|Outwit, outplay, outlast, outlive?|
Like he does at the end of every Reunion special, Jeff Probst gave us a glimpse of the next installment in the franchise. This time it's Survivor: Phillipines. Jeff hinted that they would bring back 3 of the most famous Survivor injury disasters in the history of the game. They showed clips of past injured players like Michael Skupin (the guy who fell in the fire just when the camera man was taking a break so there was no footage) and Russell Swan (the guy who practically died in the middle of a challenge because he was so dehydrated).
Jeff also got very excited about the fact that they were going to the Phillipines where the tribes would live with poisonous snakes and be surrounded by shark-infested waters.
That's when I realized that Jeff and Mark Burnett and all the other Survivor producers are planning a funeral for the very special Reunion show.
Here's how I think a FICTIONAL conversation between REAL PEOPLE went:
Burnett (imagine this in a chippy Australian accent): We're getting a lot of flak about this season. Everyone thinks it's boring and we've lost our edge.
Probst (we all know his voice): I don't know. It doesn't seem so bad. We've got a lot of cute girls out there for them to look at.
Burnett: Cute girls who are running the show and not a villain in sight! They're talking about their feelings and staying loyal to their alliances. This is not good television!
Weaselly Assistant Producer (nasally and simpering voice - think ultimate kiss ass): Sir, I've been doing a lot of thinking about how to make the show sexy again.
Burnett: Who are you?
WAP: I've worked here for 2 years, but my name is not important. What is important is my idea.
Probst: OK, so what is it?
WAP: Well, I've been thinking. Have you heard of The Hunger Games?
Burnett: Are you a bloody idiot? Everyone in the world has heard of The Hunger Games!
WAP: Right. Well, The Hunger Games is popular because it's like Survivor, only people die.
Probst: Actually, teenagers die.
WAP: Exactly. Here at Survivor we've had a couple of close calls with people falling into fires and that guy with the bowel obstruction, but we've never managed to get a death on tape. I feel like it's time to raise the bar.
Burnett: Have teenagers kill one another??!
WAP: No, I checked with legal, we can't do that.
WAP: Only adults can come on the show and put themselves in danger. What I'm thinking is we invite back some of our closest calls and then we tell them there is no medical evacuation option this season.
Burnett: No medical evacuation? Can we do that?
WAP: Legal is working on it, but with our legal budget they're pretty sure they can make it fly.
Probst: So we invite Russell Swan-
Probst: Russell Swan. He's the one who passed out during the challenge and just about died from dehydration. He was the closest to death. We filmed the medical team for almost an hour, but they just kept stabilizing him. They're so damn good! Finally, we had to airlift him out. He'll want to come back. He's a competitor and he'll want a second chance.
Burnett: Great. Who else?
WAP: Michael Skupin.
Burnett: Oooh...fire guy. I still can't believe we didn't have a camera on him when he fell in the fire! We fired that camera man, right?
Probst: Abso-fucking-lutely. He'll never work in this town again.
WAP: I'm thinking we need 3 to round it out. We'll have 3 teams and each near death Survivor will be a "captain."
Burnett: Who is the third?
WAP: I don't know, maybe Colton Cumbie? The gay slash racist guy from this season? He went home with appendicitis, although I'm hearing now he might have faked it. People hate him.
Probst: Yeah, but not in a good way. He's no Johnny Fairplay.
Burnett: Johnny Fairplay was brilliant with that whole dead grandmother bit.
Probst: Yeah, Colton is nothing like Johnny. That guy is a bitch. I don't want to give him a second chance.
Burnett: It really doesn't matter who we bring back. All that matters is that we make great TV!
WAP: Exactly. And the way to make it great TV is to make the conditions absolute shit. That's why I'm thinking we go to the Phillipines. We put these tribes on an island with no fresh water and poisonous snakes and bugs. The peninsula where they live will be surrounded by beautiful water, but it's completely shark infested, so no fishing, bathing or swimming. We may need to bring some more sharks in, just to be sure we have enough. I'm also looking for crocodiles to bring in, because I love how they can attack on land or water - surprise attacks!
The camps will be close to one another, but cut off completely by rings of fire (with 24 hour cameras on them) that only go down when it's time to leave the camp for challenges and such. Sometimes we could extinguish the fires and let the tribes out to wander about and maybe have a run in with a croc. Since they don't know when the fire will be back up again, they might get trapped outside the safety of their fire ring and have to spend the night on the beach. I'm thinking we could time this with the weather forecast - a lightning strike would be a-MAY-zing.
The only food and water the tribes get comes when we think they deserve it. They could win food and water at challenges, I guess, but that seems so boring and predictable. I was thinking we could mix it up and sometimes have the food they win be spoiled - e coli can be a just as effective a killer as a shark. I've also been toying with the idea of getting them to turn on each other. Food seems to be the only way to do that. We could air drop small parachutes of food - just enough for one or two people and then let them fight for it. I'm thinking hunger makes people do crazy things. Or...the other thing people would kill for is their family. We could keep a child or a spouse hostage somewhere in the jungle and show the Survivor contestant video clips of their loved one suffering on whatever new cell phone Sprint has and they have to win the challenges or else -
Burnett: Let me just stop you right there.
WAP: I'm sorry, sir. Did I cross the line? Is it too much?
Burnett: Absolutely not. I'm going to need to learn your name, son, because you just got yourself promoted to Executive Producer!
Probst: Best. Season. Ever.