Welcome back, Survivor fans. I hope you all enjoyed a stellar summer. As a college professor, my summers tend to be relaxing and go by oh so quickly. But, you know, this one felt like it took forever. I’m not complaining, but maybe I just couldn’t wait for a new season of Survivor with a cool new theme?
As you’ve come to expect, this here will be my preview column … a column which will find me making amazing and mind-blowing predictions and observations based on little to no information. You know, predictions like forecasting a Liz Markham victory because she labeled herself a quant-head and happened to be easy on the eyes.
But, in all honesty, I don’t know what’s going to be more difficult, coming up with a preview with only a wee bit of information or spelling millennial correctly all season. Who am I kidding: it’s the latter.
I know that Survivor oftentimes shoehorns themes onto a season as effectively as Donald Trump communicates specificities about any policy not including a giant, beautiful wall, but call me naïve: I am excited for Millennials vs. Gen X.
As someone who truly grew up in the 1990s, loved grunge music, wears flannel even in his work photo, loves period flicks both good and mediocre, and had/has a big ol’ crush on the most beautiful and Generation X-ey actress of all time, I should be rooting for Generation X. But it might be more complicated than that.
You see, while I would definitely be classified as Generation X by any standard definition of the term, I’m literally right at the end, having been born in 1979. So I’m oh so close to Generation Y, or a Millennial. And I teach Millennials every day. And they get a bad rap. Most of the time. But then CBS goes and casts someone dressed like Zeke and, you know, it makes me double-down on Generation X.
So, yeah, I’m proudly and unabashedly pulling for my generation this season, but I totally reserve the right to change my mind if the Xers start giving off a “get off my lawn” vibe. I won’t be able to deal with that.
But enough of the preamble, let’s get to some predictions sure to knock your socks off … or something. While I’ll make a prediction for a winner this season, I’m going to put the contestants into one of four very scientific categories: Frontrunners; Eh, Maybe; I’m Thinking No; and No Shot in Hell. Let’s get started.
1. Chris H — Gen X: Typos are my absolute favorite thing in the world. Or at least I hope it’s a typo in Chis’ CBS bio. You see, if it’s not a typo, Chris might be the dumbest man on the plant. I mean, who “works out to relive stress.” That’s a pretty ridiculous hobby and, if true, I’m a dumb boy for thinking Chris is a frontrunner. Seriously, I always think athletic and smart people should fare well on this show. A lawyer and former football player? Chris checks those boxes. I also like how he recognizes the need to get along with all types of people. But, of course, a dude used to being in charge of things sometimes has issues on the island. So while I like Chris, I’m a little apprehensive too.
2. CeCe T — Gen X: As a brief aside, before I get to CeCe, can I just say that the passage of time does change things. Think about it. Right now, we live in a world that thinks of Millennials as lazy, entitled and completely self-unaware. And all these bios of folks from Generation X talk about being from that specific generation means you’ve worked hard, etc. Remember back when Generation X first came of age? Weren’t we all known for being lazy, entitled and completely self-unaware? OK, that’s it for this episode of Deep Thoughts with Pat Ferrucci. So CeCe. I like her. She’s been through a lot in life, seems like a real hard worker and will probably float under the radar a bit. I honestly believe that tribal loyalties might remain strong even post merge this season and I’m liking the Gen Xers’ tribe, which means I’m liking CeCe.
3. Mari T — Millennial: So last month I hiked a 13,000-foot mountain. It kicked my ass. Mari summited Kilimanjaro. If she can do that, she can handle Survivor. But what I really like about Mari is that she’s athletic, smart and seems aware enough to know how not to piss people off. I think Mari can win this game. I might even be rooting for her.
1. Adam K — Millennial: I’ll be honest, I oh so badly wanted to put Adam in the Frontrunner category. But maybe I’m a little gun shy dealing with folks who list poker as a hobby. Poker players tend to suck at Survivor. Here’s the thing, between the poker stuff and Adam’s stereotypical Millennial over-the-top go-getter attitude, I feel like he’s the dude who’s going to make moves for the sake of making moves. He yearns to prove himself and he’s not able to wait for his moments. This is my prediction for the guy who gets blindsided right after a confessional boasting about how smart he is. I could be wrong, though, and if Adam can lay low and make smart moves, he might be able to win the thing.
2. Hannah S — Millennial: I don’t like Hannah because my favorite hobby is farting in elevators. Why would anyone dislike people who fart in elevators? I am seriously royally mad that Hannah would imply that people who fart in elevators are bad people. Damn you, Hannah. Damn you. Thank god there aren’t any elevators on the island. Honestly, I want to put Hannah in the Frontrunners category because her bio is damn hilarious, but I just can’t do it. She compares herself to Cochran and while I hold out hope she’s Cochran 2.0, and perhaps she could be, my better guess is she’s actually Cochran 1.0.
3. Ken M — Gen X: Let’s start this by reminding folks that Ken is actually a Millennial. Why is he on Generation X? I can’t answer that. Let’s ask Probst someday. But this puts Ken in a good spot: He’s young enough to fit with the other tribe. As someone who lives in Colorado like Ken, his bio gives me the distinct impression that Ken enjoys supporting some of our local businesses. Seriously, though, Ken looks the part of a Survivor winner, but I wonder if he’s ready to play a cutthroat game. I have a feeling this is a dude who doesn’t actually want to play the game, just hang out on an island.
4. Michelle S — Millennial: So what did I learn about Michelle? She loves God and wants to make sure she looks hot on television. I feel those might not be congruent, but I’m not here to judge. At least that. I mean, I’m here to judge whether I think someone’s going to do well. I actually think Michelle could do very well. She’s athletic, smart and I think she’ll work well with others. The only reason she’s not in the Frontrunner category? Her bio doesn’t make me think she’s much of a Survivor fan and she might be on the show more for adventure than, you know, winning.
5. Taylor S — Millennial: I love Taylor because we share the same pet peeve: People who don’t pick up their dog’s poop. I always pick up Coach Belichick’s poop. Always. I also think Taylor’s bio is pretty funny. But, of course, he also says his personal claim to fame is learning to play guitar because “not many people keep their passions.” That someone who’s going to be OK coming in seventh, or 18th. Let’s hope I’m wrong.
6. Zeke S — Millennial: Oh Zeke, I could have guessed just seeing your photo that you lived in Brooklyn. Do you really want to be a such a stereotype? This guy’s bio is hilarious though. I really want to like him, but then I go back to that photo. But, seriously, I honestly think Zeke could do some damage in this game, but, unfortunately, he’s going to want to be a villain, but I just don’t think he’ll be able to do it without everyone and their brother realizing he’s doing it. He’ll go far, but he won’t win, I think.
I’m Thinking No
1. Bret L — Gen X: So here we have a police officer from Massachusetts. I know something about police officers in Massachusetts. Get your head out of the gutter; I don’t know any because I’ve been in trouble. Of course not. You see, my mom’s side of the family is full of police officers from Massachusetts. And while Tony is one of my all-time favorite players, I feel like he’s an anomaly (in more ways than one). While Brent may be able to read folks well, he’s going to come across as too bossy and self-assured to win. He could surprise and work really hard and put himself in a good position come merge time, but I don’t think that’s this sergeant’s fate
2. Jessica L — Gen X: While Jessica’s bio reads like the prologue to some trite self-help book, it does make it clear that she’s going to work hard. That’s a good thing in this game, of course. Me thinks she’s memorized The Secret. But she also engages in a whole lot of self-congratulations. She comes across as a Millennial, come to think of it. I’m thinking she’s not going to let anyone forget that she went to law school and had some kids at the same time. People will want to forget.
3. Jay S — Millennial: You care to find out one of my pet peeves? Well, it’s when people think that “social media and all these different outlets help you to not only learn information quickly, but gives you the capability to become or create anything.” If you didn’t guess, that’s Jay’s belief. Oh, and he also thinks he’s most like Hantz and Woo. Seriously. Hantz and Woo? After reading this bio, I’m not sure he’s going to be up to the task of the whole outwitting thing.
4. Lucy H — Gen X: I honestly have no reason to think Lucy won’t succeed at Survivor, it’s just that her bio was so boring it makes me wonder if she can frame a jury speech and inspire folks to vote for her. I mean, look, her bio shows that she’s overcome a decent amount and accomplished a lot in her life, but she doesn’t express it well. I think Lucy could hang around and go far in this game, but I don’t think she wins.
5. Michaela B — Millennial: Let’s talk about traits that don’t usually win in Survivor: stubborn. Oh, and Michaela also writes that she hates it “when incompetent people try to instruct me.” I have a feeling all isn’t going to end well for Michaela. She seems like a good person and someone who’s accomplished a decent amount in a short time, but when younger folks don’t like to be “instructed,” and label themselves as stubborn, it usually doesn’t end well on this show.
6. Rachel A — Gen X: I really wanted to like Rachel, but she’s too excited to meditate on an island to actually win. That’s my take on her. I really have nothing else. Oh, and the Survivor she’s most like? Herself. Is that because she’s unique or because she can’t name any other survivors? My guess is the latter, which is why she’s in this category.
No Shot in Hell
1. David W. — Gen X: People who use the word “nonplussed” incorrectly? Seriously, dude? That’s your pet peeve? And you label yourself OCD, nervous and paranoid? Um, yeah, that sure sounds like a winning formula. Or not. You know, I give this dude credit for wanting to use Survivor as a way to overcome insecurities, but, let’s be honest, that doesn’t sound like a smart strategy for winning. Again, OCD, nervous and paranoid. This David Wright has about as good of a chance to win Survivor as a different David Wright has of helping the Mets this year.
2. Figgy — Millennial: OK, where do we start with this one? Figgy? Really? We know that a bio can be completely misleading, but this one implies so many negative stereotypes about Millennials. Figgy here believes the “world is at her fingertips” because she’s creative and innovative. Figgy’s “claim to fame” is moving to Nashville because she left all she knew “for a city of unfamiliarity.” Seriously. She also says she’s a leader and “young and full of knowledge.” But, I guess, not enough knowledge to know she could have Googled Nashville and then it wouldn’t have been “a city of unfamiliarity.” Seriously, though, all these qualities lead me to believe 23-year-old Figgy is going to be very hard to tolerate and will definitely be an early boot.
3. Paul W — Gen X: Holy poop do I want Paul to win. His idol is David Lee Roth! I’m not kidding. He talks about never receiving a participation trophy. He has thumb and pinky rings. This dude is awesome. Alas, he’s also not in great shape, is older than almost all his teammates (the David Lee Roth thing) and he might be too busy treasure hunting to play the game.
4. Sunday B — Gen X: A bossy youth pastor from rural Minnesota. What could go wrong? Look, she’s a cancer survivor and that’s more impressive than being a sole survivor. But she’s not shy about her faith, owns being bossy, talks about being a leader and is used to leading children. My guess is she comes across as condescending and won’t be able to fit it … she’ll want to lead. It won’t go well.
5. Will W — Millennial: He’s 18 and his idols are Jesus Christ and, I poop you not, Ronald Reagan. If this dude wins, I may not be able to watch the show anymore. Probably not, but I can’t imagine such a young guy winning this thing. Ain’t going to happen. Ronald Reagan. 18 years old. Seriously?
And the winner is …
OK, well, I have to pick a winner, so I’m going Mari. Honestly, I’m not really feeling anyone as a winner pick right now, so Mari is a default choice. Here’s hoping she does better than Liz. Oh poor Liz.
On that note, enjoy the premiere and we’ll talk some theory next week.
Pat Ferrucci started watching Survivor when episode two of Borneo first aired. He's seen every episode since. Besides recapping here, he'll be live-tweeting this season from the Mountain Time Zone. Why? Because nobody cares about the Mountain Time Zone except when they want to ski. Follow him @patferrucci for Survivor stuff and tweets about anything and everything that enters his feeble mind.