Sometimes you need a reminder of why you love something. I have said early and often that the most important factor when determining the success of any Survivor season is casting. Every season is like a chemistry experiment where you drop 16-20 elements into a test tube, shake it up, and hope something explodes. And I still believe that. But there is something else about Survivor that transcends the personalities — or lack thereof. It’s the escapist element. Whether you are working in a factory all day, or, like me, staring at a computer screen that gives you migraine headaches on a semi-regular basis, you can plop down on your couch at 8pm on a Wednesday night, crack open a Milwaukee’s Best (or, you know, some other beverage that does not taste like piss), and immediately be transported to the remotest corners of the earth.
And it’s not just escape — it’s adventure. And that mixture of escape and adventure was on full display in this week’s challenge. Running! Swimming! Climbing! Diving! Pushing a submerged trunk through an underwater gate! And this was only the first-half of this week’s contest. It’s no secret I’ve always been a fan of underwater challenges, and watching this one in glorious high definition was truly a sight to behold.
Holy crap! Do you hear how earnest I sound? I feel like I’m a contestant in the middle of a Fallen Comrades tribute! (“Man, remember Carter? He was just, like, super great. Miss you bro!”) I can’t help it. Occasionally I get all mushy when I think about what this show delivers that no other program can. It’s why I’m still writing and you’re still reading 26 freakin’ seasons in. So well done, Jeff Probst, challenge guru John Kirhoffer, producers Dave Burris, Dave Dryden and everyone else that brings those incredible images into our living room every Wednesday night. Even when I write mean, horrible things about your show, I still love it. And this scene was just the latest example of why.
Man, check me out! I am fired up! Fired up like my man Shamar. Shamar should be happy because he was not voted out at the last Tribal Council as all of his buddies stayed loyal and tossed Allie instead. But he’s not. Because he’s Shamar. I mean, the yelling at Reynold we expected because that is totally his go-to move, but then Shamar starts yelling at Matt. What for? I have no idea! Maybe he doesn’t like his tattoos or his beard or the fact that his name is Matt. It could be anything with this guy. Then he starts yelling at someone I have never seen before who apparently is named Julia, until he gets just as bored with her as the producers are and turns his attention back to Matt.
But Shamar is not the only upset person on the Fans tribe. The next day, Reynold vents to Eddie about the Flirty Foursome being outwitted by the rest of the tribe. “It’s revenge of the nerds,” he complains while doing an unintentional Stan Gable impersonation. Am I the only one at this point that has visions of an actual Survivor: Revenge of the Nerds edition dancing in my head? Get Booger, Wormser, and Poindexter out here pronto! They’d be unstoppable! Have you seen Lamar Latrell toss a javelin? Or Takashi ride a tricycle? They would go all Koror tribe on anyone that dared to oppose! (Of course, I suppose you’d have to put Cochran on that tribe as well. I imagine he’d have to go through some sort of Nerd fraternity hazing like, say, a midnight panty raid on the unsuspecting Pi Delta Pis, but you have to believe he’d be welcomed by the Tri-Lambs with open arms.)
NEXT: To quit…or not to quit?