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Survivor Winner Parvati Shallow Claims Jeff Probst Is Having An 'Identity Crisis' Amid New Season

Parvati Shallow is easily one of the most notorious players of the game of Survivor. Thanks to her “Black Widow Brigade” all-girls alliance and a massive blunder by Erik Reichenbach, she was able to win Survivor: Micronesia – Fans vs. Favorites. She has played the game four different times in total, so she knows it pretty well. But apparently, the alum has a few bones to pick with the latest season. In fact, she claims that host/executive producer Jeff Probst is having a bit of an “identity crisis” this year.

Along with the new advantages at play, Survivor 41 is indeed setting a new tone for its highly touted “new era.” Viewers can play alongside contestants online. Its veteran host is even breaking the fourth wall. He's also attempting to remove his own bias from the game by cutting out his traditional greeting of “Come on in, guys!” Yet when asked about the latest season on Rob Has A Podcast, Parvati Shallow had something “controversial” to say:

I think it's really…interesting. This might be a controversial thing to say, but I'm going to say it anyways. I think Jeff might be having a bit of an identity crisis…because I think he's just coming in and he's like, 'I got to be super woke. I got to say all the right things to make sure all the different groups of people are feeling heard and seen.' And Jeff is the one who likes to see and hear people. he does. He’s someone who really wants to touch the heart of someone. He wants to know a person and now he's really infusing a lot of that into this season, as far as the culture of Survivor is in, this season. I've seen that. Jeff is really embracing this version of host. And on top of all that, there's the long hair. There's also the getting rid of the 'Come on in, guys'…I think he's [also] doing wardrobe changes?

It sounds like the former competitor thinks there's a lot going on in the new season, maybe even too much. Some have in fact criticized the new updates to Survivor procedure as being kind of obvious in their attempts, considering that there have been calls for diversity and transparency in the past with no real changes until now. Russell Hantz, the champion's former partner in crime from Survivor: Heroes vs. Villains, also made comments on his YouTube channel that by “bringing political issues into the show” CBS was “ruining” it.

Parvati Shallow said on the podcast that it was “cool” for the series to be showing the production side more but that it does take away the “mystique” of being stranded on an island. She noted that CBS was very much concerned about the about real competition show's mystique last year when she wanted to wear a bathing suit to challenges in Winners at War. (Many years ago, the network famously traded out contestants being allowed to wear swimsuits to wearing just underwear.) Shallow feels the underwear aspect to still be a problem in the new season. Specifically, she said:

I put up a huge fight [in Winners at War]. I was like, I just had a baby. I can't be out here in my underwear. I'm like a mom now. Like I need a bathing suit... They were like sorry, production feels that it's more authentic-looking for people to be in their underwear. I said, no, no, no…Everyone knows it's a show. And now, you're showing people it's a show by showing the cameramen, so like, let people wear their bathing suits. Give them some dignity.

She's watching Survivor 41 now, but the decorated series alum was firm that she is “never” playing again. But you know what they say, never say never. (Many alums have been known to play well into their late ­­50s.) And who knows, maybe by then, Jeff Probst will have worked out his supposed "identity crisis" and contestants can finally wear bathing suits again. Tune into the new season on CBS on Wednesdays at 8 p.m. EST.

Lauren Vanderveen

Freelance writer. Favs: film history, reality TV, astronomy, French fries.