Matt rejoins Survivor, and his stupidity sends him back to Redemption Island. Oh, God!

The merge has arrived on Survivor Redemption Island, and with it, the show kicked back into high gear. After winning six consecutive challenges, Matt re-entered the game, joining the merged tribe–and then it voted him out immediately, thanks to his own stupidity.

Post-merge, Matt had two solid options: stay with the alliance made up of his original tribe, the one that voted him out, or join with the other tribe and go after those who voted him out. Instead, he decided to “honor my God,” he said, by staying with his original tribe but telling Rob, the very person who orchestrated his ouster, that he was planning on turning against them. Rob was appalled by his “audacity” and “stupidity,” and said, “It just confirmed he can’t be trusted. … He can still be a good Christian guy–on Redemption Island,” Rob said.

Yes, Redemption Island is back for round two! That was unexpected. Although Matt rejoined the game, the post-merge losers will be sent there to duel one another, with whoever is still standing eventually re-joining the game. Will that be Matt again? As long as he doesn’t have to use his brain, maybe.

On his way back to Redemption Island, Matt swore, “What the hell, guys?” But then he got back on message: “I put my trust in God, and today God’s will was contradictory to what I wanted.” At least he was able to cop to his own bad decisions rather than blame God for sending a stupid-ass representative to play the game on his behalf. “Apparently, I’m just not very good at this game of Survivor,” Matt said. Very apparently. He is, however, good at challenges–he beat Sarita at the recycled challenge that involves standing on very small pieces of wood, even though his foot was cut right where it had to rest against that wood. So, he may stick around to see what God has in store for him next.

At the duel, the tribes merged, following a lecture by Phillip about the samurai that lasted so long the editors cut to the sun and clouds a few times and put up a hilarious “elapsed time: 22 minutes” clock, which was really referring to the challenge but helped make the point that Phillip was babbling. He also went off on a tangent about stinky parasites at Tribal that got people giggling.

The new tribe is named Murlonio, which is all the evidence you need that Rob Mariano is playing these people non-stop: the word is an inside joke between Rob and Amber, a name for her stuffed animals.

Rob is also providing comic relief–really, his evolution from dick to hero is remarkable–because as several merged tribe members sat around and reveled about how Jesus fasted for 40 days and 40 nights (“about the same time as Survivor,” the realized, not realizing that Jesus didn’t get reward baskets), he lamented the “Christian coalition brewing.” He added “I’ve got nothing against God,” but just said it was bad when people united over anything, including romantic comedies and Oreo cookies.

I want an Oreo alliance on Survivor.

The show’s youngest-ever female contestant, Natalie, won the first individual immunity challenge, as she was able to hold on to her balls longer than anyone else; she defeated Mike, who had a fly on his balls. In the pre-Tribal Council scrambling, Mike wrote Matt a note, trying to get him to flip, saying, “Vote for Grant and I’ll take you to the final three.” Matt, the dummy, was impressed: “Top three, huh. That’s not bad.” But he did not, and it did not matter anyway, because Rob convinced his tribe to vote against him.

And Ometepe still has the post-merge advantage, never mind that they are sleeping under the tarp that they won, as they reminded those Zapatera losers.

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.