7:22pm PT by Daniel Fienberg
'Survivor: Millennials vs. Gen X' Offers Texting Etiquette and a Blindside in 'Your Job Is Recon'
[This article contains spoilers for the Wednesday, October 5 episode of Survivor: Millennials vs. Gen X, titled "Your Job Is Recon."]
If I'm understanding Jeff Probst correctly, the Millennials came out ahead again on Wednesday's Survivor: Arbitrary Generational Distinctions because Millennials like digital music and Gen-Xers are still hung up on vinyl. Ha. That's so us all over, Probst. Vinyl, man.
Jeff Probst, perhaps having gotten the memo that not nearly enough arbitrary generational distinctions had been made during this episode, came into tribal council tonight ready with the most potent ammo he had available.
When you text, he asked grumpy ol' Paul, do you type "You" or "U"?
Paul admitted, much to his chagrin, that he typed three letters when only one would suffice for the wily young minds of the Millennials. The other Gen-Xers also were forced to cop to wasting finger-strokes when texting as Probst shamed them for not changing with language and then, when Ken tried claiming that language is a beautiful thing and should be preserved — The "y" and "o" are definitely the prettiest letters in "You" — Probst presumed (correctly) that Ken also loves vinyl. And that's why vinyl cost the Gen-Xers another player on tonight's Survivor.
Do I really need to explain that the actual problem was that during the episode's immunity challenge, the stubborn Gen-Xers, specifically CeCe, insisted on carrying their own 40-pound bags across a beam when they could have crossed themselves quickly and let the stronger members of the tribe carry the bag? Probst's point later in interrogation was that Gen X insisted on individualism and personal achievement, while Millennials used teamwork, which is to say that Taylor carried nearly everybody's bag himself. I'm going to balk right here, because we Gen-Xers, we were raised on Sesame Street and the greatest Sesame Street song ever is "Cooperation Makes It Happen," so don't tell me that Gen-Xers don't cooperate and share. We were taught about teamwork. That's why we had our "everybody got a trophy" attitude, an attitude that was stolen from us by the Millennials for the purposes of this show.
"We think of everything in terms of It's the Right Way or The Wrong Way," said Sunday, who explained that Millennials have more of a "Whatever it takes" attitude. Or some nonsense.
Seriously, why aren't we done with this theme? Even with Probst railroading the tribal council discussion for generational generalizations that had nothing to do with the vote, this episode was the least bogged down by meaningless platitudes, but also the least purely entertaining of the season. The tease from last week made it look like a big twist was coming and the footage played up people picking rocks and Will talking about being part of a twist and getting to finally experience the world of the Gen-Xers and then the twist ended up being... A peanut butter sandwich summit? That's absurd and insensitive, especially since everybody knows that all Millennials have peanut allergies and that even the word "peanut" is a trigger. Four representatives from each tribe got together for a parlay and other than David telling Taylor about his willingness to jump ship on his generation at a moment's notice and Figgy outing that the Millennials all call Ken "Ken Doll" because he, um, looks like a Ken doll, nothing came from this twist.
You know a big part of the reason why nothing came of it? Because this wasn't Richard Nixon and ping-pong diplomacy. I don't know how to tell the Survivor producers this, but Millennials and Gen-Xers interact all the time and other than making each other feel really uncomfortably old or really uncomfortably young, fissures rarely occur, as we almost never talk about the trophies we did or didn't get when we were growing up or the amount of each day we spent glued to screens as kids. It wasn't like taking a Jeep through the San Diego Zoo Safari Park trying to spot a monkey. When I want to see a Millennial, I just look over to the next cubicle or the one next to that. And when I want to see a monkey normally I watch Survivor. So why did Survivor give me a season without monkeys, but full of Millennials?
In the end, Paul went home and Paul went home because he said a stupid thing to Jessica. She asked for reassurance, apropos of nothing, that their six-person alliance was good and that he hadn't split off with the guys without telling her. He tried to reassure her that were something like that to happen, he wouldn't blindside her with it. But what he said was that if another guy proposed an all-guys alliance to him he'd set the women adrift. I don't believe that's what he meant to say even if that's what he meant, but sometimes Gen-Xers don't exactly say what we mean. Something about using too many letters when we text. And, in truth, if Paul had just replied to Jessica's query with "Lol <smileyface>" instead of what he said, CeCe would have been voted out, as CeCe should have been voted out after torpedoing the challenge due to her vintage Generation X fumbling to carry a 40-pound bag across a balance beam. Look, if there'd been a "Schoolhouse Rock" song about carrying 40-pound bags across balance beams, CeCe would have aced it. And if the Survivor challenge had been about how a bill becomes a law, the Millennials would have sucked.
It's all generational, man.
A few bottom lines from what was an efficiently unmemorable Survivor episode.
Bottom Line, I. There was obviously a conversation we missed between Sunday, Jessica and Lucy and Ken, CeCe and David about voting Paul out, just as there was a conversation we missed in the premiere about CeCe getting votes. The conversation probably went a bit like, "Would you guys consider voting out Pa..." "YES!" And that would have taken away the suspense that wasn't really there anyway, because rather than trying to put Paul or CeCe or David on the spot at tribal, Probst wanted to lecture them on audio formats and texting etiquette. I hope next week Probst talks about the hidden significance of the poop emoji and what people of different ages think the Hear No Evil, See No Evil, Speak No Evil monkeys mean. Slate had a really boring article on that you just know Probst has bookmarked.
Bottom Line, II. Lucy spoke this week! She still hasn't had a confessional this season and her only contribution this week was to agree that voting Paul out was a good plan. But it looks like next week, she becomes a tyrant. So that's sure to feel organic.
Bottom Line, III. Poor Ken, always called "Ken Doll" as a child. Maybe that's why Millennials don't like the name "Ken"? Then again, I was always called "Daniel San" as a child thanks to Karate Kid, which annoyed me, but there are Millennial Daniels everywhere. But anyway, I like ultra-stoic Ken and his ethos of self-sufficiency and doing what you say and saying what you mean. He's such a Baby Boomer. Or something. But at least he caught three tiny fish, which is better than zero tiny fish. Do Millennials even read One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish anymore?
Bottom Line, IV. I'm relieved to know, thanks to Jeff Probst, that "Blindside" is "Blindside" in any language. Thank you, Millennials, for not making it, like, "B1in4S1D" or something. One letter more efficient! Cooperation! Millennials!
Bottom Line, V. How painful was Hannah's attempt to make nice with Zeke after last week's tribal council switcheroo? "I want them to use me!" Oy. And then Adam sitting next to Zeke trying to tell Hannah, "He's not saying he'll never talk to you again, just that he doesn't want to talk to you now!" So much for that vaunted Millennial efficiency: It takes three Millennials to have a conversation between two Millennials about how one Millennial doesn't want to talk.
Bottom Line, VI. Very little Michaela this week. No Michelle at all. And no bad-breath kissing between Figgy and Taylor, just chaste hand-holding. You take the good, you take the bad, I guess. Millennials should know that that was a reference to a theme song for a TV show that Gen-Xers used to love, a TV show that taught us the facts of life. Sadly, Millennials have to learn the facts of life from the internet.
Bottom Line, VII. The title of this episode had nothing to do with anything other than the peanut butter summit, which was mostly irrelevant. So I also used a picture which CBS claims was from this episode even though it includes nit-picking that wasn't included in the episode. Gen-Xers don't get hung up on relevancy.
That's it for me for this week...