‘Survivor’ Recap: Girls, They Run One World

Survivor girlsIn Beyoncé‘s oddly catchy ditty “Run the World (Girls)” she sings repeatedly that “Girls, they run this mother…” and I never quite understood that. What is this mother? Is this song about a bunch of little girls who are so spoiled rotten that they order their mother around and she does whatever these brats tell her too? Is it that girls run mother earth and all of her many splendors? No, when she said “mother” she was apparently talking about Survivor, because the girl are officially in charge. They are running this mother.

For weeks we’ve watched Candice Bergen (otherwise known as Kim) in her first post-Murphy Brown comeback taking increasing control of the game as she employed the wise strategy of stringing along an alliance of all women from her original tribe when the show was P vs. V (psst, that’s penis vs. vagina) and with the men and women of her post-reconstruction Salani tribe. Last night, it was time to finally make a choice between the two as Jay, a pile of hair that was given a set of abs and a twang, and Troy were starting to catch on to her plan. It was pretty obvious that the girls were going to take over after voting out Mike’s pectoral muscles last week. Even Tarzan figured it out. He doesn’t know how to do anything but shit in his drawers and comb his hair with a tree branch and he has more insight into the game than Jay.

Meanwhile, back at production camp, a PA was sent to get Jeff Probst out of his tent so that he could go give his usual “You wanna know what you’re playing for?” spiel at the reward challenge. Probst was typing furiously at his laptop and cursing at the screen. “Jeff,” the PA said. “It’s time to get on set.”

“Screw you,” Jeff screamed back. “Do you know what I’m facing here? I’m busy, I’m 7,000 miles from civilization, and I’m trying to get a daytime talk show off the ground. Do you think I have time for reward challenges? I have done about 6,439 reward challenges over 23 seasons and I just couldn’t give a rat’s ass anymore. I am not leaving this tent. I’m a producer now and I make piles of money off of this show and I do not need to do any more damn reward challenges. So, why don’t you do this? Why don’t you just bring the reward challenge to the beach, give it to the yahoos who are still on this show with a set of instructions, and tell them to figure it the [bleep] out. You think you can do that? Do you think your degree in television production from USC has prepared you to bring a few twigs and some balls joined with twine to a [bleeping] beach you [bleep] [bleeping] [bleeeeeeeeeep]!”

So, that is what the PA did. He brought the reward challenge and instructions to the beach and the castaways played. They set up this stick structure and they had to throw the balls with twine at it and if they wrapped the balls around the sticks they scored points. Everyone was lousy at this game, which made me a little sad that Jeff wasn’t there because in his growing bitterness he tends to hilariously mock the contestants when they’re bad at a challenge. “Tarzan looks like she’s never seen a stick and balls before in his life!” Seriously, Jeff, I’ve played with sticks and balls all the time and I don’t always score either. So there.

Eventually Troy, Tarzan, Jay, Alycia, and Cat won reward and got drunk from rum in coconuts on a beach somewhere and they talk about the game and who they’re going to vote out next. Jay says, “I hope it’s not me.” And with that, Jay’s fate is sealed (spoiler alert!). You do not say, in Survivor, “I hope it’s not me.” You make it not you. You go out there and lobby and campaign and lie and cajole and win immunity and do everything in your power to make sure it is not you. That is the game of Survivor. That is why you are here.

Jay’s problem, aside from only having three brains cells all of which seem to be at odds with each other, is that he really wants to work with Candice Bergen and the Blonde one I always forget about. By this point we know that Candice is trying to get rid of him. They string him along and say they’ll vote out Alycia, like he thinks they should, but they have no intention. He is steadfast in his alliance, even though he has been given no indication that he should trust these people.

With that they go to the immunity challenge. Jeff shows up and says, “Listen, jerks. I’m trying to book guests for my new talk show and, well, I just didn’t have time to come up with a new challenge, so we got these buckets with strings attached out of storage and you just have to stand here with your hand over your head while I bring out cookies and try to temp you into stepping down. Oh, and Leif, don’t worry, we got you an extra long string. On your marks, get set….”

And Tarzan pulls on his string and is out before it even starts. Yeah, that’s the king of the jungle alright. Then Jeff starts bringing out the food starting with cookies. I know you people are starving, but if you’re going to go out of the challenge for food, don’t go for the first thing. That is just stupid. Hold out for something really good. Make it worth your while. But people are dropping out of this challenge to take the food faster than you can say “gas pains from eating four cupcakes in 2 seconds.” Everyone is taking the food. Troy is trying to stay in it, because he knows he’s not safe, but Jay, like a 20 year old who still can’t say the alphabet, takes the chicken wings instead of immunity. And this is after he told Troy that he wasn’t going to bow out of the challenge for food. God, Jay, can’t you see what’s happening.

Finally we’re left with just Lief, with his extra long string and something to prove, and some lady who I just can’t place. This lady is like “Lief, I want to win bad. You’ll be see as less of a threat if you let me win.” OK, that is some badass Survivor right there. Good job, lady. Then Jeff says, “Jesus, I’m so sick of being out here. Do you know how hard it is to hire line producers? I have a daytime talk show to plan! Here is 17 hamburgers and fries. Just take this, one of you, so that I can go back to work.” Lief takes it and Jeff says, “I don’t know who you are, lady, but you won. Enjoy.”

With that the boy’s fate is sealed. Troy goes to talk to Candice Bergen, who he knows is in charge, and she seems to reassure him too much that he’s safe. He knows that means he is a goner. He might be a “swimsuit photographer” and have an idiotic nickname but Troy, unlike his partner in crime, is not stupid. He knows something is going down decides he is going to play his immunity idol. Troy makes a last ditch effort to get Tarzan and Christina and Jay to vote for Kim so that when he whips out the idol, she’ll bite the dust. Jay, so stupid, so so incredibly stupid and rigid, goes and tells Kim that Troy has the idol and is gunning for her. Jay, when Kim said, “What if we were going to blindside Troy, how would you feel?” did that not clue you off to the fact that they were going to blindside Troy.

Kim was always smart enough to know to split the votes so four people were voting Troy, three were voting Jay, leaving stupid Jay and poor left out Lief to vote for Alycia and Troy to vote for Kim on his own. If Jay and Lief had just listened to Troy and voted for Kim, there would have been a tie and a revote and Jay would have been toast, but at least they would have tried. Troy is officially my new favorite, since he seems to have some fight in him, but the numbers are stacked against him. It seems Tarzan and Christian are aligned with the girls, thinking it will get them farther, Alycia is still under the mistaken impression that the core girls care about her, and an alliance with just Lief is not enough to get Troy to the end. He better start winning immunity, but one thing is for sure, we’re all better off without Jay.

Follow Brian Moylan on Twitter @BrianJMoylan


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After getting his master's degree in poetry, Senior Writer Brian Moylan started writing about television and pop culture for Gawker, The Guardian, The Washington Blade and a few other reputable publications. Brian has an honorary PhD in “Jersey Shore” studies from the University of Chicago. He's shared his often hilarious views about the tube on VH1, MSNBC, TV Guide Channel, MTV (Canada), BBC radio, and NPR. He can usually be found at his apartment in New York yelling at the TV and dodging calls from Real Housewives. He is a Taurus and likes long walks on the beach, fried chicken, and almost every reality television program ever created (especially “The Swan”).