Jeff Pitman's Survivor: One World recaps
By Jeff Pitman | Published February 17, 2012
The Russell Hantz Memorial Troll of the Week award (the "Trolly"): Tarzan
Honorable mention: Matt, Alicia, Colton

trollyFor the most part, this episode was blissfully devoid of excessive trollery. To which Russell Hantz no doubt replies: "Try harder, One World cast." To which we respond: "Thank you, CBS, for allowing a season of Survivor to be filmed in Samoa without anyone named Hantz making an appearance (at least in Episode 1)."

 

You could argue that Matt, or Alicia, or Colton were all playing up their various outsized personality traits a bit for more camera time, but that's largely an argument based on their extensive camera time. Instead, we'll toss a grudging trophy in the direction of "Tarzan." Or Greg Tarzan. Or TarZAN. Who--despite his comical facial hair situation--largely failed in his attempts at more screen time, but not for lack of trying.

 

Does Scaramouche have a signature yell?

 

There he was, taking away precious seconds in the fresh-off-the-truck opening segment (which could have been far better spent giving us a full intro/title sequence) as he insisted on being called Tarzan. And there he was on night one, doing a spot-on version of the Johnny Weissmuller "Tarzan" jungle yodel (to which we hope CBS/SEG secured the rights, lest MGM shut down future Survivor airings for SOPA violations) around Manono's all-important fire. And... that was pretty much it. What did we learn from all this screen time? That Greg likes Tarzan. Could we have guessed that from his chosen nickname, had there been a full opening title sequence instead? Yes.

 

The Purple Kelly Memorial Invisibility Cloakee Unmasked! award ("ICU!"): Kourtney
Honorable mention: the title sequence, Bill

icu Along with a refreshing relative lack of overacting, this episode was also remarkable in its reasonably even-handed presentation of the new cast, despite being a mere hour long (as opposed to South Pacific's 90-minute premiere). Of course, we didn't really learn all their names, thanks to the lack of a title sequence, beyond the bizarre, hideous, hamfisted attempt to insert castaway name chyrons at random points on the screen as people were talking. (Seriously, it looked like a third-grader had snuck into the post-production studio and gone nuts. We were surprised nobody was identified as "Poo" or "Fart.") There is a time and place for everything name-related, children, and that's the bottom of the screen, on first confessional. Also college.

 

It's all downhill from here

 

Even though most of the castaways were at least shown talking on screen (apart from Bill, who apparently can't be shown because he's a comedian), there was a glaring dearth of screentime for one contestant, which stuck out like a sore wrist (sorry): Kourtney. Yes, she got to speak in the opening minutes about her perceived lack of fitting in with the women. But then she pretty much disappeared for the entire rest of the episode (save for a brief in-hike confessional about the women backstabbing each other), until it was time to break her wrist in the challenge. And even then, the episode soldiered on, chock-full of bickering, without her. Pretty shabby treatment for a "boot" episode, especially since she seemed like one of the more sane, down-to-earth members of the cast, based on her pre-game interviews. At least she got to come back for final words over the closing credits, which could easily have been replaced by a PSA from Jeff Probst about wrist safety.

 

Small victories?

 

The Colby Donaldson Memorial Challenge Beast award (The "Beasty"): Chelsea
Honorable mention: Michael

beasty Since there wasn't really a challenge to go on here, we'll have to present the Beasty award to the next logical person: Chelsea, for running and catching two beasts (well, chickens), all by herself. Take that, Brandon Hantz and Erik Cardona! Our pet theory is that the chickens were attracted to the camp by the lingering scent of Shambo's pee. Fun fact: this is also what's kept Survivor coming back to the same location now three times since Samoa.

 

They probably plan to share after it's cooked

 

But Chelsea wins not just for catching the chickens. As shown, there was a pre-agreed deal in which whoever caught the chickens would split them 50-50 with the other tribe. But two birds in hand are clearly worth more than the handshake previously agreed upon with said hands. So for both demonstrating impressive physical prowess AND creating an incentive to vote her out after doing so, Chelsea wins the first One World Beasty.

 

The Cirie Fields Memorial Smiling Backstabber award ("Slitty"): Sabrina
Honorable mention: Kim?

slashy With nobody getting voted out, it's difficult to evaluate strategic play in this episode, especially this early. Some stood out for lack of anything resembling long-term strategy:

 

  • Alicia, while creatively coming up with a five-woman alliance while they were walking to camp (clearly a solid base of trust), then proceeded to pick a fight with Christina (not part of Alicia's insta-alliance) for having the audacity to try to negotiate with the men to get fire. Alicia's preferred approach for getting fire was attempted negotiated nudity, name-calling, and face-punching threats, apparently.
  • Write me the check now
  • On the men's side, Matt oozed confidence in his similarly deeply considered alliance with the three other "manly men" of Manono (Michael, Jay, Bill). Never mind that the makeup artist/special ed teacher (Alicia) at least figured out that five was the majority of a nine-person tribe. Not so our lawyer friend Matt, who is comfortable with four. And never mind that, despite being an apparent fan of the show, Matt seems to have missed that the (again, four) younger men of Lopevi in Vanuatu were similarly convinced of their brilliance and power, shortly before immediately getting picked off by the five other guys.
  • Then there's Michael. While his supply-stealing escapade in the first minute was a great source of short-term lulz, its impact was lessened first by the side-by-side camp arrangement (where retaliatory theft is always a possibility), and later by the fact that, as anyone who has watched Survivor before can guess: a tribe switch is almost certainly coming. (Bonus: not only that, but from the pre-show ads, you'll never guess which tribe he ends up on.)

 

This, in fact, is the biggest problem with all three of these people (along with Jay, who also favored cold-shouldering the women): not only will some of these people have to vote for you as jurors, if by some miracle you reach the final three, but there's a good chance 50% of them will be your tribemates in mere one to three more tribal councils. So instead of seizing the opportunity created by the One World twist to forge cross-tribal alliances, the order of the day appears to be going out of one's way to create enemies. Well done, everyone.

 

The negotiations were short

 

The lone exception appears to be Sabrina, who used the (Manono's) "hidden" immunity idol to throw Colton a lifeline. (To be fair, she was forced to give it someone, but she did choose well.) This move was particularly good because Colton, due to his lack of social game (or more accurately, his antisocial game, or maybe semi-social, since he only bothered talking to the women), is likely to be targeted by the manly men, and can use the idol (once) to start taking them down. Furthermore, once the idol's gone, he'll still be unpopular, and then can be voted out by the angry remnants of that alliance. This is a problem if you, yourself, want to use an idol while in the minority alliance (as Francesca and Kristina learned in Redemption Island), but it's something of a bonus if you're trying to mess with someone else's tribe. Meddling, while leaving a minimal trace. And so for this (potential) move, Sabrina earns One World's inaugural Slitty trophy.

 

See also:
Other recaps you probably wish you would have read instead of ours
Recaps, episode reviews, commentary:
  • Gordon Holmes at XfinityTV.com: "One World Isn't Enough for All of Them"
  • Dalton Ross at EW.com: "A Wristed Development"
  • Dalton Ross and Jeff Probst at EW.com: Q & A.
  • Andy Dehnart at RealityBlurred.com: "Bickering, theft, injury, and awful gender stereotypes dominate Survivor One World's great first episode"
  • Jill Mader at CouchtimeWithJill.com: "One Beach, Two Tribes"
  • SuperJude at xXSuperJudeXx's SuperBlog™: "Episode 1 Thoughts"
  • David Billa at SurvivingSurvivor.com: "Episode 1: Two Tribes, One Camp, No Rules"
  • Eliza Orlins at RealityNation.com: "Jerky Men & Dramatic Women"
  • Myndrunner, Deb & Daz at Reality Check Radio (pre-Ep1 preview): "True Dork Times Survivometer: One World!"
  • Rob & Nicole Cesternino at RobHasAPodcast: "What did John Cochran Think of Colton and the Survivor One World Premiere?"

 

Exit interviews - Kourtney Moon

  • Gordon Holmes at XfinityTV.com: "Castaway interview: Kourtney Moon"
  • Rob & Nicole Cesternino at RobHasAPodcast: "Survivor Kourtney Moon breaks the news of her latest medical emergency"
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