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‘Survivor’ 45 Premiere Review: Am I Being Manipulated Correctly?

Watching the season 45 premiere of Survivor left me thinking and feeling exactly what I imagine the show’s producers wanted me to. At the end, I felt irritated at people I don’t even know and questioned why the producers cast some of the contestants for the show. 

I mean, that has to be true. 

I say that because the casting team spent eight months screening some 25,000 audition tapes for potential candidates. Then, they screened those people further with psychological tests, background checks, and multiple rounds of interviews until they found the best 18 for the season.

Also, the show has been on the air for 23 years now, which breaks down into 44 seasons and approximately 650 episodes. It’s also consistently ranked as one of the best-performing shows for its primetime spot. You don’t typically reach that level of success without knowing what you’re doing. 

I could be wrong, though. 

Watching the press screener of “We Can Do Hard Things,” I couldn’t help but adopt the groupthink when one contestant did something that was obviously annoying or selfish. In one instance, a player was overly critical of all her teammates for things like stacking logs, and at times she even seemed to be expressing some sort of prejudice against them by using words like “they” and “these people.”  

survivor season 45 episode 1
Survivor contestants during one of the competitions during season 45’s premiere. Photo: Robert Voets/CBS

Then, the same contestant couldn’t comprehend how all of her teammates could agree that aliens built the pyramids. It’s one of those conspiracies that people like to entertain because it’s funny and it happened so long ago that who really knows. What annoyed her about that conversation wasn’t the fact that it was offensive because people actually designed and built the pyramids. No, she just didn’t find the topic interesting. 

The moment reminded me that Survivor is a game show that’s selectively edited to highlight drama and create a story arc. For the episode, the cameras filmed 18 people for 48 hours, but the producers only used 60 minutes, so there’s some context missing. Plus, watching benevolent people do things competently doesn’t always create entertaining social situations. 

Which brings me to my last point.

In the first few minutes of the episode, we see a grown man cry uncontrollably because he’s feeling “a lot of emotion” by fulfilling his lifelong goal of competing on Survivor. It’s not my goal or the goal of anyone I really know, but to each their own. 

What gives me pause, though, is that he didn’t appear as if he trained or conditioned himself in any way for this experience of a lifetime. He appeared both mentally and physically incapable of enduring the challenges of the show and struggled with things like climbing a ladder and living without a medication he’s been taking his entire life.  

I have full confidence that the people behind the scenes at Survivor would never let someone die on TV, but I do wonder what happens to some of these contestants after what appears to be their worst traits and incompetencies are on full display for the world to see. 

With that said, 10 out of 10. Will watch the next episode. 

The season 45 premiere of Survivor airs Wednesday, Sept. 27 at 8 pm Eastern on CBS and you can stream it on Paramount+. 

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  1. I completely agree with this article. The girl that referred to her tribe mate’s as those people and that they are all crazy is in my opinion, very judgemental, biased and must think she is better than everyone else. I did not enjoy watching this episode. If it’s a waste of her time and if she”doesn’t care” then she shouldn’t have applied for the show. I know that they people who select the contestants selected her because of how people would react. Unfortunately for me it raised my blood pressure, made me very angry and, after watching survivor since the first episode, has made me decide that I can no longer watch it because at the end of the 90 minutes it no longer makes me happy or excited to see what happens. I was just very angry and disappointed with the show and with the decision to pick a contestant who discriminates against people who think differently than she does, who throws the word crazy around when mental illness is a very real thing and who labels people when she doesn’t even know them. I’ve watched survivor and know that there have been contestants who might do one of these things to another contestant. But Emily is all these ways to everyone she has met. You have lost one of your viewers and I m pretty sure that I’m not the only person who feels this way. Good job at ruining a great show.

    1. That’s why you will stop watching cuz of Emily? Not because they picked the wimpiest cry babies on the planet to play a game of survival? It didn’t upset you that two people on the yellow tribe cried & whined the whole time then practically begged to go home? Nope it’s because one person called her tribe mates crazy…..yep that makes sense lol

  2. Sher' Joseph

    Not happy with any of the emotional contestants. What a mix. Men crying, women bullying. Seems Survivor is keeping up with the times, and dare I say selected these people to show us what a joke our society has become. Poor Jeff looked disgusted too.

  3. Helene Brigden

    I have been watching Survivor since the first season aired and I have to say season 45 is the worst of the worst. Almost half of the show is commercials, the other half is boring conversation from boring contestants. Guys crying, women bullying and there is only one challenge for a 90 minute show. I’m not sure if I’m going to watch the next show, Even Jeff is boring.

  4. Penni Gallagher

    I have watched Survivor from the beginning. The old Seasons were so much better. I HATE the contestants that are picked and the boring episodes in season 45. This is for television and watching was so much better when challenges were exciting and the contestants were physically fit. I also enjoyed the selection of good looking men and women. I liked the model/actor selections as it was more enjoyable to watch. Please Survivor go back to the old format. As for Survivor 45 I have decided to not watch it after just 2 episodes. If it were up to me I would have voted all of them off on episode 1. Too much talking! Too many Geeks.

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