid and think it over.


Dalton Ross

P.S. Listen Up really sucks.

P. P.S. I’ve included space below for EW Online readers to add their opinions as to whether Chris has a chance in hell of surviving past Turkey Day. I’m also inviting them to share their views on whether they prefer Jeff Probst with or without a baseball cap. For the record, I vote sans cap. I feel it makes him look a little less NASCAR.

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