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"Survivor" Notes

By admin Published: March 10, 2011

I have some comments about the redemption duel on Thursday, after the jump. But first, the series has been renewed for two more rounds. The official word: CBS has ordered two more editions of SURVIVOR to be broadcast during the 2011-2012 season. These will mark the 23rd and 24th editions of television's longest-running hit reality competition series.

Additionally, Emmy Award-winner Jeff Probst has signed a new agreement to continue as host and as an executive producer for the 23rd and 24th editions. Probst has hosted SURVIVOR since its inception.

It is drawing 2 million fewer viewers against "American Idol" than it did last fall, with weaker competition. But it's a warhorse and the "redemption island" concept in the current season has breathed new life into the show. Let's talk about Thursday's action, after the jump.

As you may have discerned from some recent posts, Thursday was not a good evening for me. Still, before going to bed I wanted to see the redemption island stand-off because it involved Russell. Now, I think Russell is poisonous, but he certainly draws viewer attention, and I suspected that the redemption challenge would in some way work to his advantage, rather than being a physical contest in which a younger, stronger contestant could clean his clock. I've suspected from the beginning that "Survivor's" dream moment this season would be Russell and Rob squaring off, one on one, in the redemption arena.

I was half right. The duel did involve something that Russell was well-matched in. (I seem to remember him doing well with similar challenges in the past.) But then he lost. And he cried. And, after wondering if he had joined the Miami Heat, I momentarily felt some sympathy for him. He views the game so intensely, after all. Then, of course, he started blaming everyone else for his failure and was the same old crappy Russell. It seems not to have occurred to him that his tribe felt it was better off without him spreading nastiness. Yes, he may have prompted Ralph to say more than he meant to, but that's just screwing with people for no helpful reason -- in other words, pure Russell.

And I do like the redemption games. It adds another, narratively different element to a show that can otherwise seem drearily familiar. I don't know how it would work with a cast where no one was known at the beginning, but it certainly adds a fun fillip to one where you have name brands like Russell and Rob.

I have not watched anything after the duel, so will post about ensuing events another time.

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