An episode that proves Survivor Cagayan is actually dumb vs. dumber vs. dumberer

This season of Survivor should have been called Dumb vs. Dumber vs. Dumberer. With the exception of the final vote, which really was the first smart decision the brains tribe has made, there was blistering incompetence on display. And it was wonderfully entertaining.

Even the brawn tribe showed off its stupidity, trying to throw a challenge in order to get rid of Cliff, because they didn’t want to deal with him post-merge. That made so little sense I have to wonder if we’re missing something. Of course, the brawn tribe decided the challenge they’d throw is the one that actually had a basketball component–and then they failed to actually throw it! How perfect.

All they had to do was look over at J’Tia for a model of how to screw every single thing up, like rebounding a ball by throwing it far out of bounds, and they would have been fine. When the tribes were standing on rafts before the immunity challenge, I so wanted J’Tia to be the one to throw the immunity idol back to Probst, because it would have ended up at the bottom of the ocean.

I’ll give J’Tia this: She is self-aware and knew that she was in trouble at Tribal Council, and also acknowledged that “I’m the reason why we’re hungry.” Still, she actually praised their performance in the reward challenge–which they lost, badly, by blowing their lead.

Oh, by the way, THERE WAS A REWARD CHALLENGE ON SURVIVOR!! FINALLY!!

That challenge build was pretty evil: We’ve seen the blindfolded/give directions challenge before, but this one had railings around the course, all of which appeared to be placed at testicle-rupturing level. (Considering extensive testing these challenges go through, I don’t believe Probst for a second when he said that was “a weird coincidence.”) Guys kept stabbing themselves in the groin, and more than one woman was hit in the “stomach,” as Probst said once. I wonder if this was punishment for their stupidity.

For their reward, the beauty tribe received three chickens and a rooster, which led to discussion about how exactly hens lay eggs, and whether or not the rooster needed to be involved. Alexis, having apparently been failed by any education she’s received, didn’t understand “what makes them make eggs,” and asked, “so the eggs just keep happening?”

Luckily LJ cleared things up, pointing out that his tribe were stereotypical dumb, attractive people and then saying “we all know eggs came first because the dinosaurs had eggs and they were before the chickens, so…” So indeed.

Kass and Tasha were not sure whether to get rid of J’Tia or Spencer, the only person who does anything on their tribe. You’d think it was a j’duh decision, but I do understand their rationale that, given a merge, Spencer will probably flee from those morons into the arms of whoever wants him.

I was super-frustrated with Probst at Tribal Council; he not only repeatedly called out that Kass and Tasha were whispering to each other–Just let things happen, Probst!–but he even got called out by J’Tia for manipulating someone’s words to argue for eliminating her.

The preview revealed that there’s a tribe switch ahead, which is somewhat disappointing, because I would have liked to see a J’Tia-less tribe attempt to function on its own for at least one episode. But having a three-person tribe also limits challenge to just three people on each team, and the switch will hopefully create some new interesting ways for people to do dumb things.

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.