We are back, this time in a probably fictional location called "Micronesia" (what's next, hilarious jokesters? "Ittybittystan"?), where ten former contestants whom the show insists on calling "favorites" take on ten new contestants whom the show insists on calling "fans." Everyone has agreed to several shared delusions, including (1) these people, who look precisely like everyone else who has ever been cast, are the show's true "superfans," because Survivor is the only insane fandom ever with an attractiveness quotient well above average; (2) James and Ozzy are equally imposing, despite the fact that James won zero individual immunity challenges and Ozzy won approximately eight hundred; (3) Jon "Jonny Fairplay" Dalton is entitled to make up his own wrestling name and everyone else has to use it; and (4) the ten "fans" of the show totally remember who Eliza and Ami are.
After the obligatory "let's rock this thing" snickerdoodling from both sides and a fantabulous moment in which Yau Man drops Jon into the side of a boat with no ill regrets, there's an immunity challenge in which Eliza gets a bump on the head (perhaps she will awaken with an ability to shut up, which ability she has not gained since her time in Vanuatu) and the "favorites" get roundly thumped by a gang of gym rats and enormous fake boobs. Yau Man is immune on account of having found an early immunity idol, and it looks like Eliza might go down under the power of a pair of early showmances: Ozzy/Amanda (oh, fer...) and James/Parvati (EWWWWWW!). But then Dalton realizes that everybody is bored with his bullshit and that he's not going to be the center of attention, considering that the attitude is basically, "Oh, yeah, him. He might be lying, so...noted." So he capitalizes on the fact that he has recently knocked up poor ANTM Michelle, who has now undoubtedly had something on her face much more disgusting than flesh-eating bacteria. (Oh, yeah, I said it.) So he makes like he's all upset, and he fake-cries, and he asks to be voted off, and Probst is like, "Pussy!" It's all very dramatic, but at least he's gone. The end!
Incidentally, as far as structure, pop, and entertainment value, his was the worst episode in the history of Survivor, for my money.
Note to self: Do not attempt jokes supposing that "Micronesia" might be fictional. Micronesia has many passionate defenders, and they wish for you to know that she is not at all fictional. She will come with her tiny swords and her miniature daggers, and she will poke you and poke you and poke you. "Poke poke poke," says tiny Micronesia! "I poke you with wee implements!"
Previously on Jeff Probst's Guide To Testosterone: Fifteen seasons happened, including an All-Star season smack in the middle that was either very funny or fodder for a lifelong grudge with the bitterness of boiled lemons, depending upon whether you are Lex.
We open on -- and I know this will be a shock -- an expanse of blue water. The music is insistent and repetitive, coming as it does from the original score of There Will Be Coconuts. Unless the returning "favorites" have really put in a lot of extra time in the tanning booth (which I wouldn't rule out), these are locals of some sort with their faces painted, streaking across the water in their sleek little boat. You can actually tell that the ones doing the work are not contestants from the fact that they're paddling in unison and nobody is paddling with the wrong end. And then Jeff Probst is there, talking to us on his headset in a helicopter! All the ladies think he's rad. We float over Micronesia's little islands, and they're little, see? Micro-nesia! I always wondered why my maps said "Macronesia" instead of "Greenland." (I AM KIDDING DO NOT EMAIL ME.) (Be advised, by the way, that "Micronesia" is producer-speak for "Palau Yet Again.") And for the umpteenth time, we are assured that our setting has beautiful underwater animals and coral reefs that nobody at all is going to break off pieces of, RIGHT, punks?
And then, on a boat, we see ten people hanging out on the boat being paddled to shore. I'm pretty sure I must have already opened one of the NINE PREVIOUS SEASON OPENERS I have written about by mentioning that if the contestants' boat should tip over, they can use almost all the women as flotation devices, but if I haven't, consider it noted here. Seriously, the giant-boobage is way, way, way out of control this season. Jeff assures us that the only thing these people have in common is being "fans of Survivor." And, in the case of the women, having giant boobs. And then he drops the already-defused bomb that these ten people don't realize they're going to be playing against...a tribe of "Favorites"! The first non-Probst words of the season come out of the mouth of my boyfriend Jonathan Penner, who notes that being a fan of the Boston Red Sox doesn't mean you'd want to play against them, because they'd kick your butt. Hmm, I see a few flaws in that logic, but wow, he still has beautiful eyes, so: objection waived! And then Jon "Calling Myself 'Jonny Fairplay' Is The Most Creative Thing I've Ever Come Up With, So I'm Sticking With It" Dalton assures us that he "played a perfect game last time," aside from the losing part, and that he considers himself the best player ever. Which is ludicrous, obviously, but you can kind of see this little pop in his eye at the end, where he goes, "Snack on THAT!," like, "I have said an extreme thing; people will talk about it all day!" He is nothing if not convinced of his uniqueness.
Parvati (ugh) is seen gathering her hair on the top of her head in a way she believes is H-O-T-T as she says she will be playing in a "no-holds-barred" manner. I believe that, actually, since I doubt there's a hold you could propose that she would bar. Yau-Man tells us frankly that there isn't any reason to come back and get dirty and rained on unless you intend to win the money. I'm so happy to see him. Cirie (yay!) reminds us that she's a couch potato just like we are. She looks great, though. I'm not sure whether she's just a bit slimmer or whether it's something else, but she looks a lot more...done up than she did before. James tells us that he feels like he half-belongs on the other team, because he's such a fan of some of these other people. Ozzy -- who has chosen a brown-mustard-and-white tank top of some sort and has cut off his mop of hair -- says that "everybody wants to beat [him] now" (heh), and he just hopes to show the same will he did before.