b) Survivor Tocantins: Final 5, becoming 4
First, I'd just like to share the Entertainment Weekly summary, which may explain why I can't stop and am likely to continue saying random things in Coach-speak: He's been attacked by Peruvian dwarves, learned ancient meditation techniques that cannot be Googled, and slayed imaginary dragons...WITH HIS EYES! He is Coach, quite possibly the most delightfully deluded contestant in Survivor history. ... For other finale fun, drink every time Coach says the word "warrior." Then dial 911.
Do they still put this show on DVD? Because I think I'd probably buy this season, that's how great at least half of it was.
Okay, confession time: *grimaces* A few nights ago, I may have had a dream in which I essentially wrote the plot of a historical romance novel, circa 1803, featuring Coach as a slightly crazy French-Canadian fur trapper who'd recently decided to rejoin society after 20 years of voluntarily living with the Indians. To my brain's credit, it cast his love interest as a tough-talking, middle-aged and work-roughened woman rather than some impressionable young 18-year-old, but it was still gross and I felt unclean upon waking up.
God, I can't believe I just admitted that in a public format. Blech. Blech. SUBCONSCIOUS! I'm not saying we need to have dreams based on reality shows at all, because frankly it's disturbing, but if you're going to...who have we been talking about all season? How the hell did you cross your wires that badly?
That being said: HALLELUJAH COACH IS GONE, IT IS A MIRACLE! WE ARE GOING TO HAVE TWO WHOLE ALMOST COACH-FREE HOURS! We even got 71 hours to savor this sweetness! I do not think you can comprehend my happiness, after biting my nails all hour that I was going to lose my newly-beloved Erinn undeservingly early, that
"This guy is such a drama queen! Any 37 year-old- man who thinks he's a dragon slayer needs to be in a mental instituttion."
And that being said...I spent half the damn episode feeling legitimately sorry for him.
I know! What is that! Even though both his fellow contestants and the whole internet kept saying he didn't appear to be suffering at all, and that rumors of his pains and grievances were greatly exaggerated in melodramatic ways, all that does is remove my uneasiness over said mockery. It does nothing at all to deaden my sudden feelings of sympathy
"Oh my God, man. Are you okay? You did awesome. ... You did an incredible job."
"Don't stand up if you can't yet."
Seriously, though. No matter how many times I watch it, I can't help cringing when Coach falls out of the immunity challenge. I'm overwhelmed with an immense amount of pity by how defeated he looks...I mean, he's created an entire persona of believing himself to be invincible, and then the minute it gets put to the test he flops in an extremely public way. It's almost depressing, like watching a brain-damaged person try to grasp things they know they used to know. Even though I fully agree with Taj's statement that "had he won, 'The Warrior' would have been back!", it's very easy to be swayed by what I actually see. Curled up in a ball! Shaky voice!
It doesn't help that while I remain legitimately skeptical about the severity of his asthma (apparently, after a month of living out here, the last day days of breathing in campfire smoke just did him in! The exact phrase he uses is "scarred my lungs"), he looks like the kind of person who really would have trouble with his back, if not to the extent of having slipped discs that defy ordinary human anatomy. And he really has lost a ridiculous amount of weight out here, so the gaunt look isn't helping matters re: my unparalleled sympathy.
Of course, then I rewind a bit and watch him on Exile Island, and that brings the howling laughter right back. "I could stay out here a week without food; it would only make me a better person." Because he's taking the monastic approach. Coach needs no fire, Coach needs no food! The fact that he doesn't know how to procure either of those things HAS NOT INFLUENCED HIS DECISION AT ALL. A sampling of other quotes:
"Is it because I'm speaking such truth that no one can deny it?" Totally.
"Coach Wade's body might be failing him in many ways, but Coach Wade still has what it takes." Martyr approach in full swing!
The best part is "My ancestors used to go out into the wilderness for 48 hours, and they would commune with the Creator of the universe. And they would become men." And then the dramatic, inspirational music comes to a crashing halt as he thinks about that and backtracks "Well, I'm already a man, so this will just make me...more of a man." Followed by more yoga-warrior poses, prayer and serenity, etc. Oh, and an improvised cane/walking stick.
*laughs until she cries, beating fists and heels against the floor while struggling to catch a breath*
Man, this is getting long. I should split into categories now.
-HAHA, this is so easy it should be illegal. Coach: "They mounted a counterattack against Debbie to save me." JT: "We thought if we told you you wouldn't believe us." And with that, Coach basks in the love and warmth of his tribe mates, in no way seeing how the last remaining member of his original alliance being voted out from under him should be taken as a warning at all.
-Credits are back. :)
-Aw, JT. I love you being all chivalrous and non-commital as Coach awkwardly begs for mercy without actually admitting as much. "I hate to send them girls over and over again." Sir, although Stephen might have me believin' I don't always have to be alone*, I'm going to keep you in mind.
* = running this joke into the ground, I am determined to do it
Speaking of which - LMAO, I like to believe Stephen couldn't run to a camera fast enough to get his feelings about this conversation out. "Oh, God. JT and I are eager to send Coach to Exile. He has been so skittish about it, he has been selling out everyone, trying to get them to go to Exile before him."
I liked this part of the episode, when everyone was still keen to send Coach home without question.
Giant maze spelling out "SURVIVOR" from above. Not subtle at all. But amusing nonetheless. And more importantly, sandbag swinging! I wish we'd seen more of that. :( Mazes aren't nearly as interesting, not even when Stephen & the girls form their own little duckling line and deliberately go through it together. I love this season and its big ol' family dynamics! (unfortunately complete with Crazy Uncle Coach)
JT, see previous sentiments. "Let's be noble, Coach...we're the only two who haven't been [to Exile]." I will never get tired of how he verbally coddles Coach even while smirking behind his outward sincerity.
But oh, I wish Erinn hadn't shot her mouth off for no reason, hitting herself in the foot. ERINN. I understand you're frustrated - we are all frustrated! - but couldn't you have waited until you got back to camp? Told a camera guy? Even let it out at Tribal, after he'd actually done it? I applaud everything she said, just as I applaud Taj's gratuitous eye-rolling at Coach's responses because she agreed with Erinn 500%, but...this was just a bad idea. You could see this bad idea coming from a mile away, and yet you couldn't stop it.
Love the gals' bonding back at camp, though. Taj/Erinn alliance FTW! And it was nice to see Erinn start regretting it almost immediately, even with no other company but the extremely supportive Taj, admitting "It was not an appropriate venue."
Still. Erinn? "As far as you can" is literally 4th place. I mean, unless you want to actively push Stephen into turning on JT. In which case even if you got to the final 2, you still aren't winning. That's the problem with being in Erinn's position...she managed to clamp on to powerful allies and make it through by the skin of her teeth, but now everyone on the jury either specifically dislikes her, or just won't have any reason to vote for her over the opponent. She's likable, but not enough.
I love how nobody (except possibly Coach) even hoped JT would pick them for this reward - they all knew he was taking Stephen, but I really love Taj's attitude towards it. "Which is fine; the boys can go out and have fun" she says, and she obviously really doesn't mind. BIG OL' FAMILY DYNAMICS, I tell you!
And yes, the boys club was just as adorable as it sounds, not least seeing their utter shock as they got a glimpse of themselves in the mirror for the first time in a month. "OH MY GOD, this is what I look like!"
Although, per usual, I could have done without the camera peeking in the shower, mostly-appropriate line of sight or not. Why do they persist in using such scenes every year? Weird quirk of mine: I am actually okay with not watching people wash themselves! Or person, in this case, as they at least limited themselves to JT.
Or it was until they started talking about Erinn, and that was...sad for me, since I'm still flailing over the sweater episode, to hear Stephen flay her with comments like "When Erinn went to Exile, we were all comforting. There was no reason to rub salt in his wounds." I mean, I get where Mr. Man of a Thousand Apologies is coming from, but at the same time... STEVE. You remember how insufferable Coach is, right? And how a little verbal tongue-lashing probably won't scar him for life?
Ugh, I hate the arm-bracing challenges where your feet are stuck on tiny pegs. It's always a super-hot day, and there are always way-too-exteme closeups of their feet, and it's really unpleasant viewing. Although the fact that JT wins is nice; I love how the immunity is getting spread around this season and nobody's gone on a run. But before that...
"Just how you wanted it, isn't it, Coach?" Jeff asks. Coach nods because it's not like he can admit otherwise, and I get my last moment of helpless laughter before the Breaky Voice of Pain gets to me. The endless ways in which Jeff can toy with him are sheer gold.
(You know what, just imagine I'm Taj. Massaging his back and gently urging him up one moment, then rolling her eyes as soon as he "bravely" refuses Medical because "no one is taking me out of this game." Also, at one point, she actually crossed her eyes while listening to Coach regale us with tales of his Exile experience. HAH)
Now let's pretend that Stephen didn't just actually call him the Dragon Slayer in a confessional, and then fear that he was a strong competitor. *pause* On second thought, yes. Let's let him keep believing that; whatever gets Coach out faster.
Reiterated: The brief period of time where it seemed like Erinn was going home for, per usual, the unforgivable crime of Daring To Speak Out Against Coach. "WHY? I DO NOT UNDERSTAND WHY EVERYONE WHO ACTIVELY TRIES TO GET COACH OUT IS SPEARED THROUGH THE HEART. It's like he is surrounded by this protective force. It's like he freaking IS an immunity idol, votes deflecting off him and bouncing towards you. MAKE IT STOP."
Stephen: I was really pissed off. Like, when she went to Exile, we were all patting her on the back, we weren't trying to kick her [when she was down]! I just thought it was so tasteless and classless.
Let's all join hands and firmly believe he only went to this degree of vitriol for Coach's benefit.
I...can't deal with Coach calling himself the Last of the Mohicans. I really can't.
-Holy crap, Debbie cleans up nice. She looked good before, but she's really rather pretty with her hair all done and sporting some pretty jewelry.
-Um, this is my favorite jury ever. Sierra, continuing to be far more likable after being booted than she ever was at camp, is howling with silent laughter much like any audience member. Even Debbie is getting her ridicule on, joining in the group consensus to pantomime falling asleep in boredom when Coach keeps talking and talking.
-When Erinn got her second vote, I was so sure they were taunting me again and about to send her packing. I was railing and spitting and cursing Stephen every which way I could think of, since it all rested on him (JT was a lost cause; as of the river scene he'd clearly gone to the dark side with a swig of Coach Kool-Aid) and was therefore ALL HIS FAULT.
And then...yes! Yes! OH GOD, YES. (Also: Awww for the big puppy eyes of silent remorse, even if Coach chooses that moment to get all self-aware and decide he's been betrayed and Stephen is evil/probably now unworthy of the million).
-Gratuitous picture to make myself feel better about suffering through this segment for the second time:
Relatedly, I feel like the remainder of the series should be shot by firelight. It's very flattering.
-The jury should also probably be grateful that they got to have as pleasant a time at Ponderosa as they did. (Especially Brendan. He's like the king of Ponderosa camp, and I no longer feel bad about his early boot at all. Not unlike Sierra, he's much more fun to watch there)
For the Finale
Yeahh...I really don't care how it goes down; I'm going to be simultaneously happy and crushed no matter what order the last votes go in, because I really love all of them and just want them all to win a million together. This is the best final 4 since Aitu, and it's still better because even then I wasn't that fond of Sundra. But now I love everybody!
Still. I've never gone into a finale flying on such a high! And is it bad if a devious little part of me is excited to see JT and Stephen turn on each other? That could be fun. Season's over, so is my investment; it's no holds barred and go for broke.
Voice: Try to throw in a few more random and nonsensical phrases, why don't you.
I just wish CBS would quit playing the promo every 5 minutes. I don't even know how it's possible to overpromote in 2 days, but they did it.
Bonus Clips (The CBS channel on YouTube is my new best friend)
This, right here, justifies all of my Erinn love. "I don't want to say, 'Are you people idiots,' but...ARE YOU PEOPLE IDIOTS?! I am literally sleeping with the enemy! I sleep in the Jalapao ghetto at the end of the bed, and no one's figured it out." Maybe a bit cocky about assuming she'll be in the final 2 - hon, there's outlasting Timbira, "suckiest tribe to ever suck," and there's worming your way past the core alliance - but still, her attitude is the greatest. We could be friends.
Stephen's speech!! "The white wizard, overcome with ambition and greed, turns to the dark arts and becomes the black wizard, who zaps the evil dragonslayer back home."
And then somehow, I lost my respect for him again. "I really like Coach; he's a really cool guy, very sincere. He has his foibles, but so do we all..." I am not giving you credit for using "foibles" in everyday speech, because NO. NONE OF US HAVE ANYTHING LIKE COACH'S LEVEL OF INSANITY.
Voice: *chokes on drink* Says the girl who...you know what, just look at yourself, maybe scroll up to reread this post and/or the last 15 or so other posts tagged "Survivor." And/or see about editing this post a little before you hit "submit."
RS: Nah. I'm comfortable with my very specific brand of fangirl crazy; it's a temporary condition.
V: ...I'm trying to come up with an appropriate quote from Coach with which to mock you, but I think you already used them all.
RS: *jaunty head tilt* Dragon, slayed.
V: Well aren't we clever tonight.
c) On wrapping CSI, season 9: Oh, yeah. Motorcycle gangs and missing poker chips; boy, you sure know how to deliver a scintillating end of season! *yawn and rolls eyes* I kind of want to call "Hog Heaven" the worst episode of the year (right above the default worst of Lady Heather's), and the finale's maybe 3 steps above that.
And those three steps are only for Cynthia Watros, Ecklie, and Nick's claim that "we need a new Bugman" hence his desire to follow in Grissom's footsteps and hit up an entomology conference, even if he has to pay out of his own pocket. Aww. That almost makes a decent excuse for writing him out of the finale! Plus maybe a fourth step for Brass's hilarious deadpan delivery of "You remember Stumpy and Hole in the Head."
I wish the CBS promo monkeys would get their acts together and stop focusing on things that happen in the last three minutes, or at the very least coordinate with the summary-writers and see to it that they don't negate one another's suspense. I.e. Langston must use deadly force for the first time in his career
Which, how is he allowed to carry a firearm already? Didn't Natalia have to jump through (hilarious) hoops (of fail) in Miami? I assume regulations vary by state, but it still seems rushed. Relatedly, who keeps letting him and Riley go out to scenes alone with only a patrol cop or two to watch their backs? It's not working out very well for them, and I think Catherine should devote some of her (admittedly impressive) attention to paperwork towards investigating/correcting this tomfoolery.
Wow, I did not get very far on my pile o' TV at all.
d) Heehee, I just got a Time Capsule e-mail that I wrote to myself 2 years ago. I had completely forgotten about it! Not a whole lot has changed in my life, though, so it wasn't particularly informative...I should set the next one for 5 years. Still, it made for a fun surprise/diversion. I'm sure I'll save it and stuff it in the no-longer-updated-at-all paper journal somewhere.
e) CBS. Where is Harper's Island? Because it wasn't on TV. You cannot possibly claim that it wasn't living up to your ratings expectations, seeing as it was ON SATURDAY NIGHTS where low numbers are just a given. GIVE IT BACK.