Over the past 20-plus years, the general premise of Survivor hasn't changed all too much. But Season 41 of the flagship show came with a flurry of tweaks and updates following the lengthy pandemic hiatus. The cast was made up of at least 50% people of color, per CBS’ diversity pledge in 2020, which ultimately led to the winner being the first woman of color in many years. Additionally, host Jeff Probst abandoned the tail-end of his traditional “Come on in, guys!” greeting in order to be more gender-inclusive. The Australian version of the show has likewise followed suit in its word choices as well.
The ninth season of Australian Survivor premiered on January 31 and is themed around Blood V Water, with alums facing off with their relatives or partners. Notorious two-time winner of the American series, Sandra “The Queen” Diaz-Twine, is part of their cast – but that isn't the only similarity. Its host since 2016, Jonathan LaPaglia, has also cut out the word “guys” from his greeting to contestants. Apparently, the updated “Come on in!” was purposely done. LaPaglia told The Daily Telegraph:
Subtle though it may be to some, the new greeting nevertheless reflects how the world is moving in a less presumptive direction when it comes to gender identity. Survivor 41 contestant Ricard Foye, who opened up about his transgender husband and their family on the show, told Jeff Probst that he didn't agree with the word’s context, solely because the show is in a different world than it was when it originally premiered. His castmate Evvie Jagoda, who identifies as queer/non-binary, initially disagreed with changing Probst’s words but would reflect post-competition on the importance of representation in the game.
However, there were some ambivalent reactions to the progressive changes by former U.S. series alums after Season 41 aired. Namely, Micronesia winner Parvati Shallow asserted that the show seemed to be trying too hard, whereas her former co-star, Russell Hantz, threatened to never watch again because of the “woke” updates.
Overall, though, most fans and Survivor 41 contestants only had gripes with the new advantages and twists that came into play. One of the more controversial ones was the hourglass twist that apparently prompted an unaired argument involving Jeff Probst at tribal council and also (in theory) saved winner Erika Casupanan from an early elimination. There was also the 3-tribe hidden immunity necklace and the Do-or-Die gamble that made some waves at the time.
As Jeff Probst likes to constantly remind everyone, it's a new era. There's obviously some learning curve to be had with game tricks, but judging by the Australian Survivor's commitment to mirror the U.S. in matters of inclusivity, then it seems “Come on in!” at least is here to stay.
Freelance writer. Favs: film history, reality TV, astronomy, French fries.
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