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Survivor: Kaoh Rong premiere recap: 'I'm a Mental Giant'

It’s Brains vs. Brawn vs. Beauty—take 2!

Posted on

Robert Voets/CBS


TV Show
Reality TV
run date:
Jeff Probst
Current Status:
In Season

Welcome, everyone, to Survivor: Wrath of Khan edition! The season in which Ricardo Montalbán sneaks into the Brawn camp, bores everyone to sleep with talk of Corinthian leather, and then plants indigenous eel larvae into the ear canals of his unsuspecting victims in the hopes of achieving ultimate mind control. (Just ask my man Chekov how that went for him. By the way, how jacked was Montalbán in that film? Six-pack city, baby!)

So, yes, if we’re already in paragraph one sidetracked into discussions about the dude from Fantasy Island, then it must be time for another rambling Survivor recap. And ramble on we shall in what will prove to be the most dangerous season of Survivor recapping EVER! Watch out for paper cuts if you are printing this out to read because that sucker could get infected and then it is GAME OVER! (I’m just hoping I don’t get medevaced for keyboard-induced Carpal Tunnel Syndrome.)

But who can blame me for being concerned? After all, here’s Jeff Probst proclaiming that, “This will be the most grueling 39 days in Survivor history.” And from everything I have heard — and seen and felt from my time out in Cambodia — he’s not exaggerating.

A little (possibly super boring) background on that: While this is season 32 of Survivor, it was actually shot in Cambodia before season 31. Why? Here’s why: With fans voting in the cast of Second Chance in May, it was imperative that those contestants then pretty much go straight out to play and that air first in the fall. Which, under a normal Survivor schedule, would be fine, since shooting first in a two-cycle shooting schedule traditionally begins in late May, with the second season shooting in August through early September. (I warned you this might get super boring.)

RELATED: Survivor: Kaôh Rōng full cast revealed (with intel from Jeff Probst)

However, Cambodia’s rainy season is at its worst in July through September, so to avoid that, production had to start much earlier than normal, in this case on March 30. Of course, the Second Chance voting had not even begun yet, so that is why the two seasons were shot out of order.

When I went out there in May for Second Chance, it was hot. Like, really hot. But all the crew talked about was how much worse it had been before we got out there. So I don’t think this is hyperbole on Probst’s part, especially after what we saw in the premiere. But we’re getting ahead of ourselves, which, granted, is something I am known for.

Okay, let’s get to it and recap this son of a bitch! We start out on a big blue boat while Inception-like foghorns blare out at intervals. Here we go, one of my favorite parts of every Survivor season — random to-the-camera boasting! Take your pick for most shameless boast:

A. “Being an ER doctor, it’s going to be difficult for me to not show how smart I am”  —Peter

B. “Puzzles lay down for me like lovers.” —Debbie

C. “I do try to use my looks to my advantage in poker. If I feel like a male is staring at my boobs, I might push ‘em up a little more.” —Anna

D. “My life has definitely been easier because I am better looking than most people.” —Nick

Ooooh, tough call here. While at first blush Anna’s may seem the most egregious, she’s really just taking advantage of male boob obsession (or MBO, for short) to improve her game. Nothing wrong with that. I think I’m going to go with Nick on this one because — and I hate to ask this question because I am a terrible judge of male attractiveness — but is Nick really that hot? Like, he’s not ugly. This isn’t an Elephant Man or Eric Stoltz in Mask situation, but is he really all that and a bag of chips? Just asking.

Of course as great as all of this is, there is one thing even greater: ORANGE HAT ALERT! Everyone knows I am obsessed with Probst’s orange Survivor hat. It is clearly the most awesome of all Survivor hats. I seriously don’t know why he even bothers with any of those other lame colors. Orange all the way!

While Probst is modeling the height of Survivor fashion, the contestants are scrambling to get supplies off a boat. This is the second straight season they’ve done this for the opening and do you know why that is? Because it works. Every time. You have Beast Mode Cowboy jumping into the water to save a chicken (that he will most likely later eat). You have Tai protecting another chicken “because I love all living creatures.” And you have women being hit on the head by falling coconuts. I think I also just dig the scrambling-for-supplies-and jumping-off-a-boat opening because it is reminder of the essence of Survivor and ties back into the very first opening of the very first season.

NEXT: Meet the Brawn tribe!