Saturday, November 26, 2011

A Remarkable Family, In Anyone's Book

Cast & Crew. Yes, we were all in the same show.

Way, way back, one week ago, our sold out run of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat came to an end.  I am having trouble accepting this, as I feel like I should be getting ready for a matinee performance right now - eating quickly, dancing around my kitchen, pinning my bangs back so they'll hide under the wigs, & applying pale foundation, obscene amounts of black eyeshadow & dark lipstick to transform myself into my goth character.

 Instead, I'm sitting at my computer, looking through photographs from our 3 months together, in disbelief that there won't be even 1 more show.  No more wrestling with quick costume changes, no more hoping I can get my scarf off, no more constant hugs from children who aren't mine, no more laughing in the green room.

Whether they are photos from the call-back auditions, way back in June,

At the time, they were strangers, every one of them.

time spent rehearsing,

Learning music
Rehearsing Song of the King with our Pharaoh, Andrew
First rehearsal with the fantastic band
Me & my adorable shadow, Mikayla

The handcuffs were a big hit with Kai

 our mall flash mob,

Coming to you in technicolor!

the gorgeous professional shots from our dress rehearsal,

Poor, Poor Joseph

One More Angel in Heaven

That's me!

Close Every Door
Mega-Mix, we conquered you

candid backstage photos,

Melanie's vintage Joseph jean jacket

Luke, Martin & Derrick - our Biker, Movie Director & Rastafarian

Too much colour for this goth.
Todd & Katie, our Joseph & Narrator

 or dimly lit, fuzzy moments from our cast party,

Derrick, Shira, Dan & Matthew

Lara, Madison & Thalia

Me & The Camel.  YES.

they all seem to provoke an odd, strangled laugh that I'm sure is scaring my son in the next room.  It's hard to believe I didn't know any of these people in those first photos.

2 weeks ago I was having mixed feelings about Joseph coming to an end.  Of course I would miss all the people, & being part of such a great show, but I was looking forward to my life getting back to normal.  While this experience has been tons of fun & a fantastic challenge, it has been hard for me to be away from my family more than I ever have before.

I was 21 the last time I was in a musical - after that, the timing never seemed right.  Engagement came soon after my last role - Audrey in Little Shop of Horrors.
I didn't know it here in rehearsal, but a blond wig + stilettos + a push-up bra = husband!

Next came the house, wedding, a new house, pregnancy, baby, another new was a never-ending stream of commitments that made "doing a musical" seem selfish.  Time flew by, & suddenly I had a 7 year old who had never seen me on a stage.  Something that was such a huge part of my life had been absent for so long, my son had no idea that his Mom had ever been in plays.  I realized that much like waiting for the perfect time to have a baby, there would never be a perfect time to do a show. 

I had to work up a lot of nerve to audition for this...12 years had passed, & I felt more than a little rusty, out of shape, & also, auditions terrify me.  My husband fully supported me, & I am so, so glad that I went out for this.  When I got a part, I was excited...& then my younger brother was cast as well, & aside from everyone telling me how amazing he is all the time, having him there calmed my nerves & made super-shy me way more comfortable & able to be myself.  

My brother, Matthew & his show wife, Melanie - the Geeks
This experience has been special for so many reasons, & one of them was sharing it with my brother, with whom I have always sang, but never on a level like this.  If I wasn't trying to embarrass him, I was bursting with pride.  But everyone else can shut up about how awesome his voice is, despite never being trained, ok?

3 months ago, at our first rehearsal, most of us were strangers, learning names along with our notes & steps.  Now I can't think of a single person involved in Joseph without a fond memory or inside joke springing to mind.  I spent more time with these people than I did with my family - I'm a little annoyed that my son is doing so well in school this year, because I feel like I've been severely slacking on the homework front.  Turns out everything was just fine while I was gone.  Huh.

Paul & I - the Goths
I didn't know if I would be able to pull off the "goth" character.  I am no triple threat - I've always thought of myself as a singer, & I'll try to act, & stumble my way through the dancing.  The idea of being cast as a character so far removed from myself was daunting.  I thought I would be a nondescript wife, singing in the background, doing exactly what the other wives were doing.  Not in this production.  Yet, in this working environment, I was never afraid to try something new.  Despite all my previous musicals, this was honestly the first time I ever felt like an actor.  It was also the first time I felt like I could dance without tripping over my own feet.  The confidence I have gained from sulking around on stage & glaring at audience members has been enormous.  Who knew?

In building this show, we built our own family.  We all made mistakes & helped others fix theirs.  We used our breaks to go over never-ending choreography & difficult harmonies.  We shared our coffee.  We reminded each other about staging, props, costumes...& we bonded over drinks, like any decent family.  We were, in all accounts, a remarkable family, in anyone's book.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Survivor South Pacific: Recap of the Recap

American Thanksgiving means a recap episode of Survivor.  Probst boasts there are 19 new scenes, but there's nothing really new here.  You might be thinking, "Great! Finally I'll get to hear from those people in the background who are somehow still in this game!"  Yeah, about that....the one time we hear Rick say something, we wish he had never said it.  This hour is just more entertaining footage of Coach & Cochran, which is fine by me.

Hey, CBS?  Coach's Halloween & Chuck E Cheese stories are absent.  We know they exist, because Stacey told us.  Now I am left to imagine the sheer awesomeness of these stories.
What has Coach gotten up to on Halloweens past?  Has he ever dressed up in anything but full dragon slayer regalia?  Has he ever protected a town from ghouls & goblins?
Did something unbelievable happen at a nephew's Chuck E Cheese party?  Or is this a memory from his childhood?  On a slight tangent, what was Coach's childhood like?

Benny Wade

I can't picture Coach the kid at a Chuck E Cheese.  Skee-ball & slides?  Where are the demons that require a beheading?
Wait - what if this is just one amazing story, a story to end all other stories?  Coach + Halloween + Chuck E Cheese?  I HAVE TO KNOW.

This recap episode is chock-full of Cochran soundbites, & here are a few right off the top:

"This is the best shape I've ever been in....this is as good as it gets."

Cochran guts fish with respect.  "I don't put fingers anywhere that I would not want fingers put on my body."  Cochran says this as his fingers are inside the fish, ripping out internal organs!  He is not as protective of his body as I am of mine.

Cochran reveals that Keith & Whitney have been doing more than sleeping in the tiny shelter they call the "bungalow".  "I just don't know if 9 months from now we're going to discover the product of this relationship."  I bet her husband back home has realized something is up as well.

On his game strategy: "I've always known I was going to be horrible at the tribe game.  The individual game, come merge time, is when I'm going to succeed.  I'm gonna be able to slither in & out of every alliance, bond & cut bonds as quickly as you can blink your eye, so if the merge comes & I'm still here, you're gonna see it happen."  

I'm sure there are gay men who can offer great advice on how to make yourself more appealing, & how to approach someone, but Papa Bear is not one of those men.  He gives Cochran pick-up advice which boils down to: wearing a tight shirt, rubbing your hands together, & telling a girl you like her earrings.  Whitney says what all women are thinking "I'd think you were gay."  However, who else but Cochran would tell a pretty girl an anecdote about that time in Kindergarten when you pooped your pants?  Not saying Papa Bear's pick-up techniques are great, but I'd go with the earring thing, Cochran.

Cochran is wearing the iconic Coach coat: "I feel like the dragon blood that flows through his veins is now entering my pores & into my bloodstream."

The best Cochran moment was at the very end, where the editors dubbed Cochran's Keith impersonation (solely comprised of sports metaphors) over a shot of Keith talking animatedly.  AMAZING JOB, EDITORS OF SURVIVOR.

This episode also showed us lots of Coach:

"Would I rather have Coach Wade on my tribe or would I rather have Ozzy?  I'd rather have Ozzy on my tribe, absolutely!  Come on, give me a break, I'm not a great Survivor!  BUT..."

Brandon wanted Coach on his side as Coach has played with honour the past 2 times.  He asks Coach for a commitment, & Coach's face lights up.  SOMEONE LIKES ME!  They make their promises as men of God.  Personally, I think someone who is trustworthy without the fear of eternal damnation hanging over them should they ever go back on their word would be a better person to trust.

We see a nasty side of Coach, as he punishes a sick-to-her-stomach Mikayla for using too much cream & sugar in her coffee by talking about pork fat, cooking it, & choking down some pieces.  This is the leftover fat from the leftover pork from the gross pork challenge when everyone's spit was mixed in with the pork.  It made me want to vomit, let alone poor Mikayla.

Yeah.  Fat from that pork.

Coach gently tells Brandon everyone loves him, but they're concerned about his behaviour at tribal councils, & Brandon asks to pray on it.  Coach prays, "Give him unbelievable self control when it comes to his tongue."  And the stalking of ladies!  How could you forget the stalking?  Sigh.  It could have changed everything.  Maybe.  
Not really.

Coach can't believe the conditions at the Steve Vai camp, which they are all sharing now.  "Who allows people to live like this?"  Answer: Ozzy the beach bum.  Coach sees that the Steve Vai tribe is "treating Cochran like dirt, & that's not gonna stand on Coach Wade's watch."  This needs to be a catch phrase, & I vow to start it.  He continues, "That kind of stuff pisses me off, so you know what, Cochran?  Come over here.  I've got room under my wing for you."

Coach gives Cochran a run down of the camp if they could all live in Greek mythology.  This automatically nudges Joss Whedon off my list of top 5 dinner guests, & Coach is now on it.  Sorry, Joss, but there's only room for 1 guest's slayer stories at my dinner party.
Ozzy is Narcissus.  Whitney is Erato.  Edna is Echo.  OK, everyone keeps saying she talks a lot, but we've only seen that in one episode.
Cochran is Hercules, obviously.  Coach, of course is Zeus, father & leader of all.  Cochran is slightly concerned.  "I seem to think Zeus ate his children?  I'm fearing that Coach may at some point devour me."  However, it was Zeus' father Cronus who swallowed his children.

Not to be outdone by Cochran's mistake, Coach quotes Nietzsche.  Or Coach thinks he quotes Nietzsche: "When you have more arrogance, you have less wisdom."  Nope, can't find that anywhere.  By anyone.  Good try, though.

Jim has a nice little moment after Brandon loses a chicken where he jokes, "Maybe Brandon can pray for it to come back & it'll show back up."

Finally, in a clip that is sure to be commented on by Joel McHale on Friday's The Soup, Rick speaks about Brandon's inability to properly kill the chicken.  (& I thought Brandon would be such a natural at murder!) Regarding Rick, it is suddenly clear why he hasn't had much screen time.  "It's a chicken! You go for the neck & you spin it around & you kill it!  Or bite his head off if you want to be cool-looking.  Just stretch it out & bite it."

That's not gonna stand on Coach Wade's watch.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Survivor South Pacific: Ponderosa: Jim & Keith

Ponderosa is a web-series that follows the Survivor jury members, & where they go, what they do, & most deliciously, what they eat.  We find out how much weight they have lost, what they desire first (beer), & in this episode, how many odd facial hair designs they can come up with.  Each episode is centered around the newest jury member(s).  They are always entertaining - I started watching when Coach, JT & Courtney made their own rock band, called The Dragons.  Obviously.  That episode was very entertaining.

The videos are available to watch over at, but for those of us outside of the US, here is the first webisode, split into 3 parts:

And just for fun, here's the Survivor Ponderosa featuring Coach, Courtney & JT's rock band.  It is awesome.  It also reminds me how much I loved Courtney.  Bring Courtney back!

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Survivor South Pacific: 23.10 Out-Organize, Out-Clean, Out-Gather

This episode began with Jim joining his boys Keith & Ozzy at Redemption Island.   Jim reflects on the former OompaLoompa tribe: "This is a cult unlike any I've ever seen before."  The devotion to Coach really is quite impressive, especially when you take into account how unwelcome he was at the beginning of the game.

Over at Te Tuna - ACK! Giant centipede shot!  Why, oh why, do you do that to me when I'm eating Udon noodles?  Also, a friendly reminder to not search for photos of centipedes because screenshots from a certain film are all up in there, & Mom, just don't do it, OK?

Over at Te Tuna, Coach is trying to make Whitney & Dawn feel comfortable.  "Jim is the most dangerous kind of person, because to your face & to the surface, he looks like the best friend of everybody.  But when the chips are down, he wouldn't do shit for you."  Whitney isn't buying it, & like Jim, thinks its all cult-like, except the cult she likens it to is Christianity.  "Coach is running the show like he's Jesus.  All of them think they're gonna go to the end?  Obviously 7 can't go to the end.  I mean, it's so frustrating.  I kind of want to laugh at them & be like, Um, y'all are so smart - Cochran went to Harvard, Sophie's going to Med School - I don't understand how these 'smart people' can be so stupid."  Yes.  She did the air quotes.

Question: if you were a huge Survivor fan, wouldn't Tai Chi on Beach with Coach be on your bucket list?  No?  It's just me & Cochran?  Well, at least one of us can cross that off.  Coach's fist is so longer shaking - it is calm & steady & pulling that imaginary bow back.

Cochran admits to drinking the Coach Kool-Aid, but "taking little, delicate, ginger sips.  If I'm not on the cult leader's side, I'm gonna meet my untimely death, so I gotta obey the father of the family.  Side note: I'm sure in 1978, it was horrible for the Kool-Aid company to find out their product had become synonymous with the cult suicide of the Jonestown Massacre, but look at all the free advertising over the years!  That's taking your lemon(-lime)s & making lemon(-lime)-aid!

Everyone goes to the Redemption Island Arena to watch the Duel, or technically, a Challenge, since there are 3 competitors for the first time this season.  Probst informs them that only the winner of this challenge will stay at Redemption Island - the losers will become the first 2 members of the jury.  The challenge is to balance 2 poles on the top of their hands, applying pressure against an overhead board.  No relaxing those arms at all.

Brandon roots for Jim for some strange reason, & Whitney roots for Keith because why?  Oh yeah, because it was revealed that she & Keith fell in love, despite Whitney being secretly married!  Twist!  In my head, Cochran is screaming, "You yelled at me for throwing my tribe under the bus?  For a vote?  In a game?  And I disgust you?"  I'm just overwhelmed with the honour & integrity from Steve Vai's tribe.

Ozzy wins this challenge, with Jim the first jury member, & Keith the 2nd.  2nd in the jury, & 2nd...nope, I'm not gonna do it.   Ozzy is triumphant in that weird monotone surfer declaration voice of his: "I'm sitting in the best place."  How's that?  "Well, I don't have to rely on people's trust, & I'm sitting there at Redemption, eating my heart out, getting ready for the next person to come in.  I'll be nice, I'll make you fish, make you fruit, & then I'll come & beat you & I'll be sitting at the end, too, & we'll see who's back-stabbed who & who has taken the higher road, if you will."

Time to say goodbye to Jim & Keith, & again I'm reminded how much I don't like Redemption Island.  When Jim fell out of the challenge, he knew he was gone.  Out of the game for good.  But he has to go sit down & watch the rest of the challenge before anything happens.  Then it's time to leave, & he just throws his buff in the fire after hoping there was a secret double Redemption Island.  Maybe it's the daylight that makes it much less dramatic.  It just seems like such a non-event, which isn't fair.  Keith throws his buff into the fire In the Name of the Father, the Son, & the Holy Spirit, which seemed a little weird when I watched it, & now it seems even weirder.

My husband is a big Ozzy fan & doesn't know how anyone could dislike him, but I just think he's really full of himself.  I admire his survival skills & athleticism, absolutely.  But that's about it.  Now all alone again on Redemption, Ozzy reverts to his natural form, an otter-monkey.  First we are treated to gorgeous underwater shots of Ozzy diving into the reefs, being tossed about by the waves, & looking as comfortable as I am on the couch.  And he does it all with a snorkel - there are no oxygen tanks or scuba gear involved.  Closing his nostrils much like an otter does is the only explanation.  Next he shows us his monkey side as he scales a tree & tosses coconuts to the ground.  Of course, he poses patiently at the top of the tree until the helicopter can circle him.

Dawn is screwed, & trying to find a way out, & has the balls to say this to Cochran: "I was realizing this morning again how frustrated I am that I jeopardized my own game & didn't out your game plan when our group could have shook it up.  I feel like you could reciprocate."  Pardon me?  Cochran offered you a chance to be part of that big move & you didn't take it.  Then you were dumb enough to not say anything, even while knowing it would mean Steve Vai getting picked off one by one.  You sabotaged your own game, Dawn.  Cochran ponders returning to Dawn & Whitney, thinking it might earn him more jury votes, but I think it would make him look flippy-floppy.

At the Immunity Challenge, Probst asks for the necklace back, & Whitney walks over & just turns her back on Jeff, making him take it off her.  "You're not gonna help me at all, are you?" Probst asks.  "Nope.  I don't want to let go of it."  Immunity means more to Whitney than her secret wedding vows!  Zing!  The challenge involves balancing a bowl of rice on your head over teeter-totters, to pour your rice into a big bowl.  When you have enough rice to tip that teeter-totter, you win.  Probst tweeted that he loves Survivor challenges you can play in your backyard.  New project, honey: we need 9 teeter-totters built by the finale.

I'll hit Costco.

Sophie does well throughout the challenge, & with a last bowl that is overflowing with rice, she wins Immunity.  Probst warns there will be a twist at tribal council.  This makes Dawn hopeful, but rarely are tribal council twists a good thing for those on the bottom rungs.  Cochran starts worrying, & thinks the twist may be a double elimination.  Suddenly, there's scrambling.

Dawn & Whitney need someone to talk to.  Whitney's fair assessment is that Brandon's a loose cannon, Rick's not even playing the game, Edna is far up Coach's butt, but Albert seems like a good guy.  Albert it is!  Albert is a thinker & knows now would be a great time to make a big move - but it would mean going against his alliance.  "My only real chance to win this game is to secure every Savaii vote I can get."  He wants to get Edna out, which will move Cochran up the ladder, & curry favour from Dawn & Whitney - 3 potential votes for Albert in the end.

Coach is walking throughout camp, looking stressed.  He knows Albert has been talking to Whitney & Dawn.  Brandon feeds the paranoia: "Coach, I thought it was our thing not to talk to these people."  Cochran & Albert talk strategy while they play checkers on a homemade set.  Via twitter, I asked Albert what it was made from, & he replied that the pieces were left-over accessories from a challenge, & a box they had won coffee in.  Resourceful!

Albert shares his thoughts with "Soph-a-loph" which may be the cutest nickname for a Sophie ever.  She isn't sure if they should make a move, & says "Albert is showing his true colours more & more, which maybe are similar to my true colours: that I'm strategic & I want to win this game."  Albert presses on with why they should vote Edna out.  "This game's not out-organize, out-clean, & out-gather.  It's frigging Survivor."  Best line of the night.

Coach is turning from cult leader into mob boss.  Gone are the days of love-bombing.  "Albert right now is playing for Albert, & that's a dangerous game to play out here...he's either trying to come up with a last second plan, or he's trying to curry jury votes, & neither one of them is acceptable, in my opinion...If anybody goes against the family, they're dead."

At Tribal Council, the first jury members come in.  Jim looks normal, & Keith...does not.  He's wearing a bright green skirt & has shaved his patchy beard into facial hair that only Johnny Depp & the Count of Monte Cristo can pull off.

Just, no.

As Cochran starts speaking, Jim & Keith behave like cartoon villains, narrowing their eyes, shaking their's good stuff.  Coach starts a long monologue with "I don't do a lot of talking.  Contrary to popular belief, I'm not running this alliance, I'm not running the show, but I'm always thinking in the back of my head that people have to make big moves in order to get further in this game & so I worry, I stress, I believe, I trust - all those emotions, all day long.  It drives me crazy."  It's hard being Coach, you guys.  Seriously, though, Coach has been impressive this season.  He said he was going to be strategic, & he really has been.  Definitely more stressed, though.

Nobody has the hidden Immunity Idol - we know Coach still has one, but have Whitney & Dawn not been looking for the hidden one at all?  Probst reads the votes - at one point we have 2 votes Edna, 2 votes Dawn, & 1 vote Don.  Don?  I know there's always spelling mistakes at tribal, but DON?  My husband & I wager who wrote it.  I say Brandon, he says Rick.  (I won).  Dawn is voted out & as she heads for Redemption Island & some tasty fish courtesy of Ozzy, Probst announces they are going right into an Immunity Challenge, with another vote to follow.

Probst asks Sophie for the Immunity necklace back, & what do you know, she takes it off & hands it to him herself.  Amazing!  Immunity challenge is trivia, & Cochran looks giddy.  They had multiple choice for some of these, but I'll just provide the questions & correct answers:

1. To prevent dehydration, it's recommended Survivors drink how much purified water?  1 gallon.
3 people are out.

2. True or False: A Coconut Crab gets its name because its favourite food is coconut.  True.
2 people are out.

Who knew?

3. The soft, edible flesh inside the stalk of a fallen coconut is called?  Heart of Palm
Coach is out, leaving only Sophie to prevent Whitney from winning Immunity.  The pressure is on!

4. True or False: Although they are quite delicious, you should not attempt to remove giant South Pacific Clams from the ocean as they are considered dangerous.
Whitney says True, Sophie says False.  Sophie wins!  Hooray Soph-a-loph!  Whitney is off to share some tasty fish with Ozzy & Dawn, & write 2 country songs: 1. Y'all Vilified Me.  2. I Left My Secret Husband For The Bonus Jonas.

This episode was the first time this season that I've been able to watch Survivor live, due to a musical theatre production I've been in.  If any of you have been watching live, don't miss the tweeters from Survivor that live tweet the episodes.  If you'd like to tweet along with the most informative/entertaining Survivor tweeters, follow  @JeffProbst, @SurvivorCochran, & @SurvivorAlbert.  They're my favourites, & I'm sure they'll be yours, too.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Survivor South Pacific: 23.9 Everything's Coming Up Cochran

The Episode in which it is Revealed that the Cowardly Wiener is not Cochran.

After being so totally zen as tribal council unfolded around him last week, Ozzy wants to speak to Cochran alone once they get back to camp.  I've always wondered - is there no talking during the walk back to camp?  How long of a walk is it?  Do they have to wait for the dramatic music cue?

Ozzy remains in his surfer zen state, & manages to get one complete sentence out before Brandon appears, wanting to make sure no one is being aggressive towards Cochran.  Ozzy assures him all is fine.  "We're not gangsters out here, man", he says to the guy with the 'Loco' neck tattoo.

I wish Cochran would just tell everyone to kiss his ass, but he explains himself, & uses the rocks as his primary reason for switching.  Ozzy isn't satisfied with this, feels betrayed, & declares "That's how a wiener plays."  Jim doesn't connect so much with the surfer zen Ozzy, instead favouring the tantrum-prone Ozzy from episode 6.  "You're a piece of shit coward. You're a poor excuse for a man.  Don't fucking talk to me ever again."  A little later, Jim also calls him a "fucking piece of shit nerd".  Whitney says "So you're the vote? And you realize Keith & I saved you 3 times?  And that's what you fucking do?  You disgust me."  And she's off to write a country song about feeling vilified, since she uses that word 3 times in this episode.

A saddened Cochran joins the former Oompas around the fire, where they comfort him, & tell him he did nothing wrong.  I see Rick move his lips like he's saying something, but I must be hallucinating since Rick is mute, right?  I wish Cochran had stood up a little straighter against the bullies.  It hurts to see him being yelled at, & feeling scorned.  He has every right to be triumphant & all "suck it, bitches!", but he's not.  Come on, Cochran!

Coach stands next to the new Te Tuna flag, & thankfully it doesn't have any graphic depictions of the actual myth of Te Tuna on it. *Shudder*  Coach then moves down to the beach to do a specific type of Tai Chi that involves shaking his fist in frustration that the rest of the tribe doesn't want to learn from him, like they did in Heroes vs Villains.

Cochran tells Coach he thinks Ozzy should go first, as he's such a threat, but on a personal level, he'd like Jim to be gone.  Ozzy knows he's going to be next if he doesn't win immunity, so he vows to bust his ass at the challenge.

Unfortunately for Ozzy, there's no real way to bust your ass at throwing coconuts into a ring, so he doesn't even make it to the next stage.  Sophie, Jim, Whitney & Dawn now have to crack coconuts open, carry coconut water in their mouths through an obstacle course to fill up a tube.  This challenge provides Probst with lots of innuendo opportunities.  "Whitney getting a good mouthful."  "Sophie sliding down that pole."  Nicely done.  Sophie fights a losing battle with her gag reflex - I honestly don't know how more coconut water wasn't spit out accidentally with all the jumps & falls through the obstacle course.  Crazy.  Jim wins immunity, & trots over to receive his necklace with a coconut in hand.  WTF, Jim? How can you want more coconut water after that?

The Oompas will all vote for Ozzy, because, as Brandon points out, "How many chances do you get to vote him out of this game?" Cochran quickly replies, "Apparently 2!" Brandon looks away.  He looks back at Cochran, laughing at his joke. "...........oh. Yeah. Ha."  I'm not entirely convinced he got it, even then.

Ozzy tells Coach he doesn't want to go, & Coach appreciates Ozzy's humility.  Coach whips out what he says is a Marcus Aurelius quote (I myself cannot go a day without referencing a philosopher from the 2nd century, I don't know about you guys), "Some of the greatest inspiration is born of desperation."  However, this quote is actually attributed to Comer Cottrell, a man who did not live 2000 years ago, & is still alive today.  Step forward & claim your quote, sir!  It seems possible that Coach has forgotten what Aristotle once said: "Dignity does not consist in possessing honors, but in deserving them." Boo-yah!

Do I look like a Greek Philosopher to you?  Give me my quote back.

Dawn very obviously sucks up to Coach, offering him a pillow & blankets.  "I'm gonna need to consider flipping & voting with the Upolu tribe."  Yeah, that would have been nice last week, when you could have sided with Cochran, & that move would've meant something.  Now you just look pathetic.  Note that when everyone was ripping into Cochran earlier in the episode, Dawn was nowhere to be seen - not siding with him, not defending him, not even with the OompaLoompas - just absent.  Dawn remains awful.

Jim & Whitney are talking about how vile & disgusting Cochran is.  Jim says "I could never ever throw my tribe under the bus like Cochran did to us."  Maybe because you actually feel like you're part of a tribe that treats you with respect?  How do these people not get that?  Jim offers a solution to Ozzy: he'll give Ozzy the immunity necklace, & at tribal council, they'll try to convince the OompaLoompas to vote for Cochran, because he's such a cowardly, backstabbing weiner.  Ozzy is so touched he wants to cry, but I say save those tears for the moment Jim actually hands over the necklace.  Ozzy is convinced Jim will follow through on his word, because, after all, he's always been about honesty & integrity, right?

It's 22 minutes into the episode & we're at tribal already.  Cochran describes his reception back at camp as "chilly, & lukewarm, to put it mildly."  Is Cochran describing the temperature at camp, or the people who were swearing in his face?  I'm confused.  These are not your friends, Cochran! Stop trying to say things nicely!  Defending his decision, Cochran says, "I viewed it as an opportunity to take control of my own fate in this game, to play, you know, with the sort of group of people that I wanted to play with (yes! suck it, Steve Vai!)...& I don't mean any disrespect to my former tribe mates.  I know that clearly sounds horrendous..."  Ozzy assures him it did, & Whitney agrees.  Come on, Cochran!  You have 6 people on your side, one of whom surely has been charged with assault in the past.  You can stand up for yourself a little straighter than that!

Brandon pipes up with "The smaller people don't have to take it anymore.  We're not gonna be bullied around.  The Upolu tribe is standing behind Cochran, period."  Cut to Jim, whose face indicates he's having second thoughts about handing the immunity necklace to Ozzy.  Well, it appears that way.  I'm sure he'll stick to his word.
Jim panders to Coach, by saying "warrior heart & warrior soul", & Coach's head literally perks up, like someone said t-r-e-a-t.  Jim gives his best rousing speech to rally the troops.  (It's best if you imagine a triumphant horn section & the Te Tuna flag waving behind him.)

"Today, as one voice, we can send a message to anybody who ever will play Survivor: that you can go through this game honourably.  And if you're a turncoat, you got no place in my tribe.  You can say that right now by voting off gives these guys a chance to really say beyond this game, what is this game really about?"

I think even future players would agree: it's about winning a million dollars.  But Jim is so full of integrity & honour that its understandable he would forget about that part.  Coach is not falling for it, & counters, "It would send a message to everybody that if you stick up for yourself, you're gonna get screwed.  And I'm not gonna see that happen."  The fault in choosing Coach to pander to is that Coach identifies with Cochran, as he's been picked on his whole life.  Before he became the Dragonslayer, obviously.  But yes, as he confided in Cochran last week, he knows what it feels like to be marginalized.  Jim the bully apparently does not.
Ozzy tries a last ditch scare tactic, vowing that if he gets sent to Redemption, he'll return again, after feeding himself well & sending everyone else home.  Now the moment of truth: will the honourable Jim give his immunity necklace to Ozzy?  "I'm gonna keep it tonight."  Ozzy's mind is blown.  In my head, Cochran screams "COWARDLY PIECE OF SHIT WIENER!"

Not only do the OompaLoompas stick to voting Ozzy out, but Dawn does too, as does Whitney!  Whitney!  I know it doesn't make any difference at this point, but how come no one yells at her for directing traffic while Ozzy was thrown under a bus?  Ozzy jumps up, smiling a bit too widely, & says "You guys just fell for my master plan!"  Way to wow us with your thespian skills again, Ozzy.

For the first time, we see what life is like during the day at Redemption Island, & that's probably because the only footage they had previously was of Semhar speaking her truth amongst the trees & tide, & Christine rolling her eyes every 30 seconds.  Now we see beautiful footage of Ozzy spear-fishing in the reefs, & he truly is a rock-star otter fisher-boy.  Not only does he catch the biggest fish he's ever caught, but he also finds some tasty clams to crack open!

While Ozzy & Keith are feasting on the fresh fish, Ozzy wonders what everyone else is eating today.

The 2nd Immunity Challenge of the episode is brought to you by the letter B, & involves balancing a ball on a bended bow, while balancing on a beam. It's also one of those challenges that you can choose not to compete in, & instead gorge on pastries, doughnuts, cupcakes, muffins & iced coffee.  So there's your answer, Ozzy.
Damn you, Probst, & your tempting sweets! It drives me absolutely crazy when anyone chooses the food over competing, so to see Cochran & the former Oompas sit down & binge makes me sad.  I understand that they truly don't need immunity & are in a great position, but I still think everyone should compete, if only to prevent someone else from winning.  Of course, I say that with a belly full of Chinese food, so what do I know?  Everyone dives into the food with so much gusto it's like a food orgy.  When Probst asks Brandon a question, he says he wants to eat, not talk, yet he pauses to whisper sweet nothings to a muffin.

Jim falls out of the challenge early, leaving Dawn & Whitney to battle for immunity.  Probst tells Jim he has no chance at immunity, & Jim barks back with a bratty "I know!"  Dawn tells everyone eating that she'll try to stay in the challenge as long as possible so they can eat as much as they can (they have to stop eating when the challenge is over).  I'm sure immunity has nothing to do with it.  Brandon seems one cupcake away from a food coma, & Cochran offers his shoulder to rest his head on.  Awww.  Careful, Cochran....he may start stalking you next.  Dawn falters, & makes an amazing recovery, & Brandon demonstrates the effect sugar has by singing "So Awesome!"  Whitney wins immunity, which is a non-issue, since Cochran wants Jim gone, & apparently, everything's coming up Cochran right now.

Back at camp, we see that sugar is also coursing through Cochran's system, as he struts around wearing the Coach coat, dances, & then completes the look with Rick's hat.  It's nice to see Cochran comfortable around these people.  Jim tries to persuade Sophie & Albert to side with him, but they see no reason to budge, & Jim seems screwed.  Coach sees an opportunity to use metaphors, & compares Jim to a rhino & Dawn to a snake.  I like it.

At the 2nd tribal council of the night, Jeff seems very concerned with the justness of it all.  "Is it fair to say that it's Dawn or Jim?"  "Is it fair to say that Jim is more of a threat than Dawn?"  "Is it fair to say that Dawn may be more likeable?"  "Is it fair to say that this is what this tribe should do?"  Is it fair to say that someone may have sued Probst recently for past tribal council proceedings?

Dawn makes the mistake of saying that it was hard for her to watch everyone eat while she competed in the immunity challenge.  Uh-oh! Brandon's hand is up!  There's a reckoning about to be reckoned!  "You told us you had wanted to stay up there as long as possible so that we could eat.  You just contradicted what you said."  Silly Dawn tries to reason with Brandon, who forgives her, but will never again second a motion that Dawn is great.  Whitney feels vilified & vilified, & doesn't like that she's been vilified, because she's really a good person, you guys!

Everyone goes to vote, & Probst smiles as Cochran walks past him in the Coach coat.  Yes, he wore it to tribal council.  I am loving this shift in the game as a huge Cochran fan, but also because in my Survivor pool, out of about 40 entries of 3 names each, I am the only person who chose Cochran as one of my picks.  For the last 6 seasons, either my Husband, my Mother, or I have won this we're pretty awesome at guessing.  (Didn't bow-tie Bob teach you people anything?  Always bet on nerd.)  So if Cochran goes as far as I bet he would, before I even knew the depths of his adorableness, I'll be in a good position.

Jim is voted out, meaning that Cochran has crossed 3 of his tormentors off his list, & they're all hanging on Redemption Island wondering how this nerd put them all there.  Pretty amazing for a guy who was in a pretty desperate situation just a few days prior.  But never forget what Comer Cottrell once said, not 2000 years ago, "Some of the greatest inspiration is born of desperation".

Why, thank you!

Thursday, November 03, 2011

Survivor South Pacific: 23.8 The Cochran Show

Who knew masterminds were so adorable?

This is the episode I've been dreaming about.  After last week's bold move by Ozzy Christ Superstar, Cochran still has stars in his eyes over the Survivorness of it all. "You just witnessed Survivor history!"  Unfortunately, nobody else at camp Steve Vai cares about the never-before-seen-in-23-seasons-of-Survivor trivia, & they are miserable.  Keith is the most blunt about his disdain for the decision to send Ozzy to Redemption in Cochran's place.  "It's one thing to be willing to go, but to actually do step up & take control...I guess it's just the way that I live my life - I don't live it where somebody else fights my battles for me."  Easy to say when you get kicked out of the Jonas Brothers because you're too tall.  Again, if any of the pretty people had paid attention, they would've realized that it would have been WAY better for their game to send Cochran to Redemption, & if Christine beat him, she would be a number for them.  Not that I'm complaining.  AT ALL.

Cochran says many memorable things this episode, starting with "If anyone in this game is capable of being a double agent, it's me.  I've already been pretending like I like these people on my tribe for the last 18 days...I think I deserve an Academy Award for that performance."

In recognition of John Cochran's superb performance of Nerd Surrounded by Asses in Survivor:South Pacific, which is now apparently eligible for Academy Awards.

Discussing whether or not he is prepared to play the villain, Cochran says he thought he was going to be the sweetheart.  Keith has a chuckle, "That's a good one."  I am loving it, because with all Cochran's insecurity & over-thinking, he still knew he would be charming.  He probably hoped his charm worked less on the viewers at home & more on the people in charge of handing out one million dollars, but the point is, he knew he would be loved.  There is confidence underneath that sweater vest.

At the Redemption Island duel, Ozzy puts his actor's suit on, & like a movie villain who explains his entire plan to his nemesis, he "explains" the entire plan to his nemesis.  "We lose one challenge because somebody can't operate a clip, & that ends up being the person that sends me here.  You played the idol, you don't even...(flustered pause)...I know one of you...(shit, where was I going with this?)...somebody else probably knew that you had it...(improv is hard!) far as I'm concerned, tribe boundaries...don't exist anymore.  I thrive on the pressure to get back in the game...(dramatic pause)...for revenge...(finished strong!)...basically...(motherfu...)"   To Sophie's keen eye, Ozzy's actor's suit appears to be a woven blend of over-the-top & pathetic.  Itchy.  Cochran does a better job at looking ostracized from his tribe because he's typecast.

The actual duel involves building a pole from sticks & twine that will be able to reach 3 sets of keys.  Once you unlock all 3 locks, the winner re-enters the game.  Jeff Seuss provides commentary:

Your first goal
is to make a pole
that is long enough
& strong enough.

Next step is to reach,
& try not to screech
You can do it
if you put your mind to it!

Christine's pole is shaking,
Ozzy's is not breaking
Christine stops to fix it,
Ozzy simply kicks its (ass).

Christine is quite unlucky,
to leave this way is sucky.
We'll miss your rolling eyes.
Goodbye, Christine, goodbye.

Jeff tells the tribes they are now merged, & they head to their camp to feast on food & beer.  Coach & Cochran immediately talk strategy, & I am happy.  I've been saying all along how great it would be if Cochran was with the Oompas, & it seems more & more likely as the episode progresses.  Cochran is smiling, & looks comfortable.   "I'm excited to become the double agent I was meant to be."  However, I think the more Cochran speaks with Coach, Albert & Sophie, the more he realizes it would be beneficial to just switch tribe allegiances.  What has Steve Vai ever done for him, aside from blistering guitar solos & possibly some tasty honey?  

Coach is all-knowing & appeals to Cochran on an intellectual level, & is actually very impressive in his coaching of Cochran here.  "Our tribe is not budging.  & I feel like you guys are trying to play us.  You guys came up with a story.  You sent Ozzy to Redemption.  You got an idol in your pocket, knowing that Ozzy would win Redemption.  It was a risk, but you knew that Ozzy would win Redemption.  We will not bend, we will vote 6 strong."  Cue the Full House emotional moment music.  "I know what those kinds of people think about people with intellect.  I've been made fun of my whole life, dude.  I might be The Dragonslayer now, but I know what it feels like to be superior in one way to people, & they know it, so they find ways that you're inferior to cut you down.  I know what it feels like, man.  You have a chance to change the game for yourself."  Coach draws a line in the sand. "Come across that line."  So is Coach actually saying he gets made fun of less now that he calls himself a Dragonslayer?  This is why I love Coach.  You too could be a Dragonslayer, Cochran!  Or maybe just stay on the path towards becoming a lawyer...because not everyone is cut out to be a Dragonslayer in the 21st Century.

I'm pretty sure at this point Cochran has decided he has found his people - they're smart, & there's only one ridiculously pretty person.  Cochran spills the "loose beans" on what went down last week regarding Ozzy's night in Gethsemane.  Brandon wants to know who would give Cochran the most trouble if he betrayed the Steve Vai's, & Cochran says Jim has a temper, but Keith has been consistently rude & unpleasant.  Brandon offers protection, & I'm confused because this is a nice thing.  Wait - was Mikayla really an evil seductress?  OMG, has Brandon been sane the entire time?  TWIST!  I wonder if Cochran knows Brandon's relationship to Russell Hantz.  I mean, there are tattoos all over him, but it hasn't been addressed on the show whether any of the Steve Vai's know.  I feel like Cochran would respect Russell's game, even though it's different than his, solely because of how much they both love & respect this game.

Even though Cochran is planning to desert his tribe that never accepted him, he does a good thing.  "I consider myself a strategist, & maybe even a mastermind, but not an evil mastermind, so I returned the hidden Immunity Idol to Ozzy."  He continues, "Up to this point in the game, I feel like I've been putting my fate in the hands of tribe mates I don't entirely trust & who don't entirely respect me.  Now that the merge has come & it's become an individual game, I finally feel like I'm in control of my fate...I am the person right now who gets to decide how Survivor: South Pacific takes shape...& possibly ends."

Dawn, who has never been quite "in" with the pretty people, breaks down when Cochran gives her the option of jumping ship with him.  Cue the Growing Pains emotional moment music.  Dawn is disappointed that she didn't stand up for Cochran sooner.  She has seen him get picked on & treated with disrespect, & has done nothing, even though "I have a son with red hair who Cochran reminds me of".  Let me remind Dawn that she hasn't been too kind to Cochran either, but she has "learned tolerance."  You're awful, Dawn, & no amount of crying can make you sympathetic to me.

Cochran reminds Dawn that if the vote is split 6-6 twice, everyone draws rocks to see who leaves, except the 2 names originally voted for - they become exempt, as is anyone with immunity.  "I've been grovelling & begging not to be voted out since the first tribal council.  Now what we're expected to do is to completely give up our games to fate, with the whole rock draw thing.  This is the first moment when I, & I think you, too, can finally decide what course we want to take."

They will never take our FREEDOM! Screw you, rocks!

The new name of the merged tribe is "Te Tuna", & I think it must be the name of another of Rob & Amber's stuffed animals.  Keith says it's based on a story of how the coconut came to be.  According to Wikipedia, it's A HORRIBLE STORY.  Te Tuna is a Polynesian eel-god who jumps onto land & rapes women, until one day someone cuts off his head, plants it, & shoots spring from it, growing into the first coconut tree.  I do not want to see this tribe flag.

The Immunity Challenge is for 2 Immunity Necklaces: 1 for a man, 1 for a woman.  The challenge is balancing on a perch while holding a coconut between rope & it's so nondescript that all I can say about it is that Dawn & Ozzy win.  This makes the former Steve Vais happy, because if it goes to rocks, there are only 4 of them eligible, then that could go down to 3 or even 2, once you factor in the other idol, & who is voted for first, becoming exempt for the rocks.  So, good odds.

Cochran, however, does not like those odds.  "Even if it was a 1 out of 30 that a rock would send me home, I wouldn't want to do it, because that's not what this game is about.  I love this game, I respect this game, but I don't respect reducing my game to a game of chance in pulling a rock out of a bag."  Well said.

Now that Dawn has a shiny new necklace & is guaranteed safety tonight, she's no so sure she wants to stand up for Cochran anymore.  She was only, you know, crying about her failure to stand up for him earlier, so what's a few more days?  "I feel like he's watching out for himself tonight & nobody else."  And what is it you're doing, Dawn?  And why should Cochran have any loyalty to these people at all?

Surprisingly, Brandon is not overcome with a desire to be truthful at tribal council, & he doesn't tell Steve Vai that Cochran will be voting with the Oompas tonight.  SECOND BRANDON TWIST!  It's like 1999 M. Night Shyamalan wrote this episode of Survivor!  Not a lot of talk before this vote as it seems clear it will go to the rocks, although Ozzy does tell everyone he has the Immunity Idol.  What is his problem?  Ozzy gives the Idol to Whitney.  First round of voting is split between Keith & Rick.  Second round...surprise! Keith, you're gone.  Jim is shocked, & when Cochran turns around to say "I swapped.  I'll explain later", Jim says "Coward".  I say "Bastard."  Cochran, you shouldn't have to explain anything.  And when someone calls you a coward for making a bold move in a game that's in your best interest, you correct him, because that move was the opposite of cowardice.  You blindsided your tribe of bullies, you flushed out the idol, & now you're on the side with more numbers, & nicer, smarter people.  Come on, Cochran, stand up to the bullies!  You're America's sweetheart!

Jim calls Cochran a coward for the second time, & Brandon (Brandon!) steps up & says "Don't talk to him like that. That's what you get for talking to people like that in the first place."  As they leave, Brandon tells Cochran, "Stay close to me."  OMG am I starting to like Brandon?