Skip to Content

Survivor Gen Xers revolt and teach millennials the word ‘no,’ all in one episode

In the middle of Survivor Millennials vs. Gen X‘s third Tribal Council, Jeff Probst quizzed the Gen Xers about their texting habits. Did they spell out “you,” or just type the letter “u”? Baffled? Let Probst dadsplain: “The millennials will tell you the language is changing.”

Judging by some of the millennials he cast for this season, the language is changing to incomprehensibility (Tails and Jay-bro) or so meaningless that every word is literally unheard (Hannah ignoring Zeke telling her to leave him alone and continuing to try to explain herself again and again and again).

But this question was also pretty much a metaphor for the entire episode: a kind of random tangent that didn’t go much of anywhere, followed by a surprise ending.

That surprise was the departure of Paul, not from dehydration but from an overabundance of confidence. He was so cocky he basically told the women on his tribe that he’d dump them for a guy alliance, if only the guys would ask. So the women teamed up with David and Ken and kicked Paul’s bad leadership off the island. At Tribal, Chris said it was “way too early” to think about who’s on the bottom of the alliance, but now he and Bret are literally on the bottom.

Paul’s alliance was targeting CeCe, who would have been the third woman of color to go home in a row, so I was doubly glad to see him exit and prevent that from playing out. Though the episode and Jeff Probst worked hard to make an argument against CeCe: Besides Probst berating her mid-challenge for taking too long on the balance beam, he delivered some major #shade during tribal: “It was very impressive that you finished,” he said. “Took a long time.”

The second-best moment of tonight’s episode was next week’s preview, specifically this:

An island summit, an unnecessary sell-out

While we’re still at the one-challenge point of the season, but there was basically a pseudo-reward: each tribe drew rocks, and four members were chosen at random to go visit the other tribe. In a twist, they didn’t go to the others’ camps, but traveled together for a summit that involved bread and swimming and CeCe and David selling out Paul—unnecessarily, as it turns out.

In a random moment, David made it clear to Taylor was ready to flip, though of course he is constantly in a state of being ready to flip. The best editing this episode was Ken describing the people on his tribe and saying, “David’s terrified of anything physical.” Jump cut to David freaking out.

Ken is the quiet hero of this season so far—not to be confused with the quiet cast member, aka Lucy, aka Who? There’s someone named Lucy on this season?—serving as narrator.

He was distressed to learn that the millennials referred to him as “Ken Doll,” because, as he said, that was a sore subject. “When you’re a boy, the last thing you want to be referred to is a plastic Barbie with no penis,” he said. And now thanks to Survivor, it’s hashtag Ken Doll (millennial translation: #kendoll) on national television. But the editors made sure that misconception doesn’t persist by giving us an extended shot of him walking in his blue boxer briefs (millennial translation: #fullpackage).

Speaking of millennial misconceptions, the editing is spending a lot of time on the foursome of Taylor, Figgy, Jay, and Michelle, even giving them a hero helicopter shot as they lounged on their raft. But it seems to be setting them up, especially with Taylor giving obvious foreshadowing: “this couldn’t be a better position to be in.” Cue game-changing twist! Well, not yet.

The millennials also thought they could get away with negotiating for a better reward. Probst was willing to play that game, though he wasn’t quite convinced that two chairs, candles, blankets, and pillows were equal to fishing gear. He also said they’d have to get the Gen X tribe’s permission.

Of course, the Gen Xers said no, which Michaela astutely observed would never have happened had the Gen Xers been the millennials’ parents, because parents of millennials literally don’t know the word “no.” Or maybe their kids just don’t understand a word with that many letters.

About the author

  • Andy Dehnart is the creator of reality blurred and a writer and teacher who obsessively and critically covers reality TV and unscripted entertainment, focusing on how it’s made and what it means. Learn more about Andy.

All reality blurred content is independently selected, including links to products or services. However, if you buy something after clicking an affiliate link, I may earn a commission, which helps support reality blurred. Learn more.

More great stories