The Husband:

As I mentioned in my previous update on this long-running WB/CW show, Smallville became the exception to the rule by becoming a better, more focused and more exciting show only after the resignation of its two creators, Millar & Gough, as well as two of its biggest cast members, Kristin Kreuk (Lana Lang) and Michael Rosenbaum (Lex Luthor). By shifting its focus now almost 100% toward Metropolis, the show has grown into something grander while at the same time more intimate. How is this possible?

While I loved the Freak of the Week episodes of the first three seasons, all set in Smallville, they began to pale in comparison to the season-long story arcs (season four’s finale, especially, proved how good that show could be over an extended period of time). But when the FOWs went away, the season arcs suffered too, a result of their stories being far too stretched out and altogether too formulaic. I thought season 7’s major story, about the creation of Isis and its relation to Kara/Supergirl, was piss-poor.

Still strong, after all these years.

Still strong, after all these years.

But with season 8, the great big story arc, a.k.a. the Rise of Doomsday, was mixed in far better with a resurgence in FOWs, but instead of the first three seasons, where the formula was a villain becoming exposed to meteor rocks (i.e. kryptonite) and then discovering their dastardly power, these Metropolis-based villains are true super-villains, those both in control of their powers and aware of their major fuck-with-Clark-Kent plans. All in all, it just worked.

And oh man, did Kristin Kreuk’s exit ever help the show. After what seemed like decades of the Clark-Lana-Lex love triangle, Clark was finally allowed to focus on other tasks, not the least of which saving the world (and, you know, finally doing some heavy flirting with Lois). But Lana did come back periodically throughout the season, and while I would normally cry out “How can we miss you if you won’t go away,” I confess that I found her spring season two-episode arc to be some of the best work this show has seen. The best moment of the season, by far, was her sacrificing her newfound superpower, allowing kryptonite to enter her now-with-alien DNA body from a superbomb atop a Metropolis skyscraper, to save the city, to save the world, and to save Clark. Finally, I felt like she was actually a part of the story and not just the unwitting victim she was for so many years.

As far as VOWs in the second half of the season go (to me, they should now be Villains of the Week, because the show has finally earned that), the best was probably “Infamous,” where Linda Lake (Tori Spelling, not great but serviceable as a silly villain), the nasty gossip reporter who can turn into water, threatens to expose Clark’s true identity as the “Red-Blue Blur” (we’re not up to him being called Superman just yet), and has the story stolen from her as Clark comes clean to the world about his alien origins and superpowers, only to have his life fall apart and him conveniently going back in time thanks to that Legion Ring and setting everything straight again.

As for the best silly episode, that’s a tie between “Hex” – where Chloe wishes she had Lois’ life and ends up actually inhabiting her body – and “Stiletto” where Lois creates her own crime-fighting persona and realizes that it’s really hard to kick ass in stiletto heels. I need an episode like this every once in a while, just for levity’s sake.

(I did not, however, like any episode related to the Legion, sent from Krypton to aid Clark. It was just too on-the-nose and somewhat antithetical to Clark’s true mission to find himself and not just use others for their strengths.)

But all the best drama came from Davis Bloome a.k.a. Doomsday, the EMT with a confused past and a really bad case of turning into an indestructible monster whenever he blacked out or got angry. After he ransacked Chloe’s wedding to Jimmy Olsen, he finally starts up a relationship with her, as he notices that, thanks to her meteor rock-received power of healing, that he doesn’t turn into a destructive force when around her. But this leads to the best episode of the season, “Eternal,” where Davis’ past finally comes into focus. It turns out that he came down with Clark in that meteor shower back in 1989, but was picked up by Lionel Luther, who thought that he was the fabled Traveler who would save the world. (The true Traveler is, of course, Clark.) Once Lionel discovered his mistake, he treated Davis like shit and finally gave him up for adoption, not knowing that Davis would play a major part in the Kryptonian conflict on Earth, because Davis is literally destined to battle Clark.

It’s all rather silly, I know, but Sam Witwer really put a great deal of effort into making Davis a fully sympathetic yet loathsome creature, a troubled man with uncontrollable urges. And even when black kryptonite was finally used to separate his two personalities, Davis and Doomsday, he was still murderous and jealous enough to murder Jimmy Olsen in cold blood. (That final decision, to kill Jimmy, is a bold declaration from this show that we shouldn’t really expect anything anymore, and that the show technically is its own beast and doesn’t have to follow Superman’s comic lore if it doesn’t want to, a welcome respite from all those in-jokes to the lore that got real old real fast.)

Next season, the show will finally move away from its Thursday at 8 p.m. spot, where I’m amazed it lasted so long all those years up against such shows as Friends and Survivor and be placed on Friday nights where it might die a slow death. Then again, the show has always had trouble cracking the Top 100, and if you don’t factor in its youthful audience and its DVD sales it’s simply amazing that the show has lasted this long. But Tom Welling is 32 now and the show needs to end at some point, and I’m hoping that the Zod-centric next season will be its last. Most would say that the show has lost all of its energy, and while I won’t agree with that, I do think it needs an endgame and stick to it.

The Husband:

I don’t really have a whole lot to say this week. The performances on Tuesday were a mixed bag, with selections ranging from smart and dead-on (Adam, Allison) to stupid and dumbshit esoteric (Scott and Kris), and things went pretty much as I expected. Scott, despite his big heart and his borderline transcendence of the competition when in front of a piano, picked a virtually unknown-to-my-generation song by Survivor (who are only known for “Eye of the Tiger” and nothing else) and was, as predicted by me in my head, the lowest vote getter. The other two members of the bottom three included one that absolutely deserved to be there (Lil, who finally got bitched out by the judges for the exact same reasons I’ve been writing on this hyah blog) and one who didn’t (Anoop, whose rendition of “True Colors” made him sound like Kenneth Brian “Babyface” Edmonds circa 1995, which is not a bad thing). Switch out Kris with Anoop and you have the perfect bottom three.

For the record, it really freaks me out that Allison was born in 1992.

For the record, it really freaks me out that Allison was born in 1992.

So what’s been going on with Lil? Well, she’s been suffering from what I call Ramiele Syndrome, where a female artist impresses like crazy during the semifinals and seems set for complete glory, but upon getting into the Top 12 gets so nervous about show themes and control that she loses all semblance of individuality and begins to make lazy song choices and poor singing decisions. I supposed you could also name this syndrome after Mandisa or Jessica Sierra (without mentioned her stint on Celebrity Rehab) or Camile Velasco (man, what a fall) – or after any person you subjectively feel failed to live up to their promise – but it’s gotten to the point where I just want her gone. She is the karaoke queen of the competition, a nice voice but nothing else.

And no, there is no controversy regarding Adam Lambert’s choice to do Gary Jules’ version of “Mad World” instead of the 1982 Tears For Fears version, because that’s entirely in the rules, and nobody gave him false praise for doing a “unique version.” Danny Gokey is on slightly rockier waters for choosing a song that had a cover released in his birth year, even though the song itself, “Stand By Me,” was released in 1961, but it’s still entirely within the rules of the competition.

And lo, it seems that is starting to have the opposite effect on the competition than expected. Their first choice for their members to vote for in order to cause pop culture anarchy, Megan Joy [Corkrey], only placed in ninth, and the moment they pick Scott as a follow-up, he’s gone too, in eighth place. This is further proof that their claim of pulling Sanjaya through the competition in s6 is complete bullshit, because they have no actual pull. It’s all talk, no walk, man. They can eat me.

And there’s the other important factor on American Idol Wednesdays – the Ford commercials. I appreciate the fact that it’s a way for the Idols to let off some steam for a day while messing around, but I don’t understand why they can’t be better. Wouldn’t it be best to make a commercial that could actually run on TV at times not associated with Idol. I guess not. In the eight years this show has been on, I can only recall one Ford commercial that I thought looked like a real commercial. It’s from s6, the Top 11.

Okay, there is one from s4 that does have a certain level of evocation. And, due to my love of both old school rap and the Muppets,  it’s evocative of my nightmares.

Could you honestly name any of the s4 contestants solely based off that video? Bo Bice and Niko Smith are the only two who look anything like their real-life counterparts.

The Wife:

First of all, I want to give props to Gokey and Anoop for having the balls to wear very bright colors, in celebration of their being born in the 1980s. Gokey looks good in hot pink and Anoop carried off that Kanye-ish green cardie like nobody’s business. But what I really need to talk about is Lil Rounds.

What's my leather got to do, got to do with it?

What's my leather got to do, got to do with it?

Lil, I’m sorry I thought your wig was on crooked last week. Apparently, it’s just that the person who gave you that weave didn’t bother to cut your bangs straight, and no one has bothered to fix them. As you fall further into your identity crisis, you performed your cheap Tina Turner song in cheap leather, and followed that up by performing the group sing last night in a tank top covered entirely in metal studs that were far too many and far too large. Girlfriend, Lady Gaga wear a zipper on her face and she wouldn’t even wear that shirt.

The problem, Lil, is that you have not only no idea what kind of artist you are, but you also have no idea what kind of person you are. I appreciate that you tried to look like you were performing a Tina song as Tina, but you didn’t do it right. It wasn’t like the Vampire Lamb Bear performing “Tracks of My Tears” as Frankie Valli, it was like poor Alexis Grace performing “Jolene” in her dowdy Dolly Parton outfit. If you are going to go costume, you have to do it right. And you don’t know how to do it right, so just don’t do it. Get a stylist who isn’t schizophrenic, understands body lines and get a hair artist who can cut straight and you’ll be well on your way to at least looking like you know what you’re doing.

Tim Gunn, can you please come and help Lil Rounds be fabulous? She needs you.

The Husband:

Survivor: Gabon is over, and HOORAY to Bob the high school physics teacher from Maine for taking home the $1 million prize. It was a rough final three hours, one in which Kenny was blindsided at the last minute and voted off first, a decision that would come back to haunt pretty much everybody who had a hand in his ouster (i.e. everybody except for Susie). Personally, I think while it was a good idea to vote out Kenny from a strategic point, I feel that he would not have done well with the final card-stacking challenge (just a guess, from one videogamer to another), and thus the worthless Susie would not have randomly won the final challenge.

So yeah, Susie winning that challenge really threw a wrench into the show that had been going so well (from Sugar’s perspective, as well as my own), with each unworthy  contestants leaving the compound person-by-person in exactly the order they should, leaving a final three for Sugar, Bob and Matty (all worthy contestants). But Susie, oh Susie, your win made Sugar have to choose between the two people to which she is closest, her Survivor brother (Matty) and her Survivor father (Bob). Sugar’s ultimate decision to force a tie and let the two duke it out over a fire competition should have been seen as noble, to let them duke it out on their own through show skills and whatnot, but in the end it end up biting her in the ass when Matty decided not to vote for her.

So how did things go down in the end? Here were the votes (best out of seven).

Bob, Susie, Susie, Susie…

Oh god…was this season going to suffer from that oft-heard bullshit explanation that the jury is only voting for the person who fucked them over the least? Aren’t we supposed to reward the best player, not vote along a stupid grudge on a show known for its conniving contestants?

…Bob, Bob, Bob.

Oh thank God. If it wasn’t going to be Sugar (which it should have been), I’m happy to see a nice man, a good strategist and a good game player win the million dollar prize. But Susie, how did such a crummy contestant make it as far as she did, and nearly win the money? There’s one every season, but I hope each time that the jury will put aside their differences and actually vote for somebody worthy of the game.

Im going to miss you most of all, scarecrow.

I'm going to miss you most of all, scarecrow.

So what are some other final thoughts before the next season starts up again next month?

  • Corrine decided to go out of the game mocking Sugar’s dead father. Very classy, you wench. Earlier in the episode, during the memorial let’s-remember-all-those-fallen-contestants montage, Corrine declares that being nice is not a personality, and that being mean is hard. Actually, Corrine, that’s not true. It’s our human instinct to be selfish, to be impulsive, to be cruel. It takes effort to be nice, to ignore certain problems and treat people with respect for the greater utilitarian good. What you are is someone who never grew up past high school, and are defending your despicable actions by making every else out to be the bad guy. Sorry, Corrine, being hated is no challenge. It’s easy to be mean, but it makes a world of difference to challenge yourself to be a good person. You are trash, and in order to stop feeding your actual need for boos and jeers, I will in the future, if needed to refer to how much of a bitch you were, refer to you only by “The C-Word,” so people in the know will understand who I am talking about, but you’ll lack those evil Google hits you desire so much. It’s a very appropriate name for you, C-Word, don’t you think.
  • Jeff, Randy got applause for his shitty attitude while C-Word got boos because it honestly seems like that’s the person he is and that he simply doesn’t know any better, while C-Word actually seems to have made a life choice to be so horrible. But please, Survivor casting directors, please don’t hire any more personality disorders. They are not interesting on camera, they suck the life out of everyone and everything, and in the case of Randy, I actually feared for the others.
  • The live-to-tape editors of Survivor get the biggest laugh of the month from me for one small instance. When asked who the sullen and douchebaggy Randy brought to the live reunion taping, he replied that he brought seven strangers. Cut to the strangers, whose image has this written underneath them on the screen: Randy’s “Friends.”
  • Sugar pretty much knew that she had no friends on the jury, so I appreciate her honesty with everyone involved. There’s nothing I hate more during the final episode than when the final two or three pull their punches and try to suck up to the jury, trying to convince them that they did not, in fact, play the game they were hired to play. It misses the point entirely, and while it cost Sugar every single vote that could have gone her way, I applaud her candor. Now we just need a jury that will see that as a good thing (because it IS). She deserved the final $100,000 additional prize, but will have to settle for the (unadvertised and always unspoken) third place prize of $85,000 (not much of a drop after the $100k received by second place).
  • Kenny, you got called out twice for being the reason Bob broke his promise to you, but you still wanted an apology? Great job. I actually respect your domination of Super Smash Brothers Melee, a great and difficult multiplayer game for those who really know how to play it, but your pettiness there hurt you considerably simply as a person. I very much respect that you realized your cockiness on the show and were nothing but apologetic at the finale.
  • Brazilian Highlands next season look very cool, but then again, so did Gabon, which kind of turned out to be a dud as far as visuals were concerned. Maybe South America can bring some of that spirit back to the show’s atmosphere.

The Husband:

In one of the smoothest eliminations of the series (and definitely the smoothest of the season), we finally have justice: Crystal Cox, Olympic gold medalist and all-around shitty Survivor player, has been voted out of the tribe.

Crystal, you just got burned.

Crystal, you just got burned.

But how did this happen? How did everyone finally notice that she was a worthless ally and a worthless enemy, and that if she made it to the final three that they would be rewarding bad gameplay, bad challenge skills and the cheapness that comes in hiding behind a greater threat?

Well, here’s how: Bob, ever the nice guy and perpetual challenge winner, is set to be voted off due to the fact that if he made it to the jury vote, he would almost without question win the entire season. Kenny, especially, has his sights set on sending Bob away after being lied to about the second fake hidden immunity idol (yes, Bob made two great fake ones this year), a lie that put Kenny in a predicament after Matty realized that hanging extra vote for him game from the Asian-American videogame champion.  So Bob, to make up for the lie, promises Kenny that if he won the individual immunity necklace, he would give it to Kenny.

And then he goes and wins the necklace. Unsure that Kenny would not turn on him and get him voted out now that he would no longer be immune, Bob renegotiates the deal and says he will only give it to Kenny if he feels that Kenny is in danger of being voted out. Kenny tries to rally the tribe to tell Bob that they want to vote Kenny out, which would presumably change Bob’s mind about giving up the necklace, but Sugar doesn’t like the plan to backdoor Bob (nor should she), so she reveals Kenny’s plan to Bob. Ever the resourceful duo, Bob and Sugar put into motion one of the great plans of the season.

At tribal, Bob refuses to give up the necklace, as he feels that Kenny is not in danger. He’s not actually breaking any promise, because it turns out that it’s the absolute truth. It’s Kenny’s main ally, Crystal, that is in trouble. The votes come in, and as Matty has been the scapegoat for his half of the tribe, he knows that he will be receiving some votes in order to remove him as a very physical threat in challenges (and for being a pretty cool guy). Ah, but Sugar makes extra sure that Crystal goes home, because as she has the actual hidden immunity idol and this is the final week it can be played, she gives the idol to Matty, post-vote but pre-vote reading, to ensure Matty’s continued stay in Gabon. Two of the votes don’t count (the ones for Matty), and Crystal Cox is out for good.

It’s amazing that Sugar felt so confident that zero votes were going to go her way at tribal council that she could give up the idol, and that she did such a good job convincing people she would never give it to Matty in the first place, that nobody even thought about blindsiding her. I don’t care what you think about Sugar’s personality, but you have to admit that she has been a great player over the last several episodes, and that she and Bob are the people to beat.

I am ecstatic to report that, other than the worthless under-the-radar Susie, I like every person in the final five.

  • Kenny, despite being a rat (or a snake depending on how you view Sue Hawk’s famous debut-season analogy replaced with this season), should be commended for lasting so long and for putting so many great plans into motion, even if they didn’t all work..
  • Matty has done very little feather-ruffling and yet has still risen as the good guy to beat. And his recent proposal to his girlfriend didn’t hurt, either.
  • Bob is a brilliant strategist and a surprisingly good challenge player. He is also probably the most likeable and noble Survivor player in seasons, and for once I’d like to see that rewarded.
  • Sugar is the best out-in-the-open player, using her brains to get her by. She’s flipped tribes so many times that she has no real enemies anymore, helped by her entirely genuine and genial nature. Unfortunately, she will suffer the wrath of being hated by the jury (especially terrible human beings Randy and Corrine) for getting them voted out and will not receive the rightful votes for her incredible gameplay. It happens almost every year, and it will continue to bother me until the end of time. Jury, you’re voting for somebody who outwitted, outplayed and outlasted you. Grudges are worthless and petty.

Sunday is the two-hour finale. Go Sugar and Bob, fools!

The Husband:

So here’s a small open note to Corrine, now that she has joined the land of the jury:

You can take your holier-than-thou, smarter-than-thou person-hating attitude that you love so much and shove it up your ass.

Shes in pharm sales. Did we expect her to be any less than a dickmeat?

She's in pharm sales. Did we expect her to be any less than a dickmeat?

Too much? I don’t think so. She was a hateful wench who liked nothing more than to take down and talk down others behind their backs, proclaiming that she was the only one worthy off attention and success, thinking her plans were successful when they were anything but. When she tried to convince Sugar to vote along with them and was so certain that Sugar was so dumb that she would have no other choice, Sugar turned around and voted the other way just to prove a point. This week, she was certain that by simply talking to people — putting on her wildly obvious fake respectful voice for others — and convince them that Bob, a week after tricking his ally Randy into using a fake immunity idol, had an actual immunity idol (also fake) that she was going to be using and that as a result, all her enemies should therefore vote against themselves.

Sounds a bit complicated and extremely far-fetched, right? Well, it didn’t work, and there was no way it was going to work. Basically, Corrine thought that sending Kenny and Crystal a veiled threat with her holding of a real (see: not real) immunity idol that the two of them would automatically vote for whoever Corrine wanted, when in reality Kenny is smart enough to notice that the plan had one very big flaw. Of course all of Corrine’s enemies would want to flush out the idol, real or fake, and that telling them that only made them want to vote for Corrine more. She was a goner no matter what would have happened.

Corrine, you don’t hate people because they’re hate-worthy people. You hate them because you’re a misanthropic asshole. Your cynicism is entirely of your own making, and all you’re doing is making the world a worse place. You are not better than any of these people as a person (save for Randy) and have done nothing to prove otherwise. Life is too short for people like you, and I think you need to take a hard look at yourself and realize that you are the problem and they are not. Perhaps they’d be more respectful of you (as you demand) if you weren’t so quick to disrespect them. You were a bad, poorly manufactured villain whose sole presence on the show was to be a catalyst for others to do actual good on the show and good in the world.

And no, I don’t think Sugar was mean. Ever. Every time she may have said something off-color — comments not even close to the depths of assness that Corrine went — it was only as reaction to somebody else being horrible. That’s how emotions work. They are cause-and-effect. They are not created out of nothing. You take pride in your pessimism, which is just a sign of being a bad human being.

Corrine: Dumb. Mean. Egotistical. That’s not my idea of a Survivor contestant.

On the bright side, how great was it to see Matty propose to his girlfriend during the Hey, Our Family Members Are Here! section of the show? He was so loopy that he didn’t even realize that she kept on saying yes. The proposal necklace he had created at the camp was an extra-nice touch.

A proposal from Matty that could not be refused.

A proposal from Matty that could not be refused.

On the topic of who is left, I still say that despite a few remaining enemies (who could easily be swayed by his good nature) Bob could very well go all the way. People think that he’ll only last if he wins every immunity challenge, but I think he’s found a good ally in Sugar, who has the power to slyly imply her own will and make it seem like others came up with it. Kenny is also playing a smart game, but I think Matty is going to turn on him after Kenny made the dumb decision to allow he and Crystal split their votes on Thursday between Corrine and Matty, just to hedge their bets. (Whoops! It wouldn’t have mattered.)

But if Crystal goes all the way, I’m going to throw a fit. Worst Olympian ever.

The Husband:

Sugar the Pin-Up Model is playing a very dangerous game, but it’s also an extremely entertaining one. While the smartest guy left in the group, Kenny, is still stuck on Crystal merely because of a pesky little thing called loyalty (*sheesh*), she’s making the bold moves that could make her for the long run but perhaps break her in the final five.

So, what has she done in the last two episodes? In the first, she was apparently “roped into” Corrine’s plan, post-merge, to have everyone they can gang up on Crystal and get her voted out (good choice, since she’s a worthless player) as Sugar has easily slid back-and-forth between alliances (which are constantly crumbling, sometimes at her own behest). Corrine knows that they have Sugar on their side, so what does Sugar do? She votes out Corrine’s ally Charlie, basically raising a big middle finger in her direction and calmly saying, “Eat my shit.”

Clearly, shes chaming them all with her whiles.

Clearly, she's chaming them all with her wiles.

I always appreciate a player who allows others to underestimate them all the way until their own eviction from the island or whatever location they’re in. It’s not balls-to-the-wall gameplay which has gotten many former contestants in trouble (in the last several seasons, in fact, they’re usually in the first six to go home), nor is it coming in under the radar (which I have never approved of on any show). Sugar is doing it very well, having others think she’s naïve and stupid and gullible when she’s playing her own game, relying on anyone when necessary.

Let’s move onto the second episode, where Asshole Randy becomes Mega Asshole Randy, and so Sugar helps put into motion one of the best things to ever happen on Survivor. Bob, a former enemy, was sent to Exile “Island” last episode, where upon not finding the hidden immunity idol (which Sugar still has) decides to create his own idol. However, unlike Ozzy’s fake idol last season which was just a piece of wood with a face carved into it, Bob used some brilliant arts-and-crafts skills to create something that technically looks nothing like the real idol but could convince anyone (who hasn’t seen the real idol) that it is the real deal. Good call, Bob.

So Sugar knows that the “good” side of the tribe (as opposed to the “evil” side) is adamant in getting Mega Asshole Randy out – despite initially wanting to eliminate a stronger player like Corrine before him – as he has become a psycho hell bent on driving the tribe nuts. She and Bob (remember, still not technically allies) come up with a plan where Bob will give Mega Asshole Randy the fake idol before tribal council, lifting up their hopes and making them think they have the upper hand, only to pull the rug out from underneath them.

And oh, does the plan ever work. Seeing Mega Asshole Randy’s face drop as Jeff Probst throws the idol into the fire, declaring it fake, whilst his enemies chuckle at their deceit (honestly, I could have done without the laughing, but as even the jury starting giggling, it makes perfect sense), was in the top 10 Survivor moments of all time.

Now, what Sugar needs to do is to keep a close eye on Bob and even perchance stick with him as long as she can, because while she will in no way under any circumstances get Mega Asshole Randy’s vote for the win (if she makes it to the end), her friendship with Bob could patch up the chasm between the “good” and the “evil.” (It’s going to be tough getting Corrine to vote for her, though, but that will come when it comes.)

And hell, even if Bob goes away next week, it’ll be because of his involvement in the idol prank, taking most of the heat off Sugar anyway.

You’re making some enemies, Sugar, but who could resist that sweet smile? That smile might net you one million dollars.

The Husband:

Why why why why why why why why why why can’t anybody on this show seem to get rid of Crystal? This former Olympian and gold medalist has been doing what some online commenters would refer to as “sandbagging,” but at this point it’s clear that this woman – let’s reiterate, who has a gold medal in track & field – is not intentionally failing at anything. She really is that much of a failure. She sucks hard at physical challenges (she lasted exactly two seconds in the Balance Sticks On The Backs Of Your Hands challenge), she openly bitches about living conditions (hey, why don’t you do something about that?) and her gameplay is so transparent and openly vicious that I can’t believe the otherwise awesome Kenny hasn’t simply turned around, took a good, hard look at his biggest ally and simply said, “Fuck this shit. It’s totally not worth it.” Even Yau-Man, that tiny Asian man, was stronger in physical challenges.

Below is an embedded video of an uncut Crystal interview from a recent episode. Aren’t successful Olympians supposed to be, you know, strong of will and pure of heart?

Imagine what would have happened in 2004 had she only received a silver medal. She probably would have exploded.

Since the assumed merge this week wasn’t actually a merge – thank god this time nobody pulled a Shii-Ann and made friends with her allies’ enemies, only to be voted off by her own friends – you’d think that pretty much everyone would see that Crystal is nothing but trouble, and that her continued existence will only serve in destroying whichever tribe she is on at any given time. Even if the contestants are having her stick around so when the merge really does happen she will fail at every individual immunity challenge and therefore not pose a physical threat, her crazy will undoubtedly rub off on somebody else. It’s only a matter of time.

The woman is a tornado of destruction.

Hurricane Crystal, coming to an African paradise near you.

Hurricane Crystal, coming to an African paradise near you.

And I’m definitely not the only one who thinks so. Here’s a text message conversation (edited for time as a day went by between the first and second text) with my very own Survivor­-watching sister.

Sister: Crystal: worst olympian ever.
Indeed. Worst olympian ever. I couldn’t even focus on the rest of the challenge.
For real. And Susie is a dumbass.
I don’t get Susie at all. She’s friggin’ psycho.

Yes, how psycho is this Susie? She nearly buries herself last week when she tells Corrine that she will without question vote her off that night, and then votes for somebody completely different and receives nearly enough votes to be ejected from the island for no reason other than she’s bugfuck crazy.

Or, as contestant Marcus would put it – I write “contestant” because, well, it always feels weird to write my own name down – Susie is “in the middle spinning around in circles playing dizzy bat.”

Best. Description. Ever.

And when did Randy become everybody’s abusive, alcoholic father figure? The man is going to kill somebody if they’re not careful and laugh out of place. (WTF was that about?)

The Husband:

If you can’t manipulate others into doing what you want, you might as well do it yourself. Or, more specifically, if others can’t even figure out their plan on their own, you might as well give them a big ol’ push. The first great blindside of the season has finally occurred, and who was at the helm of this deathship but everybody’s favorite pin-up model Sugar. Since the remainder of Fang simply couldn’t follow through with their previous plan – to decimate the Jacquie/Ace/Sugar alliance one-by-one – Sugar had to actually jump in, mix things up and get rid of her decidedly snakelike ally Ace. She looked into the future and saw that once the merge happened he would be no help to her, so she made good with the rest of the Fang tribe in order to keep some people on her side in the coming weeks.

Sugar, a girl who knows whats good for her.

Sugar, a girl who knows what's good for her.

Basically, we have another week of the weak, whiney gold medal winner Crystal bitching about everything and knocking over rice, but it might be smart of Sugar to sic this woman, who is still losing her damned mind, on the opposing tribe post-merge in order to get some of the focus off of her. Sugar is playing a smart game – which is appropriate, since upon being sent to Exile Island for the fifth time in a row she has had plenty of time to be alone with her thoughts – and I couldn’t help but cheer that when Ace began to feel all eyes on him and once again asked Sugar to lend him her hidden immunity idol for the tribal council, she completely shot him down, telling him that he was crazy.

Sugar possesses a quality that I very much like in reality show contestants – even when faced with very difficult obstacles and under the most high-pressure circumstances, she still has a goofy smile on her face, as if to state the entirely true understanding that this is all a game. Sure, she’ll have to crack a few more eggs, but she is going to do it with gusto and optimism, and I doubt that very much will sour this characteristic during the remainder of her stay in Gabon.

Ah, the great Survivor tradition of playing keep away continues.

Ah, the great Survivor tradition of playing keep away continues.

This week, after playing rounds of Play A Big Game Of Monkey In The Middle With A Gigantic Breakable Gumball and then later the first individual immunity challenge of That Log-Rolling Competition Nonsense You See Late At Night On One Of The Lesser ESPN Networks, we had our first double-elimination (both tribes had to vote somebody off no matter what). You already know what happened with Fang – as in blindsiding Ace and voting him off – Kota tribe made the completely bizarre decision to keep their weakest (and more boring) tribe member, Susie, for no reason other than to spite the eventual ousted contestant Dan, who to me only seems a threat as he looks like another contestant. His strength in the challenges? Nah, that doesn’t matter. I guess Kota wants to know what it feels like to actually lose again.

And on this week’s Survivor Blurred Theatre, we got the first (or first in a long time) blurring of a written tribal council vote when Sugar wrote “Ace-****” on her bit of parchment. I can only assume this originally said “Ace-Hole,” which is hilarious. Why didn’t I think of that when I was wishing and hoping and praying that Ace Young got voted off of American Idol so many seasons ago? (You know, like how David Archuleta was derisively referred to as Monchhichi.)

The Husband:
The Fang tribe may not have the worst loss record in Survivor history — that would be Survivor: Palau, in which the Ulong tribe was so terrible that it lost every single immunity challenge and its final two members, Stephanie and Bobby Jon, were asked back for the next season in Guatemala because, well, it was hard for them to play the actual game — but they are certainly acting pretty fucking stupid.
My issue is that even when setting up a fairly good plan to get rid of a power trio — in this case, Jacquie/Sugar/Ace — they couldn’t even get down and actually ride the plan out. After getting rid of Jacquie, they should have, by their design, gotten rid of Sugar and then put the hidden immunity idol back into play, since she would have been too blindsided to use it.
But no, they have to honor GC’s wishes last week and vote him off per his request. That’s okay. But this week they should have had no other choice, knowing for a fact that Sugar has the hidden immunity idol. (I like that, upon being sent to Exile Island for the fourth time in a row, Sugar’s spirits were finally broken, not out of grief but out of guilt that she gets to eat all the fruit at the “island” and all her tribemates back at camp are subsisting on a few measly scoops of rice a day.) At both the reward and the immunity challenge, Ace bites off more than he can chew, and in neither Run Around A Circle With A Wooden Snake And Catch Up With The Other Team nor Find Pieces Of A Flag And Put It Together does he redeem himself with anybody. It was especially during the immunity challenge that he shuns the rest of his tribemates and tries to put the flag together all by his lonesome.
Its a rain dance, I think.

It's a rain dance, I think.

That should be enough. That should be more than enough. You basically lost the challenge because of him. Bye bye, Ace. Ah, but Matty and Ace made a mutual promise not to vote for the other, swearing on respective loved ones, for no real reason. Come on, Matty. Your girlfriend will forgive you for swearing on her name and then breaking it. This is Survivor, dammit. Outwit that mofo.

Hell, this is even after Sugar talks Ace into returning to her the hidden immunity idol that she found — after she handed it over to him for safekeeping — leaving him wide open for an attack. Even if Matty wasn’t going to vote along with the majority, it would still have been enough to separate Ace and Sugar together. Now Ace/Sugar have been around long enough to rope in somebody else, the awesome video game champion Ken, and somehow get him and the rest of the tribe to vote out Kelly, one of their own.

What? Fail. Just…fail.

If they lose next week, I predict they will have completely forgotten about their “master plan” and vote out Crystal, the Olympic gold medalist (who they don’t know is a gold medalist) who, now that she can no longer stick to a regimented diet, is quickly losing her damn mind.

The merge can’t happen soon enough. This is just getting sad.

Its sad for us, too, yo. Sad for us, too.

It's sad for us, too, yo. Sad for us, too.

Catching up quickly with Survivor…

The Husband:

Quick thoughts on the last two episodes:

1. That elephant sighting was probably the only exciting thing to happen so far this season. Not only have the contestants been a little lackluster so far and possessing some fairly faulty strategies, I think there has been some extremely dumb decisions that lead to ho-hum television. It was far more interesting seeing that elephant basically freak out when approached by a bevy of American reality show contestants, preening and knocking down trees as if to say, “Get that motherfucking camera out of my face! I’m having a really bad goddamn day! Fuck off!”

2. Now that Sugar has been sent to Exile Island for the third time in a row — as a competing contestant joked as to why: “No strategy. Purely comedy” — I dig that she has dubbed it the Sugar Shack, and since she already found the hidden immunity idol, that she’s living it up, eating some fruit and tanning.

3. The new tribes are about as arbitrarily picked as the original tribes, so I really have very little to say about them.

4. Fang was right to vote out Jacquie in the third episode, thus attempting to take apart the Jacquie-Ace-Sugar alliance. So far it’s the only one that appeared to have any resilience, and since Ace is kind of a creep anyway, I’d suggest for Sugar to find some new allies.

Really, Sugar? You alligned with this guy? Really?

Really, Sugar? You alligned with this guy? Really?

5. Randy is a psycho. Pure and simple. There’s something very wrong with that fellow. I edited wedding videos for a mere six weeks and nearly lost my mind doing it, so the fact that he’s been shooting them for a couple decades now would have me believe that he is just barely holding onto the last strands of his sanity, if any exist anymore at all.

6. GC is a pussy. Quitting the show in any way gets no sympathy from me, and only tells me that you were completely ignorant of how Survivor really works. This is the show’s 17th season, so you have no excuse. Asked why he was asking to be voted out, he explained that growing up he had to deal with a lot of suffering, and as far as this show was concerned, “I’m kinda done suffering.” Whatever. Goodbye.

7. When Fang rooted through Sugar’s bag and found the hidden immunity idol, I’m sure we all thought she was completely done for. There was no way that she was going to play it against their presumed tribal council blindside against her, even though Probst basically told her in as many words that they already found out her secret. It was very dumb to vote off GC despite his desire to quit, because they could have easily talked him into playing better at the challenges and gotten rid of the alliance they were so intent on destroying only an episode earlier, and thus put the idol back into play. Watch out, Sugar. You can’t be that lucky a second time.

Most intense game of jai lai. Ever.

Most intense game of jai alai. Ever.

8. The Throw The Fruit Over The Goal Without Having It Destroyed By Swinging Clubs challenge looked like a whole lotta fun. They should add that to the Survivor attraction at Great America, along with some of the better small challenges. It’d get me to buy a season pass to that amusement park again after about ten years of not having one.