Here is what they had to say during and after the season 41 premiere on September 22, 2021:
They Are Blasting the ‘Come on in, Guys’ Discussion
At the start of the premiere episode, Probst asked the new cast members for input on whether he should tweak the signature phrase he uses to usher in the tribes for challenges. Only one castaway spoke up, with Evvie Jagoda saying that as a queer woman, it didn’t bother her. Everyone else seemed to silently agree, but no one really voiced any other opinions.
However, when the tribes showed up to the immunity challenge, castaway Ricard Foye spoke up, saying that he “fully” agreed with changing it. He cited that fact that “Survivor” has changed a lot over 21 years of being on the air and that now so many people of different races and different sexual orientations are included in the cast.
On Twitter, Tommy Smokes of Barstool Sports (who bills himself as a “future ‘Survivor’ winner” in his Twitter profile) commented, “I mean, this is just ridiculous. This is being woke just for the sake of being woke. Absolutely pointless. You’re only losing audience with this move. Nobody is now tuning in because you dropped ‘come on in guys.’ Pathetic @JeffProbst.”
Infamous “Survivor” villain and three-time castaway (plus one appearance on Australian “Survivor”) Russell Hantz quote-tweeted Smokes’ comment and wrote, “I’m not covering survivor this year! I agree with you! This woke s***! I rather not even watch!!”
Smokes did clarify in a response to his own tweet that he “will never stop watching the show” and he thinks it’s “dumb to stop over this,” but he wanted to say “they made a mountain out of a nonexistent molehill for no reason.”
But Hantz was not the only “Survivor” alum to say something. Two-time player Peih-Gee Law wrote, “Just out of curiosity, was anyone else ever offended at ‘Come on in, guys?’ Like… I respect that #Survivor wants to make changes, but this particular instance felt a bit like woke theater.”
And several fans say they are not watching for this very reason.
One former viewer wrote, “I was excited for the season, but turned it off after ten minutes. No woke ‘Survivor’ for me.”
Another one wrote, “‘Survivor’ changed the saying ‘come on in guys’ to just ‘come on in’ because ‘guys’ is offensive. Well, I say f*** you and your woke bulls***.”
Another viewer brought up “Big Brother’s” Cookout alliance from season 23, writing, “Between #BigBrother creating a blacks only alliance & systematically voting out all of the white people while laughing about it & #Survivor entering the woke world by eliminating ‘come on in guys,’ this is a period of time we will surely look back on & cringe with embarrassment.”
Another fan wrote, “Jeez @JeffProbst and #Survivor. Can’t we just have ‘Survivor’ without all the woke BS. Makes me want to change the channel.”
One fan commented that he’s “never been a big fan of Jeff Probst and his woke evangelism,” writing, “That’s for fucking up the show over nothing, b****
… I’ll just drop the show if it’s too overbearing. Never been a big fan of
@JeffProbst and his woke evangelism to begin with.”
Another wrote that he turned off the show because it’s all a “plan” to “destroy America,” writing, “They want you to believe everyone is gay, transgender, gender neutral any thing but heterosexual.”
Hantz later predicted this would be the end of “Survivor,” writing, “This will be the lowest rated survivor in history and you’re watching the beginning to the end! It’s over GUYS!”
One Critic Didn’t Like That the Show Threw the Choice to the Castaways
In a review of the premiere episode, an A.V. Club critic applauded “Survivor” for making even a small change, but then thought they grossly misstepped by putting the castaways on the spot.
For a brief moment, I was pleased to see you stepping forward to make a gesture toward change: sure, it’s a small thing, but I’ll take any signal I can get that you’ve recognized how your own power over the game and its players might shape the hierarchies of gender that resonate throughout.
And then you decided to throw it out to the eighteen players who just spent two weeks in quarantine anxious about playing Survivor whether they think it’s okay if you keep saying guys.
It was an embarrassing display. I can’t even imagine what was going through the players’ heads when the host and producer of the show — who ultimately controls their entire edit, and thus how they will be perceived publicly and potentially subjected to all forms of discrimination — asks them to police his language on broadcast television. And I am sure those people felt very safe with you when, after one queer woman says that “guys” is fine, you decided that the fact no one else spoke up means that the issue is now formally decided, as though you just held a global tribunal on sexism.
Ricard, who has a transgender husband, defended his decision on Twitter, writing, “I’ll just say this before I sleep peacefully having accomplished being a castaway on ‘Survivor,’ unlike 100% of the trolls… if not saying ‘guys’ makes even ONE person out there feel seen, it’s worth your embarrassing bs.”
Another fan also took issue with Probst seeming fairly disingenuous, writing, “‘Is saying come on in GUYS too outdated?’ Asks man who has created game dynamics that have allowed for 6 men to win in a row and acts like he has no idea what happened.”
Not Everyone Was Opposed to the Change … or Surprised by the Blowback
Not all commenters were critical of the show’s new “woke” direction. LGBTQ publication Out magazine noted that the premiere “featured an important discussion on gender inclusivity.”
“The brand-new season kicked off with a refreshingly open and honest discussion … about simple ways to make Survivor more inclusive and welcoming, starting with the language used when welcoming people to the competition,” the outlet wrote.
The website reported that Probst even acknowledged while having the discussion with Ricard that he was likely to hear from angry fans about the change: “[I’m] realizing in this moment somebody right now is on social media saying, ‘Oh, he caved.’ It’s @jeffprobst on Twitter. I’ll probably never read it anyway.”
In addition to the Twitter replies about the change to Probst’s catchphrase, some commenters said they were put off by the “twists” and new rules. But the show’s diehard fans also took to Twitter to share their love for the show.
“Love the premiere. Love the new editing style. Love the cast,” one fan tweeted.
Another wrote, “THAT. WAS. AWESOME. WOOHOOO!!!!!”
“Wednesday nights just weren’t the same for a year WELCOME BACK SURVIVOR,” another tweet read.
“Survivor” airs Wednesdays at 8 p.m. Eastern and Pacific times on CBS. The 42nd season will air in the spring of 2022. Seasons 43 and 44 are casting now, so if you’ve always wanted to apply, now is your chance!