Here’s How to Cause Drama Correctly On ‘Survivor’


The Big Picture

  • Drama is key in
    , with the best competitors using theatrics to advance.
  • Bhanu’s drama-causing antics led to his downfall, showing the impact of unreliability.
  • Jem strategically uses drama to her advantage, showcasing how it can lead to success.

Drama is integral to some of reality tv’s best shows, and the cutthroat competition Survivor is no different. This historic series, created by Charlie Parsons for CBS, has seen some of television’s best moments of drama and tension across its 46 seasons. From harrowing tribal vote-outs to explosive arguments between players, this fight for $1,000,000 necessitates at least some theatrics in each installment as players backstab and lie to one another for a chance to win. But it’s the best competitors who recognize how inevitable drama is on this show and utilize it. Throwing others into disarray and capitalizing on that chaos gets them further in the game. Even with only a few episodes of Suvivor 46 out, this season has already seen plenty of drama from its competitors – for better and for worse. Because while one of its survivors is causing turmoil to her advantage, another just cannot seem to stop creating cringe-inducing spectacles that do nothing but promise him an early exit.

Almost every season of Survivor sees one of the starting tribes struggle to succeed in the game, and season 46’s Yanu is the latest and one of the messiest in this unfortunate lineage. Nobody knows that more than the show’s most recently eliminated player, Bhanu Gopal; a kind-hearted yet unserious competitor, his destructive inability to lie saw him spill all the tribe’s ‘secrets’ (most of which were fabrications based on his own perceptions) to other players on a journey, potentially ruining his teammates’ future games. That was bad enough, but then Bhanu decides to tell this to potential allies Q Burdette and Tiffany Nicole Ervin, who were considering ousting Kenzie Petty in favor of him, leading to their realization that he could never be a trustworthy partner. Bhanu spent his entire tenure on the series causing drama, either with his impassioned outbursts causing chaos or his literal refusal to try and play the game well (i.e., not tell everyone everything he was thinking) infuriating everyone around him. His unintentional penchant for theatrics led to him being labeled unreliable and getting sent out of the game, which is unfortunate – if he had taken a page from Jemila “Jem” Hussain-Adams’s book, he might have been able to turn this drama into a potential path to the win.


A reality show where a group of contestants are stranded in a remote location with little more than the clothes on their back. The lone survivor of this contest takes home a million dollars.

Release Date
May 31, 2000

Jeff Probst



Charlie Parsons

‘Survivor 46’s’ Jem Is Starting to Shine

The Siga tribe has been rather calm and friendly this entire season so far, meaning it hasn’t received much screentime when compared to the imploding Yanu or conniving Nami. Yet one character has emerged as one of their most strategic players: Jem. One of this season’s sweetest personalities, she found a Beware Advantage early into the game that said she’d have to wait to open the box it came with if they ever went to tribal council. So she hid the box – and planted the note it came with in a spot for her tribemates to find later on. It gave the entire camp an initial hope that quickly turned to confused distress when the note’s instruction to ‘Dig Below Where You Found This’ led to Maria Shrime Gonzalez getting some nasty ant bites, but nothing else.


Jelinsky Doomed Yanu for the Rest of ‘Survivor 46’ Premerge

Will Jelinsky haunt Yanu after his quick vote out on ‘Survivor 46’?

This led to some of the group suspecting that someone had planted the advantage to cause strife, which Jem exploited to paint a target against one of the men she’s not aligned with, Tim Spicer. This was an ingenious, devilish way of using an advantage to finally give the peaceful tribe the drama it needed for people to begin turning on one another. Jem has played this situation skillfully, allowing her ally Moriah Gaynor to throw out Tim’s name while concealing how much this accusation serves her, showing just what a handle she has on this show’s social and strategic aspects. There’s still a whole season ahead, but with Jem’s excellent ability to cause drama and benefit from it, this bubbly mastermind definitely has a chance of snagging the ultimate title of ‘Sole Survivor’.

Can This ‘Survivor’ Star Turn Drama Into a Win?

Every season of Survivor is going to have some drama, and it’s up to the skilled players to learn how they can use it to their advantage. It was sad seeing Bhanu flounder, the man unintentionally finding himself in one bad situation after another because of his inability to not cause tear-stained havoc everywhere he went. Jem, on the other hand, appears to only bring a positive energy into every conversation and hasn’t been shown squabbling with anyone in her tribe. She helps foster the peace that has made Siga such a calming presence this season – meaning she has a good grasp on how to ruin it, so she can get what she wants. A compelling personality who you will never catch wearing a frown, Jem shows how to use drama as a potentially winning strategy on Survivor.

Survivor airs Wednesdays at 8:00 pm on CBS and is available to stream the next day on Paramount+. Watch on Paramount+


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