The Importance Of Being Eldest

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Thai Idol

We open the show with shots of gorgeous scenery and Thai people bustling about a bustling village. A woman hangs her laundry on a clothesline, when suddenly sixteen strangers plow through her back yard, duck under a yellow shirt hanging on the line, emerge, and continue on their way. I kid you not. How would you like it if sixteen Italians or Spaniards or Koreans or even New Jersey-ites showed up in your back yard one day and messed with your laundry? Here in America, we shoot people for a lot less than that. In any case, clearly this is Survivor Thailand, and just the first of what I'm sure will be a long string of obnoxious acts on the part of our new S16. Children bathe and wave, because they don't know better yet. Even the local goats exchange curious looks. We see that one of the S16 is not only corrupting the streets of this serene village, but doing so on a skateboard.

Peachy appears, to the immense joy and exaltation of the competitors and the home viewing audience. Well, no one reacts much either way, I suppose. He explains that they're in a small fishing village on the coast of Southern Thailand "in the heart of the ancient Orient." As we all know by now, they're about to begin the "adventure of a lifetime," but Peachy fails to mention that he means the lifetime of a dung beetle. Which is two years, incidentally, so not quite what I was going for, but you know what I mean. A fruit fly would have been better, but it doesn't have the same ring as "dung beetle." In any case, Peachy announces that the S16 will leave the village as "a group of men and a group of women." As opposed to as "a group of garbage pails and a group of soup spoons." Their destination is a beautiful and dangerous jungle -- a former pirates' haven, but clearly now just a haven for know-it-alls and know-nothings. Peachy promises exotic wildlife, including a fiercely yawning baboon and a spider, as well as the king cobra and the very dangerous reticulated python. It's also the monsoon season, and the island is "certain to be pummeled by frequent tropical storms." I'd so rather see them pummeled by rotten tomatoes and cornhusks, but I'll take what I can get. Taping will last for thirty-nine days, and Peachy gives his usual spiel: blah blah abandoned, blah blah new home, blah blah fend for selves, blah blah utilize resources, blah blah survival skills. Blah. Some bats fall asleep as Peachy continues droning all the stock phrases we know well by now: blah blah ultimate challenge, blah blah sixteen strangers, blah blah forced to work together, blah blah create a new society, blah blah while battling the elements and each other. Not to mention the ratings. The S16 pile into two brightly colored boats and don life jackets. Blah blah learn to adapt, blah blah voted out, blah blah one will remain. Peachy musters up as much excitement as he can, then drones, "Thirty-nine days, sixteen people, one Survivor!" but even he can't get that excited over the competition among this new crew.

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