Survivor
China Reunion

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Miss Alli: C- | Grade It Now!
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How It Didn't Happen

Jeff promises that, after commercials, we will hear about the very different welcomes James and Denise received when they got home. Oh, yes. We will start to hear about it. Also: who wins a hundred grand? I can't imagine! Someone relieve the suspense!

When we come back, it's a quick run through the James hagiography, including the (if you think about it, pretty small) number of challenges where he was really relevant. Back at the reunion, Jeff holds court about how very popular James is, and asks him what kind of reaction he's gotten. He says he gets a lot of kids and "older guys." Huh. A confused Jeff Probst, wondering whether it's just him and babies and dudes who love James and wondering whether that would mean he's a sissy, is all, "Just kids and older guys?," and James is like, "Women too," and everybody in the audience says, "Wooooo!," and now I'm bored. Asked why people say they like him, James says it's because he has "no filter." Hey, James was the Sexy Man Of The Week in People! Probably not because he has no filter. And then we see a childhood picture of James, and WHO KNEW he would turn out so sexy? Who indeed, Jeff. Who indeed. Jeff asks what James's strangest experience was, and James talks about setting up for a funeral and discovering that people were lingering after the burial. He thought they needed something funeral-related, but it turns out that they were attempting to meet a C-list celebrity at the gravesite. Oh, yes. Oh, really. Can you imagine going to the reception later and being like, "Um, sorry I lingered at the cemetery, but...you see...did you watch Survivor?" He also says he took pictures with them. At the cemetery. At the grave. That's where I will admit I think he should have drawn a line. I don't think "Ma'am, I'm working right now, and given the occasion, I don't think pictures are appropriate" would have been too much to ask. Jeff asks James whether it was good to use his celebrity to make a sad occasion less sad. "Maybe this is helping them grieve," he says seriously. And that, right there, is my funniest line of the season. I mean, I seriously can't understand people concluding that a funeral -- of, as it turns out, the funeral of the son and the brother of these two women -- would be a good time to linger for celebrity picture-taking. It's not healing; it strikes me as, at the very least, deeply weird, and again, it's a missed opportunity. Instead of "Maybe this is helping them grieve," the thing to say is, "How do you deal with the utterly false sense of intimacy people believe they share with you?" Because that's actually an interesting question, unlike, "Do you think seeing a semi-famous person at the funeral sped along the healing process?" I mean, I totally get how wacky things happen at funerals that make you laugh and break the horrible sense of heaviness that otherwise sets in, and if you run into a celebrity, maybe it lightens your mood. So asking the women about it might be interesting. But asking James about it is...he's just a prop, really, in that story. What's it like to be a prop? I guess I might have been interested in that.

And then Jeff Probst winks at James. Pardon me while I lean over and help my breakfast grieve itself into a trashcan.

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