The hit CBS reality series Survivor has secretly been filming its next season here in Maine during the coldest Winter the state has ever experienced. This Modern Philosopher was allowed to be on the set for the first few days and filming, and I’m ready to predict that this will be the most difficult season in the show’s history.
During the first week the contestants were in town, the temperatures dipped to -35 degrees with the wind chill. After the second night of such conditions, the Tribal Councils were a chaotic mishmash of players demanding to be voted off and sent home, or at least exiled to someplace with heat. Several of the so called Survivors extinguished their own torches and tried to walk off the show. The production company’s security team had to prevent their departure and filming was stopped until “everyone could get a damn grip!” (that was a direct quote from a production assistant who did not wish to give her name).
The production team never made me sign a non-disclosure agreement (maybe the guy in the fur lined toga didn’t look like a threat), so I’m going to give you the gory details on some of what I witnessed.
Clearly, the eighteen contestants were not prepared for the location or the cold. From the conversations I overheard, they were all expecting to be dumped in the desert or on some remote tropical island. They had all packed shorts and bikinis. Oops! Everyone was given a winter jacket, gloves, a hat, and boots upon arrival. After they were divided into tribes, they were immediately thrown into the first challenge…a Snowman building contest.
The first team to build a twenty foot tall Snowman got to choose which location they wanted as their shelter: a refurbished lighthouse on a cliff, or the old house that stood next to it. The winners were not allowed to inspect either facility and seemed to pick the old house simply because it looked warmer (I’m thinking that wasn’t the right move judging by those old windows…).
They were immediately thrown into a second competition…a snowball fight. The first tribe to get a player on the other side to give up in frustration was declared the winner. This time the winning team got to pick either twenty-five gallons of heating oil for the furnace in their shelter, or one gallon of gasoline to power the snow blower that would allow them to clear a path to their shelter. Stupidly, the winning team picked the gas because they were intimidated by the field covered in a foot of snow that stood between them and the shelter. (A real Mainer would’ve known the snow was hard enough by now to walk on. Any logical person should’ve realized that since the shelters were next to each other, the team without the snow blower could allow the other team to do all the work and then just walk behind them down the path they had cleared. Duh!)
So the lucky losers knew they could at least heat their shelter for the night. The “winners” had to hope their shelter was well insulated, or that body heat from a bunch of strangers was going to be enough to get them through their first night in Maine.
I’m not going to ruin too much of the surprise, but I will tell you that the house was haunted by the ghosts of the three lighthouse keepers who had committed suicide on the premises over the years. The lighthouse’s beacon, on the other hand, attracted certain undead brain eaters that tend to shuffle through Maine in search of their next meal.
It definitely made for an exciting first night and the subsequent chaos at the first Tribal Councils. Jeff Probst, who has hosted the show from the very beginning told me, “Coming to Maine in the Winter was my idea. I thought the contestants were getting too soft and always knew what to expect. It was time to throw an icy, frigid curve ball at them and make it clear that I’m the boss and they are just lucky to be on my show!”
There are so many surprises lined up for this season, and many of them include the other worldly beings that so often turn up in my blog. I am so excited to see how the “Survivors” handle that. Plus, I am really looking forward to the luge run down Mount Katahdin and the Ski Jump into the Atlantic. And will these poor souls from away ever figure out how to relight a furnace’s pilot light once it goes out from lack of fuel?
What do you think, Modern Philosophers? Are you as excited as I am to watch this new season? Do you ever think you could survive three weeks in Maine while camera crews followed your every move? Do you think it’s fair that someone will walk away with a million bucks for lasting a mere three weeks when all Mainers survive every day of the Winter year after year?
I’m a sucker for reality TV and Survivor: Maine Winter is as real as it gets!