(In this entry, "Survivor" and "The O.C.")
Terry, Terry, Terry. I want to like you, I want to root for you, I want to do a Photoshop collage of you and Tom Westman, but you're making it awfully hard. First there was your stubborn insistence on hanging onto the pole last week. (He really needed Chris Rock standing on the beach yelling, "Get off the pole! Get! Off! The! Pole!") There was never going to be a better time to use the Immunity Idol, and you wasted it.
And then, last night, so, so, so many mistakes. First, he made virtually the same dumbass sales pitch to Danielle and Bruce that he made to Shane and Cirie the week before, offering Bruce the lovely gift of finishing in fifth place instead of sixth, and offering Danielle the Idol plus... I dunno. The thing he doesn't get is that Casaya, despite its challenge success and its unified voting these last two episodes, is an incredibly fractured powerhouse, and someone like Danielle is probably better off getting rid of Terry and his tight-knit pals, then carving off a sub-group (say, her, Cirie, Courtney and Bruce) to get rid of Aras and Shane. Unless Terry offered one of those two final two, or offered both of them final three, he wasn't offering them squat.
Even worse, having revealed his posession of the Idol to Danielle, Terry damn sure should've been prepared to use it that night as a back-up plan. It was pretty obvious Austin was the next-biggest target, so he should've handed him the Idol before Tribal Council, with the understanding that if their plan worked, Austin would have to give it up to Danielle. That way, Aras would've gone home no matter what, and it would be easier to break Bruce or somebody else away.
So now not only does Terry only have one ally left, but now the bad guys all know he has the Idol, which will make him a target at every single Immunity Challenge. Sooner or later, we're going to get the trusty ol' plate-breaking contest, and everyone is going to smash Terry's plate first, just to force him to give up the Idol. And at that point, he will have zero margin of error. And if he loses the next IC, he's essentially screwed, because all Casaya has to do then is split their vote between Terry and Sally, and no matter who those two vote for, Sally goes home and Terry loses the Idol (unless he's willing to sell out Sally in the process, which he might be).
I don't think Tom was a mental giant, either, but the difference is that he had Ian to do the thinking for both of them. (Ian was the one who explained how imperative it was to get rid of Greg, immediately, and had to fight to convince Tom to go along.) Terry could've had his own brainy sidekick, but he got rid of Dan Fuego weeks ago in favor of keeping strong but stupid Austin and Nick. Yeesh.
All that said, I was really enjoying the episode up until Austin got the boot. This is the most pre-vote scrambling I think we've ever seen, and while it was a dumb plan, it seemed like Bruce and Danielle were both seriously considering it. Couple that with Austin and Terry's knowing smiles to each other at TC, and I thought for sure they had pulled it off -- or, at least, that they were smart enough to have Austin holding the Idol. Beyond that, I liked Terry's reveal of the Idol to Sally, because you could tell he had been dying to brag about it to someone ever since he found the damn thing. ("I found it in, like, 20 minutes! Now kneel before my mighty awesomeness!") I liked seeing Aras "rewarded" with breakfast in the wettest bed of all time, and I liked both challenges.
At this point, I'm pulling for a Cirie/Sally final two. Odds?
Meanwhile, after last week's semi-promising episode, "The O.C." went back to the dumb-ass plotting that it's been foisting on us for the last two seasons. Seth lying to Summer about a Brown-related matter was annoying enough the first time, but to trot out that stunt again? Marissa -- who has an alcohol overdose and a questionable shooting on her permanent record, and who hasn't been trying at school, or even going that often, for her junior and senior years -- gets into Berkeley? Sandy is such a manipulative dickhead that he actually tries to use his money to talk Ryan out of taking Sadie to Berkeley? Sandy is such a manipulative dickhead that he actually chooses the bribe over taking down the bad guy?
I don't really know what to say beyond that, except to wonder how they're going to contrive things so that all the kids wind up at UCSD next year (maybe they can go with Veronica and Wallace to Hearst College), or else how they're going to contrive that Seth and Summer wind up at Berkeley and how many episodes it'll take before Josh and company realize it's time to send Sandy, Kirsten, Julie and Dr. Roberts to the Far East to hang with Jim and Cindy Walsh. Then again, considering the ratings and the obvious creative meltdown, I'm not so sure "The O.C.: The College Years" is going to be anyone's problem.
Didn't watch or record "Earl." When "The Office" isn't on, I often don't bother. The rare instance of a lead-out driving a viewer to the show that airs before it.
What did everybody else think?
Oh, and in linkage, today's All TV column has me reviewing this Sunday's "West Wing" episode. The short version: though there's a little emotional reaction to Leo's death, it's mainly turned into a Santos/Vinick plot device. Blech.