“Survivor” debuted its 33rd season Wednesday (Sept. 21) — yes, 33! — and the hook this time around is “Millennials vs. Gen X.” The problem is that the show seems to have gone a little too broad with its divisions and could have benefited from a more nuanced approach.
“Survivor” seems to have done what a lot of people do when discussing generational divides — it forgot about that weird middle generation.
Some call it Gen X&Y because of the overlap; some call it Generation Catalano or The Oregon Trail Generation (haha to both of those), but either way, casting a generation as 15 to 20 years wide is a massive range and clearly there are “Survivor” players on both tribes who don’t really consider themselves part of the generation they are labeled.
This granddaddy of reality competition shows has done three tribes before, and we wish they had done that here. The people born between roughly 1975 and 1985 are their own thing. As Craig Barker writes, the X&Y generation is kids who were “a generation of ’90s kids’ who no longer were concerned about the spectre of the Cold War and nuclear annihilation looming over their heads, but also ones who entered the ‘adult’ world before 9/11 and the changes wrought by a global war on terrorism.”
“Survivor” divided their tribes into people born 1963 to 1982 and people born 1984 to 1997, which might make for a really interesting season. But after the premiere, we feel like it would have been even more interesting to split the contestants up three ways because perhaps there would have been a stronger enthusiasm for their respective generations.
As it is, the show is leaning heavily into “Gen X works hard” and “Millennials are lazy and crazy,” which is fine if you’re leaning heavily into “The Great Indoors” schtick of “Millennials, amirite?” But maybe CBS would have been better served to not paint with quite such broad strokes.