Ponderosa series shows life at Survivor’s jury camp

As it ages, Survivor has become more and more transparent, revealing once-secret things to its fans. Last season, Jeff Probst gave us a behind-the-scenes tour and revealed details about things like the challenge-testing Dream Team. It’s this kind of information that connects people even more to a show, as it feeds our curiosity.

This season, CBS is producing a web series from Ponderosa, Survivor‘s jury house. Currently, there are five episodes, starting with Eliza’s arrival. The elimination episodes start at Tribal Council, and follow the new jury member as they get on a boat, transfer to a car, and drive to Ponderosa, processing what’s just happened. When Ozzy climbs off the boat, he gives the finger to the camera and says, “Fuck you,” clearly still annoyed. Both Ozzy and Eliza start eating immediately. Perhaps most interestingly, the jury members talk openly, so jury members are apparently allowed to discuss the game.

The actual location is not exactly a house; the Big Brother jury house is far more luxurious. Survivor Micronesia‘s Ponderosa is basically a camp on the beach with access to a space that has food (which other crew members seem to have access to) and bathrooms that are exposed to the outside. Eliza, Ponderosa’s first resident, finds a spider in the bathroom and sleeps in a tent on a cot. Still, they have movies and video games–and they have tons of food.

And to some degree, perhaps because they’re filming a web series, it’s like they’re still on the actual show, getting tree mail that has rhyming clues. There’s even product placement! If the pre-roll Crest ad or the Crest banner ad doesn’t work, then there’s the close-up on the not one but two tubes of Crest toothpaste, followed by Eliza’s mention of her need for Crest Whitestrips. There’s even a night vision shot of Ozzy’s teeth whitening product that he discovers after his arrival that’s too ridiculous to miss. But hey, if that’s the cost of getting this kind of information and entertainment, this works for me:

Life at Ponderosa [CBS]

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about the writer

Andy Dehnart is a journalist who has covered reality television for more than 15 years and created reality blurred in 2000. A member of the Television Critics Association, his writing and criticism about television, culture, and media has appeared on NPR and in Playboy, Buzzfeed, and many other publications. Andy, 36, also directs the journalism program at Stetson University in Florida, where he teaches creative nonfiction and journalism. He has an M.F.A. in nonfiction writing and literature from Bennington College. More about reality blurred and Andy.