“Survivor is STILL on? And you WATCH it?” they gasp, with condescending and unnecessary surprise.
It’s still on. I still watch it. I still like it.
I still watch Survivor because I love the concept, and because human nature will never stop surprising me. Some casts in recent years have been better than others. But I’ll never stop loving moments were someone I like makes a really bold, strategic play, or someone I dislike gets outfoxed. Even in its thirtieth installment, Survivor has the ability to surprise me because humans have to ability to surprise me.
This season, the cast has been divvied up into three tribes: White Collar, Blue Collar, and No Collar. I can get onboard with these distinctions, though I could do without Probst’s constant reminders about who does what with rules. (Makes them! Follows them! Breaks them! Ugh.) So far, I think there are a lot of big personalities that could make this a fun season.
Wow, could Probst making it any more obvious which tribe he respects the most? The “Blue Collar” gang of hard-working, heart-of-America types. These people actually EARN their money! You know, unlike those snotty White Collars or those idealistic free spirits. Seriously? Come on. I think Jeff Probst does a good job of hosting this show, but I’ve always found him rather sexist – and, he loves a good bro. He has a slight, but apparent disdain for academics, for nerds. The people he loves are the people who receive the honor of being referred to by their last names and those people fit a very distinct type.
Two people from each tribe were selected to make a decision when they arrived at camp. It was the classic Honesty vs. Deception: take a small bag of beans for the tribe and a clue to the Hidden Immunity Idol, or take a large bag of beans and no clue. I think Honesty is the only good option here. The risks are too high that you’ll be found out – that either your story will seem fishy to your tribe members, or a member of another tribe will blurt something revealing out at a challenge.
Unsurprisingly, the No Collar do-gooders chose honesty. So did the Blue Collar tribe, thanks to the urging of Dan. The White Collars lived up to their ruthless, step on dead bodies on my way to the top stereotype and chose Deception. Joaquin did most of the decision-making their, though So didn’t put up much of a fight.
Joaquin says he likes “fast money, loose women and lots of champagne.” Well Joaquin, I like money and champers but I sure as hell hate you! By going along with the Deception choice, So tied herself to a real jerk and earned the distrust of most of the tribe thanks to their weak cover-up story. A poor opening move.
I Got The Blues
Don’t worry though, I have more than enough hatred to go around. Let’s talk about Rodney! This guy. First, he showed Lindsey one of his tattoos and told her a story about finding his sister dead in her apartment. “I can get to any girl’s heart with that story,” he bragged. That’s what he said about his DEAD SISTER. Someone should introduce him to Kelsey from The Bachelor.
Rodney then outlined his plans to align with the females on his tribe, saying “Girls, they want to sit back and let a man take the leader role.” I knew I wasn’t going to like Rodney, but I didn’t know that he’d make it so easy for me to justify loathing him.
The Blue Collar tribe got fire quickly, but things weren’t totally hunky-dory over there. Dan, a postal worker, is the oldest member of the tribe and was obviously having trouble fitting in. Frankly, I think his tribe should have thrown the Immunity Challenge and voted him out just because of the offensively small underwear he’s chosen. Mike, and oil driller, ate a scorpion like and puked. Guys, he’d only been at camp for like, a few hours before he cracked and ate A SCORPION. What is this guy going to be doing on Day 29? I’d be worried about cannibalism at this rate.
Birds of a Feather
Over at No Collar, Vince and Jenn automatically bonded over Vince’s feathered hair. Not Farrah Fawcett feathers, the guy literally has a bunch of feathers in his hair. Super practical for Survivor.
Early on, Vince and Joe clashed over how to build the shelter. Then, Joe managed to start a fire for the tribe. Uh-oh! Vince was clearly jealous, and pulled Jenn aside to find out if she’s attracted to Joe. Yep – he literally asked her if she’s attracted to another guy on the tribe. On Day One. Then, he made her hug it out and stuck his stinky armpit in her face. Jenn telling the confessional camera “Do not hug me for ever after… we smell bad,” was the quote of the night.
Over at White Collar, the tribe was wondering if there was an “action plan” for building the shelter. Hmm, maybe someone should present a deck on the matter? I hope they determined what the deliverables are for the project. Maybe they should add a line to the status report on this. Or perhaps write up a quick brief? Just as long as they get this completed by EOD!
(I guess I’d probably be cast as a white collar on this season. BUT I AM A NO COLLAR AT HEART! JK I am too high-strung to sell coconuts for a living.)
In particular, Carolyn was very suspicious of So and Joaquin’s lying. She followed So around for a bit, and it was painfully obvious that So was looking for the Hidden Immunity Idol. But she was doing a bad job of it. Carolyn looked for a unique landmark, and found the Idol hidden in a tree. Wow! I always say I hate how easy these things are to find, and I stand by that. But I love that the liars got bested by one of the tribe members they screwed over.
We were nearly an hour into the show before there was a challenge, but I liked having the time to get to know the cast. It will help me make my rankings list for my mom’s office pool. So far, I’d made notes like “HATE” (Joaquin), “HATE MORE” (Rodney) and “ATE SCORPION MORON” (Mike).
The challenge involved opening a box using either keys or untying knots, moving through an obstacle course, and choosing one of three puzzles to solve. I liked the choice aspect. All three tribes abandoned the keys for the knots, but since White Collar made the switch first they were in the lead for much of the challenge. The No Collars overtook them just before the puzzle element. No Collar chose the ten-piece, visual puzzle and White Collar chose the 50-piece, straightforward puzzle.
Joe blew through the puzzle and won the challenge (a fire-making kit and Immunity) for his tribe. This guy is off to an impressive start. Shirin, an accomplished tech executive, really struggled on the 50-piece puzzle and had to hand it over to Max after awhile. It wasn’t good enough – the Blue Collars caught up, chose the 10-piece puzzle, and overtook them. (No one chose the abstract five-piece puzzle.) It was rather ironic that the White and Blue Collars excelled in the opposite ways you’d expect. I think it’s partly because the labels ultimately don’t mean all that much, and partly the pressure to perform well in a certain way.
Because of their sub-par performances in the challenge, Shirin and Carolyn were in trouble. (I noticed that Nina really struggled on the No Collar tribe. She won’t be high on my list for the office pool.)
I was surprised how quickly Shirin’s name fell off the radar, given that she blew the challenge. But back at camp, most of the tribe was considering voting for Carolyn. It’s always hard for the oldest member of the tribe, especially when there’s a pretty significant age gap between them and the next-oldest person. (That would be the 37 year-old but rather spry-looking Max.)
So and Joaquin straight-up lied to Carolyn and told her they weren’t considering voting for her. Then, Tyler told Carolyn that she was likely going home. Carolyn went ahead and told Tyler that she has the Hidden Immunity Idol.
Sigh. Carolyn. Girl! It is what, day three? Don’t go telling everyone you have the Idol! They can’t be trusted! They’ll want to vote you out to get rid of it! Carolyn wanted So to be voted out and was trying to earn Tyler’s trust, but it was a bad move.
Shirin and Carolyn had to get Max and Tyler on their side. Personally, I was hoping So would be voted out purely because I like that alliance. Eliminated So would weaken Joaquin, my nemesis.
I couldn’t believe what a gong show Tribal Council was. Some of these people are such bad liars! Especially So. Carolyn must have been very confident that she’d formed a trustworthy alliance, because she did not play her Immunity Idol. So was voted out.
It’s too bad, because I thought So seemed like she’d be a good player judging by her bio. But she made a few mistakes early on, and aligned with a guy who looks like a schmuck.
What did you guys think of the first episode? Is this shaping up to be a good season?