Veteran ‘Survivor’ Castaway Says Show ‘Needs to be Radically Re-Invented’

Survivor: Cagayan Luzon tribe

CBS Survivor: Cagayan Luzon tribe

There is a section of the vast Survivor fandom that feels strongly about how twisty the show has become in recent years. They say it makes the game needlessly complicated and features too many “gimmicks.” But it isn’t just fans saying that. Two-time Survivor castaway Spencer Bledsoe is firmly in the “let’s get back to basics” camp. In fact, he has a really interesting idea for how the show can be “radically re-invented.”


Spencer Bledsoe Says Let’s Have No Voting For the First Few Weeks

In an interview with Entertainment Weekly, Bledsoe says he thinks the show should take a beat and slow things down, including putting off the first vote for at least a week.

Survivor needs to be radically re-invented,” said Bledsoe. “It can be so much more than the hodge-podge of advantages that it devolved into during seasons 34-39… To overcome this long dark age, though, it’s going to take a lot: I’m talking about taking all advantages out, taking all manufactured drama and twist-y-ness out, and refocusing on characters, personalities, and journeys. I’m talking about a season where there is no voting for the first few weeks, or where tribes have to actually create their own structures and/or mechanisms for voting, elect leaders and form worlds.”

He added that if he ever played the game again, he would “blaze the trails for a new non-strategic paradigm” on the show.

“The show started as a social experiment dropping strangers from different walks of life on an island and forcing them to create a new world together. How amazing is that?” he said, adding, “The chaotic sea of fifty thousand different advantages and people whispering s*** you can’t even hear at Tribal has been fun, I guess, but come on. Let’s not worry about what silly twist will retain one hundred thousand more viewers for S41, and remember why this show captured the attention of hundreds of millions of viewers in the first place.”


He Also Said He Has Had Some Regrets About Being on the Show

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The Redeeming Disorder podcast is COMING BACK! Dusting off the mental health cobwebs, this week’s episode features an inspiring, genuine friend of mine — @_erikadelacruz. “Wait, who the hell is this Reiman guy?” Reiman (pronounced like ‘Simon” with an R) was my middle name, and is now my first name! But onto more important things… Since it may be a long time until I can wish you a happy #Survivor Wednesday: Every Thursday for the foreseeable future, I’ll be wishing you happier mental health and releasing a vulnerable, personal and real interview on Redeeming Disorder. You can find the podcast on my LinkTree, iTunes, or your favorite listening app. I’ve conducted these interviews across 16 states between 2018-2020, talking in-person with individuals who were brave enough to share their stories and allow them to be included in the book I’m working on, ‘Disorder.’ Now about this week’s interviewee, Erika De La Cruz: She’s the bestselling author of the personal development book ‘Passionistas,’ she’s a television personality and she’s the CEO of ‘Passion to Paycheck’ — a sold-out annual conference & online community that champions the destigmatization of mental health in mainstream media. Enjoy the vulnerable conversations coming your way, and please support your own mental health during these challenging times of change. So much love to you all. 💙

A post shared by Reiman (Spencer) Bledsoe (@reimanbledsoe) on Oct 1, 2020 at 10:12am PDT

Bledsoe said that returning to the real world after filming the show was incredibly hard and he does have some regrets about appearing on the show.

“I felt the same stuff nearly everyone feels [when they get back] ― trust issues, weird neuroses around food, and fear of the rain. Also shocking to be reacquainted within American culture: consumerism, mirrors (I mean literal mirrors this time), and our obsession with our own appearances,” said Bledsoe.

He continued, “There have been countless times when thoughts of regret have come and gone. Survivor produced neuroses, fears, parasites, stretch marks, and sadness. Being popular on a TV show at 21 years old did a number on my ego. Watching myself on the show made me addicted to the smartphone-induced dopamine rushes of strangers on the internet liking me (or liking their idea of me, rather). There’s also no doubt that I did some serious psychological harm to myself in Cambodia by living and breathing distrust and manipulation for 39 days.

“Yet, Survivor was also my first step toward reevaluating life and ultimately toward happiness ― a real happiness it’s doubtful I ever would have known otherwise. Survivorfundamentally altered the trajectory of my life, and I wouldn’t have the perspective I have today without it, so I can never truly regret it. It shifted my course so dramatically that it doesn’t even make sense to me to talk about some version of myself who never got on the show.”

If you’re curious about what he meant by that, Bledsoe also said that since going on the show, he got into studying mental health. He now has a podcast called “Redeeming Disorder” that aims to dive into “real stories of mental disorder to overcome stigma, redeem perceptions, and start a conversation.” He has also taken up meditation and strives to keep learning about himself.

Survivor hopes to film season 41 in the spring of 2021 for a fall 2021 premiere.

READ NEXT: An Update on ‘Survivor’ Jonathan Penner and His Wife Stacy


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