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.
Let’s start with a general life rule, directed at mother-daughter duo Missy and Baylor:
DON’T: Cast votes for Keith — literally the cutest, littlest, blue-eyed Louisiana fire-fightin’ man we’ve ever seen — and expect to get away with it. YOUR APOLOGIES ARE WORTHLESS. Casting votes for Keith is like trying to get a puppy sent off the island.
Keith tells the ladies they need to be more open in the future, but privately tells the camera that re: Missy and Baylor, he’s totally “done with y’all.” Attaboy, Keith.
When it’s time for the merge, and
some poor helpless CBS interns Jeff Probst has prepared a massive Survivor picnic for you:
DO: Treat this as a full-on Bacchanal and GO CRAZY. Stuff your faces, because tomorrow it’s back to eating sticks, leaves, and moss scraped off rocks. Also, try not to think about how Probst’s probably been feasting like this every day, while you’ve been miserably contemplating whether eating a vulture would really be so bad.
DON’T: Be that one person who’s all whiny and stink-faced because they miss their ousted loved one — especially if said loved one is John Rocker. Julie should be happy that without John around, the rest of her tribe-mates are approximately 300 percent less likely of getting punched in the face.
Whenever there’s an opportunity for footwear that isn’t sneakers:
DO: Wear HUGE BLUE COWBOY BOOTS. Work it, Wesley.
When the tribes have merged, and you’re a singleton whose loved one’s been voted out:
DO: Make a plan to get an alliance together to vote out Josh. Besides being excellent at crawling really fast, Josh is the total mastermind of this game, and I’m surprised no one’s targeted him yet.
DON’T: Have your whole alliance hinge on Julie, who at this point is a half-step away from begging Jeff Probst to airlift her the hell out of there. More on this later.
When it’s time to paint the flag for your new tribe, “Hoyopa” (creative name, guys):
DON’T: PUT A HASHTAG BEFORE THE TRIBE’S NAME. No, I don’t think anyone’s going to vote you out for it, but somehow, it just seems insulting to the pantheon of Survivor gods. Colby and Tina never would have stood for such frivolities. Also, CBS tries to get us to use enough stupid Survivor-related hashtags already #merge #survivor #blindside.
When it’s your own adorable, cowboy-boot-wearing son’s birthday:
DON’T: Completely forget about it.
DO: Make up for forgetting about it by presenting him with his best birthday present ever: a sandy crab on a stick.
When your daughter’s friendship with Josh is threatening to ruin the alliance you worked so hard to keep together:
DO: Exhibit the following expert parenting skills:
When you want to band together with the other couples, and kick Jeremy out of the competition:
DO: Just be honest about why. “Just in a perspective thing, who do you think they’re going to give a million dollars to?” Josh asks Resident Power Couple Jon and Jaclyn. “Two Broadway guys who are very successful, or a fireman who has two kids?” Fair point, Josh. Fair point.
Can we go back, for a second, to Survivor picnic etiquette? When it’s time to pack up and take the food back to camp:
DON’T: Be the person who OBSESSIVELY HORDES TRAIL MIX and refuses to share it with the rest of their equally-starving tribe-mates. This is basically the Season 29 equivalent of Kel sewing beef jerky into his hat (can you tell that Survivor: The Australian Outback was an important time in my life?).
I mean, I know Julie’s struggling, but it really does seem rude, especially given the fact that while everyone else works, Julie tends to spend a lot of time sunbathing in her stressfully-small tube top.
Unsurprisingly, when the tribe discovers the Whole Foods Market nestled inside Julie’s bag, they’re furious. Also, they eat it all.
When the Immunity Challenge requires you to balance a ball on a flat wooden circle:
DON’T: Actually try, because I feel like winning this Immunity Challenge is entirely dependent on how and where the wind is blowing. This challenge is dumb. I haven’t watched Survivor in a few seasons, but do they still do the thing where everyone has to eat bugs? That’s what this challenge should have been: eating bugs.
DO: Seriously rock that Immunity Necklace. Is it just me, or are the firefightin’ Louisiana hicks the most fashionable people on this show?
When you’re desperate to leave the show to go home to your terrifying boyfriend:
DO: Endure Jeff Probst’s sassy shaming techniques. “But kids go to summer camp longer than we’re out here,” he says to Julie. “They leave their parents. Parents let their kids go. We know that we can leave people that we love.” Shut up, Jeff. Go change your shirt.
Julie, who apparently hasn’t spent more than four days apart from John Rocker since they started dating (blink twice if you’re okay, Julie!), stays true to her convictions, and jumps ship. See ya later, Julez.
When Jeff Probst shows up at camp to announce that Julie’s let the show:
DO: Be very pissed off, particularly if — like Missy and Jeremy — you had an alliance with her. “It pisses me off when people quit as it is. We’re trying to keep her comfortable — give her food, keep her warm at night — it’s just ridiculous.” Preach, Jer.
DON’T: Stress too much, because thanks to Julie being weaker than a child at summer camp, there’s no Tribal Council tonight. Partaaay!