Survivor might have gone too far by providing less food

The new era of Survivor has shortened the season and curtailed access to food to make the game harder, but did they go too far?
SURVIVOR on the CBS Television Network, and streaming live and on-demand on Paramount+ (live and on-demand for Paramount+ with SHOWTIME subscribers
SURVIVOR on the CBS Television Network, and streaming live and on-demand on Paramount+ (live and on-demand for Paramount+ with SHOWTIME subscribers /

In the post-COVID-19 era of Survivor, the game made wide-sweeping changes to the game. The biggest change was to shorten the game from 39 days to 26 days. There are also fewer challenges as rewards are often included with the immunity challenges.

Another big change was a reduction in food. On the surface, this seems to have been a good decision. As Survivor has progressed through the years, it seemed the lack of food became less and less of an issue. There were plenty of reward challenges that consisted of huge feasts. They had food auctions. Tribes could win fishing gear, which often supplemented diets of rice, coconut, and fruits. Only once in the new era has there been a food auction, and the reward feasts are much smaller.

Rice was always a staple, along with beans on a few occasions. That is on top of whatever the tribes could scrounge from the jungle. Prior to 2020, it seemed like castaways were given too much food at times.

Is Survivor providing enough food in the new era of the game?

Episode Several
“Episode Several” – A rogue vote at the last tribal council launches a blame game throughout camp. Players must keep their balance to keep their game alive and win immunity. Then, castaways must decide between past loyalties and future strategies in one of the most important tribal councils of the season, on SURVIVOR, Wednesday, April 10 (8:00-9:30 PM, ET/PT) on the CBS Television Network, and streaming on Paramount+ (live and on demand for Paramount+ with SHOWTIME subscribers, or on-demand for /

The decision to restrict food in the new era, to make up for the much-shortened game, wasn't bad. It made the game edgier, and the producers ensured the game moved at a good pace.

Sets of fishing gear were still prizes to be earned, but it doesn't seem as if many of the tribes have been able to use the fishing gear as well as tribes did in the classic era. Or at least producers haven't shown the audience this aspect very often, despite the longer air time for seasons 45 and 46.

It's possible that players do not have time to learn how to use the fishing gear in the shortened time frame. With the quickened pace, there are still idols to be searched for, journeys to go on, relationships to develop, and challenges to prepare for and recover from, all in 26 days. Where is the time to learn how to effectively use a fishing spear?

The lack of food could also be coming into play when it comes to fishing. Swimming in the ocean takes a lot of energy and time. With the shortened time frame of the game, and the reduced amount of food, players really have to conserve their energy more than ever. Excursions into the ocean to fish may be just too much to ask for most players.

The new era of players do not seem as interested in the physical aspects of the game, outside of the challenges themselves. There have been exceptions, of course, like Hunter in season 46. There are fewer physically dominating players in the new era as well, and not many of them have shown much interest in learning how to fish.

Two players seemed overwhelmingly affected by the lack of food in season 46. Liz, who shouldn't have even been cast due to her numerous dietary restrictions, had a number of meltdowns directly tied to the lack of food. Ben also seemed to spiral at times mentally. Yes, Survivor is a hard game for everyone, but you have to wonder if in some cases the lack of nutrition is manifesting itself more in some players.

The season 46 players also have to take some responsibility because Probst did offer them a big bag of rice, as he's done in every season of the new era. The problem is that several people must give up a shot at immunity for the tribe to get rice. This season, not enough people felt secure enough to give up a chance at immunity, and they didn't get any rice. Liz was given a small amount of rice at some point because she couldn't eat anything else.

Survivor shouldn't be a resort with three all-you-can-eat buffets a day, or even as much food as was provided pre-COVID-19, but it also shouldn't be starving the players either. A return to the longer season might give players more time to learn how to use the fishing gear and the length of stay should motivate them to do so. That said, rice and maybe papaya could be provided so that players, with serious rationing, can have a bit more sustenance throughout the game.

The smaller reward feasts have been good and more appropriate for the game, but a better balance between very hungry and starving should be explored. More energy could result in better gameplay, which is a good thing.

Next. Did the wrong person win Survivor 46? . Did the wrong person win Survivor 46? . light