Guatemala Episode 2: Man Down

Previously, it was the start of a new season, although the cast saw the return of Stephenie and Bobby Jon to compete one more time. Why? I guess it was because Burnetto thought we felt that they were shafted by the rest of the loser Ulongites in Palau and there was nothing better we'd like than to root for or against familiar faces. It worked for Jerry Bonghammer and the Robcouple, after all! Anyway, the men of the Nookum tribe were plagued by all kinds of vomiting sickness and at the end of the day, they lost the challenge (thanks to the women though, mind you) and it was an easy boot for poor Jim who had to take his broken arm and all to Loser Lodge. With that, credits.

Night three, Camp Nookum. Under what seems like the watchful eyes of a large tarantula, the Nookums commiserate over their previous Tribal Council. Bobby Jon tells the camera that he thought he would be the one to leave because, as he puts is, he thought he was "paying rent at Tribal Council". I think that is model-speak for "being on borrowed time". Like Stephenie, Bobby Jon seems to be aware that as a former Survivor, he has a target on his back because any time now the others could say that he already had a chance, which he blew, and he doesn't deserve another. Margaret uses all her professional expertise to deduce that the tribe, already worn down by the men's lack of physical strength (I should point out that the sick men of Nookum rowed as hard as the men of Yowza - they tied, in fact, but I guess Margaret can be forgiven for occasional lapses of memory, given that she is already hard at work tending to the ill and weary of the tribe, snort) and the Tribal Council only wear them down further. How sad. The tribe look sadly into the fire or head off to sleep as the night lengthens.

Day four, Camp Yowza. These self-professed happy and united kindred spirits decide that breakfast is served well with a huge dose of hubris. You can bet that karma is coming to knock on their door soon. Jamie decides to start the back-patting party by saying that the Nookums don't seem so tough after all. Yes, because losing one Immunity Challenge is the sign of permanent weakness. Stephenie thinks that the Nookums aren't having fun. Like Ulong, perhaps? Brian thinks that the Nookums aren't as close and friendly as the Yowzas who have become best friends forever despite knowing each other for only four days. Stephenie thinks that Bobby Jon, who is always so serious, may be the cause of the apparent perpetual dourness of the Nookums.

Meanwhile, Brianna adds to the intellectual conversation going on by telling the camera that it is now day four so she can really tell that everyone on her tribe as "different qualities". It looks like someone hasn't finished nursery class. Jamie, eager to prove to the audience what an intellectual giant he is, tells the camera, "We've got a bum" - he points to himself - "we got a police officer; we got a magician's assistant; we got a fishmonger; we got a gay guy; and we got a landscaper." I didn't know that being gay is an occupation! Back to camp, Gary is asked whether he is cold and he answers that he's just been bitten by a tarantula. Hmm, so is he cold or not? Anyway, the trail of non-sequitur continues as Gary tells the camera that he was an NFL player oh, fifteen years ago (it was sixteen years ago in the last episode, heh) so he won't tell them. Since he's so worried about people judging him for being an NFL player, he would be happy to know that I, at least, don't care. I don't know him, don't care what he did in the NFL, and I think he's a blockhead. Does he love me now?

The delusion that they are so happy and wonderful continues as the women of Yowza now groom each other. Stephenie is braiding Morgan's hair. She tells the camera how Yowza is such a happy family filled with BFFs and kindred soulmates, blah blah blah, a happy family. It's been only four days, people. The Yowzas are on the express train to delusionville because it takes at least four episodes in the previous seasons before people start becoming really, really stupid.

Mercifully, it's now time for tree-mail. Over at Nookum, Judd collects the tree-mail while being accompanied by a sulky looking Brandon. But Nookum is a tribe all about delegation of duties, so it's Cindy who gets to read aloud the stupid poetry to her tribemates. It's all about "webs of hardships" and yummy food at the end of the web or something like that. Blake says that, given his condition (puke, lie down, repeat, rinse), he really doesn't feel like doing any Challenges so soon. Eh, he bends over to the camera and I am really sure that I have a pair of curtains that have the same floral print as his shorts. Margaret nurses him as he flops around the ground. She tells the camera that she is worried for him. That will reassure all you bad people who suspect that she is the one deliberately feeding the men poisoned food. Meanwhile, Brandon announces to the camera that Blake is being a sissy and Brandon would "man up" if he was in Blake's shoes. I'd love to test that theory by hammering nails into his shoulders. It seems that nearly everyone that gets to blab to the camera so far in this episode is determined to get on my nerves and I am not amused, to say the least.

On with the Reward Challenge. The two tribes file in and our host, Jeff "Guatemala, Oi!" Proboscis, happily tells the Yowzas that Jim had been expelled from Nookum. The Yowzas try to look a little interested in that news. Probby announces that this time, the Challenge involves running up a ramp, dashing across a net, and then hanging from a rope network created in a giant spiderweb pattern. And then, moving along the rope to one of the eight bags dangling from the ropes, cutting it, letting it fall to the water below, dropping down to the water to collect the bag, climbing out to the net and climbing up to rejoin the others. Simple, isn't it? Everyone has to do this at least once on each tribe, with anyone dropping down at any time into the water having to go back to the starting line, and the first team to collect all eight bags win this Challenge. Probby unveils the prize: fishing gear! No spear or bazookas, though, just hooks, string, and bait. The Yowzas has Amy sit out and everyone is then good to go. Let's go then!

First off, Jamie versus Bobby Jon. Jamie goes all Spiderman on the spiderweb, hanging from it using his hands as well as feet, while Bobby Jon hangs from only his hands. Jamie therefore collects his bag faster than Bobby Jon. Brian takes over from Jamie but while he has a head start, Cindy from Nookum soon overtakes him. While her butt is permanently pressed against the camera in the credits, this time the camera zooms in on her crotch. Poor Cindy. She's being exploited for the males watching this show. What is the world coming to? Stephenie and Blake duke it out and they finish at nearly the same time, which is impressive considering that Blake is supposed to be dying or something. Ditto Gary and Brandon. Margaret beats Rafe when Rafe fails to collect his bag. But poor Rafe botches things up further for Yowza when he seems to be unable to climb up the net to rejoin his tribemates, allowing Judd to have a head start. But because we are talking about Judd, he soon plops into the water like a bloated whale attempting to walk a tightrope. Morgan makes up for Rafe's blunder while Danni struggles. Brianna takes over from Morgan but she too falls into the water without a bag. By the way, I have to keep rewatching this show at this point because I still can't tell the women apart without squinting real hard. Hmmph. Anyway, Lydia takes over from Brianna. Only then does Danni finally cut the bag and drops down into the water to collect it. As Brooke rushes in after Danni, Lydia already has her bag. Then Jamie takes over from Lydia. Brooke gets her bag. Now it's Blake versus Brian for the last (eighth) bag for their respective tribe. For a sick guy, Blake manages to trounce Brian. So it's Nookum who wins the fishing gear. Ooh, who's the unhappy family now, Yowza?

Hey, it's day five already. The Nookum guys are up and awake, catching what seems like some poor lost fish that are separated from the school. Oh, and Blake announces to the camera that he is feeling better already. I don't know if he announces that to his tribe though, heh.

Over at Camp Yowza, the karmic hammer is pressing down hard on the twits as Rafe talks about how they are all in some "desperation food mode". What the heck is "desperation food mode"? It has to do with those twits pulling out roots to eat, apparently, because they are all unable to catch fish or find any edible yummies in the jungle. Oh, poor babies, how sad that hamburgers don't grow on trees, eh? Rafe manages to catch a grasshopper and asks anyone whether they want to take a bite. The show doesn't follow up on whether anyone actually does, those wimps. As it always happen when stress starts to settle in, the happy family of BFFs start to find some convenient scapegoats to vent on. Gary starts complaining that Morgan isn't pulling her weight (which isn't much to begin with) around the camp. Cue scene of Morgan daintily sipping on some water.

While Morgan soaks her feet in the water, Lydia by her side decides to start digging the sand to form a "cove", which she then covers with a sack. Hey, don't laugh - this woman knows what she is doing because she shows up in camp with some small minnows. Rafe, in the meantime, decides to destroy a termite nest with Jamie, because termites are great sources of protein, see, and are disappointed when they realize that they have just ruined an ant nest instead of a termite hill. They nonetheless bring the nest back to camp, where the others balk at the idea of eating ants. It is only when Lydia shows up with ten small minnows does everyone feel happier again. Lydia tells the camera that all this is part of her masterplan anyway. The way to a man's heart is via his stomach after all, she says.

Camp Nookum. Oh look, Blake is now sick again. Judd tells the camera that it is convenient that Blake always drop down sick whenever there is work to be done around camp. I hate to agree with a repulsive dolt like Judd but it sure does look suspicious that Blake can switch on and off his "sickness" just like that. "How much more relaxing does this dude need, man?" he bitches to the camera. Still, he's not helping his case when he whines to Brandon that Blake is "screwing" them by making them collect water for him. I mean, yeah, maybe it's suspicious that Blake happens to be sick when he's not competing, but at the same time, he helped Nookum get those fishing gear, so it's not as if Blake is "screwing" the tribe. Anyway, it looks like Blake isn't winning any friends among some men in his tribe, especially when Brandon isn't fond of Blake in the first place. If he's smart, he'd experience a miraculous healing soon.

Day six already. Wow, time flies quickly in Guatemala. I like it. We're at Camp Nookum. It's tree-mail time and it comes with a short rope. Bobby Jon suspects that they may be taking part in some tug-of-war tournament. Danni tells the camera that while there are some good athletes on her tribe, the Yowzas manage to keep up with them quite well so far. Maybe, Danni reasons, it's because in Yowza there are Stephenie, whom we all know is some six-zillion dollar bionic woman, and Gary. "I work in sports radio back in Kansas City and Gary used to be a professional football player, so.. He was a quarterback. Quarterbacks though aren't usually as athletic as the rest of the football players," she tells the camera (hey, Gary, someone finally cares, woo-hoo!) and chuckles as she says that we will all see eventually how athletic Gary is.

Hello, Probby. Eh, why are all of them - the Survivors as well as Probby - sporting those stupid ugly hats? Won't it be great if wearing these hats cause an outbreak in flea infestation on their heads? Everyone will be bald by the end of the season! Anyway, Probby says that Wugu-Wugu is once more "up for grabs" and explains that this Immunity Challenge involves a tug-of-war tournament. Tribes are tied up at opposite ends of a rope and they will then, duh, pull. If that fails to yield a winner, it will be one on one tug-of-war session with...

You know what? I've been typing and retyping several times but I still don't know to explain the rules of this Challenge because I don't understand them. I don't think even Probby knows the rules. Let's just say that eventually all the Survivors, barring Brianna whom the Yowzas sit out, end up in the mud pit pulling and throwing themselves at each other while lots of pixels fly around because pants and tops are falling off. Of course, that's why this Challenge is designed that way, although why then does Burnetto pixellate out the parts they want us to see in the episode, I will never understand. I mean, if they want to give us T&A, give us the stuff. Don't tease us with pixels! Bobby Jon roars like a mad Viking high on bloodlust, everyone is making noise, and still there is no clear winner yet.

Then Probby decides that it's now time for some one-on-one action. So it's first a showdown between Gary and Judd. Judd manages to pull Gary in, causing Danni to cheer Judd on by saying, "He's a quarterback, you're like a linebacker!" Gary looks like he's busted and then the idiot decides to confirm Danni's words by leaping forward to tackle Judd like the quarterback he used to be. What a stupid move, really, because it's not going to do anything other than getting his face dirty in the mud. Judd wins this round. One for Nookum!

Jamie versus Brandon. Jamie, who is obviously inspired by idiocy to do the same, tries to tackle Brandon like Gary tried to tackle Judd. Dude, this is a tug-of-war game. What is he trying to do? Brandon wins this one. Two for Nookum, and someone get Yowza a brain!

Judd versus Jamie now. This is a tie-breaker round in the sense that if Judd wins this in thirty seconds, Nookum will win Wugu-Wugu. Jamie decides to try his best to hold his position to force a stale-mate but during the last ten seconds, Judd lunges, expecting Jamie to lower his guard since the end of the round is near, and Jamie stumbles. Judd, that sly bastard, wins. Wugu-Wugu goes home with the Nookums. Oh, Yowzas, who's the powerhouse now?

The poor Yowzas return to camp, all looking like the mud-slathered losers, which they are, come to think of it. There is no better representation of Losers United than these losers in question showing up with mud and dirt on their sour faces. Stephenie reassures the others that it's okay that someone is leaving because both tribes are now down to seven people! How nice. I'm sure the one leaving tonight will high-five Jim in the spirit of Fair Balance Between Us All. To the camera though, Stephenie is very worried about being the one to leave. Aww, come on, didn't she say that they are her best friends and kindred soulmates? Where is the love, Stephenie?

The guys of Yowza are right now having a secret rendezvous. Don't care about what the women think and all that, I suppose. Jamie wants Stephenie to go because she knows the game according to him and therefore a threat. He's an idiot. Getting rid of your tribe's physical threats this early before the merge means that you'll end up losing all those freaking Immunity Challenges and end up after the merge on a losing side in the numbers game. Just ask the moronic quartet of Lea, Rory, Bubba, and Chad3P0, four of the biggest twits on Vanuatu. (Chris the Slug is a twit too, but at least he's a million-dollar richer than his four fellow twits.) Rafe and Gary are not buying Jamie's idea. Did I mention that Jamie looks like a Mongoloid Christopher Reeve? Gary tells the camera that he feels that it is more important to keep the tribe united and win Immunity Challenges.

Back at camp, Amy is telling Stephenie that the guys are targetting her. Stephenie is shocked because how dare people try to vote her out! Stephenie tells the camera that she is the strongest woman in the tribe (she's right there, despite how arrogant she sounds while saying it) so it makes no sense for them to vote her out. Well, I suspect that "they" share the same logic as Lea and Lex Loser. Back at camp, Stephenie tells the others that it is "retarded" to vote her out. The other women must be thinking, "Oh, so it's not retarded then to vote me out, is it, Miss Know-It-All?" but I suppose that they are too polite to say these things out loud.

During dinner, Brian confronts Gary about Gary's past, bringing up Danni's inadvertent bust of his cover in the earlier Immunity Challenge. Gary denies it and accuses Danni of trying to cause trouble. Yes, saying that so-and-so in the other tribe is a quarterback will cause the other tribe to plunge into chaos. Gary tells the camera that he will deny that he is an ex-NFL quarterback because if it comes out, the others will boot him out. Yeah, but they won't boot him out because he's a twit who lies unnecessarily about things.

Later, Rafe, Amy, and Gary talk a walk where they privately discuss whether to vote out Lydia or Morgan. Stephenie soon meets up with them and they all agree that Lydia works more around the camp while Morgan is better than Lydia during Challenges involving obstacles and balancing. Amy is in favor of keeping Morgan while Stephenie wants to get rid of Morgan. However, they all agree that there is no reason why they can't do the things Lydia does after Lydia is booted. Amy says that she loves Lydia but sometimes that's just how things should be played out. Hmm. And I suppose that Amy needing Morgan to deflect the tribe's attention from her own physical weaknesses has nothing to do with her decision? Anyway, Gary tells the camera that we can't be emotional during Tribal Councils. Unless if you're trying to pretend that you're not an ex-NFL quarterback, even if you freaking mention it in every other confessional of yours, because it's then okay to be scared of being booted out because everyone is jealous of you. Because you're special. You're an ex-NFL quarterback baby! Zzzzzz.

Gary now approaches Brian about the plan to boot Lydia. Brian wants to keep Lydia because he wants to eat fish a little longer if possible. He tells Gary that Morgan "does nothing" in camp while Lydia manages to hold her own pretty well during Challenges. Brian reminds everyone in his confessional that Lydia managed to hike eleven-miles on the first day without suffering much problems so he suspects that Lydia is being targetted because she happens to be older and therefore assumed to be weaker. Later, Brian tells Lydia that she is in danger and she should try and make a case for herself to stay. Lydia then tells Gary that she works hard at camp and in Challenges. She also rather pathetically urges Gary to promise her that he won't vote her out. "I'm not ready to go, Gary!" she tells him.

Rafe in the meantime is emphasizing the importance of an united vote in order to prevent "fractures" in Yowza. There's nothing better to consolidate and unite a tribe than bullying other people into voting for so-and-so, after all! Unfortunately, as we shall soon see, someone forgets to pass Morgan this memo on tribal unity.

Night, Tribal Council. Probby first tries to pit Stephenie against Jamie, getting Jamie to declare that Stephenie is a threat because "she's not like a girl - she's more like a boy". Only boys are allowed to be tough in Jamie World! Lydia then reminds everyone how important she is while Morgan calmly says that everyone knows what is going on and therefore everyone is united. Or something. Probby now tells them that it's time to vote.

Amy and Gary vote. Brian votes for Morgan, saying that he has lobbied hard at the last minute to change the tide of voting. If he says so, I suppose. Brianna, Rafe, and Jamie vote. Morgan votes for Lydia, saying that this is a tough decision for her to make. Stephenie and Lydia then go up to vote. Probby takes the urn, "tallies" the votes (a move which I suspect is actually a toilet break for him), and comes back to reveal the votes. It's unanimous except for one - Morgan is leaving. Boy, I'm sure Morgan will be angry that she's left out of the loop because she would have surely voted for herself as well in the spirit of Yowza United Forever. Anyway, a stunned Morgan walks up to get her torch snuffed out and then she wanders out of the Tribal Council. Probby has a short moment of sneering at how this "united" tribe kept Morgan out of the loop before banishing them from his presence.

Morgan's final words has her wondering why she is booted out. Still, it's a great experience, et cetera, she says, and then she's gone. To think, I never even made a single "rabbit" joke during her short stint on this show!