How Tough Is Too Tough?
Ads for the current series of Survivor tout it as "the
toughest Survivor yet". They were right on the money:
the eleven mile hike that started the game knocked out
four of the men out of the starting nine. What happens
for Survivor 12? Are the hapless castaways going to spin
a Wheel of Torture and whatever body part the pointer
lands on is beaten on by a hired tough? Will the
starting 16 be forced to strip down to nothing, using
leaves for clothes? Maybe they have to wear blindfolds,
earplugs or boxing gloves the whole time. That would be
extreme, sure, but no worse than having to hike 11 miles
into a rainforest, with no promise of water or food.
The slope seems to be less and less 'outside assistance'
each time there is a new Survivor. The original group
got rice, a pot, and other essentials. In Australia, the
group ran out of food and had to give up shelter. In the
Marquesas Islands, the teams started with only a pot and
machete, and had to catch all of their food. After
"Pearl Islands," the theme is to start the players with
nothing but a map to their campsite. I don't get it.
Sure, the theme is survival, but it isn't fun watching
all of the castaways getting sick after every challenge.
The "survival" theme is worn out. I'm not watching for
that element. I'm watching for the challenges and the
votes. Everything else is background. Obviously, it does
make a difference to see who can survive in the outdoors
the best, and that manifests itself in the challenges
(no food means your team is going down hard, whether
it's mental or physical in nature).
Give the group an amount of food to start with, and let
that be it. Or give the team a choice between food,
various tools and blankets and whatnot. The winners of
the Quest for Fire get to keep everything that they
managed to take with them on the trek. Or have a draft
lottery, where the tribes can pick various baskets,
filled with various provisions. Give us more game.
"But Travis!" I can hear you whine already, "They're
competing for a million dollars! It should be hard!"
Sure, I buy that. But there's a line between hard and
physically exhausting. Survivor has already crossed that
line, and I hope they don't go careening over it in the
Travis Eberle is the original survivor... E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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