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Opposites Distract

On a very odd episode of ''Survivor,'' hothead Judd is rational, tactless Jamie shows class, and the men cream the women...on a balance challenge!

Bobby Jon Drinkard, Survivor: Guatemala | BEARER OF BAD NEWS When Gary shocked everyone by producing the immunity idol, Bobby Jon (above) was sent packing
Image credit: Survivor Guatemala: Bill Inoshita/CBS
BEARER OF BAD NEWS When Gary shocked everyone by producing the immunity idol, Bobby Jon (above) was sent packing

''Survivor'': Is this Guatemala, or Bizarro World?

What the hell is going on around here? I take a few weeks off from my Survivor Watch to attend to some other EW business, and come back to one of the most bizarre episodes in recent memory.

How bizarre was it? Well, for starters, you had Judd — Judd! — acting as the voice of reason, telling Jamie to chill out over being called classless. Then you had Jamie — who has seemed pretty classless the past month or so — redeeming himself (maybe) by offering to eat nuts instead of a burger. And then you had men dominating a balance-based immunity challenge. Men usually suck at any challenge remotely related to balance. Remember the first Amazon challenge? Or how about poor Chris in Vanuatu? (Well, I guess calling him ''poor'' isn't really accurate, considering the dude won a million bucks.) So seeing Jamie take on Rafe in the finals was odd — and entertaining, thanks to Rafe's face-first dip in the water. (How much do we love Rafe?)

But the oddest thing about this episode by far had to be Tribal Council. I'm not talking about Gary scoring the hidden immunity idol. (Even a diehard Cowboys hater like myself has to give it up to him on that one.) And I'm not talking about Bobby Jon being sent packing. No, I'm talking about the crazy drumming music playing while the Survivors were casting the votes. Where the hell did that come from? For a moment there I thought I had purchased a ticket to Stomp! or something. I guess the producers felt they had to jazz things up a bit since it was obvious Bobby Jon was about to go. But it was still a bit jarring.

As for Bobby Jon, I feel conflicted. I've played my purist card and gone on record as saying I don't like the stunt-casting twist of bringing Stephenie and him back to play the game, but at the same time I have found myself rooting for him anyway. No, I don't have a crush on the Manimal. (That's my colleague Lynette Rice's department.) He's just a nice guy. And a nice guy who is slightly off his rocker. I like nice guys who are slightly off their rockers. That's just the way I roll. It's just the way.... Oh, wait. Hold on a second. All of a sudden, I'm not feeling so hot....

....Sorry about that. I just puked all over my coworker Kristen Baldwin's office. I'm sure she won't mind. Just a little somethin'-somethin' I picked up from my boy Judd. Okay, his vomiting on the shelter was kinda gnarly, but how awesome was it watching him fall all over the place in a drunken stupor? He even one-upped reigning Survivor stumbling champion Tom Westman. And let me tell you, people — Tom Westman does not lose often. And when he does, he goes and kills a shark or something to make up for it.

Speaking of losers, what's up with Jamie knocking himself down from a fourth-place finish in the reward challenge to dead last at ninth? Was this an honest attempt at atonement, or a strategic move to regain favor? Either way, it was a smart move, even if I hesitate to dub Jamie as smart after watching him completely misunderstand Gary's proclamation that he would vote however the majority was voting. Somehow Jamie took this to mean that Gary was voting for him. Either that or he was lying to everyone else for no apparent reason. (Also not smart.)

Judd had no problem lying to everyone else about his clue as to the whereabouts of the hidden immunity idol. Again, not smart, especially when Gary the quarterback caught him looking up when he insisted it was down on the ground. I have to admit I was kind of hoping Hogeboom (or Hawkins, or whatever his name is) was gonna spike the idol at Probst's feet and do a little touchdown dance, but unfortunately he had to go the anti-Jamie classy route on us. Of course, that idol will probably only save him for three more days, unless they can break up the Big Six. I hope they do. Not for the Cowboy's sake, mind you. But just so my girl Danni can go the distance. Not really sure why I like her. She hasn't done a whole lot lately. But she's actually skinnier than me, and so the longer she plays, the more false hope she gives me that my 140-pound weakling of a body could stand up to such a brutal physical toll. Just keep me away from any and all balance beams.

What do you think? Was Jamie genuine in his apology? Will the Big Six splinter? And does Stephenie already have this game won?

Originally posted Nov 10, 2005