Survivor: Why Chanelle Thinks Fire Doesn’t Matter


Survivor is currently airing its 43rd season, the third season of its new era, but season 42’s Chanelle Howell thinks fire, a crucial element of the series, is actually a non-entity in the new version of the game. Since the first season, fire has been a key component of Survivor’s identity and production. Fire represents each player’s life in the game, and when they’re voted out, Jeff Probst snuffs their torch, symbolizing the death of their game. Fire isn’t merely symbolic, however, as the ability to create fire has been crucial for contestants’ survival in the elements and has also been incorporated as a major game mechanic. Several of Survivor‘s most famous moments have revolved around fire, including a newsworthy incident in season 2 when a castaway fell into the campfire and severely burned his hands.


The new era of the game, which began when season 41 ended a pandemic-induced hiatus, has continued to center fire as a major component of the game. With the new era shifting from Survivor‘s traditional 39-day game to 26 days, the show has placed a more pronounced focus on making the experience physically tough on the contestants. Players are no longer provided rice or beans, and Probst confiscates tribes’ magnesium flint if they lose a challenge, making it incredibly difficult for them to make fire at camp.

Related: Survivor: Why The Three-Tribe Format Is Bad For The Show

Survivor 42’s Chanelle Thinks Fire Is ‘Inconsequential’ In Modern Survivor

In a recent interview with Rob Has a Podcast, Survivor 42’s Chanelle claimed that, despite the show’s focus on fire in the edited episodes, it is not actually important in the game. While discussing season 43’s most recent episode, Chanelle told the Rob Has a Podcast host that “fire is really inconsequential in a 26-day game.” She went on to explain that because the contestants aren’t provided rice that they need to boil, and unlike in early seasons, their water is safe to drink without having to be boiled. Chanelle stated that the only time a tribe would need fire to get by is if they were able to catch fish or received uncooked food as a reward. She clarified that fire played a part in the post-merge game but only because players could use gathering firewood as an excuse to leave camp and strategize.

Chanelle’s opinion on the necessity of fire on Survivor are rooted in her own experience on season 42’s Vati tribe. She says Vati only made fire on one occasion before merging with the other tribes. It would be interesting to see if players from other new era tribes have a similar viewpoint, as even though fire is central to the Survivor brand, it may not be as important on the island.

Chanelle’s statements on the podcast have inspired discussion among fans about the show’s modern era. There have been plenty of critics of the new era of Survivor who say that the current television product feels like a watered-down version of the show. Chanelle’s claims of the series embellishing the importance of fire in an effort to make the game seem harder than it is certainly add credence to those critiques and cast doubt on the new era’s ability to match Survivor‘s previous glory.

Survivor airs Wednesdays at 8 p.m. ET on CBS.

Next: Survivor 43: Where To Find The Cast On Social Media

Source: Rob Has a Podcast


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