Get Ready to Wallow

updated 12/22/2003 AT 01:00 AM EST

originally published 12/22/2003 AT 01:00 AM EST

Imagine an island filled with squirmy parasites that suck up to you only to sting you later. And that's just the contestants on the seventh and nastiest season of Survivor, which comes to a climax on Dec. 14. Not that there weren't the usual indignities too: "We brushed our teeth with bamboo sticks," gripes former competitor Tijuana Bradley, 27. "And we didn't have toilet paper. I know I wasn't the only one as far as chafing goes." Led by beady-eyed Jon "Fairplay" Dalton—who pretended his grandmother died to elicit sympathy and win a challenge—the Final Five set a new standard for duplicity. "Is it crossing the line or are there really no rules?" Bradley says of Dalton's grandma gambit. "That's what I'm struggling with." That, and the chafing.

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