Episode 10 – ‘Kiss Off’ OR ‘Death of Superman’

Don’t get caught at the gun fight with nought but a knife. Arm yourself with the previous episode analysis here!

Goodbye to everybody’s favourite middle-aged white CFO, The Kentster. We had some fun with him but ultimately he didn’t do enough to keep himself in the game any longer. Just how did he fall from the dizzying heights from which he once soared? Let’s make like Jerkicho at an ice-cream parlour and stuff our face with the goodness.

Bearly There.

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“If you look around and don’t see the dickhead, you’re it”

It might have been too much of a case of once bitten twice shy for Kent. Who, having unsuccessfully done a fair amount of wheeling and dealing last episode, mixed up his tactics and tried something new by ‘setting up shop’. In its self this is not necessarily a bad strategy, but it doesn’t usually work when your balls are on the chopping block. That tactic works best when you’re in a swing position, and people want to use you to swing things in their favour. Could one argue that had he not done this, and had instead taken a more active role in positioning himself and campaigning another option he would not have gone home? Probably not, but this tactic of his was symptomatic of the way he alienated himself post Jacqui’s departure (and what was the deal with sitting out of the reward challenge? Anybody know what happened there?). I said in the last episode analysis that it would behoove him to try and form a relationship T&A (T-Bone and Anneliese). I guess the other problem he had that, while it didn’t actively work against him, it did nothing to help, was his bond with Odette.

Dreadlocks on Holiday

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You said it Mama J!

If one were to say Kent did nothing to save himself, then Odette is somehow doing less than nothing. Seemingly now left with no Kent to stand on, what can she possibly do to continue in this game? Well here is a situation where it could be argued that she is in the middle, if she can see it. It very much looks like there is now a tribe split at Asaga, with Luke, Jerkicho, and Michelle a trust cluster and, Tara, Anneliese, and Sarah a trust cluster. Students of Survivor will note that here with seven left in the tribe, people are going to want to start making moves. I feel she really can sit back and let people come to her. I’m not sure at this stage which side she should then pick. There are pros and cons both ways. My gut feeling is take out Tara/Anneliese or Sarah as they would most likely ditch her once they could, whereas Luke, Jerkicho and Michelle will want to use her to get rid of Henry. This of course would involve her letting them know that she never had ties with Henry, or that any ties she did have are dead. Either way, she needs to take some time to hear the pitches of her tribemates, and sooner rather than later so she has some time to make the best move for her. Speaking of Tara.

Simple Simple Simple

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Oh No You Di’nt Gurl!!!

While I have to give it to T-Bone for actually being pro-active this episode, and considering options by approaching others. Unfortunatley for her all that energy was completely undermined by the way she actually did it. The amount of times she said “I think” rather than asking people what they want to do, underscores her complete lack of understanding of the social aspects of the game. Luke and Michelle said it best when they said something to the effect of “you’ve been here two minutes and you think you can start telling us what to do?!?!” and “just do what we tell you to do and we’ll know we can trust you” respectively. All she did by telling everyone what her plans were was put a big sign on her head that said STRATEGIST. Zenry may be the one playing board games on island but at this stage you’d have to say T-Bone’s quest to make it to the end of this game truly is a Trivial Pursuit. Anneliese on the other hand…

T-Bone’s Wing-(Wo)Man

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When J-LaP asks if anyone has an idol…

Anneliese played much more subtly. I’m not sure where I stand on her thinking getting Sarah involved to get the idol. Certainly from a viewer POV it’s the right move, so hopefully for her she has the tribe awareness to see what’s going on at Asaga. Sarah is the one looking for a wingman, she’s most certainly the right person to approach. So whether that move was accident or design, well done A. Incidentally, since when does a tribe have two idols? In my thinking Zenry has the Asaga idol. I guess when you’re production you just fiddle with the format to suit yourself. Have we seen it happen like this before (let me know in the comments). Also, what the hell was with J-LaP telling us the trolley’s had square wheels? Does he know what a square looks like? Is anything that’s not a circle a square to him? This reminded me very much of him telling us in episode 4 last season that Vavau were “half-swimming/half-running, just like dolphins”. J-LaP, you crack me up!
Anyway back to Anneliese, where to from here? DON’T TELL TARA YOU HAVE THE IDOL! Let her keep running her mouth so that if and when your alliance is targeted, she’s voted out before you. That’s step number one. Second, now that you’ve got Sarah, ask her what she wants to do, and do it. Let her be the meat-shield in your alliance. That trio is a pretty good fit for you right now. You can make it look like you’re the follower in that alliance, but you have the idol, and with it, the power. Just keep Sarah close so she doesn’t try and use that idol against you. Can’t see that happening at this stage.

Sarah the Substitute

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Cat with the cream

I wonder whether Sarah would have kept the idol for herself had she been the one to retrieve it? I’d love to know. Anyway, Sarah potentially is sitting rather pretty here. While it looked like she considered her options with Kent, and I loved the way she pumped him for info (in stark contrast to T-Bone’s approach of telling Kent what should happen), but I do think voting out Kent was the best move tonight. The numbers weren’t quite yet right to make a move against Luke, Jerkicho and Michelle yet, and if Asaga don’t go to tribal again before merge/shuffle, she may need them. Much better doing what she did and keeping them feeling like she’s with them and they’re running things. She needs to let Luke and Jerkicho do their thing and not make it look like her and Anneliese are aligned. As long as she keeps her ear to the ground to make sure they’re not looking at targeting her. If she feels they are, she can work with Anneliese to use the idol to flip the vote back on them. And as I said above, make a move to scoop up Odette, and she may not need to take advantage of that idol yet. Odette’s the number you need right now to really make like Luke and be ‘Mr. Comfortable’.

Luke Train Leaving the Station

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“I think I can, I think I can…”

If Luke is the engine of the Asaga train, it’s about time he looked behind him to see just how many carriages he actually has in tow because us viewers have the feeling he might shortly lose some and Asaga will derail. Analogy aside, he really does need to check his bonds in that tribe. He has been too cocky for too long and we all know that pride cometh before the fall. About time he took his head out of his ‘safe as houses’ bubble, because you don’t need Ross Greenwood or Paul Clitheroe to tell you the housing bubble is primed to burst (high fives all ‘round for name-dropping those two, fuck I’m awesome). As for Jerkicho and Michelle, I don’t know that they’ve got much life in the game beyond the merge other than as goats. Their best move for now is to stick with Luke and hope that he can steer the train through the rough times ahead (ok this metaphor may have derailed now), keep him as a meat-shield, I don’t expect he’ll flip on them anytime soon. And above all, try and scoop up Odette before Sarah does.

Smooth Criminal

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Nick showing Zenry how find cracks at a new tribe…

I don’t want to say too much about Samatau today, mostly because there’s not much to say. I liked Zenry’s attempt at using his charisma to establish bonds in his tribe. It’s good to see that he was aware things aren’t really going as planned there, he couldn’t find the crack he assumed would be there, and so acted. Unfortunate that it seemed to backfire, there really is something to be said for keeping as low a profile as possible when joining a new tribe, sticking your neck out is just too risky. As for giving Jerkicho what I assume is his old immunity clue? Initially I thought this a genius move. To have kept it for the purpose of giving someone something tangible with which to show that you’re still with them, and then to pick the cookie distributor was clever. Though it didn’t seem that the clue was particularly specific, I do wonder though if this will result in Jerkicho looking for the clue, not finding it and assuming that Zenry has it, hence targeting Zenry if they make it to merge. Only time will tell.

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Actual footage of AK encouraging Zenry to keep trying to ‘fit in’

And I couldn’t make it through a post without mentioning fan favourite, Male Rebel Wilson (AKA, MRW. AKA, AK). Not only was he sharp enough to be wise to Zenry’s strategy, but also the way he pumped Ben for information about the exact dynamics of Asaga, was delicious. Sweet, naïve, people-pleasing Ben was all too happy to spill the beans. Until the next super episode, I got nothing else for you, head back to camp.

– Russell Feathers

(Most memes created by Russell Feathers, most everything else and all gifs Channel Ten)

Russell Feathers needs your help, especially if you’re an aspie. Do you have a knack for finding typos, spelling, or other grammatical errors? Do you love pointing them out? If you’re one of these hotshit people and have found anything above, please let me know here! (Neurotypicals not excluded)

Episode 9 – ‘Asaga? Strong?’ OR ‘Asaga Blood not Thicker Than Water but Still Bloody Thick’

Don’t wait for mum to bring you dinner in your bedroom, make sure you know how we got here by reading the previous analysis.

Two big things to talk about this analysis. Henry’s swap. And Jacqui’s departure. And it’s fair to say you can’t talk about one without talking about the other. So let’s make like Luke and get comfortable.

Playing Like the Devil Right Now

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That is the $500,000 question 

Hmmm. Where to start. At the beginning I guess, pre-swap. Sometimes we can forget that the strategy and gameplay doesn’t just happen once you’ve lost the immunity challenge. When we came across Asaga this episode they were eating their breakfast I guess, and clearly the lines were drawn. Zenry and Jacqui, Kent and Odette, sitting by the fire eating. Luke and Jerkicho, sitting under the cover with the useless bucket (Ben and Michelle). This spelt trouble for Zenry and Jacqui. Again, they’re clearly not reading my analysis. I guess they don’t have wi-fi on island. I’ve been saying since episode two that they need to be more subtle about the time that they spend together. This scene crystallised the brewing rift. For me the worst thing about this was that surely Zenry and Jacqui knew that this rift was brewing. The way it looked to me (admittedly this could be the editing) was that Ben openly asked Jacqui to bring him his breakfast, and did this in a way that would make anyone hearing it think that he was fucking with her. If that’s the case, and Jacqui (and Henry) ignored this, well then Jacqui’s departure is on their heads.

Hit the Road Jacqui.

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She learned this particular yoga move from Henry

I’d not go as far as saying that Jacqui was riding Zenry’s coat tails, but once he was out of the picture she was always going to have a hard time. They say pride cometh before a fall, and we’ve not seen hubris as blatant as Zenry and Jacqui have displayed over the last two or three episodes before. I’m not sure how many times we’ve heard the two of them mention their power, and it certainly wasn’t always tongue in cheek. Of course this is nothing compared to the overconfidence that Zenry showed when he voluntarily switched tribes. I’ll talk more on that shortly, but for now I’ll just say that this move was another display of the overconfidence that led to Jacqui’s departure. For neither Jacqui nor Zenry to see that they did not have quite the control they imagined, is blinkered gameplay. As much as Jacqui (and Zenry) need to take responsibility for this outcome, the role that Luke played needs to be acknowledged.

Full Pockets, Empty Heads

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If anybody knows just what instrument Luke is miming playing, please let me know in the comments…

In contrast to Jacqui (and Henry) underselling what was going on in Asaga to their new tribemates, Luke was quick to throw T a bone, informing her that J was carrying on like a pork chop. Seizing the opportunity to establish a bond with T&A. This was a good example of how you gain more trust with candour than with evasiveness. Luke had nothing to lose by spilling the real Asaga dynamics, and though it could be argued that Jacqui may have, I would argue that by saying nothing she damaged the possibility of gaining trust with two new tribemates. Back to Luke, now that Jacqui is gone, where to next. Personally I think the best move is to knock off Anneliese (or Tara if necessary). Disable any power that these two have and break them up now before they get a foothold.

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“I’m going to do everything I can” – proceeds to do nothing

The other thing that he did tonight that impressed me was the way he had his core alliance do the work for him. Yes he let T-Bone know what was going down in camp, but then he just spoke with Michelle and Jerkicho, and had them work on T&A (and Sarah, more on her below). From what we saw, it would not have seemed to Jacqui and Kent that Luke was masterminding a coup. What did “scream ‘ALARM BELLS'”, to quote AK, was Sarah’s shiftiness.

Model in the (almost) Middle

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“I could go one fucking way, or I could go the other fucking way…”

As I was watching Jerkicho try and sway Sarah I thought this was risky, Luke and his crew ultimately did not need Sarah to oust J if they had T&A on side, and at this stage I didn’t know where Sarah stood and so I was concerned that this might tip their hand to Jacqui and Kent. That Sarah may play double agent and go back and form a counter-play with Kent and Jacqui. Was this the right move for Sarah? Certainly it was risky. Made more risky by her dismissal of Kent when he realised he needed to act (and good on him). Ultimately if she knew that the numbers had already flipped, and seemingly without a strong connection either way, this makes sense. Sticking with Kent and Odette would be of no advantage to her. What this transaction did highlight is that she lacks a plus one. I don’t really know what her options are here. I get the feeling she has left her run too late. Jerkicho has Luke. T-Bone has A-Frame. Michelle? I guess Michelle is her option. Other than finding someone to closely align with, I’m really not sure what her best play is from here out. I don’t see her path to the end. Give me your thoughts in the comments below.

Dreadlocks on Holiday

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Kent Knopfler or Bruce Srpingkent? Looks like he’s about to whip out the Strat or the Tele and shred out a blistering guitar solo.

Odette and Kent now on the outs. Though we’ve not heard much from Odette I’m not inclined to think yet that she hasn’t been playing. My suspicion is that she has strategically hitched her wagon to Kent, Jacqui and Henry, but wasn’t sharp enough to realise that the tide was turning. Now she’s stuck with Kent, and things are looking grim for the both of them. Surely though other people, like Michelle and Sarah can see that Jerkicho is, well, a smug sneaky jerk who can’t be trusted. So perhaps their best move is to recruit S&M, and hopefully T&A, to move against Jerkface McJerkington. Do it quickly though before T&A fall under the comfortable charms of Luke.

Swap and Meet

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AK finally gets rid of T-Bone, now he starts talking about ‘mignons’?!?!

Can’t go without talking about what I see as really the biggest move this episode. Zenry’s move to open a new interstate franchise. Once I got over my initial shock at this apparent death wish, I started to wonder if this actually could work. I don’t know if we’ve ever seen this move before. I understand his logic. He feels comfortable (of course we know that this comfort is baseless) that things are under control at Asaga, and he wants to increase his sphere of influence. But damn it’s risky. It’s the opposite of what we expect from good smart players. We expect them not to take such big risks if they’re on to a good thing. At least not until the merge. I don’t expect that he would have done this without his hidden immunity idol, I’d love to have this confirmed once he leaves the game. If he makes it to the final tribal council it’s a hell of a move to have on your resume. I really see this as a test case for this move. If this works out, it could truly be considered a gamechanger.

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Hopefully next episode we’ll get the chance to see how the swap has changed things at Samatau. I’m also really interested to know whether we will actually see the tribes be shuffled in to three tribes, if they were going to do that I’d imagine they wouldn’t do it with less than 15 players remaining. I wonder if that also figured into Zenry’s decision to scope out the other camp. It was also nice to hear J-LaP give me a shout out and speak those magic words, “drop your buffs”. On that note, I’ve got nothing else for you, head back to camp.

– Russell Feathers

(Most memes created by Russell Feathers, most everything else and all gifs Channel Ten)

Russell Feathers needs your help, especially if you’re an aspie. Do you have a knack for finding typos, spelling, or other grammatical errors? Do you love pointing them out? If you’re one of these hotshit people and have found anything above, please let me know here! (Neurotypicals not excluded).

Episode 1 – ‘Welcome (Back) to the Jungle’ OR ‘Paradise Shitty’

We’re Back and Ready for Round 2

So it begins. In a move which one might imagine is in response to fans’ complaints of last season, we have a cast of true game players. In my last post I argued that this was not necessarily a good thing, so far I stand by that (aren’t I just the contrarian?!). Being a first episode there’ll be little to talk about strategy wise here, so it might be a short post. Regardless, let’s make like Jarrad and hold on to our sacks, hopefully it will be a fun ride.

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I’m no expert at making friends but I’m pretty sure you don’t start by asking “are you homosexual” in the first hour…

Movers and Shankers?

While there was much argument last season that there were too few ‘superfans’, it seems that this season every other player has a gimmick. While I’m not here to critique casting choices, I will critique strategy. Most obviously in my cross-hairs is of course Henry. Mother Hen? Zenry? (Cast your vote for nickname in the comments). The faux yoga teacher. Let’s put aside for now that in his piece to camera he tells us that he’s shocked no one has ever lied about their vocation before (makes me think he’s no fan at all), to be fair we didn’t learn anything about him tonight other than that part of his strategy. Which it seems is the strategy of many of our contestants in 2017. Not that I’m knocking the play as such. But to call it a master strategy? It’s a minor tactic at best. Let’s look at the players in the past who have done well with this strategy, the most prominent of whom being Tony Vlachos. I think we can all agree that Tony’s ploy to hide his vocation was not the factor that led to his success. Let’s look at all of the players who’ve hidden or disguised their vocation and not done as well as Tony. Bianca, episode 2 boot. Evan, episode 3 boot. Did Phoebe hide what she did? If she did it didn’t seem to help her. I believe Andrew hid that he was a ‘superfan’, might have helped but wasn’t enough. And that’s just the players from the last Australian season who’ve tried this tactic or something similar. There’s a list of non-performers from US seasons. Even the first boot from the NZ season hid her fandom.

Covert Unintelligence

How many players do we have here that are hiding their background? Aside from Yin Yang Hank, I count Mark W., and Tara (dear reader let me know if there’s anyone missing from this list). Seriously Tara? You think that people knowing you’re a barrel racer would disadvantage you? I didn’t even know it was a thing until 30 mins ago!

 

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I don’t know Jacqui, have you met my ex-wife?

Back to Halasana Henry (it’s a yoga pose, again, vote below). I’m not quite sure what his reasoning is here anyway. Is he just trying to hide that he’s a labourer? Are labourers inherently Survivor threats? Perhaps the idea is just that he’s going to pretend to be a really cool, friendly, easygoing guy. Not really sure that that’s something you can fake. Just ask AK47 (someone was going to do it, might as well be me). Or as I like to call him, Male Rebel Wilson. MRW.

Finding the Dickhead…

These guys. These fuggin guys. So many dickheads. Of course I don’t know these people outside of the show and they’re possibly great people, but so far, they’re acting like dickheads (or at best it’s being edited that way).

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Hey caption guy, you spelled ‘douchebag’ incorrectly.

MRW. AKA, AK (A!!) Your faux gentlemanliness might help you pick up drunk bridesmaids (or more likely not), but dude this is not a coolness party. Dial it back. I’m imagining his final tribal speech now. Everyone is blown away when he reveals that he doesn’t actually have any gay friends *insert dramatic reveal music*!!! (Is that because he doesn’t have any friends at all?). The lying about gay friends takes the prize for most dickhead comment of the evening. I hope he can dial it back for his sake. If he doesn’t I suspect he’s not long for this world. As of right now, you’re dickhead number one. I should know, I learned all about it from Fat Fiscal Superman. AKA Kent.

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AK does his best wedding singer impression, “Julia Gulia are you sure there isn’t any rum in that Coca Cola?

…In a Sea of Dickheads

IMG_2116Is the sarcasm filtering though here? Please keep making dickhead moves like this, we love it. Next on our dickhead list is Jericho the Jesus Jerk. OK, fair enough we haven’t really seen much of him tonight, but he did possibly say the second most dickheaded comment of the night. I’m paraphrasing but essentially it was ‘in my life I live a strong Christian faith, but in this game there will be bloodshed! *maniacal laugh*’. His strong Christian faith is so strong that he hasn’t read enough of the bible to know that is chock full of slaughter, or enough history books to realise that the Christian faith is responsible for more bloodshed on this planet than any other doctrine, nazism included. I’m getting political, but so I should. If Australian Survivor wants to shine a light spirituality/religiosity, then of course I’m going to respond. Anyway, other than myself, there was of course one more dickhead of note as dickheadedness is not solely a male phenomenon.

Oh Baby. Baby…

She’s not your typical sheila. She’s a knockaround, drink a slab with the boys, call a spade a spade, fair dinkum Aussie rootrat. Seriously Survivor? This is where we’re going in 2017, ocker gender stereotypes? Again, we didn’t see much of Aimee tonight, but the little introduction we did have made it into our dickhead quotable quotes. So quotable that I’m not going to quote it but I will paraphrase. Essentially she said ‘when I tell people I’m a plumber, they’re like, “nah, you must be a hairdresser”, and I’m like “nah, I’m a plumber”‘. Aimee if you’re seriously telling people that you’re a plumber and they’re responding with disbelief and suggesting that you must be a hairdresser, then you must talking to true, died in the wool, fuckin dickheads. Who are these idiots that respond like this? To be fair to you, the dickheadedness on display here does not belong to you. I’m sincerely sorry if that’s you’re experience. I don’t find it laughable at all, and it saddens me that you dismiss it as humour. I hope that you don’t have to experience that again in the future.

Other Notable Moments

We’ve already noted use of the word ‘dickhead’ tonight and I’m really happy that Survivor has not been afraid to use such language. It was particularly refreshing to hear Jacqui use the word ‘tits’. IMG_2117And in the opening moments too. Really set the tone. Is that a Survivor first? Somebody please make a meme of Jacqui saying ‘tits’, I’ll be forever in your debt.

 

 

I don’t feel like we’ll have to talk through the challenge and lead up to tribal, there’s little to discuss other than the challenge was fun, but took too much airtime for my liking. Time that could have been spent showing us whether or not there was an advantage on the barge at the start. I’d be surprised if no one had the sense to look for one, I would have liked to see that. Incidentally, while we’re on the barge, you can’t call it a twist in the first challenge if you are just explaining the rules of the challenge. That’s not a twist, that’s explaining the rules of the challenge. I’ll wager a large booty that this is not the first time Australian Survivor lies about a twist this season though.

 

My viewing buddy and I looked at each other when Joan told us she was the puzzle queen and recognised that they very much sounded like famous last words. Not sure what to make of Ben flipping his vote to Joan on the revote. We don’t know enough about him or any alliances/factions/voting blocks at this stage to understand the strategy behind it. Perhaps there was no strategy.

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Must say I was a little shocked that there dind’t seem to be much made of sending two people off to the fire challenge. As we discussed last season, if ever there’s a situation where the tribe has to pick one or more emissaries you do not want to be one of those people. There’s too great a possibility it will not work out for you, as we saw for Mark H. He took this hard. Just as Kent and Joan took it hard when they put their hands up for the puzzle.

There wasn’t enough lime farmer this episode. Wait, that’s not true, there was more time with Tarzan this episode than there was Jared Lipnicki in Jerry Maguire!

All in all, I must say I’m extremely happy with the episode though. Yes I’ve talked a lot about the dickheads that I loathe. But as I discussed at length last post, that’s what we love about Survivor. Talking with our friends and the community about the dickheads, gaining pleasure in their failures, feeling superior when they make a stupid move or say something ridiculous, telling everyone how we would do it SO much better. If anything I hope that these losers would calm down just a little bit, we don’t want them all to go home in the first third of the season and have a lacklustre period like we did last year. We’ve certainly got a cast of fabulous characters, time will tell if we have a cast of fantastic contestants.

Until tomorrow, that’s all I’ve got for you, head back to camp.

– Russell Feathers

 

(Most memes created by Russell Feathers, most everything else and all gifs channel ten)