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"Survivor: Thailand" Review

By Shawn McKenzie 09/27/2002

The return of the Grandaddy of competitive reality shows.  Is it worth another stay on the island?  So far it is.


It is the fifth season of “Survivor.”  It started off pretty much the same way.  I do have to give props to executive producer Mark Burnett.  He did make it look like the two tribes would be split down gender lines.  It started out being split between men and women and taken to a small island off of where they would spend the rest of their time.  Host Jeff Probst tells them that one of the traditions in Thailand is to respect your elders, so he tells them that the oldest male and the oldest female will pick the tribes (kind of like dodgeball.)  One tribe, comprised of the people picked by the oldest male, Jake Bilingsley, will be called Sook Jai, which means “happy heart.”  The other tribe, comprised of people picked by the oldest female, Jan Gentry, will be called Chuay Gahn, which means “to help one another.”  The two new tribes then paddle out to the main island, called Koh Tarutao.  Sook Jai seems to be the more athletic tribe, or as member Robb Zbacnik says, “We definitely got all the hot chicks…or most of them…and we definitely got the young, strong guys, which is huge."  You may think this is just a case of posturing, but so far, after two episodes, Sook Jai has won every competition.  I’ve always wondered what would happen if a season went completely lopsided and one tribe won every competition, meaning there was no need for a merge of the tribes.  Last season it looked like that was going to happen, and then Burnett threw in that monkey wrench of trading three people from one tribe with three people from the other tribe.  Maybe we will see that lopsided season this time, but I doubt it, because one of the great things about “Survivor” is that you don’t know what is going to happen in the middle of the season. 


Unfortunately, the end of the season is always the same.  In the final four, it’s always the endurance competition, where the competitor who can hold out the longest wins immunity.  In the final three, it’s the “how well do you know your fellow survivors” competition.  I hope that it will be different this time.


With the prospect of some conflict in the third episode and the twists we get every season, “Survivor: Thailand” looks to be getting off to a good start.  I just really hope that this season isn’t as predictable in the end as the last few seasons.


Ratings System:


Try to catch this show every week...

If a better show is on, tape this one...

If nothing else is on, maybe this will be good...

If this show is on, change the channel immediately!


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