‘Survivor’ Recap: A Recipe for a Boring Season

Survivor Recap

The Survivor producers’ recipe for this season seems to be the following: Add Phillip. Stir gently. Add heaps of Reynold for garnish.

That’s it, that’s all we’re getting. Know what? It’s turning up snoozeville. The producers of this show, ring leader and middlebrow mercenary Jeff Probst especially, have come to value buffoons like Phillip. There are the people like him and Coach who misbehave so spectacularly and act so goofily that they think they make for good television. They do not. They are annoying. They aren’t despicable or cunning enough to be evil, or for us to love to hate them. They’re just sad and deluded. I don’t want to watch that. I just want to run away from that in the opposite direction. I don’t know if the editors are ignoring all the other players for Phillip (and let’s not forget Reynold), or if there’s just not that much more excitment happening that we’re missing. But they are leaning on him like a crutch. And even though he tied a scarf around that crutch to try to make it look fun, it’s still some ugly emergency room crutch that no one wanted in the first place.

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We started off with Phillip walking around camp talking about how big and bad and strong he is and how he’s a gorilla or a lion or a chimpanzee or a muskrat or some stupid nonsense. He arm wrestled Cochran, who laughed at him behind his back, and Philip talked himself up going into the challenge, bragging like usual. The only thing more boring than listening to someone else’s dream is listening to someone else brag.

At the challenge it was the old Survivor standard, where both teams had to race around a circle carrying a bunch of weight until one team could catch the other. It was sort of like a metaphor for this season, a weighted down slog with some intermittent action, but at its heart it was boring. There is no way that the “Not so Young and the Rest of Us” can beat the “Bold and the Beautiful.” There is just no way. It’s like having a drunk possum try to race a cheetah. But, thanks to the magic of editing and Phillip being awful (and the preview of the episode from the week before) we knew that Phillip was going to mess it up. He did. He stumbled and fell and mucked it all up and “NYRU” lost, but that was, honestly, an inevitability. So even though everyone blamed Phillip, it was more the fault of the tribes being so horrifically mismatched.

Brenda won no friends by doing a “cookies and cakes, cookies and cakes” dance when her team won — after she did no work at all — and they all went off to eat cookies and cakes. Malcolm and Reynold got together so that Reynold could make his second pretty people alliance of the game (how well did that work out for you last time, Big R?) and that was the last we heard of the BB for the rest of the evening. Bye guys!

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Back at Team NYRU, Philip has a big crush on Julia, who I think he wants to take out into the bush and shower with kisses, and Corinne has a big crush on Michael because he is a gay and she thinks that’s “neat.” Philip laid some trap for Julia, where if she told anyone that he wanted to work with her then she was betraying his trust. She told Dawn and then Dawn, instead of trying to help Julia unseat Crazy Pants, ran right back to him and told him. He decides his crush was over, and that she needed to go.

The challenge is nothing but a formality at this point, and BB paddled a boat, rescued a statue, grabbed some keys, undid a lock, and hoisted the statue up a ramp while Philip walked around the beach, scratching his saggy drawers and spitting on the sand, not doing much of anything. Boring.

Then the plotting began, but we knew that one of the former Fans was going home. Phillip initially wanted it to be Julia, who betrayed him, but when Corinne refused to split the votes to flush out an immunity idol that didn’t exist, Phillip decided to kick out Michael. Then he wanted to kick out Corinne, but said he couldn’t. All this is going on and I’m thinking, “Why is no one talking about voting out Phllip?” He’s weak. He’s useless. He makes life around camp intolerable. He can’t be relied on and blows up as soon as the wind blows through his knickers. Get rid of him! Corinne had her vote, Michael’s, Julia’s if she wanted it (she would have done anything to stay), all she had to do was convince Cochran, who had already talked to her about how ridiculous Phillip was, and she would have been golden. Dawn might have even flipped too. What sway does Phillip hold over them? Why can’t they snatch it together and show him the torch snuff?

They didn’t know that a merge was coming next week (again, the producers trying to get some juice out of this lackluster season by bringing it on early), but I think if they did, they might have gotten rid of Phillip. Also, his not wanting to take Michael through the merge was stupid. If you have someone who will play with you, why not play with him? More numbers never hurt in this game. It’s like having more bottled water. You might not need it all, but it’s gonna be handy in case you do.

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They marched off to tribal and voted out Julia. This was one of the most forgettable episodes of the show that I think I have ever witnessed, even with all of Phillip’s antics about being strong, saying he threw the challenge when he obviously didn’t, talking about “killing the cubs” to save face, and wanting to vote every person in the camp out at one point or another. I don’t find that amusing. I don’t find it fun. I don’t find it interesting. I find it makes me want to press STOP on the DVR and watch this week’s episode of RuPaul’s Drag Race all over again.

Follow Brian Moylan on Twitter @BrianJMoylan

[Photo Credit: CBS]

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