I am a Survivor geek. That’s right, I admitted it. I love this show and still think that, even after some lackluster seasons over the last few years, it is still the best reality/game show year in and year out. I just felt like I needed to get that out of the way before I even started talking about the new season that started up last night.
So Survivor: Nicaragua started last night and I was once again, for the 21st season (I still don’t know how that is even possible) sucked in. Here are my notes after watching the show:
1. Youth and Strength vs. Age and Wisdom
They two tribes were split based on age. Everyone under 30 on one tribe and everyone over 40 on the other. My first thought, being in neither age group, was, “Where are the peeps in their 30s?” I was hoping there would be that one guy standing in the middle of the two groups that was in his 30s that would have to choose which of the two tribes he was going to join…but no such luck.
I always find it amusing how cocky and arrogant the young kids are on this show during those first few days. They always believe that their youth and strength immediately makes them the front-runner for the title of Sole Survivor. Time after time I see those high expectations dashed as they slowly realize that the challenges aren’t always about who is the fastest or strongest and they find Probst dousing their flames one after another at Tribal Council. Listen up whippersnappers, the hare does not always beat the tortoise. And what I have seen time after time is how quickly the younger people start to implode as soon as they have to start feeding on their own at tribal council. They get downright brutal whereas the older alliances usually handle having to “off” one of their own with much more grace and dignity.
Granted, last night the Young Guns did pull through and win the first immunity challenge but it was really a close game. The old codgers were in it right up to the last puzzle piece. But they really only won that challenge because the older group blew their opportunity to win by electing not to use the Medallion of Power..
My Verdict: I actually like the way the teams were separated and I would be willing to bet the older group wins more than they lose
2. Medallion of Power and stupid, stupid, stupid people
The new twist this year is the Medallion of Power. One tribe holds the Medallion every week and they can use it to gain advantage in a challenge. I am not sure if this is just to be used in the Immunity challenges or if someone would be allowed to (and stupid enough to) use it in a reward challenge. This medallion gives the tribe a “huge” advantage in the challenges. But once a tribe uses the medallion if passes to the other tribe to be used at their discretion.
For example, last night’s challenge was, essentially, to move water from bucket A to bucket B. To fill bucket B they tribe would need to move approximately 5 buckets of water from bucket A. Once Bucket B was filled with water they could move on to putting together a puzzle and the first team to complete the puzzle would win the first Immunity of the season. The team with the Medallion could use it and start off with 1 bucket of water already in Bucket B.
Through a choice made earlier in the show the older group had the Medallion of Power. They decided to “make a statement” and not use it for the first immunity challenge because they felt like this was a challenge where the two groups disparity in ages would not come into play. The only statement you guys made was this: You are collectively a bunch of morons.
Both teams filled their buckets at almost identical times with the young group having a slight edge. That slight edge in time was just enough to finish the puzzle before the older group and take home that immunity. Had the older crew used the medallion they would have easily finished miles ahead of the younger group and sent them to see the Jeffster at tribal council.
What the old people didn’t think about was how important, especially this season, that first tribal council would be. Had the older people sent the younger to feed on one of their own it would have been a monstrous advantage for them. First, they would have caused the younger group to start clamoring for alliances in the first 3 days and they would most likely be demoralized enough by the loss to have no group cohesion at the next challenge. And secondly, at the next challenge the older group would have been a man up and they could sit their weakest competitor. Having the ability to sit that weakest player is always a huge advantage in a challenge. By not playing the medallion the young guns get to sit out their weakest competitor while the older people have to now play everyone…stupid stupid move.
My Verdict: I think the entire reason for the Medallion was last night’s show. Using it last night would have been an incredible momentum builder for the older crew and quite possibly could have altered the course of the game for the entire season. I like the idea of the medallion but I really do think that its affect will be lessened by not being played in that first challenge.
3. Sympathy Competitors
Producers: No handicapped people on Survivor, please.
That may not be very politically correct but these poor people have no chance of winning. Their complete inability to win has nothing to do with their performance in the game but with how all of the other contestants react to them. This year we have the girl with one leg. She has a prosthetic leg that appears to have a Cheetah Flex Foot for running. I don’t know if you have ever seen someone running on these things but there was a guy, Oscar Pistorius, that was disqualified from running in the Olympic games because he had an unfair advantage over runners with two whole legs. So the dude with no legs had and advantage over those with legs in a running race…crazy to even try and process that one.
She could very well be the strongest and fastest of every player out there but it won’t matter because there isn’t a single person that would want to be sitting next to her at that final tribal council. Everyone is afraid of the sympathy vote.
My Verdict: Would love to see her win but she won’t. She won’t be the first one to go…not a single person would even be willing to even broach the subject for their first trip to the voting blocks. But I am pretty sure she won’t make it as far as the merger. There is just too much for a person with a handicap of any kind to overcome that would ever make them a good choice to sit up there next to you at a final tribal council. So don’t put any more of these good people on the show when they have zero chance to win.
4. Dudes with Blurry Junk
Ok, WTF was this all about? All throughout the show last night dudes were strutting around in their underwear. And because these guys came to the island wearing the tightest underwear they could find CBS had big blurry spots all over their junk for most of the show. I don’t want to spend an hour looking at another dude’s johnson but I am pretty sure my eyes would have never even focused on that part of the anatomy had there not been this huge blur drawing my eyes there. It is almost like Louis CK’s view on the N-word. I wasn’t planning on viewing the wangs of these contestants last night but because of the big blurry spot on my screen Survivor was basically making me visualize these peckers in my mind. It got to a point where I was wondering if these guys were just walking around with their twig and berries just hanging out of their underwear. Is that gay? Did CBS just make me gay last night?
My Verdict: Wear some freakin’ pants for the love of God. I don’t want to see or be made to visualize any man meat for the rest of this season.
Sidenote: Most of the chicks on the younger tribe, please disregard my comment about pants…feel free to strut around in your underwear.
5. Jimmy Johnson
I have never liked Coach JJ and before the show even started I was hoping to watch Probst douse his flame at tribal council on that first show of the season. Seriously, how can I ever have anything but hate for the former Dallas Cowboys coach, right? I am a Redskins fan for crying out loud.
But something changed after only about 15 minutes into the show: I started warming to the guy. How can I be brought to dark side that quickly? How can I put away so many years of hatred for this guy in 15 minutes? He was upfront with the other competitors about why he was on the show (for the adventure itself more than the win) and I actually believed him. His pep talk before the initial immunity challenge alone would have been enough for me to not vote to kick him off if I was on his tribe. How can you really beat having a motivational tool like a former Superbowl champion coach on your side before going into any challenges?
I agree with Jimmy’s own assessment that it would be pretty smart for just about anyone else in the game to have him sitting next to them in that final tribal council. I know that if I was in that jury I wouldn’t give that guy a million dollars. That million would be a life changer to every other contestant on the show but would that even really matter to the Coach? Even if I thought he was the best player and deserved to win I could not, in good conscience, give him the money over any other contestant.
My Verdict: I find myself liking the guy and can see how he can be a great leader. I hope he sticks around a while. Plus, I just want to see how messy his hair is after a month out there in Nicaragua. I really want them to do a celebrity survivor…not another Survivor All-Stars…a celebrity survivor.
Guess I will have to wait til next week to see how things progress.