The nineteenth season of Survivor kicked off this weekend. For Survivor: Samoa, they’ve cast 20 new players, and aside from the usual archetypes that the show has (insane old woman, sociopathic troll etc) they have also gone to extra special lengths to get around the ‘hot chick gets voted off first’ trend that has plagued the show in recent years. So they’ve gone to well and stacked the show with about five smokin’ hot women. It looks like it was worth the effort as the first person voted off this week was one of the five hot chicks.
Marisa: victim of Survivor’s hot chick prejudice
The first episode strayed a bit from the usual format and focused heavily on a central eccentric character. After last season, where Ben “Coach” Wade well and truly stole the show with his tales of pygmy Amazonians inserting spears into his anus, they seem to be looking to recreate the magic this season with Russel the Evil Oil Baron. So instead of the usual Meet N’ Greet pilot where you get to find out a little bit of information about all the characters, we got to spend most of the time with this multi-millionaire oil tycoon who says he can win the show by being a horrible jerk to everyone and preying on his teammates’ weak will and stupidity.
As the grand-dad of reality television, I think part of the reason Survivor has been around so long because of the producers’ approach to casting and editing the show as if it were a scripted program. By casting the majority of their players (as opposed to going through a selection process using audition tapes) they have a knack for ensuring they get a decent range of personalities and it really shows with the number of memorable players they’ve managed to get in the show. Evil Russel, as christened by Jeff Probst in his blog, is probably one of the most dominating and over-the-top screen presenses they’ve had but I like that they’ve potentially shown the seeds of his downfall in Betsy, a middle-aged policewoman, who already seems to have him pegged as untrustworthy but is unsure of how to handle the situation.
Regardless of how it all plays out, its great to see the show back on air. And now I’ve got the first episode of Curb Your Enthusiasm Season 7 to look forward to tonight!