Survivor is awesome.
The strategy. The adventure. The twists. The turns. The orange baseball caps. All of it, awesome. But you know what makes Survivor even more awesome? Beer. Not to mention Chili Cheese Fritos. And a couch. Air conditioning in September is a plus. As is heat in December (even if the radiator rattles a bit). And it’s so adorable when my cats Clawed and Fang snuggle up in my lap and watch along with me because they think Joe is just so absolutely dreamy.
But Survivor is a totally different experience for those actually playing it. It’s easy to lose sight of that while watching things play out from the comfort of one’s living room. Why did she just make that insanely moronic strategic blunder? Probably because she can’t think straight due to a lack of sleep. Why did he stink in that challenge? Probably because his body is breaking down due to a lack of food. Why does Keith call his wife “Big D”? Well, that I have no answer for, although I don’t know a whole lot of women that appreciate being referred to as “big” roughly 38 times a minute.
The point is, we forget how bad these folks have it out there. And make no mistake, these folks have it plenty bad. I wrote last week about how when it comes to locations, not all Survivor seasons are created equal. It never rained a single day in Gabon and constantly hovered in the 70–80-degree range. Weather was not an issue in the least. Other locations like Nicaragua might get some rain, but never too absurdly hot.
And then there is Cambodia, which appears to offer the worst of both worlds for contestants. They either get three straight days of torrential misery in the form of downpours, or 100-degree heat. Those are the types of extremes that will wreak absolute havoc on your body. And just look at the carnage so far. Ultimate tough guy Andrew Savage was reduced to a befuddled mess after the blindfold challenge. Stephen Fishbach is probably still off crying somewhere after his body revolted on him in the form of #GastroIntestinalDistress. And now the indestructible Joe has been taken down in a super scary incident during the immunity challenge.
This is the thing that scares me most on Survivor — whenever anyone loses consciousness. I still have haunting visions of Bobby Jon’s eyes rolling into the back of head during Survivor: Guatemala. Noted tough guy Boston Rob collapsed during Heroes vs. Villains. And the scariest of all, of course, was Russell Swan dropping in the middle of a challenge in Samoa. Now we can add Joe to that list.
You can look at those names in the previous paragraph and easily connect the dots to notice that all of those examples are big, muscular men, which is not all that surprising considering bigger guys need more fuel (in the form of food and water) to keep the machine running. Deprive that machine of the necessary fuel, and the machine starts to break down.
We’ll get more into the specifics of Joe passing out a little later, but it just serves as another not-so-subtle reminder as to what an absolute ass-kicker Survivor is. What these people go through out there is NO JOKE. Just look at the bug bites all over their legs. Or the weight they’ve lost. Or the sweat dripping off of their faces. And I love it all. Their pain equals our gain through this riveting television program. But it is only fair to give respect where respect is due, and while we can question the motives of why anyone would leave their family and subject themselves to such horrors on national television, do not question their suffering. It’s real.
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There! Now that I’ve spent so much time praising the collective cast, I can proceed to tear them to shreds over the course of the rest of this week’s recap! It’s like I ate the broccoli and now all that’s left is steak. So grab some A.1 Sauce, and let’s recap this sonofabitch!
But first — there’s always a “but first…” with Julie Chen and me — a lot of you have expressed concern as to how could I even continue on with these recaps seeing as how there will be no more glorious Fishbach Moments of the Week to chronicle now that Survivor: Cambodia’s living awkward-highlight reel has been eliminated. It will be difficult, no doubt, but we must stay strong and forge ahead. However, before we do, let’s treat ourselves to a blast from the past — a personal favorite of mine as the Second Chance producers’ personal punching bag does his imitation of (as one tweeter so astutely pointed out) a giraffe on roller skates. Ladies and gentlemen, enjoy…
Okay, now we can recap this SOB! (And if you want more Fishbach tomfoolery, check out my Survivor Talk roundtable with him and Ciera.)
NEXT: Enter the Loved Ones