We find Jeff "Sandal With Care" Probst on the steps of a monastery. He's in China, which he promises is very, very old. But these sixteen people are launching their bullshit entertainment careers in "ultra-modern Shangai." And from there, they're "being transported back in time," which is probably not true, because if that were true, you would be seeing a much more ambitious reality show right now. For the next 39 days, these folks will supposedly experience "culture," by which Jeff Probst means gongs and probably P.F. Chang's kung pao chicken, the Mountain Dew and Pringles of China. (Chinese Food Reference Count: 1!) They come from many backgrounds -- a beauty queen, a lunch lady, a "gay Mormon flight attendant" (a triumph of the "demo-stacking" theory of casting), a professional lady wrestler, and so forth. The lunch lady appears to be crying, which is a bad sign. Maybe nobody liked the chili macaroni. There's also a gravedigger in the group, which would make my nephews happy, since that's their favorite monster truck, which in turn means that every time I see him, my mind will growl, "GRAAAAAVEDIGGER!" And hey, a bartender/model! I wonder how that professional training will affect the game! Probst says they will live in the shadow of a temple in "a harsh and remote land." I take out my Survivor dictionary and see that under "harsh and remote," it reads, "adj: No potty." These sixteen people will "create a new [dysfunctional] society [that you wouldn't want to live in if your only choices were that and prison]." Probst is standing on some temple steps when he does his "Thirty-nine days, sixteen people, one survivor" bit, so...I guess stairs are the new helicopters. Next season: Jeff narrates the entire season from a Hoveround.
Credits. Everybody's all dirty! What's that about?
A monk bangs a gong (the better to get it on, presumably), and the castaways are brought into a temple full of monks. This does not seem appropriate somehow. Chicken ("Chicken Farmer") says that he loved it. It was like "a carnival"! Yeah. A carnival of dead chickens. Peih-Gee ("Jeweler") tearfully tells us that for a Chinese person such as herself, this is special. Her grandfather died recently, and the fact that it's taking place in China allows her to believe he wouldn't be mortified by this entire thing. I also love the fact that her profession says "Jeweler," like that's why they picked her. Not that "Appeared At The VMAs Dancing With Madonna" would have fit in her caption, but still. Maybe they're going to divide the teams by vocation, and she will be with the artisans! Do we have a barrel maker in the group?