The first 5-10 minutes were so awful, I was like, "Did you place a large bet against yourself in the ratings?" They kept focusing on such awful people, plus that awful chicken-abusing*, insane melee of ship looting that they like to kick off seasons with, that I could practically hear them saying, "LOOK HOW UNBEARABLE THIS YEAR'S GONNA BE. You might as well just give up and quit now. There's still time to change the station and write the season off without trying!"
*re: chicken-abusing: I can accept people killing chickens for food, if they have some idea of what they're doing. But chickens do not belong in an environment where they're at risk of being knocked around, thrown overboard, or definitely being picked up and carried around by the neck. (I wanted everyone who did that to have to dangle from a rope for a few seconds. just to see how it feels) It pissed me off enough to spend an hour Googling whether or not this show is subject to the rules about not harming animals in TV production when outside the country. I'm feeling like they are not.
Eventually, though, they settled down and focused on some nice people who have made me feel, surprisingly early, that perhaps we are not doomed. Perhaps.
Imma break my impressions of each tribe down with -1 for obnoxious people and a +1 for likable people, which will be added together, to see which tribe is best so far:
- Pirate Matey: oh god he is so awful to look at. I am comfortable judging him on appearance. The tattoos, the hideous stretching discs in his earlobes, probably more stuff but THE TATTOOS. And also, misogyny. Apparently has no respect for women who are not Strong And Awesome. In this one case, I'm glad the patriarchy exists and people really impress its problems on you so that I can judge his appearance in exactly the same way he judged Alecia, but get away with it. (I have learned the right lessons from Tumblr Women's Studies)
P.S. I have a specific reason for not using his real name, in part because it sounds ridiculously preppy and professional for his wild appearance, but mostly in retaliation for "she doesn't get a name." Neither will you, P. Matey.
P.P.S. Also he is a fan of Grossell. Which, I mean, that makes sense.
Bug Ear/Jennifer: ...eh. I feel neutral. Mom thinks she looks like Susan Sarandon. I agree it's very familiar. Also, I surprised she's 38 -- I guess I see it in up-close photos, but just watching I thought she was in her mid-20s.
- Former NBA Guy "Scot": oh god do I hate him.
Bodybuilder Cydney: I liked her on sight right away, between her awesome muscles and positive attitude, but by episode's end she was SO malevolent toward Alecia that I'm starting to wonder if she is one of those people with an Extreme Grudge -- even if earned based on life experience -- against white people w/ noticeable privilege. I'm getting a vibe I normally only get from particularly hostile Tumblrs.
+ Alecia: In case I'm not being clear yet, the attitudes of everyone re: her are pissing me off. I have seen helpless, lazy young women on this show, and she is not one of them. Why isn't she on Beauty where she clearly belongs? Like, it's just mean. She's so much prettier than half the people on that tribe. She seems really earnest, just maybe overwhelmed by how HUGE half her tribe is + the whole experience, and is at least as athletic as Miss Construction over there. Honestly, by the end I just wanted her to go home to put her out of her misery. I know they'll probably switch tribes in 2-3 episodes, and maybe she can make friends with the other young girls where she belongs, but it's going to be an uncomfortable ride.
TOTAL POINTS IN FAVOR: 0. No, wait, now it's -1. Worst tribe!
+ Aubrey: Oh god, it's me. It's me and the Average Tumblr User stand-in all at once. She seems very nice but oh god, the mortification during her heatstroke-induced babbling. Can we all just...quietly look over here...and agree not to comment on anything she said or did prior to kicking ass and taking names in that challenge. I want to like her. Also she looks like a friend I had once.
Talky Talk Debbie: I see you're gonna fill the Shirin role, then. Except slightly less socially awkward...for now....so still bearable.
- Smug Dude/Neal: THIS GUY. Tell me this guy is not Mr. Heckles. I want his pompous, pretentious butt gone.
Elisabeth the Quantitative Strategist: She is very very very pretty, moreso than anyone on Beauty. I would like to like her but got no sense of who she is.
+ Joe the Retired Non-Crazy FBI Agent: OK, this guy seems super interesting (and also in really great shape; Mr. Heckles needs to take his blind prejudice to another beach). Per my mom: "He looks really good for 72," followed by a sudden moment of panic: "Wait, how old is your dad??" (answer: not yet 72) (you can relax mom)
ER Doctor/Barry Obama/Peter: I love him talking about the "clear divide with 4 younger people and 2 old people." One of the old people is 49. Like, dude, how old are you? (edit: OK he is only 34. Honestly, he looks at least 42) Anyway, I guess I don't really have a strong opionion on him yet. He is OK to look at but sort of bossy.
[edit: OH SNAP HE'S THE ONE FROM MINNEAPOLIS. Noooo, why this gotta be my home base representation, REMEMBER WHEN WE HAD REED KELLY AS OUR CHAMP]
Points in Favor: 1, maybe 2 depending on E the QS.
+ Tai From Vietnam: okay, so this guy. I was all set to dislike him. I could SEE him being set up as that quirky/lovable weirdo that everyone immediately coos over even though they're not attractive, and I was prepared to fight people for falling for that blatant setup and SO DETERMINED I would continue to hold him accountable for his lack of homogeny.
...and then in about five minutes flat, kinda remniscient of that time Blaine Anderson landed on TV, my mean feelings fizzled, evaporated and disappeared under the infinite power of his charm. WHAT A SWEET MAN. BRB recasting the cook in The Honk and Holler Opening Soon whom I never paid much attention to while reading it. He is Yau Man to infinity and beyond. I love his backstory and his love of nature and great respect for all living things (I want to spontaneously convert to Buddhism?), and his accent and his optimism and his impeccable sweetness. I do not believe he could express anger even if someone caused him great affront. PROTECT AT ALL COSTS. Prepare for heart to be broken on this front.
Big Brother Dude/Caleb: Me after 5 minutes, squinting suspiciously: Odd, he doesn't seem nearly trashy enough to have been on Big Brother. What are you hiding. What is editing not showing us?? I'M SURE THERE IS SOMETHING. There is no way a Kentuck cowboy/soldier with that sort of charm and no sign of sleaze would have gottne put on that show unless he acted his ass off in an audition. Also, how is that body real. It's like they poured molten steel into a 6-pack frame and then made it flesh, but with zero excess muscular bulk to make him unattractive (*cough* BUFF NEW JOHN KRASINSKI). He's still long and lean, just pure muscle and zero percent body fat.
Edit: OK, see, like right there in his official cast photo -- between the huge tattoos (that I somehow didn't notice), and mostly the backwards baseball cap and the necklace, he looks like such a swaggery douche I already can't remember why I found him appealing earlier.
Michelle the Bartender: seems like she could be a bit backstabby and maybe not super genuine, but also OK for now.
+ Anna (Poker Player/Cute Brunette): SHE IS SO ADORABLE. I love how she has bonded with the BU girl as instant besties. Here for this.
+ Julia (Student/Cute Blonde): SHE IS SO ADORABLE, part II. All perky and cheery. I hope these 2 go far and maybe also bring more girls into their group.
- Nick: My mom and I are still confused why he's on beauty instead of brawns. He's super average looking and kind of odd. Also, gotta say, he seems like quite a tool.
Points in favor: 2. Winning!
Well, that should pretty much suffice for a review post. Things that happened, what? I don't care to dwell on them except to say that the neck-and-neck challenge was soooo exciting, and all the right tribes won/lost.