Panama – Exile Island Reunion

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Interrogating Shane's Flapping Shirt

Commercials! Well, I'd think so.

When we come back, it's time to talk about the unpleasant surroundings on Exile Island, because God forbid you forget to discuss your gimmick. Jeff asks Austin how Exile Island was, and Austin says that basically, it was a circle of hell. He says that he was waiting for God to order him to grab up the "snakes and iguanas, two by two." It's funny up to this point. He then goes on to say, however, that it was "the best thing [he's] ever been through, too." Austin says that he and Chiclets "cussed and prayed." This all turns out to be some kind of enlightening experience about God, and that just doesn't strike me as very impressive. I mean, it's not like they were really alone or in any danger, considering the abundance of crew that was around, so... it's like, "It really made me appreciate life when I got rained on a lot." Whatever. Austin must live in a really hospitable climate, because if I were that prone to spiritual enlightenment as a result of inclement weather, I would have my own congregation by now.

Jeff turns to Very Pale Dan, asking him about the experience on the island. VPD says that being away from everything you know is a "spiritual awakening." Snore!

Courtney! You can tell that the producers have decided to make Shane this season's Fun Crazy, while Courtney is just Dumb Crazy, because she is getting pretty cursory attention. Jeff asks her whether she got anything positive from her experience, and she calls it "a beautiful reflection." There is more fire-dancing babble that your dreams are before you, and nothing else matters, and all of a sudden, it's like I'm listening to her sing a song about winning American Idol. Courtney insists that she "grew a lot as a person." I doubt that very much. Jeff claims that this statement from her "says a lot," which qualifies as ironic, I think, because her statement actually says almost nothing, which is its most distinctive quality.

My vote for saddest moment of the show goes to the part where Jeff asks Sally about her situation with her parents, mentioning that relations were very strained when we last heard anything specific. He asks Sally whether being on the show helped her to reunite with them at all. Unfortunately, the answer is pretty clearly no, given that she semi-evades the question by saying that she thinks that it helped people who know her see that she is still the same person, if they were concerned about "who [she] was." And there's this line about "choices I had made for my own life," and...yeah, you can kind of imagine what the possibilities are here, in terms of what went down with Sally and her parents. I think they include the usual Alienation From Religious Family issues, and she got a divorce, and you can probably fill in some possibilities. But it's sad, because Sally's sad, and she's straining not to say that they're being harsh and unforgiving, and she's straining not to say that nothing is better. You can tell that Sally doesn't want to dig the hole any deeper, but she doesn't want to lie. "Any other issues out there, they're not mine," she says. I like her. I feel bad for her.

As Jeff goes to Nick, he says that everybody who's left is only going to get to name one thing about them that didn't come out on the show. Nick claims there wasn't much: "Nick was hungry." President Beefcake: "I'm surprisingly cuddly." Ruth Marie: "My personality was way cuter out there than was shown on the TV." Hee. Misty: "I was still smiling, most importantly, and I'm never going to give up on anything." Way to not answer the question, bonehead. Melinda: "That I can handle whatever is thrown my way. Whatever it is, and I know that now." Jeff says that all these answers were fine, and all of these people have it reaffirmed again that nobody gives a good goddamn about them, because they no longer qualify as famous, and they probably cannot even get a good table at whatever the current bar designated as the reality-TV hangout of choice might be.

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