So, you're Jimmy Johnson. You've coached football teams to collegiate national championships and Super Bowl victories. You've been a trusted and entertaining TV football analyst. You've made commercials for, ahem, "enhancement" products. (OK, that's probably not your proudest moment.) But still, you've got a lot going for you. So why do you want to be a contestant on "Survivor" and have a bunch of whiny, conniving, 40-and-over reality show contestants question your coaching abilities?
The inane comments of Johnson's Espada teammates on this week's episode of "Survivor: Nicaragua" are enough to make him shake his silver-haired head in disbelief.
Of course, the 30-and-younger La Flor team doesn't behave any better, as Tar Heel contestant Kelly Bruno, below, learns when she gets in a brawl with a teammate that leaves no banana unsmushed.
As the episode opens, we know that Kelly B., the Durham resident and UNC medical student, is in trouble. She had aligned herself with dumb musclehead Shannon, who was voted out last week. Kelly B. tries to say that the tribe will now be united with Shannon gone, but her arch-nemesis, NaOnka, ain't buying it. She rolls her eyes and says Kelly B.'s statements are "faker than faux fur." And that was one of NaOnka's nicer comments of the night.
Over on the Espada tribe, we learn that Marty, a technology executive, is growing frustrated with how starstruck his teammates are with Coach Jimmy J. But Jimmy J.'s not worried -- he's out in the jungle communicating with howler monkeys. (Jimmy J. does get in a good line, noting that if his TV analyst buddy Terry Bradshaw was there, he could really talk to some monkeys.)
Dan, the New Yorker on the older team, worries about being seen as a weak link, especially since he's stiff and has a leg injury. He says he's not as athletic as some of the men on his tribe, but that he is as strong as the women, even though some of them are "built like mooses." (So not only does he have a bum leg, Dan's quite the sweet talker with the ladies, too.)
NaOnka continues to be Miss Congeniality at La Flor, taking aim at Jud (aka "Fabio") for being an airhead. (OK, he is awfully dumb, but NaOnka says even his hair gets on her nerves.)
For the Immunity Challenge, each team has to race out into the jungle to collect 10 barrels. Once the barrels are rolled back to the competition field, they are lined up and the teams must toss small sandbags atop them. The first team to have sandbags on all 10 of its barrels wins.
Host Jeff Probst specifically calls out Dan for not doing his share in getting the barrels. "Dan, you need to do something!" Once both teams have their barrels back, they pick who will throw the sandbags. Espada relies on Tyrone the firefighter, who starts out very strong. The previously little-seen Benry is tossing for La Flor. (Chase Rice, the former UNC football player, is subbed in for a quick second to toss, but he misses and is soon back out. That's about all the airtime Chase gets this week.)
After Tyrone's tosses starts going awry, Jimmy T. (crazy-eyed fisherman) begs Coach Jimmy J. to put him in. Jimmy T. does get his chance, but it's too late. Benry leads La Flor to victory, giving his team immunity and a big box of spices and fruit.
Our girl Kelly B. notices a note giving a clue to the hidden immunity idol in the fruit, but so does NaOnka, left. "Damn the fruit, I'm going straight for the paper," NaOnka says. And she does, knocking Kelly B. out of the way and pretty much destroying many of the bananas. NaOnka's behavior doesn't really go over well with her teammates, but she's unrepentant. She says she got all "hood" on Kelly B. but didn't have to get all "ghetto" -- whatever that means. She also tells us she is not going to be nice to Kelly B. just because she has an artificial leg. (Don't worry, NaOnka, I think it's safe to say no one's ever going to accuse you of being nice.)
At the losing Espada tribe, there's lots of questioning about Coach Jimmy J. Jimmy T. is smarting that Coach didn't put him in sooner. Tyrone is a little peeved that Coach took him out. Marty is glad that things are getting nasty. "Do not mess around with me. I'm playing this game for real." (Right, Marty, and how many Super Bowl rings do you have?)
Jane Bright, our third North Carolinian this season, continues to look like a strong player, as she did in week one. She doesn't want to vote Coach out because he's her fishing buddy. Jill, the ER doctor, also speaks up for Jimmy J., right, saying he's the most accomplished leader on the tribe and is always boosting morale. (And he can talk to monkeys, for goodness sake!)
At Tribal Council, it looks like the decision will come down to Dan (he of the bum leg) and Coach Jimmy J., the oldest player on the team. Jimmy T. goes on another rant against Jimmy J. and notes that there are three or four weak players on the team. Questioned one by one by Probst, all the players say they aren't weak except Jimmy J. He notes, "I am the oldest player ... and one of the weakest, too."
And that was the kiss of death for him. Everyone (even Jane!) votes him out. It's a major bummer that one of the most entertaining and likable players of the season is gone so soon. Probst knows it, too.
"You vote out a proven leader," he says to the team. "The question is, who is going to fill those shoes?"
Yeah, and who'll chat up the chimps, too?
Next week: NaOnka shows her really nasty side. Wait, she gets worse?