Survivor: Game Changers Recap
Episode 1, Part 1 -
By Kim Hollis and David Mumpower
March 8, 2017
Previously on Survivor, a bunch of people played over 17 years’ worth of seasons. Now, they’re all being jammed together orgy style in a last desperate attempt for the show to retain relevance. Last year’s ratings dropped to as low as 7.74 million, the worst ever. That had a lot to do with the contrived nature of the concept of Millennials vs. Gen X. This year, they’re trying to fix it by bringing back several favorites.
Still, since we’re talking about Survivor, many of the choices are some combination of ludicrous and/or infuriating. We’ll offer our thoughts on the people who have no business being back as the recap goes along. And since Jim Van Nest’s new job duties prevent him from analyzing this year’s episodes, we’re grudgingly making another appearance as your hosts. We’ll split the two-hour premiere into two articles, and we’ll also sprinkle in our explanations why we’re totally over Survivor.
Hint: Debbie Wanner will be a reason.
The season premiere begins with a reintroduction to some of the most memorable cast members ever to play the game. Also, Tony Vlachos is there. When we look back at the 30 plus seasons of Survivor, there may be five names we’d collate for the list of worst winner ever. He might not win that title, but he’s absolutely on the short list. Basically, Survivor cast a dirty cop who proceeded to lie his way through an entire season, and a bunch of allegedly smart people never once questioned his motives. Apparently, they were too busy going to grad school to watch any movies.
Any Survivor player who has done their homework knows not to trust a word out of Tony’s mouth, which makes him a functional eunuch. We’d call him The Spider, but Varys is a smart man, so the comparison isn’t apt.
After Tony performs his regular shtick (shameless self promotion), we get to what Survivor’s producers hope is the meat of the season. From Day 1, they championed Malcolm Freberg as the new Ozzy Lusth. If imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, Malcolm is in luck this season, because Ozzy is also a competitor. There is nothing that the show’s evil emperor, Mark Burnett, wants more than a prolonged Ozzy/Malcolm feud for alpha male supremacy.
Don’t consider this feud to be an old man versus a kid, though. Ozzy is only five years older than Malcolm, which means that the grizzled veteran is the tenth oldest player this season. Meanwhile, there are seven players younger than Malcolm, so the two players basically represent the “middle” age this season. But if Probst says anything about Millennials or Gen X today, we’re deleting the episode off of TiVo and never watching the show again. That last season was an abomination.
For us, the real conversation this year starts with the third player they highlight, the one who will be the first person eliminated unless something amazing happens. In 2003 (yes, we were recapping this show 14 years ago, which makes us sad about our lives), we described Sandra Diaz as the best player on Survivor: Pearl Islands. Then, before Survivor: Heroes vs. Villains began, we boldly proclaimed she would win. Even in the early days of the Internet, people were hostile about those opinions, but we were two for two.