Winners at War? More like Whiners at War. Or Winners at Warm Fuzzy Feelings. Or Winners on the Survivor Celebrity Cruise. [takes a bow]
These are all alternate subtitles for this past “greatest of all-time” season of Survivor (these are also names I flirted with for the headline of this post, and I just couldn’t bear to part with them. So, bonus titles! You’re welcome).
Without doing the arithmetic, I’ve probably posted more about Survivor than any other subject on this blog (are we still saying “blog?” Pop culture review? Internet phenomenon? Literary TikTok?). Certainly I’ve written more words about it than any other show, if the memory of my epic poem-length recaps serves correctly. So there ever was a time to dip my toes back into that clear blue Fijian water, it certainly seems like that time is now. With Season 40 just barely in our rear view, here are my thoughts:
I hated it.
Okay, that is not entirely true or accurate. But it was a letdown, peaking mid-season with the back-to-back-to-back eliminations of Boston Rob, Parvati and Sandra, and then not quite reaching that gear again. All things considered it will probably end up near the bottom of my top 10, or maybe even in the top 15 (I need to do a proper ranking, but perhaps that’s a post for another day). However, this season – as has been the trend in recent Survivor times – succeeded in spite of itself. And I shall endeavor to tell you why (buckle up, it’s going to be a bumpy, scattered ride).
Survivor is back! And, from the looks of it, Jeff Probst is in no mood. It’s been quite some time since we were offered an all-rookie season of Survivor, and after three great seasons back-to-back-to-back, it would not have been surprising to see the show go to the returning player-well once again (indeed, ever since the fireworks of Russell vs. Boston Rob: Round 1 in Heroes vs. Villains, it seemed like all-newbie seasons might be few and far between). But, perhaps in an effort not to exhaust Survivor of its most precious Cochran and Reynolds and Aras natural resources, the show is going au naturale in its twenty-eighth(!) season.
Which isn’t to say that there are no unique wrinkles this time around. As the show has been teasing since the Blood vs. Water reunion, Survivor: Cagayanandonandon separates the players into the three tribes: Beauty, Brawn, and Brians (a group which, surprisingly, features not a single Brian). And Jeff gets things going right away, asking each tribe to quickly and essentially without deliberation pick a team leader, and then Jeff directs that specified leader to immediately identify his or her tribe’s weakest link. So, for the newly anointed team captains, this is (seemingly) a big opportunity to shed either the tribe’s weakest player or the group’s biggest threat. Sarah, on the Lloyd Braun tribe decides to single out
Skeletor Trish, reasoning by her emaciated looks that she’s just finished up playing at least two Survivor games back-to-back and probably is just a tad fatigued from 78 straight days without proper nourishment. Over on the We’re Also Beautiful on the Inside Tribe, LL Cool LJ tabs human floatation device former NFL Cheerleader Morgan, labeling her as “hot,” which makes her more dangerous than her “cute” tribemates. Dude’s got a good system. Watch out for that guy. Not-Brian leader of the Brians David wastes no time in selecting Garrett, the marble statue to his left. David clearly saw some muscles on Garrett that he didn’t know even existed, and deduced that he’s too serious of a threat to help the tribe win a challenge and must go. These three players, YOU ARE THE WEAKEST LINK, GOODBYE!
More: David & Goliath, Samson & J’Tia
It’s finally here, folks! Our much ballyhooed, frequently teased, oft-delayed player-by-player odds for Survivor: ONE WORLD! And this time we’re sweetening the deal by including celebrity look-alikes. Yes, these predictions are coming five episodes late, but that just gives us better insight and helps us provide you with more accurate, educated odds. So let’s get to it, A-B-C style.
Alicia: If not for Colton, you’d probably take the crown as The Worst. As it is though, the two worst seem to have allied with each other and found common ground in being The Worst. She fashions herself as a villain, and a tough bitch, but she’s yet to truly display the physical or social skills that will get her to the end (she has, however, displayed far too much of her chest, sporting a variety of wildly ill fitting tops). If she sticks with Colton, Team The Worst could actually, grossly, go far, that is if they don’t kill each other first. Odds of winning: 30-1
Read on for the rest!
Good news, everyone!: Survivor recaps are back (for now, at least. Until we inevitably get pulled away for something like this).
And we start Survivor: ONE WORLD! with even more good news: No more Redemption Island (unless there’s a top-secret Last Chance Redemption Island, but wethinks they’re leaving that for Tom Colicchio), which is welcome for two reasons; 1) the show will return to its classic structure, giving us the enjoyment of separate reward and immunity challenges, and sparing us the pain of watching exiled player after exiled player finding God on the Redemption Island (also, it saves us from enduring someone like Ozzie climbing trees, catching fish, and belting gorilla calls, boasting about how he’s never eaten better); and 2) this will make these recaps at least somewhat shorter, relieving us of the responsibility of reporting on every single Redemption Island duel (however, it does preclude us from making fun of The Real World-Road Rules Challenge, but we’ll try to make up for that in other places. God willing).
So let’s get to it! Survivor: ONE WORLD! starts by revealing that in instead of Redemption Island, this season’s twist is that it’s boys vs. girls, which should have immediately inspired all women to crib from Jenna Morasca‘s playbook, and cautioned the men against such tactics. Instead, when Jeff Probst gives both tribes sixty-seconds to strip the truck they came in on for parts, “Big Mike” takes a page out of Rupert’s book and employ’s the ol’ steal from the other team trick. It’s really Survivor 101, a classic first ten minutes, scrambling for initial supplies move. Frankly, the women should have known better, and their lack of attention was a terrible lapse in judgment that cemented this as a battle of the sexes, and basically sets the course for this season, at least until the first tribal shakeup or the merge. Right now though, it’s boys and girls in the sandbox, pulling each other’s hair, giving (American) Indian rope burns and throwing dirt. In other words, they’re being a bunch of self-possessed, petty brats, which we’re sure is exactly what Survivor and producer Mark Burnett were hoping for.