Survivor 41: A New Error

“Drop the 4, keep the 1.”

That was Jeff Probst’s oft-repeated advice to contestants and viewers this season. The idea was that, following season 40’s battle of the titans and an unprecedented hiatus, Survivor had been reinvented as a new, wildly unpredictable game that would push players to the limit and keep audiences on their toes.

In reality, it turned out to be a mantra that savvy players adopted throughout the season to guarantee themselves some airtime. I don’t blame them. Between the staggering number of twists and Jeff Probst’s ham-fisted and often borderline bizarre commentary, it was hard for anyone to make their mark outside of obligatory, overripe sob story packages.

“I once watched a dog get shot right before my eyes.”

That said, while there was plenty to dislike about this season, I didn’t hate it. Mainly because the contestants neutered many–but not all–of the potentially problematic elements. Back when I reviewed Ghost Island, I did a pros and cons list, but this time I’m just gonna go down the roster of twists and format changes that defined Survivor 41…mainly because almost all of them have pros and cons. But before I do that, let’s discuss the reason we all watch Survivor in the first place…

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