Hello and welcome back to our coverage of America’s #1 TV show (in 2001), Survivor!
Yes I am back. My determination to cover any entire season of Survivor for the first time is as strong as Survivor’s willingness to…survive. I promise my metaphors will get better as the season goes on.
For real though, this season marks Survivor’s 35th season! That is a remarkable achievement and I honestly hope for 35 more. I’m a greedy son of a bitch.
Much like how the producers of Survivor change things up, this season we are doing things a little different. I looked around the Survivor recap landscape and I saw power rankings, long winded recaps, strategy overviews, story telling analysis, and even edit analysis. So I thought long and hard about how to stand out from the crowd and how to be creative. Which led to me stealing a classic format from sports blogs: Winners and Losers!
Yes this is the place to come find out who the “Winners” and the “Losers” are of each episode. I’ll even throw in some “Hot Takes” to keep your interest.
Take the jump and find out who my Winners, Losers and Hot Takes of the preseason of Survivor 35.
Survivor might seem like a game about the winner. It seems like it’s about overcoming adversity and surviving the challenges of the game and the people. But it’s not. Every season we see at least 15 people lose this game. Every episode is a narrative about how someone lost their shot at a million dollars. It’s a game about losing so naturally let me start with the losers of the preseason.
I’m of two minds on the subtitle this season: Healers…no wait…Heroes Healers Hus…no it’s Heroes vs Healers vs Hustlers. My first mind is, it’s utter garbage. As someone who desperately wants more people to watch the show (Jesse…) this title makes it a difficult sell. I can’t convince my friends to buy into a REALITY TV show, a genre which already has a trashy reputation, let alone one with the words Healers and Hustlers in it.
Besides the poor word choice, they didn’t even give us fans a location name to refer to the season. For example there have been two Survivor seasons subtitled Fans vs Favorites. Which actually rolls off the tongue better and makes inherent sense on its own. Everyone could figure out what Fans vs Favorites means. But these seasons also had an additional location title that most fans actually use: Micronesia and Caramoan. That’s a much better way to sell a season to someone who might typically avoid reality shows. Give them an exotic name and it’s intriguing to them. Give them an alliteration with three words that nobody truly identifies with and it feels like we have a shark that is jumping.
My second mind is, look this is season 35. We as Survivor fans know the theme goes away after episode three. Let’s all just call it Survivor Triple H and let my wrestling fan friend Jesse giggle because apparently that’s a reference to something and move on. Remember how bad Survivor Millennials vs Gen X sounded? And we are all over that because it was a great season. Let’s just hope for the best and move on.
People Who Hate Fiji:
For those of you who are new Survivor fans, allow me to give you a little history lesson. Back in the old days of Survivor, the location choice was as important as the cast. Perhaps more important to some people. One of the initial draws to many was exploring these new, exotic lands through the lens of these Americans. We got dry Australian landscapes, the threat of dangerous animals in Africa, and even Mayan ruins in Guatemala. The location was intertwined with the theme of the season and it was a beautiful way to explore parts of the world we might never have the chance to see.
And then Samoa happened. Season 19 of Survivor. Jeff Probst was ready to pack things up after Season 20 and move on with his life. The end of Survivor looked nigh and hardly anyone was going to notice. That is until a bald troll came barreling through the show and revitalized everyone from Rob Cesternino to Probst himself. The show had legs again but a decision was made to keep costs low, they were going to stay in the same locations for back-to-back seasons.
And that’s how we got four seasons in Samoa, four in Nicaragua, and four in the Philippines. We took a brief detour to Cambodia and now we are in Fiji for the third time straight (fourth overall) with no end in sight.
Probst recently revealed that they LOVE working in Fiji and they are planning on staying there for a long time, if not forever. In fact season 36 has already filmed there. So for those of you who hate seeing the same location. Sorry. But at least Fiji is beautiful.
General Mood of Survivor Fans:
Have you spent anytime around Survivor super fans online lately? No? Oh right, I’m the weird one here.
Well let’s just say they are all doing their best Mario Lanza impression (the famed Survivor writer who prefers old school Survivor, not the old actor guy). Coming off of Survivor: Game Changers, which was a…difficult season to watch, it seems like all of the Survivor fans are chanting “The end is nigh” on a regular basis.
I can’t blame them too much. Season 34 was tough and there doesn’t seem to be much hype around Season 35. My only complaint is that we complain at all. I’m all for constructive criticism but this is the 35th season of your favorite show. It’s not going to last forever, enjoy it while you can.
People Who Like Twists:
Last season fan favorite Cirie Fields was ousted as the final six because everyone else had immunity. Thanks to an individual immunity from a challenge, three hidden immunity idols, and one legacy advantage. That’s five different forms of immunity which leaves only one person unsafe in a tribe of six.
It was bewildering, unbelievable, and historic. It was also gut-wrenching and borderline confusing.
Personally, I liked that it happened but I was sad that it happened to a Survivor legend like Cirie. The majority of the fanbase is anit-advantagegeddon (the coined term for the event) but I attribute that to the fact that Cirie is one of the most beloved Survivors and the remaining five…were not.
Fortunately for those of us who enjoy twists, Jeff Probst is on record stating Advantagegeddon was the, “most alive I’ve ever been at Tribal”. Advantages and twists are keeping Probst alive people! We can’t let him die! Long live twists!
For those of you who don’t know Josh Wigler, he is the best writer covering Survivor. Sorry Dalton Ross and Gordon Holmes but this Wigler kid is something else. He’s been covering Survivor for a while now for The Hollywood Report and Parade Magazine and Rob Has a Podcast. This preseason Wigler was the only journalist out there to meet the cast before they played. And boy did he work hard to cover all angles.
He wrote up a profile for each Survivor here. He created a beautiful podcast series centered around who the first person out was going to be here. And he even had special interviews specifically for RHAP here.
It was wonderful. I wasn’t able to keep up with all the content. But I appreciate that Josh doesn’t spend his time using his talents for something more important like politics and world news. Keep it up Josh!
I’ve hinted at this earlier in this post but let me spell it out here. Survivor is the most beautifully difficult game that provides us fans with endless hours of entertainment. We are at a momentous occasion here at season 35. We know the show could go on for another decade. But we also know season 40 is looming around the corner and everyone likes to end on a round number. Let’s enjoy the gift that the Survivor Gods have bestowed upon us. Let’s share the show with our friends and family. Let’s just have fun getting to know the 18 new Survivors that we surely will fall in love with over the next few months. Let’s savor every moment for it’s beauty, reality and, of course, gif ability.
Alright time for my newly patented Hot Take section. This week I’m predicting that this season won’t suck as hard as it’s name. Like I was saying earlier, everyone seems down on this season. Mostly because Game Changers was hard to sit through. And because Heroes Heal….Triple H is a dumb name. And the new cast seems kind of…meh. But do not fear! Low expectations are the key to happiness. They set you up for surprise and I think we have a few characters here who might surprise us. I’m going to go out and say this will be a top 15 season when all said and done. That’s my shot. I’m taking it.
You’re Still Here?
Oh my winner pick you ask? I have never correctly picked a winner. My closest was when I picked Jeremy to win…his first season not his second season in which he did win
And last season, I must admit, I did the best I have ever done with a boot order. I correctly picked Ciera as the first boot and Troyzan as the third place finisher with no votes. Yes that’s literally the best I have ever done. So what?
Anyway my top three most likely winners are, Desi, Joe Mena, and Chrissy. Let’s go with Desi for the simple reason of ¯\_(ツ)_/¯