Survivor 41 Is The Worst Season Ever

6 Reasons Why Survivor 41 Is The Worst Season Ever

As a fan of Survivor, I was anxiously awaiting its post-Covid return. However, imagine my disappointment when I realized that Survivor 41 was turning out to be the worst season ever. Here are 6 reasons why.

As soon as that well-known and well-loved music started to play, I got excited. Survivor was FINALLY back! As a late-bloomer when it comes to Survivor (I only started watching about 6 or 7 years ago), I have become an ardent fan. So much so, that I went back and watched nearly every season from the very, very beginning.

I love the challenges, and the chance to get to know random strangers as they try to outwit, outplay, and outlast each other.

Sure, there have been some frustrating seasons in the past. Sure, there have been plenty of occasions when the cast was less stellar than others. Sure, there were twists in the previous seasons that ended up costing my favorite players their spot in the game. But that’s all part of Survivor.

This year, however, there are very few redeeming qualities to a season that is packed full of annoyances and frustrations.

Is It Just Me Or Is Survivor 41 the Worst Season Ever?!?!

I’ve done some reading of my own, and many online review sites are still bestowing many virtues on this season. They are awarding strategic gameplay where I think it is completely lacking, and favoriting players that are beyond terrible.

Perhaps it is just me? Perhaps I have just become jaded by some of the past seasons where things were awesome. But here is my list of the top 6 reasons (there are actually more) why Survivor 41 is the worst season ever.

WARNING: SPOILERS AHEAD!!! 

If you haven’t watched this season yet, don’t keep reading (and maybe don’t bother watching, but that’s your call).

The (Mostly) Unlikeable Tribes

Survivor 41 Cast

This year, there are slightly fewer cast members than normal, and they were divided into 3 tribes.

The Luvu Tribe (blue buffs), a dominant tribe that is doing well so far, which is probably one of the reasons we know hardly anything about them. They are the tribe with the athlete, the mom, and some other people. Who remembers?

The Ua Tribe (green buffs) has been an absolute disaster since the very beginning, which is one of the reasons they have been absolutely decimated already.

The Yase Tribe (yellow buffs) had some strong players, but inner turmoil (which they are calling “gameplay”) has hurt them. The tribe also includes one castaway who will likely go down as one of the worst Survivor players in the history of the show (I’m talking to you, Tiffany).

And who are the favorite players in each tribe? Which ones do I watch with bated breath, hoping that they survive tribal council?  Nobody. Maybe Xander, but that’s only because he reminds me of a lost puppy.

On the plus side, it is – by far – the most diverse cast I have ever seen on Survivor. I applaud the diversity, even if it was mandated by the studio.  Only about 60% of the US population is classified as “White” so it is about time that shows like Survivor better reflected the cultural makeup of the audience.

The Too-Fast Pace

Survivor 41 Tribal Council

When the season started, they promised a “New Era” for Survivor. The pace would be faster, the challenges would be harder, the rewards fewer, and so on. Even the Survivors don’t have to survive as long as they had to in the past. This year, they will need to keep their torches lit for 26 days, instead of the typical 39.  That’s a 33% reduction in goodness.

However, this cannot be blamed on the producers, as this is a restriction that was placed on them by the Fijian government. In order to put the castaways through as much grueling pressure as one would find in a normal, 39-day, season, they have been stripped down to beyond the basics. Rations, food, and flints are in short supply and can be taken away at any time.

And they also lived up to that “faster pace” promise when the very first tribal council featured the two losing tribes each having to vote a player off.

Beyond the pace of the game, there seems to be a sense of haphazard urgency in the editing as well. Tiny glimpses of random moments are all that we’re given in order to get to know this group of people.

A perfect example was a recent reward, where the winning tribe was gifted a personal guide who would be able to show the tribe members how to survive and thrive on the island.  Cut to this talented individual climbing up and then hanging upside down from a tree as he retrieves coconuts (nobody on the tribe is going to be able to do that). The next shot shows him cracking open that coconut with his forearm coconuts (nobody on the tribe is going to be able to do that). Then, as quickly as it started – with absolutely no valuable information being imparted (that we get to see) – the visit is over.

Then there were a couple of quick cast interviews, where they talk about how amazing the moment was. I’m pretty sure one of them cried.  

And maybe that’s one of the reasons that I (and perhaps others) are not connecting with the tribe members as much as normal, as you simply don’t have enough time to get to know anyone before the next tribal council.

The Lackluster Challenges

Survivor 41 Challenge

There is nothing wrong with the challenges this year, per se. But it just feels like they didn’t put much effort into them, except mixing up a couple of elements from challenges that they have run over and over and over again.  Get your tribe over, under, or through the obstacles, then tackle this puzzle or skill game.   

And, of course, there is the loss of that all-too-familiar “Come on in, guys!” that started every challenge for many, many years.

Don’t get me wrong, I fully support diversity and inclusion. And I probably wouldn’t have even noticed if Jeff had simply stopped saying “Guys” at the end of that sentence. I’m just not sure why they felt the need to make an entire production out of it.  And I do mean production.

It seems exceptionally obvious to me that they did not get the response that they wanted when they originally posed the question to the cast “Does that bother you?”  Because it was all-to-convenient (and I’m fairly certain coaxed by the producers of the show) that one of the castaways (Ricard) had second thoughts about it before the first challenge.

And, to add insult to injury, I couldn’t help but feel the hypocrisy when I heard “Let’s go, guys!” being yelled out by the cast members at least two or three times during the next challenge.  And I’m 99% sure it was Ricard who did the yelling.

Personally, my own jury is still out on if the term “guys” has morphed enough over the past few years to become gender-neutral. I know that many words have changed their meanings over history, and this feels like one that was on its way to no longer exclusively meaning “males”.  But, as a male, it’s hard for me to understand or judge how a female or non-binary person would feel being grouped in with a bunch of “guys” for the half-a-second it takes to say the word.

The Survivor producers, in their ever-so-wokeness, jumped at the opportunity to retire that phrase, and I believe it is gone forever.  It’s no big deal, really.  It doesn’t impact the game to any great extent. The only reason it feels like a big deal is because they insisted on making it a big deal.  Twice.

The Terrible Votes

Survivor Host Jeff Probst Reading Vote


This is a typical struggle with a show like Survivor. When it comes to tribal council, particularly in the early stages of the game, do you vote to maintain tribe strength, or do you vote along your alliance lines to support the relationships that you’ve built?

And it almost always goes the wrong way. But that has been especially the case this season.

The Survivor 41 tribes are far smaller than normal (6 people each, although we have seen smaller tribes like this in the past) and a promise of a “New Era” which means nobody can rely on the traditional tribe swaps or merge points. That means it is important – if you don’t want to be a terrible Survivor player like Tiffany – to balance personalities with competitive capabilities.

Nowhere was this more evident than the Yase Tribe, which was quickly divided into 2 groups.  In one group, you had David (a young, fit doctor), Xander (a very young, fit, but naïve player), and Evvie (a smart and sassy Ph.D. student).  In the other, you had Evvie (playing double-agent between the groups), Liana (a college student), and Tiffany (the one most likely to get voted “That Survivor Player” for how terrible her gameplay has been). 

So, you can imagine – before tribal council – that Evvie has a strategic choice to make. Stick with the stronger side of the tribe, as she had developed a strong relationship within that threesome. Or stick with the girls. She stuck with the girls on the first vote and got rid of the older, but still strong, male.

During the next episode, her alliance member – Tiffany – practically lays down to take a nap halfway through the immunity challenge. When they (SHOCKER!!) lost, Tiffany then went on to have an epic meltdown that showed exactly how little strategic gameplay lived inside her.

“What if he has an active idol?” Tiffany asks.

“He doesn’t, he showed me the paper and so I know exactly what needs to happen for his idol to be activated, and that hasn’t happened yet,” replies Evvie.

“But what if he has an active idol?????” Tiffany asks.

That exchange goes around and around and around in circles for at least 10 minutes. Ok, perhaps I’m exaggerating. 

But Evvie then starts to question her alliance.  Tiffany is not strong in competitions. Tiffany does not understand how to play the game. Tiffany is irrational and emotional. Perhaps it was time for Evvie to side with the stronger, seemingly more stable players who trust her implicitly.  She sides with the girls instead.

And all of this because she has this vision of an imaginary world where a tribe-swap happens and all three of their alliance members end up shifting together to the same tribe. When that happens, in her mind, they will have a tight 3.  And how often, exactly, does THAT happen? And what are the chances that this “tight 3” will implode as soon as that does happen?

But you never know, in the worst season of Survivor ever, it could actually happen. Twice.

The Survivor 41 Crying Game

Survivor Cast Interview

Next, let’s get down to some of the cast interviews. Yes, Survivor is an emotionally charged game and people do break down on occasion. But please, please, please, can we have at least one episode during Survivor 41 where 3 or more different people don’t start balling their eyes out on camera.

You’ve been on the island for 3 freaking days, it’s not time for a cry-fest quite yet.

Perhaps this is an attempt to humanize an otherwise unlikeable cast.  But it’s not working. Instead, they are coming off as whiners.

I have also not, yet had a “You’re terrible, Muriel!” (a callout to one of my favorite movies – do you know which one??) where someone plots something absolutely devious and I’m all for it.

Don’t get me wrong, there has been plotting. There’s been deceiving. There’s been treachery.  But, somehow, most of it comes off as contrived and unnecessary at this point during Survivor 41. 

The Crazy Idols & Advantages

Survivor 41 Beware Advantage

Survivor is always packed with twists and turns, many of these coming in the form of idols and advantages. So far, during Survivor 41, we’ve seen a slew of unique game-changing powers, including:

  • The Three Way Immunity Idol – Once found, the idol has no power and the idol-holder has no vote until someone on the other two tribes also finds the idol, and all 3 people say their respective phrase during an immunity challenge. 

One phrase had something to do with butterflies, the other was related to broccoli, and the other was about a goat on astroturf. Sounds fun.  By challenge number 4 (or so), hearing those phrases being said over and over again was getting tiresome.

  • The Shot in the Dark Twist – If a castaway feels like they are in danger, they can roll the dice (literally) for a one-in-six chance at safety.  They have to trade in their vote for the chance, so nobody has done it yet. 

The value of this twist?  For one, it forces everyone to lie to the person who is being voted out, even if there is an obvious majority and no chance that they have an immunity idol. Granted, it’s Survivor, they likely would have done that anyway.  

  • Prisoner’s Dilemma (aka The Risk / Protect Your Vote Twist) – Each episode, people are sent to another island where they have a choice of risking or protecting their vote. If they risk their vote, they might get an advantage. They might not.

    This twist is a nice addition, as it gives castaways from different tribes a chance to get to know and test the waters with members from other tribes. This could come into play later with a merge or tribe swap.

  • Beware Advantages – This is more of a precursor to the advantage than the advantage itself. If a castaway finds one of these advantages, they will not know the contents of the advantage – or the consequences – until they open it. But, once opened, they have no choice but to accept what the advantage has to offer (or take away).
  • The Knowledge is Power Advantage – Basically, this advantage lets a person steal someone else’s idol (or advantage), which has never been allowed in the past.  Like the idol nullifier, this means someone who might think they have a small amount of protection going into Tribal Council could lose it at the last minute. But the idol nullifier had some risk, because you had to guess IF the idol was going to be played and WHO it was going to be played for.

This advantage legitimizes the outright theft of an idol, taking all of the power away from the person who earned that advantage.

Granted, in order for the advantage to work, the person has to know who has what advantages in the game. But in a season where nobody can seem to keep a secret, that isn’t much of a challenge.  

Maybe, when that happens, the Shot in the Dark will finally get played!

Survivor 41 Ratings Drop

One indication that I am not alone in my feelings towards Survivor Season 41 is the ratings. According to TV Series Finale, the ratings for the iconic show have dropped by 10% since the season began and are down a whopping 20% (nearly) compared to Season 40. Unlike Season 40, which actually saw an increased audience between the premiere episode and the second, Survivor 41 saw a 5.6% drop-off immediately following the season premiere.

And the ratings have continued to decline each episode since.

EpisodeSeason 40 Viewers (Millions)Episode Drop OffSeason 41 Viewers (millions)Episode Drop OffSeason 40 vs 41 (% Change)
16.6886.249-6.6%
27.1607.1%5.902-5.6%-17.6%
37.148-0.2%5.795-1.8%-18.9%
47.082-0.9%5.675-2.1%-19.9%
56.906-2.5%5.625-0.9%-18.5%
67.830+13.4%5.317-5.5%-32.1%
78.185+4.5%5.471+2.9%-33.2%
88.235+0.6%5.556+1.6%-32.5%
97.855-4.6%5.765+3.8%-26.6%
108.137+3.6%5.228-9.3%-35.8%
Comparing ratings between Survivor 40 and Survivor 41 (Updated)

Yes, Survivor 41 is The Worst Season Ever (IMHO)

And there you have it. My opinion – so far – of Survivor 41 and why I think it is (by far) the worst season ever.  The season isn’t over yet. In fact, there have only been 5 episodes aired as of the writing of this article. So there is hope that, by some miracle, the game can shake things up and fix itself.

But I think that’s about as likely as finding a hidden immunity idol by simply laying in the shelter all day. Or that Tiffany will suddenly become a strong and strategic player.

Your Turn! Do you also think Survivor 41 is the worst season ever? Or are you enjoying the hot mess? Let me know in the comments below!

14 thoughts on “6 Reasons Why Survivor 41 Is The Worst Season Ever”

  1. And, of course, nobody can keep a freaking secret this season!

    “We can pull off an epic blindside, here’s the plan…. but don’t tell Shan.” – Immediately runs and tells Shan.

    “They’re planning an epic blindside, here’s the plan… but don’t tell Ricard.” – Immediately runs and tells Ricard.

    “They’re planning on blindsiding you, Ricard. Here’s the plan…. but don’t tell anybody.” – Immediately runs and tells everybody.

  2. YES! I’m hating this season! It is horrible gameplay. Everyone thinks they’re being smart and I just end up hating them all. Getting so annoyed I want to quit watching.

  3. Omg! Yay!! I’m so happy that there is a group of people that are hating this season as much as I am! My biggest concern is that this is the way the show will be from now onwards. And then I’m not sure ill watch :/
    I think this “new era” has hindered the game too much and I don’t think people gave been properly afforded the chance to play it. Starting off tribes with 6 players per tribe was shit. The tribes felt too small to begin with and because things moved so fast, I don’t think they have actually had a chance to play.

    I hate that it’s a shorter game with fewer people to begun with (although if this was because of the Fijian government then I totally understand and it’s no one’s fault) – but I the other hand, thank God it’s fewer people and a shorter game because I’m not sure I’d be able to watch a “long” season. I hate the cast. I think everyone is either boring or annoying or both. And we literally don’t know any of them!! They are all still strangers to us and we are 10 episodes in. I do love Xander though. Hate Liana and hate Shan. I think Shan is selfish and her stubbornness to not let anyone else make a decision should have gotten her voted out long ago.

    Ugh I could go on and on and on about how much I hate this season and about how boring it is. Like I don’t look forward to watching it. And watching it out of some kindve necessity makes it even more of a slog to get through. And I think they are trying way too hard to make the show interactive.

    Here’s hoping this format doesn’t stuck!!

    1. Oh!! Can’t believe I forgot to say this in my previous comment but I absolutely loath the editing this season. Hate it

  4. My biggest beef is that it is no longer a family show. This fact should be acknowledged and the show should be moved to a later time slot.

    Probst used to do interviews with kids in the earlier shows, relating to them about the true survival aspects. The concept of families and friends gathered together on Wednesday nights was definitely part of the hype. We rooted for people because we came to know them.

    But the producers insisted that the show had to constantly change to stay fresh. Past contestants lament the loss of adventure and the educational benefits of exotic locales. Most of them, and viewers also according to other blogs, do not appreciate hidden immunity idols, advantages and all the twists that detract from actual survival skills (or lack thereof), character development and the aforementioned locales’ unique reward opportunities.

    Lately and particularly in this season the show has actually been about how anything is acceptable behavior if a million dollars is the prize. The end justifies the means; the best manipulator wins. Villains are celebrated, and the new format really enforces that premise: we have a pastor that is the biggest schemer of all. So the message to kids and adults in the viewing audience is how to mislead, manipulate and strip yourself of any morality in pursuit of the almight dollar.
    Disgusting, disappointing, and definitely not fit for prime time.

  5. Well no ! I don’t mind diversity but they don’t have any straight White people on the show which tells me they really hand picked them . This way cancel culture won’t affect the show and you won’t have protests from the .1116% of people .

    I want to mention they baby them so bad , give them water and food , all it is nowadays is social survivor . Don’t matter if you provide for the group . Your done , you are awesome in physical challenges , your gone !
    Too many immunity idols and bull that go with it . Here , let me hide this piece a paper by your foot which happens to be the idol, how stupid is that ! Like I said before that have next season to change this crap or fans won’t watch it , it will become big brother which nobody watches anymore

  6. Yea I stopped watching big brother awhile ago , surprised it’s still on.
    Survivor 41 is joke , , if the producers don’t clean it up , next season may be my last .
    It’s been dreadful so far this year . Hopefully jeff probst can grow some balls and speak up . I’ll just stick with naked and afraid since they don’t baby the survivors.

  7. CBS made a fateful decision at some point to climb into bed with the BLM justice marchers, CRT, the 1619 Project and just about anything else they want to force down the throats of their viewers. If they were a YouTube feed that might make sense. But in no way do they or their shows now appeal to the national audience as opposed to certain coastal audiences. And Survivor and Big Brother are lame and limping as a result. And Jeff Probst instead of defending his franchise looks like he donated the rope for the show to commit suicide with. Really sad because I liked the idea that these two shows were built on. As someone once memorably said the rats and snakes have taken over.

    1. I fully support diversity and inclusion, and I don’t think you can blame the show’s lacklustre performance on the diversity of the cast. But I do agree that the show has definitely lost some of its “ooomph” lately and seems to be relying on gimmicks rather than the strength of the individual characters. Usually, there is a mix of people that you love (or love to hate). This year, they all seem so “meh”.

  8. This is absolutely the worst survivor ever. Way too much immunity annoyances, they practically place these immunities next to the players . Completely annoying , gotta have 3 players from each tribe find the immunity idol before you can use it . If you find these , they are a curse . The sound is terrible this year , not sure why . Camera is terrible. I know survivor wants such a diverse group but this season is insane and boring. Gay , bi , Chinese , black , all different kinds of people from everywhere but they are kind of boring. You need some hot people on it. Jeff probst losing his voice and looking frail . Also , still feeding the survivors , they don’t look like they are hungry at all. They don’t have to boil water , it’s just a terrible season and survivor executives should be fired . It’s now all about the social game, if you can provide for your group around camp or your good at physical challenges , you are gone. It’s really a boring season and they are over doing it with idols lately , bring back old survivor.

  9. I’m with you! My family has been faithful to Survivor from the days where Richard Hatch refused to wear clothes. But I simply do not remember a season with a more unlikable cast than this one. They may as well call this Villain vs Naive (to put it nicely)! Besides the cast, there is lots to not like. Jeff’s speaking to the camera! So weirdly forced. Love Jeff and the show he and Mark Burnett have built – but he is inserting himself in too much this year. Taking their flint if they don’t win immunity plus the complete lack of food! It is tough to watch people who are having no fun whatsoever. This is not Squid Games – we watch to have some fun. This is not fun. We too fell in love with Australian Survivor over the pandemic. The most recent season was played during COVID and it was lots of fun compared to this train wreck. Yet, we still watch! I suppose we are hopeful that one of these episodes we will start caring!!!

  10. I have LOVED survivor and watched it religiously from season 1 until season 40. I have watched the seasons over and over again. NOT NOW!!! I HATE it!!! OVER IT!!! I have now turned to watching Survivor Australia. At least they are still saying “Come On In Guys”! I am a really BUMMED fan.

    1. I also really enjoy Survivor Australia! And I think Jonathan LaPaglia does a really nice job as the host! But have you noticed that they sort of pretend that the first two seasons don’t exist? I know there was a gap, and the earlier seasons were on a different network, but I do find it a bit funny that they simply refuse to acknowledge that they ever existed. 😀

    2. It’s so bad this year , the characters are boring, sound. Is not good , too many idols and then some are not even hidden , I like the old survivor, theirs no villains on here and you can’t even plot a strategy because they have all these surprises , I can’t keep up

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