Survivor: Nicaragua Recap
Young At Heart
By Kim Hollis and David Mumpower
September 19, 2010
Hello, Survivor fans, and welcome back to the 21st season of the show, which will take the contestants to Nicaragua. We’ve had quite a bit of discussion of our impressions of what could happen this season in our roundtable. You can find Part One here and Part Two here.
The new season begins with a bit of subterfuge on the part of the producers of the show. When the 20 contestants arrive, they are divided into two groups before they are told to hike to their destination. Naturally, everyone assumes they have been broken up into tribes, and people are rubbing each other the wrong way already. .As our hero, Jeff Probst, likes to point out, assumptions are a very, very bad idea in the game of Survivor.
In case you’re wondering, Super Bowl-winning football coach Jimmy Johnson is not the first person shown on camera, but he is featured within 60 seconds of the show’s start.
When they arrive, Probst quizzes the group on whether they’ve already made judgments about their fellow tribemates. Most of them quickly answer in the affirmative. Marty notes that he doesn’t want to be on a team with Jimmy Johnson and doesn’t know why the coach is even playing Survivor, while Kelly B. notes that she has a handicap. She was born with a birth defect, causing her leg to be amputated from the knee down at the age of six months. She’s hoping to keep that secret from the other Survivors as long as possible. Yve tells Probst that she’s figured out all kinds of things about the other people on the island just from the way they walk, which causes the host to smirk like crazy.
Our first surprise of the evening is that Survivor will be a lot less subtle about their meddling this year. The Medallion of Power is introduced, and its sole purpose seems to be to tip the scales whenever appropriate. The person who wears the Medallion can use it at a future point in the game to tip the balance for their Tribe.
Probst sends them out to search, and there’s an interesting dynamic as it’s simultaneously every person for themselves and also a team element at work. Members from the individual tribes move around together, but eventually, once the Medallion is sighted, Brenda (who had mentioned in a confessional that she is “Single, single, single”) quickly starts climbing a tree to get to it. Other people, even ones from her own team (theoretically, anyway) fight to beat her to it. In the end, though, Brenda’s athleticism and determination win out, and she grabs the prize first. Jimmy Johnson tells her, “I don’t know your name but you did a good job,” while Marty celebrates the fact that his team won…
...Only problem is, this presumption is incorrect. Probst gleefully points out that the people they’re standing with will not be the tribes for this season. Instead, everyone who is 40 and over will be on a team, and everyone who is 30 and under will be a tribe. This is the cause of much joy for all the young people, while the older folks are full of consternation. Jimmy Johnson even says he was counting on some young people to carry him along. Clearly, he wanted to use his celebrity to make some kids feel like #1 draft picks.