Miss me? I hadn’t planned on skipping last week, but, you know–February break happens.
I desperately want to complain about the weather, but I’m going to refrain. Instead I will say that we are in the home stretch now and it won’t be long before we start waking up to chirping birds and walking by budding crocuses. Spring is out there waiting for us, we just have to hunker down a little bit longer for our big reward.
For the record, I am not being positive and peppy as I say that–I am trying to fake it ’til I make it–this has been a difficult few weeks. Seasonal Affective Disorder has had me firmly in its grip. (Which you can read more about here).
Feeling like this makes me want to talk about something light today.
Last night was the premiere of Survivor. Did you watch? Do you like the show? Have you ever been a fan?
My family and I have been watching Survivor for 15 years. Yes, this is the 30th season and it has been on the air for 15 years. Crazy, but true.
If you have never watched, you should really check it out. I am still enthralled with it after all these years and it is one of the few things on TV that I never miss. I recommend it highly, both for entertainment value and human interest.
If you don’t know anything about Survivor, the show takes 20-24 people, divides them into tribes and dumps them onto a tropical island somewhere in the world. The tribes are given a bag of rice, but are responsible for supplementing their diet, building shelter, starting fire and avoiding the wildlife. They must brave the weather, the other contestants and the many twists and turns of the game.
The beginning of the game has the tribes facing off against each other. Every week there are two challenges. The first challenge is for reward, which is either luxury items for camp or excursions that inevitably involve big feasts.
The second weekly challenge is for the coveted immunity idol. The tribe that loses the immunity challenge has to go to Tribal Council where one member of their tribe will be voted out of the game.
Tribal Council is a little bit like being sent to the principals office. The whole tribe sits on bleacher like seats in front of a blazing fire with the principal–host Jeff Probst—questioning them about the ins and outs of their tribe. There are fights, back stabbing, lies, broken alliances, tears and confessions all masterfully drawn out by Jeff. Survivor wouldn’t be Survivor without Jeff and his ability to gather information and make people crack at Tribal.
After the grilling, all of the tribe members vote and once the votes have been tallied, the eliminated player gets their torch snuffed while Jeff utters his famous “The tribe has spoken” line and the player has to take the walk of shame.
When numbers have diminished to somewhere between 8-12, the tribes merge and the individual game begins. There are still reward and immunity challenges, but now it is every man/woman for themselves.
Eventually only three remain and after the final Tribal Council where they each plead their case, the jury members–those who were voted out of the game post merge— vote for who they believe played the best game and deserves the million bucks.
I absolutely love the “study” of contestants on Survivor. The human drama that plays out every week is fascinating to watch. These are real people put into a super stressful situation and made to fend for themselves. There is a lack of food, shelter, sleep and creature comforts. All the while, players are with a tribe of strangers where they are all vying for a million dollars. Making alliances and playing the social part of the game is just as important as the physical aspect.
Each season we find ourselves loving some of the contestants while simultaneously being frustrated and annoyed by others. Just like in real life.
One of the greatest aspects of Survivor is the blindside. This is when a player goes into Tribal completely convinced they are safe but end up getting voted out. It is generally a big move in the game and never fails to please those of us watching (unless of course you were rooting for who got blindsided).
As you can imagine, paranoia runs crazy high every step of the game.
There are so many nuances in Survivor. It has been around long enough that there are archetypical players and strategies that get used often. But the producers change the parameters enough and there are so many players who study the game and behave in new ways that each season is still unique.
I understand that the show is edited. I know that they don’t show everything and that some people are made to seem like villains or heroes when that is not how they were actually perceived on the island.
But overall, the psychological study is still fascinating. The way that people crack under the circumstances. The way that true colors are displayed or hidden. The lies and deception. The luck aspect of the game. Why people vote the way they do and what it takes to make it to the end of the game.
This season there are three tribes–it is white collar vs. blue collar vs. no collar. With the explanation of collars being those who make the rules vs those who follow or enforce the rules vs those who live outside of the rules.
The first episode was full of all kinds of drama. It promises to be a wild ride.
Are you gonna watch?