Times Colonist

Surprises keep Survivor alive and fresh

- ALEX STRACHAN

Survivor got gnarly last week. If you’re one of the believers who have been tuning in to catch Survivor:

South Pacific, you know that, last week, Survivor returnee Ozzy Lusth pulled what host and regular Twitter user Jeff Probst called a “crazy move.”

“Crazy move, right?” Probst tweeted. “I dig it. I respect big moves.” Crazy, yes, but effective? That move — volunteeri­ng to go to Survivor’s socalled “redemption island,” win an eliminatio­n challenge and risk being sent home early, all in an effort to shore up his tribe’s numbers if the tribal merge comes as expected — is one of the reasons Survivor manages to stay fresh and original to its fans, even after all these seasons.

Despite the contrived challenges, the by-now familiar formula, and the carefully choreograp­hed personalit­y manipulati­on,

Survivor is still capable of surprise.

People do the darndest things, see, given the opportunit­y.

“This would have to be one of the biggest and riskiest moves in [ Survivor] history, right?” Probst tweeted. Perhaps. It may also be one of the dumbest, which is what makes Survivor so deliriousl­y loopy, nutty and, yes, unpredicta­ble. To its fans, anyway. For the casual viewer, or to the person who dismissed Survivor long ago, this seemingly never-ending fuss over a silly reality show must seem incomprehe­nsible at times.

And yet, there’s a lot more going on here than a trivial popularity contest. Casual viewers socked in by a surprise snowstorm this past weekend will understand the appeal of a program that’s filmed on location on one of the most pristine, gorgeous — and seemingly untrammell­ed — beaches in the South Pacific.

You know something serious is going on in the culture when, in a recent late-night talk-show appearance, President Barack Obama tells the audience that he’s waiting “until everybody is voted off the island” before paying attention to the Republican presidenti­al candidates.

Probst, ever the salesman — not that Survivor needs the boost, judging from the season’s ratings — also tweeted, “If you thought this move was big, wait till next week. Game is changing.”

Next week is now. There’s a change a-comin’. As a certain public figure keeps reminding us, change is possible. Change is good. Change is now.

8 p.m., Global, CBS Three to see: The X Factor features two hours of live performanc­es, and viewers/fans can only hope that, this time, there won’t be any arbitrary, lastminute rule changes or sudden surprises calculated to put through the most irritating contestant­s.

It’s high time viewers had their say — and high time L.A. Reid was overruled by the popular vote. One genuinely talented singer remains, at least: Melanie Amaro, singled out in this space weeks ago. But too many promising prospects have been sent home already, without the audience being allowed to decide. It’s time for change. 8 p.m., CTV, Fox

Modern Family, TV’S smartest, sharpest and most family-friendly comedy, returns with a new episode, featuring guest appearance­s by Jennifer Tilly and Chazz Palminteri, in which Gloria (Sofia Vergara) insists that Jay (Ed O’neill) take her out for a night of salsa dancing, or else. Not a pretty picture, either way.

9 p.m., Citytv, ABC

Surburgato­ry just might be TV’S smartest, sharpest and most family-friendly new sitcom, although — for once — there’s competitio­n. In tonight’s post-halloween outing, Tessa (Jane Levy) insists that the student body at her new school get more involved in the local community. Sadly, their idea of a worthy cause doesn’t exactly live up to her standards, but then, she doesn’t exactly live up to theirs, either. To say they agree to disagree is a little like saying dogs don’t get along with cats.

8:30 p.m., Citytv, ABC

 ??  ?? Ozzy Lusth pulled one of the biggest, riskiest moves in Survivor history last week. More changes are coming.
Ozzy Lusth pulled one of the biggest, riskiest moves in Survivor history last week. More changes are coming.

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