Palau Episode 1: This Has Never Happened Before

Hey, that's a beach! And that's a boat making its way to some islands. Hmm, where is this? Pearl Islands? Vanuatu? Marquesas? Ding-ding-ding, it's Palau. Or so Jeff Proboscis says as he poses dramatically on the boat. I'll take his word on it. Palau Schmalau Vanuatalau Marquesatalau - whatever. How do I know that they aren't just filming the whole season in some studio in Hollywood anyway? Probby says that Palau is an "island paradise" where the "hundreds of lush islands" in the archipelago are "remote" and "breathtaking". Wait a minute, I am watching Survivor, right? Where the Survivors are supposed to endure hardships while fending for themselves in a hostile environment, right? So what is all this "remote breathtaking lush island paradise" nonsense? Hello, Probby and Burnetto? Anybody home?

The show then provides some exciting wildlife montage, none of which will ever make any further appearance on the show anyway. Burnetto probably nicked the jellyfish and pearl oyster scenes from a documentary in the studio basement anyway. Probby then points out that Palau has been a site of some nasty showdowns in World War 2. There are plenty of old war machinery and scrapped weapons at the bottom of the sea. Ooh, does this mean that one of the Survivors will swim down, grab a gun, and start shooting? Oh, wait, what I am saying? I'm sure these Survivors can't swim. Nor can they start a fire, I'd bet. Probby goes philosophical, saying that Palau is "an eerie mix of man's explosive past and nature's power to reclaim". That "reclaim" part - is it like recycling? Like Burnetto casting the same kind of people in every season of the show? Does mother nature approve?

And now, look, there is another being rowed by aspiring actors, future Maxim centerfolds, and miscellaneous people who will keep me and you company for the whole season. This time, there are twenty of them. Probby says that these dweebs have only the clothes on their back and a canteen of water between them. Yeah, for now. I'm sure by the end of the week Probby would have given them matches, tents, blankets, and a brand new refrigerator that is better than mine. Oh, I'm so cynical. I must learn to enjoy the scenery more.

"Thirty-nine days!" roars Probby, stifling a yawn and an urge to scratch his groin. "Twenty people! One Survivor!"

Credits. Hmm, did I say I must learn to enjoy the scenery more? Mmmm, so many cute guys. Manly guys, girly guys, guys with killer abs, guys, guys, guys, so pretty, too pretty, I likey. Of course, I reserve the right to change my mind whenever one of these guys opens his mouth and speak.

There are some sharks looking at the camera. Of course, nobody is going to get eaten so I don't know why they bother with tired animal metaphors anymore. Day one has started on the show. Probby "stops" the boat he is "at the wheel of" (what, you think I am so gullible to believe that Probby is really manning the boat?) beside the boat filled with Survivors and tells them that the beach is over there and waiting on the beach are two Immunity necklaces, one for a guy and one for a gal. Probby tells them that they can keep rowing or they can start scrambling for the necklaces now. One silly guy in pink gets on his feet, all ready to jump off the boat, only to sheepishly sits back down when he realizes that nobody else is going to follow his lead. How embarrassing. Now everybody knows that he wants to win instead of just enjoying the scenery. Since everyone just wants to paddle, Probby thinks about what spoilsports these killjoys are and head off back to his trailer where he will keep fobbing off Julie's phonecalls while playing tickle-me-pink with a certain Colby Donaldson. Hey, don't laugh. The only reason Probby falls for Julie is because Julie looks like Colby, don't you know.

There's this guy called James ("steelworker"). I'll call him Jumbles because this is what he tells the camera: "Jah-uff's a sumbitch! Ah tellya dat!" Why does the unfortunately plainest guy - with big ears this side of Ewokhood - also has to sound indecipherable. He goes on to say what I think is a good-natured grumble about how he is expecting breakfast only to realize that the game is "on" and everyone is in "trouble". Coby, the man in pink, whom I'll call Cobb just because, tells the camera that everyone is wondering whether to dash for the necklace or just keep paddling. He is a "hairstylist". That's just a word to throw those FCC-fanatics off from the fact that Coby is pinkishly, flamingly homosexual like the best of them. "Oh don't slander that nice young man like that, dear! He's a hairstylist, not a homosexual," Aunt Edna will say but we all know better, don't we? Some woman, Stephenie, who is wearing what looks like a honky-tonky hooker get-up tries to stand up when the boat approaches the beach only to fall and pretty much gets intimate with at least half the laps of the people on the boat. Hmm, that's an interesting way to play this game. I wonder why nobody has thought of that sooner. Caryn ("civil rights lawyer" - uh, is that another way to say that she can't get a job at a decent law firm or something?) says that some people are trying to move into a good position to get off the boat and grab the necklace the fastest when the boat hits the beach.

Sensing the turmoil in her boat, a middle-aged woman stands up and starts singing in a truly wretched manner some song about Survivor. Meet Wanda, an "English teacher". Fellow old coot Willard ("lawyer" - what, no "civil rights" to go with that?) tells the camera that he is rowing in the middle of a hot day when this "lunatic" jumps up and starts singing. He wants to "knock her off with an oar". Cobb says that initially he is amused by Wanda's singing but she just keeps singing and he soon wishes that she will shut up. Wanda confesses that she has more original songs about Survivor ready to be unleashed because, as she says, she wants this show to be a "big party" as long as possible. Goodness, does she even go to parties in the first place? That one in the zoo where all the children start crying for their parents while the monkeys howl in pain when Wanda starts singing happy songs doesn't count.

Stephenie ("pharmaceutical rep" - it figures, really, with her hooker get-up and all that she'd deal out both kinds of blow if you pay her nicely) decides that she will jump off the boat and make a swim for the necklace. Jonathan ("sales and marketing associate") decide to do the same. Oops, bad move, because once those two jump off, they realize that the boat is actually faster than their swimming on their own, ha ha, and have to beg to be allowed to climb back onto the boat. Cobb just looks at them and asks, "And what are your names again?" Fabulous. It will be better if he adds "Bitch?" after his sarcastic question but I can't have everything, I suppose. As the boat gets closer to the beach, Katie ("advertizing executive") tells the camera that jumping off the boat is like painting targets on your back because it doesn't pay to stand out as so aggressive at this early stage of the game. She wants the necklace because she claims to be competitive, but she will wait and see before she acts. True, that. Big-haired Janu ("Vegas showgirl") tells the camera thats everyone wants the necklace but it makes more sense to make a grab for it when the boat is closer to the beach. True, so true.

And then the boat touches the beach and everyone makes a mad scramble for the necklaces. A skinny guy named Ian grabs one and Jolanda (another "lawyer") grabs the other necklace. Jumbles calls Ian in his confessional a "fast lil' booger", although taking into account his accent, that "booger" may not actually be booger but something more... hard-hitting.

Now that two people have the Immunity necklaces, everyone wonders what to do. Willard explains that they don't even know whether there are going to be two tribes because there are just one banner on the beach and it says "Survivor: Palau". Wanda has a map - I wonder where she gets it - and she shows it to the others. The shaggy-haired handsome Gregg then opens his mouth and his attraction dims a little because he sounds a little as if being confused is a daily occurrence for him. He tells the camera that has has no idea what is going on or what will happen because this lack of directions for them is supposedly unprecedented. Hey, what can I say? Maybe the show is cancelled already and Burnetto doesn't even care to bring these people back home!

By the way, Jonathan and Stephenie are still swimming towards the shore. Where are the sharks the show promised me earlier?

Caryn decides to take charge and sends people to collect water while tells others to help set up a shelter. She manages to do this without people ganging up on her and calling her a threat. I'm impressed. Cobb marvels at how organized everyone is despite the general confusion they all share about their situation. And there there is a heavenly handsome man with silvery hair and brawny body - hello Tom ("fireman"), please use your big wet hose on me because I'm on fire, baby! - and... and... OH GOD, SHUT THE HELL UP, WANDA! The women around Wanda, who are tending to the fire, look like they want to use her entire head to start that fire. Tom unfortunately speaks and again, his charms diminish considerably. I'm seeing a pattern here. He says that he wants to cut down wood for the shelter because he thinks that jobs like making fire are for "losers". Speaking of losers, the ladies aren't doing very well at starting a fire. Some things never change: silicones, ineptness, and being unable to start a fire. Jolanda calls for a big, strong man to help her break the heels off her shoes. This leads Ian ("dolphin trainer") to give an impromptu class on how to modify one's clothes when one is stranded on an island and one's clothes are falling apart. Ian then reveals that he is enjoying the view of people's modifying their clothes so much that he has to, er, stop for a while.

The group of people looking for water shriek in joy when they locate the water source. The heavily tattooed Angie ("bartender") says that they are also pleased to find a duffel bag by the water source containing everyone's shoes. Angie and Cobb bond over the fact that neither fits well into the young and pretty crowd although while Angie is all about how she and Cobb will be best friends forever, Cobb's confessional is more pragmatic in the sense that he's more concerned about the two of them not standing out too much among the crowd. Back at camp, Janu climbs a tree to fix a crosspiece to it while Tom and Jonathan help her up. Her pants slip down and pixels quickly pop up to preserve the dignity of Janu's bum. Janu tells the camera that she has experiences in rock-climbing that come handy in this situation. Elsewhere, Tom, Ian, and Stephenie decide to start an alliance. That's smart, especially when they have no idea whether they will be in the same tribe or not. And at somewhere else at the camp, Jolanda eats a grasshopper.

Cobb, Caryn, and Gregg are talking alliance at another side of the camp too, although they don't really have a clear idea what to do yet with this alliance of theirs. Gregg is so pretty when he's shirtless. Um, where was I? Speaking of Cobb, poor Angie will be heartbroken when she learns that she's excluded from her new BFF's alliance, heh. Cobb is pushing for a Jonathan boot, although his only argument for that is that he doesn't "connect" with Jonathan. When Caryn protests that Jonathan works hard around the camp, he tells her that this game isn't about work ethics. That is true. Cobb explains to the camera that everyone is convinced that there will be a Tribal Council at the end of the day, probably from something they were told earlier that wasn't shown to the audience, so nobody has time to know anyone before they have to vote somebody out. He claims that he has sneakily talk to people about who they want to see voted out and prods them to vote for Jonathan's elimination. He says that he doesn't see any problem with getting them to vote Jonathan out because at this stage of the game, everyone will do anything as long as he or she isn't the one voted out. I have a feeling that this is going to bite Cobb in the bum because I have this suspicion that he isn't as sneaky as he thinks he is. All it takes is for someone to say, "Hey, didya see that funny guy with big ears? He's asking me to vote out Jonathan!" and who knows, people may compare notes and vote him out instead!

Night falls and everyone tucks in for some sleep.

Day two, morning. Tom is doing his he-man thing with the machete again. Oh, a man whacking at coconuts has never been sexier. Everyone is feasting on "cashed" coconuts (as Cobb calls the taste of the coconut juice) when who shows up but Probby. Hi, Probby! Everyone is relieved to see him. Katie even cheers and claps. Is she related to JennaLoo in any way? Probby then drops the bombshell to the ones wearing the Immunity necklaces, Ian and Jolanda. They will each start to pick a member to form a tribe of nine. That leaves two Survivors out in the dust and these two will be sent packing. Once they have picked someone, this someone will in turn pick another person, and so on. Since Probby wants each tribe to have an equal number of men and women, men will pick women and women will pick men. ("And that's the way it should be," says the FCC.)

Ian picks Katie. Jolanda picks Bobby Jon ("waiter" - aspiring actor, more likely). Katie picks Tom. Bobby Jon picks Stephenie. Tom calls Janu over. Stephenie picks Jeff W ("personal trainer", which is LA-speak for "gay-for-pay", not that I am implying anything because I am too busy admiring his abs). Janu wants Gregg. Jeff W picks Kim ("graduate student"). Gregg picks Jennifer Lyon or J Lyo ("nanny" - I'm not kidding). Kim picks Jumbles. J Lyo picks Cobb. Jumbles pick Ashlee ("student"). The show tries to create suspense by having Cobb looking over the three remaining women that are Angie, Caryn, and Wanda. Cobb, Angie's BFF, picks Caryn. Poor Angie starts tearing up because she has high-school issues of being ocstracized, boo-hoo-hoo, and they are coming back to haunt her and her many tattoos. Her BFF has betrayed her! Ashlee has to choose from Jonathan, Willard, and Ibrehem, whose abs are unrivalled in eye-feast quality apart from Jeff W's. Ibrehem, by the way, is supposedly a "waiter". Ashlee wants Ibrehem. Why not?

Of the women, Wanda tells Probby that her heart is pounding. What rhymes with pounding? Oh yes, butt-thumping as in "butt-thumped out of the island, adios, chickee". Wanda should write a song about that. As for the men, Jonathan wonders why he isn't chosen by anyone. He's hot! And he also wants to win and we all know that is a no-no on this show. Look, everyone has such sad expressions on their faces because they have to choose, boo-hoo-hoo! Ibrehem picks Angie over to his tribe, thus sending Wanda and her voice-box karaoke horror out of the game. Caryn beckons Willard to come to her. Poor Jonathan swims for a necklace and has his neck cut off instead, so to speak. The remaining Survivors make a grand show of applauding the two losers who leave for the boat that will take them out of the game for good, as if those two have single-handedly risked their lives saving them from a hungry hippo or something. Some are even crying. Wanda of course begins to sing as the boat leaves, no doubt making poor Jonathan wonder what he did in a past life to deserve being stuck in the same boat with her. Back at the beach, everyone sniffles and Jolanda announces that she is so torn up over the departure of two people that the remaining Survivors have unanimously decided that they just don't like, she will have to "refocus" on the game.

Probby hands over the blue buffs to Jolanda's tribe, which he says will be called Ulong. To recap, the Ulong tribe is composed of the likes of Jolanda, Bobby Jon, Stephenie, Jeff W, Kim, Jumbles, Ashlee, Ibrehem, and Angie. Probby hands over the red buffs to Ian who sniffs at them suspiciously. After all, you never know what Probby does with them in the privacy of his room when he misses Colby so, so much. Probby tells Ian that his tribe will be called Horror. Okay, it's Koror but I'd stick to Horror. To recap, the Horrors are Ian, Katie, Tom, Janu, Gregg, J Lyo, Cobb, Caryn, and Willard.

After the drama of the early departures of two losers for the sake of rating gimmicks, the two tribes now settle down for pow-wow, although they are still on the same beach so they can't pow-wow too much or the other tribe can hear what they are saying. Over at Ulong, Angie is making such a fuss about being the last person chosen that she lashes out at Cobb, among other things, and announces that she has no more "kindred souls" on this island. Hmm, I'd have thought that she'd know what she is getting into when she shows up with a zillion tattoos in a crowd of mediahos, but obviously she's just wants to be loved by everyone. The poor dear. Over at Horror, the Horrors are making a big fuss about how they are older but they are also wiser than the other tribe. Over at Ulong, Jeff W insists that nothing can beat the Ulongites down and Ibrehem tells the camera that being athletic will be more useful than being smart when it comes to going far in this game. I notice that nobody on the Ulong tribe ever mention that they too are as smart as the Horrors.

Wasting no time, the tribes now have to go meet Probby for their routine first episode Immunity-cum-Reward Challenge. Probby waits for them at a different beach where an obstacle course set-up awaits the Survivors. Probby explains that the Survivors must work through a maze network of ropes and a tire obstacle course to reach a storage area. Here, they must take four paddles along with any other goodies they'd like (such as a flint, some tarp, two cans of clean water, flour, and rice). The catch here is that these goodies are in very heavy crates and Survivors will have to untie these crates from the weights the crates are attached to before they can leave with the crates. Tribes will have to gauge how many things they can carry because they will next have to paddle a canoe out into the sea to a point designated by a flag before paddling back to Probby. The first tribe to do this wins Immunity. Probby reveals the Immunity Idol, which looks like an ugly statue of a monkey in the midst of difficult labor. Let's just call it Monroe.

Probby gives the signal to go and the tribes dash to the maze. Hmm, Tom. I can see him run and jump and hop and leap for a long time. The two tribes are close though when they reach the supply area. Here is where Jolanda and those Ulongites that insist on taking as much supply as they can screw up things for the Ulong tribe. They waste a lot of time untying the crates and the best of all, they finally leave without taking the flint, which is more important than rice and flour and tarp. Probby notices that the Ulongites didn't take the flint and says in a bored tone reeking of contempt, "Interesting strategy!" Ulong screws up some more. They are already weighted down by so many crates so they run slower to the canoe, for starters. And then they all seem to paddle on one side of the canoe and worse, they are heading in a completely wrong direction! Eventually the Ulongites realize their mistake and try to turn around only to end up nearly tipping over the canoe. Brawns and beauty with nary a brain, really. On the other hand, the Horrors are doing good with Ian steering the canoe while the others paddle in coordinated efficiency. The Ulongites are still flailing at sea when the Horrors reach Probby, flushed but triumphant in victory.

Probby gives them Monroe, which lead to plenty of hugs and cheers from the Horrors. He also offers them a choice. They can kick the Ulongites off the beach camp both tribes are currently sharing and claim it as theirs or they can go search for a different beach to make camp. The Horrors turn to Tom for a decision. There's no doubt here as to who is the leader of the tribe, eh? And leaders, alas, are such fragile creatures when it comes to longevity on this show. Tom says that the Horrors will look at the new beach. Probby hands over the map for this beach. I don't know, really. The Horrors will have to build a shelter and clean up the place all over again. Do they have to be so noble and get a new beach? Probby turns to the Ulongites and says that he will be seeing them at Tribal Council tonight.

A happy Horror tribe paddles to their new beach when their canoe tips over and send their box of supplies (including the precious flint) straight into the sea. Oops. Ian dives down to look for the crate but he can't seem to locate it. Tom now regrets his decision to move the Horrors to this new beach because they would have to make do without supplies and flint and this is such a downer of a development after their victory over the Ulongites.

Over at Ulong, Angie is really getting into her poor-me role, saying that her tribe should have just taken the flint, like the Horrors did, instead of everything. As she chops coconuts for dinner, Jolanda tells everyone that she doesn't want anyone to be negative because they will all eat coconuts for thirty-nine days if they have to, so there. That's nice. It's a pity that she left her canteen warden uniform at home because I can tell that the kids of Ulong are itching to stick a "Bite Me" sign at her back when she's not looking. Angie is sure that she will be the one gone. She's an outcast, you know, did she tell you that? Boo-hoo-hoo, poor Angie, sob sob sob. She should be worried though because Jolanda, Bobby Jo, and Ibrehem are across the camp discussing about booting Angie. Jolanda says that this is the best thing they can do for the sake of the tribe. Jolanda then runs to Stephenie and tells her that Angie must go because Jolanda wants to keep all the "boys" in the tribe while getting rid of the weakest link. Stephenie agrees and takes the opportunity to snidely tell Jolanda that they should have not taken so many things back at the storage area. Stephenie has been against the idea back then so she's going to remind Jolanda of Jolanda's mistake every opportunity she gets, heh. Stephenie makes it clear to the camera that while she tells Jolanda that she will go with the Angie boot, she blames Jolanda for that stupid mistake that puts them in this position. She voices her dissatisfaction to Bobby Jo, who agrees with her but tells her that he'd rather keep a strong Jolanda in the tribe than a weak Angie.

Jolanda, in the meantime, is making a huge target of herself, bossing everyone around by telling them that they can only rest for one hour after every two hours of working around the camp. The oppressed Ulongites of Jumbles, Jeff W, Ashlee, and Kim decide that Jolanda is just an annoying person who lacks team spirit so they'd best send her packing. Angie of course goes with this plan. She will go with anything, as she says to the camera, that will take the target off her back.

Night, Tribal Council. Probby all but yawns as he prattles off the usual let-there-be-fire speech while the Ulongites light their torches. Probby asks Stephenie whether there were any surprises that awaited her when they first arrived at Palau. Stephenie hesitates and gives a clearly BS answer about how there is no fire or food waiting for them at Holiday Inn Palau. Jumbles mumbles something about Ulong being a great tribe. Even if the tribe has just been trashed badly by the competition earlier in the day? How magnanimous of him. Then again, can anyone really tell whether he's saying "the tribe is fine" or "the tribe is fucked"?

James W speaks. Eh, once more the charms of a low-riding pair of grey boxers and abs of steel dwindle when the gentleman in question opens his mouth to speak. Don't speak, fool, just kiss me, that sort of thing. He agrees with Probby that the Ulongites are stupid not to take the flint and also agrees that the Ulongites are stupid for taking so much of everything else. Ashlee blames the tribe's defeat on a lack of leader. I guess that she is saying that they are all sheep and they need someone to tell them what to do. Jolanda says that the tribe needs a leader and she'd love to be one but she thinks that her "very strong personality" can grate on other people's nerves. She thinks? Angie closes the show with another poor-me speech about how she was picked last and how she is so sure that she is going to leave tonight. Can someone tell her to get a "get over yourself" tattoo? Make it red and have it emblazoned across her forehead, please.

And now it's time to vote. While Jolanda, Ibrehem, and Bobby Jo send much love to Angie, the others gang up on Jolanda. Poor Jolanda, she has to get her torch snuffed. At least she gets to wear a pretty necklace, snort, on her time on Palau. Probby then turns to the others after Jolanda has taken the long and winding road to Loser Lodge and tells them bluntly to stop making excuses for themselves and come up with some plan. He tells them that the Ulongites will have to find a way to make fire on their own. If this show sticks to their guns and make the Ulongites do that, that'd be awesome.

Jolanda gives the predictable bye-bye yak about how she loves this place and wants to bring her kid over to visit. Sure, she's disappointed with how the evening turned out but she insists that she doesn't regret a single moment of her time on Palau. Will these people ever learn that they contradict themselves whenever they give that "disappointed but don't regret anything" spiel?