Survivor China: Episode 1

On this week’s Survivor: China premiere, Chicken’s goose got cooked.

The setting for this season is beautiful, managing to seem isolated and otherworldly, while still evoking familiar images of China, like the Great Wall and Buddhist temples. The jungle scenery and mountainous landscapes are so lovely that every future season of Survivor should be filmed in Southeast Asia. Hell, every future season of every show on TV should be filmed there.

Based on their first few days in the jungle, the Fei Long tribe look like they could dominate the game for a while. They managed to build a shelter in half the time it took rival tribe Zhan Hu to finish arguing about building a shelter.

From the little footage we saw of them, the members of Fei Long seem to be getting along great. Great, that is, except for New York waitress Courtney, who hates everything. She rolled her eyes when Jeff Probst greeted the Survivors. She was miffed by a Buddhist monk who corrected her for not showing the proper amount of respect during a traditional ceremony. And she’s annoyed by every word that comes out of her teammates’ mouths.

So far, Courtney has shown herself to be devoid of any redeeming qualities. Needless to say, I love her. This season is going to be hilarious, thanks to her.

The Zhan Hu tribe, on the other hand, is already falling apart. Pro wrestler Ashley was sick for the first couple of days. And the entire tribe hates jewelry designer Peih-Gee (PG), whose greatest sin was in trying to make the tribe work — so they wouldn’t have to spend another night standing awake in the rain. Farmer Chicken was so annoyed with his lazy tribemates that he refused to give his opinion on anything, letting them muddle along with their feeble attempts to build a shelter, when he could’ve been giving them direction.

Throughout their struggles, former model Dave reassured his teammates one-by-one that each of them had no reason to worry about being voted out. Then he plotted their ouster behind their backs.

Thankfully, to either lighten the mood or make things even more uncomfortable, Zhan Hu has school teacher Sherea, who was cast as this season’s requisite large-breasted woman with a woefully unsupportive brassiere. Her constant jiggling is either amusing or unnerving, depending on your perspective. But at least Sherea has a bra. Tribemate Jaime wasn’t wearing one when the teams had been sent into the wild without their suitcases.

It wasn’t surprising when Fei Long’s superior teamwork helped them win the first Immunity Challenge. And the Zhan Hu tribe was similarly predictable at Tribal Council, where they followed the time-honored Survivor tradition of eliminating the annoying older person, first chance they got.

At least Chicken went out with flair, yelling, "Damn!" and scaring the crap out of Ashley after the verdict was announced.

Next week, Dave takes on a leadership role at Zhan Hu, and pro gambler Jean-Robert gets asked to pull his considerable weight at Fei Long.

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