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Women Mud Wrestlers in Survivor's 20th Season, Episode 3

  • Mar 2, 2010
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This episode was by far the worst one of the season! It made me angry, annoyed, and uninterested in continuing the show. Episode three was a reminder of how low reality television can sink and how little substance they actually have upon closer scrutiny.

First off, there was a major lack of nature and environment scenes, which I have come to expect from Survivor episodes. The beginning was impressive with the fast-paced growth of mushrooms on the island as well as multiple scenes of the night sky with millions of stars aglow. Most of these nature shots were thrown in at the beginning of the episode. After that point, there was one smaller scene of turtles swimming. To supplement the lack of scenery, other comical parts were highlighted as if they were "nature" shots. For example, there was a moment in the morning when Coach was out on the beach practicing his yoga and getting in the mood for the competition. The camera person angled backward to show the big red sun behind him as he moved into a position very reminiscent of Karate Kid. Seeing Coach act "bad-ass" is not a nature scene no matter how much sun illuminates his rugged and handsome body. In case it's not obvious, I'm being sarcastic.

This episode was the first indication that there are extreme villains (or super villains). Russell was weaselly from the very first episode, even to a newbie such as myself. However, he proved he could sink even lower. In fact, I feel dirty just watching him. I am an accomplice to his crimes by watching and doing nothing to stop him. I truly hope he does not win the season, and that the other villains on the tribe use their brains to find the missing machete. After all, I thought they were good at solving puzzles.

When the immunity challenge was revealed, I was extremely disappointed with the physical activity. You can dress it up to sound like a Gladiator challenge all you want. It wasn't. It was men and women mud wrestling. This was a great opportunity to get the viewers all hot and bothered. I'm surprised another bathing suit top didn't happen to "accidentally" fall off during the challenge. I should have realized that there was no sense of propriety since the very first episode highlighted a contestant named Sugar running to the finish line without her top. At that time, though, I saw her as an innocent victim of a villain's cunning plan to get the Heroes to lose the challenge. However, this immunity challenge showed that both teams are willing participants in degradation no matter how low or dirty they have to go. They will stop at nothing to win the million dollars. My only sense of relief was that, as I had predicted, the Heroes killed the Villains because they are masters at the physical challenges. All the mud battles were very quick and painless with only a little flopping around.

How far can Survivor push their contestants? Soon, the next reality show will be very similar to the one imagined by the writer and director of Running Man. It's only a matter of time before people are pushed to the edge of reason and commit the ultimate transgression: murder. Of course this is all just speculation, and, of course, many people can argue that murder is committed everyday for money. Still, I imagine the ratings of Survivor would skyrocket if someone "accidentally" died. If I've learned anything from Shutter Island, it's that there really is a thin line between human and monster.

Alas, I digress. One of the worst parts to this episode was all the bickering between the women. I am a feminist, and I believe in the power of women working together. I really get irritated with shows that reduce us to cat-clawing individuals who are more ruthless and cunning than men. Either gender can be cut-throat and ruthless, as emphasized by Russell, yet the title of this episode was "That Girl Is Like a Virus." I get sick and tired of women being pitted against each other in these types of situations when they should be banding together. In fact, out of the three people voted off, two have been women. I don't know how common that is, but it seems that we have a disadvantage right from the start because of our gender. If the mysterious "she" was such a virus, why wasn't she voted off? This "virus" was more a nuisance than anything else, harmless like a mosquito but annoying when it buzzes in your ear. Often, I find this show can be hypocritical mainly because it's contestants are hypocritical. They say one thing to the camera, act like they are voting this way, and then do the exact opposite. I presume this is strategy at play, and that I don't quite understand it because I am new to the show.

Finally, the ultimate disgrace was Coach's Martin Luther King Jr. quote/speech at the very end of the episode. How dare he reduce King's message for equality of the races and the Civil Rights's Movement by using it to represent his feelings about a silly reality television show! It was so dishonorable I almost turned off the television. I didn't care if I missed who was voted off. That was simply ridiculous! Perhaps he was pressured to say the quote because it was February, Black History Month. This was the producer's attempt to make the show relevant to what was currently going on in America. Their attempts failed, though, and Coach sounded phony and prepped more than anything else. I really think these lines were fed to him both to bolster his proud, jackass persona and maybe connect with some sentimental viewers.

In the end, the entire episode left me disappointed. Even the preview for episode four was extremely boring. If I had not already promised @Pardolis that I would watch this season, I definitely would have quit here. I am going to write this episode off as one of the low points during season 20 and hope that a brighter future is in store for us new viewers.
Women Mud Wrestlers in Survivor's 20th Season, Episode 3

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March 06, 2010
ha-ha! the word MUD WRESTLERS caught my eye! Nicely done.
March 07, 2010
(smiles) YAY! I've been trying to write better headlines to catch people's fancy! I'm so bad at that... :P Thanks for enjoying my reality show review!
March 04, 2010
Mud Wrestling...hmmm...not to sound sexist to a self-avowed feminist...but I think I missed out...I might have gone higher than -2. Hehe.
March 04, 2010
LOL! Yeah, you probably would have enjoyed it. ;) Thanks for reading my review. :)
March 03, 2010
If you compare this show to jersey shore, real world/road rules challenge or any other MTV reality show, these Survivor contestants would look like model citizens, lol. I think there are far worse shows out there that really show humanity at its low point. If anything, I see Survivor as being positive since it allows many different types of people to come together and have a chance to win. It's not a perfect show, but it's far from being a low point in reality tv. The hypocritical nature of some of the contestants stems from not just the people themselves, but also from the editing. There have been many instances where TPTB ("The Powers That Be" a.k.a. the editors, producers, etc...) show people strategizing to vote off one person before tribal council, but when they actually make the vote, they vote off someone else entirely. This is the editors' attempt to keep the viewer on his or her toes by making the audience think they know what's going to happen when they actually don't. There might very well have been discussion amongst tribe members that explains why they decided to go the other direction, but TPTB choose not to show it in order to keep the audience guessing. So in that sense sometimes, the contestants aren't being hypocritical so much as TPTB choose to not show us everything for suspense purposes. However, in this particular episode, I do think that the tribe was VERY hypocritical for not voting off Parvati. But it's not always that way, even if it appears to be. Your point about gender was interesting also, but I'll talk with you more about that later. This message is already too long, lol. :-)
March 04, 2010
I've never seen or even heard of the other reality shows you just mentioned, Pard. I don't watch MTV or VH1. I'm sure you're right, and that there are worse shows out there than "Survivor," but I still think this one is pretty vicious (I mean, look at all the fighting they had happening in episode one!). People were really vicious and determined to win at the point of one villain yelling "break her arm!" Now...don't tell me that's tame!!

As far as the reality show bringing many different people together, you can make that claim about ANY reality show! I don't think you should "sugar coat" it. Not all reality shows are tame presentations of people making art to achieve their dreams, such as "So You Think You Can Dance." Some are about the drama and the violence. Also, wasn't it a big deal when the "Survivor" story idea was first pitched? People were shocked and surprised that someone wanted to make such a reality show and many others said it would never succeed. Overall, I think Survivor has its high moments where you feel proud of the contestants, such as when the Heroes worked together to build their shelter, and low moments, when Russell hid the machete.

I wouldn't know how to rate a "low point" in reality television because I don't watch enough versions to make an adequate list. Compared to the reality shows I watch, yes, I would say this show is on the lower end of the spectrum. I'm still happy that I am trying something new. It's becoming quite the grand adventure!

As far as TPTB, I think you raise a very valid and important point! I don't trust the people working behind the cameras. They have an agenda with what they show and clip together. For all we know, the Villains are actually acting more heroic than the heroes! It's frustrating knowing I have to trust TPTB to show me "the truth."

BTW: "How I Met Your Mother" used the phrase in Monday's episode "she's like a virus." I wonder if they got the idea from this episode's title or if it's a common phrase.

Oooo, when are you going to call me, so we can talk about the gender stuff? I want to have Jason try out for the show! I would probably be one of the first women voted off if I ever made it! 

Great discussions here! You really got me thinking. It's definitely more fun to watch a reality show with a friend!
More That Girl is Like a Virus -- S... reviews
review by . March 02, 2010
Survivor Heroes vs. Villains Episode 3
 The third episode of Survivor Heroes vs. Villains offers up some interesting moments from a strategic perspective. Last time, Stephenie was sent home. Her exit indicates that the strategy sessions are well underway on the Heroes tribe. Who will go home this week? Let's find out by looking at the events of this episode.      After the second tribal council of the season comes to a close, we see the Heroes' tribe walk back to camp. There is some tension between Tom and James …
review by . February 26, 2010
This episode of Survivor Heroes vs Villains really showed the Villains tribe in a new lite, well technically an old lite: they are still bad asses. I really enjoyed seeing the Villains tribe have to strategize. There are some great ones on that tribe, Rob, Russell and to a degree Coach. He's more of an emotional player though and I'm surprised he promised both Parvati and Randy his vote yet claims to be the only honest one there? Makes no sense, but he's crazy and that's why people love to hate …
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Adrianna Simone ()
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James gets overly physical in a challenge, and a female castaway targets a threat to herself and seeks to oust her rival. At tribal council, another preson is voted out of the game.
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Original Air Date: 2/25/2010
Description: The 3rd episode of Survivor Heroes vs Villains
TV Show: Survivor
Genre: Series - Reality
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