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Oct 12, 2007

Survivor: China - Episode 4 Recap

Though the show has yet to get to the especially interesting portion, where the contestants allegiances are truly formed and solidified, episode four seemed to be a turning point, at least for me. This is the one where I was finally able to put just about all the names to the faces, as well as halfway recall what the tribe names are (Fey Long and Zhan Hu, right?). Though I still don't know which name belongs to which group of players. Still, I'm feeling some progress has been made.

We start out with Jean-Robert being Jean-Robert - namely, pissing off his tribe mates, however inadvertently. Sad Stick Figure Courtney (SSF) got her size 0 panties in a bunch when the evil giant attempted to stop her from scalding herself and dared to raise his voice in her general direction. Obviously, she's worried that noises above 65 decibels will shatter her bones and/or cause her skin to be obliterated. She really is endearing us all to her, isn't she?

Meanwhile, over at Crouching Tiger, Dave (Occupation: Former Model), obviously sad that all the people he fights with are gone, decides to get into it with Diarrhea, er, Sherrea. Oops - Sherrea's chest doesn't like being yelled at, and she went off on Dave, almost bringing him to tears as she threatened to "throw away" some seashells he was saving for his mommy. No, seriously (except for the tears part). Frosti (who it hits me is the Asian Freddy Rodriguez, right down to their shared diminutive status) manages to put an end to the situation quietly, sparing us all from more annoying jackassery from Dave.

Abruptly, we're taken to the reward challenge, which is being hosted by the Tribal Council Mansion (why, we're never told). It's a pretty creative and new challenge for the game, as the tribes have to use "giant chopsticks" to pick up and carry a flaming ball about twenty feet to some little pot where the ball will ignite some fireworks. Sure, it's a bit much, but the agility, concentration and teamwork needed make for a great challenge. Team Dave manages to lose yet again, and the Model himself is kidnapped by the winners. I can't help but laugh as Sherrea, PG et al are visibly pleased to see their Fearless Leader gone for a day.

The prize for the winning tribe was a visit from an authentic Chinese family (read: actors from LA) who would teach them how to fish and cook the way they used to in the olden days - namely, with their gas-powered fishing boat and a team of enslaved birds (more on this in a bit). Funny thing is, being Chinese and all, they don't speak much English. Chicken would probably say "DAMN!" when he learned what happened next. Jean-Robert (not French but apparently Chinese) starts chatting up the family as if he just flew in from Hong Kong. Via testimonial, JR informs us that, as a child, he spent some time in Taiwan and that the words are just coming back to him and that he more or less barely remembered that he spoke Chinese. Uh huh. Sure, dude. You're a contestant on a show called Survivor: CHINA and you kinda sorta forgot that you spoke the native language? I call your bluff, poker man.

Either way, this knowledge turns JR into a mini-celebrity around his camp, as he is able to do what looks to be an excellent job translating and speaking to the fam. As part of their visit, the paid actors take two tribe members (Johnny Utah and Lunchlady Land) out on their speedboat. Two interesting things happen here. First, the fishing technique includes bringing along 8 or so birds (not sure what type) that have been trained to do the fishing for them. They put some sort of contraption in their mouths, tie them to the boat and set them free in the water. The birds then swim down, find some little fish and then come back up to the boat, where they are then essentially forced to regurgitate the still-intact fish into the boat. Gross, but genius (and the fish will still be de-scaled and gutted, anyway). The other big news? Lunchlady Land speaks! She pretty much says some unintelligible lunchlady stuff in what sounds like a heavy Bahstan accent, but who knows or cares - I'm just glad she was allowed to speak.

Meanwhile, over at Team Drama, Diarrhea manages to destroy all brownie points that she had earned via her virtual bitch-slapping of Dave by doing her best Jean-Robert impersonation. Glad as the tribe is to not be berated or commanded every five minutes, the other four mates still bring themselves to work. Sherrea, however, can't be bothered with such troubles as food, fire and water, instead spending the day "saving herself for the challenge." But if I had to choose one tribe mate to spend all day watching me work, it just might be her.


Wait a sec. Sure, the immunity challenges are pretty damn important in the grand scheme of the game. That said, I don't know what has gotten into the heads of the producers. Apparently, they watched last week's episode that included the uber-lame freeze frames and thought "Sh*t, that's nothing! We can top that cheesiness with our eyes closed!" And that they did.

The challenge is a bit hard to explain. It was a series of 2-on-2 sequences in which the contestants were given "armor for their protection" as each team was given some bamboo sticks and 3 sets of nunchucky-ball things (not sure what they're called, but think of two baseballs tied together by about 2 feet of rope). The object was to swing and hurl the basechucks in the direction of the other tribe's players, over their heads (or between them) and break some vases that were behind them. The bamboo sticks were for blocking throws from the other team. All well and good so far, right?

Let the shark jumping begin (I know, outdated in its own right). When one or another team had a successful throw, some absolutely GAWDAWFUL special effect was used to "slow down" the projection of the ballchucks prior to them breaking the vase(s). Any description really can't do it justice, but it's safe to say that it was the dumbest thing I've seen in 15 season of this show, and there's been a lot of dumb things over that time. Maybe I'm making a mountain out of a molehill, but it's a reality show. Leave the lame effects to cheesy sci-fi movies, ok?

Long story short, Team Dave lost again (John Coffey dominated...again). Back at camp, there was much discussion over who to get rid of - Dave or Diarrhea. Both were deserving in their own right. The sad thing is, lost amongst the drama caused by the obnoxious Dave, Ashley and Sherrea over the last few weeks is the fact that the remaining four (Frosti Freddy, Horse Teeth, PG and Musician Erik) all seem like very likable, pretty smart people. And now that they voted off Dave (together now..."Awwww!"), we're one more loss from the four of them being alone.

Next week: Horse Teeth and Virgin (?!?!) Musician Erik feel some sparks. Somewhere, Leslie is preaching abstinence.

Survivor: China homepage at CBS.com

1 people have chosen wisely: on "Survivor: China - Episode 4 Recap"

Robb said...

Heh - As intensely as I watch this show, you always manage to make me laugh with insight into things I'd missed. Good job on calling out Poker Man on his false modesty at speaking Manadarin. He must have been practicing for months.

So we get rid of Courtney and Sherreah and the show is going to get much, much better. And hopefully the special effects will die with Dave. Please?