Survivor: Nicaragua Roundtable Part One

By BOP Staff

September 15, 2010

Is that Jimmy Johnson?

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Maybe next time, they should just do Rob vs., wait. They are?

Kim Hollis: I think we all agree that the upcoming season of Survivor (beginning Wednesday, September 15th) faces the same difficulty that Top Chef has had this season. The prior season of the show offered such spectacular television that a new season is going to pale in comparison. Now that you know the concept for Survivor: Nicaragua - Old vs. Young - how much does this concept engage you?

Jim Van Nest: After last season, I'm a little disappointed that the best they could come up with for a follow-up was "Old vs Young." However, they made one brilliant move in casting, if he can hang around. Jimmy Johnson has the potential to make this a fantastic season, if he can find a way to stay alive.

They've had rich guys on the show before and semi-famous people (Hogeboom, Taj George)...but they've never had someone that is very rich and very famous. There's no way to hide that you're Jimmy Johnson. So, I'm very interested to see what this casting choice does to the dynamic of the show, if anything at all.

Unfortunately, there is little to no chance that it lives up to Heroes vs. Villains...and I think we should all be ready for a slight disappointment in Nicaragua.


Kim Hollis: Like Jim, I think it's going to be very difficult to live up to the very, very high standard set by Heroes and Villains. My main problem with this upcoming season is that we have to do the recaps for it on Wednesday night, which means it's going to conflict with my only two shows that are actually "watch it now TV" in Modern Family and Cougar Town. Thus, I'm already resenting this season of Survivor just a little bit. Okay, a lot.

With that said, there is no Russell, which can only be a good thing as far as I'm concerned. I just hope people don't try to emulate him. As far as this season's "theme," while I do feel like they were probably looking for a theme just to have a theme, it does seem to be the way the show probably should have moved naturally. Every season, the young whippersnappers vote out the older folks early if they can. Why not pit them against each other and see if the "old" folks really can stand up to the "kids"? I *think* it's a good idea, but I do reserve the right to change my mind if the "young" contestants just dominate physical challenges (which you would expect) and the "old" contestants are forced to pick themselves off one by one.

David Mumpower: The quality of the Heroes vs Villains season is not something that can be micro-managed by the production team. It has to happen organically. The two sides were already engaged in bone breaking battle (literally) within moments of their arrival. The Rob vs. Russell feud was one based in jealousy and disrespect. In that moment when Tyson lost his damn mind and effectively voted himself out of the game, I have to believe everyone on the crew that day was fist bumping. Similarly, they wound up with a finale featuring as disliked a player as they have ever had and his presence negatively impacted one worthy winner in her debate against the other worthy winner. None of that can be artificially manipulated (unless Tyson was bribed or something). Any attempt to duplicate it will fail. I have confidence that the Survivor production team recognizes this and will avoid that temptation.

In terms of what to expect from the battle of the ages, I see a lot of potential here. I understand why there is the perception that this is gimmicky. Still, I am not bothered by it. One of my biggest gripes about the show is the way that weaker players get propped up in order to eliminate greater threats earlier. Theoretically, a lot of those potential players will be on one team this season, but I don't expect it to play out that way. Instead, I fully expect that a tremendous amount of thought has been placed on the correct older players chosen for the competition. These will be unusually fit, driven participants whose age belies their overall skill set. Conversely, I would imagine a lot of the younger players selected will be hotheads who immediately presume that their path to the merge is a done deal. I will not be the least bit surprised if this season of Survivor subverts expectations by having the older tribe prove surprisingly competitive in early challenges. Do I think they'll be cranky and combative among themselves? Absolutely. Do I think the elder tribe will be nearly eliminated by the merge? Absolutely not. I don't see this playing out the same way that most media coverage thus far has predicted.

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