Survivor
They’re Back!

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Tina Tumbles

Previously on seven seasons of Medium-Star Survivor: Oh, all kinds of good stuff. You remember it all, don't you? The scheming, the animals, the bodily functions, the dirt, the starving, the fire, the challenges, the Jeff, the hurting, the voting, the backstabbing, the crying, the undressing, the flirting, the fighting, the flaming, the nudity, the camp-raiding, the vitriolic speechifying...and it all has come to this. Ah, thank goodness for Mark Burnett's powerful sense of nostalgia. And, of course, the running dry of the wellspring of new ideas.

Familiar, overly tense music plays as a helicopter swoops in over the dusky Pacific Ocean. A woman radios someone else in subtitled Spanish that "airspace is closed and waterway is secure." Then, a voice also speaking subtitled Spanish says, "Group 1 full force escort and intercept -- utilize highest level of security."

Okay, we're about eight seconds into this show, and it's already as overblown as an Aerosmith video. How awesome is that?

We see that under a helicopter's watchful eye is a boat with a yellow top. And the incredibly top-secret boat is helpfully labeled with a Survivor logo and the word "Saboga." So no one can possibly spot them except by, you know, visual identification. Next, we get some kind of extra-double-classified update on the whereabouts of Group 2, and before you know it, we see a boat with the red top, just as inconspicuous, although this one says, in its giant letters, "Chapera." Group 3, logically, involves a green boat marked "Mogo Mogo." You know, world events being what they are, I'm not sure I find the whole "military escort" thing as whimsically entertaining as they intend for me to find it.

We now focus in on one particular helicopter, where we find the lovely Jeff "Nothing Starts A Morning Like A Stud McMuffin" Probst. He tells us that, once again, we are in the Pacific off the coast of Panama. He promises that this will be "the greatest Survivor yet," and then assures us that in order to achieve "top secrecy," the contestants are accompanied by military escort. I'm certainly glad they gave these soldiers something to do, what with their leisurely schedules. Jeff explains that the three boats in the water below him are each carrying six former survivors; each of those contestants has been given a canteen and "very little information." Other than "Show up; we will put your mug on television again," which was enough for most of them. Supposedly, they don't even know who's playing, other than the people who are on their own tribe on their own boat. I find that rather hard to believe, considering that you can't create a family more grotesquely incestuous than the world of former reality-show contestants unless you dip your toe into Greek mythology, but I suppose this is supposed to be part of the suspense, so we will pretend that it's true.

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Survivor

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