(NOTE: This blog will contain spoilers to Survivor Season 30: Worlds Apart which aired from March-May, 2015).
In these unprecedented times, I need some competition. In this world without sports, reality television is the closest thing I’ll get (with the exception of professional wrestling, but believe it or not, it can be difficult to get the fiancé to watch WWE with me). Love Is Blind was a bust. The Bachelor: Listen to Your Heart, as I expected, turned really stale really quickly. The Challenge Total Madness has been good so far, but it’s only once a week and I can’t find a platform that has seasons from earlier than War of the Worlds Part 2.
You see, I got into the “blog game” way back by recapping episodes of The Bachelor via e-mail which then turned into posts on the now defunct PerfectPours.com and eventually WaterCoolerSports.com. That blog soon turned into the number one Bachelor podcast in the universe (self-proclaimed) Bachelor Night in America with my partner in crime and co-host, Junior. But now with the Bachelor world up in the air, sports, up in the air, and quite honestly, podcasts relatively up in the air, I figured I’d go back to what made me get in the game in the first place: recapping reality TV through written words.
So that brings me to Survivor. About a month-and-a-half ago, the fiancé and I were sitting on a couch, I was drunk, scrolling through Hulu where we saw seasons 1-34 of Survivor. The rest, as they say, is history. We have been watching Survivor season after Survivor season for about 2-3 hours per night plus anywhere from 3-7 hours on the weekend (I am not exaggerating). This amounts to anywhere from 2-4 episodes on a week night and 6-10 episodes on any given Saturday or Sunday. It really has turned into my sports with the weekend being equivalent to College Football Saturday and NFL Sunday, except it’s Survivor.
We started off by literally picking a number between 1-34 and just going for it, but then we got into watching “recommended” seasons by the internet. Our only rule is that we are trying to avoid seasons that have former contestants in order to avoid spoilers. Below is a quick rundown of the seasons we have watched (in the order that we have watched them) along with my personal MVP of the season (these aren’t necessarily the winners. These are people who were a combination of those whom I thought performed the best with the hand they were dealt in the game/who’s game impressed me the most/were my personal favorites (Carter)/I have a crush on (Parvati)):
Season 32 Khao Rung, MVP: Aubry
Season 12 Panama, MVP: Terry
Season 28 Cagayan, MVP: Tony
Season 25 Philippines, MVP: Carter
Season 31 Cambodia Second Chance, MVP: Kelley Wentworth
Season 16 Micronesia Fans vs Favorites, MVP: Cirie
Season 7 Pearl Island, MVP: Lil
Season 13 Cook Island, MVP: Parvati
At this point we switched to CBS All Access to watch some of the more current seasons.
Season 38 Edge of Extinction, MVP: Rick Devens
Survivor Season 36 Ghost Island, MVP: Dom
Season 37 David vs Goliath, MVP: Mike (yes this is the guy from School of Rock)
Season 35 Heroes vs Healers vs Hustlers, MVP: Ben
Which now brings us to Season 30. What I’ll be doing in these blogs is really summarizing what I saw in the hours of episodes we watched from the night before and name an Outplay MVP, Outwit MVP, and Overall MVP, as well as an LVP of what I saw and give you some insight from what I saw.
Season 30’s theme was White Collar vs Blue Collar vs No Collar. The White Collars, as you could imagine were a bunch of corporate city-slickers including So who admitted to making anyone who has ever worked for her cry, Shirin and Max who know way too much about the Survivor franchise, Carolyn who is your no bullshit, but athletic cool lady, Tyler who has yet to make an impression 5 episodes in, and Joaquin who showed up in a full suit and knew immediately that he made a mistake signing up for Survivor.In the Blue Collar tribe you got Sierra the barrel racer, Lindsey the hairdresser, Dan the mailman, Mike the oil driller, Kelly the cop, and Rodney who was this season’s person on the show that has a thick Boston accent. The person in this tribe that I am pulling for that stuck out to me was Kelly. She took a pallet to the face and was bleeding through her buff one challenge but still decided to continue going even after Jeff said it would be okay if she sat out. Kelly is going to be someone who could make some noise down the road. She’s already successfully navigated the Tribe Swap despite being the only Blue Collar on her new tribe and it looks like she’ll be safely heading to The Merge to reunite with her former Blue Collar alliance.
Finally we have the No Collar tribe who are the “free spirits.” This tribe has a deaf woman named Nina who is a hearing advocate, Jenn the sailing instructor, Hali the law student (they explained how she was a “No Collar” despite being a law student, I just forgot), Will, the Youtube sensation, Golden Boy Joe made his survivor debut this season, and finally, Vince, the coconut vendor. Vince was a combination of Tony Perkins from Heavy Weights and John Lennon. His intensity and voice are Perkins, and his hippy, free-spirit aura is Lennon.
Honestly, this video doesn’t do him justice for just how out there he is. Anyways, ends up falling in love with Jenn who wants nothing to do with him and gets blindsided by Will. Let’s talk about Will for a second actually. Will is the lone black man on this season and he is big. Multiple times, his weight and condition are called into question by his tribemates, but in my opinion, Will was just playing himself into shape like Shaq used to do.
Five episodes in and we have gotten a Tribe Swap and it would appear as though the next episode will give us the coveted Merge. Going into The Merge, we have:
- Joe (No Collar)
- Jenn (No Collar, holding hidden immunity idol)
- Hali (No Collar)
- Will (No Collar)
- Shirin (White Collar)
- Carolyn (Disavowed White Collar, holding hidden immunity idol)
- Tyler (White Collar)
- Mike (Blue Collar)
- Dan (Blue Collar)
- Rodney (Blue Collar)
- Sierra (Blue Collar)
- Kelly (Blue Collar)
I’m not sure if this means we will get a ten person tribal and a final two, a nine person tribal and a final three, or maybe it’ll be one of those seasons where the first person voted out won’t go to the jury. I always feel bad for those people. Anyways let’s get to the awards:
Outplay MVP: (For the sake of not getting too wild with it, my “Outplay MVP” will almost solely be based on challenge performance and not the performance at camp and other “Outplay” factors discussed at the Final Tribal Council).
It’s kind of tough to give the Outplay MVP when there really hasn’t been any individual challenges. Joe, who in the other two seasons I saw with him (31 and 38) is deemed as challenge champion, but I’m just not seeing it so far this season. Sure he’s very athletic and good with puzzles and untying knots which will certainly help him for individual challenges, but his team went to Tribal Council four times already which isn’t something I was expecting to see out of such a strong challenger. In fact, the last challenge before the Tribe Swap, you could make the argument that the No Collar Tribe lost because of his decision to not let Nina carry the bucket with the rest of the team. In case you forgot (since it was 6 years ago), the tribes had to work together to fill and carry a large bucket of water through obstacles, except this large bucket had holes in it so you needed people to plug the holes so that you got to where you needed to dump it, you could have the maximum amount of water. Joe not letting Nina carry the bucket with them was a boneheaded move that really affected his team in the worst possible way. It was the equivalent to Pete Carroll calling for a pass play instead of pounding it in with Marshawn Lynch at the 1 in Super Bowl XLIX. There just seemed to be no rhyme or reason for that. Not letting Nina essentially left anywhere from 3-6 extra holes open for water to spill out.
Mike had a strong showing completing the puzzle in the first challenge and being on the winning end of the majority of challenges, but he threw the last challenge I watched which was a memory challenge and even though he may have redeemed himself because of the move he made (we’ll get to that in a second), I can’t give him an MVP for throwing a challenge.
My Outplay MVP will go to Kelly though. Kelly was also on the winning side of the majority of the challenges, and as I mentioned before, split her head open and decided to complete the challenge. (As I do these, you will see that I have a huge appreciation for the gritty underdogs that get the job done at all cost).
This is tough because even though a lot of people are settling in, they’re still feeling each other out. Jenn’s moves to quickly see Vince was probably bad for her game and cut ties with him and then go out and find the hidden immunity idol was impressive. Similarly, Carolyn watching So and Joaquin look for the hidden immunity idol because they had the clue and then finding it before they could was a veteran move. She followed that up by using Shirin and Max to vote out So and split up Joaquin and So and then blindsided Shirin and Max at the Tribal Swap by flipping and voting with the No Collars. She’s played an incredible strong, calculated game to this point and for that, Carolyn gets my Outwit MVP.
The Overall MVP so far has to go to Mike. As I mentioned before, he has been a huge factor in his Tribe’s challenge success, coming back and completing a puzzle in the first episode to send the White Collars to Tribal Council and working his ass off at camp, but what makes him the Overall MVP is what he’s done socially. After the Blue Collars sent Lindsey home, Sierra was upset. Instead of brushing it under the rug, Dan and Rodney decided to tear Sierra apart telling her everything she sucked at. The next day at the Tribal Swap, Sierra found herself with Dan, Rodney, and Mike. All three she was mad at for voting Lindsey out, writing her name down, and for talking to her the way they were. Mike, sensing Sierra might flip, was the only one to reach out and try to smooth things over (which he was able to do with some help from Sierra’s future husband Joe). While all this was going on, Rodney became very close with Joaquin and talked to Mike about throwing the challenge so they could vote Joe out. Mike agreed to throw the challenge, but instead rallied Sierra, Joe, and Dan to blindside Joaquin and vote him out to split him and Rodney up. Going into the merge, it looks like Mike has a solid alliance with Dan, Joe, and Sierra, and will be reunite with Kelly who has grown close to Carolyn who’s now dragging Shirin along with her. Despite a couple blow ups at camp, Mike is playing an incredibly well-rounded and strong game.
The LVP has to go to Shirin who just got way too comfortable where she was at. She thought her, Max, and Carolyn were going to pull in Kelly at the Swap and take down the No Collars one-by-one, but unfortunately for her, her eccentric personality rubbed Carolyn the wrong way and she ended up flipping and voting out Shirin’s number one ally, Max. On top of that, Shirin said she was really strong at puzzles and could barely complete an eighth of what was deemed the easiest puzzle, has been almost a complete non-factor in all challenges, and has been walking around camp with no pants on. If she had her top off instead of her bottoms, it would still be odd, but it would be 100 times less weird. I thought maybe it was a Guy vs Girl thing, but I don’t think it is. Like what if I, a guy, was on the beach and ran around with a shirt on, but no pants Winnie The Pooh style. That would objectively be weird. It just looks weird.
Alright that’s all for episodes 1-5 of Season 30. If you, the reader have any suggestions for other seasons to watch, let me know. I also have no problem going back and watching some of the seasons I’ve already watched and breaking those down. Cagayan with Tony, Spencer, Chaos Kass, and the gang is DEFINITELY worth a rewatch!