Thailand Episode 1: The Importance of Being Eldest

Ah, the show is back! The Season Premiere is here, and look, after the spectacular floperoo of Survivor Africa, where nobody strips down and everybody stops watching, Mark Burnett has learned the lesson: going beach is the only way to go. Think beach, think guys and gals in buffed up physique (apart from your token granda and grandma) wearing very little. I'm so there.

So here we have the season premiere, and we kicks off the show with sixteen ugly Americans crashing through a Thai waterfront village. I note that idiot with a skateboard down, sure that he will be the biggest asshole of the bunch. Later, I will learn that I am right, unfortunately.

Anyway, then we have the opening credits. That "Oh-gay, oh-gay, gay yeah, gay yeah!" theme chant, which should be familiar to long-time viewers by now, comes on, and I take note on the names and all. Hey, who let last season's Communist Moppet Gabriel Cade back into the game? Wait, turns out that this season's Moppet is one Jed Hildebrand. Hildebrand, huh? Sounds like right-wing Christian evangelist sorts to me. Then I sneaked a peek at his EW bio and I have to ask: what the heck is "Christian dental missionary work"? That is what Jed claimed to have done in Cambodia. What, he preaches to teeth? Is it wrong to feel this urge to run my hands over those sculpted abs and see if they are real?

Anyway, we now start the game. Guys take one boat, gals another, and they "oh-gay, oh-gay, gay-yeah, gay-yeah" their way to the supposedly remote island of Koh Tarutao. I thought this would be a cheesy boy vs gal thing, but no. In a fit of literary faux-enlightenment, Burnett and his demonic portege Probst decide to go all Oscar Wilde on us - no, they don't have sex on TV, in case you're wondering. So Proboscis calls the oldest guy and gal out to choose the team name and team members.

The team names are Sook Jai and Chuay Gahn. "Chewing gum?" Mr Giggles repeated in disbelief. Granpa of the bunch, Jake (60), and granma of the bunch, Jan (53) - and no, there's no J in geriartic - steps forth to choose their name. Or rather, Jake grabs a colored bandana and lookee-here, he's a Soochee! Jan is Chewing Gum. Now, Jake and Jan must choose their team members. Last to be chosen gets to feel like being in high school all over again.

Jake chooses the athletic ones, blissfully unaware of how uncool these young ones find old buggers like him and probably praying that they wouldn't throw him off the cliffs once he fumbles in all their physical challenges. Jan, like a stereotypical hee-hee granny, chooses mainly people from the "older" side as well as the porn star, Brian. Is there something about Granny that we don't know, hmmm?

So here's a brief recap of who's who. Not that it's of importance, since all reality TV contestants are stereotypes and it doesn't matter what they do or who they are, they all want to whore themselves to the hilt in pursuit of fame and money and LA. And yes, I'm going to give some of the more irritating ones nicknames - if you want their real names, go to the official CBS site or something.

The Soochees: Erin Boobsahoy, Sarah Marquesas II. Jake, the Granpa. Jed, the cement-faced dental student moppet who wants to convert Cambodian teeth to Christianity and the guy with the body, sparkly teeth, and low-riding shorts to make me wish he'll stay on to the very end, provided he doesn't do a Vecepia on us all. Ken Doll, the square-jawed cop who looks like, well, a Ken doll without the gold hair. Penny, frail and sweet, she has Flying Under The Radar (FUTR) gameplay all over her. Tooooollllllll, the irritating Matthew Lillard's deformed stepbrother who fouls the earth with every breath he takes. Shii Devil, currently my favorite, sassy and brassy. Stephanie, the obligatory "Lesbo or Not?" tomboy firefighter stereotype.

The Chewing Gummers: Brian, softporn star and used car salesman. We hate him already were not for Tooooollllllll. Clay, the overprivileged rich old man who is as interesting as his namesake. Ghandia, sassy, bold, and the token AA woman. Helen, who is she again? Jan, Granny. John, humorless pastor who thinks he's in Waterloo. Tanya, the FUTR of this team. Ted, token AA guy who is cute, fun, and adorable - for now.

Chewing Gum get a beach where there are caves to provide shelter, but the water source is a long way off. Yeah right, as if you think Burnett will let the Chewing Gummers die of thirst. If they are smart, they will stage a death fast and Burnett will send gourmet food packages down ASAP. On the other hand the Soochees get an open beach where food is plentiful but there is no shelter.

So the Soochees decide to cut down coconut leaves to make shelters. Toooollllll behaves like a rabid hyena on the loose and jumps around as if he's personally raping every single tree in sight. Jake, probably regretting his decision already, makes a diplomatic statement about how enthusiastic Tooooollllll is. Tooooollllllll happily says in his slurred I-do-coke caveman drawl that his team has all the pretty chicks except one. I wonder who he means - Stephanie? Stephanie can floor your sorry skateboarding LA-bartending (euphemism for "aspiring actor") ass in a minute, you sorry, irritating Tooollll, and yeah, your face looks like the south end of a babboon after an unfortunate collision with a bus.

Then they bicker. Jed strips down to really low-hanging shorts, and the female population of the world - okay, me - throw our thongs at the TV screen in gratitude - yes, God is a woman! Meanwhile, Shii Devil and Toooolllllll have a spat when Shii Devil wants to look for food and Toooooollllll believes that she should be cutting down leaves to make floors just like he is doing. Tearfully, Shii Devil sniffles to the camera, "Don't mess with the she-devil or you'll get horns". Someone please tell her that she comes off like a petulant brat in that one. But she's still cool in my book.

Jed hugs her as a gesture of comfort - I want so bad to be Shii Devil at that very moment, because I want to feel those washboard abs against me too. I hear that they have restorative properties, because remember, Jed is on a Mission from God. One rub of those holy abs and I'll become ten years younger, or so I hear. Jed the Abs is Sex God! And then he speaks, and some of his mojo deflates. He seems like one of those lone brooders who do their thing and then make a big fuss about it, martyr style. Still, he can wear a burlap sack over his head, keep silent, and pull those shorts lower down his hips, because Jed, let me tell you, one inch lower and we will all be sending our thanks to the good Lord above.

Burnett manages to show some late night Soochee beach frolic, where Stephanie stephs-away from her clothes and wears only pixels around her ta-tas and ya-ya, as popularized by Richard Hatchetface and the wannabe, John Marquesas. What's the point, Stephanie? Erin Boobavich has rendered you completely irrelevant with her very obviously fake ballast balloons. Shii Devil rolls up her eyes, and I give her a telepathic high five.

Meanwhile, the Chewing Gummers are having a better time. They are not bickering among themselves like the exhibitionist Soochees, maybe because they don't have to do a mess out of destroying coconut trees. As a result, everyone of the tribe remains nondescript, although Ghandia and Ted seems to talk more than the rest. They seem to be turning into a Love Tribe, united in their (mostly) dislike of Pastor John. This is like Rothunk in Marquesas - I love it when the so-called Love Tribe turns onto each other like hungry hyenas, Rothunk's internal massacre makes the other tribe in Marquesas, Maramoomoo, come off like a kiddie playground session. (Yes, I deliberately mess up Rotu and Maraamu's names.)

Pastor John, however, must have send his applicant parcel to Boot Camp to Mark Burnett by mistake, because here he is, rallying the troops and marching around. He may as well take a red pen and draw a bullseye at his forehead. Hello, Pastor John, does a certain name, Hunter Ellis, ring any bell? You are so dead.

Tanya, however, is dehydrated. She is feeling the fear of the eviction god breathing down on her ass. Don't worry Tanya, you're nothing compared to a too-serious too-bossy idiot who draws battle lines all over the floor on day one, and these lines are arrows all pointing at his ass with a giant neon sign blinking "KICK ME OUT, I'M A DWEEBO!" above his scrawny gluts. You can't miss it.

Pastor John finds the water source after a few false starts by the Soochees. And guess what? He thinks it is funny to play a trick on four tired, angry, and fed up folks who have swam what seems like miles to keep up with him. Do the math, John, they choose to evict you, it's a 4-3 vote out. Let's pitch another neon sign above the Dweebo one - this one will say "TOUCHED BY GOD, IN EVERY SORRY SENSE OF THE PHRASE."

After lots of trivial antics by these losers trying to convince people that they are campers - oh please - comes the physical challenge for immunity. This one is a three-parter. Each team takes a boat, and they will paddle away to the first point. Here, a cheap primitive pinball-type maze thing awaits, you have to hold the string of a weight tied to a flag, move it through the maze, and - oh, just stuff it, it sounds stupid even to me. Let's just say you have to shake the rope and get the flag. Then you paddle on some more until you reach a marker point, then you dive in and grab a second flag. Then you go to the third point, fiddles with another IQ puzzle thingie, gets a knife when you solve the puzzle, and cut down the third flag. Race back to Proboscis and the winners get to hold a cheap made-in-Thailand statuette of Buddha that Burnett's prop assistant bought from Bangkok for USD0.50.

Proboscis says that this challenge will test one's physical and intellectual capabilities. He says this with a straight face. Either he's sedated by Burnett or he's a bloody good actor. Then again, his embarrassing VJ past must have helped in cultivating that scrawny, straight-faced expression. I imagine that it's Jed giving instructions, wearing only skimpy Speedos. I feel so much better.

On your marks, get set, go! Chewing Gum get a head start, go, go, go! Theh Ghandia screws up the last one, and Jed gets the knife first. Soochee wins immunity, and Chewing Gummers wail. It's a big family, Granma wails, but she isn't shedding any tears in her tribal confession when she writes unhesitantly Pastor John's name on that cheap paper. I don't talk about tribal chit-chats, they are all cloying BS stuff that hubby and I always put on mute as we catch up on things we've missed. Predictably, they're all wailing that it's tough to evict someone, they're one big family, blah blah, and I want to throttle them all. Year after year, people go on a game show all about Outwitting, Outlasting, and Outwhoring everyone else, and here they are, again, talking about family? Go to hell, all of you fakers.

As it is, Pastor John, not surprisingly, joins the illustrious ranks of First Class Losers. He gives a gracious bye-bye speech, but you know all he wants to do is to call down rains of brimstone on the Sodom and Gomorrah in this evil place. Granny sheds the fakest crocodile tears even as she tries not to snigger, and I get that evil troll Tina Wesson vibes all over again, and shudder in fear.

They then all walk back to their beach. It's just three days into their adventure, and already I'm hating almost everybody in this game. This, people, is going to be good. I hope.