Survivor season premiere recap: The Return of Mr. Bossypants

Russell says you’d have to be a dummy to try and be a leader in this game. So what the hell is he doing?
Ep. 01 | Aired Sep 19, 2012

NO LAUGHING MATTER Denise and Malcolm didn't find Russell's leadership skills so funny.

Image Credit: Robert Voets/CBS

Hey, everyone! Welcome back. Hope you had a great summer! And if you did have a great summer, make sure to log onto Twitter right now and tweet out #HADAGREATSUMMER! Don’t you feel pretty cool now? If so, tweet out #FEELINGPRETTYCOOL. Yeah, that’s the stuff. Oh, hold on a second. I was reaching for my remote to mute the TV and knocked over my beer and now have to clean it up. That ever happen to you? If so, or if you think that may possibly ever happen to you at any point in the future, make sure to tweet out #REACHINGFORMYREMOTETOMUTETHE-TVANDKNOCKEDOVERMYBEERANDNOW-HAVETOCLEANITUP. Hell yeah! Let’s get that mofo trending toot suite! You’re now part of the social media conversation!

Social media kicks so much ass. I know it does because I watched The Voice one time and they had a “Social Media Correspondent” who asked the contestants insightful questions like “What makes you so awesome?” that were tweeted in by fans. Totes legit. No way Carson Daly could have come up with that on his own. It seems CBS also discovered this phenomenon recently as they began peppering Big Brother broadcasts with annoying hashtagged phrases like #QUACKPACK, #SILENTSIX and #SLOPDATE in the misguided hopes that the audience would mindlessly obey and begin placing such tags to the end of their tweets. (Perhaps they may have gained some traction had they instead come up with hashtags like #SHANEHASONEBRAINCELL, #IANCANNOTSTOPPACING, and #MIKEBOOGIEBOTOX.)

But Big Brother is a low rent guilty pleasure. Surely they would not sully the screen of the gold standard of reality television with such things. Of course they would! Okay, it wasn’t as egregious as #ANGIEHASENORMOUSBOOBS or #PENNERHASENORMOUSBOOBS, but still, seeing #IMMUNITYIDOL and #IMMUNITYCHALLENGE pop up on screen like we’re supposed to start tweeting that out for some reason was kind of lame. Were these there last season? If so, they feel even more intrusive now.

You know why I’m bitching about stupid hashtags? Because that’s all I have to bitch about after watching the first episode of Survivor: Philippines. No, it wasn’t a feast of jaw-dropping insanity like the Redemption Island season opener (although you all know I feel that season ultimately disappointed). But the premiere (hopefully) confirmed my hunch after meeting the cast and spending the first few days on location that this would indeed be a solid season. The table is pretty well set up for the next few episodes. Already you have one tribe (Kalabaw) uniting against its returning player, another tribe (Tandang) with an instant alliance that is already showing some cracks, and a third tribe (Matsing) with an intriguing awkward hug alliance between a sex therapist and a bartender. And with three tribes, we hopefully won’t have to worry about any five person day one alliances making the entire season super predictable. What I’m saying is, so far, so good.

And with that, let’s get to it, starting from the very top. We begin with Captain Jeff Probst steering a boat out in the Pacific Ocean. What is he doing? Joyriding? Searching out males for his “Guys on the Couch” talk show segment? (Say yes, people!) No, he is en route to meet the 15 suckers new contestants set to do battle for Survivor: Philippines. And they too are on a boat. A much, much slower boat. HOLY CRAP! NOW THERE’S A THIRD BOAT! WHAT IS THIS, A FREAKIN’ ARMADA?!? This boat carries three players who were medically evacuated from previous seasons — Michael Skupin, Jonathan Penner, and Russell Swan — along with two other dudes who are just, you know, hangin’.

NEXT: What you didn’t see at the marooning

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