Oh how I love the early episodes of Survivor each season when nothing matters, truly, but everyone on the show feels like everything matters. I’ve said it once, and will say it again (to anyone standing in line with me at my grocery store check-out line), your only job on Survivor is to get to the merge. During the early stages, don’t try for any “big moves” because they won’t be “big.” Don’t initiate a blind-side vote, don’t boss people around, do more than your fair share of work at camp, and spend all your energy motivating your tribe to win the immunity challenge. Die during the immunity challenge if you have to so everyone knows you’re valuable.

Basically, be nice, smart (but not too smart), helpful, and no matter what plan is presented to you, talk about keeping the tribe unified, or your alliance together. There’ll be plenty of time for big moves, lies, and flipping on your alliances – after the merge.

I’ve barely started to put together Malolos and Naviti and which players were on which tribes, and CBS already switched ’em all up. Maybe you watch more intently than I do, or maybe you take notes while watching, but I was still calling them “the Orange tribe” and “Purple tribe”, and Morgan (who was voted out, if you’re like me and didn’t really know her name) hadn’t even done anything significant enough for a nickname, like Tall-Blonde-Guy (aka Chris) or Black-Guy (aka Wendell).

Morgan wasn’t a bad choice, but not a good choice either. I guess people thought Morgan and Tall-Blonde-Guy (Chris) were tight, so when he eventually comes back from Ghost Island, that he and she and the rest of their former tribe would have power and numbers. The flip side is she’s strong and would help them win challenges, something that’s more important than “big moves” right now. Wel, that’s if CBS doesn’t switch up the tribes again before the merge and send everything spinning out of control, again.

I can’t figure out why anyone is so loyal to their Purple or Orange original tribes. They all knew each other for SIX DAYS (maybe five) before the tribe reshuffling. Who thinks those bonds will take them all the way to the final 3, 4, 5, 6, or 8? See how dumb that sounds? Something that used to happen in the old days is we’d see people in the early days form a rock-solid bond of 3 (or 4) and say “we’re together until the end” and then would never break that. That was a power move. Now, people flip, lie, and change their minds way to early and way too often.

Hell, the best-ever Russell Hantz made “rock-solid” early alliances with more than one threesome, and it served him very well.

Anyway, at the risk of sounding like a broken record, there’s too much gamesmanship going on this early in the game.

Earliest Ever Tribe Shake-Up

This was the earliest tribe reshuffling we’ve ever seen. And I like it. Just like I like Ghost Island and whatever that becomes. Everyone is a super-fan, nowadays. Everyone models their game from one of the Survivor all-stars, and if CBS didn’t start throwing in these big, new wrinkles, it would get boring. I think it’s why, for quite a few seasons, they brought back old players – because new players bore us. Maybe I’m contradicting myself, but when you have a show where nothing matters for the first 6 episodes (until the merge), how can you get viewers interested in the first few weeks? CBS is doing a great job.

I don’t care that we’ve never had a reshuffle this early, and that there’s Immunity Idols galore and everywhere, and that everyone is eating, sleeping, and not being ravaged by rats, exoctic illnesses brought on by fly, tick, and spider bites. I hope CBS fogs the areas for bugs, gives them all sunscreen, and secretly gives them some food and medicine, because there’s nothing more boring than watching people shivver in the cold rain, and suffer with stomach problems from malnourishment or undercooked starfish off the grill.

I tell my kids if they watched the first ten seasons, they’d be bored to death watching everyone eat grasshoppers, spiders, and larva. It used to be the fun was the gimmick of people actually surviving in the sense of not dieing, whereas now, for better or worse, Survivor could be filmed on the CBS lot in California because the living-off-the-grid is much less of a factor.

But I like that 4 Idols are already in play.

General Notes:

Handsome-Guy (aka Michael) and Buff-Body-Coach-Teacher Guy (aka Brendan) found an Idol but I don’t know if those two are smart enough to truly take advantage of that. Something that never seems to happen is a bonding between strong/athletic men on this show. I mean, it should happen because it’s been awhile since a strong/athletic male won Survivor. Everyone who isn’t a strong/athletic/male views them as threats, so good luck ever making it to the final-3 if everyone is gunning for you. They have an opportunity to make Survivor history if they can recruit another strong/athletic/male. Just sayin’ …I think I would have a better shot at winning in my current 45-year-old Dad-Bod than I would’ve in my 35-year-old tri-athlon running body. If Michael and Brendan (and another similar player) don’t form an alliance, they’ll never win.

This is the most athletic and physically capable collection of players ever. I think I like that, too. Look at the cast here. Seriously. The least athletic person in this group would’ve been among near the top of most other seasons.

That’s all I got for this week. If you wanted a play-by-play recap, that’s not exactly what we do here at spunkybean (well, except for Dancing with the Stars and American Idol recaps, which really are more about play-by-play). For Survivor, we like to analyze, make predictions, and get in heated arguments with our readers in the Comments.

I’ll make a prediction – Cute-Blonde-Girl (aka Libby) is my early pick to win it all.

See you next week. Follow me on Twitter at @donkowalewski or @spunkybean.

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