‘Survivor’ Season Premiere Recap: Voted Out First for the Second Time

Survivor Recap

Hello everyone and welcome to Survivor: Caramoan – Fans Vs. Favorites 2: This Time It’s Personal. Did I sound like former talk show host Jeff Probst when I said that? I shouted it from the top of a very skinny mountain next to the sea as helicopters swooped by. I know that’s what you pictured, right? Right.

Alright, so it’s Fans Vs. “Favorites” again, and I put that in quotes because, seriously, I don’t remember half of these people. I mean their faces and names look familiar, but it’s sort of like someone who you dated twice 10 years ago: the circumstances are hazy, but you know you have some history together. Even the show knew it didn’t have a bunch of real stunners because they had to remind us who each one of them was before the show started. It’s not like they had “Boston Rob,” “Colby Donaldson,” “Sue Hawk,” and “Cirie Fields.” I can picture every one of them, remember how they played and would be super stoked to see all of them again (except for “Boston Rob,” enough with that guy already). Maybe with a few more famous names, the episode wouldn’t have been the series’ lowest-rated of all time. Only 9 million people tuned in, which is down more than 20%. Sad. 

There was a lot of breaking with tradition last night. There was no scramble from the boat and trek to camp. There was hardly any talk of shelter building and fire creation. There was even more than one challenge. Part of what we love about Survivor is the ritual of the whole thing, how it’s like the same machine every year filled with different parts. This year it was a new machine and parts of it were better than others.

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I loved that they had the two tribes, introduced all the “Favorites” (twice! so we remember) and then had them get to a reward challenge right away. Each team would send a man and a woman to go get a life preserver, and then they had to run back and touch a pole while holding it. The two teams would be wrestling. Oh, and it was in the water. This was hard and physical, so thank God they’re doing it right when they got off the boat, because it would really suck once they’d been starving for 10 days.

The “Favorites” totally dominated, and the whole thing was boring until Malcolm, my dream angel with his flat stomach and long hair and aw-shucks demeanor (who looks just as good this season as he did last season), and Reynold, who revolutionized Wrap and is also a comely young gentleman (though he is no Malcolm), went at it and ripped each other’s pants off. There was a lot of netherworld blurring during their battle, as Malcolm’s trunks were completely around his knees and both tribes really got to see, well, all that he’s made off. Oh, if only I had been there for that challenge. If only.

So the “Favorites” won and they got a flint and some beans. I was going to say that winning reward challenges isn’t worth a hill of beans in this world but, well, I would be wrong.

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Both tribes went back to camp and it was pretty boring. Some guy with a giant beard that makes me feel creepy crawleys all over my body made a shelter and mean Marine made fire. There are two sexy guys on the Fans, but none hotter than Firefighter Eddie — who wears red shorts, has rippling muscles, and should never open his mouth. Like ever. Ever never ever. He’s cocky attitude is ruining the illusion. Reynold is pretty hot too, and they made a “cool kids” foursome (I have a movie called Cool Kids Foursome that I probably shouldn’t talk about on a family website) with two of the blandly attractive young ladies, so now they think they are in charge of the game. Oh please. Every time this happens the cool kids get sent home for underestimating the nerds. This isn’t high school, mostly because there is $1 million involved.

Back at Camp “Favorite,” Francesca kept talking about how she didn’t want to get voted out first again and, well, you knew that was going to happen. Sorry lady, you’re a goner. Philip, who is a certifiable crazy person — as Ice Cream Scooper Eric accurately pointed out — was going around creating an alliance that consisted of everyone in the camp, then giving them nicknames that made my scrotum die of embarrassment. It just shriveled up and fell off and it was awful. Thanks, Philip.

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They went off to the big challenge, where they had to climb up the world’s most elaborate Gymboree play station and throw a bunch of crates over the edge. Then someone had to collect the sand bags from the smashed crates and throw them into six targets. It was basically a big game of Corn Hole. Challenge, challenge, challenge; boring, boring, boring. The Fans came back from behind to win. It would appear that my darling Malcolm is not as good at Corn Holing as I would really like him to be. Reynold, on the other hand, he’s the corn holer to watch. My affection may be shifting!

Back at camp, Francesca decided to settle an old score and round up votes for Philip. It seemed like that was a lock, but then Andrea told Philip that Francesca was after him, and he got everyone to vote for Francesca. Then Ice Cream Scooper Eric and The Lesser Hantz convinced Francesca to vote for Andrea because no one trusts her. She thought she has six votes and would be safe. She was wrong, and went home first for the second time. Man, that has got to sting.

The first time is a fluke, but the second time? That’s practically a pattern. Oh, poor Francesca. That is like the saddest thing to ever happen. She played way too hard though. You could say it’s a rookie mistake, and considering she’s spent an entire six days over two seasons on the island, she is still a rookie. It would have been nice to see her play though, there was a lot of fire in her.

The return and quick dismissal of Francesca reminds me of one of the best ideas I’ve ever had, it’s called Survivor: First Out where they take all the people who were voted out first and give them a second chance in the game. The people who were eliminated are usually over-players like Francesca — total loons who no one wants to spend even more than three days with, or the somehow old and infirm. Wouldn’t it be good to give them all redemption? Wouldn’t a season of hustlers and crazies make for the best season ever? And you only need 16 over 26 seasons, so 10 of the people can sit out (mostly the infirm). What do you say Mark Burnett? I think it’s a million dollar idea. You’re welcome.