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Survivor Cagayan Premiere – Eps 1 and 2 – If They Only Had A Brain

They could wile away the hours/Conferrin’ with the flowers/Consultin’ with the rain/And their heads’ll be a scratcin’/With crazy thoughts they’ll be hatchin’/If they only had some brains.

The Scarecrow knew. And now Survivor knows. If you only had a brain.

On behalf of nerds around the world, I would like to formally apologize to the Survivor community. You can put six super smart people in a room and ask them to do anything other than play a smashing game of D&D and it will fall apart. The ego of always being the smartest person in the room usually gets the best of them. And as for Survivor skills, well, most brainy folks are indoor people. The skills that made you a nuclear engineer, chess champion, undefeated litigator or president of a baseball team usually meant you were not outside exercising or shopping for cosmetics at the mall.

What we witnessed in the Survivor premiere was what happens when too many brains are thrown together – and it ain’t The Big Bang Theory. Although in this case it provided a big bang alright. A big bang of pathetic.
What the show has tried to do with the Brains vs. Brawn vs. Beauty idea is to not just put together the high school cliques we all know and don’t love. What it tried to do is also flip the stereotype on its ear. That’s why you get a totally physically ripped brain (Garrett), and a very smart brawny cop (Sarah), and a physically fit beauty (LJ), etc. Sarah the Cop said it well after she Boston Robbed the Brains on the puzzle challenge – are we sure she was placed on the right tribe?

Before we begin to lament the fate of the four remaining Brains, remember that Denise and Malcolm were the last two left on their pathetic Russell Swan-led tribe and they managed to make the Final Four – with Denise winning and Malcolm likely to have won if he won that last challenge. So there is hope for Spencer and Tasha – both of whom I have begun to have instant affection for – and the other two. Let’s go into the insanity of the Brains for a bit before we do a bit on the others. I want to get this column in at a reasonable word count, but boy, CBS, thanks for not helping with a double episode full of crazy.

Instantly, the Brains were off to a horrible start. Probst had each group select a leader – a ridiculous thing the show has done before – based solely on what they saw in front of them. The Brains picked Miami Marlins President David Samson because he was wearing a blazer. On Survivor. To me, that’s not a leader, that’s bad planning. He then had to select one person from the tribe who was the “weakest.” He had no idea why, unless he had actually watched Survivor: Tocantins. So, instead of the skinny woman, or the skinny man, or the older lady, he chose the huge muscular guy as the “weakest.” He then actually verbalized why – because he was playing ahead for the last 2/3 of the game. And he did so without a shred of remorse for having to make such a stupid decision so early. He also forgot that in order to get to the back 2/3 of the game, you have to get through the first third! You are a tribe of brainy folks – keep the burly guy around if you think this is an impromptu elimination. And for a brainy guy, let me ask, have you ever seen a season of Survivor with only 15 people?

So we start off with a mistake. However, everyone knows a nuclear engineer is the same as a, well, a building shelter engineer, right? Oh yeah, it’s not. So J’Tia has stepped up to project manage the shelter building. Of course, she has chosen to do this is in the worst possible way – barking orders and not lifting a finger. In a perfect metaphor for the tribe, their shelter collapsed instantly.

And J’Tia? Wasn’t that the Vulcan from that horrible Scott Bakula Star Trek show?

Then we have the challenge, and the Brains can’t figure out how to properly move chains or fit items through holes. They get totally smoked. Between her chain issues and the shelter, Marlins has targeted the Vulcan for elimination. However, Counselor Kass has chosen to tell the Vulcan about this plan. Brilliant! Give her a chance to scramble! And she scrambles. Effectively. In another perfect metaphor for his rebuilding baseball team, the Marlins President is in last place.

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