Survivor: One World returned to its One World premise at the end of last week, and on Wednesday, we had our first post-merge episode, which sadly was about as full of scheming as a nap time at the local Retirement Home. I thought there’d be lots of scrambling — would people align themselves with their new tribes or their old, gender-based teams? There was a minor effort by the men to reunite, but given that the men have been a strategical mess all season, this obviously went down in flames. The first problem was that spearheading this effort was Tarzan, a man not known for great social gameplay. Jonas last week announced that he would be taking the leadership role now that Colton was gone, but apparently that only consisted of him making nice food for everyone. It was therefore a bit shocking when he snapped at Tarzan for having the balls to organize the men’s alliance. Unsurprisingly, sensitive guy reacted poorly to Jonas’s behavior, and proclaimed himself a man without allegiances. Oy vey.
We have seen some awful, reprehensible behavior on Survivor — heck, reality TV in general — but the first half of Wednesday’s episode displayed some of the very worst in the history of the genre. I don’t think I’m overstating this. Watching Colton and Alicia gang up on outcast Christina was so hideous and vile that I almost couldn’t believe what I was watching.
We’ve seen bullying before, and we’ve certainly seen manipulative demoralizing, but the way these two hyenas attacked was so utterly loathsome that it seemed to stir something primal and angry inside of me. They were awful not just as people, but as examples of social psychology. Here were two idiots on a power trip, cloaking their miserable behavior as “strategy” (an attempt to beat down Christina’s morals), but really what they were doing was giving into their evil, malicious cores and feeling justified in doing so. I feel like I sound like a preacher. Hmm… Either way, the truth is that watching these assholes really made me mad. Their unchecked animosity towards Christina — who was already totally marginalized for no good reason — was reminiscent of schoolyard bullies. And what’s worse is that no one stopped them, leading them to believe that it was somehow okay to act that way, even in a game. This is how thousands of people became Nazis, people. And yes, I do believe this is my first time vaguely equating people from Survivor to Nazis. LOL, I think?
Survivor: One World changed things up on Wednesday. The tribes, finally even, were subjected to a random switcheroo, and as luck would have it, all the hot, strong people wound up on one team, and the scraps on another. Yes, while Salani became home to the likes of supermen Mike, Jay, Troyzan (as well as all those pretty, generic women), Manono took on the elderly (Tarzan), the weak (Colton), the small (Leif), the ineffective (Jonas), the useless (Christina), and the even more useless (Alicia). The only bright spot was Monica – a strong, likable lady who could possibly lead the underdog of all underdog teams to victory. Theoretically.
Soooo…. that was crazy.
After twenty four seasons, Survivor still manages to shock and surprise us, which is really a testament to the human condition more than anything else. On last night’s episode of Survivor: One World, one tribe did something so silly, so unnecessary, and so ludicrous that it can only be viewed as an exemplary instance of groupthink gone massively wrong. Then again, isn’t that what always happens with groupthink?
Stop now if you haven’t watched the episode. Otherwise, proceed!