I adore Ashley. Over the 19 seasons I have been watching Survivor
I'm not sure if I have ever seen anyone so excited to compete in the
gross food challenge. When Mick read the tree mail Russell Hantz - the
big man who bullies other people around - looked very intimidated. Liz
was whining. Natalie was making monkey faces. But Ashley's eyes got as
wide as saucers and she started jabbering excitedly. To hear her talk
you would have thought this was the peanut butter and chocolate eating
reward challenge. Despite apparently being a coconutatarian, Ashley
made sure to brag that she'll eat anything.
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Oh Ashley, how ever did you screw that one up? One minute she was looking so pleased with herself and gulping those fish guts down. Half an hour later she quit with about a tablespoon to go. Ouch. Epic fail. Ashley tossed her Mallomars - and her game - in the bushes. She never had a chance after that. But if she did she made sure to throw that (anywhere but the basket) during the immunity challenge. Natalie's insistence that Ashley was a rock star was the height of friendship because the poor girl looked like she was lip-synching without a record out there. Rough ending for the fan girl of Survivor: Samoa
I also loved Shambo's confrontation with Russell Swan. When he told her she was going to miss out on the feast she said, in the world's scariest tone of voice, "Excuse me?" She was one brassed off ex-commando. But as soon as she sat on Foa Foa's bench you could just see her melt. "Hi, guys!"
Some former contestants may whine that Shambo could have murdered half the tribe in their sleep and been portrayed as a goofy underdog. There's a word for such contestants. Jealous. I recognize that Shambo is getting a starring role on a season where Kelly, Natalie, Laura and Brett could set the beach on fire and stage a KISS concert without being seen on TV. I get it. But the footage doesn't lie. Shambo has a great sense of humor about herself and she can obviously be a supportive friend. (Hey, just ask her for a clue to the Hidden Immunity Idol. She'll give you three.) She just doesn't fit with Galu.
Congratulations also go to Liz for risking life, limb and serious rope burn in this week's Immunity Challenge. Her central arteries were on full display as she held onto that rope for dear life. Liz isn't usually my favorite. But I know she had to have been proud that the rope literally dragged her away. She never gave up.
Finally, for an exciting moment there I thought Russell had failed to get his way for the second Foa Foa Tribal Council in a row. He seemed avid that he wanted Liz gone for challenging his authori-tay. Alfred Hitchcock set an entire suspense movie in a lifeboat once and Joel Schumacher made one in a phone booth. But the producers seemed as stumped as their star about how to make compelling television when no one at Foa Foa would leave the shelter during 48 hours of rain.
The blind vote they were teasing was intriguing. But you knew something was up when we started hearing confessionals that didn't come with a video attached. Either they were recording the confessionals someplace they didn't want to show on television (like under a tarp) or... the producers just didn't want to reveal that there was sunlight in time for Tribal Council. If we'd known that we would have realized that the tribe had a chance to scheme after all. From the CBS.com Insider clips it's clear that they did reach a consensus and Russell told people how to vote this week too. Bummer.
This week's episode was a haunted by the Soggies (Where are you Cap'n Crunch?) Next week's episode looks to be more of the same as Jaison weeps in his hands and another body gets carried off. But much like Cap'n Crunch my enthusiasm for Survivor: Samoa is unsinkable. Is yours?
-Henry Jenkins, Guest Columnist(Image courtesy of CBS)