Back From The Outback

Episode Report Card
admin: B | Grade It Now!
Rudy! Rudy!
Peachy tells us in the intro that tonight we’ll take a “final adventure into the private lives” of the sixteen survivors. It sounds like a Red Shoe Diary to me. In any case, credits.

Peachy strolls onto the set -- because I think at this point we can safely assume that this is Los Angeles and not Australia, if it ever actually was Australia in the first place -- in his “I’m a city slicker now” blazer and “I take my fashion cues from Regis” gray shirt. He announces that the game is over but the lives of its competitors have changed forever. We’re going “inside the homes and hearts of sixteen ordinary people now living extraordinary lives.” A clip of Tina tells us it’s not just children who have dreams; adults have them too. Thanks for that, Tina. I now feel freed to pursue my long-time dream of becoming a ballerina. Peachy then announces that some of the S16 found love, and we cut to a clip of Elisabeth and her now-fiancé mugging for the camera. Peachy then says we’ll also learn who didn’t find love, as Jerri says of Colby in a clip, “Knowing him now, I’d have to say no way in hell.” We’ll also, according to Peachy, learn who is searching for answers, and Michael’s burnt hands tell us they wonder why God would do something like that to them. Finally, we’ll see who is searching for peace while working as a corrections officer. Peachy adds that we’ll get some “surprising spin” from last year’s Survivors, and I guess that’s supposed to include Jenna’s confession that she is in love with Colby. She’s in the demographic -- of course she’s in love with him.

Peachy tells us that every player has a different take on their Outback experience, and we’ll first look at two who “want to set the record straight.” He tells us that the first wants to put it all behind her, while the other is “just lovin’ life and livin’ like mad.” A large road sign reads, “Welcome to Wakefield: Home of Maralyn Mad Dog Hershey Survivor II.” We next see a charming country house with a green Survivor flag out front. Inside, the phone rings and Maralyn’s gravelly voice drawls, “I’m probably Outback. But I’ll be happy to koala you later.” If this was any of the other S16 -- say, Mitchell or Bozo the Keith -- this outgoing message would be extremely grating, but with Mad Dog it’s just added charm. The camera pans over all of her Survivor paraphernalia, and then finally we see a red-shoed Maralyn playing her didgeridoo. She then runs with a goat. In a voice-over, she tells us that she’s the “same old Mad Dog” and “nothing’s really changed.” Kooky music plays in the background as we see a quick shot of Pimpin’ Mad Dog in a red hat and fur coat, creeping around her porch with a devilish look on her face. She tells us she went from being “your average street cop to the Outback on the number-one show on America.” Why is it that I don’t think many people have been inclined to describe Mad Dog as “average”? In any case, she thinks it’s bizarre to have gone through the Survivor experience, but insists that she’s still the same. She still has to muck out her “own donkey stall,” which we see her gleefully doing. Pimpin’ Mad Dog is back and standing on the porch; she holds up her blue granny bathing suit and says, “This was then…” We then cut to a shot of her sister, who says she’s a changed Mad Dog, so I guess you can teach an old dog new tricks. Pimpin’ Mad Dog finishes with a “…this is now” and opens her fur coat to reveal that she’s wearing a red bikini and red high heels. This would have been a hysterical moment if they hadn’t ruined it by showing it in last week’s promo. Maralyn’s sister than tells us she’s now “very much out there.” Pimpin’ Mad Dog tells us she’s lost a total of twenty pounds -- it looks like more than that to me -- and has two tattoos, including a kangaroo and a “wrap-around crocodile” on her bicep. Inside the house, she tells us in a black-lit room that she returned from the Outback with a tan, but once it started to fade she decided “to heck with it; I wanna make my own tan.” Suddenly she’s in the sun bed, singing that “all the world is 'round the corner, watching us everywhere.” In a clothed confessional, she tells us that surviving Survivor and not allowing it to consume her identity may be the greatest challenge. I don’t imagine that Maralyn’s identity is that easily taken over. From the sun bed she sings, “Hey, Hef! I might shed it all!” Hee. Then there’s some standard blah blah-bage about life being short and living and loving like each day’s the last.

We are now in Berlin, New Hampshire, home of Debb “Don’t hate me because I have sex with my son-in-law” Eaton. As she checks doors in the prison where she works, she tells us that all the prisoners have “color televisions and cable.” Hey -- I don’t even have cable! Your tax dollars at work, people. Anyway, Debb tells us there are 340 prisoners, and they all know everything about her. She says they know more about her than her own mother does, which must be very little, since Debb was only around for one episode. She tells us that she never knows what she’s “going to get bombarded with” when she begins her work day. Life after Survivor, according to Debb, isn’t always a bed of roses. Now Debb stands outside the door to the prison and tells us to just wait a second and see what we can hear. She throws open the prison doors and begins goading the up-until-now-quiet prisoners with, “What do you think, of me and Survivor?” Survivor or not, I don’t think this kind of act prompts positive responses. I wouldn’t walk into a prison and yell, “What do you think of me?” One prisoner apathetically tells Debb to go fuck herself; another mumbles something about her being a freak. Debb says, “What am I sayin’?” as if she just proved something to us, but I can’t figure out what, since the two prisoners who could even bother to respond said not a word about Survivor even when directly asked. Debb tells us the whole country hated her guts when she got voted off first, and that she wasn’t ready for that. She was in love with her husband for twenty years before he died, and falling in love with his son was the best thing that ever happened to her. She says she’s happiest with him and the dogs and the birds. We then see lots of happy shots of Debb and her son-in-law and the dogs and the birds hugging each other on the porch and in a bar. Bob Eaton tell us he was happy for Debb when Survivor started, but he wanted to just stay out of it and that wasn’t allowed to happen. Debb blames “someone at The National Enquirer” who saw that her last name matched the last name of her boyfriend and did some investigative journalism. She says it might have been naïve on her part to expect the public to be intelligent and understanding enough to listen to the circumstances before convening a “witch hunt.” She’s sad that people like to kick others when they’re down, which seems to me to be her chosen paid profession. She then repeats, “They’re kickin’ ya when you’re down!” with great angst in her voice. This is followed by lots of pensive sad-looking Debb shots. She tells us that Survivor has been a double-edged sword and hasn’t been worth the after-effects. She wouldn’t do it all over again, and “that’s all.”

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