The Survivor’s Guide To Survivor



Today, we give tribute to the show that lives up to it’s name. Premiering tonight is the 657th season of Survivor on CBS. (OK, it’s only the 17th, but still…). Beginning in 2000, this show was a unique reality concept wherein a group of individuals battle each other, the elements, wild beasties (such as host, Jeff Probst), scurvy, and limited hygene opportunities for a million-dollar prize.

How does it go? A person is eliminated by popular vote at he end of each show. Folks are divided into two teams who compete for “immunity” for that week’s vote. Also, other prizes are given, such as real food, visits from loved ones, full body-massages by Carmen Electra (Kidding…but hey, good idea, right?). At the end, those who were kicked off earlier pick from the final two contestants. (so, careful who you piss off…)

So, with those basics in place, here’s how this show manages two full seasonal runs a year without losing a significant amount of popularity, or depleting the pool of attention-desperate psychos and masochists who want to participate in this nonsense:







1: Survivor

The Twist: This was when reality TV had yet to leave tread marks all over various sharks. The concept was fresh, overproduction and interference were at a minimum, and all the children were above average…

Popular Characters: Rudy: The salty, old former navy man who famously said that he became close with eventual winner, Richard Hatch “but not in a homosexual way, that’s for sure…” Sue, whose nutcase speech at the end of the first season helped secure Hatch’s victory. My personal fave: Colleen, the island slut.






"I'll Do ya for some rice..."




The Winner: Openly gay and even more openly naked Richard Hatch.

And After: Hatch “forgot” to pay taxes on his million-dollar prize. So he went to “prison” for some “graduate work” on homosexuality.

Season 2: Survivor: The Australian Outback

The Twist: With the “new” still shiny on the concept, the change in venue, challenges and cast were the only innovations.

Popular Characters: Elisabeth. The 23-year old managed to parley her appearance to marriage to a brother of a really good NFL quarterback, and became the “Bitch we love to hate” on The View, Elisabeth Hasslebeck. Filling Rudy’s “old-fart” shoes with aplomb was Roger Bingham.

The Winner: Soccer-mom badass Sarah Palin…I mean Tina Wesson.

And After: Got owned on the all-star version… faded into well-deserved obscurity.







"Pretty, but Dumb...ok, Pretty Dumb"

Season 3: Survivor: Africa

The Twist: Actually the same as the 2nd season, but they cut the total number of contestants to 16 from 20, shaving 4 episodes off of the total (in theory.)

Popular Characters: Ethan, professional baller. (soccer player, not gigolo, you pervs…) Teresa the flight attendant. (presumably because she could locate the emergency exits from the continent) Kim P. (the hot one) This show holds a great advantage to women who look good without make up.

The Winner: Ethan Zohn: The poor man’s David Beckham.


"Bend it like Ethan...lacks something, doesn't it?"

And After: Zohn remained entirely too nice. Did the all-star show. Donated some of his winnings to an organization dedicated to fighting AIDS in Africa. Dribbled a soccer ball from Foxboro, MA to Washington DC for the same cause. Gained international acclaim by bouncing said soccer ball off of President Bush’s head. (I can dream, cant I?)

Season 4: Survivor: Marquesas

The Twist: Castaways are actually stranded on a small island with NO SUPPLIES. (usually they are given some starter stuff and can win more with challenges.)

Popular Characters: Kathy (the Butch one) and Tina (the hot one)

The Winner: Vecepia Towery. The first African-American winner. Abraham, Martin and John rejoice in heaven.

And After: As the show lost some of it’s “juice”, so the winners began to disappear into the night. Vecipia married her fiancé and appeared in one (1) Lifetime Original Movie.



"Rosa Parks: Re-boot"

Season 5: Survivor: Thailand

The Twist: Castaways cannot order out for Thai food. (or, as it’s called in Thailand, food.) Kidding…this time they let the two old farts pick their own tribes.

Popular Characters: Shii Ann, the Asian, and Jake from McKinney, TX (shout out!)

The Winner: Brian Heidik: Hater of puppies.

And After: Seriously, dude was arrested and jailed in 2006 for shooting a freakin’ puppy with a bow and arrow. Bastard.









"CBS Hates us!"

Season 6: Survivor: The Amazon

The Twist: Castaways are divided by sex. Danglers on one team, va-jay-jays on the other.

Popular Characters: Jenna the swimsuit model (duh.) Matthew, who is here to “pomp *clap* YOU up!

The Winner: Jenna Morasca. It’s like, they always vote for the pretty one.

And After: Did the all-star thing, but quit the show to be with her dying mother. (tear) Is one of only two of the show’s contestants to leave 2 shows without being voted off.

Season 7: Survivor: Pearl Islands

The Twist: This time, evil baddie Jeff Probst suckered the group into getting on a boat in regular street clothes (or dress-up clothes) and then chucked them off on an Island with nothing but their clothes and a sack of local currency. THEN, the first six voted off got to come back and form an “outcast” tribe who won challenges to bring back two exiles. Whiney bitch Andrew wonked about this so much, he was immediately voted off the island.

Popular Characters: Rupert, Cro-Magnon man and Geico sales representative. Ryan O. The pretty-boy electrician. (real useful skills on a primitive island…) and everybody’s favorite villain, Johnny “Fairplay”.

The Winner: Sandra Diaz. It’s like, they always vote for the evolved one.

And After: Hosted “Parasite Island” in her intestines. Was notable as the only contestant to never win a challenge or receive a single vote. Everyone but the parasites forgot that she was there…

" So easy, a caveman can do it..."
Season 8: Survivor: All-Stars

The Twist: Guess…

Popular Characters: All of them.

The Winner: Amber Brkich. Finished 6th in season 2, and 50th in Maxim’s 100 most beautiful women in the world. (2004)

And After: Was able to purchase the missing vowel from her last name. Became engaged to second-place contestant Rob Mariano in the show’s finale. CBS aired a 2-hour special covering their “secret, private wedding”.

Season 9: Survivor: Vanuatu--Islands Of Fire

The Twist: A bunch of pissed-off native stereotypes brandishing spears made the castaways go through “initiation rites” in order to come onto the island. Surprisingly, none of these included drinking your own weight in beer, or sex with a sheep.

Popular Characters: Twila Tanner, who gets props for breaking an oath she took on the lives of her children, who were then killed and eaten by the remainder of the tribe.

The Winner: Chris Daughtry. He brought the hard-rock element to the show. Paula Abdul was impressed.

And After: Had multi-platinum success with his band, named Daughtry…wait…wrong Chris Daughtry…. This guy spent the rest of his life being mistaken for the successful, popular Chris Daughtry.












"He is who he is...or is he?"



Season 10 : Survivor: Palau

The Twist: Back to 20 contestants. Had to race to the island from the boat before first immunity. Tribes were not picked until later. Yeah…they’re running out of good twists.

Popular Characters: Bobby John and Stephanie. The pervasive popularity of the beautiful people continues.

The Winner: Tom Westman, fireman-stud-cookie. Won a ton of challenges Benefited by not being Denis Leary.

And After: Quit the FDNY for a career as an extra in Coppertone commercials. Was on The Bold and the Beautiful. Has received an offer to be spokes-stud for Carribiean Joe clothing line.

Season 11 : Survivor: Guatamala

The Twist: Eye-candy favorites from Palau, Bobby John and Stephanie return! Apparently, they are reincarnated Ancient Mayans! They’ve been hanging around the ruins for months waiting for the new competition to show up.

Popular Characters: Bobby John and Stephanie. Still popular and pretty.

The Winner: Danni Boatwright, the plucky DJ from Kansas. Out-eye-candied Stephanie to win. Pretty Stephanie made the final two this time, but apparently, being a lying bitch can haunt you when those to whom you have lied get to vote on the winner. Go figure…

And After: Used her money to buy her little doggy some bones (artificial hip-bones, to be precise) Married to the starting center for the Denver Broncos, she completed the beauty-queen stereotype trifecta by having a baby boy in 2007.


Season 12 : Survivor: Panama

The Twist: The oldsters are pitted against the youngsters, and there is now a “banishment vote.” A tem member is voted, not off the island, but away from the team, they are “on their own” until invited to return. (anthropomorphic volleyball not provided)

Popular Characters: Another pretty one, Misty. And…sweet-thang Sally.

The Winner: Aras Baskauskas plays the “wounded in a tragic wine-tasting accident” card to take the prize.

And After: Captured and killed by irate members of the Lithuanian Wine Mafia… kidding. I could literally find nothing on this guy. (‘cept he bought a Yoga Studio with his winnings)

Season 13 : Survivor: Cook Islands

The Twist: I’m pretty sure they’re just making places up, now. They divide the groups into racially-oriented groups: Blacks, Whites, Asians and Latinos. Time to find out who is really the laziest race, and how much math skills will help you on a deserted island.

Popular Characters: Nobody…I’m pretty sure this whole season was boycotted by anyone with an ounce of social consciousness.

The Winner: Yul Kwon. A South Korean from the “Math Whiz” tribe, he defeated Becky from the “Peeps” tribe and Ozzy from the “Lawn Maintenance” tribe. “KKK” tribe not represented in finals. CBS says: “look how diverse and socially conscious we are…” fortunately, no one is watching, so retching is kept to a minimum.

And After: Gave his fiancé a big-ass engagement ring and opened a frozen yogurt shop in California. Despite efforts of racist CBS producers’, he and his fiancé remain Asian.

Season 14 : Survivor: Fiji

The Twist: They’re pretty much phoning it in for the remaining four viewers and the immediate family of the contestants. This time, maybe they just leave them there…that would be funny…

Popular Characters: Zzzzz………

The Winner: “My name is Earl” Cole defeats Mr. Miagi (Yau-Man Chan) for the title of “most obscure Survivor Winner”. Yau-Man wins consolation prize of coolest name EVAR!

And After: Selfishly devoted his time and energy to various charities so that he could be named one of People magazines’ “Most Beautiful people” in 2006. What a tool….

Season 15 : Survivor: China

The Twist: CBS producers invent time travel. Instead of killing Hitler, or preventing JFK’s assassination, they decide to…send 16 whiny losers to “Ancient China”. Fortunately, the middle of nowhere looks pretty much the same in any time period.

Popular Characters: Amanda the Model. (surprise) Frosti the snowman…-er- student Zerno.

The Winner: Todd “Fabulous” Herzog, the male flight attendant. Like season 1 winner, Richard Hatch, he is openly gay. Unlike Hatch, he remains clothed throught his stay.

And After: We can only guess that he blew his cash on Judy Garland prints… and fabulous clothes…see…we can do stereotypes too, CBS.

Season 16 : Survivor: Micronesia

The Twist: In the network’s equivalent to CPR, the gimmick is that a team of Favorites plays against a team of fan-geeks.

Popular Characters: The favorites…duh.

The Winner: Parvati Shallow. The name says it all…about the show, network, pool of original ideas.

And After: This season just ended a few months ago, so Shallow couldn’t have gotten in too deep (har-har) on anything yet.


And Finally, Tonight: The Barely anticipated, all new (except for the old, worn, tired, and did I mention old format)

Survivor: Gabon

What’s new:

You can see all the disgusting, unwashed, sunstroked, wrinkled contestants in High-def this year! Who’s chubby?

Supposedly the “remotiest” location yet. After a certain point, isn’t it irrelevant?

Let’s hope they take the “Earth’s Last Eden” part seriously and drag this series ‘round to the back of the barn and kill it dead.

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