Survivor
Palau Reunion

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Miss Alli: B- | Grade It Now!
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Grace Deferred

There's really no way around it, so we might as well get through our discussion with Wanda about not being chosen. "It was devastating, absolutely devastating," she says with a wide, stupid grin. She claims she was singing on the way out because the tribe members all called out, "Sing us another song, Wanda!," which means she's not very good at telling when people are being sarcastic, among other evident flaws. It's this quality, however, that gets teachers through life without emotional scars. Jeff laughs, because he's really relieved that this is the only time he's really had to deal with this lady, and he almost wants to hug everyone who caused her to go home. And then he says, "I'm guessing you prepared a song for..." And there's a discernible "noooo" moan from the audience, which is kind of sad. But she sings anyway. Because Wanda, like the Village People, believes that you can't stop the music. Her song is to the tune of "Oh, Susannah," and the crowd claps mostly at random. She tries to sing a second verse and is cut off, and it's the kind of thing I hate watching, because it just makes me cringe with every fiber of my being. In that moment when her mouth is half-open and she is interrupted lies a brand of pain that people born cool will never understand. Jeff promises that, when we return, we will talk to Steph. Yay, Steph!

Indeed, Jeff's not lying, because when we come back, we watch some of the footage of Steph taking care of herself alone at Ulong, and then we are back live. Jeff points out to Steph that nobody had ever been the last person on a tribe before, and he asks her if she knew she could stand up to that. She says she knew she'd be okay in challenges, but didn't know how she'd take the conditions. Incidentally, lots of people thought Steph's Jersey off-island look was kind of nasty, and while I agree that I prefer her with the smaller hair and without makeup, I don't think this is that bad. It's certainly not as painful to me as the Jenna Morasca fake-bake weirdness or how crazy some of the others have sometimes looked. Steph looks done-up, but she doesn't look like it's unnatural for her not to be snapping gum. Anyway, Jeff asks if there was a defining moment for Steph when she knew she'd be okay, and she says it probably was her night alone, when she figured things certainly couldn't get any worse than they already were. Jeff asks her what kind of reaction she gets, pointing out that she's maybe "one of the most popular women, certainly, to ever play Survivor." Steph beams -- just beams -- and says she's "so grateful" for all the big love. She means me, y'all. Okay, not really. She says that people come up and tell her she's their daughters' hero. That's nice. And the way she says "daughter" sounds precisely like my brother-in-law, who is also from Jersey. I realize that doesn't mean a lot to you, but it warmed my little heart. Steph says she gets awesome letters from women. And even some letters from men. "Yeah, go figure," Jeff smarms. Because he knows Steph is hot. I have to say, I hesitate to attach meaning to anything in Survivor, ever, but I do find it kind of gratifying that they united their prototype of a hot woman with a really capable woman. Granted, she sucked at challenges of certain types -- okay, all types -- but she's a tough, tough person mentally, and it's a damn sight better to see a few admirers line up for her than to see them all spill their fandom blood for freakazoids like Jenna and Heidi.

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Survivor

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