Survivor Jeff is Out Thanks to Kimmi's Big Mouth

Friday, March 9th 2001, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

Back atcha. The ghosts of Kucha tribe evictees Debb Eaton and Kimmi Kappenberg rose up from down under to zap Jeff Varner and save Dallasite Colby Donaldson on Thursday's pulsating seventh episode of Survivor: The Australian Outback.

The two posthumous votes broke 5-5 and 4-4 ties between Colby and the duplicitous internet project manager from New York City. Colby had no previous marks against his name while Jeff had sustained one apiece in Episodes 1 and 5. Under Survivor rules, previous eviction votes are used as tiebreakers.

Colby's barely averted banishment spared Dallas the agony of losing two golden boys in two days. Dallas Cowboys quarterback Troy Aikman went thataway Wednesday. "Cowboy" Colby, the pride of Christoval, Texas and lately of Dallas, will remain in the saddle and now is minimally guaranteed inclusion in the "jury" that determines the eventual winner.

This was the pivotal "merger" episode, in which the Kuchas and Colby's Ogakors became a single unit dubbed Barramundi (a fish common to Australia). The respective votes against Colby and Jeff went strictly according to old tribal lines, however. Here's where it gets tricky.

Competition for Survivor II's first "immunity talisman" was won by former Ogakor Keith Famie, who outlasted his nine rivals by standing on a post for a staggering 10 hours, 18 minutes. Tina Wesson, another ex-Ogakor, might have outlasted him but dropped out after Keith told her he desperately needed immunity.

Here's why. Keith had three votes cast against him in Episode 4, where he won a tiebreaker that ousted Mitchell Olson. Serpentine Jerri Manthey was the only other ex-Ogakor with baggage. She drew eviction votes from Kel Gleason in Episode 2 and Marlyn "Mad Dog" Hershey in Episode 3.

Enter canny Colby, the surprise second competitor to remove himself from the pole-standing marathon. But while resting on the beach, Colby also was laying a high-risk steel trap by trying to draw attention away from vulnerable Keith and Jerri.

"My strategy was to make the Kucha guys mad, to convince them that I'm the man to vote for," Colby told the camera. "We really need one of those guys to win immunity and the other one to be camouflaged. Because if the Kucha members vote for either Jerri or Keith, we're goin' down."

The ex-Ogakors have a key 5-4 advantage over the former Kuchas. If they continue to vote in a bloc, they can be a juggernaut.

Jeff, 34, and the show's most unpopular male in many viewer polls, said he "knew this was gonna happen. Because of a very large mouth of a former tribe member at Kucha, Ogakor knew I had that (previous eviction) vote. And I knew there was nothin' I could do about it. So I'm goin' home and I've had an awesome time."

The big mouth was, of course, Kimmi. According to Jeff's earlier comments, she told the Ogakors that Debb had voted against him in the show's first tribal council. Armed with that intelligence, they masterminded his eviction.

Well-played. Couldn't have happened to a snarkier guy.