Survivor has long been my favorite reality TV show. Ever since Borneo, I was hooked (even as a nine year old kid). It brought my family together when I was young, it helped me make friends in high school, and now it gives me something to talk about around the water cooler. It’s an amazing piece of television history that is continuing its run for a 32nd season next month. So, what is it that has the show making an immunity run?

I like to think of Survivor as having three layers directed toward particular audiences.

The first is the TV Show. I mean, that’s what this is, right? It’s meant to be entertaining to those viewing the show. It needs to hold a certain emotion for an audience to latch onto. This is one of the main reasons Survivor wins it’s time slot again and again. It’s just plain entertaining to watch a group of strangers fight for a million bucks, isn’t it? This layer is fun for everyone.

The second is the Game. We see castaways map out a plan of attack, intricately planting seeds of doubt to their alliances and cross alliances. We get their inside thoughts about how to blindside allies or take down foes, always staying a step ahead of the curve. This is prime viewing for those interested in logic puzzles or strategy games.

The third is the Social Experiment. We hear it during each premiere episode… “18 people from all walks of life, forced to create a new society while battling the elements, and each other.” This is what the heart of Survivor is all about. Watching these strangers that would never interact with each other in normal circumstances come together to try to survive together. This is, I think, why the producers watch. Getting to see these natural interactions was why the show was created in the first place.

Now, each of these layers aren’t solely separate entities. They all bleed into one another and eventually affect one another. Like a player’s blindside of their biggest threat or a city boy and a country boy teaming up to take on the masses.

My goal for this blog is to recap Survivor: Kaôh Rōng (and hopefully beyond) using the three layers of Survivor as I see them. And that, my friends, is why we’re here.

Stay tuned for my cast assessment!

-g

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