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Survivor

''Survivor''

Where's the Beef?

It's the meatiest episode ever! The reconfigured tribes are too touchy-feely, literally and figuratively, and the immunity challenge is not for the weak of stomach -- and Dalton Ross should know

Shawna Mitchell, Survivor: The Amazon | BYE BYE LOVE Shawna, Alex's possible paramour, is voted out of ''The Amazon''
Image credit: Survivor Amazon: Monty Brinton/CBS
BYE BYE LOVE Shawna, Alex's possible paramour, is voted out of ''The Amazon''

It's the meatiest episode ever!

So I'm sitting at work the other day, and gradually as the afternoon wears on I acquire a license to ill. By 3pm, I'm nursing a nasty, nasty stomachache. I try soup. I try Coke (I'm telling you that product placement sticks with you). I try about 312 ounces of H20. I even try some free ice cream, which was NOT the wisest move. But NOTHING is helping.

It's about now that it dawns on me that not only do I need to try to make it through the day, but then I have to go home and write my weekly ''Survivor'' column. Can I ''survive'' this flu to do my duty as a trusted employee of Entertainment Weekly? (Okay, you can scratch the ''trusted'' part.) I have to. The column must go on!!! (Even if it's only casually perused by mocking coworkers. Stop cackling, Tucker!)

I pick up the biggest jug of ginger ale I've ever seen and settle in. This isn't so bad. Heidi begins the show by offering up some cockamamy excuse as to why she switched sides and voted off a fellow woman, only to wake up the next morning and -- shock of all shocks! -- see that the fellas are already ignoring her. She calls it a ''bunch of crap,'' and even though her choice of words sets me off a bit, I'm still managing. This isn't so bad, I think to myself, HEY, I'M GONNA MAKE IT!

And then Mark Burnett busts out the side of beef. Two sides of beef, make that. With people chewing off as much of the blood-red flesh as they can and then spitting it into a bowl. With people eating it off the floor. With people eating it out of each other's mouths.

One homoerotic meat making-out session between the middle-aged Butch and Roger, and I am done. Over. Fini. DAMN YOU BURNETT! I could take the bugs, worms and cow's milk, but this, I cannot take. (I do stick around long enough to watch Deena got wacked at the end by a side of beef. Hee-hee.)

So after a thirty-minute ''intermission'' (and through the wonders of a VCR), I collect myself and watch the rest of the episode. And what I can say is this: If there is one single decision in the world that is worse that eating ice cream on an upset stomach, then it is coupling up on ''Survivor.'' There is no better way to ensure your early exit than canoodling with a member of the opposite sex.

Now, we've gone to great lengths to discuss the idiocy of several of the female competitors on this program, but the Equal Rights Amendment stipulates that I call out the men as well, and Alex, my friend, thinking with your little head will NOT win you a million dollars. And now, because as a strong twosome, you guys were a threat, your hot jungle babe Shawna is gone. And you could be next.

In fact, tonight was an all-around bad showing by the guys. Matthew was blatantly trying to get a little three-way freeway action going on with Shawna and Alex, Rob thought it would be a good idea to wear a Speedo on national television (it wasn't), and I even squirmed when Butch proclaimed to deaf Christy how proud he was of her and that ''You don't have a disability.'' Well, then, why are you talking to her like she's an infant? She can't hear! Big deal! That doesn't mean she shouldn't be able to roll a swimsuit model off a log. Actually, I would say that the only fella who DID come off looking good this week was host Jeff Probst. I mean, did you catch those sweet shades he sported during the reward challenge? Workin' it!

All in all, I feel that splitting up the same-sex tribes so early was a mistake. I enjoyed the catfights and machismo matches that were going on at the old Tambaqui and Jaburu tribes. Now everyone is just too… nice. Why, such civil behavior could make a loyal viewer sick to his stomach. And this week, that's just what it did.

Originally posted Mar 19, 2003