Alternate title 2: "They say that money breaks you, I still wanna see." Which I would have used if I hadn't been holding onto this last lyric for two weeks.
In other news, I've had more than a week to get over my grumpy feelings about the finale. In addition to watching it again online, I have spent entirely too much time on the internet reading message boards, blogs and articles about it, the highlights of which will be scattered throughout as I see fit, and all of them have served to improve vastly my mood.
For now, I get to watch it a third time to try and organize my thoughts about it, because Future Self wants them. And because Current Self is just ridiculously in love with the best final 4/3/2 ever and cannot let them go. As such, I fully anticipate thousands of words to follow. Remember, they are for no one's benefit but my own, so this is allowed.
Post-Tribal #1: "Oh, right, they don't know who betrayed him." Sometimes, by which I mean always, Stephen's eye-rolling sarcasm is hilarious.
Voice: I like long you lasted without mentioning his name. What was it, like, the first two minutes of the night?
"Well, if JT loses immunity, dot dot dot..." - I just like to point out things like this to prove that I am not the only one who speaks the same way they write. Although really, there was a tiny moment where I looked at the pair of them and thought, "Dot dot dot, it would be sort of awesome if they were the final 2!" I think it mostly had something to do with being distracted all the bright colors between his red shorts and her orange shirt, and her skin looking extra vibrant by contrast, since I've had this thought about every possible final-2 combination except JT/Erinn or JT/Taj.
Unrelatedly, Erinn being the Last Timbira Standing will never not make me dance for joy.
Immunity Challenge #1: I so would have screamed if I'd reached in to get tree mail and seen a giant spider shape lurking at the bottom of the basket. I wouldn't even have waited to find out if it was real or fake. I am now 200% more arachnophobic than ever before.
Fortunately, the challenge is much more awesome. It's a giant rope-webbed jungle gym (which happens to be in the shape of a spider, but fortunately you can only tell that in a helicopter), of the type that makes you the most popular kid ever if you hold your birthday party there. Climbing up and down tube arches! Running across a bouncy trampoline-type-thing! I want to play this challenge, even if Jeff does claim that it's apparently designed to take your skin off. (which, good job! Why merely run the risk of injuring your contestants when you can make certain of it?)
Love JT and Taj clashing head-on in one of the legs. Love even more the fact that after a second of panic, JT is able to climb right over her. I keep telling you, big ole family. Doesn't even cross her mind to try and impede his progress (which I realize would also impede hers, but surely catching up to Stephen or Erinn would be easier).
I can't even tell you how fast my heart was beating watching JT and Erinn race puzzle-building...or how much it sucked to watch Erinn lose, like, literally one second behind him.
Pre-Tribal: I still can't figure out how they figured Taj would be a threat to final immunity. Don't the skinny little women tend to do remarkably well in endurance challenges? And she'd certainly have much better balance/coordination in anything else.
My real-time reaction: Actually, it kinda sucks watching Erinn scramble. I had to mute a little bit - HOLY HELL, likable as she is, how would Taj beat him in jury votes?! I need to stop overestimating the hamster in JT's brain.
4th-place finish: Taj. I was going to be sad either way; I've come to like Erinn just a titch more, but Taj was so steadfastly loyal and trusting that part of me did want to see them on Final 3 night. Love Taj sweetly promising that Erinn had her vote if she got that far.
Erinn, "self preserverance" - a term for the Survivor lexicon, perhaps? Defined as the unwavering will to keep oneself afloat?
Also, I really love Sierra trying to find someone to grab hands with and share silent noises of amazement with, but having absolutely no buddies and thus just forcibly glomping onto Debbie. Unless they had a girl-bonding session at Ponderosa that I wasn't aware of. I'm beginning to suspect they did.
Debbie's looking kind of pissed by their decision to shed Taj, though. I firmly expect questions about loyalty re: "You stabbed all your allies in the back; HOW IS THAT HONORABLE?" Probably in relation to being a role model for young children, if my memory of jury-question trends serves correct.
Post-Tribal #2: I swear, my Erinn love & loyalty nearly curled up and died over these next five minutes as I silently pleaded with her to get a clue and stop talking about how every single move since the merge has gone exactly how "we" planned it (ARROGANCE!) and isn't it so wonderful us three are still together and Taj was totally fine with it??
This still did not prevent me from wanting to knock JT on the head for calling Erinn "the most annoying person in the world." I will content myself with more spoken eloquence, "Erinn's chattering away, totally ignorant of any sort of emotional turmoil JT and I are going through."
Also, LOL -- "you can't make a strategic decision based on the emotional niceness." Says the man playing to the end with his best friend. Also, Bob managed it. Well, that was mostly because Sugar did it for him, but he still won by being nice.
March of Dead Survivors: 8 wasted minutes that could have been better spent on the Tribal Council of Bittercakes. That being said, I want to waste more time on it, just to compare my Day-1 reactions to how I feel now.
-I probably wouldn't have liked Carolina after all. Interfering with the awesomeness that was the rest of Jalapao and such.
-Ah, Candace, the first victim of Coach's mysterious "I'm rubber and you're glue" phenomenon of vote-bouncing. Also, LOL: "There's a part of me that wonders Gosh, Candace, why couldn't you tolerate the ego-centric sexist crap that was coming out of Coach's mouth?" And that was after like 3 days. I can only imagine how she felt watching him for the rest of the season on TV. I wish she and Sierra had swapped positions in the voting order.
-Aw, I miss Jerry. Remember when half of Timbira was non-sucky?
-Sandy: Ugh, no go back, no go back! I only like her in tiny doses, and I am not recharged enough to deal with her again.
-Oh, Spence. I stick by "this is not a game for children" and "yeah, bored of you now."
-Sydney the Woodland Goddess was pretty. But better suited for some other reality show, I think, where her beauty could really be appreciated.
-UGLY JOE AND HIS UGLY CHEST HAIR.
-Brendan: Such a classy dude. Any other year, he could have been one of my favorites. And then Stephen claims, "First dragon to be slayed," and I go "ugh" and begin to think that the finale drinking game should have involved the word "dragon" rather than "warrior.
-Tyson: NO. I REFUSE TO REMEMBER HIS EXISTENCE. And, whaaa, "Funny guy, really kind, really sincere guy"?! Bleh. Stephen, please re-evaulate the definition of "sincere."
-Good riddance on Sierra. It pains me she lasted as long as she did.
-Debbie was still in my top 50% of players ranked in order of likability.
-Coach: *head hurts* You know what hurts more, my mom seeing a picture of him and saying that if you didn't know how weird he was, he was objectively pretty good-looking.
-Taj = OMG LOVE.
Immunity challenge #2: I still wish Erinn had won, just because that brief moment in time where I could see an Erinn/Stephen final 2, my eyes were beaming pure rainbows of joy. But I knew even while they were talking that JT was going to win, because otherwise there'd be no reason for the clip from the unnecessary "next time on" part, showing her bending JT's ear about Stephen's potential disloyalty. BOO.
The challenge itself? Awesome, I want one of those cage ball chute things to play with! It also got my heart rate jumping - I was nervous for them; I can't even imagine playing the game for stakes myself. I would have freaked out and missed when it was just a single ball.
This says it all: (from the Reality News Online interview, to which I will be referring a lot)
I knew I lost Survivor when my ball hit the ground. There was no question I could beat J.T. I knew that the first week. Timbira had this weird obsession with him. They were like, “You’re the perfect human being, the only flaw is you’re friends with Stephen.”
Well, says it all except for "it's weird that I found both guys' intense concentration on this silly game sort of hot, right?"
Post-Challenge Scramble: Hee, Erinn the hairdresser. "If you go home before I do, leave your beard alone and I'll help you fix it tomorrow." And hey, just looking at these three...greatest trio since Harry Potter, y/y?
Random: Izzie Stevens shows off her husband's jean-clad ass to her cancer-patient friends. I show off my virtual stalking victim's 6-pack to be appreciated by posterity. There's really no difference here at all.
Hilariously ironic statements, in retrospect:
Erinn -- He's gonna argue it so well, too. Like, the man is so much more eloquent than we are...
JT -- You know, I feel like even though I should beat him, he could go up there and talk so good and turn me into ---.
That's really what makes the final TC so difficult to watch. All that eloquence just...curls up and blows away.
And then I spent the next 5 or 6 minutes quietly freaking out that Erinn was going to succeed in bending JT's ear and convincing him to vote out Stephen, and sitting on the edge of my seat hoping that Stephen could bend it right back with his charming flattery and extremely sincere-sounding "You HAVE to know that you're going to win this. I've always known that." And, yeah, whatever, I really liked the guys sitting around
I think I misplaced this line: Erinn is someone "WHO I'M NOT EVEN PARTICULARLY FOND OF?!" Shut up! Shut up and stop ruining the fantasy I have in my head of you two, Stephen! (the fantasy where they're strong allies. Geeze. How morally corrupt do you think I am?)
[RNO interview: It’s weird, Erinn and I are never on screen together but she was one of my strongest allies in the game.]
Tribal Council #2: Damn! Just, da-amn! I'm not even talking about the votes yet, this is the shock of "Holy CRAP, I forgot Taj had hair and it is gorgeous!" Stephen and I are wearing identical looks of impressed disbelief. Meanwhile, I like to pretend Taj is sitting there all "Yeah, that's right, bitches. I look good."
But I do not like how Debbie is sitting all smug and high and mighty on her back row seat, looking snippy and judgmental. It's really quite ugly.
3rd place finish: Erinn. Resulting in -- Best. Final 2. Ever. I kind of wish Taj looked less pissed, though. (oh, and, aw! I love that this vote required a hug before they'd even left the TC area)
Day 39: Sometimes, I an equal opportunity snapshot-taker*. This smile was too cute to resist:
* = Yeah, no, I'm really not:
They are so cute, I can't even take it. Their happy little Day 39 breakfast feast is almost worth all the hell you know they're going to go through later. Double-edged sword...you can either have a nice relaxing last morning, or an easy TC. Can't have it both ways.
Date Questions: (What, they so are!)
S -- What was your first impression of me?
JT - Thought you were really religious - I might have to watch my mouth around you. (Hee!)
S - I thought you were a charmer. A gregarious kind of charming, slicked-up guy. HAH. Also, not helping to dispell the RPS authors. (Whom I can only assume exist, because if I were to Google it to see, I would most likely die of a heart attack.)
[Edit: *is attempting to Google it just to make a point, and coming up empty* THE HELL, GOOGLE. I came across Adam/Kris slash when I was in no way looking for it. Don't tell me Survivor fans are all ~*mature*~]
Day 39, Cont: Tookie Toucan! *exclaims, points, and reveals past love for "George of the Jungle" all at once*
And hey, wait, did they not have/get to burn the camp down this year? Normally that part always makes me sad, and yet, I DEMAND A BONFIRE!!!
And, HAH. "I'm not gonna go in defeated. I'm not gonna be like 'JT's awesome, let's all give him a round of applause and a million bucks.'"
Voice: I like how at least 30% of your post is just devoted to quoting Stephen.
Me: Future Self appreciates humor, duh.
Time for the TRIBAL COUNCIL of BITTERCAKES: *rubs hands gleefully and digs in*
It was not as fun as I thought it would be. :( I can't believe I am missing Fiji, but at least horrible people like Lisi and Mookie had hilariously terrible questions to fire off. This was just uniformly uncomfortable.
By the way, when I said a devious little part of me wanted to see JT and Stephen turn on each other, what I meant was "in a way where Stephen triumphed, voted him out, and then won a million dollars." Not in the way it ends up going down here, which made me excessively sad and caused me to forsake what is normally my favorite part of the year in favor of moaning and plugging my fingers in my ears. It sucks a little bit, having your favorites at the end. Always the price for a great season
Then there's this quote from the interview:
In the final two I had resigned myself to losing. At the same time, that final Tribal Council was very difficult. You sit there with people you know you have betrayed personally and strategically, you feel guilty and close to these people and then they spend five hours tearing you to shreds. That’s hard to take. “You’re so horrible. J.T., you’re the perfect human being.”
Honestly, none of the jury questions even stood out. I remember getting frustrated that Stephen kept talking about "our brain" and refusing to take credit for his personal masterminding. I remember the part where JT looked momentarily terrified about having to first figure out what Coach was even asking before he could start thinking about how answer it. I remember Brendan's questions being more impressively fair and well-rounded than most people ever are, and that Debbie was a lot less nasty than she looked like she was gearing up to be.
Oh, and then Sierra called Stephen a sweetheart but promptly turned around and called him one of the weakest players she'd ever seen, leaving us all scratching our heads as to whether that was insult or compliment (but she definitely randomly insulted Erinn for no reason at all...so not cool). Meanwhile, JT zones out and totally does not care that he lost Sierra's respect (oh noes!) for bringing Stephen to the final 2 instead of Tyson. Hah!
Speaking of which, have a Sierra quote from some other random interview: I thought that Stephen was a weak little pipsqueak and look at him! I'm like, "Oh my gosh, he's brilliant!" The whole time, I was like, "Poor thing in challenges. He can't even walk." and then you're watching him run the game!
Meanwhile, I continue humming and stuffing my fingers in my ears every time one of the guys actually starts to answer a question, for it is horribly painful. And they start getting downrighty snappy at the end, JT blowing Stephen's mind when he claims he could have made it there without him, and Stephen sniping back that, uh, YES, he's pretty sure both Taj and Erinn would have brought him to final 2, TAKE THAT.
Catfight for Taj's love! And other spirals downward:
"Crushed...betrayed...extremely disappointed..." Taj. Taj, I get it, but if you are the "My question is YOU SUCK" juror, I'm going to be very glad you only made it to F4.
To quote magentathompson over at TWoP: I wanted to hug her at the beginning - she had tears in her eyes, and it obviously wasn't because she lost. But by the end, she was practically yelling "Boys! BOYS! You're both pretty!"
I know...let's have a transcript of the catfight!
S: There were times I saved you and JT wanted to take you out.
J: (aside) Is this the same guy I brought with me?
S: What are you -- oh, come on now! You have been slandering me all night and I have yet -- this is the first time I ever took a shot at you.
J: But mine have been all true.
S: And mine have been true, that is true as well! This is, I'm...come on now. Our friendship means more to me than winning does.
(Me: *quietly gleeing self to death*)
J: (totally exaggerated grin of rue) But you'd have brought Erinn.
S: I never made that decision in my heart. I mean, you can believe me or you can...fine.
J: (continuing to lay it on really thick) I just felt like a fool, man.
S: Oh, come on now. I mean -- oh, look, whatever. *shuts down*
Jury: *is extremely uncomfortable at witnessing lover's quarrel*
*tentative patting of awkward apology*
RNO interview from Erinn: Going back, [Stephen] was the brilliant end of the two of them, saying this is what we’re going to do and vote out this person and this person. I wish he would have told me that because I know my vote would have changed and I think some others would have too.
katesus7 @ TWoP: I do think that Stephen got hosed by JT's jedi mind powers where he convinces everyone he's perfect and should win over them, and they should never even try to take him out. And Stephen could NOT shut up, and that made me sad, because I adored Stephen, and thought he played a perfect game up until he decided to vote out Taj, and made his guilt trip of JT public, instead of just saying it beforehand, and trusting that, and shutting the hell up at Tribal.
Me, I'm much more focused on how the only thing I anticipate as much/more than the Tribal Council of Bittercakes is seeing how everyone's changed after a few months back in civilization - you get a preview taste of some of them on the jury, but this is the real thing. Particularly when it comes to the winners. And I stand by my initial notes:
"HOLY HELL. Stephen is...not living up to previous standards. Glasses too thick? Something about the beard? (which, the hell, like the one contestant I'm actually looking forward to seeing clean-shaven, and he keeps it) Hair's too long in back - yeah, that's it. IT IS NOT OKAY. Sir, I no longer approve of your plan to buy a cabin in seclusion. Meanwhile, holy, JT cleans up nice. Damn. I'm transferring my crush right now."
*scrolls up* *scrolls back down* *still blinks in disbelief* Gimme the rest of the hour and I'll probably be enamored of the curls again, but right now it's just too much of a shock for my poor system. JT > everybody.
I've decided there can never be too many pictures of Hot New JT smiling:
Also, it is much more glorious watching JT win now than it was a week ago. Think I am feeling genuine happiness this time around. *nods*
At least, that's what I infer from the fact that I can't stop grinning my head off watching him run to celebrate with his family. (and whatever, his cheek kiss & "I love you" of joy maybe went a long way towards changing my mind)
And it just kinda keeps growing throughout the whole "JT Was So Awesome!" recap montage...XD
-"JT, are you crying?"
"I'm very happy, obviously. I just created one of the best friends I'll ever have, Stephen and his family, and, you know, my parents are crying, so I can't help it. I'm happy. It's probably the happiest I've ever been in my life.
Stephen: Debbie said, "I value honesty," and she seemed to be really seeking a specific answer from me. Of course, then she asked JT his question, which was "JT, isn't it true that you're the greatest person that's ever existed?"
-Ewwww, why is JT's tooth still getting a starring role? That's just gross.
-FAUX PAS, JEFF. How do you confuse Taj with the rest of her SWV castmates? Even I picked her out despite behind the glasses immediately, and I've never seen her except on this show.
-Taj and Eddie George are still the greatest power couple ever to appear on this show. Eclipsing Matty/Matty's Hot Fiancee, even.
-So it turns out that Tyson is way more attractive with floppy curls than short spikes. Still a horrible and abrasive personality, but at least he's nicer to look at now.
-Wait, was Sierra always a model? I find that difficult to believe. I suppose she has the waif-like build of a runway model but...pretty in the face, not so much. Being as she's always scowling, even when she's smiling.
-Taj & Erinn look gorgeous no matter what, but Debbie looks better when her hair isn't straightened. I was actually surprised by how nice Sandy looked, too.
-Coach looked much better with a beard. That's all I'm saying; I have no more interest in his delusion when I'm so busy being overjoyed by JT and the rest of the Final Four. And no, Jeff. The minute he was voted off, I did not miss him - I forgot about him entirely. It was fantastic.
-However, like I said before, no matter how many times you retell the Amazon Pygmies story...IT IS KNEE-SLAPPINGLY HYSTERICAL, EVER TIME! This, like, needs to become part of Americana folklore. Like, Johnny Appleseed, and Coach In The Amazon. They should be on equal planes of recognition.
-...whaaat. "Coach's Lady Friend"?! I don't know whether to laugh or cry and OMG GROSS. JEFF. I am suing you for emotional damages for so much as making me picture the idea of "dragon slayer" + "in the bedroom." *mutes*
-Also, that is more than enough time on Coach, way to give the other 8 people in the game all of about
arepera: I loved how Doach outed his own BS with the lie detector. "In your trip to the Amazon, were you captured by natives?". Nothing about jungle, nothing about tied, nothing about eating his ass, nothing about escaping. The idiot was probably held in detention for half an hour because he didn't have his car rental contract with him at a security checkpoint and his mind turned that into being captured by natives.
-The Favorites (based on my impressions last week, just hearing the results online): THE HELL, AMERICA. How was Stephen not even in the top 3 favorites? LOOK, I KNOW I HAVE SUPER!BLINDERS OF STALKING LURVE on, but I looked around! I went on non-partisan sites like TV Squad and I saw with my very own eyes people respecting his gameplay and being impressed by him! Guys as well as girls!
Also, I fully understand and support Taj being there, but WTF SIERRA. I just...seriously, every single glimpse I saw of Sierra served to cinvince me that I would never hang around her in real life. And I'm including the Ponderosa scenes and everything.
As to JT winning...I really thought that after last time, they would have changed the rule whereby the winner of the game cannot also win the Most Popular Player money. Where's the fun in that? 10% on top of ONE MILLION is just, like, "blah," whereas 100k on top of whatever paltry sum you have is way more exciting, as it at minimum doubles your prize and likely gives you far more than that.
-The Favorites (my revised opinion): I stand by my "the winner should be ineligible" feelings, but so do a lot of people, so meh. I'm actually considering retracting it after seeing JT lean over and say something unintelligible to Stephen, which I choose to believe involves figuring out a way to give it to him. Regardless of how this might clash with Stephen's later panic and rush to correct JT that he is no way obligated to embark upon any sort of business venture with him, because all live in fear of the CBS lawyer pack.
On a related note: Boys! Stop making me ship you. Slash is not my thing! Real-person slash is especially not my thing! Therefore, I can totally appreciate all of this on its own, real, existing, real friendshippy merit, right? Right.
-...Jeff's candy necklace means what? Oh. It's a biddable item. Quick! It's my birthday in 10 months; go bid on ridiculous souvenirs from this season on eBay! Because I irrationally want something, anything! THAT IS HOW AWESOME THIS SEASON WAS. Suggested items include Stephen's plaster
OR A SIGNED JALAPAO PIG. Yes. Dude. The first two statements were just a joke, but seriously, remember how I legitimately always wanted one of these? And this one would even be signed. It's only going for a few hundred dollars so far, and it's for charity! Pool your resources, people! *sulks* Fine, I'll just put it in my Journal of Impossible Desires. -.-
OH MY GOD. YOU CAN ALSO BUY THE AWESOME TOY FROM THE FINAL IMMUNITY CHALLENGE. Remember how I legitimately wanted that too? Damn it! Why am I not a spoiled rich heiress!
-Man. Samoa looks a lot prettier than Brazil - and has fruit bats! - but I just do not think I can ever muster up as much love in my heart for a season as I did for this one. What with JT being the first Survivor to win having never gotten a negative vote or even been sent to Exile, you almost wish this had been their perfect series finale. (except not really, because I need this show in my life for always, or at least as long as Jeff is willing and able to host it)
-More hilarity from TWoP! Specifically, Hot Pink:
I know more about how Eddie George feels about Survivor than the first six boots combined.
Jeff Probst: "Joe how's the knee?"
Jeff Probst: "Sydney, still hot?"
Jeff Probst: "Spencer, you were young!"
Spencer: "Uh huh."
Jeff Probst: "Candace, you do commercials?"
Candace: "I do."
(I preserve these joys because somebody, before you know it, the threads will be all sadly gone, collapsed, replaced by new things)
-I have to go back and drool over the eBay auctions some more now.
P.S#1. For the record, I am fully enamored of Stephen's curls at this point. Or I was until someone horribly, correctly pointed out that Stephen now looks like Paul Giamatti. NOOOOOOOOOO THE MAGIC IS RUINED.
P.S. #2 HAHA. If this is real, um, I am going to laugh so hard when after months of resisting even looking at Twitter due to total lack of interest, I succumb because I need to get my reality show contestant stalker-mode on a little more.
*shakes head in wonderment* My God. I don't even know if I'm going to read this again (lol yeah right), but I had the time of my life putting it together.
Final word count: Excessive amount of quoting included, holy crap, 4920 (oh, Tocantins. What did you and your impossibly high standard-setting do to me?) It's probably better that you didn't read it. I embarrass myself much more freely when I think no one's watching.