Survivor: crazy stuff happens and Marty leaves

Survivor Nicaragua threw a lot at us last night: contestants crashing through brick walls, Jeff Probst taking sides, Jane transforming into the Crypt Keeper, NaOnka having another insane outburst, and Marty finally taking the walk of shame.

First, the immunity challenge was something straight out of Big Brother, just with better prop design and hosting. It also wasn’t that difficult but Brenda beat everyone easily. They must have been fatigued; otherwise, is it really that hard to remember six symbols–six symbols that you can turn into six letters of the alphabet, or a mnemonic device? The best part about it was Kelly’s name tag, which actually said “Purple Kelly.” Give it up: I still don’t believe she’s even a contestant. She’s probably a Dream Teamer who’s just trying to get more screen time than having her hands and feet shown during challenge descriptions.

Earlier, the reward challenge was a team-based challenge despite the fact that we’re now post-merge. I get why they do these–fun to watch, half the tribe gets screwed, new alliances might form–but mostly this season we’ve had team challenges dominated by one team, and now we got that again. As he called the action, Jeff Probst oddly basically rooted for the women (“run back and hit it again,” he said when they couldn’t break through a wall; “keep moving women,” he yelled, and saved special comments for the oldest team member: “let’s go, Jane, you’ve got it in you.”

Translation: Another uneven team challenge on this goddamn season, really? But that actually worked out, even though the women were ultimately decimated. First, kept up with the men, at least until Jane started to drag them down, and in fairness, the men did have Dan, who they had to resuscitate four or five times. Second, Chase was the random odd person out, and he chose to side with the women, and would have won reward if they did. And third, Probst gave the men the opportunity of giving their reward to the women (he suggests he made this up on the spot). None of them offered to give up their zip line tour and barbecue reward, as they felt confident and cocky.

The women, though, including Sash (tee hee) and Chase, banded together and voted out Marty, who felt secure in his alliance with the other men, and wanted to flush out NaOnka’s idol and get rid of Jane all at once. Benry, Dan, Fabio, and Marty all voted for Jane, but they’re now the minority. I’d bet Dan and Benry go next, while Fabio may be able to pull himself back into the game, if only by playing dumb. Earlier, he said, “I hate playing stupid so much,” and while he said “it’s real easy,” “laying low” and “being cool” is “a good strategy.” He’s right; it is.

So, of course, is taking a nutcase with you to the finals, which is why everyone looks away when NaOnka starts her nonsense, which she did at Tribal Council, rendering Probst “speechless” even as she insisted “I’m very far from stupid.” Probst basically said that he expected her to be in the final three because of her behavior, and everyone seemed to agree. NaOnka, who farted last week during a confessional, gave Marty the finger after he mocked her (I assume) while coming back from the voting confessional, where he drew a dead fish next to Jane’s name. Well, who’s floating belly-up in this game now, Martypants?

Surprisingly, man not eaten alive on Eaten Alive

Eaten Alive

Discovery Channel’s happy family holiday special Eaten Alive aired Sunday, rewarding viewers for their two full hours of viewing by ensuring that they spent quality time in the company of others instead of wasting that time doing something else that might not have been as satisfying, such as buying things that have labels which accurately reflect their contents.


Winter 2015 reality TV debut schedule

winter 2015 reality TV schedule

Mark your calendars with all these upcoming reality TV show debuts, including Celebrity Apprentice, The Bachelor, and another season of MasterChef Junior, all of which kick off in early January.

There are also 20+ shows debuting in December--including the one-off return of The Sing Off. No winter break for reality TV.

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.