Are you ready for another season of heart stopping excitement, drama and enthusiasm? Well, too bad. The sixth season of “Survivor” began last Thursday in the Amazon jungle of northern Brazil. The show’s premise is similar to the five previous seasons except for one twist. The sixteen strangers anticipatively canoed down Rio Negro to find that camps are separated by one factor alone: sex.

Todd Weiser
Courtesy of CBS

For the next 39 days the men reside in camp Tambaqui and the women in camp Jabaru. Once again “Survivor” host Jeff Probst, the classic rugged man, makes his traditional appearances at immunity challenges and that dismal tribal councils.

Within each tribe, reminiscent personality clashes occur. Fifty-six year old Estimating VP Roger Sexton assumes the authoritative role often seen before. Twenty-three year old Ryan Aiken, “model and actor” and 27-year old tax accountant Daniel Lue Sextons find Sexton overbearing. Unique to “Survivor” plots, cast member Christy Smith is deaf and must deal with her inability to read lips in the dark. Though the teams are separated by sex, host Jeff Probst finds that attractive P.E. teacher Heidi Strobel easily distracts many Tambaqui members.

The sexually-segregated teams assume that their opposition embody gender stereotypes and begin to strategize accordingly. Many of camp Jabaru believe that Tambaqui may have strength but lack intelligence. However, other Jabaru women realize that Tambaqui are more than brawn. Tambaqui’s Dave Johnson works for NASA in the Jet Propulsion Laboratory and plans to start a beef jerky company if he wins the million dollars.

The overall premise of “Survivor: Amazon” focuses on perception of opposition and fierce competition proving women are as capable as men in the “Survivor” environment. In fact, after a physically and mentally-demanding first immunity challenge victorious camp Jabaru gained confidence. The men’s tribe headed back to camp humbled and forced with the decision of kicking off the first member at tribal council.

The last 15 minutes of the premier episode finally depicted scheming intentions as Aiken creates alliances to save himself from dismissal. Unable to do so, Ryan extinguishes his flame.

“Survivor: Amazon” has the intensity and action of previous “Survivors” and yet must alter the format of challenges so that all contestants can equally compete. Thus far, few personalities seem interesting enough to watch another season. With so many competition reality shows such as the “Real World/Road Rules: Battle of the Sexes,” “Survivor” offers little to the reality viewer except a change of scenery.

2 Stars

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