Survivors separated by more than just an ocean

Sept. 21, 2006, midnight | By Erica Turner | 14 years, 10 months ago

New "Survivor" season's premise divides contestants by ethnicity

Suspense, alliances, drama, twists and love matches. The thirteenth season of the hit reality TV show Survivor is the epitome of drama. The show, which premiered Thurs., Sept. 14. on CBS, placed participants on the Cook Islands, which are located in the South Pacific.

This season, twenty Americans were chosen to participate in competing in an array of challenges for a grand prize of $1,000,000. This year's twist is that the twenty competitors are divided into four equal tribes by race, each living on a different island. The show's cast is split into the Latino Aitu tribe, the Asian Puka tribe, the African-American Hiki tribe and the Caucasian Raro tribe.

Since racially dividing groups is a first for Survivor, the cast mates' opinions on the new decision vary. One Caucasian competitor called the idea a "cool social experiment," while a Latino contender believes that being on a team of the same ethnicity will "cause a clash." Another Latino member is glad to be in an all Latino group, saying that "Hispanics are used to being in tropical settings."

The show began this season full of action and excitement with the first scene beginning as all twenty cast members scrounge for necessary survival items. After jumping into a smaller boat and paddling to their island home, each tribe was excited and ready to begin their survival preparations.

Like in previous seasons, certain contestants stand out in their quirkiness, making the show enjoyable to watch. Asian cast mate, Cao Boi, was born in Vietnam and has a different approach to life then the rest of his younger tribe mates, exemplified when he got rid of a teammate's headache using old Vietnamese medicine. Meanwhile, Wild Jessica of the Raro team accidentally set the tribes' chickens free, which created tension between cast mates.

The first challenge of the season was a mix of physical and mental obstacles that tested the teams' endurance, agility and logic skills of the contestants. Puka, the first team to complete the challenge, received immunity from Tribal Council while the losing team, Hiki, were forced to vote one member of their tribe off the island.

Even though the show just premiered, alliances have already begun within the Hiki tribe and a love connection has sparked among two Raro cast mates. One unlucky competitor has already been voted off and sent home. All this drama and it was just episode one.

Survivor: Cook Islands airs Thursdays at 8:00 on CBS.

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