TV: SURVIVOR, S34E08: “A Line Drawn in Concrete”

#1 TV show, Wednesday, 4/26/17

8.49 million viewers

What it is: A competition reality show in which contestants camp out in an exotic location and compete in various summer camp-ish games while gradually voting each other out of the running until only one remains. This season takes place in Fiji’s Mamanuca Islands and is subtitled “Game Changers” because the contestants are all people who competed on previous seasons of the show. In this ep, they compete in an oceanic obstacle course relay and another exercise that involves stacking blocks, then conspire to vote off either Andrea or Debbie.

I guess I sort of thought of Survivor as a relic of the early 2000s, like MySpace or Limp Bizkit. But obviously CBS is still cranking it out, and a whole lot of people are still watching. Seeing that they’re on season 34 threw me for a moment–is Survivor older than I am?–but turns out they’ve been producing two seasons a year for a long time now.

This is the first time I’ve actually watched the show, and it’s pretty much exactly what I expected it to be: Mildly demanding physical challenges mixed with catty infighting in a tropical setting. One of the contestants, Zeke Smith, was apparently outed as transgender two episodes previously, which stirred up some controversy, but “A Line Drawn in Concrete” didn’t include any references to that. Maybe they had their big zeitgeist moment and then decided to go back to the show’s meat and potatoes for a bit.

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