Many of you may very well have had a lot of fun watching the ridiculous reality tv show Survivor. They travel all over (always some warm place, though) and they spend over a month competing in tribes… and competing within their own tribes. The whole show revolves around being the last to survive, making a whopping 1 million dollars!
It sounds easy enough to me. I grew up spending my time outdoors, learning to survive off the land. But in addition to trying to survive, there are a ton of rules a contestant must follow. Not to mention they have to manage to not get “voted off the island”. Some of the rules make perfect sense, but some of them go against the idea of actually surviving.
That’s not to say that people don’t break these rules. But the breaking of these rules can result in instant disqualification from the show. And even before getting to the show, there are a number of things that could immediately disqualify someone who really wants to be a part of the show. You have to be ok with being watched at all hours; you have to be ok with possibly losing up to 80lbs; you have to accept the possibility of being attacked by dangerous creatures… It’s not as easy as the show makes it look!
16. First Rule Of Survivor: Don’t Talk About Survivor
To be fair, this actually won’t disqualify you from the show. It’s kind of hard to talk about the results of the show when you’re still in the thick of it and trying to get through the show yourself. This is more about being disqualified from receiving any consolation prize or the grand prize as a contestant. There is a pretty in-depth contract that strongly prohibits contestants from talking about not just the results of the show before it airs, but also from talking about their experiences off-camera as well. That’s not to say that people haven’t come forward to talk about some pretty bad things that have happened on set (but not in the show).
15. You’re Not Allowed To Run For Public Office
I’ve always found this one to be very interesting. I guess the whole idea is that the network doesn’t want any contestant to be able to use their very low-level celebrity from being on the show to help them in the polls when running for public office. So, contestants sign a contract stating that they will not run for public office after they have been accepted to be on the show, nor for another three years after the show has aired. Wanting to run for office while on the show would make things hard unless you started talking about it to the camera to try and get voters, but it would lead to instant termination of the contract, a kick off the show, and no chance at a prize. Personally, I don’t know of any contestant who, even with the tiny celebrity they manage to get from being on the show, would be voted into office… let alone to stay on the island.
14. No Stealing… But You Can Definitely Snoop
Stealing is an instant boot from the show unless they want to make it more dramatic by calling a council where they know everyone will vote to boot the person off anyway (got to get those ratings, right?). It’s interesting though. Everyone on the show signs off on following American law, no matter where the show might be. But their contract also says that they can’t steal any personal items…which means that they could steal other items around their enemy’s camp…except they can’t because they’re not allowed near the opposite camp. Always a loophole, I guess. Either way, while contestants aren’t allowed to steal from their own tribe members, that doesn’t mean that they can’t snoop around and go through their fellow tribe members’ things. They can sift through anything they want… they just can’t take it. I think that’s against American law, though.
13. If You Can’t Handle The Candiru, You Can’t Go…
The head physician on the set of the show spent a lot of time talking about the many dangers contestants can face, and there’s something that you might decide would disqualify you from the get-go if you wanted to be a contestant. There is a creature called the candiru… it’s the infamous fish that can swim up the urine stream and latch itself on to the male urethra or bladder. Not a pleasant thought. The pain is extreme. And it doesn’t stop there. Other dangerous animals you have to be aware of meeting up with if you choose to go ahead with the show are crocodiles, lions, elephants, snakes, and piranhas. The most dangerous so far (or the one that has attacked the most contestants) is the stingray.
12. Don’t Even Think About Splitting Your Winnings!
It might seem like a pretty good tactic to team up with members of your tribe and make agreements about sharing the final prize. It actually makes perfect sense. It really is a good incentive to have people help each other out and survive. It also brings people in a single tribe closer together. And don’t you want a tribe to get along with each other in a survival situation? Not in “reality” TV. They want ratings which means they want betrayal. Anyone who is found offering to make deals about sharing their winnings like paying off mortgages, buying a car or any other sort of bribes in order to stay in the show will get kicked out right away. They take it pretty seriously. That being said, if you did end up winning, and then didn’t go through with helping the people you said you would… wouldn’t that be even worse?
11. You Can’t Poach In Order To Survive
You might not see it too often since tribes aren’t really allowed to leave their camps too much and also aren’t allowed to stumble across the opposing tribe, and they always have to be at challenges and tribal councils. But contestants are allowed to go hunting when they have the time. That, of course, means that they have to go about building their tools unless they win some or bring a very useful personal item to hunt with. But the restrictions for hunting are pretty tight. There are many things that contestants simply can’t hunt because the areas are always home to protected species. So, no poaching is allowed of these creatures, no matter how hungry contestants might be (which does kind of go against actual survival). And in hunting any creatures that are allowed, contestants are simply not allowed to kill just to keep a trophy. You kill it, you eat it… unless it’s illegal.
10. If You Don’t Vote, You Get Voted Off
Ok, to be fair, you don’t get voted off. If you don’t vote, you get told to actually cast a vote. And if you continue to refuse… then you get kicked off the show because every member must vote or be disqualified. Even if someone has immunity and you don’t want to vote for anyone else. If you try to vote out someone who has immunity, you have to recast your vote for someone else. This makes strategic voting very important, and more than one contestant has gone home because immunity ended up putting them next on the chopping block. This system made me think of something that could make politics more interesting at home. Making it mandatory to vote when elections come around. And if you don’t vote, then you can get out! Seems harsh but… it would get people voting!
9. No Fighting Allowed!
You might notice something interesting on Survivor. There’s a lot of accusation and paranoia in the show. A lot of high-running tensions. But one thing that there is not much of is physical fighting. Don’t get me wrong, people yell and scream all over the place. People get really close to throwing punches or tackling a contestant to the ground, but it really doesn’t happen all that often. Why is that? Well, if you throw that punch, you just booked your flight home. And maybe not even home! You might still have to stick around to be on the final tribal council, but you just won’t be a part of the game anymore. And you may very well lose your chance at a consolation prize. So if you ever end up on the show, just remember to make them throw the first punch.
8. People Voted Out Have To Stay On The Island Anyway
Now, to be fair here, not every single person who is voted out of the show has to stay, but at least seven contestants booted from the island must stay till the very end. However, life becomes easier for them because they get to shower and stay in the production camp. But that doesn’t change the fact that they must contractually stay on the island, waiting to go home, just so they can vote who wins the million dollars that they will never get. I think that’s a pretty mean move on the part of the network. Randomly selecting which failed contestants have to stay on the island to watch the rest of the show they lost. That kind of sucks. And if any of the failed contestants decide they are leaving when they are asked to stay, they will be stripped of their consolation prizes and may not receive the whole of their pay for breaching their contract.
7. You Better Be Willing To Lose 80lbs!
I would never have thought of going on Survivor in order to use the show as a weight-loss program, but I guess it kind of makes sense. A lot of the contestants end up eating very little for about a solid month. That’s going to drop some weight on some people. In the case of Big Tom Buchanan, he lost 80lbs on the show! This was the largest amount lost by any contestant. I have to say, while some people might think of that as a sweet way to get paid and lose weight, just keep in mind that dropping 80lbs in one month is really not healthy. That could lead to all sorts of health problems down the road, not to mention on the island. Anyhow, if you’re not ready to drop a beer keg’s worth of weight, then I think you’ve already disqualified yourself from the show.
6. Littering Is Forbidden
There is an interesting rule laid out in the contract for Survivor. People aren’t allowed to litter up their camp or surrounding areas. If they do, they’ll be disqualified from the show. But the strange thing is they will get the boot if they litter both on purpose or by accident. “Castaways are not allowed to destroy or litter the camp, voluntarily or otherwise,” according to the Survivor rule book. So, if someone was walking past a bit of garbage that had been piled up nice and neatly in the camp, and didn’t realize that they had accidentally scattered it a bit around the camp by brushing it with their feet… they could get kicked out of the show. I personally think that’s a bit ridiculous. I’m not aware of any contestant who has been booted for that, but the fact that the rule exists is pretty silly.
5. You Have To Be Ready For Big Brother
No, I don’t mean that contestants on Survivor have to be ready to then be a part of the show Big Brother. I mean that they have to be ready and willing to be under surveillance 24 hours every day for over a month. So, that means if you’re naked, having a shower, getting dressed, taking care of personal hygiene… fooling around with another member of your tribe… it doesn’t matter. Everything you do is legally allowed to be captured on camera. Some of those things won’t be shown on tv, but if you’re naked, they’ll just blur your privates out and still put you on the screen. Not to mention the fact that people will still have access to the original footage. So you have to be comfortable knowing that some tv pervert might sneak away with some naughty footage of you on the show. If you’re not cool with that… you can’t do the show.
4. No Trespassing On The Other Tribe’s Camp
People are allowed to explore the island they find themselves on. But there are markers for places they can’t go. They’re not allowed to go to the production camp for example (where people have good food, electricity, and other luxuries). There is a place on the island that isn’t marked by anything other than what the opposing tribe uses to mark their camp and that is…well, the opposing camp. It seems to me that if someone was trying to survive, it would make sense to either meet with and join, or steal from the other camp. But contestants are forbidden from going to other camps. Some people have accidentally stumbled upon other camps before, and I guess the fact that is was accidental meant they didn’t get booted from the show. However, there have bee several contestants who have tried to scavenge from both the opposing camp and the production camp. They didn’t last.
3. You Have To Be At Tribal Council
One of the silliest parts of the show has to be the dreaded tribal council. This is where everyone gets together to vote someone off the island. I don’t understand why you’d always want to get rid of someone if you’re trying to survive, but I guess the show has to end at some point. So, because tribal council almost always has to do with voting someone out of the camp this means that everyone must show up. Even if you know you’re the one getting voted, or that you don’t want to vote anyone out. It turns out that, contractually, if you don’t show up to tribal council, it will be you who ends up going home. And you may be stripped of your consolation prize which is usually granted to anyone who gets voted out throughout the show.
2. Smuggling Items Into Camp Is Forbidden
It can’t be any surprise that cheating and bringing things on the show is a big no-no. It just makes sense. The only way you’re really allowed to mess with people on the show is psychologically. Which is actually a pretty bad idea. I think stealing or smuggling is probably better than making someone have a psychotic break, but that’s just me. Anyway, there are some contestants who try to smuggle in items (beyond their one personal item) to their camp when they start the show. But, every contestant is searched thoroughly before the show begins. That hasn’t stopped people from trying though. And that doesn’t mean that they won’t try and get something smuggled through members of the crew, or simply by sneaking into the production camp. But if you’re caught, you go home.
1. You Better Listen To Every Rule Or You Go Home!
There are some really silly rules in the Survivor rule book. At least I think so anyway. This one is almost as bad as accidentally littering in the camp. When given a challenge, contestants really have to pay attention. If they don’t, they can be sent home just for mishearing one of the rules. No kidding. “Castaways must follow the rules stated in the instructions. The Producer always reserves the right to disqualify a castaway from a challenge if he/she fails to comply with these rules,” according to the book. Getting the boot from the challenge makes sense. But the rulebook goes on to say that the producer also reserves the right to give the contestant the boot for not following the rules, either knowingly or unknowingly (not in exactly those words).