Well, well. We’re back for a 10th season. I’m officially out of the Survivor Death Pool, as I called 7 seasons right after Thailand. Goes to show what I know…
We begin as we usually do, with Jeffrey Probst aboard some sea vessel praising the local habitat, pointing out wildlife that will not appear again in any episode, and reminding us what we’re watching; that is some number of attention whores, greater than or equal to 16 and divisible by 2, selling their souls (and, quite often, the souls of their parents and/or progeny) in front of millions of people for the opportunity to win a million bucks, or to pimp themselves for a future in disposable razor ads or Playboy spreads while appearing to give a damn about this “game”. As time has gone on, Jeffrey’s felt the need to pilot his vehicles. He’s gone from motorcycle to Sea-Doo to helicopter, and now? You can add 40-foot yacht to the list.
This time we have 20 DAWs, an unprecedented number. At the moment, they’re all wedged tightly in a rowboat. 20, eh? Don’t you think that’s a bit excessive, Marky? I mean last season we had 18, and I’ll be damned if I can remember 10 of them. At this rate, the opening credits sequence will take us all the way to the Tribal Council portion of the show. (Having heard about this increase in cast size, The Donald has ordered 24 candidates for the latest, as yet unfilmed, season of his Big. Steaming. Pile. of a show. But we’re not here to talk about that Frankenstein’s Monster.)
Anyway, these 20 have been set adrift with only the clothes on their backs. This marks the second time they’ve done this. The first time had very unfortunate consequences for the audience, primarily, though I suppose it did give a certain Survivor Quitter, whose name starts with “O” and ends with a long whining sound, some problems when he decided four strips of beef jerky were more important than warmth. Fortunately for this crew, I don’t think they will have the opportunity to make the same poor decision. Which is fortunate, because apparently none of them remember this twist from exactly 3 seasons ago.
They all seem to be dressed as if Jeff told them they were going to Olive Garden for lunch. And while I agree that Dockers technology has improved in recent years, 39 days on a beach was not a prime concern for the R&D staff at Levi’s. So, for all you future applicants to MB’s weekly sociology experiment, here’s a little tip: The minute your plane touches down in the general area of where you’re going to be filming, I suggest you wear nothing but layers of swimwear, cargopants, and t-shirts. I don’t care if Probst tells you the Palauan royal family has invited you over for tea.
Eventually, rowboat meets yacht, out at sea, and our boy Jeffrey greets the new guinea pigs. He tells them their beach is about a mile that-a-way, that there are 2 immunity necklaces awaiting the first woman and first man who can claim them, and, finally, that they can get there by rowing in, swimming in, or a combination of both, but they better make a decision because the game is on. Enter , a gay hairdresser from Texas. Perhaps not wanting the awkward “are you gay?” line of questioning, the Cob-ster has opted for a bleached Mohawk and a pink shirt and shorts outfit. I’m sure he’s here to combat gay stereotypes…or reinforce them…or attract a flamingo. At any rate, he stands up, as if to jump in and swim to shore. The other 19 look at him similarly to the way the rest of America looked at Jessica Simpson when she asked if “Chicken of the Sea” was chicken or tuna. Realizing he has just announced to the world that he’s a flaming mo-ron, he sits back down.
Enter , a steelworker currently residing in Alabama, but born, bred, and spit out of every holler from the Smokies to the Ozarks. He’s a man who is trying waaaayyyy too hard to be a redneck. Apparently, he wants a career as Jeff Foxworthy’s poster child when this is all said and done.
James (confessional): Jeff’s a sumbitch. Hay-ell, we din’t even get a chaynce to eat our daily scrapple afore he’s loadin’ us on this-a-here boat. I-uh knew he’us goana pull some shee-it lahk thayt.
Pinky (confessional): Everyone was wondering who was gonna be stupid enough to jump in first. I mean, I almost did, but really it was a fake-out, a con, y’know, I was just pulling their legs. Yeah, that’s it. I’m really not that stupid. Honest.
No sooner do they leave the company of Jeffrey, than middle-aged maniac , a school teacher whose children are thrilled beyond all comprehension that they’re torturous English teacher went on a 39-day sabbatical, and who seems to think that she’s starring in “Survivor: The Musical”, breaks out in song. (Though when I say “song”, I’m using the loosest definition of the word. Really, it’s just the melody to “Heart and Soul” with some crappy, home-made lyrics attached.)
Survivors, I’m a gonna sing-y Survivors, whilst we’re in this dinghy…
Enter , a 57-year old attorney who thought it might be a nice change of pace to play this game as a broke postal worker, because everyone is trusting of a postal employee with his back against a wall and everything to lose, and has gotten into character immediately by wishing death by repeated oar beating on Wacky Wanda.
Finally , a pharmaceutical rep from Philly-ish, who’s been diving into the sample happy pills, gets too antsy (and too full of Wanda’s “stylings”) to stay on board. She tells , a cardboard cut-out from Dallas that she’s diving in. The boat is still at least a half-mile from shore. This, my friends, is the earliest we’ve seen such sheer, unadulterated senselessness on this show. She dives in. Cut-out boy follows. Surprise, they are both immediately passed by the boat.
Stephenie (confessional): Well, that was dumb. It didn’t feel like we were moving, and I’m a pretty good swimmer, y’know, so I figured I could beat it to shore. (We’re not even 5 minutes in, and I’ve already given up hope on Stephenie’s ability to gage anything more complex than left foot/left shoe, right foot/right shoe. Umm, Steph? Michael Phelps couldn’t have beaten that boat to shore if it was chock-full of folks bearing Michael Moore’s physique and the last known case of Bud Light was waiting on the beach.)
Enter , ad executive, from Merced, California, and resident snark…
Katie (confessional): Way to go, geniuses. Targets are in this year. Wear them with pride.