Survivor
Panama – Exile Island: A Closer Look

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This Is Your Clip Show

Previously on Skull Muggery: the entire season, which consisted of a very short-lived gimmick followed by what's been a fairly conventional and straightforward game, except for the inclusion of Shane, who is legitimately crazy. There were originally sixteen people, and we are only rid of six. That news is just as unwelcome as you would think. With ten left, it's obviously time to reminisce, which is a good thing, given the way it coincides with the beginning of the NCAA tournament.

The clip show begins with a mishmash of new footage that the producers would like you to believe will broaden your understanding of events such as President Beefcake's alienation from the proletariat and the trials that Anonymous Lumberjack Lady went through when she was on the island for, like, five minutes before becoming the first bootee. It also threatens to show a lot of people singing at random, which is a reunion/clip-show staple. It's like there's one guy who always wants to put the singing in the show, and he always gets outvoted, and then they take pity on him when they're cutting the filler show together. His most frustrating job would be working on American Idol. Anyway, the singing here is so bad that lizards flee, incidentally, but don't let that make you think it might have been better left on the cutting-room floor. Also, there's something about territoriality and soap, and something about lunatics, and primal yoga screams. And: "Highlights" of the first two weeks on the island. Because the show has been running since the beginning of February, and now it's the middle of March, and they're afraid you have forgotten everything. You are the Memento guy, and you have "FIRE REPRESENTS LIFE" tattooed on your arm.

We get the super-short credits, which is hilarious, given that this entire show is filler. It's like they're afraid they won't be able to quite cram in all the filler they need to share with you before the end of the hour. This filler wasn't important enough to include during weeks with full credits, but now, we must shorten the credits to accommodate it. Clearly, this is not a way to extend the length of the season -- it is a way to right wrongs.

Travel back in time with us. Everyone landed on the island, and the four tribes thing happened. The young women lost, and they had to throw somebody to Exile Island. Our first "New Scene" (so labeled for those who are making wise use of their DVRs at this point and cannot tell one shot of dirty people whining from another when it's flying by at eight times the broadcast speed) takes place at the Young Women's camp, where the ladies are spending their first day trying desperately to get a coconut open. Loopy music conveying a general feeling of ineptitude plays as Courtney tries to hack open a coconut with a machete. Girls trying to do things that only boys should do makes for hilarious television. I also almost forgot until they run this clip that Courtney is a "Fire Dancer." She explains in an interview: "I eeehhm shaaaahked, at haa baaa-lee aaah-mm duuhh-eeeen, with the caaah-caaah-naaaah." Where are the subtitles when you need them to explain that she is shocked at how badly she's doing with the coconuts? She takes another hack, and then Chiclets interviews that they all were "expecting a male to be here" to do things like open coconuts. For one thing, Chiclets knows different males than I do, because I could take my five closest male friends, and only one of them strikes me as a sure bet to open a coconut. Several of them might be able to talk it into opening itself, but I don't associate with a lot of guys who make extensive use of the verb "to brandish" with regard to themselves. Surprisingly, the Younger Women don't turn out to entirely need a male; they just need a female with a little power behind her swing. Sally manages to bury the machete in the coconut, and once you get to that point, you're golden. Sally tells us that she worked construction one summer, so she loves to work with the machete. In fact, her favorite part of construction, she says, was demolition. (Insert an incredibly tacky after-the-fact divorce joke here, provided you don't mind that you will be instantaneously transported to hell and roasted slowly over a spit while being basted with barbecue sauce.) Once Sally gets the coconut open, the younger women all sit back and enjoy the milk.

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