Okay, we’re now five episodes into Survivor: Micronesia, and that is enough time for me to say the following with the utmost confidence: This season is really, really good. And if this season is really, really good (which we’ve already established), then this last episode was flat-out amazing. It’s difficult to sum up exactly how amazing in only 11 words, but I’m pretty sure that this back-and-forth dialogue between Joel and Chet pretty much does it.
Chet: ”I hit my head back there.”
Joel: ”I don’t care.”
Chet: ”I know.”
There you have it, ladies and gentlemen — perhaps the most genius exchange in Survivor history. Seriously, can someone please get Joel and Chet their own sitcom? I’m thinking The New New Odd Couple — the gay pageant-coach weakling and the Sasquatch-resembling manly man obsessed with brute strength. C’mon, CBS, you can’t honestly sit there and tell me that wouldn’t be better than freakin’ Rules of Engagement. But the hits didn’t start or stop with Chet getting dragged into a wooden pole. Here are all the other things that made this one of the best Survivor episodes in recent memory.
· I always hate it when Survivor comes up with big tribe concepts (Panama’s division by age and gender, and Cook Islands’ division by ethnicity) only to then shake them up a few days later. So, needless to say, I’m not a fan of redividing the tribes so soon. We tuned in to see the Fans vs. the Faves, so give us the damn Fans vs. Faves! That said, the schoolyard pick ’em provided plenty of wonderfully awkward moments, most involving a brand new twist on the name game. You had Ozzy picking Troy, only to find out that Troy’s name was actually Joel. You had Jonathan picking ”Uh, blue? I don’t know his name.” It was Jason. Jason returned the favor by picking ”Poverty,” only to be corrected on the correct pronunciation of Parvati. Some ”fan,” eh? At least he had serial Parvati mispronouncer Probst there to provide comfort.
· The new teams then immediately took place in a capture the flag game…from hell! Contestants were dropping like flies, either by way of injury or being dragged through the mud by a raging Neanderthal. Parvati suffered a busted lip (as least I think she busted it; it was either that or the world’s largest cold sore — watch out, James!), Amy roughed up her knee, and then Penner got a nasty gash on his leg that required three stitches on him and one towel on me to clean up the vomit after watching him being sewn up. Honestly now, Survivor producers — that was just rude. You know I have a weak stomach. Is airing that scene some sort of payback for me continually taking potshots at Fiji? But we all know the highlight of the challenge was watching Joel dragging Chet like a rag doll under, over, and straight into wooden beams. At one point he didn’t even seem to be chasing the other tribe but merely trying to inflict as much pain and humiliation as possible on his teammate.
· Damn, Erik is in love with Ozzy even more than Jason is. ”I got to meet Ozzy today!” he squealed like a smitten little schoolgirl. Than later he went on about how ”Ozzy is amaaaaaaaazing. He can swim like crazy.” Dude, I realize that for a Leif Garrett clone who makes his living scooping rocky road, hanging with the Challenge Wizard of Oz is almost as rad as a pair of short shorts, but still, keep the idol worship in check, my man.
· Chet bonding with the chickens. I guess creatures with their necks on the line tend to find common ground.
· Watching the water come up on the beach and put out the new Airai’s fire while they were busy cooking steak. Why they set up their fire right next to the shoreline, I have no idea. ”I’m amazed they’re alive, the poor things,” said James. ”They should be dead. They’re a bunch of dingbats.” All I can say is: Pot. Kettle. Black.
· Penner bitching during the immunity challenge about how his team was getting cheated because their tiles wouldn’t fall down when they were hit by rocks. Thank God for that, because it was actually a pretty boring challenge. Every week it seems we are treated to a really physical and exciting reward challenge and then a kinda tame, kinda lame immunity affair. Think about it, producers: If you have contestants fighting, kicking, and clawing for some steak or fishing gear, imagine what they would do with immunity on the line. Tossing baskets and pebbles just doesn’t have the same oomph. But even better than’s Penner’s protests was…
· Probst’s comeback: ”You need to stop bitching and start throwing.” Well played, sir.
· For those people wondering how come women on Survivor don’t seem hairier when they are separated from their razor for 39 days, just bust out a little freeze-frame action as Eliza raises her arms in celebration of her tribe’s victory in the immunity challenge. Them’s the pits! With all that stubble, I thought I was looking at Joel’s face for a second there.
NEXT: Cirie’s genius game playing