Booted: Dartmouth alum will not be a 'Survivor'

by John Teti | 11/5/01 6:00am

Those clever "Survivor" producers tantalized TV Guide readers last week by telling them in the episode description that "a member of the Samburu tribe cracks under pressure." Who cracks?

The obvious answer is Lindsey, who doesn't deal well with the psychological aftermath of Tribal Council. She barks at the three remaining members of the Samburu Association of Retired People that evening and cries the next morning because, in her words, "they picked me!"

It's disappointing that Lindsey, my favorite contestant next to Silas, is so easily broken. But maybe the producers were talking about Linda, who doesn't shed tears but doesn't make a convincing show of sanity, either.

Linda is an alum of the College. Dartmouth students should be happy, though, that she now makes her living as a career counselor at Harvard. If her interpersonal skills in Africa are any indicator of her job-hunting philosophy, there's a little less Ivy League competition out there for you corporate recruiting types.

Take Linda's approach "the morning after." If you are an old person, there are two obvious strategies. Lay low and hope that you aren't the next one to be singled out by The Beautiful People, or lobby politely for team unity. The latter isn't a good option here because it's inherently hypocritical -- the rift in the tribe was caused by SARP's bungled alliance.

Nonetheless, Linda chooses the second strategy and adds a twist -- rubbing it in. While haphazardly crowing about teamwork, she patronizes Silas and taunts Lindsey to the point of tears. "Didn't your momma ever hug you?" she says to Lindsey after an awkward half-embrace.

True, I applauded out-in-the-open conflict in last week's recap, but when Lindsey did it, she was using good (albeit risky) strategy -- uniting her generational colleagues against SARP. Linda's version is just stupid, for there's nothing for her to gain by strengthening the lines between young and old now.

At Boran, the lovefest grows more intense. When Kim breaks one of the Unofficial Rules of "Survivor" -- don't fall down during a challenge -- her teammates rally around her instead of ostracizing her! Watch it with the friendliness, Boran. It's bad for the ratings!

Everyone is worried about Tom, who refuses to eat the staple that has, for some reason, replaced rice in this edition of "Survivor." Clarence tries to tell Tom that it's just like the grits he eats back home in Virginia, but Tom says it's more like something "that rhymes with 'skrits.'" I'll assume that Tom, who continues to blur the line between accent and impediment, meant "Kibbles 'n' Bits."

Tom isn't helped when Kim fouls up the reward challenge -- which offers an array of seasonings for the gooey cornmeal. His desperation shows when he spots fruit at the top of a palm tree and he starts to shimmy -- if you could use the word "shimmy" -- up the tree trunk. As his shorts head in the opposite direction, we get the obligatory glimpse of Tom's ass.

Boran's fortunes are reversed at the immunity challenge, and the tribe is pleased because it doesn't have to vote Kim off the savanna. It's true -- they're happy that they don't have to get rid of a teammate! Those silly Boran.

Meanwhile, at the more sensible Samburu camp, the open animosity goes to new heights when Teresa asks which member of SARP will have his or her flame extinguished by Jeff Probst that evening. The Beautiful People agree to tell, but only if the oldies agree to vote for Lindsey again.

Consolidating the votes on one person could potentially help Samburu after the merge since previous Tribal Council votes are used as tiebreakers. Linda, in a rare moment of lucidity, wonders what she gets out of it if she votes for Lindsey.

The answer: nothing. It's a stupid plan that falls flat and makes me wonder whether Silas et al. are as clever as I thought.

At Tribal Council, Jeff gets into a debate with Silas over the benefits of their alliance. Silas says that it's unavoidable at this point, and Jeff argues that there is "one sure thing:" Samburu needs to be solid going into the merge. It's the first time I've seen Jeff advising contestants on strategy. Jeff appears to be harboring a grudge against the Gen-X crowd. Could it be bad "Rock & Roll Jeopardy!" memories?

Linda, predictably, gets the boot, but the SARP voters spit in The Beautiful People's faces by casting their ballots for Silas, not Lindsey. I don't know how the spirits, gods and goddesses allowed Linda to be voted off, but I'm glad they did. Hypocrisy has no place in Mother Africa.