Way to pick up at the end there! Mostly by allowing Brett to exist. You know Brett, that cute kid who was my third, then second-favorite guy the whole way through the game, and whom I was sure I'd like even more if he was ever on camera? Yeah, turns out that his personality is enough to beat Mick Dreamy's looks, and had he existed earlier, I probably would have been willing to forget Stephen entirely before too long.
In fact, he's so awesome that there is a song about him now. How many of your friends would write you a tribute song about being on Survivor? That's what I thought. It even features my special weakness, white guys rapping. No, hey, don't write it off just because I said that...
Because these lyrics deserve some admiration all their own. Note, "admiration" may well include "laughing at." I certainly could not stop giggling the first couple of times through.
Body much tighter than your favorite trousers
Swimmin' in women like he's got a condition
Keepin' him sick like Mick - the island physician
He's got 'em wishing for some different competition
He ain't leavin' the game without completing the mission
When friendships fail and the alliance is broken
Please bring me your torch cause the tribe has spoken
Outwit - if you wanna be the survivor
Outlast - who's gonna be the survivor?
Outplay - do you wanna be the survivor?
Outwit, outlast, outplay...
Outwit - if you wanna be the survivor
Outlast - who's gonna be the survivor?
Outplay - do you wanna be the survivor?
(Ooooh, just do it the Brett Clouser way)
He plays under the radar, nobody knows he's around
From Salem to L.A. he's the talk of the town
Got the idol 'round his neck when tribal council goes down
King of Samoa: he wants the money and the crown
Laura and Brett having so much success
They're doing yoga on the beach to relieve some stress
On the preview show they called him one of the best
That's why we're watching every Thursday on CBS
You gotta last 39 days to be the champ
But Brett ain't going home, he's going back to camp
And Russell, he plays the game with so much fury
But to win it, you got to impress the jury
Okay, and now for actual show thoughts, since this is maybe the second time all season I've been excited to write them. (It's the song, it totally pumps me up)
What, no family love this year? Lame. I was invested in Mick & Brett here, which by extension includes their relatives. Come on.
First, all the talk about Shambo's disgusting hair/breath was uncalled for. Lord knows I cannot stand her, and if I have to pick a side in the catfight between her and Laura it's the latter every time, but nobody needs to be that cruel, even behind a person's back. I can't believe that had anything to do with Grossell's famous strategy, either, which just proves to me he is a horrible person at all times.
Apparently a lot of people are pissed off that Brett & Natalie have the audacity to quote Bible verses at each other and/or pray for a win. Really? That's the fight we want to pick? Like you've never prayed to do well on a test or win some prize? It is not actually Serious Business. Some other people are convinced that Brett was playing up his religious fervor in order to curry favor with Nat. Again, really? How 'bout we shut up and just appreciate this guy's wholesomeness. It's rare among young men. Also this was the moment I officially fell in love with him.
Moving on, BEST REWARD CHALLENGE EVER. Not necessarily the challenge on its own, but the way it played out. As more and more coconuts rained down (17! 48! FIFTY-EIGHT!!!), we were on the couch laughing so hard we nearly cried. And then we stopped laughing when Grossell somehow didn't drop any at the crucial moment, so his team won.
On bright side, that meant that two of my favorites got to hang out together, for a nice, friendly cook-out on the beach of their own. In fact, this was the best possible group, because while I prefer Jaison over Natalie, since she and Brett are pals, she works better in this trio. I got to both find it amusing that Mick looked like a babysitter trailing amiably after the two enthusiastic kids, and flail about this shot, which is the best illustration of why I stuck with Samoa to the bitter end:
(It's a chicken and egg question as to whether I fall for men with nice abs, or whether the men I fall for conveniently happen to have nice abs. I plead the fifth.)
Next up, immunity, involving running, scrambling, and puzzle-solving. Which somehow, against all glorious odds, BRETT WON (right before I hit the quick of my nails). And then, even better, they voted Shambo out! I may have cheered. Not that I was ever in fear of Mick's safety, because as previously mentioned some idiot early on decided to spoil me and anyone else reading Jeff's blog that day about who made it to the final 3, but there was something extra-vindicating about seeing her thrown out before Brett. If he couldn't beat the toad, at least he beat her. And took home the consolation title of "last surviving Galu" in the process.
Oh, and for the first time ever, I grudgingly appreciated something Russell said - when he called Brett the kind of guy he'd want his daughters to marry. Not even my BS-meter went off at that point; I think it's the first sincere thing he's said positively about another person this whole game.
Finale: Last Votes
I like how Brett's gone on "an immunity run like they've never seen" by winning...two in a row. That's your definition of challenge monster, Jaison? You could have at least waited until he won a third.
WHICH HE DID. At which point I just gaped, because even though I knew his run had to end sometime, I did not think he was going to stretch it out as far as he possibly could. Yes! I may have gotten screwed over on all my girls this year (with the possible exception of Model Monica looking hot as anything in a bikini), but I have to give the show credit for keeping my favorite guys all the way until the last night.
(I am currently denying that I ever liked Jackhole John at all, and pretending that I've been saying "Jaison is my #3" the whole time. What, they sound similar.)
Let's not talk about the part where Brett didn't merely lose the final immunity challenge, he lost it to Russell. Which just gave the squat little toad even MORE reasons to run and gloat about how awesome and supernaturally talented he is, BARF, I cannot believe how much I miss Coach right now.
(Though I love that Brett is both a sweetheart and a good sport, so that rather than make himself look like a fool by scrambling, he accepted that he took a risk in going for the immunity-run route, and when it failed, he was done.)
Instead, let's rewind ourselves back to the March of Dead Survivors, and remember exactly how hard this season sucked.
+Marisa: Bright little sunshine! Seemed smart as a whip! DAMN IT.
-Mike the Portly Oaf: immediate medical evacuation and still couldn't get off my screen fast enough
+Betsy: SO MUCH AWESOME. So much injustice.
-Ben: Racist hillbilly. So, some justice - just not enough.
+Yasmin: Sassy to a fault, yet fun
+Ashley: Home-state pride! Delightful gal. Still wish she and Natalie had swapped voting positions.
+Russell: Ah, such heart. Fun guy.
-Erik: Meh, with a side of obnoxiousness
-Laura: Actually NOT the witch everyone thought she was
-John: Smarmy bastard
-Dave: Nasty stringy hair; couldn't look at him. Irritating as sin.
+Monica: So, so pretty. *jealous*
+Jaison: Ahhh, the master of intellect.
And now let's go back to thinking about all the ways in which Brett is lovely. Stephen who?
Not that I'm forsaking you, Mick. You're very nice to look at as well.
Hey, remember last season, when the Day 39 breakfast was all calm and pleasant and stuff? That was so much nicer than listening to what must have been about two hours straight of Russell telling them how much they sucked and were doomed to lose. If I didn't already loathe him more than anyone ever, this round of abusive haranguing alone is enough for me to be happy he doesn't win.
Furthermore, this display of arrogance is a large part of why I continually insist that this show is about the prize, not the game. I don't care how you play it. The game is merely the medium for awarding someone a very large amount of money, and for that alone I think it's about rewarding character. Once you make it to the end, by luck or by scheming, everything you did up to that point is irrelevant except in how it reflects your personality. Strong strategy can give you an edge, but in my opinion, it should not be the sole criteria.
Just had to get that out there. I was 99% sure Natalie was going to win at this point, but I still held my breath.
Tribal Council (of Bittercakes? Or not really?)
For the record, while I still totally would have voted for Mick (he's very charming, okay! Handsome and personable), I understand why nobody else did. He really didn't have or give a compelling reason for anyone to vote for him. But I also understand his thinking, that he was banking on being a typical nice guy, and since Russell was determined to make all the moves - why not use him as a shield and let him take the heat? Anyone who tried to do otherwise mysteriously found themselves voted off, in case you hadn't noticed.
And now, questions:
1. Jaison had a good question enhanced by a great closing statement: the point is, they could all use the money, but none of them are broke, so base your vote on other criteria. Once again, I find myself almost wishing he'd made it to the final 3 over Mick, just because I can't believe he would faceplant the way Stephen did. I think his natural eloquence would remain intact, and manifest itself in prizewinning answers.
2. First of all, Shambo, shut up. You hate everyone here except Russell and maybe Brett; let's not pretend Mick and Natalie hold some special level of unworthiness. Second of all, it pains me so much that Shambles knows a word Mick does not. The only thing that pains me more is that she's right - "feckless" isn't a bad word to describe his game play.
Although Mick's non-answer only endears him to me more - it's adorable how just kind of laughs in disbelief and is like, "huh, you're a little crazy, aren't you? All right, if hating me makes you feel better, go ahead." Also I love the bug-eyed face he made while jumping to conclusions about which "C-word" Shambo intended for Natalie (hint: he was not expecting "coattail.")
3. Another word Mick should look up in the (urban) dictionary: "bro date." It does not mean what he think it means. I'm not actually sure how he answered Brett's question, because as soon as I heard "sweet nothings in your ear" I fled like a spooked horse, but the gist of it seemed to be that Brett wanted to know if Mick had taken the time to get to know people (namely him, the way Natalie did), so he asked him for a hypothetical hang-out situation, and Mick thought he was being hit on. HORRIFIC EMBARRASSMENT ENSUED.
4. Kelly seems super-bitter, especially at Natalie. Jealous much? I suspect I'm glad she was more invisible than Brett. Then again, I love how she bitchfaced with total contempt and skepticism at Grossell. She was my voice. Maybe she would have voted for Mick if Erik hadn't changed half the jury's mind at the end.
5. Monica had a surprisingly useful "why don't the other people deserve the money" question, and not for spiteful reasons - but to give Mick a chance to show some passion. This show clearly needs more law students.
6. Dave, way to be objective! I'm serious, that was an impressive lack of bitterness. Clean and simple: "what do you think your chances are?"
7. Haha, Laura sees through your BS, Russell. Suuuuure you thought she was the biggest threat on Galu. Only in the sense of "most likely to see through your BS," because otherwise you would have labeled her a dumbass girl like every other female you met.
8. Proving his jackhole-ness, John is the only other person who voted for Russell. I just want to point that out. Also, Mick is my favorite because he and I have identical beliefs about this game: he should win the money because "In terms of character, you're not gonna find a better, more solid guy up here . . . I'm one of those people who does not think that the ends justify the means. You don't treat people like pawns. That's not my way of maneuvering through life or the game. And that's the type of person you're giving the money to."
9. And Erik. WHERE DID THIS DUDE COME FROM, AND HOW? Because he just blew me away with the best juror speech in the history of Survivor, solely for stating - in an amazingly calm, rational, clear-headed, eloquent way to rival Jaison - why this "coattail" strategy that everyone despises is actually not a bad thing. You know, that thing I have been saying for years (except when it nearly leads to Susie winning Gabon, in which case I lambast it with everyone else).
"Natalie: People will call you weak. People will say that you're undeserving. But you know what? Why are those characteristics any less 'admirable' than lying, cheating and stealing? Why does he get a free pass, but your 'wrong way of playing' is admonished? If there's one thing I learned in this game, it's that perception is not reality. Reality is reality. And you are sitting there, and that makes you just as dangerous as either one of those guys. . . . You got my vote, I hope you get four more. Congratulations."
I maybe teared up along with Nat a little at the end there. It was that moving.
Plus even before he got to that part, he had an excellent rant at Russell for...being terrible and evil, basically. Which was plenty bitter and not a little whiny, except that it was also totally in line with my beliefs, and maybe if Erik hadn't been such an arrogant tool before & at the merge, I would have been more offended when he got voted out before Russ too. As it is, I'm not sorry he left, but I am glad that he saw through the BS. Unlike much of America.
"You get to the right place by behaving the wrong way? I've never in my life been in a situation where that was the case. Yet you sit there, proud of it!" I really kind of love the open disdain dripping from his voice.
It was so amazing that I agree to ignore all the bitchy whining at Mick for not acting like the leader everyone else said he should be, and then claiming he was full of "delusional entitlement." (really? Because 'delusional entitlement' is sitting on the right. On the left is a rather calm self-assessment of someone who genuinely thinks they're a good person, and only mentions it when pressed as to why they would be deserving of the prize up for grabs).
That was the most satisfying Final Tribal I've ever seen, all things considered.
The Results Are In
NATALIE WIIIIIIIIIINS! This is not exciting at all, on its own, but the fact that GROSSELL LOSES!!!! is worthy of major front-page headline news, as far as I'm concerned. THANKS BE TO GOD. PRAYER WARRIORS FOREVER. ETC ETC. I may or may not have screamed with joy. It's just so freaking VINDICATING that after a whole goddamn season of listening to him gloat and mock and taunt and flaunt his own perceived awesomeness at every turn, all his proclamations about how everyone was an idiot and he was going to win FAILED. THEY FAILED SO HARD. And with a 7-2 split, it wasn't even close, like the Ozzy/Yul showdown. He got his ass trounced.
SUCH A RELIEF. I'm not even listening to the internet at this point, because they've been idiots for weeks now, and this is my goddamn consolation prize for putting up with the insufferable bastard for the past four months. I mean, seriously, is it just me, or has this been the best year for reality TV ever? JT. Kris Allen. Jeanine. Russell. And now Natalie. Either my favorites have won, and/or likable people have won while beating out my arch-nemeses in the process. When you count in Bob from last December, it's been a solid year of wall-to-wall victory streaks.
Now let's pretend that Grossell didn't somehow win the Favorite Player 100k prize (gross, gross, gross. I'd rather Shambo have won. ALSO, WHAT THE ACTUAL FUCK, how did they comprise two of the top three faves? Do you have eyes? And/or ears? You must, since you somehow worked Brett in there even though he didn't start playing until December, so where was Mick? Or Jaison? Marisa was eligible too, you know. Also Good Russell. What I'm saying is, there were a lot of awesome people to pick from, instead of two of the most unbearable people in the history of the show.)
Instead, let's close our eyes and visualize Brett winning, which is how I voted, since I knew Mick would wind up in a better finishing position regardless.
Also, let's cling to the freaking hilarious fact that Russhole had tears of rage glittering his eyes the entire time. That was the best sight ever. I nearly split my face in half while smiling about the glory of it all. I'm also really glad he kept trying in vain to buy the title off Natalie, because if there was one thing more hilarious than the tears of rage, it was the impotent badgering and utter refusal to accept the fact that HE. LOST. PERIOD. Talk about a temper tantrum! Sorest loser ever.
And Other Live Reunion Show Results
-Jaison looked so much better with hair. I like him clean-shaven on the face, but not the top of his head. And while black men are generally able to rock the bald look in a way that no white man except Patrick Stewart has ever accomplished, it's still disappointing.
However, he is my hero for calling Russell's water-dumping, sock-burning game play total freaking insanity. In not so many words. But he made it clear that he disdained the gameplay.
-Huh. Turns out Mick Dreamy is like 75% less dreamy without a full beard. WHO KNEW. Especially considering that he had no beard in his bio picture, or when he started the game, and I still immediately pegged him as my hot eye-candy favorite.
-Ahhhhh, Brett! He somehow got even cuter. This defies the rules of Survivor! Nobody looks better back in civilization after you've gotten to know them in a natural/somewhat unkempt look! But he does. Still skinny, just not unhealthily so (he lost 30 pounds in his 38 days), and more importantly his floppy hair is floppier than ever before, and I cannot resist that.
Oh, and I see you pimping your T-shirt design there. It's not a very attractive design, and yet...I feel a sudden need to buy one. I've been blinded by the feel-good vibes behind TMOOH.
-It's weird. When he's lost a bit of weight, wearing clothes that fit him well and covered up his bald head with a jaunty hat, Russell isn't actually that unattractive? And yet, he looks totally evil. Supernaturally evil, like he stepped out of Torchwood's "From Out of the Rain" nightmare circus. Or Erasmus Darkening on Sarah Jane Adventures. I fully expect him to turn up in one of my nightmares looking like this.
-Jeff: "I'm sure we will hear a lot more from Russell..." Yeah, Jeff, I bet we will. Since you will ask him about twenty-seven more questions, while running out of time to acknowledge John, Liz, or Kelly's existence. Not that I really care, I'm just noticing an unequal division of chat time.
The reunion shows are never as interesting as I think they're going to be, but that's okay. I can sleep properly now, at least. Provided I don't think about the potential for massive suck on the "villains" portion of next season, because I can't even fathom a world in which they deliberately put some of the show's most horrible people on all at once.
-Praise Be Natalie!: an excellent pro-Nat article written by my all-time favorite, Stephen
-A Hero Will Rise: an excellent article about Brett
-Class Will Tell: an even more excellent article about Brett