Whenever I was a child, I was a big fan of reality game shows. I never liked the reality shows that we see today where we parade human garbage in front of a camera and it some how garners an audience. However, I did enjoy the early reality shows like The Mole, Mystery in Small Town X, The Amazing Race, and today’s subject, Survivor. It was fun to watch normal people compete on a 14 week long competition that tested their wits, skills, and ability to manipulate others. I always found them to be a cool concept and a way to play a gigantic game of chess. I do freely admit that the mere concept of a reality show is to be exploitative of human beings in some way and my enjoyment of the show is something that I am going to have to live with in my life. But at either rate, it was always fun to watch these people compete for a chance to win one million dollars.
I did lose all interest in the shows, however, once they started to ‘recruit’ talent for the show. Instead of accepting auditions from real people and finding people through these methods, they begin to seek out and ask various celebrities, models, wackjobs, and the shit skid marks on the underpants of society to put onto their show. But, over the past couple of days, I put on the old show in order to have some background noise. After making it through each season, I decided to make a couple of lists for my website in an attempt to create a definitive list of the worst and the best Survivor Seasons.
Now, considering that I am a person who stopped watching Survivor for several years, I do not claim to be a fan of the series. However, I do feel that will give me an outsider’s perspective on the seasons that may eliminate some biases that can be created from being a staunch fan of the series. I judge each of these seasons on the contestants, the twists of the show, the shows winner, and how manufactured the show was with recruitment and returning characters. With that being said, we will start with the Top 5 Worst Survivor Seasons of All Time (as of 2015).
Survivor South Pacific
5. Survivor Nicaragua
Nicaragua finds itself at number 5. Ultimately this season is just plain forgettable and its cast of contestants forgettable. Not to mention, it is the season in which Jud “Fabio”Birza won with the power of being dumb AND likable!
The Medallion of Power was an absolutely stupid concept that only served to give teams an unfair advantage, if they wanted an unfair advantage. What I absolutely love about the Medallion of Power is the fact that it was scrapped by the 5th episode, they didn’t even see the prop to completion before realizing it was a terrible idea that added nothing but give teams a guaranteed win.
Overall, I don’t hate it as much as I do the other four on this list… But it still deserves its spot at number 5.
4. Survivor Thailand
If you asked anyone what is the worst Survivor Season of all time, Survivor Thailand will be one of the first ones that comes to their mind. Granted, being at number 4, means that there are some more egregious choices when it comes to the ‘worst’ seasons, but at the same time it cannot be denied that this season is marked by one of the worst things that can happen to a Survivor season… A cast of the most unlikable, annoying, pieces of turds that you could possibly meet.
Most of the season was marked with situations like Ghandia accusing Ted of grinding on her (which she later admits was, to a great extent, fabricated), Clay’s unrepentant racism, Jan losing her damn mind, and the winner of the season, Brian, being one of the sleaziest players to every be on Survivor AND THAT is saying something.
This, in addition to, the fake out merge did nothing but eliminate one of the only likable players in Shii Ann. A combination of these two areas has made this season practically unbearable.
3. Survivor Samoa
This season will forever go down in history as the season that saw the debut of Russell Hantz, one of the most infamous people to ever play survivor. An oil tycoon from Texas, Russell was a super fan who wanted nothing more than to come onto Survivor and beat it. Including Samoa, he would be in 3 of the next four season and his family member Brandon would appear soon after it in two seasons, marking 5 season out of 31 that we had to put up with these little pricks. That is 1/6 season that has featured a member of this wealthy redneck family. But this one was the first and as such was marked with a group of contestants that allowed Russell to run roughshod over the season.
Luckily, Natalie White stole the title from him. Even if she wasn’t the best winner, anyone was better than Russell Hantz. You see, the problem with Survivor producers was the fact that they thought that Russell was a Boston Rob, Jerri, or Richard Hatch. Someone that you loved to hate, but in truth, he was just someone that everyone hated and his constant position in the game meant that people were quick to turn off the television instead of dealing with him. Because of this, Samoa finds itself at 3.
2. Survivor Fiji
You can separate this television series from seasons in which players were selected via audition and when players were ‘recruited’ by the producers and the casting staff. If you look at the cast of people selected for Survivor Pearl Islands and Survivor One World you would see a shocking juxtaposition in people and it all started with Survivor Fiji. People began to be ‘processed’, ‘pretty’, and fit neatly into the stereotypes and stories that the producers wanted to create. Not to mention color coding the cast for some bewilidering reason. Seriously, look at future seasons, the yellow team wears yellow clothes and the purple team wears purple, IT IS WEIRD! Typically, the few people who were selected by the traditional process were there to add a little flavor to the hand selected wackos and eye candy.
The recruitment process was ‘present’ before Survivor Fiji, but it was Fiji that was made up predominantly of recruited cast members. In fact, out of the cast, it is rumored that the only cast member selected through traditional methods was Gary Stritesky. As such, the season was filled with ‘characters’ like Dreamz, Lisi, Rocky, and Yau Man. The contestants felt too manufactured to be believable and the show became more soap opera-esque as a result.
If you add in the fact that the show featured an absolutely HORRIFIC premise of one beach being outfitted with a shelter made out of wood, nails, hammer etc. and was outfitted with a couch, hammocks, and other amenities while the other tribe just had a machete and a pot. Surprise, surprise the beach with all of the amenities won almost every challenge while the beach that had a machete and a pot kept losing over and over again.
Combine the recruited cast, with a terrible tribal divide premise, and the piece of human excrement Dreamz (which is just the dumbest name I have ever heard) taking Yau Man’s truck that he won and reneging on the deal makes this just an unwatchable pile of trash.
1. Survivor Redemption Island
Thus we find ourselves at number one… You will find very few casual fans or hardcore fans that will deny that this season is easily one of the worst in the history of the television show. For me it makes it onto this list for one reason and one reason alone. You see, I can understand why the producers do what they do, as much as I disagree with it. You want to create scenarios and conflict that will produce ratings. As much as I think it makes poor television, I can understand it. ALSO even though they bring back former contestants constantly and recruited Z list notable people the likes of Jimmy Johnson and Jeff Kent, they at least let the seasons play out and whatever happens happens.
But, out of all of the seasons of the Survivor, never has it been more obvious that an entire season was created for the sole purpose of manufacturing a champion out of a contestant. From the beginning, it was obvious that this season was casted and created for a Boston Rob and Russell Hantz showdown. The two men were brought back and given a cast of pushovers and saps that the two men could manipulate to an easy victory. They even added Redemption Island, to give them consistent chances to come back and making the voting process almost null and void.
Granted, this somewhat backfired in their faces when the member of Russell’s tribe, having watched the previous two fucking seasons, realized that trusting the fat little stubby man was akin to proving Darwinism is alive and well in the world, voted him out much to Jeff Probst’s OBVIOUS annoyance as he watched his ratings go down the drain on the second voting. Russell, thankfully, went off early, but all this meant was Boston Rob went through the game completely uncontested for the easy win.
Of all the games in Survivor history, Redemption Island was clearly a show solely meant to manufacture a Russell vs. Boston Rob contest that ultimately didn’t happen. It has a sleazy feeling to it and as such is consistently hated by everyone who has ever seen the show.
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