I don't know about you, but I had no idea a new season of "Survivor" was starting this week. Since there was no controversy making the newspaper -- unlike last time -- no information was coming my way. There must have been little ads on shows I don't watch or things I TiVo'd past. The only way I noticed was seeing the recap of the first episode on Television Without Pity. I was irked that I'd missed it. I've been so big on "Survivor" lately that I've watched 2+ old seasons on DVD since the last season ended. It's actually the only TV I've been watching lately -- old episodes of "Survivor."
And suddenly, there's a new season. Annoyingly, the TiVo season pass wouldn't pick up the new season because the show isn't called "Survivor," it's called "Survivor: Cook Islands" or "Survivor: Fiji" or whatever. But CBS does put up full episodes to watch on line, so I was able to catch the first episode. Watching it on line doesn't give the same effect. The scenery -- both landscapes and torsos -- is beautifully photographed, and it's just not as exciting on the computer screen.
But it was fun to see the characters shape up. The guys with nicknames: Boo, Rocky, Dreamz. There was that new idea of having them build one really nice camp together, which became part of the reward in a very heavy stakes first challenge. And it was interesting to use Sylvia -- the original leader and architect -- to create the two teams, only to exile her on a snake-infested island until it could be determined which team would get sent to the desolate new camp and she could join them there. Poor Sylvia. Does early leadership ever work out well on "Survivor"? Has the show ever been set up to punish the first leader so severely? At least she didn't make the mistake of trying to make the teams unequal, because she'd have gotten stuck with the very people she thought were bad.
But isn't she just the sort of leader that the others are going to gang up against? How did you like it when -- bossing them around about how to set up a building -- she said something was "askew," and, when told not to use "big words," she said it was "not orthogonal"?
And Yau Man -- yow, man -- dropping that box on its corner, opening it easily, when everyone else was trying and failing to open it by crashing big rocks onto it -- that was pretty cool. It does perpetuate a "Survivor" racial stereotype -- that Asian men have nifty secret skills. (Remember Cao Boi's headache treatments?) But it was pretty cool nonetheless.