Earthquakes And Shake-Ups
Survivor Vanuatu: Episode 5

Yum! Previously, three pretties down, one pretty left. This show is fast becoming the ugliest Survivor ever and I'm just five episodes into a dreary season. I won't be so shallow if I have some interesting personalities to watch among the remaining cast but I've seen more personality in the husk of a mosquito I've squashed flat at the end of my thumb than in the entire remaining cast combined. How did this season become so painful to watch?

Credits. I understand that cosmetic surgery is meant to make one look good. My question is, why are then so many of the cosmetically-enhanced women this season so hard on the eyes?

Volcano. Bats. Sigh. Anyway, it's day eleven, morning. John K starts off the episode by chewing on some... seed, I think, and then spitting it out. I understand that feeling. Because these men have nothing better to do, Pegleg Chad, Bubba, and Lea decide to argue over sleeping arrangements. It's not that dirty, so let's not get too excited, people. Bubba apparently hogs a prime sleeping spot near the fire every night and Chad is not pleased that he never gets a turn at what I hazard is a warm and comfy spot to sleep in. Lea decides to play the mediator. For a military guy named Lea, he is quite a nosey-parker, isn't he? He tells Bubba that Bubba's "they can build a bridge and get over it" attitude is not contributing to the team. Yes, this show is all about team spirit. There is always an idiot every season that insists on team-building and this idiot always get booted right before or soon after the merge. Hopefully before because then I don't have to be subjected to idiotic self-righteous diatribes about integrity and honesty in the Jury Speech. That's one thing I don't like about this show: season by season, some people never learn and the show never evolves as a result.

Bubba nails Chad as a snitch, asking why Chad can't talk to him directly instead of running to Lea and whining like some big baby whose leg has just been gnawed off by some doggie. Oh, that is low, sorry. He tells the camera that it makes no difference where a guy sleeps in. Chad begs to differ in his confessional, saying that the wind blows in some direction and if one sleeps at the wrong side of the fire, one will get ashes from the fire all over one's face and, presumably, into the nostrils and mouths. Bubba is quite annoyed with Chad back at camp and says that fine, he won't even sleep near the fire from now on. Bubba tells the camera in an unimaginative scene of foreshadowing that he misses his family, he is lonely here, he is tired of these guys, and may I add, he needs new clothes because that Bob Barker T-shirt is looking worse for wear.

Now the show cuts to Bubba spotting some men paddling up to their camp. Bubba mumbles something that sounds like there are gonzos baying up the scrape. Or something. Turns out that two native guys are here to pay the guys a visit, decked as they are in those adorably cartoonish native outfits sold at Vanuatu souvenir stores to tourists who enjoy thinking that Outside America, People Are Really Primitive, Huh Huh Huh. Rory explains that the JLos are happy to see other people because they are sick of looking at each other. That's what happens when they vote off the pretties, I say, so it serves them right. The native guys start going uga-uga. Burnetto thinks it's very "authentic" for people to start talking to other people in languages the other people can't understand. I wonder how these natives sign the dotted line on their contracts with Burnetto if all they can speak is the uga-uga. If Burnetto makes this season to turn into an utterly dull clone of some King Solomon's Mines comedy, he's succeeding very well. The Isles of Fire: Uga Uga will be hitting the nearest circus at your friendly neighboorhood soon!

The native dudes seem to be asking for the leader of the JLos. Lea puffs up when the JLos want him to step up as the leader. Nothing like his men wanting him to go off with the cannibals to make a man named Lea feel important. Lea then proceeds to take off his pants. Don't ask me why. I guess the staff the leader native dude is holding must be giving Lea some ideas. Normally I'd be thrilled if a man takes off his pants on TV but this is Lea and I much prefer that those pants stay on. As it turns out, the native dudes, sorely disappointed that Brady the Greasy Pole Climber isn't here to play the leader, quickly hand Lea the staff and a medallion before fleeing the camp. Lea is left with his hands on his pants saying sheepishly that the guys don't want him to go along with them. It's those hairy legs, I'd say.

Over at Yazoo, Ami and Lisa pack Scout off as their leader. After all, she'll most likely terrify the cannibals instead of the other way around. Ami says that Scout, who has so far contributed nothing to the tribe other than useless bitchy statements, is the wisest so it's a given that Scout is their leader. The tribal dudes leave and Scout thanks them. Whatever for? Leann speculates that a tribal mix-up is imminent. Yes, mix up the tribes. But dull and dull will still beget dull no matter how much one mixes them up so... whatever. When will this show be cancelled?

Wow, an earthquake hits the island. Leann makes some scared faces - the first sign of emotion I've seen on her face, come to think of it - and the camera flies up to the trees. I guess the cameraman must have been as scared of Leann's "I Want To Eat A Lemur" face as I am. The earth is shaking. Yay! But the numbing boredom permeating this show must have affected me more than usual because I yawn through the whole thing. Maybe the fact that nobody gets injured has something to do with it. Over at the JLo camp, Bubba asks the others whether they are experiencing an earthquake. Elazya at Yazoo wonders to Julie whether they are all going to die. I perk up at this only to sigh when I realize that nobody is going to die today. Throughout the hyped-up panic going on, Pegleg Chad is as cool as a cucumber. I suspect that it's not just his leg that's made of synthetic material. He's a robot and you read that here first.

Soon, the tremors stop. Lisa says that the earthquake scared the "living daylights" out of her. Ami points out that earthquakes don't happen in the area of Colorado where she hails from. Lisa insists that she felt the ground open under her feet. I guess she must have hit her head hard on her bouncing inflatable mammaries, that's why she felt the earth move more than it actually did. Lea says that he has heard of earthquakes but he never expects the ground to shake in an earthquake. I know that feeling. I'm still stunned that I get wet whenever I walk in the rain without an umbrella. The world works in such mysterious ways sometimes, I tell you. Twila says she loved the earthquake. She doesn't elaborate why. I guess she could use as much excitement in her life as she can get and the earthquake must be one of the better ones she has experienced so far.

Whoops, there's the eagle view camera zoom thingie onto the Reward Challenge site. Is that short black spot on the ground Jeff "Wrinkles and Crinkles" Proboscis? The Reward Challenge means that this show is half done and I can finally get some sleep, right? But before they start, Probby just has to ask them about the earthquake. This gives Bubba a chance to talk about how fascinated he is by the fact that he can hear an earthquake before he feels it. He says that he is so excited when the earth moves. I bet he'll be even more excited when he's trapped under a tree that is slowly crushing the breath and every last intact bone in his body out of him. Probby asks the Yazoos what they were doing when the earth moved. Lisa says that she was chopping wood and she was so sure that the earth would open up and swallow her. It's a good thing it didn't. The remainders of her indestructible saline bags, floating in the petroleum that was once her body, would puzzle archeologists a millennium from now.

Okay, let's move on with the inevitable tribal mix-up. I guess I owe Burnetto some thanks for at least trying to save the last pretty from being cannibalized by the Uglis of JLo. Probby explains how this works after asking everybody to drop their buffs. The elected tribal chiefs - Scout and Lea - will step up and pick, one by one, members for their reshuffled tribe. There is one remaining woman who won't be picked and I guess the twist here will be her fate. Well, the last time two old coots picked members of their tribes led to a disastrously boring season, so I'm amazed that Burnetto wants the two old coots of this season to repeat the Thailand fiasco. Maybe he sees more of those two's intelligence than I do.

One old coot will divide the Survivors. The other old coot will pick a tribe to be Yazoo and the other JLo. Scout will be a member of Yazoo and Lea will be in JLo. The rest? Well, Scout loses the paper-rock-scissors game to Lea (she can't even win this fricking thing - what good is she for?) and Lea decides that Scout will choose and he will decide which group goes to which tribe.

Scout is told by Probby to alternate her choices between men and women so that the tribe will have as equal gender make-up as possible. To cut a long story short, Scout places Rory, Leann, Eliza, Bubba, Ami on Tribe A and John K, Pegleg Chad, Chris the Slug, Twila, and Julie on Tribe B. Lisa is left unspoken for. Lea picks Tribe A to be Yazoo (putting Scout in that tribe) and Tribe B to be JLo (putting himself in that tribe). How nice, so instead of a tribe will equal number of genders, as Probby said to do, we have instead one tribe with an overwhelming number of women and another tribe with an overwhelming number of men. When each tribe gets rid of the two interlopers, we will all be back in square one and that square is called "Oh My God, Does This Show Suck Or What?" Well, carry on, Burnetto. Let's get the cancellation on the roll.

Probby teases Lisa by asking her what she thinks will happen to her. Lisa, in a nauseatingly coy little-girl speak, speculates that she will go "bye bye" now. I don't know about anyone else but a fortysomething woman with a boob job acting like she's ten gets on my nerves like nobody else. Probby however reveals the Grand Twist: Lisa can choose which tribe to join. Wow, what a twist. It can't happen to a better person. Scout, who doesn't choose Lisa to join her friends, of course starts saying that Lisa should get back to the reformed Yazoo because she "wants" Lisa, they all want her. Her hypocritical call is taken by the other Yazoo women and they all ask her to get back with them. Lisa giggles and simpers and trips her way back to Yazoo as a result.

Now it's time for the Reward Challenge. Each tribe must swim out to a buoy, dive in six feet, and collect a marker. The markers are tied to a rope at a distance of two feet apart from each other. The first marker, therefore is six feet under the surface, the next at eight feet under, and so forth. The tribe that collects the most markers in ten minutes will win... ta-da! Probby unveils the prize: Pringles!

Okay, you can all stop laughing now. I'm sure it's remotely possible that after going hungry for a little over eleven days, these hungry people will see Pringles as the starving person's tiramisu. Or maybe Burnetto has nearly bankrupted himself catering all those gourmet picnics for All-Stars. Haw, haw, haw.

Probby generously hands one - one - chip to each Tribe to share. The Survivors try to act excited and luckily for everyone, they won't be winning Oscars anytime soon. I bet they can't wait for next week's reward: a Menthos buffet, all the seven juicy fruit flavors that one can eat! To sweeten the Pringles party, the winning tribe will be transported to a waterfall (waterfall and fighting over a measley Pringles, I've seen them all now). Oh, and there's alcohol too. Maybe the drunkard loons will start stabbing each other with broken pieces of BBQ-flavored Pringles.

Yazoo has one tribe member to spare, so Bubba sits out. Remember, he said in the first episode that he learned to swim ten days before he came to this desolate place of suck.

Scout and Twila go down first. Can I make a joke about Scout having practised holding her breath longer than usual or will this get me in trouble with the GLAAD? Scout manages to beat Twila for the first marker. Twila gives up and Chad has to take her place. Leann takes over from Scout to get the eight-feet marker. Chad gets the first marker and Julie gets the second marker just as Rory dives for the third marker. Lea takes over from Julie. Rory spends some time at untying the marker so Lea catches up with him. Elazya and Chris the Slug are against each other for the fourth marker and Elazya does a swift work at retrieving her marker while Chris just bungles it up until he drops the marker. Oops. Chris returns to the surface and tells his tribe of his mishap, prompting Probby to point out that the particular marker is now "gone" and the JLos will have to get the next one instead. Ami goes down and grabs the next one. Rory then takes over. In the meantime, John K grabs two markers, Julie grabs the next one. The two tribes are tied at this point. Ami and Chris go. Still a tie. Lea flops, giving Rory an edge. John tries to make up for the delay. Chris and Ami are next. And Ami, she stays down for a long time while Chris the Slug manages to bring up his marker. When Ami surfaces without her marker after the tenth minute, Probby declares the JLo the victor. How exciting! I swear, this paragraph must be the most action-charged I've ever written in the entire website! And to think, it's for freaking Pringles!

So it's off to the waterfalls to get drunk and dehydrated the JLos go while the Yazoos return to their camp dejected and - for some - literally blue in the faces.

At the Pringles-sponsored waterfall outing, the JLos practice for what they hope to be a bright future of endorsing products on TV. They pretend to discuss which flavor of Pringles they like best. Hey, why don't they try my special Granny's Arsenic Bite and tell me how much they love the taste? Lea waves a Pringles chip at my face and pretends to be spontaneous while telling me how much that stupid thing tastes like gold. He adds that it's great to be rid of "some" people (read: Rory and Bubba). The new JLo is a team now, see, and Lea is certain that they will all work together to win and share the million dollar prize. In the meantime, they all eat Pringles and drink cheap beer.

Chris the Slug and Twila bond, apparently over their shared job that involves highways. Or something. Twila says she's happy to be with the guys because she can't "kick" with the women. I'd buy that if she makes more effort at trying to "kick" in instead of just standing back and acting like a sanctimonious, judgmental prune. She bonds with Chris the Slug very well because they love to discuss fun matters like overtime pay in their jobs. I'm not making that up. Julie and Chris go off together. Julie tells the camera that she's "buzzed" but insists that it's because of the switch and not the alcohol. I don't believe her. She has to be drunk to sneak off with Chris. She'll want to kill herself in the morning. Everyone frolics in the water and Julie tells the camera that she and Twila are feeling vulnerable and trying not to stand out too much. John K appreciates the switch because he thinks that the hot seat is off his backside for now and he believes that this new JLo will kick the new Yazoo's butt. Why is it so easy to believe that? Oh yes, a tribe with Scout playing the leader - that's why.

Over at Yazoo, everyone is down and unhappy. Elazya, however, insists to the camera that everyone is actually focusing more on the new faces in the tribe and trying to figure out where they fit in the scheme of things now. Rory and Bubba thank the women a little too profusely for welcoming them to the tribe. Elazya offers them news that there are sugar canes growing nearby and Bubba wants to eat some. Rory tells Bubba not to swallow the sugar cane. Bubba tells the camera that he is nervous and in fact "sweating like a prostitute in church". Is that supposed to be witty? It's only witty if the air-conditioning in the church has broken down because from what I understand, prostitutes have been around long before God. Don't quote me, but I hear some priests actually like prostitutes, probably more than wise.

It's to be expected, I suppose, that the women are soon making the two men do all the carrying, cutting, and climbing around the place. Some discord starts to surface among the women when Lisa starts to show the men how to cut coconuts and Ami balks at the idea. Lisa tells her that it is cool to show the men how to cut coconuts. Ami, totally missing the point, says to the camera that she is already cool without having to show the men "stuff". After arguing with Lisa where both parties go nowhere except in circles, Ami tells the camera that she is annoyed that the women's bond is getting "compromised" by the presence of the men and she doesn't think that it's vital for the women to show the men all their secrets. Is cutting a coconut such a big secret now? Will cutting a coconut right help get one a million dollars? Cool, hand me the machete and baby, bring on the coconuts!

She concludes her confessional by declaring that Yazoo is still a "five women strong" tribe. Whatever that means, really. It probably escaped her notice that in the earlier Reward Challenge, she and Rory did all the work while the others just lie down on the beach like breathless whales. "Strong" is the last word I will use to describe Yazoo.

Anyway, between Rory the crazy grown-ass African American and Ami the irrational man-hating lesbian, Burnetto is doing plenty to advance groundbreaking theories in human anthropology. Who says reality TV is devoid of educational value?

The show pulls itself to day twelve. It's now time for the Immunity Challenge. As the Survivors step onto their respective mats, Bubba pulls out one of the sneakiest, most cunning tricks in the book that will make the likes of Porno and the Robfather go green with envy. He says (not whispers) to Chris - who is on the opposing tribe, remember? - to "think about the merge". Ami's face quickly goes "zoing" in displeasure and she's not the only one who overhears sneaky Bubba.

Probby explains that today's Challenge requires each Tribe to race into the jungle, collect pieces to assemble some rinky-dink canoe, paddle this canoe to sea past a buoy and back to the beach, and carry this canoe to where their tribe flag is. The first Tribe to do this wins the Great Dong. These Challenges are so rivetting to watch. I can't get enough of them, I tell you. All those paddling! Swimming! Stupid puzzle games! It's amazing how I still can't tire of them after nine seasons.

Oh, and Scout sits out for Yazoo. I bet nobody sees that one coming.

In the collecting pieces stage, Rory really mucks things up for Yazoo when he tries untying the knots of the pieces to dismantle them using his teeth. I know this method works in getting the dogcatchers off his back but it is not working at all in this instance. It gets worse when they finally assemble the canoe (long after the JLos are paddling to the buoy) and Ami and Bubba launch their canoe in the wrong direction. The canoe is doing its best trying to stay afloat - let's forget about catching up with the JLOs - so it's not too surprising when the JLos win the Dong. Probby then tells the Yazoo, specifically to Rory, that Rory's knot-tying skill is bad and his paddling is worse. I guess Burnetto has told Probby to lay down the law: the crazy grown-ass man's time is up. But since the Yazoos are stupid, be prepared for Probby's subtle message to understandably fly over their heads.

Over at Yazoo, someone is going to pay and this person seems to be Bubba. Rory says that he feels vulnerable but Ami is telling the camera that she is very annoyed with Bubba's Johnny Turncoat antics earlier today. She calls him disloyal. I guess one can argue whether Bubba's loyalty is warranted when she's not even going to give him a chance in the first place but I definitely agree that what Bubba did was just plain stupid, very, very stupid. Ami takes a walk with Scout and she goes on and on about this, comparing what Bubba did to Michael Jordan conniving with the opposing team. I'm sure Bubba is flattered to be compared to Michael Jordan. Scout is of course as self-righteous as Ami, as she should be because she has nothing whatsoever to do with the Yazoos' humiliating defeat, just as she has nothing to do with anything good about the Team. She nods her head to everything Ami says.

Bubba tries to explain his actions over dinner, saying that he just wanted Chris to think about the merge and throw the Challenge in favor of Yazoo, where then Twila or Julie would get the boot. I'm sure the Yazoos are thrilled to hear this. Bubba isn't so bad after all! He just wants the men to get rid of one of the women and then enter the merge where the men dominate and where he will no doubt leapfrog back to the men of old JLo! Oh, what a relief! Bubba is just misunderstood! He really is loyal to Yazoo now!

Worst. Player. Ever.

Bubba asks Ami to let him know if he's getting the boot. Ami says she's not big on team-playing (hah) and he will have to check with the boss about this. Who's the boss? She never tells Bubba that. Or at least, if she does it isn't shown on TV.

The women are holding a pow-wow. Elazya, lying on the hammock, isn't so keen on getting rid of the guys because, as she tells the camera, she fears that they will never win any Challenge as a result. It's so nice to see a woman with self-confidence. Lisa, without any hint of irony, tells Elazya that they shouldn't even think of betraying their own allies. No, a man has to go. Elazya gives Lisa a shuttered look, no doubt wondering what Mia will have to say about this. Meanwhile, the men go hug, say they love each other, and pray to Jesus for guidance. Jesus doesn't care, He's too busy writing Donald Trump a long letter advising the simultaneous sacking of the Bitch Midget Stacy, Donwanna, and Malaria on The Apprentice 2.

Night, Tribal Council. I really don't understand why these people keep giving insincere answers in Tribal Council and why Probby even bother with these. Lisa insists that the guys are part of the gang and it feels like the guys have been with the women "forever", just like how the ground opened up under Lisa's feet during the earthquake. Leann says she still thinks of the game as boys versus girls. Ami insists that she is thinking of the tribe as a team (and two boyslaves, which she didn't say aloud) but after what Bubba did, she's not sure anymore. Bubba digs himself deeper into the grave by explaining that all he wanted was to get the other Team to throw the Challenge - and by extrapolation, ditch one of the allies of the old Yazoos. Nice going, dude. Leann is annoyed that he doesn't think that the Yazoos can win on their own. Memo to Leann: the Yazoos lost. Ami insists that "they" are never thinking of voting off Bubba... until now. It's sad when people start referring to themselves like Queen Victoria. Rory tells Probby that the only way he and Bubba can save themselves is by winning the Immunity Challenge. That's true. There may be hope for Rory yet.

Probby asks Ami whether she feels it's right to ditch some guys because they have penises. Ah, but does Probby feel it's right to give the women second-class treatment on the welcome party because they don't have penises? Sometimes you can tell when it's a guy who's asking stupid questions because the guy will sound and look just like Probby, the class loser who tries too hard to be rugged and hip. Ami talks about feeling bad but feeling good at the same time because Twila and Julie are saved for another day. Now we're getting down to the crux of the situation, aren't we? Won't it be a hoot if both tribes start throwing challenges just to get rid of their excess interloper members and win only by accident?

Bubba says that he shouldn't be voted out because he paddled when he had a fear of water so that counted for loyalty. Or something. He apologizes for his "one mistake" and insists that he's a team player. But a team player for which team? That's the question he should answer and he doesn't in this situation. Rory is more astute in that he tells the women that he isn't too keen on the men at the other side and he'll side with them. If they ditch him, well, he's man enough to take the blow.

Scout chimes in that she has three men she want to play with when she initially split the teams and Bubba and Rory are two of them. Hmm, looking back at the way she split the Survivors, does that mean that she consider Ami, the last person she chooses over Lisa, a man? Scout, the Marm of Hypocrasy, assures the men not to lose hope and it's not over until the fat lady sings. I don't think she's referring to herself.

Leann - Bubba.

Rory - Bubba. With apologies, better Bubba than Rory, et cetera. I guess God must have told him to play Judas to Bubba today.

Lisa - Bubba.

Bubba - Rory. Did I say they pray to Jesus? I must have misheard them. Maybe they were praying to Judas or something. "Uh, go get 'em, girls!" he says. Okay, if he says so.

Scout - Bubba. Ugh, the fat lady is singing. Shut her up, somebody!

Ami - "bubba". "And you know why," she tells the imaginary Bubba before her.

Elazya - Bubba.

Bub-bye, Bubba! He's off. Probby wonders whether the women will stick together. He has mother issues this season, I see, and I hope he finds time to open a motel or something to work out those issues. Why so bitter, Probby? Has Colby flown the coop or something?

Bubba talks about... oh, whatever. He's gone, just another boring twit flushed down the toilet. Next week, Julie goes topless and Rory is hopeless. Somebody please wake me up when something happens.

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