Soooo…. that was crazy.
After twenty four seasons, Survivor still manages to shock and surprise us, which is really a testament to the human condition more than anything else. On last night’s episode of Survivor: One World, one tribe did something so silly, so unnecessary, and so ludicrous that it can only be viewed as an exemplary instance of groupthink gone massively wrong. Then again, isn’t that what always happens with groupthink?
Stop now if you haven’t watched the episode. Otherwise, proceed!
The big news on this week’s episode was that the men, after having won immunity, voluntarily gave it to the women so that they could purge themselves of a player. We’ve seen tribes throw challenges (often leading to a precipitous downfall down the road), but never have we seen a team actually win and then give away its idol. The backstory leading up to this is actually quite fascinating and interesting look at social psychology at work.
Somewhere along the way in this brilliant season, pesky little Colton went from being the ultimate outsider to the all-powerful queen on the men’s tribe. This was thanks in part to the Immunity Idol that Sabrina gave him a few episodes ago. Armed with this powerful trinket, Colton was able to form an alliance with the non-He-Men (a.k.a. Troyzan, Tarzaan, the sushi chef, and Leif). The group rose to power last week with the ouster of cocky Matt (and the bullying of pretty country boy Jay). This week, Colton full on became a despot, calling all the shots on his tribe without a single person questioning him. When Leif casually informed Bill that he’d be the next to go, word got back to Colton (thanks to a sneaky play by Mike), and soon the craziness began.
Colton harangued his diminutive teammate, first promising clemency should Leif ‘fess up to his sins, and then tossing him out of the alliance once Leif did in fact ‘fess up to said sins. For some reason, Leif just stood there and accepted his fate, hardly blanching at the obnoxious way Colton then treated him. Enter Tarzaan — a likably but dim older guy who has a thing about loyalty and integrity and lofty ideals. When he found out Leif had been disloyal, he happily joined Colton’s side, which meant there was a critical mass of two who were anti-Leif. And because sushi chef Jonas and photographer Troyzan were too weak or cowardly to make waves, they simply fell in line. Same went for Jay, who dissented but was alas in no position to truly make a stand.
Well, Leif was on the outs, but it seemed like a moot issue after the guys easily destroyed the women at the Immunity Challenge. This was a bit of amusing payback against Alicia, who made a stupid stink about being awesome at puzzles (and then proceeded to lose the challenge for the women by being unable to figure out a simple puzzle). Anyway, with immunity over, the tribes returned to their beach where Bill attempted to mend fences with Colton.
Colton, however, was not going to have any of it. He had already decided that he hated Bill, hated what he represented, and hated having to talk to him. Probably not a smart stance to take in a social game, but Colton was committed, and no matter what Bill said, he could not make inroads. In fact, Bill annoyed Colton so much that he tromped off to his alliance and jokingly suggested that they give the girls immunity so that they could vote Bill the hell off the tribe. Amazingly, Jonas and the others said “Okay!” because they were too afraid to stick their necks out and say “THIS IS RIDICULOUS” and so sure enough, the guys GAVE UP IMMUNITY and headed to Tribal Council where they would either sack Bill or Leif.
If this weren’t crazy enough, Tribal Council then turned into a strange hashing out of emotions and racial tensions. Admittedly, neither Bill nor Colton really were playing the race card, but watching Colton’s entitled ass totally dismiss Bill because of his career, his financial station, and his perceived education was remarkable. Also noteworthy was Colton claiming that his “country club people” were more educated and therefore more open than the rednecks with the Confederate flag waving about. I’ll admit that country club people probably are more educated, but I wouldn’t necessarily bet on “open.” And of course the sweet irony is that while Colton loves to identify himself as Republican, so do those people waving the Confederate Flag. The point is that this kid may need to do more critical thinking about himself, his identity, and the way he perceives others.
Jeff tried to provoke some introspection by asking who in Colton’s life was black, and the kid laughed that his maid was black. It was uncomfortable. And then suddenly Tarzaan spoke up and launched into some speech about race and judging people based on behavior and actions, not the color of their skin.
In short, it was all totally bonkers.
Ultimately, Bill was kicked off the tribe, which wasn’t totally surprising. I would have liked him to have campaigned more, but I don’t think he was as concerned with strategy as he was with talking about how awesome things are, brah.
Next week we’ll see the fallout of this voluntary Tribal Council. Will this send the men into a freefall? Will there even be a men vs. women anymore? Or are we about to face a switcheroo? All I know is that I love this show.
“Oh my God. I hate coconuts. I don’t even want to TOUCH this coconut. Ew. Get out of my face. This coconut needs to GO.”
“Ugh. Oh my God. This is so stupid. I just want to sit and never touch a slingshot ever AGAIN. Ew.”
“UGH. I don’t want this slingshot to look at me, to speak to me, or to even THINK about me. It’s just obnoxious, and I hate obnoxious slingshots. Over it.”
“You know, I think that kid Colton really digs me. I love new friends.”
“UGH. These ferns have to get out of the way. Where the red fern grows? How about away from here, and out of sight? I’m so over vegetation.”
“I like Swiss cheese.”
“Hey, you know what’s cool?”
“It’s official. I’m on a tribe of idiots.”
“UGH. Unless you can recite six Madonna songs in alphabetical order right now, I am NOT talking to you.”
“Uhhhhhh… who’s Madonna?”
“Leif, I want you to be honest with me because you’ve already PISSED me off. Tell me if you told Bill he was next, and then I will spare you.”
“Okay. I told Bill he was next.”
“UGH. I’m so over you Leif. Now you’re next off.”
“You said you would spare me.”
“UGH. I am SO over logic.”
“Does anyone else have that Kelly Clarkson song stuck in their heads?”
“Now I know you’re not calling me stupid because I am very intelligent. I placed out of fourth grade math.”
“Yeah. It was my biggest accomplishment of last year.”
“Let me tell you something: I am as good as puzzles as this bikini top is classy, okay?”
Colton: “Oh my God. Look at Alicia’s top. She looks like a rejected Pussycat Doll from the Bronx. But less classy.”
“Okay guys, here’s your Immunity Idol. I’m sure you won’t do anything silly with it like give it to the girls for no good reason. Hahahaha.”
“Yay! Immunity! There’s no way we’re going to Tribal Council tonight! No way at all!”
“EW. I hate salutations. Just get out of my face. I never want to hear you speak again.”
“I just said hi.”
“UGGGGGGH what is wrong with you? Why can’t you poors do something other than sit around and say hello?”
“That makes no sense.”
“Honestly, I need you to leave me alone before I freak out on you.”
“And then what?”
“EW. Is a poor really questioning me?”
“Please stop referring to me as a poor.”
“It’s what you are, isn’t it? Ugh. I hate handouts, and I hate you.”
“Someday someone is going to beat you up.”
“Now that’s hot.”
“Ew. Bill. Leave me alone. I am trying to fantasize about Mitt Romney, okay?”
Colton: “Ugh. I am so over Bill and Leif. I want that black and that midget to go home. Let’s forfeit our immunity and send them home.”
“Um, that’s a ridiculous idea.”
“Great! I’m on board!”
“No amount of twang could make this decision sit well with me.”
Alicia: “Hey, girls, I was thinking of wearing this bikini top to the live finale in May. I could pull it off on account of its classiness, yeah?”
Alicia: “I don’t know about yous, but I’m thinking after this show ends, there might be a slot for me on the cover of French Vogue.”
“Wait a second… didn’t the guys win immunity? I’m so confused. I knew I shouldn’t have smoked leaves from that coconut shell.”
“This is a joke, right? Or are you guys just the biggest idiots of all time?”
“I’m over this. Let’s vote and go home. Get into it.”
“Jeff, I’ll have you know there are a lot of black people in my life. Like, I totally saw The Help; so that counts. Oh, and we have a maid! And she’s black! And she’s practically part of the family. She’s like my big sister who always cleans up after me and only talks if we ask her questions, which is never because we don’t talk to maids.”
“Ugh, I hate that silly black maid. She’s always ‘Kanye West this’ and ‘Martin Luther King that.'”
“Gurl, can we get on with this voting process? I am OVER this waiting.”
“Did Bill leave? I wasn’t paying attention. I am so over him. He’s almost as bad as that maid. I don’t even remember her name. Oprah Mandela or something. UGH. I don’t care. Can we go?”
What did you think about this crazy episode? Was this the stupidest move ever? Will the men be able to recover? And what do you think about Colton? Great villain? Vile brat? Or both?