Survivor: South Pacific Season Premiere: What Was This Week's Weakest Move?

Survivor: South Pacific — which, for the uninitiated, is not a reality show-Broadway musical hybrid — got off to an intriguing start Wednesday night. Familiar faces Ozzy and Coach returned for their third attempts at outwitting, outlasting, and outplaying the opposition, but fortunately, the 90-minute season premiere didn’t focus so heavily on these franchise vets that we didn’t get reasons to root for (and against) some of the newbies.

In fact, based on first impressions, here are the five players who have my early (and still fickle) allegiance:

* “Papa Bear” Mark (Savaii) | Burly gay NYPD detective stuck up for straggling impalas Dawn and Cochran — which on the surface makes him seem like a sweetie, but upon closer inspection might mean the season’s second-oldest player is a wily strategist who’s making sure he’s got teammates that look like bigger physical liabilities than himself.

* Mikayla (Upolu) | It’s nice to see an attractive young woman on Survivor skip the “spa day” antics and instead say things like “you can’t be a little princess” and get described by Jeff Probst during a basketball challenge as a “scoring machine.” The fact that super-annoying Brandon has convinced himself Mikayla is the Garden of Eden serpent reincarnated only makes me like her more.

* Stacey (Upolu) | Because, honestly, her insanely OTT cheerleading during challenges is kind of hilarious.

* Albert (Upolu) | Because, if I’m being honest, he’s not too hard on the eyes. Or what I meant to say is that glistening torso of his should be useful in powering through whatever physical obstacles Survivor‘s challenge designers throw at him.

* Ozzy (Savaii) | Hey, as long as he only gets mesmerized, not hypnotized, by his sexy female tribe-mates, his renewed focus on playing a strategic game could take him quite far.

But enough about the positives. While this week’s snuffed torch belonged to beat poet Semhar (who’s off to lonely Redemption Island to duel the next evictee for the right to stay in the competition), I can’t say I’m 100% convinced she’s responsible for the episode’s most boneheaded move. Seriously, I counted seven different misteps this week that could have either short- or long-term drawbacks for the players who committed ’em. So take out poll below and tell us what was the week’s weakest move on Survivor: South Pacific. And for all my reality TV recaps, commentary, and polls, sign up to follow me on Twitter @MichaelSlezakTV.

Comments are monitored, so don’t go off topic, don’t frakkin’ curse and don’t bore us with how much your coworker’s sister-in-law makes per hour. Talk smart about TV!

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  1. Rolfe says:

    Christine is so dumb! Made the two biggest mistakes of the episode!

  2. Dan says:

    I think it was just the clue not the idol in trunk.

  3. bri says:

    LOL, how does Brandon think he will hide his tattoos for the WHOLE GAME? Surely there will come a challenge when his shirt gets ripped or needs to be removed for some reason. Or else his curious tribemates, wondering why he hides those areas of his body, will decide to check him out while he’s sleeping. He is not very bright. Should have gotten tattoo removal or distortion (if that’s possible) before going on the show.

    Semhar behaved like an idiot. If only she had said she felt terrible about losing, she would not have upset Jim. And she would not have confronted him at camp or made a huge target of herself. Then Cochran, who seems like a sweet boy, would be gone.

    Of course, this game has no shortage of weak-looking players. For instance, Dawn’s breakdown did her no favors, and Cochran will have to rely on his intelligence to last much longer.

  4. Gord says:

    I had to agree that Brandon is delusional if he thinks he can hide his tattoo and Hantz lineage for the whole game. Although, it might be good strategy to try to hide it initially, just til he gets a chance to know his teammates. But the longer he keeps it hidden, the more likely his tribe will see him as someone they can’t trust once his secret is revealed.

  5. Christine S. says:

    I was just really glad that, unlike last season, we got to see a lot of the other players. Looks like a good season!

    • dan says:

      Agreed! The 90-minute season opener allowed the editors to give us comments from just about everybody (although there are still a few people who I can’t identify…I assume that means they go far in the game). The season looks promising and not just because Ozzy and Coach are involved.

  6. mgb says:

    I’m just excited to see Ozzy back in the game. I hope the other players give him a chance to stay for a long time so we can all enjoy the show!

  7. sarah says:

    Hope Ozzy can stick around for a while so we can watch him swim like a demon again! Don’t think i’ll want him to win though. This season should be good, i have a feeling that cochran will actually go pretty far, he seems a bit like stephen from tocantins…i think the attention will shift next episode, hopefully

  8. Jaded says:

    The season seems like it’s getting off to a good start. I really like Cochran–he’s super funny and seems like a really cool kid! I hope he can stick around. Def the right move getting rid of Semhar!

    • E says:

      Same in our living room, we thought he was hysterical. We thought he was like a combo of Clay Aiken (looks) and Richard Harris (endless stream of consciousness talking). I hope he sticks around – very funny.

  9. Sean says:

    My Random Thoughts

    – I imagine that the very first time “Medical Marijuana Dispenser” appeared on screen, Jim got an email from former contestant Erik Reichenbach, thanking him for bumping “Ice Cream Scooper” from the top of the list of Most Ridiculous Survivor Job Descriptions.

    – Cochran asked “Is charm and humour really enough to keep someone around?” Interesting question, and the answer would depend on who you ask. Rob Cesternino would probably say no, but I imagine that Fabio would say yes.

    – I had to laugh at Ozzy needing 3 attempts to break his paint-filled egg on his chest, while Coach just calmy squeezed his in his hand. Coach 1, Ozzy 0. But then, Ozzy slapped his hand on Jeff’s chest, leaving a palm-print on that lovely teal shirt. Ozzy 1, Jeff 0.

    – What was the more entertaining unintentionally dirty phrase yelled by Jeff Probst in the Immunity challenge? Option A) “Mikayla is a scoring machine” or Option B) “Ozzy releases his coconuts”

    After you’re done here at TVLline, I hope you’ll check out the rest of my recap at or you can just click my name.

    • davey says:

      I think a Medical Marijuana Dispenser sounds like the most awesome job in the world – not most ridiculous!!!

    • Jess says:

      You’re an idiot as usual. Rob Cesternino made it to the final 3. So yeah, charm and humor took him pretty far.

    • Amy says:

      No, having your occupation listed as Russell Hantz’s nephew is much more ridiculous.

      • elr says:

        I almost felt like Russell was on this season again, given how many times his name was mentioned or shown as Brandon’s profession/description. What does the man do in the real world? Does he go around introducing himself as Russell Hantz’s nephew? And he is extremely creepy or was that just the editing…

  10. kevin says:

    SURVIVOR is started to get too old for me. Wish the next cycle will end up being its last.

  11. JayK* says:

    Another weak move: making up your own nickname and then insisting people call you by it!

  12. SRS says:

    JayK I am not sure if it is as weak as you think it is. If you are talking about Papa Bear…As silly as the name sounds, and as silly as it seams to us, think about how those girls will come to view him now.
    Will they want to easily vote out someone that they have come to know as Papa Bear? Or will they consider him someone sweet and kind, lovable and honest?
    To me, it is kind of smart. It is the same as Coach isn’t it?

    • Snsetblaze says:

      I have to agree. Also Cochran fits there as well since he asked to be called it even though it really is his last name.

    • JayK* says:

      Hi SRS, I was making a joke, I guess. I meant “weak” as in lame. You’re right, the name “Papa Bear” is adorable and I’m sure it’ll work for him, but I was rolling my eyes when he randomly threw at the group, “Do you guys think I look like a bear?” Despite the fact that they were pretty ambivalent about it, he announced “I’M PAPA BEAR!!!” Lame. That’s not how nicknames work.

  13. David says:

    I think Semhar being confrontational with Jim was the worst move this episode as I think it got her voted out. Nobody ever gets voted out for messing up a challenge. Being confrontational about it on the other hand is the best way to get your torch snuffed in my opinion.

  14. Mike says:

    Reports are coming out of Los Angeles that season 24 is going to be 18 people related to Russell Hantz because we just can’t do a season without him now.

  15. DanOregon says:

    I understand Little Hanz hiding the tattoo. Of course he’s going to be outed at some point, but why not give yourself a chance at letting people see what you can do and learn what kind of person you instead of hurting yourself early on with the first impression that you are “another Russell.”

  16. sandy says:

    I vowed not to watch survivors this season but I didn’t say I wouldn’t come to the comment page to see what people think this year.
    just checking in, I might watch after ozzy,coach and russel’s kin are gone.
    I’m sick of seeing players that already played and had thier glory and thier chance comming back, I would like to see the same as how the show started, fresh faces,( doesn’t include’ plasic surgergy,)
    new ideas of how to play, but CBS seem to be stuck ina rut. to bad, t thier gonna lose a lot of loyal viewers. Big brothers sucked big time this year also, pfffff next year I’d rather watch reruns then either of these “reality shows” the reality is cbs is paying players to come back and thier giving the wrong people a second chance.

    • brent says:

      And I see ozzy and Jenna are on amazing race this season, he already won a million the first time he was on survivors can not remember if Jenna won. yet people are rooting for him again, I agree not to watch these reality shows any more, they start out good and get you hooked then start having as I would put it re runs, same ole people we alredy seen. nothing new or fresh in the last few years.. time to catch up on my reading,lol

  17. rjcarr says:

    I’m a pretty big survivor fan but I’ve never seen Ozzy and he seems like a great guy. The teams seem pretty evenly matched so it should be a good season.

    The breakdown lady should have been on the chopping block, not Cochran, but I have to admit it was probably the best move to get rid of Semhar, even though as a male I would have liked to see her around much longer.

    Still, if you step up and make a bold move you have to back it up, and under-handing coconuts and whining about it isn’t going to win you any favors.