The Definitive ‘Survivor’ Survival Guide: 29 x 9

Resident Power Couple Jon and Jaclyn make a surprising change of plans at the end of the episode.

The Reward Challenge winners spotting a dolphin is my favorite screenshot of all time.
The Reward Challenge winners spotting a dolphin is my favorite screenshot of all time.

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 Resident Power Couple Jon and Jaclyn unexpectedly switch sides at Tribal Council, mainly because all the men in their previous alliance had been farting at Jaclyn and she didn’t like it:

DO: Take it nobly when your Broadway BF is voted off, never to be seen again (but actually he’s probably staying in a hotel room a few floors below Jeff Probst’s penthouse suite at the Holiday Inn: San Juan del Sur).

No, but seriously — Reed manages to stay calm, cool and collected after Josh is kicked off, which is more than I can say for myself, seeing as Josh was just about the only reason I was still watching this show.

DON’T: Go on a psycho Louisiana backwoods rampage about how angry you are and how badly you want to vote all your enemies off. I know Keith has an Immunity Idol, but he’s got to stop yelling “dang nabbit!” around the public fire pit.

I love you Keith but RELAX A LITTLE
I love you Keith but RELAX A LITTLE

When it’s raining and you have to do a disgusting mud-wrestling Reward Challenge, only so you can maybe get to ride a fishing boat down the river and eat pastrami sandwiches (?!?!):

DO: Throw your OWN MOTHER straight into the filthy mud pit, because even though eating pastrami on a rocking fishing boat sounds like the ninth circle of hell, FOOD IS FOOD, YO. EAT MUD, MISSY.

Hi Baylor I love you isn't this game fun?
“Hi Baylor I love you isn’t this game fun?”

And when you have to face off against your mom again to win the tie-breaker:

DO: Just shove her into the mud again.


When you’ve won a ticket to the pastrami cruise, but don’t, like, really want it that much:

DO: Trade it for something better. No doubt recognizing that Jon and Jaclyn are a total power couple (I’m not even using that phrase ironically now), Jeremy and Natalie give their spots on the boat to them. Jon and Jaclyn are really appreciative and now probably won’t vote for either of them — as long as neither of them farts at Jaclyn and blows it.

"Love you Jeremy and Natalie!!!!"
“Love you Jeremy and Natalie!!!!”

When half the tribe is enjoying their Reward, but you’re stuck back at camp with members of the opposing — and dominant — alliance:

DO: Come up with a brilliant strategy. Wes, who knows he and Keith are on the chopping block, asks Natalie to at least tell him if he’s going to be voted off, so he doesn’t get “hashtag blindsided.” At first I wanted to punch Wes in the face for saying the words “hashtag blindsided,” but then I realized what he was doing: he and Keith want to be able to know when Keith should use his Immunity Idol.  Genius.

When you sacrifice your reward and get sent to Exile Island instead:

DON’T: Look out at the water. Jeremy makes that mistake, and has to watch as the U.S.S. Pastrami goes cruising right on by.

"Hey what's that over there"
“Hey what’s that over there”

When the Immunity Idol on Exile Island is nowhere to be found:

DO: Recognize that Jon — that guy who was supposed to be your BFF — might have used his fancy pants water shoes to find it, and didn’t tell you.

DO: Realize, “Oh shit, everyone’s going to think I’m a lying jerk.”

"Yo babe I'm worried"
“Yo babe I’m worried”

When, apparently for the first time in Survivor history, you have to complete a dumb Immunity Challenge using only your feet:

DON’T: Let Puzzle Master Reed’s insane puzzle skills intimidate you. Though Reed starts by owning the challenge, his block tower ends up falling apart at the end (but who cares because what even is this challenge?!).

I really thought you had this one, bud.
I really thought you had this one, bud.

DO: Evoke that Oscar-worthy Mary-Kate and Ashley movie The Challenge and use your best yoga skills to win the competition (that reference was niche — I’m sorry). I don’t like Baylor, but she wins the Immunity Challenge. Good for her.

Okay, okay, this is actually pretty impressive.
Okay, okay, this is actually pretty impressive.
Okay, stop smiling about it.
But you can stop smiling about it now.

When your Puzzle Master skills don’t win you Immunity, and now you’re REALLY in danger of going home:

DO: As Reed puts it, “light this camp on fire on [your] way out.” Like a man with absolutely nothing to lose, Reed digs around in Keith’s bag and finds the note indicating Keith has an Immunity Idol. He shows it to Baylor, Missy and Jaclyn.


When Jeremy TOTALLY knows you found that idol on Exile Island:

DON’T: Lie to him and say you never found it. THE MAN GAVE UP PASTRAMI FOR YOU, DUDE.

But ESPECIALLY DON’T: Try to get Missy to join you in an alliance to vote out Jeremy. What are you, Jon, some kind of monster? I guess it’s a good short-term strategy, but somehow, I worry this’ll come back to bite him. Missy isn’t so sure she wants to tag along in his asshole-y plan.

But Jon and Jaclyn are, as I’ve said many times before, the Resident Power Couple, so Missy ultimately sides with them and Jeremy’s voted off.

I'm actually kind of sad about this.
I’m actually kind of sad about this.

BUT as I said, this’ll probably come back to bite Jon, if jury member Josh’s reaction is any indication:

We feel ya Josh
We feel ya Josh


The Definitive ‘Survivor’ Survival Guide: 29 x 9