Ready to hear my new CBS sitcom pitch, Les Moonves? It’s called Ugh, Colton!, and it’s a multicam riot about my hundreds of frustrated reactions to Colton Cumbie‘s ridiculous exit from Survivor on Wednesday. There’s a shot of me screaming! There’s a faraway shot of me rolling my eyes! Here’s a closeup of me realizing I have a migraine! Now my eyes are bulging like I’m Evil Marty Feldman. All these reactions and more, Fridays at 9 before an all-new Blue Bloods. Tah-dahhhh! ANGER!
It’s not even a spoiler to say Colton left Survivor last night since his departure was previewed last week and happened right at the top of this episode. After realizing his tribe was hip to his sinister tricks, he threw his arms in the air, wept before the Redemption Island challenge, and pouted, “I don’t want to be here anymore!” This is stupid for a few reasons. 1) Colton’s tribe hasn’t even eliminated anybody yet. He could’ve offed himself when it came time for his team to vote out somebody. 2) The tribes are merging soon, and at that point Colton could’ve clung to his boyfriend Caleb like a capuchin monkey with a baby Paul Lynde face. 3) Colton clearly didn’t care about looking foolish, but I don’t think he counted on his teammates skewering his gameplay with concise, honest barbs.
“When my back is against the wall, I turn into the person I was on One World! I’m tired of being that person! I’m tired of being hated!” Colton complained to Jeff Probst, who glowered like a mean park ranger.
Without flinching, Tyson replied, “You turned into that person before your back was against the wall.”
Tina added the kicker: “The fact of the matter is, Jeff, Colton’s having a hard time because we’re not playing Colton’s game. Now he knows he can’t win the game.”
And that’s when it hit me. I can try to root for Colton because he’s a loudmouth gay guy whose spastic machinations are ridiculous and memorable, but facts are facts, and here’s the hardest fact of all: Everyone on his team is a better game player than he is. They have him totally pinpointed. Colton told us he can “rule in chaos,” and his teammates knew his only viable plan of attack was inciting a chaos state. They didn’t even have to interrupt their backrubs to figure it out. Worse, I don’t know if Colton was quite as much of a sitting duck as he thought he was, but that’s exactly why he’s a bad game player. I could totally picture his teammates voting out bigger players ahead of him. Why wouldn’t they?
In the end, I had to agree with (but smirk at the pompousness of) Probst’s anti-Colton tirade. He declared, “Is that how it goes with you, Colton? ‘If things aren’t going my way, I just quit’?… Lots of people like to watch adventure. It doesn’t necessarily mean they really should get up off the couch. I’m now convinced Colton is the guy who never should’ve gotten off the couch.”
Oh, girl. Then Probst went on, deadpanning like Rod Serling with his damning narration at the end of a grim Twilight Zone episode: ”Colton, you came back for a second time to show how much you’ve grown, but your behavior now shows you haven’t. The irony is, the opportunity for the growth you seek is right in front of you. It’s called Survivor.” Wouldn’t it have been funny if Probst was like, “The growth you seek is right in front of you. It’s called Brad Culpepper’s gorgeous chest.” And then Colton rubbed his face in Brad’s cleave and felt better? I bet that was the first draft.
And that’s that! No more Colton. At least he didn’t make any racists statements this year? Or something? That’s my positive takeaway. Well, actually, the good news is I’m still rooting for Caleb, who has proven himself a saintly fiancé throughout Colton’s mess. As players like Brad, John, and Hayden inevitably face their doom thanks to aggressive gameplay, people like Caleb will survive. Caleb’s best move is to lay low until the incendiary players knock themselves out, then go hard with big alliances and moves. It worked for Andy Herren, didn’t it?
The rest of Wednesday’s episode wasn’t so uplifting either. After Tyson’s girlfriend Rachel lost the Redemption Island contest to pointy supermodel physician Candice and Gervase’s jilted scapegoat Marissa, the beleaguered Tadhana tribe lost yet another immunity challenge. It involved sumo-style duels on a floating platform, and that meant we saw dudes push other dudes into water. Sexy for a millisecond or two! But then we had to listen to Laura M. weep about fighting against her daughter Ciera, and you’d have thought we were watching a Lifetime movie called Mother May I Sumo-Wrestle With Tadhana? Word, Survivor contestants: Your interpersonal dramas aren’t that heartwrenching when it’s clear you’re all here to win baskets full of cash.
Yet I was actually riveted by the platform fight between Aras ( <3 <3 ) and his older brother Vytas. After it appeared that Vytas was paralyzed on the floor of the “ring,” Aras allowed him a moment to regain his balance. Vytas took that chance to strike at Aras in a cowardly Million Dollar Baby way, yet Aras STILL beat him. Handily. God! As someone with younger brothers who are often star performers, I sympathized with Vytas. But as someone with an older brother who used to cry when I beat him at CD-ROM Jeopardy!, I chortled and jigged with Aras. I’ll take Sweet Victory for $800, Alex.
Brad Culpepper immediately stirred up a quiet riot when preparing for tribal council. He suggested his tribe vote out the (seriously, legendarily) studly John, whose paramour Candice had already been sentenced to 50 years of labor on Redemption Island. Didn’t take long before that plan caught on; John got the oust. Yipes. Here is an attractive picture of him to help soften the blow.
Obviously he’s only gone to Redemption Island. If the producers are on my side, they’ll have John chopping wood or hauling tires or achieving inner peace with naked yoga. Whatever would look best in a Herb Ritts shoot, that’s what I ultimately want.
Though I think Caleb has a better shot at winning this game than we’re giving him credit for, my guess for the winner of the season is still either Aras or Vytas. I like how they’re positioned. Competent and strategic players who aren’t tripping over themselves to annihilate threats. It could be a bankable strategy. Unlike, say, feigning interest in proving you’re a changed person and quitting when no one believes you.
Oh yes, Aras. That is precisely the “winning stance” I had planned for you/us. Also: I am gross.