Welcome To The Ami/Julie/Leann Show
So Chris won, remember? Sure you do. You laughed! You wept! You wrote to your relatives!
We open the Reunion portion of tonight's Vanuatupalooza by gazing fondly upon the now-famous Chris interview in which he explains that by allowing women to see your warm and vulnerable side, you can fuck them over much more efficiently. Uh, Chris? You really don't need to spread that around, because as a principle, it causes enough trouble for some of us already.
Back on stage, Jeff and his...baseball jersey (someone has apparently absconded with Jeff's usual collection of pseudo-casual safari-barbecue-company-picnic-wear) explain that Chris's ability to read chicks is "just one of the reasons" he won the money. Other reasons, of course, include bitterness, stupidity, artificial joints, and the unbreakable bonds of NASCAR. Jeff asks Chris to recall his "rough start" in the first episode, when he found himself unable to navigate the balance beam and almost exited first. Asked whether there was a turning point for him in the game, Chris tells a story about Julie coming to talk to him after she jumped alliances back from Lopevi to the women after the merge, and asking him if he hated her. He assured her that he didn't hate her, but was just disappointed. Jeff -- beginning a bizarre effort that will last throughout the episode to cast Chris as a worthless piece of shit -- says in an accusatory fashion, "You played the disappointment card." Huh? Chris is like, "Uh, I guess," and then explains that he was glad he kept his relationship with Julie intact, because ultimately, Julie was the person who took up for him with the Ami alliance. Jeff tells Chris that he was very good at telling people what they wanted to hear. "You played this big-brother, 'I'm just really disappointed,'" Jeff lectures, based on apparently very little evidence. I mean, didn't Chris have reason to be disappointed when Julie went with the women instead of with Lopevi? Isn't "disappointed" pretty much the precisely correct reaction? Chris counters that his thinking was that Chad had been extremely upset with Julie after she bolted the Lopevi alliance, and that Sarge reacted the same way, so basically, Chris just felt like acting angry wasn't productive, no matter how angry he actually was. "I saw an opening to keep my mouth shut," he says. Wow. Yeah, Jeff, he's a real bastard.
Jeff turns to Julie. "He pays you back," Jeff says, "by putting his arm around you, stroking your hair, and then cutting your throat." Julie nods sadly. "Stroking your hair"? Whatever, No-thario. Jeff then expresses some shock at the fact that Julie voted for Chris anyway. "Because he played me so hard," she says. "I wasn't going to vote out of spite." Jeff congratulates Julie for being "able to separate personal feelings at that moment and still look and say, 'He did play me.'" Julie agrees, because she also thinks she's awesome. And...you know, speaking of separating personal feelings, I'm not saying that Jeff was obligated to tell anyone that he was dating Julie before the reunion aired, but two things strike me. First of all, he loves to embarrass people by going after their personal lives and trying to keep them from having any privacy whatsoever, so I'm not sure his life should have been set up as off-limits, which it obviously was, or someone would have mentioned it. And second of all, if Julie is his girlfriend now, to the point where he's making "this person is the love of my life" statements, can he interview her with any detachment whatsoever? Not to go all professional-obligations about reality-show production, but I kind of feel like Jeff's role at the reunion is largely to call out bullshit, and it's not like he's going to do that when they're a couple. It's just...he doesn't have to not have favorites, but I'm not sure he should be practically engaged to somebody and not even disclose it, because we're kind of sitting through a faked-up dynamic in which he knows her from the show, like he does anyone else. It would be one thing if he had done it in a way that made him seem capable of putting those feelings aside, but...he didn't. Which we'll get back to.