The Definitive ‘Survivor’ Survival Guide: 29 x 5

The Survivor challenge masters got creative this week.
The Survivor challenge masters got creative this week.

At some point in your life, provided you’re attractive, reasonably fit, and look good wearing one of those flimsy buffs as a tube top, you might find yourself on the cast of Survivor, shipped off to some distant island alongside 17 crazy strangers. Hey, it’s not that unlikely — we’re on the 29th season of this godforsaken show, after all. For your convenience, I’ve assembled nifty survival guides based on each week’s episode, just in case a future season is calling your name.

When your only ally gets voted off the tribe for being a crazed evil mastermind, and now you’re probably next:

DON’T: Scramble around like a frantic lemur, trying desperately to apologize for supporting psycho Drew. Sorry, Jon, but no one’s going to believe that you tooootes would have voted against Drew, if only you’d known that’s how everyone else was voting.

"I've been totally on your side the whole time, you guys."
“I’ve been totally on your side the whole time, you guys.”

DO: Be really cute. There’s no chance anyone’s going to believe Jon’s lame-o apologies, so it’s a good thing he’s so beautiful and adorable and DON’T ANY OF YOU DARE VOTE OUT JON.

When you’re totally shocked to see that Drew, supposed athlete extraordinaire, has been voted off Coyopa:

DO: Expect another shock, because OMG, it’s tribe-switchin’ time! Don’t worry — very much like choosing your Exile Island urn, there’s little to no strategy involved here.

Everyone randomly draws new buffs out of some bags, and the new tribes are assembled. On new Hunahpu, Josh and Reed are the only couple; everyone else is a big ol’ loner. On new Coyopa, there are three couples — Missy and Baylor, Dale and Kelley, and Jon and Jaclyn. Keith is the only singleton. Love u Keith xoxo.

"It's so great to be re-united!"
“It’s so great to be re-united!”
"Love u babe"
“Love u babe”
Womp womp.
Womp womp.

When you and your Broadway BF are your new tribe’s only couple, and you want to avoid having targets thrown on your backs:

DON’T: Keep your extremely moving and endearing backstory all to yourselves. In private ~camera time~, Josh confesses that he struggled growing up in a religious Christian household, and that he needed Reed’s encouragement to be able to come out to his family. Aww! Oh, and speaking of struggles, he and Reed are staying abstinent until marriage.

DO: Make sure Alec stays on your side, despite how annoying and very much like Drew he is. Otherwise, you’re at risk of Jeremy and Natalie pulling ye olde “surround and drown” firefighting technique and stealing him away for their own alliance.

The coveted prize.
The coveted prize.

When, as a result of the tribe-switchin’, you’re no longer on Hunahpu’s chopping block:

DON’T: Make out incessantly with your girlfriend, no matter how much she’s helped you through your family struggles or how much she resembles Britney Spears circa 2009. It’s gross — particularly given the fact that no one’s used toothpaste for over 11 days — and is guaranteed to make people repulsed by your existence around camp. Don’t believe me, Jon and Jaclyn? Just ask Baylor.

Slurp slurp slurp
Slurp slurp slurp
"r u kidding me right now"
“r u kidding me right now”

When you’re the only un-coupled person on the new Coyopa:

DON’T: Be intimidated.

DO: Be Keith, who just casually goes fishing because HE’S GOT AN IMMUNITY IDOL IN HIS BOOT, YOU GUYS. Attaboy, Keithy!

Everyone else swimming.
Everyone else swimming.
Keith doing Keith.
Keith just doing Keith.

When Coyopa’s been working really hard to ration its rice supply, but dang nabbit, you’re just so darn hungry:

DON’T: Make enough rice to feed every contestant in this godforsaken show’s 29-season history.

"Make more rice, Mom."
“Make more rice, Mom.”
Dale's spidey senses are tingling.
Dale’s spidey senses are tingling.

When your tribe only has enough food to last everyone another 3.6 seconds:

DO: Consider killing vultures. They’re like three chromosomes away from chickens, right?

Mmmmmmmm... vulture.
Mmmmmmmm… vulture.

DON’T: Consider another trade with Jeff. No matter how it goes — and there’s basically no chance it’ll go well — you’ll look like a goofus to the rest of your tribe. “The last time we tried to barter with Jeff, it kind of made us look a little foolish,” Reed points out. “This is not Survivor: Market.” That’s very accurate, Reed. This is not Survivor: Market.

Oh no wait — this actually is Survivor: Market, because Reed asks Jeff to make a trade after their tribe wins the Immunity Challenge. Jeff says he’ll stop by camp the next morning to talk things out. Great, Reed — now you’ve forced Jeff to leave the confines of his Holiday Inn: San Juan del Sur penthouse suite. We can’t imagine this will bode well for you.

When it’s time to compete in your first Immunity Challenge with your brand new tribe:

DO: Thank the lord you have Josh on your team, especially when, like 99.8 percent of the challenges on this show, this Immunity Challenge involves crawling through tiny spaces. As I’ve noted before, no contestant can slink quite like Josh Canfield.


DO: Shake your weird pole thing in a smooth, sweeping pattern, so that the sand bags fall out like they’re supposed to.

DON’T: Do anything remotely close to what Coyopa’s doing.


When Tribal Council is looming, and you don’t want yourself or your loved one to be voted off:

DO: Become BFFAEAEs with another couple to form a strong four-person alliance

"Gotcher back, Michigan!!!"
“Gotcher back, Michigan!!!”

DON’T: Put faith in any four-person alliances you think you might have formed. After seemingly allying with Dale and Kelley, resident hot couple Jon and Jaclyn also ally themselves with Missy and Baylor.

When you’re the resident hot couple and you’re totally in control of everything because you’re just that hot:

DO: Keep everyone guessing right up until voting time.

In the end, Jon and Jaclyn side with Missy and Baylor, a.k.a. the Black Holes of Rice, and Kelley has to say adios to father Dale. Sad! I never really got to know Kelley, but DALE, YOU GUYS!

Farewell Kelley, we hardly knew ye.
Farewell Kelley, we hardly knew ye.
The Definitive ‘Survivor’ Survival Guide: 29 x 5