Erik Bates | February 18, 2005
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Anna Gregoline | February 18, 2005
Do they REALLY have no help? I just don't buy that. I mean, steps away is the camera guys' trailer.

Erik Bates | February 18, 2005
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Erik Bates | February 18, 2005
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Mike Eberhart | February 18, 2005
Other than the picking of the teams, I really didn't see anything any different from all the other Survivor's. They were all still given what they needed to somewhat survive. Except fire. Which they promptly lost because they can't row a boat. Other than that, it was pretty good. I knew that Jolanda chick was gone at the first vote. Every time, the person who acts the bossiest is the first one voted out. She was way over the top. I don't know why these people don't know how to play this game by now.

Anna Gregoline | February 18, 2005
Did anyone hear about how Richard Hatch didn't pay any taxes on his million and is now in trouble?

Erik Bates | February 18, 2005
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Scott Hardie | February 19, 2005
I was disappointed in the premiere. And I'm not happy about it, because this was one of the best premiere episodes that "Survivor" has had. The morning of the show, I encountered a press release about it and didn't avert my eyes like I should have; it said that the twenty players would be stranded "without instructions ... no tribes, no challenges." I thought that sounded like an interesting approach to the game; it has long been Survivor lore that the show was created much more by the original sixteen players than by the producers, who just dropped them on a beach and learned how the show was done by watching them. "Palau" sounded like it would return to that tradition, perhaps letting the players choose the means of elimination and letting them form their own customs and rules.

Don't get me wrong, I didn't think it would last. I figured after two, maybe three episodes, Jeff Probst would show up and pass out two colors of buffs. I guess I was correct and only underestimated the time: It took twenty minutes for this wonderful new utopian approach to the game to be dropped. Even then, when the tribes were split into two, Jeff said they'd be living on the same beach, so I figured there would still be something new about the game, but no: Another ten minutes went by and one tribe was sent packing to a different island.

When is this show actually going to do something different? In interviews, Jeff Probst and Mark Burnett oftem promise lots of twists and surprises every season, but the twists happen for a fraction of an episode and then the game goes back to normal. The first shuffling of tribes in Africa and the return of the outcasts in Pearl Islands are the only two twists that I can recall having an actual lasting effect on the game beyond a single episode. (Even the first gender-based division of tribes in the Amazon didn't really affect the game; the same people probably would have been voted out in the early episodes without it.)

If Burnett and Probst and CBS really want to make the game interesting, they'll either have the courage to follow through on their twists long-term instead of putting them on the table and then snatching them away, or they'll stop promising twists at all and just let the show happen. I swear, they're making it less fun for me. Based on the first episode, "Palau" looks to be Survivor done very well, and I should enjoy it for that alone because I love the show as it is. But I was promised something great, and when I instead got something good, I wound up not liking it. I wuz robbed, not only of the great season that the hype promised, but of the regular season too, because now I'll have trouble enjoying it.

Anyway, all things considered, the show does look to be off to a great start. Stephenie and Jonathan learned the price of snubbing the team, Angie got a crash course in strategy when Coby was forced to betray her, and Jolanda learned the same painful lesson that Debb Eaton and Nicole Delma learned before her: Don't stick your fucking neck out when the game starts, because everybody else is looking for an easy head to chop off. I didn't like Jolanda, but what a surprise: She's the same black woman that seems to get cast on every reality show, the bossy, arrogant, confrontational bitch. I guess if you're a nice black woman, you're not going to get on one of Mark Burnett's TV shows. (I suppose it's nice to see minorities able to be cast as villains again, something that rarely happened at the height of political correctness, but this is one casting trend that really needs to stop.)

Steve Dunn | February 20, 2005
Best moment of the show: two people jump out of the boat and are immediately left behind. Classic.


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