Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Why Hidden Immunity Idols Cheapen Survivor

I know I know. I can hear it know. Another anti-Russell post. You dont like him so now you have to attack the aspect of the game that he has truly made his own. Well yes I do despise Russell like I despise visiting my dentist. But no this is not specifically aimed at the Evil One. The whole point of this post is the fact that after watching Heroes VS Villains up to this point, it began to dawn on me that things have gotten way out of hand with the popular hidden immunity idols. What started as a neat twist to Survivor a few seasons ago has morphed into an all-out idol orgy that has seriously undermined the whole premise of the game.

First let me go back to the very beginning of the show. When Survivor debuted to smashing success in Borneo over ten years ago, the motto of the game was to Outwit, Outplay, and Outlast. Three simple words that would become the credo of how to successfully navigate the ever present pitfalls and traps on the way to a million dollar payday. Immunity was only granted first for the tribe that defeated the opposing tribe in a challenge and than later for the individual who defeated the others in a tribeless competition. A truly priceless item that greatly increased one's chances of victory.

Despite the idol being available during each voting cycle, the pressure was still extreme for the tribe members to make nice, don't make waves, strategize ousting others, and ultimately dodge threats against oneself. The concept was briliant and it worked over and over again to much fanfare.

As the seasons rolled by, Mark Burnett and company decided to spice things up in order to keep the game fresh. We saw tribal switches, an exile island, and a concept called the hidden immunity idol. No need to go over the idea behind it because we all know how it works. And it surely has given us some of the most riveting tribal councils ever such as when Russell pulled one out to thwart an ouster attempt in S19 and it has carried over to Heroes VS Villains where not one, not two, not three, not four, BUT FIVE!!!! hidden immunity idols have been found and played during the course of the game. The repercussions of these moves have been earth shattering and have altered the course of the game to a tremendous degree. But the question I have answered for myself is this: enough already!!!!!

I mean seriously. The fact that FIVE hidden immunity idols have been played in H VS V is truly ridiculous. The game has become all about the idols now and that is not right. That's not what Survivor was set out to be from its birth. Without the hidden idols, Russell would have gone home without a fight in S19 and would have bit the dust at the hands of Boston Rob during the Tyson boot. The man has made a living out of using the idols to get to the end of the game and he has mastered it well. All the power to him really. If they are out there and he gets him, than by all means do what you got to do. I shockingly am not blaming Russell or anyone else other than Mark Burnett. These idols have ruined the integrity of Survivor by diminishing the importance of staying on others' good side and being able to dodge out of trouble without help. People skills were huge and the idols have destroyed all of that.

Russell has proven that if you are good at finding idols, than you pretty much can do whatever you want in camp and not worry about getting voted out. Just keep playing idol after idol. Its as simple as that. Games have turned on a dime because of it and yeah its can keep things interesting but its overkill now.

I think one hidden idol should be placed in camp with no clues. Should be out in the open for everyone to see and whoever figures it out than great. I believe Survivor needs to get back to its roots and bring the game back to what made it a hit in the first place. You could tell watching H VS V that some of our old favorites are not digging the idols and these people were made stars without them around. The show will still be great and people will still watch. There is an old saying that rings especially true here and I hope Mark Burnett is listening. "Keep it simple stupid."

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