They Came At Us With Spears
Survivor Vanuatu: Episode 1

Yum! Somewhere, someone blows a horn. Yup, the new season has started. Our beloved host Jeff Proboscis stands before a volcano which he identifies as the Yasur on Vanuatu, the Island of Fire. The volcano is angry! And they used to toss the dead into the crater, Probby points out. There are eight other active volcanoes on this island nation, he adds, and aside from angry volcanoes threatening to throw impromptu barbecue parties of massive proportions now and then, Probby also points out that Vanuatu has an "interesting history" of cannibalism. I yawn. Is this like the angry, marauding pirates of Pearl Islands or the angrier wildlife of Africa where they will never make an appearance for the rest of the season? Probby brings up dark sorcery in this island. Maybe that will explain how only the most useless Survivor manages to win nowadays. The Survivors are shown approaching Vanuatu in a boat and there is a fat slob wearing a Bob Barker T-shirt. For that, he deserves to die.

I'll leave Probby to pretend that this show is anything but a glorified camping show featuring useless aspiring actors. That's what he's paid to do, after all, and in this case, he's not even doing it well. I mean, come on, Probby is not exactly a rugged masculine specimen here. We all know he will throw a hissyfit if he breaks a nail. So this whole "I make huge volcanoes spurt in fury!" nonsense from Probby's part is as credible as any of Tom Cruise's love scenes in his movies. "Eighteen Survivors!" he cries, "One ultimate Survivor." Hold it, eighteen Survivors this season? Why do we need the extra six useless morons for? Unless there's a sacrifice to Yasur planned later the season, I don't see why we need six sets of dead weight for anyway.

Credits. Someone has drunk too much tequila before they program the native chatter track over the theme song. How did that aborigine guy manage to wear a loincloth while bungee-jumping and still didn't show anything worth seeing? And is it just me or all the younger female Survivors this season have come prepared in anticipation of drowning mishaps by adding inflatable floating aids into their chests?

The boat reaches the island and everyone pretends to look anxious as the Survivors watch over the horizon. Oh look, here comes a bunch of locals in boats towards the Survivors. They are paid an extra ten dollars to howl threateningly so the locals do so with gusto. Probby has his own boat because he's Probititi, Queen of Vanuatu. He jumps into the shallow water and climbs up onto the USS Survivor Sucks to meet the eighteen morons. Mmm, a wet Probby. I know I shouldn't be saying this but what the heck. Mmm, a wet Probby. The Survivors cheer and clap because they now know that Probby is here to save them from the marauding locals who just want to eat up their screentime. Probby informs them that before they can go to their camp, they have to get the locals to grant them access to Vanuatu through a "tribal ritual". I wonder what that will entail. I wonder whether it'll be like my place where the likes of hotties like Hugh Jackman will have to be personally strip-searched by yours truly before they can enter my lovely homely abode. But I'd rather rip my eyeballs out with my fingers than to see some of these guys naked so no, please not that. Probby promises that the ritual with leave each Survivor with a different and unique impact.

Wow, I can't wait, seriously. I feel my bowels threatening to evacuate in my excitement. When Burnetto promises that there will be some thrilling scenes so I must plant my butt on the sofa for the first half-hour, surely he will deliver something truly exciting, right? Especially when Burnetto promises that a "real chief" will be overseeing the ritual?

The Survivors are ordered to get onto the natives' boat, three person per boat, which basically means one Survivor in a boat flanked by two furious-looking natives. Mia ("book keeper") says that she is nervous because she doesn't have any idea what this ritual will involve. White slavery? A stint in the chief's harem? Fat Bob Barker, he of the Bob Barker T-shirt ("moron/Big Red Tom's bastard son"), announces that he learned to swim just six weeks ago. To prove this, he and the idiots on the boat manage to get the boat to tip over, sending them all into the sea. But he lives, as I'm sure everyone is happy to know. Leann ("equity research assistant") says that she is moved to tears when the natives start singing to them because... er, I don't know and she doesn't explain. She's probably crazy. Besides, does she know what the natives are singing? For all these Survivors know, it could very well be an insulting song about their artificial mammaries and tiny penises in their native tongue.

The Survivors are deposited on land where more natives, having abandoned their comfy T-shirts and shorts for full native regalia inspired by King Solomon's Mine, come out shouting and surrounding them while waving spears threateningly at the newcomers. Off the camera, the lawyer whispers to Chief Uga Kamukaba about potential insurance liabilities. "Just give money and we do show!" Chief Kamukaba tells him. It is probably due to FCC standards that the native women aren't topless. John P unnecessarily tells the camera that the natives are coming at them with spears. Thanks for letting me know, John P, and my, those are big nice spears too. Does P stand for Pinhead? John P wonders whether they should defend themselves or not. Hey, I'd wonder too if I'm in his shoes. Camera focused on me for a TV show, the lights are there all ready to zoom in on the scene, Probby smiling at the corner, and tacky natives doing the hoo-ha we-primitive we-stupid thing before me - oh, how scary! Is this, like, some real tribal assault? Save me, Probby! By the way, it is lovely how the men just stand there and no one checks to see whether the women are getting hurt. I know, this is the twentieth century and women should take care of themselves and all that, but I guess I'd like to see some old-fashioned gallantry from at least one man. Rory ("token black guy") says that he's the only one who doesn't have a spear waving at his face so he concludes with a laugh that black men are welcome on this island. He's quite funny but Burnetto has a track record of casting lazy, crazy minorities on his shows so I won't get so attached to Rory if I were you.

The natives begin prodding the Survivors lightly to segregate them. Elazya ("law student") notices that women are separated from men. Women are made to kneel on a mat while the men are allowed to sit on a tree branch turned into a bench. If this turns into some porno movie I'm changing the channel because everyone this Season seems extra ugly just to vex me.

A drill sergeant named Lea, who must be glad to be away from the military because it can't be easy to have a name like Lea in that environment, says that he's given a cup of liquid but he's not sure whether to drink from it, wash his hands in it, or what. He wonders whether he should just clean his hands in it because he rationalizes that it's nearly time to "eat". He finds the water "rustic" and when he drinks it, finds that the drink, kava, tastes like mud. Rory complains to the camera that the drink makes his lips and tongue feel numb. Ooh, the natives must be trying to stop the men from screaming too much. What are they going to do to these men? Fat Bob Barker manages to choke on the kava because he doesn't make it a habit to swallow strange-tasting fluids. Some children laugh, probably because the "local drink" is something they scoop up from the polluted river nearby just for this event. John P notices that the women aren't getting any kava, much less attention from the natives, and finds this "pretty cool". After all, it's always more preferable to be the focus of attention in a tribe that is feeding you in an island with a history of cannibalism. Those poor women that are being ignored? How sad, indeed. P must stand for prick because that's what this idiot is - a big prick.

Ami, already a fan favorite of drooling fanboys because she's an open lesbian and she's pretty so these fanboys are hoping for some lipstick lesbian antics, says that she's not used to being placed second to men so she's not pleased with this situation she's in. At this point, I'm wondering myself why Burnetto wants to show this ritual on TV. Yeah, in some countries women are third-class citizens but what does this have anything to do with Survivor? Is this some social statement from Burnetto ("Let's bomb Vanuatu because they are terrorists that don't respect women!") or is he just getting his jollies off by indulging in some chauvinist primitive society fantasy?

Probby, who is seated near the Chief Kamukaba, announces to the Survivors to keep an open mind because what happens next is a common part of the tribal ritual. He reminds the Survivors that they are foreigners in a strange land so they need to be open to these things. The natives then bring out a pig that they hang by its legs from the poles they carry on their shoulders. Lisa ("real estate agent") tells the camera that she thinks these natives love their pigs more than their women. But she won't be so disgruntled when she notices that the pig is moving its legs - it is still alive. And she is probably even less disgruntled when these natives start bludgeoning the pig to death before everyone. Is this the shocking moment I'm not supposed to miss, Burnetto? Because I can see a close-up every morning when I visit the market. They used to show live on TV over in Malaysia around the last decade ritual slaughter of cows before the beef is donated to the poor and the needy around the Aidiladha festival. The way our legitimate butchers take a cleaver and slice the cow's neck open from ear to ear while the cow is still alive - ugh. That's why I don't eat beef nowadays, by the way. This pig thing? Small potatoes.

But the Survivors are horrified. Elazya says that while she loves meat like anybody - ooh, meat - she feels nauseated watching the pig being turned into meat before her. While Dolly ("sheep farmer", and no, I'm making this up) looks horrified, she tells the camera later that she is not bothered by the pig-bludgeoning because the sheep in her farm are slaughtered all the time to feed people like Elazya. After the pig is truly dead, the natives take the pig's blood to mark the men's forehead. The men are warriors now, wow. And all it takes is pig's blood on one's forehead. Does this mean that the warriors of Vanuatus have a high affinity to pigs? Judging from how they treat their women, I am starting to suspect that this is indeed the case.

Probby now announces that it's time for one last element in the ritual - a "spiritual stone" that will supposedly drive away evil spirits and gives its owner, er, "spiritual advantage", whatever that is. Of course, Chief Kamukaba is offering a chance to the men to earn it, only the men and not the women. How do the men earn the stone? By climbing a tall, greasy pole. What do I expect? The way these men value their penises so much, I suspect that they probably cornhole each other when they get drunk. Mounting a greasy pole is just up their alley in more ways than one. If the men fail, only then will the stone will handed to the women.

To demonstrate that it is possible for real men to play with greasy poles, a native man proceeds to climb up the pig-greased pole and place the stone at the top of the pole. Fat Bob Barker says that while he doesn't believe in the stone's powers, he doesn't want the "girls" to get it to make up for the years of them evil women laughing at him and spurning his clumsy advances all his life. Lea the drill sergeant - who won't appreciate being confused with Leann, I'm sure - says that the Chief then chooses a man to climb the pole and none of the real warriors seated on the log wants to be chosen. But in the end, the Chief chooses pretty FBI boy Brady to climb the greasy pole. After all, Brady is the hottest guy of the bunch, which isn't saying much, and I'm sure we have established by now that this whole ritual, greasy poles and all, is a homosexual indoctrination ritual. Brady says that he will straddle the pole with his muscular thighs just like he's seen the native dude did, and then he will lift his buttocks and thrust his crotch up, propelling himself up as he clamps his thighs to that thick and greasy pole to move himself up that shaft and then he gives a cry of ectasy as he reaches the top and grabs the powerful stone and... wow. Brady seems to be a pro at mounting greasy poles. Do they teach that in Quantico?

Oh, this is how the men win that stone. Between that and the pig's blood and the whole "let's give these fat ugly losers more due than they deserve because they have some bits of skin and muscles dangling between their legs" nonsense, I seriously hope this isn't going to be the theme of the season. I don't think I can take an entire season of men getting favored over women just because they have dangling bits. I hope Burnetto isn't that dumb. Then again, he could probably be. I mean, seriously, what the heck is the whole ritual thing all about?

The guys celebrate because they are officially grease-pole climbers now and then it starts to rain. Fat Bob Barker says that the sky is "like pouring pee out of a boot onto a flat rock." I know. I can taste the pee in my mouth. Well, at least I'm tasting something foul in my mouth. Probby now closes the whole waste of time by saying that the Chief have divided the Survivors so the men are in the JLo tribe while the women are in the Yazoo tribe. Actually it's "Yasur" and I'm sure we are all sick of the "Yes, Sir!" jokes by now. Burnetto must be having an orgasm when the women ask Probby, "Yasur?" and it comes out as "Yes, sir?" I bet all his ex-girlfriends are sorry that they made fun of his penis size because They Will All Pay, starting from him making the women on this show under a tribe called Yasur. Whatever, I'm sticking to Yazoo.

Disgusting fat buffoon Chris ("construction worker") is glad that the men are in one tribe because men are easier to fool than women. He goes on to prove how little he knows about women by saying that women stick together as "thick as thieves" and they are "mischievous". Really? I always deplore how too many women always tend to ditch their fellow sisters for a man too easily. The history of reality shows is littered with broken female alliances because jealousy and petty rivalry always reign their ugly head. Just because all the women Chris knows in his life are united in ridiculing him and heaping him with scorn doesn't mean that all women can remain united in a game. As is too often the case, they can't even spend a day together without quarreling over petty reasons.

Twila ("highway repair worker") wonders what she has gotten herself into, pointing out that some of the women in her tribe look as if they haven't gotten dirty in their lives. Yeah, but these women are pretty and they float in water!

It is raining heavily now and Probby tells the Survivors that it is time they move to their respective camps. So go! Probby says that the Survivors will have to take a long walk in the wet and dark wilderness and waiting for them at their campsite is only a machete, pot, and the map to their water source. But don't worry, I'm sure Burnetto will offer them everything else by next week. If he's in a good mood, he'll even fly in a spa. The Yazoo go one way, the JLos go the other way, and it rains and rains. Mia tells the camera that the Yazoos get nothing out of the ceremony - hey, at least they didn't drink icky mud-tasting drink or have blood smeared on their foreheads - so now the women are determined to show the men what they can do. I hope what they can do amounts to something worth showing.

The Yazoos hold hand like best friends forever as they walk blindly in the night. Then Scout, the oldest woman of the tribe and the other lesbian Survivor, takes a trip and decides that it's a better idea for the Yazoos to stay put, right there in the dark and rain, and wait until day breaks to resume looking for their camp. Scout confesses to the camera that she has an artificial knee so she is careful when it comes to walking in the dark and in the rain but she hasn't told the others yet. Elazya tells the camera that some women "almost insisted" to stay here in the dark and the rain but what really happens is that Scout says that she's willing to stay here and join the others in the morning. Lawyers, can't trust what they say, eh? Leann worries that they have walked past the camp without realizing it but the Yazoos can't make up their mind what they should do. Elazya wants to go to camp right away but she is worried about coming off as pushy so she's relieved when enough Yazoos agree with her. Scout is wise enough to know that she's swimming against the tide so the Yazoos continue stumbling into the dark.

The JLos aren't doing any better. Rory's brilliant idea is for everyone to form groups of three and wander off in the dark. How will one team communicate with the other team, he never explains. All he cares about is that they are wasting time like "a bunch of ladies" and that will not do. Hasn't someone pointed out to Rory yet that they just won a stupid stone because one of them mounted a greasy pole? The ladies are sniggering at him, does he know that? Brook tells the camera that Rory isn't fitting in because he's not one of them and there's one of such guys in every bunch. I wonder how Brook comes to such a conclusion so early into the show. Still, Rory's idea is quite braindead and he has a tendency to get irrational when things don't go his way. Like how he starts mouthing to the camera about a clique forming between the young guys and the older guys. He makes sense but dude, give it a rest instead of going on and on about it.

Then the men find their camp and they all hug and punch fists while going "Yeah! Hoo-yeah!" If they keep this up, I may forget that Brady climbed a greasy pole earlier today. At the other end, the Yazoos arrive at their camp too and the women squeal and hug like they are now friends forever. Elazya says that every conflict just disappears the moment they find their camp. Yes and the bridge behind my house is still on sale. Someone says, "Okay, now what?" The Yazoos all laugh because they really don't know.

Day two, morning, Camp Yazoo. As per things tend to be, the older women, in this case Scout, Mia, Leann, and Twila, are working on building a shelter while Dolly, Elazya, Lisa, Julie, and Ami are bathing in the sea. Scout complains to the camera that some women prefer to chatter and laze away while the others are working. The camera cuts to the women in the sea rubbing themselves with sand and laughing about who knows what. Scout calls these "sorority girls" the Bowheads and where she came from (Oklahoma), these Bowheads are like cattle that stick together and talk constantly about their favorite topic (themselves). Heh, she's amusing, that Scout.

I now get to hear what the Bowheads are discussing. Some gems include Elazya thinking that there is "no point" in trying to rub sticks to make a fire and that the women that work are making those that take "reasonable breaks" (meaning, her) look bad. Eh, look bad to who? I don't think her fellow Bowheads care as they are both equally lazy, so is Elazya worried about how the audience at home perceive her as? Scout says that Elazya talks too much. Twila says that they have "too much chatting and not enough moving" around the camp because "the mouths are working but the hands ain't". She also points out that the laziest women around the camp are also the ones that complain the most about matters like the cold. Obviously talking about Elazya who is probably right now searching for lighters growing in the sand, Twila tells the camera, her punching bag in place of Elazya, "Get off your ass, get it done, or don't bitch about it tonight when you're freezing your butt off!" Good for her. Of course, she'll never last long in this game. Hardworking people never do.

Over at JLo, Brook and Rory are cleaning themselves in the water source for their tribe. I'm sure they are supposed to drink from there so I don't know why they are adding their dirt and filth into the water supply. Brook says that they will have to boil the water before they drink it. Especially now that they've used the water as their personal bathroom, if I may add. John P is trying to start a fire. He has practised at home - thank heavens, at least one person does his homework, hurrah - to make a fire "just like the aborigians (sic)". Chris the Slug is certain that John P will flop so he claims that John P has the "frame" but not the "brain". John P manages to get some smoke but despite his pleas that they need to see "some hot amber" (the Robfather won't be amused, I'm sure) he fails to get any fire. This is time for Chad to show off his artificial lower leg. Is he going to offer the leg as a means to start a fire? No, it turns out that he has a sob story about how he lost his lower leg to cancer and has to use this mechanical leg instead. He reassures the JLos that he can keep up with the others when it comes to physical challenges. Chris the Slug of course declares that he is touched because Pegleg Chad's story is so "inspirational". Oh shut up already.

This is where I am introduced to John K, who is the hotter of the two Johns, but I am not sure what he actually does as a "mechanical bull operator". I suspect that "mechanical bull operator" is the newest euphemism for "unemployed and wasting my savings in a honky-tonk bar". John K says that he can't tell that Chad has an artifical leg. I know. I mean, it doesn't make funny noises or has flashing lights, how can one tell that it's an artificial leg? Brady says that Pegleg Chad is going to win this because the man has the underdog factor going on. He's not pleased. So boot the man out, I say. He's saying something that everyone is thinking. Brook says that Pegleg Chad's story is "inspirational" - there's that word again - but he will not hesitate to vote Chad out the next day. Chad smiles happily, apparently buying the insincere BS the others are doling out to him.

Moving on to the Yazoo, they have collected tree-mail and are now singing in some bad jamboree manner what seems like their tribe theme song ("I don't know but I've been told/Yazoo girls will get the gold..."). The bad poetry is bad enough without Twila stumbling over her reading of it. I wonder - she can read, right? Apparently they will be competing for fire in the next Challenge. Julie ("youth mentor" - not like Hagrid, I hope) says that the women are ready to kick butts and Leann agrees, telling the camera that the Yazoos will prove that women are not as weak as the men think they are.

Probby is waiting for them at the site of the Reward Challenge. The two tribes moan about wanting fire so Probby tells them that they're in luck: today's Reward is a flint that they can use to start a fire. All they have to do is to operate a large puzzle board game device and manipulate a ball into falling into one of the four holes at the corner, then belly crawl under an obstacle course, and then cross a balance beam to the end where they must then use the flint to start a fire that will burn off a rope that will drop a torch. The first tribe to then light this torch wins the flint. Also, because we are running out of time, this Challenge also doubles as an Immunity Challenge. Winning tribe gets the Great Dong of Kamukaba, a pointy-headed totem-like idol.

At Probby's signal, the two tribes are off. Scout is really slow - her knee must be holding her back. On the other hand, Pegleg Chad has problems with the balance beam. It doesn't matter because I'm more concerned about why Probby is calling that slug Fat Bob Barker "Bubba". Hey, at least he's given me a nickname. In the end, it boils down to Scout versus Chris the Slug as they crawl on their stomachs along the balance beam. Scout's top falls off, revealing pixellated bosom, but at least it's just her top. Chris the Slug just keeps falling off the beam. The Yazoos win this one and they chant, "Fire! Water! Immunity!" just to rub their victory in the JLos' faces. Wow, a battle of the sexes thing with the women winning the first time. Haven't I seen the balance beam challenge before? Can I just assume that Elazya is going to be the new Jabba and win this season?

The JLos are not happy. John P admits that they may have underestimated the women. No, they haven't. Chris the Slug just sucks at the balance beam, that's all. Brady confesses that while having no fire is tough, his losing to women irks him more. Why, because the girls used to make him cry when he was a kid? Chris the Slug says that he wants people to know that he's not good at balance beams. Everyone laughs weakly. Well, at least Chris the Slug is able to joke about his blunder, I guess, even if he's still a loathsome slug. He tells the camera that it's not fair if he gets booted because there is no "outbalance" in Survivor motto. But we can still boot people for being irritating, right?

As Chris the Slug walks off by his own, John P and Brook approach John K as the guys sit around their camp to talk about their first elimination target. John K suggests the "weakest link", in this case Chris the Slug. Brady, who's also with them, says nothing. Then Lea comes up to them and John K brings up the booting of the "weakest link". Lea is obviously not entirely into the plan judging from his tone and expression and he tells John K that he wants to wait a few hours to see what others will do before he throws his support with the majority. Hmm, this is a rather blunt way of offering his vote-for-hire services, isn't it? He repeats unnecessarily to the camera that the two Johns, Brady, and Brook want Chris the Slug out. He then talks to Chris the Slug and they discuss picking off the young guys one by one before the young guys turn on them. Um, yes, that's a good plan. Keep a fat slug like Chris the Slug around while ditching the strong athletic younger men. That will keep the Immunity wins coming! Why can't the "old guys" be like Queen Hippodeena of Amazon and ally with the young athletic guys for once is beyond me. Chris the Slug adds to the cycle of stupidity by proposing that they eliminate John P because he is too strong. What idiots. The merge is like, what, more than a month away from now, and they want to kick out the strong tribe members now? Do they want to enter the merge and get Pagonged by the other tribe? Lea says that John P is useful in that he tries to start a fire. He suggests that the older guys target Brook. Chris the Slug agrees and offers to talk to Chad about this. He tells the camera that he feels secure about his position in the tribe. Ugh, I don't like this man at all.

Brook and John K are now talking where they are talking about the possibility of the older men picking off the "young tigers" (oh please) one by one. John K reiterates that Chris the Slug is on his way out. Brady however tells the camera that he isn't sure whether to target Rory, whom he feels is crazy, or Chris the Slug. As the men walk to the tribe, Brady says that it is more important for the tribe to stay united than to cater to loose cannons like Rory. Which is fine and sundry, of course, if he isn't throwing a freaking single vote that ultimately costs his allies (if he's allied with the Young Tigers, that is) a member of the alliance.

Night. Tribal Council. Probby talks about fire (same old yammerings about fire giving life, et cetera) and then invites the men to start a feeding frenzy by pointing out how Chris the Slug cost them the Great Dong of Kamukaba earlier today. "All we've got to do is build a little fire, light a torch, and win, over these... females," Lea spits vehemently because he doesn't like women, never liked them, and as for losing to them... ptui! Chris the Slug tries to point out that Rory is batcrap crazy but hey, he is generous enough to "accept" Rory despite the man's nonsense so he thinks the other men owe him a second chance too. Yeah, as well as a blow in the head. Rory protests that he's fitting in fine, thank you. In his own world, perhaps. And then the discussion moves on to water (complain, grumble) and the women (respect them but they have nice tails, blah blah blah). To give the JLos credit, they refuse to talk about who the hottest women is despite Probby's repeated goadings. Probby's increasingly desperate attempt to assert his masculinity is becoming tedious, I must say. After more dull chit-chat, it's now time to vote.

Brook - Chris the Slug. Rory - Brook. Lea - Brook. John K - Chris the Slug.

Brady - Rory. Yeah, smart move, dude. You're way out of the loop. Insert typical FBI incompetence joke here. Still, it doesn't matter who he votes. The Young Tigers are outnumbered five to four.

Bubba - Brook. Chad - Brook. John P - Chris the Slug.

Chris the Slug - Brook. He's voting for Brook while hoping that it's not Chris the Slug leaving tonight.

Probby goes to tally the votes. Bye Brook! He gets his torch snuffed out. Probby sends the remaining JLos back to camp. Brook grumbles about being the first voted off and then he's gone. And the show is done even when I have no clear idea why Brook is gone or why Brady throws a single lone vote to Rory. I also have no impression of who most of the cast is and of those I know, I see too much of that irritating Elazya and Chris the Slug already. So much time is wasted on that silly circus at the start of the episode that contributed nothing to the episode. I know Burnetto is busy cozying with Donald Trump right now but it seems that he has left a chimpanzee in charge of the show in his absence. The next episode has better be a step up from this dull and unexciting season opener.

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