Beg, Barter, Steal
Survivor Pearl Islands: Episode 1

Yum! Panama City! The camera zooms in over idyllic beaches, buildings that look quaintly 19th century, old forts, and look, over there! There's a ship on the sea! Jeff Proboscis is leaning against the rails and announcing that the ship is called the Rembrandt Von Jin and below the deck, in the posh sitting area, are sixteen new Survivors that will spend the next thirty-nine days polluting the Pearl Islands with their presence. It is worth noting that apparently everybody sits still in the sitting area like self-conscious models in a photoshoot - doesn't anybody talk? Is it seasickness at work? And hey, General Andrew Hottiepants, nice Armanis, but stop looking out the window with your right elbow perched on that window. This is not The Bachelor.

I wonder how many times they have to reshoot this "dramatic" scene in the waiting area belowdeck.

Probby explains that they all have arrived at Panama City only early this morning. The Survivors are wearing what they assume will be decent outfits for a photoshoot and meet-the-press session. If wearing a scoutmistress outfit is the best Scoutmarm Lil can come up with, she needs a hobby real badly. Could be worse, I guess. Chicken George could have been here instead of stinking up the first season of Big Brother. Probby announces this season's "twist": the Survivors are actually unaware that the game has begun! There's no press and photo party - right now they are being shanghaied without knowing it! The camera pans on the luggage at one end of the room - Probby says that none of these things will be taken to the Pearl Islands. The Survivors will take only their clothes on their backs. Or bits of them, as we shall soon see. Thank you, Mark Burnetto, for restoring my faith in the power of Gratuitous Nudity. Now if only you can do something about those darned blurs.

Then Probby talks about Things We Will Probably Never See On This Show: the terrible forests! The leeches! The storms! Sharks! (Hah, hah, yeah right, as if we'll see someone get eaten by a shark.) Whales! Since when are whales dangerous, as the only whales these Survivors will see is a beached whale? Burnetto should stop trying to pretend that this show is some real survival show. After six seasons, come on, who is he trying to fool? These freaks are more likely to encounter a singing hermit crab than a shark.

"Thirty nine days!" Probby suddenly yells, startling me. "Only one winner!"

Yup, the show has begun.

Credits. Woo, people are jumping overboard! Did Hagrid of Hogwart eat too much beans on the cruise? Then there are nice beefcake and bimbo action shots of the Survivors, and unlike Amazon where everything is green, this time everything is blue. And piratey. I guess we need a gimmick to separate Pearl Island beaches from Marquesas beaches from Amazon riversides from Pulau Tiga beaches from Koh Turatao's beaches. And if the pirate gimmick hasn't driven one to walk the plank and jump overboard by now, there's actually a cannonball in the credits. Serious!

The captain of Rembrandt Von Jin is turning the wheel. Dolphins are swimming beside the Rembrandt Von Jin. Whales are playing a distance away. Nature is out in full force today to witness to dawning of stupidity on Pearl Islands. The crew hoist the sail. Music straight out of a Lord Of The Rings soundtrack begins to play. This is so exciting. An anchor drops. Someone call Bruckheimer! This is so thrilling! Where's that eye-rolling emoticon when I need it?

The Survivors assemble before Probby. Three sad losers in Armani or pirated versions of Armani and a woman sit at the back and an assortment of waifs and himbos arrange themselves in front of the three stooges. "Welcome guys! The game is on!" Probby tells them with a smile. The Survivors don't look too shocked at all. Probby tells them that unlike the last few seasons, this time Survivors will be taking nothing from the things they brought here except for the clothes on their back. "Just like if you were shipwrecked!" Probby announces as if it's the best thing that can ever happen to someone.

"I was like, 'Oh shit!'" Big Sandra says in her voiceover.

Yeah. I saw what the other Survivors look like too.

Probby gleefully points out that General Andrew Hottiepants and Shawn Muggwitt are in full Armani regalia. Probby then turns to Nicole, who is wearing a blue body-hugging one-piece knee-length dress, and says that he hopes she is wearing something underneath that. Probby, don't get too excited about that dress. Colby will buy you one when you get back, I'm sure.

Shawn says in his voiceover that his suit is Armani, so he's not sure how he would get by. A chorus of enlightened people immediately chime: "Porn acting!"

Nicole confirms that there's no bra underneath her dress. She hopes it will hold up. She acts as if it's such a bad thing, her dress falling down. Not that I want to see her naked or anything, but I'm all for democracy and if I can get to see hot guys naked, I'm magnanimous enough to let hubby see some hot women naked. ("As long as they aren't those horrible women from Amazon," hubby would say.)

In case we mistake Scoutmarm Lil for a weirdo that has stumbled onto the show by mistake, Probby comments that she is wearing a scoutmistress outfit. In this case, sad as that outfit may be for a statement of "The Best I've Ever Been", it's actually the most practical of the lot. Don't be surprised if the next season Survivors turn up wearing army fatigues just in case they are stranded just like this bunch.

Then, contradicting his own statement that the Survivors will get to bring only the clothes on their back, Probby holds up a tangle of sneakers - the Survivors' - and says that they can keep these. Because we have cruise ship attendants handing out sneakers to passengers during a shipwreck. He then produces a fishnet bag for each Survivor and asks them to dump in their passports, IDs, valuables - Cokecasta, surrender your stash now! - et cetera. Osten Powers gets some laughs when he tries to push a Canadian Club bottle and a vodka into the fishnet bags. Then Probby collects the bags of valuables and later sells them to Panamanian black markets. Kidding, Probby, don't sue me please.

Probby announces that this time around, tribes will be named after famous pirates - Francis Drake and Henry Morgan. None of whom were from Panama, although Henry Morgan did cause some trouble in Panama. So in this case, Tribe Drake - or Tribe Quack to you and me - and Tribe Morgan - or Tribe Morgon to you and me because Moron is just too easy - are born. Probby begins calling out names of the Survivors and handing them their corresponding buffs (blue for Quack, red for Morgon). He calls out Shawn Muggwitt, "advertising sales", who looks like a chiselled himbo from the Clueless Cable Porn series - Quack. Darrah, a mortician who wants to be coroner, will be handy to have around when someone dies on the island - Morgon. Is she related to Jan the Hen? Please shoot her if she starts a pet cemetary, thanks. Christa "Cokecasta" Hastie, "computer programmer", who is stupid enough to use her college email and her full name when she begged for drugs in some drug abuser email lists (see The Smoking Gun for more details) - Quack. If she is that stupid, she will probably never last long in this time. Oh who am I kidding? Look at Dim Kim and Jan the Hen. Cokecasta is going all the way. In her CBS bio, she says that "her food making skills will prove helpful to her tribe.". Is this a reference to her suggesting to her other drug-abusing friends a "recipe featuring Aspirin, Vivarin (an over-the-counter stimulant) and Ephedrine, a prescription weight loss pill. Hastie noted, 'that should work ok....hang in there, I understand :-)!'"? (Thank you, Smoking Gun.)

Osten Powers, "equity trade manager", sexy oh sexy - it's about time they cast the obligatory minority contestants that are sexy, oh yeah! - Morgon. Hagrid, who's taken time from being a "troubled teens mentor" in Hogwart, is on Survivor, God help us all. He's in Quack. Cokecasta says that she finds Hagrid "strong as an ox" and an "old hippie". Hands off, cokie, that man's mine. Scoutmarm Lil' is assigned to Morgon. Trish, "sales executive", Quack. Nerd&Shoulders, who can either turn out to be another Rat Boy or just a sad loser, Morgon. Burton or "Burtman", "sales executive", kinda hot despite his resemblence to last season's Alex and that awful 1980-soap opera haircut, Quack. Tijuana, "pharmaceutical sales" and whom Osten calls a "Nubian princess", Morgon. ("Damn!" says Cokecasta, who's hoping for a good buddy from pharmaceutical sales.) Michelle, "student", Quack. Ryan O Oh OH OH OH OH ohohohoh - AHEM - "electrician" - Morgon. Jon Fairplay, who says that friends call him that because he doesn't play fair, and this season's token contestant with Golden Blond Locks, Quack.

Then there's Nicole, "massage therapist", whom Probby tells Morgon that they must be "happy" because Nicole has two great assets - ohmigosh, have we gotten four lesbians on this show? - and she forgets to pass her fishnet bags to Probby twice and walks to the wrong tribe in the process. Good heavens. Big Sandra, "office assistant", no-nonsense and one of my favorites, Quack. Finally, General Andrew Hottiepants, "attorney", Morgon.

You know, I wish I'm on Tribe Morgon. I don't care if I get eliminated tomorrow. I want to climb coconut trees with Andrew Hottiepants, Ryan O, and Osten, and they can eliminate me for all I care.

But enough lasciviousness. Let's just say thank you to Burnetto for giving us this season's testosterone version of Amazon, and let's go on with the show.

Probby tells them that while they have nothing but their clothes on their back and their sneakers, he now offers them a chance to "control" their fate. He offers each Tribe one hundred balboas to do what they want on a nearby fishing settlement. He reminds them that they will have to save enough money to hire a boat to their camp, but in the meantime, they can buy or barter what they need on the settlement. (I have a few rolls of toilet paper, and I will give them all in exchange for Ryan O! Any takers?) Probby also gives the Tribe a map to their camp. Nerd&Shoulders says that this is not what he expected and "beyond" what he has "bargained" for, this is too much of an "adventure". Um, okay.

Probby, the heartless man, then tosses the sneakers overboard and demands that the Survivors jump over and chase after them. The Survivors jump, one tribe over one side of the vessel - in case Nicole swims after the wrong people, you know - and there are lots of legs and hands flailing around. Tijuana jumps in gracefully. Osten taks off his shirt, revealing perfect hotty factor, but refuses to jump into the water unless it is absolutely necessary, until he clings to a life ring and realizes that there is no Boeing 747 coming over to take him to his camp. He jumps. He says he is in shock as he lands in the water and wonders whether he is hurt. I'm a doctor - or I can be one - lemme check your wounds, baby! Andy Hottiepants ties his shoes around his neck and jumps. Later, Hagrid remarks that it is surprisingly difficult to swim in the water. He is wearing jeans (and an ugly tie, but let's not go there), and he says that they get very heavy when wet. "My legs were rubber," he growls in that adorable piratey bass of his, "I was spent! And it hadn't even started yet!" Normally, "spent" and someone that looks like Hagrid shouldn't go together in the same sentence, but dude, this is Hagrid, and he's cool, so he can be spent all he wants, y'all!

It doesn't take long for the Survivors to pull themselves to shore. Nicole is wet enough to show everyone that she's wearing a thong under the dress. A thong and no bra for 39 days on a deserted island? But let's not snigger, people. If I'm on a deserted island with Ryan O, Osten, and Andy Hottiepants, who cares what I am wearing? Everybody let's get naked! Meanwhile, for Morgon, a strange thing happens - Ryan O, Darrah, and Nicole all run off in three separate directions, leaving the rest to stare after them and wonder that they can't really be that bad to send the three fleeing so early in the show. Nerd&Shoulders comments that Ryan O just runs off like that as if Ryan O isn't even a part of the team. Actually, Ryan O's bright idea is to run solo to look for a boat to hire, only to realize that he has no money and certainly no map to show the boat driver where he wants the man to take him and the rest of the Morgons to. "What's the most to go pretty much everywhere?" he asks the boat guy. The boat guy and his honchos just stare back at the man as if Ryan O's the biggest moron they have ever encountered, which he probably is. Ryan O finally leaves, admitting that he has "screwed up this one".

The Quacks are quite organized. Burtman and Shawn and Hagrid all manage to pull their life ring to the shore, upon which Hagrid - who is spent, remember? - sits on the ring and huffs and puffs as the Dynamic Duo run off to do their thing. As Hagrid sits there on the "sucker" (as he calls the life ring), Tijuana and a few other Morgons drag their own life ring up and place it next to Hagrid before running off to their own thing too. Hagrid looks at the shoes and some miserable and soaked items in the Morgon's life ring. He has a nasty glimmer in his eyes. "This is definitely a pirate's adventure," he says, and because pirates pillage and steal, he reaches over and takes everything in the Morgon's life ring and dumps them on the Quack's life ring. "We are pirates, so we pirated!" He then casually drags the Quack's life ring away with him. He barters one of the pair of shoes in his loot for a pineapple and another for a knife. "It's a hard life, being a pirate," he concludes with a playful tone. We have a winner!

Unaware that their shoes are now being worn by Amu the pineapple seller and Ama the knife trader, Osten and Tijuana of Morgon talk about what they need to get. They checked to see that they already have knives and water. They decide that they need to get flint and steel to start fire. Wouldn't it be easier to get matches and lighters instead? Morgons, I tell you. Ryan O asks how many candles they have had. Er, why not gas lights? Morgons! Osten magnaminously barters his clothes for fishing gear, leaving him wearing only reddish brown boxer-briefs. He then calls Nicole, Darrah, and Tijuana close for a group huddle/talk and tells them to flash their breasts to the male traders to get the best deal. Excuse me? Is it one thing to voluntarily get naked for my entertainment, but what kind of man will tell a woman to go ho like that? Nicole says that she is creeped out by Osten telling the women to do this, especially when he doesn't even know their names yet. "He's a jerk," she concludes.

There's a cock fight - a real one, so any of you get the idea that the guys are doing something funny, calm down please. And then there's Big Sandra of Quack clucking her way about town. Those editors are so funny, I tell you. Big Sandra can speak Spanish so she's on a roll as she bargains and tells people off in a no-nonsense rattling way for the Quacks. One guy tries to ask too much for rice and she just gives him the verbal finger. Jon Fairplay admires Sandra's attitude. Sandra says that she is able to cut the Quacks some great deals because she speaks the language here. Sandra then barters for some kerosene and gas lights (Ryan O, pay attention) from a lady that wants Trish's eyes. Trish is happy, but Sandra confides that she believes the Lamp Lady actually likes Trish in a "sexual way". "There's Trish hugging the lady, and laughing and giggling like it's all good, and I'm like, yo, we need to go!" she says and we see Trish completely oblivious as she waves and smiles at the Lamp Lady. Hee, hee, the Survivors are so going to die out there in the wilderness. Cokecasta sums it up the best: she feels that the "village people" admire and respect Big Sandra. It's a bit condescending, coming from her, but Big Sandra really kicks ass. Cokecasta adds that some "other people" are not so nice to the villagers here.

Which is the cue for Tijuana to start screeching at the top of her voice when she feels that she's being ripped off by the same Lamp Lady That Wants Trish's Eyes. I'm not sure what the problem is, as Tijuana is screeching too fast for me to catch what she is saying, but in the end, everyone seems content with whatever resolution they came up with. Nicole decides that she doesn't like Tijuana because of her attitude. Maybe Tijuana bartered Nicole for that ceramic pot they leave with.

Meanwhile, the Quacks come upon a barbecue party, upon which Big Sandra barters her gold chain for everything except the grill. She says that they take the chicken, the gas, the sauce, the ketchup, the aluminium foil, and the buckets where they keep the chicken, everything except the grill. I'm impressed at how organized Sandra is in getting things for the Quacks, and Hagrid is too when the rest of the tribe return with mostly Sandra's booty. Quacks' first pillage and plunder is a huge success.

Pirate booty Tijuana is not happy with the Morgons' loot. She says that the Quacks take their time but the Morgons don't. Osten announces that it's time they just stop trading and just head back to camp. As everyone climbs on board and Osten's shorts thoughtfully slip to reveal lovely pixellated bare bum, Nerd&Shoulders says that they don't actually have much booty because everyone is more eager to get to their camp. Where they will freeze or starve to death, I guess, while the Quacks feast on barbecued chicken. The Morgons depart for their camp, miserable, unhappy, but not knowing how to stop being unhappy.

Lovely flute music comes on as Big Sandra concludes that the Quacks did very well today. They even have toothbrushes! Shawn Muggwitt has kept aside forty balboas for the boat ride, so everything they have gotten is mostly bartered for. The live chickens they've managed to get aren't too happy to go along with them, and one actually breaks free to run along the beach. Everyone giggles until Jon Fairplay manages to catch it. They eat barbecued chicken as they head towards their camp. Cokecasta says that everyone is well-fed and they are all ready for all-out action in the next forty days.

The Morgons are approaching their campsite, which I understand is on an island different from that of the Quacks'. Nerd&Shoulders is smiling and saying that the excitement he is feeling is the "coolest" ever. I gather he doesn't go out much. He is quite disappointed when he's the only one among the Morgons excited to see the red flag of the camp. Everyone staggers onto shore, and I marvel at how Osten Powers' shorts refuses to stay up. Those must be really lousy underpants if that elastic waistband can't hold up after a little swim in the water. Nerd&Shoulders is keenly disappointed that nobody is hugging. I don't blame him. I want to hug Osten Powers too. Osten doesn't want hugsies, he wants action, as he explains how he is in a "game mode" right now and he wants everybody to get busy doing... er, whatever. Hurry, hurry, chop chop! "The sunrise is going down quickly!" he tells the Morgons. While I appreciate the sight of an early full moon, Osten, honey, there is no such thing as a sunrise going down quickly. In an interview, Nerd&Shoulders say that Osten Powers has very big muscles and Nerd&SHoulders notices that man at once because Osten is a "big man" that's hard to overlook and Osten has "muscles out to yay". While I'm all for coming out on TV before the audience of Survivor, I'm not too sure about Nerd&Shoulders acting as if he's at summer Camp Homoerotica instead of Survivor. Hugs? Come on, please! Nerd&Shoulders concludes that he can't help but to notice Osten Powers all the time. That's nice, dear, you keep him and I'll take Ryan O, how's that?

Osten orders Scoutmarm Lil to start digging a hole, which I guess is the first thing you do when you want to set up camp. He says that Lil's scout outfit confuses him and he wonders if that outfit is a joke. No, Osten, the joke is you ordering a Scoutmistress around in setting up a camp and the biggest joke is you walking around with a pair of orangey boxers that won't stay up. Scoutmarm Lil confesses that it's her idea to stay quiet by not bossing everyone around. Musing that the folks at home will laugh to see her start a fire with one of Ryan O's candles, she says that it is hard to stop being a scoutmarm around her. It's even hard to take off her scoutmarm hat, but she does anyway, and a cymbal rings, maybe because this is some Very Important Scene whose importance I am hard-pressed to explain at this very moment.

While Scoutmarm Lil and Nicole work on the fire, General Andrew Hottiepants and Osten discuss how they will build their shelter. They notice a shale wall and decide that it will be easier to build their shelter against this wall. Osten pokes at it with a stick and dislodges a huge amount of loose shale. He shrugs - who cares if the wall collapses while they are sleeping? The most important thing is, they all get to sleep, yes? Or something. Ryan O says that he feels that he can do more, but they have no time, whatever that means. Morgons are at work, and it's kinda painful to watch.

Dumb and dumberMeanwhile, the Quacks are doing what Nerd&Shoulders advocated - hugging and cheering because they are all ready to backstab each other and claw their way to a million dollars. It becomes apparent that the Dynamic Duo of Burtman and Shawn Muggwitt have decided to elect themselves as Pecs Electorate Leaders of the Crew or something. Shawn says that they are, after all, guys with "a little more strong personalities, a little more physical, you know, uh, mentally as well." The phrase "looks good when mute" comes instantly to mind. No, they are not comparing penis size in the photo, they are... anyway, whatever it is they are doing, boy, do they look stupid or what? Cokecasta and Hagrid look for bamboos for the shelter and Trish marvels at how well everybody work together even when they hardly know each other's names yet. Burtman surveys the finished shelter, which looks okay, and orders Cokecasta to get bigger firewood for the fire. She does, but she grumbles that she's exhausted and all she wants is to "breathe for a second". Given her history with a straw, she should have worded herself better. Meanwhile, Big Sandra remarks darkly that Burtman and Shawn Muggwit only share stuff with Michelle. Sure enough, Burtman cracks open a coconut, takes a sip, and passes the fruit to those two. Shawn, ever a smart one, rubs his mouth and goes, "Aaaah, refreshing!" while everyone else looks with a stony expression on the face. Big Sandra exchanges a look with Trish. Ooh, look who has her eye on you three, so beware. While I won't expect Shawn and Burtman to have read Animal Farm, well, let's just say I would love to see the lesser creatures revolt in Tribe Quack. They always do in Survivor. Trish says that the Dynamic Duo have already annoyed half the tribe. Shawn makes fun of Hagrid's beard because the beard catches all the food that falls from the mouth. Burtman laughs. Hagrid growls that the Dynamic Duo are a "pain in the ass" and the rest of the Quack tribe is so going to hate them. Give me my membership card, please.

Jon Fairplay leads the rest to the watering hole based on the directions on the map, and while there is no problem finding it, they are heavily attacked by mosquitoes. Insects are smart creatures too. Smarter than Shawn, at least. Lots of ghastly sight of mosquito bites on everybody, and Jon cracks that he's glad he's wearing the most clothes (khaki pants and shirt) of them all and Shawn looks like a moon, "except in reverse".

Meanwhile, at Camp Morgon, Tijuana tells everybody not to drink the bottled water they'd brought with them anymore because it's running out fast. The Morgons decide to look for water because as Osten says, "water is very important" as no water means you will get sick and when you are sick, you are sent home. Osten affirms that he doesn't want to go home yet. Apparently the idiots bought enough bottled water for only one day. They decide to look for water and finds one possible source, a small stream with water so rusty-colored that Scoutmarm Lil says is undrinkable even after forty-two hours of boiling. Did I mention that Nerd&Shoulders is shirtless and it's not a pretty sight? It's like seeing a white plaster wall with ribcages. Anyway, Osten explains that they wasted the whole day "meandering" around to "guesstimate" the location of a water source. Who wants to bet as to how many of them will die of thirst before these idiots think of looking at the map Probby gave them?

Ooh, night falls at last on their first day on the Pearl Islands. We are still with the Morgons. Everyone is sleeping side by side. If you have access to Survivor Insider, you will know that Tijuana and Osten have hooked up, while Nicole and Ryan O flirt heavily. They have built a shelter, but they actually built the shelter right on the ground. Nicole can't sleep because she hears something funny. "What is it?" she shrieks. Ryan O says that it's probably the shale wall behind them falling down, and mind you, he says this as if it's nothing worse than a scratch in his foot. Then she screams because she feels a crab pinching her butt. These Morgons are sleeping on top of a crab colony, as it turns out. Then Osten feels a palm frond tickling him, screams "Snake!", and everyone stops laughing to flee from their shelter. And then the wall crumbles onto their shelter. To make the best of the situation, General Andrew Hottiepants say that they call Osten "Scary Mary" because, in Osten's own words, he goes into "freak-out mode" whenever he feels scared. If they are trying to see the lighter side of their sorry attempt at campsite-building, good for them, but they are still a bad sitcom waiting to happen, if it hasn't happened already.

Meanwhile, there's a party going on among the Quacks. Armed with booze they have obtained, they are having fun. Or rather, Jon Fairplay is having fun calling Hagrid naked or something (let's not touch that one). While Jon talks about how he is a funny guy and that everyone will be putty in his hands, Hagrid tells the camera that the man reminds him of the troubled teens he used to counsel at home that "pop off something stupid" and bragging about doing stupid things. Cokecasta likes how Jon as "a goofball" lightens up the mood of the Quacks, but confesses that she finds him "a little obnoxious". When someone like Cokecasta finds him sad, he must be really, really sad. As Jon starts cursing quite vulgarly and everyone else starts to look like rats on a sinking ship desperately searching for the exit with their eyes, Big Sandra as usual sums it up the best: "He thinks it's cute, but it isn't. It's already old." Jon takes a deep swig, and if alcohol poisoning is ever a good thing, it is now. Blessed silence ensues. Thank you Burnetto.

Good morning, Quacks. It's day two on the Pearl Islands. Pelicans fly. It has rained just a little earlier, and the Quacks waste no time complaining. Michelle moans that her clothes will never get dry. They never think to buy clothes back at the settlement, so the wet clothes are an unexpected problem, Big Sandra says. Hagrid complains that his wet jeans are making him itch in the crotch and he has been rubbing himself there for a day and a half and he can't take it anymore. I can't take it anymore either - enough about the itchy crotch already! Meanwhile, Big Sandra uses some palm fronds to make herself a brand new pair of footwear, and I hope they work as good as they look. Cokecasta explains that Michelle and Trish have ideas to improvise everyone's clothes, and they start by cutting their own impractical evening dresses. Michelle cuts her skirt short so that she can use the extra material to make herself a top. Shawn cuts his Armani pants - he reminds people that it is Armani - into ugly shorts and plans to make his Armani jacket into, I quote him, "covertible pants". I can't see how one can do that, and I doubt the sleeves of that jacket will fit his legs - maybe he can just wrap the whole jacket around his crotch like some ugly diapers. I don't know. With men like Shawn Muggwitt, sometimes it's best they don't think too much. Cokecasta cuts the bottom post-knee-length portions of her floral dress for Hagrid so that Hagrid can get out of his jeans. Jon Fairplay calls Hagrid "Blackbeard" and laughs very hard about "Blackbeard" wearing a skirt because I'm supposed to laugh with him. What a twerp. Hagrid says that the others make fun of his new skirt, but he's not putting his jeans back on - ever. He's pleased that he can now get about doing important stuff instead of scratching his crotch all day long. So am I, Hagrid. You're one cool dude.

Isn't this exciting, this fashion report from the Pearl Islands? Burnetto, can we get something to happen on this show? Maybe a few angry crab attacks?

Meanwhile, at Tribe Morgon, Tijuana makes an important discovery that could literally save her tribemates from death and more. She opens the map Probby gave them and there it is, right there on the map: Water Well. Ha, ha, ha, apparently no one had thought of looking at the map for the watering hole. Scoutmarm Lil says that they must go get fresh water at that moment but the others are more keen on rebuilding their shelter. So in the end she and Nerd&Shoulders head off by themselves with two sorry pots to replenish their water supply. Lil talks about how upset she is that her uniform is not in tip top condition. I'd expect her to worry about other things like fitting in with her tribe and doing a Tuna Wesson on everybody. Nerd&Shoulders say that Lil welcomes his friendship because the younger women on the tribe aren't too friendly with her. Lil is a little teary as she says that Nerd&Shoulders is a sincere young man and a good kid. They collect water and leave.

Morning at the Quacks see Michelle probably massaging the back of their ultimate ruler Shawn Mugglewitt. Or maybe it is Burtman. Can anyone tell them apart? Or care to? Trish is picking zits on Jon Fairplay's back. I think. Oh ladies, it doesn't take long for you all to degrade yourselves this way by consorting with imbeciles. Hagrid is snoring like the monster that ate Panama. Burtman decides to go swimming with Shawn, hoping to find that lovely secluded grotto that will be their Private Place To Consummate Their Deep Abiding Passion For Each Other. Manlove, we want manlove! Ahem. While holding hands underwater and gazing into each other's eyes and mouthing "I love you" like besotted lesbian schoolgirls in Japanese porn cartoons - okay, they just swim around, most boring indeed, Burtman sees a fish and thrusts his manly spear through it. "Hey! What are you doing? I'm over here!" Shawn complains - okay, he doesn't. Anyway, Burtman thinks he has performed the Triumph of Man and takes home the fish to show everybody and share it, I presume, only with Shawn and Michelle. Hagrid, however, has a better idea. He too will fish! He will catch one fish for everyone and nobody will be hungry! And so he goes, and in a show of true he-man heroism that shames the ersatz fashion-mag masculinity of those prissy yuppies Shawn and Burtman, brings home a huge bounty of seafood. He is quite excited and as he says when he catches a fish, he isn't even sure that "they made such an animal". Hurrah for Hagrid! Burtman, ever gracious, says that Hagrid is "going to hurt himself". The ego is such a fragile thing. Shawn Muggwitt says that Hagrid did a great job, but cattily says that Hagrid wears himself out and it takes Hagrid hours to recover from his exertions. It's like watching two Amazon Alexes all over again. Meanwhile, Hagrid says that it's his intention to get a lot of food for his tribe and so make himself "indispensible" to them. It's a too-simple reasoning, but Hagrid makes it so convincing. "I think it's working," he says with a sneaky grin. What can I do but to nod my head and say, "Aye, Hagrid, you go win this thing!"?

Eh? We have now skipped straight to day three. Tribe Morgon has tree-mail, or rather, chest-mail. Darrah and Nicole along with Nerd&Shoulders become very excited when they find that treasure chest. General Andrew Hottiepants reads the sorry attempt at poetry (man, after seven seasons, I'd have thought Burnetto can hire a halfway decent poet) and learns that it's time to be pirates and act like pirates. Or something. It's Immunity Challenge time. Finally, something to talk about other than fashion reports and silly idiots!

General Andrew Hottiepants, being the attorney, launches into a speech about how they should focus on this challenge. It reeks of overpriced BS, the ambulance-chasing kind, but apparently the Morgons are so moved that Nicole nominates Hottiepants as Tribe Leader and Hottiepants accepts. Because, as we have seen, leaders always last long once the tribes merge. Then the Himbo Haute of Hottiepants, Osten Powers, and Ryan O talk in a hush-hush manner in a private corner of the beach about Osten's sagging underwear. Hey, it's an important subject of discussion, so don't laugh. They all conclude that in order to spare Osten from embarrassment, when Osten's underpants fall off, they would all remove their underpants too! That way, nobody will be embarrassed! Trying to sort out this logic gives me a pounding headache so I advise anyone else contemplating it not to even try. How sad it is when men cannot move past their fraternity days. And speaking of leadership, it is reassuring that one of Andrew Hottiepants' first leadership role is to issue a bizarre edict that could have come straight out of Gulliver's Travels, right up there with everyone should cut off the tip of their pinky finger because the king has an accident with his pinky. I'd assume they would be worried about Osten trips over his sagging underpants - why not just wear a skirt or something then? - but there you go, in the end it's all about getting naked to avoid embarrassment. Or something. All hail the wisdom of Hottiepants!

Both Tribes row their boat to the beachside where Jeff Proboscis awaits with Props From Kiddie Playground Hell. The first Immunity Challenge is pirate-themed, just like (I suspect) all the future Challenges. And unlike those no-nonsense "run, jump, skip, and burrow" challenges of the past, this one is difficult to make sense on writing. I'll just quote Probby verbatim here: "One of the things that the pirates did was protect their loot. They transported artillery. You'll transport cannons through several obstacles. A partner cannon through fences. A big cannon on wheels through a course and mud pit. Then it's a race along the shoreline to the finish. First tribe to make it to the finish line with all eight members and the cannon wins immunity." Got that? Good. along the way, one member has to carry a torch and another carry the tribe flag. I don't know why. Maybe it's for that "female Survivor, bosom thrust forth, hoisting a burning torch triumphantly" effect. Certainly the pirates of yore would prefer to smuggle stuff in secret and not carrying around banners and torches, I'm sure.

He then unveils this season's Immunity Idol - a battle-ax with a skull embedded at the top end. It's like something straight out of an Iron Maiden concert prop. In honor of Iron Maiden, I'll call the Idol Bruce from now on. Needless to say, whichever tribe that wins Bruce gets to avoid having to evict one of their tribemates.

Probby gives the go signal, and Jon Fairplay runs! Only to realize that he's running ahead solo and turns back quickly to help his teammates. Heh! What follows is confusing chaos as sixteen people and two cannons barge forth in a jungle path that is too narrow to fit everything. The Quacks lead and the Morgons are trailing, not that I will know if not for the helpful "Morgan trailing" captions on the screen. I do, however, notice the evil Jon Fairplay and Cokecasta (the torchbearer) sneakily kicking the logs behind them so that the trailing Morgons will be hard-pressed to catch up. Then Osten Powers complain that his underpants are falling down, and the idiot Morgons waste precious time as the Haute Himbo stop to divest themselves of their own shorts.

Full moons in Panama, Part 2

:"What are you doing?" Probby cries out, obviously excited at the male flesh in display. He says that Osten is the first Survivor to do a Challenge in the nude. Jabba and High D seethe as they are already forgotten. Then, remembering that Colby is watching at home and is obviously not amused by Probby's getting all horndog on TV, Probby hastily amends as he sees the other two Himbo Haute get pantless, "The ones getting naked are not the ones we want to see." Speak for yourself, you sorry excuse of a TV host - there are audiences of this show that want to see male nudity too, you twit. "Why isn't that skinny guy naked too?" hubby asks. Damn, now he's ruined my fun with that horrific image.

The Morgon men have big cannons Big Sandra says that the Himbo Haute has better not lose their weenies. Heh, she said "weenies"! That must really hurt, eh, boys? There are lots of pixels, and I think some are on Tijuana's bum - did she get naked too? I'm not sure, I'm laughing too hard when they show a close-up on Hottiepants' pixellated bum and tells me, "Morgan Behind". Throughout the confusing, grunty chaos, the captions indicate that the Quacks are leading all this while. Hottiepants loves his canon Then, at the final leg on the beach, oh no, the Quacks have their cannon stuck in the sand! The Morgons catch up with them, but soon the Quacks are up and running too. "It's a tense sprint to the finish," Probby announces, and sure enough, those two teams are so close I can't tell who is who, especially with pixels flying around, until Morgon gets its cannon stuck at a crucial moment., allowing the Quacks to win Bruce. "And we didn't even have to get naked!" Shawn Muggwit gloats. The spectre of Alex looms over Pearl Islands. Hottiepants embrace the cannon in his bleak despair. Some folks out there may consider this action the ultimate metaphor for the Hoyay Annals. Probby tells the Morgons that one of them will be going home tonight. Hagrid slobbers and kisses Bruce as the Quacks cheer and gloat, leaving the sad, sad Morgons behind. It is just not the Morgons' day.

Back at Camp Quack, the Quacks are gloating. Hagrid says that the Morgons make him feeling like puking and crying when the Morgons passed them on the beach. Shawn Muggwitt insists that the Quacks today won because of their "willpower". I wish he will just stop talking altogether. That man makes human speech seems like a horrific genetic defect. Burtman says that there are way too many naked men on his back. He's not trying to be funny, and he isn't. He's just sad. Two strikes for human civilization there if these are the best the XY chromosome pairings have to offer. Michelle simpers and says that she is shocked and has to turn away because the Morgons have "junk hanging out like nobody's business". Don't we wish they can just pack up the junk and tuck it away somewhere? Big Sandra reminds me there is at least one reason to care for this show by wishing that the Morgons' naked weenies have been caught in vines - ouchie. Hagrid adds, "Them idiots bouncing around naked in the mud, in the muck, in the stickers and the thorns - it was hilarious!" So much for Hottiepants for President. They all conclude that it's so cool that nobody from the Quacks are going home tonight.

Back at Camp Morgon, General Hottiepants are showing that Dubby may not be the only one that sucks at public speaking. "That sucked any way you look at it," he says with 100% lack of conviction. "We lost by about a foot, we learned from it, we move on, and we kick their butt next time, and we remember how cocky they were when they won." The others nod and disperse. Then later, as Darrah, Tijuana, and Nicole walk down the beach, no doubt searching for a passing ship they can hail down and take themselves out of this place, Hottiepants and Ryan O approach them. Hottiepants tells them that he saw Nerd&Shoulders just "giving up" one-third into the Race and reminds them that he is generally slacking all the time in camp. Tijuana points out that Scoutmarm Lil isn't exactly the most valuable asset herself. I mean, seriously, the camp is in tatters, who needs an experienced scoutmistress? Let Hottiepants lead them all straight to Loser Lodge! Hottiepants asks them who they want to keep - someone who may be up to future physical challenges or a "limp noodle" like Nerd&Shoulders. Someone who was bare-assed naked just a while ago and had just hugged a cannon in a pose straight out of a Greg Gorman photoshoot should never call another man "limp noodle". And whose idea was it to let the "limp noodle" pull the cannon instead of carrying a flag or torch, huh? Meanwhile, back at camp, Scoutmarm Lil and Nerd&Shoulders know they are on the block tonight. Lil feels isolated as she doesn't fit well with neither men nor women in the tribe. She is actually resigned to being booted. Nerd&Shoulders reminds her that the game can change and anything can happen, so she shouldn't lose hope. Wise words, actually.

Then Nicole does a very stupid thing. She comes up to Scoutmarm Lil and suggests that they vote out Tijuana because Tijuana bugs Nicole. Nicole tells Scoutmarm Lil that she likes the guys and wants them around, so why not just boot out Tijuana? Scoutmarm Lil, whom I suspect is more conniving than one expects, quickly runs to Hottiepants and Ryan O. She puts on a befuddled old Nan face as she wonders why Nicole would do such a horrible, horrible thing like that. Why, indeed. Hottiepants is not amused, especially when he says that Lil is not capable of any deceit - famous last words - and runs to Tijuana with the story just as Tijuana is running to Hottiepants with her own story. Tijuana is horrified when Nicole told her that evicting Tijuana was Lil's idea! So who was lying - Lil or Nicole? Since both are convinced that the scoutmistress will never, ever lie, they decide that Nicole is the bitch in blue.

Tijuana confronts Nicole while Darrah watches in morbid fascination. Just when I begin to believe that they have replaced Darrah with one of her corpses from the mortuary, she finally has a voiceover, where she says that initially she liked Nicole, but now she starts to lose trust in her. Tijuana demands to know what the heck is going on, but Nicole only tells her that Tijuana is making Nicole uncomfortable. This only makes Tijuana louder and she speaks even faster, again forcing me to lose track of what she is shrieking at Nicole. In her interview, Tijuana declares that she and Nicole are officially enemies. O Wise Hottiepants says that tonight, potential castoffs will be Head&Shoulders for being a limp noodle, Nicole for being an untrustworthy drama queen, and Lil for... er, being not like the other hot chicks, I guess.

Isn't Nicole the most stupid Survivor ever? Here is someone who is safe from eviction only to open her stupid big mouth and for what, exactly?

It's now evening and it's time for Tribal Council. Hottiepants is wearing his suit and tie over his boxer shorts. Maybe it will look sexy if it's worn in the bedroom right before foreplay, but right now O Wise Hottiepants looks absolutely pretentious and very pathetic. Probby asks them whether the Himbo Haute regrets getting naked and losing the Immunity Challenge. Memo to Probby: STFU Naked Men OK, love, People That Heart Naked Men. Osten says he has no regrets. Probby asks Ryan O about his relationship with the others. Blah blah blah peace and happiness from Ryan O. He wishes that there is more water. Hottiepants says water is no problem for him but he wishes he has more sleep. Oh, that's rich, now he's blaming his ineptness on his lack of sleep. He tries to make a joke about the sad state of the Morgon shelter, but only Ryan O is laughing, and that's because Ryan O is offically Hottiepants' bitch.

Probby asks Lil about how she feels her scoutmistress experiences will help her on this show. Lil inadvertently slams the others by saying her experiences have taught her to be very patient around children. Luckily, the others are too vain or too stupid to catch on her insulting them. Evil Probby asks Nicole about issues of trust and friendship, and Ryan O rolls up his eyes when Nicole says she doesn't trust anybody here. Probby asks about leadership, Lil says Hottiepants is their leader, and Hottiepants, when asked, says that Nerd&Shoulders "didn't wake up and show me the passion that we needed". Nerd&Shoulders, when asked, says that he gives his all to the team and accusations of his slacking is unfairly exaggerated. But, he concludes, there's nothing he can do to convince Hottiepants and his ilks otherwise. Frankly, I think Hottiepants is just an idiot looking for people to blame for his failures and Nerd&Shoulders happens to be a convenient target.

Then it's time to vote.

Nicole votes for Nerd&Shoulders, because she knows everyone else is voting for him.

Hottiepants - Nicole. No talkies.

Darrah - Nicole. No, she doesn't speak.

Tijuana - Nicole. I cannot catch what she is saying as she is babbling very fast, but the gist is, she doesn't trust Nicole and this is payback time, bitch.

Ryan O - Nicole. No talk.

Osten - Nicole. Silence of the sagging underwear.

Nerd&Shoulders - Nicole. No talk.

Scoutmarm Lil - Nicole.

Probby goes off to "tally" the votes and Nerd&Shoulders awaits the results with eyes wide and a hand over his mouth. The drama is wasted, as it is Nicole's torch that gets snuffed out by Probby (using a special battle-ax shaped snuffer this time around). Bye Nicole! Told ya you should've kept your mouth shut!

Probby tells the Morgons that "some of them" believe that they are out, but as tonight has proven, the game is not over until the torch is snuffed. Which means, even if you are unanimously voted off, you can still remain as long as Probby can't catch you as you run away with your torch. Or something. He says bye-bye to them and the Morgons walk out of the Tribal Council. Fade to credits, and that's the end of a not-so-exciting premiere of the new Survivor season.

Next week: more fun drama about Hagrid screaming and someone wanting to quit (just like how someone always gets sick or disheartened in the second episode). Yup, we're right on schedule. Goodnight.

Nicole's bye-bye words: "I'm a moron and I deserve to lose." No, she actually says, "I knew my biggest weakness was keeping my mouth shut. I knew I would be first person off or person that won. I shot myself in the foot, I tried to make alliance too early." Yeah, yeah, whatever.

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