Amazon Strategy #8:  Booyah!
Written by Mario Lanza on 04.04.03

"So? You're a rocket scientist.  That don't impress me much."
-Shania Twain

We had three major themes in this week's episode.

First off, Dave says "booyah" a lot. I'm not sure if you caught that, it was very subtle. Actually, no it wasn't. By the way, for those of you who aren't familiar with that particular term, it is a catchphrase popularized by Stuart Scott on ESPN's Sportscenter. Which doesn't surprise me, since Dave was once a frat guy and because frat guys love Sportscenter. It is the oldest rule in the book. But "booyah" is rather pedestrain for my tastes.  If Dave wanted to show his true love for Sportscenter, I would have preferred that he went back to the days of Craig Kilborn and used "Jumanji!" That is my all time favorite Sportscenter catch phrase. Or perhaps he could have used "sweet sassy molassey!", which came out of an ESPN parody on Saturday Night Live a couple of years ago. But I suppose "booyah" is good enough. It is a multi-purpose term, and it can mean just about anything, as was evident in the way he used it on the mask. So thank you, Dave, for bringing that phrase back into the popular lexicon. But please Dave, don't ever use the word "bitching" again. Ever. Prior to this season, "bitching" had not been heard on TV since the summer of 1988, and we don't need it returning. Who do you think you are, Mallory Keaton?

The second major theme of this week's episode is that Matthew is a serial killer. And I have to say that this is one of my all time favorite themes of any Survivor season, it is just hilarious. We get shot after shot of Matthew, staring blankly at nothing or just sharpening his machete. But the best thing about all the serial killer scenes is the music. In all of the "creepy Matthew" scenes, we have this eerie, horror movie type music in the background. It was particularly funny during Christy's confessional, where she appeared to be legitimately frightened of the man. She was just flat out scared for her life. And you know, because of Matt, I really wanted to start off this week's column with a quote from a horror movie. I am a walking encyclopedia of 1970's and 1980's horror movies (don't ask) so it would have been perfect. But the catch is that so many good quotes would have applied to Matthew that I couldn't choose my favorite. Here are some good candidates though:

"I met him, fifteen years ago. I was told there was nothing left. No reason, no conscience, no understanding; even the most rudimentary sense of life or death, good or evil, right or wrong. I met this six-year-old child, with this blind, pale, emotionless face and, the blackest eyes... the DEVIL'S eyes! I spent eight years trying to reach him, and then another seven trying to keep him locked up for I realized what was living behind that boy's eyes was purely and simply... evil."
-Dr. Sam Loomis, Halloween

"Sometimes that shark looks right at ya. Right into your eyes. And the thing about a shark is he's got lifeless eyes. Black eyes. Like a doll's eyes. When he comes at ya, he doesn't even seem to be livin'... 'til he bites ya, and those black eyes roll over white and then... ah then you hear that terrible high-pitched screamin'."
-Quint, Jaws

"What if there -is- some boy-beast running around Camp Crystal Lake? Let's try to think beyond the legend, put it in real terms. What would it be like today? Some sort of out-of-control psychopath?"
-Ginny Field, Friday the 13th Part 2

For the life of me, I still can't figure Matthew out. I have no idea who he is, or what he is trying to do. Or what his strategy might be.  Every sign in the game right now points to him just being clueless. In fact, he even told us this in a confessional. And why would he say that unless he was telling the truth, he has no reason to lie to us!  But I still believe that he is doing all of this on purpose. I will say it over and over and over, I think he is playing the game and he is playing it hard.  But the problem is that I can't offer any proof.  He is such an enigma, and it makes him fascinating to watch. Does Matt intend to come off like a psychopath?  Is it a strategy?  I want to know!  Matt, when is the real you going to finally show up?

And finally, our third theme this week is that Rob loves to trash people behind their back. But we already knew that, didn't we? Yet it was significant this week because of the fact that he knows that Heidi and Jenna are playing him. He KNOWS that girls like that wouldn't give him the time of day in the real world. And he seems to resent this. In fact, if you pay attention to the way he talks, Rob seems to have a good deal of resentment about a lot of things. He hated Dave's popularity and his good looks. He hated Roger's bossiness. He hates Matthew's "stupidity." He hated Alex's relationship with Shawna. Rob seems to be kind of an angry person in real life, and in his pre-show interviews he even admitted to not being a very nice person back in the real world.

Why do I bring this up?  Well because I think that Rob's dark side will eventually show up in this game, maybe even as early as next week. Up to now he has been a goof off.  Up to now he has just been some guy who is trying to make funny sound bites and is trying to be the guy you will remember from the Amazon. And it has actually been working too.  Like, this week, I actually felt cheated when we didn't get to hear his comments when casting a vote. CBS, come on man, give us our Rob fix, we need it!  But all that will change soon. A darker, meaner Rob is about to emerge. He doesn't have a whole lot of enemies at the moment, but people are going to catch on to him soon, and at that point things will start to get nasty.  Note that Rob very blatantly threw the immunity challenge this week (C'mon Rob, everyone knows what a bushmaster is, that is something you guys certainly would have been prepped on before being thrown into the jungle). If you paid attention this week, the minute it was clear that Rob was throwing the challenge, he was chopped out of the game. 1-2-3, see ya John Carroll.  The other players were all on to his little charade, and I think he got busted for it.

So Rob, watch your back. That's all that I'm saying.

The immunity challenge was really fun this week. I loved the masks and I loved their obliteration even more. It was fun to watch, and it was a nice variation on the same challenge we have seen the past two seasons. Of course the only bad thing about this type of challenge is that the bootee really has no chance to save himself, it really takes fate out of his hands. But it was a fun little challenge regardless. I love how the players all "ohhhhhh"ed sadly in unison when the first mask was destroyed.

The reward challenge was fun too, although it was obviously quite skewed towards the men. No way was a woman ever going to win that thing. But the challenge also helped prove my old theory that Women covered in mud = Good TV. Note that the log-rolling challenge a couple of episodes ago also featured women falling in mud. And I, for one, applaud this new trend on TV.  More mud!  More bikinis! Thank you CBS, for catering to the demands of the people. And I just have to say, if the final four does not involve women wrestling in mud in some way, I will be turning the channel. I am just warning you now.

Weekly notes:

* Deena said that she was going to accelerate the "5150 status" of Matthew soon. Now, I had to look up what she was talking about, but this is actually a pretty funny reference once you get it. Here is the definition of 5150 that I found online:

5150 is the section of the California Welfare and Institutions Code dealing with involuntary confinement of a mentally disordered person.

Here is another definition:

A 5150 is a person needing mental health treatment, based upon the California Welfare and Institutions Code section for civil commitment... Other states will use different numbers, such as '730' in New York.

So basically, Deena was saying that Matthew is totally freaking insane and that he needs to be put in an institution before someone gets hurt. She is just using California legal slang (which she would know of course) to say it in a gentler way. See, don't say you never learned anything new from my column.

* I love the new "Twigs and Sticks" nickname for Jenna and Heidi. Kudos to Rob for coming up with that.

* Dave might have been voted off, but at least he went out in style. Did you notice where his hands were on Heidi when they were sleeping together? He was definitely enjoying his last few nights there. I guess Heidi really is quite a handful.

* Speaking of Dave, the funniest shot in this episode was right after he talked to Alex near the end. Dave was depressed that he was going to be voted off, and he walked away. But Dave had these incredibly short shorts on, and he was also wearing a long t-shirt. So from the angle we saw on TV, it looked like he was walking around without any pants. And, you know, there is really nothing funnier than seeing a sad guy walk around without pants. In fact, I had to watch that scene three or four times to confirm that he actually DID have red shorts on.  You could just barely see them.

* Rob got busted by Probst for laughing at Matthew's Tribal Council answers. Oops!  But Rob executed a nice save by quickly explaining that he was "proud" of Matthew's turnaround, and that's why he was smiling. Uh, yeah, right. Sure.  I think we really need to see Rob in the final two, just to see his answers to the jury questions. You thought you saw a lot of B.S. when Brian was giving his answers last season?  Just wait and see what happens when Rob gets there. The jury will need shovels to dig their way out of the load that he is going to drop on them.

* And finally, my reader email quote of the week. As usual, it comes from the popular Dennis Goodman, who sends me my funniest email nearly every week. I swear, this guy needs his own column:

"Matthew's sunken face and bulging eyes looks odd. Did you notice that he is starting to look like the Nazis right as they were getting their faces melted when they looked at the ark? I expect his face to melt at any time."


Who is most likely to win at this point? Well, the previews point to a lot of turmoil next week, so take these rankings with a grain of salt. But if the game continues in the direction it is going now, the rankings are pretty straightforward.

1. Rob Cesternino
He deserves it the most and he tries the hardest.

2. Jenna Morasca
She stays out of the spotlight and she might never have a vote cast against her.

3. Alex Bell
Everyone seems to have forgotten about him.

4. Matthew von Ertfelda
Would you take the chance on voting him out??

5. Deena Bennett
In a strong position, but in many ways she is basically a female Roger.  

6. Heidi Strobel
Too abrasive, too talkative, too visible. She is Jenna's smokescreen.  Jenna can hide behind her.

7. Christy Smith
I'm not entirely sure what her strategy is.

8. Butch Lockley
He is running out of allies. At this point, he can really only advance via the grace of others.

Next week's pick to go: Gosh, I don't know. Butch is the obvious choice, but he doesn't seem all that threatening. Matthew and Alex are far bigger threats, and people could turn on Deena in a second if she pushes too hard. I suppose I will stick with common sense for now and say Butch. Let the Pagonging continue. (My backup surprise pick: Christy).

Mario Lanza lives in Los Angeles and he is looking for a job. Want to hire him?