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Reality Fix: CBS’ Angsty Survivor: South Pacific Season 

Photo Credit: Montry Brinton/CBS

Well, CBS’ Survivor: South Pacific has really gotten off to an angst-filled season, hasn’t it? Three openly (and overly) flawed characters have developed and are making things quite interesting. For the record, even though they are all real people, I sometimes call them characters because with the editing, the producers are taking some liberties with the contestants. With my background as a psychotherapist, it has been fascinating watching these “characters” openly discuss their own idiosyncrasies. And if you don’t know who I’m talking about, the three people I’m referring to are: John Cochran, Semhar Tadesse and of course, Brandon Hantz, Russell Hantz’s nephew.

Photo Credit: Montry Brinton/CBSÂ

Originally, the buzz on Cochran was very positive. He’s an uber-Survivor fan who wrote his thesis in law school on the Survivor jury system. So this guy supposedly knows this show inside and out. What has been intriguing to watch is that despite all of his so-called Survivor knowledge, he’s committing some of the worst mistakes you can in playing the game. The reason he’s making these rookie errors is his own crushing insecurities with not feeling accepted. I do feel ending up on Ozzie’s tribe may be his undoing because Ozzie, historically, has not been a fan of having people on his tribe who have expert knowledge of the game (Billy Garcia anyone?).

Ozzie is all about winning challenges and Cochran is very obviously not a powerhouse athlete. It also didn’t help that during the first tribal council, he had a meltdown. He expressed all of his anxiety and insecurity, a move that didn’t exactly endear him to his tribe. In fact, it basically diminished how his tribe viewed him. At this point, he’s considered expendable. The previews for this week’s episode do show him beginning to make some moves; so here’s hoping his insecurities will no longer get in the way of his game play.

Photo Credit: Montry Brinton/CBS

Even though my girl, Semhar Tadesse, didn’t remain in the game too long, she had time to display some of her issues when she got voted out by her tribe at their first tirbal council. Unlike Cochran, who people had high hopes for, Semhar was actually predicted to be the first voted off by many people. Her ouster was no surprise. The surprise was how she got so upset and began talking about her abandonment issues. Excuse me? This is Survivor, right? Taking part in a game where the goal is to “Outwit, Outlast and Outplay” doesn’t seem to be the right thing to do if you have some deeper issues with abandonment.

Trusting your tribe mates will always be tenuous because everyone is there to win the money; so they will do whatever they can to take that million dollars home. That includes lying to people about what their true intentions are. Also, did you notice how her poetry is reflective of some of her issues with men? I haven’t checked out her stuff on You Tube yet, but what she did recite on the show was very revealing. I seriously hope her other poems cover other topics in life.

Photo Credit: Montry Brinton/CBS

And then there’s Russell Hantz’s nephew, Brandon Hantz. We are three episodes in and it’s clear we’re observing a deeply flawed and confused individual. Brandon has been pretty vocal about not wanting to be like his uncle Russell. And for the most part, he hasn’t been — except when it comes to telling lies. Unfortunately, Brandon’s lying skills aren’t as legendary as Russell’s — he’s stretched the truth to disastrous results.

What’s rather sad about this young man is how he’s so all over the place with his emotions and actions and that may cost him. He may end up ousted from the game much earlier than he intended. From the beginning he said he wanted to repair the Hantz name, but instead, he seems to be bringing the name lower. His fixation on Mikayla is rather distressing. He’s projecting so many negative feelings onto her that it’s impacting his actions towards her and the tribe. Maybe watching the episodes will give Brandon some insight and help him become a better person. Hopefully, he can get himself together because if he keeps blowing up at his tribe, he’s the next out. Can’t wait until the reunion to see what he has to say for himself.

I don’t remember a more angsty season of Survivor. I’m going to keep watching because I don’t want to miss a minute of it. Survivor: South Pacific airs Wednesday at 8/7c on CBS.

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