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Will a Personality Makeover Save the 'Survivor' Karen?

By Dustin Rowles | TV | October 5, 2023 |

By Dustin Rowles | TV | October 5, 2023 |


I’ve mentioned previously that before I cover an episode of any television show, I like to check Google to see what is trending under the topic of that series. On this week’s Survivor, there’s a lot of, “How long is Survivor?” because some people didn’t get the memo that it would be 90 minutes this year; they want to know how tall Drew is (very); and they want to know what a Shot in the Dark is (a 1/6 chance to save yourself during Tribal Council in exchange for giving up your vote). Hilariously, one of the most searched terms was “Content Creator,” as in, “What the hell is a content creator?”

I shouldn’t scoff because, technically, I am a “content creator,” but that “profession” also seems to perfectly describe Useless Brandon. He is not an “influencer,” or a “critic,” or an “entertainment writer,” “journalist,” or even TikTok personality. He’s a “content creator,” which says nothing and everything about Brandon.

He’s only been in two episodes, but I think it’s safe to say that Brandon may be the worst player in Survivor history. He had a panic attack and couldn’t complete the very first challenge in the game without help; he fell and lay in the fetal position in the second challenge of the game; given the opportunity to solve a fairly basic puzzle in exchange for an advantage, Brandon fails miserably at that this week; and when he is left to do the puzzle in the second immunity challenge, he is more than useless. He is a hindrance.

Ironically, while failing at physical challenges and puzzles, Brandon insists that his strength is in social play, but come on? Is it? Crying about heartburn doesn’t endear one to the tribe. He is not unlikable, but he isn’t particularly likable, either.

Speaking of unlikable, Dan Hamamura seemed to strongly suggest to me that Emily had been the victim of a bad edit last week. That may be true, although even Emily admits in this week’s episode that she is afraid to see how bad she comes off in the premiere when she watches the show at home. However, the strangest thing happens this week: She figures out how to be a human being. It is wild.

Emily may have been terrible last week, but she is self-aware and realizes that she was coming off as aggressive and unlikeable, and she is taking strides this week to reverse that. Kaleb ultimately decides to help Emily and give her a personality makeover. It is remarkable. She tones it down, restrains herself, and even in the confessionals, zeroes in on her own personality flaws. Karens can change!

Kaleb is clearly an angel sent from heaven (and a mighty good-looking angel, to boot), but Sabiyah isn’t quite ready to warm up to Emily, even after Emily gives Sabiyah her Shot in the Dark in an effort to gain her trust. It is a good move, even if it does not immediately work. It doesn’t matter because Sabiyah doesn’t have a vote because she takes Brandon’s Beware challenge (because Useless Brandon doesn’t even have bravery) and hasn’t completed the necessary steps to gain the immunity idol (as well as her vote during Tribal Council). Likewise, Brandon doesn’t have a vote, either, because Brandon couldn’t do a simple matching game.

Emily would obviously vote for Brandon, so it comes down to who Kaleb and Sean would vote for during Tribal Council after Brandon loses the team another immunity challenge. Kaleb correctly surmises that Lulu will never win with Brandon on their tribe, and they kick him to the curb. Brandon has gotten to go back to his life as a Content Creator, which always sounds to me like someone who does arts and crafts for a living.

As for the other two tribes? Besides Bruce — whose likability is rubbing Katurah the wrong way — and the woman with the weird long toe, there isn’t much to say about the other two tribes this week. Lulu’s dysfunction continues to overwhelm everything else.

It is a decent episode, although the preview for next week’s episode may be the best thing about it: Sabiyah may join forces with her enemy, Emily, to overthrow their strongest player, Kaleb. Throwing out the best player when you are already the weakest tribe continues to be among the worst Survivor moves. Besides, if another Lulu tribe member goes home, they’ll probably do a tribe shake-up.

Also, what?! Does Jake fall in the fire? It wouldn’t be the first time in Survivor history.