In a new interview, a “Survivor” winner opened up about production, revealing that “everyone’s playing a game” out there while they’re filming and production wants to create the best show they can.
Read on to find out what four-time “Survivor” player Parvati Shallow said about her time on the show and how production can maneuver contestants in certain ways.
Parvati Said There Are ‘Multiple Levels Of Game’ Going On
During an interview on “Behind the Velvet Rope with David Yontef” podcast, Parvati spoke at length about her time on “Survivor,” including how the first time she played, during “Cook Islands,” she felt like she “got bamboozled by a couple of people, including production.”
“Everyone’s playing a game. There are multiple levels of game,” said the “Survivor: Micronesia” winner. “The way that I see it is the contestants have their game, we have what we want to do, we have our own intuition that we’re working with. But we’re only getting certain information, the things that we see and hear ourselves or receive that information from other contestants.”
But a key way that contestants also receive information is through the one-on-one interviews with producers — and those questions can be pretty pointed.
“They’ve asked me questions and I’m like, ‘Oh my gosh, I didn’t even think about that. Like, wow, good question!’ They won’t feed you any information. They’re not like telling you stuff, but they’ll ask questions in [a way] that caused me to think about things that I wasn’t thinking about or seeing before myself,” Parvati revealed.
But she said it’s all because “they want to make a good show,” so they’re “trying to get certain things to happen, but without being manipulative and without telling you what to do.” Instead, they ask “certain questions to see what comes naturally from inside of a competitor.”
She also said that the producers definitely play Devil’s advocate with their questions because they’re trying to get “as much information as they can depending on how the story goes.” It’s a way to cover all of their bases for editing purposes.
Parvati Also Revealed That ‘Survivor’ Producers Love When You Don’t Do What You’re Told
One interesting aspect of the interview was Parvati talking about how production loves a rule-breaker… to a certain extent, obviously. You can’t go around punching people or something. But they love gamers and that can really drive contestants to behave in certain ways.
“The producers … like the strategy, they like when people are thinking a few steps ahead or thinking about something that they (the producers) would never consider, they’re being surprised, so there is this element psychologically,” said Parvati.
She continued, “As an interviewee, there is the sense of ‘I want to give this person, this producer, what will make them happy.’ … and of course, it comes into play at Tribal Council with Jeff too. People are star-struck by him, love him, want to give him whatever he wants … it’s another element of the game that really is that you wouldn’t really consider until you’re out there playing.”
So this people-pleaser mentality definitely drives castaways to test the limits.
“You don’t have to do what you’re told. That’s the thing about ‘Survivor.’ They love when you don’t do what you’re told, but like you still play within certain bounds. There’s certain bounds of play that’s appropriate, but they love when people push past, like when Russell went and started looking for idols without clues, they love that. And now they’ve integrated that as part of the game … Like if you don’t go out there and start immediately hunting for idols, you’re not playing hard enough. They like that kind of stuff,” said Parvati.
“Survivor 41” airs Wednesdays at 8 p.m. Eastern and Pacific times on CBS. The 42nd season premieres Wednesday, March 9, 2022. Seasons 43 and 44 are casting now, so if you’ve always wanted to apply, now is your chance!
READ NEXT: ‘Survivor’s’ Rupert Boneham Has Cancer