‘Survivor’: An Early Season’s Theme Could Destroy the Show If It Ever Came Back

It’s hard to believe how long Survivor has been around. Fans have been loyal to this reality show for decades now, and love watching people season after season compete in remote areas to be the last remaining survivor who wins the million-dollar prize. It’s certainly unique in comparison to other reality shows, which often follow wealthy people in their cushy lives, so it’s not hard to see why devoted fans can’t stop watching it.

Each season of Survivor has a different themed twist and takes place in a remote location. One racially charged theme from Survivor‘s early years, however, wouldn’t fly in today’s progressive climate.

Kim Spradlin, Jeremy Collins, Denise Stapley, Tony Vlachos, Ben Driebergen, Michele Fitzgerald, Nick Wilson and Sarah Lacina at tribal council on 'Survivor'
Kim Spradlin, Jeremy Collins, Denise Stapley, Tony Vlachos, Ben Driebergen, Michele Fitzgerald, Nick Wilson and Sarah Lacina | CBS via Getty Images

What is ‘Survivor’ about?

Survivor first aired in the United States in 2000 and has been a major hit ever since. Hosted by Jeff Probst, the intense competition show pits contestants against each other while being isolated in a remote location in different countries. In these locales, the contestants need to depend on their own survival skills in order to make it, including for food, shelter, and water. The contestants are split up into teams, which compete against each other in different challenges. As the group of remaining contestants dwindles down, they begin to compete against one another individually, and the last person remaining is the Survivor, winning the grand prize of a whopping $1 million.

Although there have been some doubts about how real everything in Survivor is, it’s still exhilarating to watch the contestants have to survive in a world without any of their usual tools and conveniences. The show is almost worth watching for the beautiful filming locations alone: past seasons have been filmed in almost 20 different places, including Palau, Kenya, and French Polynesia.

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One early theme wouldn’t fly today

Each of the seasons of Survivor has a different twist or theme. For example, the teams have been separated by age, or have pit veteran competitors of the show against long-time fans. Season 13 of Survivor, titled Survivor: Cook Islands, had an odd and offensive theme: the teams were separated by race. There was a white team, a Black team, an Asian-American team, and a Latinx-American team, according to Screenrant.

Although this did create a more diverse cast of competitors, it probably wasn’t the best way to go about it. With the different racial groups competing against one another, this was sure to have created some racial tension on the show. In addition, even if none of the competitors themselves were racist (which we can’t know for sure), it may have caused some racial aggression to come out in some of the show’s viewers.

All in all, this doesn’t seem to have been a great idea for a theme. It may have been better to just make sure there was more diversity in casting without pitting people of different races against each other. If these episodes of Survivor were to air now, it would have undoubtedly been met with criticism that it was insensitive and racist.

What’s next for ‘Survivor’?

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Although season 41 of Survivor was set to start filming in Fiji back in March, it was (like so many others of our favorite shows) put on hold because of the pandemic.

However, there is good news for Survivor fans everywhere: Fiji has done an excellent job of controlling the virus, so the producers are in talks with the Fijian government to discuss when they could possibly start filming again. “They’ve had a total of only 15 cases in their entire country, and they’ve had no active cases for months. They have figured out how to handle it, and they just want to ensure that when we come shoot there, we don’t change that. We’re working together with them, but they’ve been very production-friendly in terms of wanting it to happen,” Probst has said. Fingers crossed that we all get our favorite adventure reality show back soon!