Whom Would You Choose to Join You on Survivor’s “Loved Ones” Episode?

Every season of Survivor, there’s a “loved ones” episode. The remaining contestants are lined up, and one by one they’re greeted by a specific person they chose in advance to visit them. There are a lot of tears (from the contestants, their loved ones, and me) followed by a reward competition where only the winners get to hang out with their loved ones for the few hours.

I have a few thoughts and questions about this episode. The first question applies to anyone reading this, even if you don’t watch Survivor: If you were on a tropical island with a half dozen friends/strangers/competitors and you could spend an hour with a loved one, whom would you choose?

Just for fun, my first thought was my cat, Biddy. It would be adorable to see him run out of the woods to greet his papa. However, both Biddy and I know that he would despise the entire trip from St. Louis to the tropical island, and if Jeff Probst somehow got him into the woods, he would absolutely refuse to budge.

Alternatively, my best friend Trevor would have to be at the top of the list, along with my parents–they all love to travel. It’s a lot to ask someone to travel halfway around the world for just an hour visit, though. I’m guessing Survivor makes it worth the trip with some pure vacation time too.

Now here’s the situation I’ve been pondering for Survivor fans: One of the hardest parts of the episode is that if you win the privilege of spending time with your loved one, you’re taking away that privilege from someone else. You will see people literally sobbing on their hands and knees. It’s tough.

For me, while the loved one time (and the food that accompanies that time) would be great, I would gladly give up that privilege to someone who truly needs it. The odd thing with Survivor, though, is usually when people do something generous, they get a target on their back.

So do you think it would be a poor strategy to give up your loved ones visit? Or could it strengthen a connection with someone else that you wouldn’t otherwise have?

4 thoughts on “Whom Would You Choose to Join You on Survivor’s “Loved Ones” Episode?”

  1. One of the most thought provoking questions you have posed yet. And made even tougher not being in the situation. I would definitely bring my wife, Alison, on the show. That parts easy. While my brother and parents are HUGE survivor fans it not uncommon for me to go 25-30 days without seeing them so it would not be as emotional as having Alison whom I see day in and day out. The tougher question is would I give up my time with her. It’s one thing to sit on the comfort of my couch and say yeah the emotions of others would get me to trade in my visit for theirs. But I also have a strong feeling the emotions that Alison will bring would probably out shadow the others as I know she would want to spend that time together. Plus I would want that time to hear all about how our girls are doing.

    The strategy of it comes into play based on who else won the challenge. In this past episode the 4 that were left behind used that time together to form a bond of their own. So again I believe it’s all situational.

    • I’m glad you brought up that other factor of fandom: None of the people I mentioned care about Survivor, but I can think of a few people I care about who really love it. They may value the experience a lot more than the others (especially Biddy).

      Absolutely, I have no doubt that you (and most people) would have a strong reaction to seeing their loved ones. Even though people on the show become friends, they’re still competing with each other, so it must be amazing to see someone who you can unconditionally trust. It would be hard to give that up even if it somehow advanced you in the game.

  2. First of all, I’m honored to be near the top of the list of people you’d invite! I’d love to visit you whenever you finally get your place on Survivor. Also, I can envision myself being highly motivated to find a way to give you a competitive advantage–kind of like when someone visits a maximum security prison and brings a cake with a way to escape inside. I’m sure I’d spend at least part of the hour sewing razor blades into your skin or sharing my Jeff Probst blackmail file secrets. I’m ready to go! Let’s do this!

    • Thanks Trev! I’m trying to figure out how having razor blades under my skin on a tropical island wouldn’t lead to a medical emergency, but I trust you to figure it out.


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