Survive This

The CBS show Survivor is currently in its 21st season, and I continue to be an avid viewer. I think I’ve only missed one or two seasons, and the producers continue to surprise and delight me every year.

One of the things the show does to mix things up is create special parameters by which to divide contestants into two tribes. Sometimes this is social–they pick teams playground-style, or captains pick teams.

Other times, though, the producers use guidelines such as race, gender, or, this season, age. That’s when the dynamics get really interesting.

So for future Survivors, here are my ideas for ways to divide the tribes:

  • Smokers versus Nonsmokers or Smokers versus Overweights: Survivor is better than the Biggest Loser at getting people to lose weight (whether they want to or not). It’s also very hard on people who smoked cigarettes before leaving for the island. Not only would this season make for a healthy experience for those groups, but it would also make for some good dramatic tension.
  • Optimists versus Pessimists: Does outlook affect competitive performance and survival?
  • Introverts versus Extroverts: Extroverts may get more attention in the business world, but would they maintain that advantage while stranded on an island?
  • Rich versus Poor: One issue that slightly plagues Survivor is that contestants are less likely to give a million dollars to someone who already has a million dollars. What if you pitted an entire tribe of millionaires against a tribe of people with very little means?
  • Gay versus Straight: I don’t know if the show could do this without a ton of backlash, but it sure would be interesting.

I’d also love to see a Survivor where they just drop people on an island and see how long they survive before tapping out. I can just imagine the contestants waiting for Jeff Probst to show up…and he never does.

Also, my friend Bryce suggested a season where no one speaks the same language. It would be logistically difficult, but fascinating to watch.

Would Celebrity Survivor work, or would that be the downfall of the show?

8 Responses to “Survive This”

  1. Katie Baker says:

    Love, love, love Survivor (I’m even in a weekly pool, although my scores this season are abysmal.) My personal favorite concept is take all the poor schleps who get voted out the first tribal because they’ve done “something” in just 48-64 short hours that makes these people hate them. i.e. the woman who wore a boy scout troop leader outfit- seriously? the boyscouts are led by women now??
    Celebrity survivor would never work (have you seen the surreal life? they can’t live without alcohol and pills.)
    Just my random thoughts.

    • Jamey Stegmaier says:

      Ooo, I really like that idea. The only issue is that those “poor schleps” may be really adverse to coming back on the show. I think some of them are pretty embarrassed by being voted off first. Many would want redemption, but others would probably refuse to return. And can you imagine the one person who would be voted off first TWICE? Terrible.

      Good point about celebrity survivor 🙂

      Which of the tribal splits that I mentioned above did you like best?

  2. Phuong says:

    Oooh I kind of like the gay vs. straight theme. The gay men’s shelter would totally be fabulous! I don’t know how that one would fly either, but it would be really interesting.

    Have they done a Survivor: Brain vs. Braun yet?

    If they ever have a Survivor: Introvert vs. Extrovert, we should apply. INTJs unite!! We would dominate!! I’m just warning you, when we are in the final 3, I am going to get vicious 🙂

    • Jamey Stegmaier says:

      Ha ha…that’s hilarious about the gay men’s shelter!

      Brain vs. Braun is interesting…how would they draw the line?

      I wouldn’t survive a day on Survivor…without food, I’d get a migraine and be useless. Or I’d go primal and start hunting people from the trees, completely naked.

  3. Christine says:

    I *heart* Survivor. Jamey, I miss our SPI lunchtime decompressions each week about the show!

    Survivor Allstars and Heroes vs. Villians were kind of like Celebrity Survivor. Those folks are already well-known to both viewers and each other, which gave it an interesting dynamic. And I have to admit, it was fun to watch Jimmy Johnson (who I despised prior to see him on the show this season). He was much different than I thought he’d be.

    • Jamey Stegmaier says:

      You still watch? That’s awesome. That’s a good point about Allstars and Heroes vs. Villians…I was thinking a whole season full of Jimmy Johnsons. Although I kind of like that he was just one of the guys on the show–they just slipped him in. I’m trying to think if they’ve done that before. I know Eddie George’s wife was on the show, but that’s all I can think of.

  4. T-Mac says:

    I wonder if they’d get a lot of backlash if they did a disabled survivor and pitted mentally disabled people against physically disabled people.

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