It's the Ice Floe for Maralyn

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Maralyn: Another oldster gets booted out of the outback

Even reality-TV shows need story lines — or at least need to be ascribed them by writers — and this Thursday we got a couple, like any good episode of "Melbourne Place." Week Three of "Survivor 2" started out Darwin and drifted tantalizingly into a John Hughes battle-of-the-generations kind of thing, and finally melted down into a good old-fashioned Machiavellian scramble, before turning Darwin again.

Maralyn — sorry, Mad Dog — was the one to go, seemingly because she fell down a few times on the tied-together obstacle-course immunity challenge, and got blamed for the Ogakor's loss to Kucha, who successfully compensated for Rodger's three heart attacks.

At first, the hour was all about food and strength. Ogakor scored a packet of fishing supplies by stacking lots and lots of bags of water on Colby's cowboy shoulders — and they did it twice after Michael, flexing for the other team, had his pole break on him.

Happens sometimes when you get older.

Jerri and Colby and Amber caught a bunch of fish, hand over fist, and Keith — a chef again, much to his bemusement — filleted and fried up the suckers while everybody went to school on him. But the grub, apparently, was delightful.

Then it was about, well, you know — Jerri and Colby, massaging each other in the tent while the Burnett squad tried to drum up a lady-and-the-tiger dynamic between the cowboy and the movie star. Didn't seem to fit — she's the predator, and in it for the hoochie, and she'll find plenty of people to throw overboard before she parts with the strong, good-looking fella. That betrayal's at least eight weeks away.

And suddenly everybody in Kucha was showing Rodger to his ice floe, and everybody in Ogakor was showing Maralyn to hers, except for Jeff and Alicia, the two truly sour souls on the show, who were eyeing Nick, the black law-school student we don't see much of.

And yes, stereotype watchers and Gervase fans, he is the lazy one.

But the real tragic romance of the show wasn't about sex, exactly, and wasn't about ageism. And it all started with show-tune-belting Maralyn leaning back like Marlene Dietrich in the Australian shallows and rhapsodizing about Tina, in what may have been the butchest moment in network television history.

Let's just say it wasn't very titillating.

So what was Week Three all about? Only the strong, survive, sure — Maralyn picked up three of her four votes for falling down — and for being old, and possibly just for lumbering around singing "On the Street Where You Live" and trusting everybody.

Was Tina simply scared of the old broad when she kept her "promise" and turned on Maralyn amid the glow of the torchlights? Quite possibly. But in the end, the overarching story held: Only the young survive. Because Tina's brush-off — not much softened by the little frownie face she put on her vote — was just subplot window dressing.

Keith tried to round up Tina and Maralyn and one other swing justice against Mitchell, but when push came to shove he was all alone, lying to the camera about how "You just look tired" (though Mitchell is getting very thin). Jerri got a vote from Maralyn, which would have been fun if Mad Dog had had any help.

But in the end the wrinkled one boarded the plane back to civilization, and the young telegenics had gotten one victim closer to having to vote amongst themselves. If any of those kids can learn to cook, Keith is next.

And CBS, who must be worrying a tiny bit about the Peacock's super-"Friends," — and who is already getting sued by one of Rudy's vanquished from last season — is very relieved.