| Survivor II, Episode 2|
People who eat people are the luckiest people in the world
By Bill Vaughn
Before the bloodthirsty lords of England turned Australia into a very large prison island stocked with the underclass of Ireland, the aborigines made a nice living dining on one another. Their meals, which were trussed by the hands and feet on poles for transportation to the cooking fires, were called “long pigs.” Later, after these native peoples survived attempts by the Europeans to exterminate them, they just couldn’t overcome that sweet tooth for human flesh. In the area of Queensland where Survivor Out Back was choreographed, the local tribes preferred the meat of Chinese gold miners to that of whites because the coolies tended to be vegetarians by circumstance, and tasted better.
But now another specter is haunting Queensland, the specter of constipation. After host Jeff Probst revealed breathlessly on Letterman that someone on the set didn’t take a dump for fourteen days, I can’t think about anything else. Is it Mike Skupin, the creepy motivational speaker who sneaks out into the gum forest on missions unknown before his Kucha tribemates are even awake, the guy who claims he’s a “student of nutrition”? Is it the emaciated hillbilly, Tina Wesson, who couldn’t keep down her raw tripe during the immunity challenge, costing the Ogokor Tribe a body? Could it be Keith Famie (French patois for “hunger”), the allegedly hotshot chef whose phlegm-like boiled rice so nauseated his tribe that they turned in relief to the tasteless fry bread served up by the professional irritant, Jerri Manthey (who proves that actresses don’t have opinions, they only have moods)? Or is it Jeff Varner, the girly boy who seems to spend so much of his time barfing? I was certain at the beginning of episode two that it was Kel Gleason, the hapless fisherman and oxymoronic Army Intelligence officer who was accused of nibbling on smuggled jerky (because I needed to get this regularity thing behind me I desperately wanted to believe his story that it was only grass). But now that Kel’s loner ass has been voted off the continent I’m so obsessed by finding out who this time bomb might be I can’t even force myself to care any more about who wins and who walks.
I figured, like so many did, that hints about the Plugged One would be cleverly revealed at the immunity challenge. I mean, here was roughage for the taking; locusts, cow brains, worms, a veritable native smorgasbord (minus, of course, any butt meat—for some reason children watch this show, after all). When Long Island bartender Kimmi Kappenberg allowed as how her moral armature didn’t permit her to eat land-dwelling animals, only veggies and sea, I took this as a sign that she simply wasn’t getting enough food of any sort in her person to form a decent stool. And if this is true then maybe what Jeff Varner said about Kimmi on Superbowl Sunday (“I’d like the grab her by the neck and shake the shit out of her”) was a nice thing, and not a mean thing. Or maybe her laudable refusenikism simply meant that her system was working just fine thank you, and she didn’t need any grubmeat to oil her wheels.
Anyway, I’m praying to see laxatives as bait in the reward challenges over the next two episodes. And knowing producer Mark Burnett, the former nanny and vendor of used clothes who leaves no buck unturned, we’ll see the brand name prominently displayed. Limey expatriot Burnett even claims that corporate ownership of America’s national parks would be a good thing because they’d take better care of these treasures than the government. Well, of course, just like the timber industry babies the forests, gold mining companies venerate our rivers, and Exxon so loved Prince William Sound that it spread its crude on the waters for all to enjoy.