Jimmy Johnson’s time coaching the Survivor fogies ends

Survivor Nicaragua lost its most famous pre-game contestant ever as Jimmy Johnson was voted out of the tribe unanimously after just nine days. At Tribal Council, he volunteered that he was “one of the weakest two” players, and since the other weak player, Danny, denied that he was weak, the tribe dumped him.

This was apparently the work of mastermind Marty, who I kind of like but also suspect is going to get annoying soon. And his confidant, Jill, is playing the much smarter game. At this point, I’ll be super-disappointed if she doesn’t win the game. She’s so good. First, she encouraged Marty to show the tribe the idol she found. Suddenly, it’s his–and the tribe is momentarily energized by his act of goodwill. Of course, she’s probably smart enough to realize that they will eventually think of him as a threat.

Meanwhile, when he approached her about voting off Jimmy Johnson, she was kind of dismissive, lumping Jimmy Johnson in with the other weak players: a very rational way of looking at it. But to keep Marty on her side, Jill said, “You just come to me and tell me what to do.”

Marty had grand fantasies that removing Jimmy would be a big power move for him. “I need to remove him so people lose their daddy; they’ll either shake and crumble, or they’ll have to come to me,” he said, later adding that “it will shake the tribe to its core.” But since the whole tribe voted with him, and even the person voted out agreed he was weak, I’m not sure it did any shaking at all–at least not like Marty was thinking. Jimmy Johnson may have been the emotional core of the tribe and they might find themselves without someone nice and warm to rally around, left only with a bunch of people fighting for power.

That, of course, works great for Jill: Let the alpha men take each other out and ignore her.

Speaking of being ignored, that is not NaOnka’s strategy. I don’t even know how to describe her, but she’s the most abrasive, obnoxious person on the show in a long time. People like Coach and Russell could be annoying, but in a way that is still amusing; it’s just frustrating. NaOnka’s just full of ugly, negative energy, and worse, it’s totally for no reason. She just seems to hate everyone. It’d be fun if she was hating on the same people we are, but it’s the opposite.

She always expressed contempt toward Fabio, who’s awesome–How great was his interview during which he was trying to convince us that he wanted to do more than “make people laugh” and then he made us laugh by jumping when a hermit crab crawled across his foot?–and also keeps ripping on Kelly for having one leg.

NaOnka and Kelly got into a fight over the immunity idol clue, which wasn’t very hidden in a basket of fruit they won as reward. They saw it at the challenge site, and then had to endure the drive back to camp, probably planning the whole way how they were going to get it. NaOnka decided to just push Kelly aside and dive into the basket, smashing fruit and pissing off her tribe but getting the clue for herself, but of course she couldn’t decipher it.

She said, “sorry about squishing your bananas,” and later told us she didn’t regret the confrontation with Kelly, addressing her in an interview: “Hopefully I’ll push you so hard that damn leg will fly off.” I’m pretty sure Kelly could take off her leg and still take NaOnka, and I hope we’ll get the opportunity to see that, though I think NaOnka will flame out soon (perhaps next week, when Probst teased Hurricane NaOnka).

NaOnka’s nuttiness aside, Survivor Nicaragua now seems like most seasons at this point, which is to say it’s not as much of a crazyfest and is finding its way. This episode dragged a bit without two challenges, though the challenge was dramatic by itself, with Jimmy Johnson’s coaching not doing much to help the fogies defeat the fetuses. Anyway, I wonder if season 22, Survivor Redemption Island, will use the duel challenges to replace the second challenge, thus permanently combining immunity and reward into one challenge. At least we’ll have two challenges per episode.

Review: Married at First Sight

Marriage At First Sight

In an era of Tinder and Grindr, instant acceptance or dismissal of a potential partner, or instant sex with another body, Married at First Sight offers the thrill of watching strangers deal with the very basics of relationships.

Beyond the headline-grabbing premise, the series has turned out to be a stripped-down, authentic exploration of something very interesting. Read the full review.

about the writer

Andy Dehnart is a journalist who has covered reality television for more than 15 years and created reality blurred in 2000. A member of the Television Critics Association, his writing and criticism about television, culture, and media has appeared on NPR and in Playboy, Buzzfeed, and many other publications. Andy, 36, also directs the journalism program at Stetson University in Florida, where he teaches creative nonfiction and journalism. He has an M.F.A. in nonfiction writing and literature from Bennington College. More about reality blurred and Andy.