A nightmare. In a sense, that’s what the producers of Survivor had on their hands last night with the premiere of One World — a total and complete nightmare scenario. And there was not a thing they could do about it.
Here it is, a brand new season, with the show back on firmer footing after the solid South Pacific installment. Not only that, but it is going up against a clearly weakened American Idol. This is the time for Survivor to shine! You want to come out of the gate super-strong and get people pumped for a season-long adventure. And then, due to one broken wrist, you end up with only half a challenge and a phony baloney Tribal Council in which no one gets sent home. I’ve been on location for a lot of openings and seen the disappointment on the crew’s faces when something goes wrong (the first challenge in Nicaragua — in which contestants outsmarted the producers and instead of zig-zagging their gutters combined them to make one large chute, making the challenge take about 11 seconds total — leaps to mind). I wasn’t on location this time, but I can only image how bummed Probst and Co. were. And, like I said, there was nothing they could do about it.
Sure, Probst gave the men the option to continue the challenge anyway, but no one in their right mind would have agreed to that (well, maybe Brandon Hantz, but that just further illustrates my point). And they tried to keep the mystery going at Tribal Council as to what was going on with Kourtney when it was painfully obvious that if she were coming back at all it would’ve been at the very beginning of Tribal. This is what happens when you drop a bunch of random people on an island and punish them physically, mentally, and emotionally. It can make for incredible drama. Or it can make for this. You roll the dice enough times, sometimes it’s gonna come up snake eyes. The price of doing business, ladies and gentlemen.
The good news, however, is that while Kourtney’s injury (and more on that a little later) may have torpedoed the Survivor: One World premiere, it’s just one episode. And that’s not to say there weren’t plenty of other shenanigans for us to go over. So what are we waiting for? (Tarzan’s shirt to run out of batteries? Is that what we’re waiting for? Because if it is, I think we’re going to be here a long time. That thing may even be solar-powered. Or mustache powered. I’m not really sure. Let’s just move on.)
The premiere begins with Jeff Probst chillin’ in a helicopter informing us that “I’m over a remote Polynesian island,” which he declines to name (Upolu) because it marks the fourth time in the past six seasons that the show has filmed there. The players get no such joy ride, however. They are stuck in the back of a pick-up truck like day laborers being hauled to a construction site, the poor bastards. When not looking miserable or like they would cut off their left arm for a freakin’ Dramamine, several of the cast — in a time-honored Survivor tradition — take time out to inform of us of how awesome they are. There’s Colton, and Alicia, and Jonas, and…Whoa! What is with that shirt? This dude Greg appears to have swallowed a tie dyed zebra and then barfed it all back up onto his clothes. It’s quite possibly the most amazing article of clothing I have ever seen in my entire life. To be honest, I’m not even sure you can call that “clothing.” It’s more like a Timothy Leary psychedelic nightmare or the entire color palate of the Wachowski siblings’ Speed Racer remake.
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