From TV Guide Online: http://www.tvguide.com/magazine/extra/030113.asp
It's a Jungle Out There
In a dramatic twist, Survivor: The Amazon pits the men against the women. Can the 16 intrepid adventurers cope with this new challenge? Meet the tribes that are fighting the ultimate battle of the sexes.
by Ileane Rudolph
Adam and Eve. Bruce and Cybill. Tom and Nicole. Now it's Tambaqui and Jaburu. The latest battle in the eternal war between the sexes is about to begin.
Under a canopy of trees, deep in the steamy heart of Brazil's Amazon rain forest, the two tribes of eight do-anything-for-a-million-bucks players are setting up their camps for the sixth edition of CBS's Survivor. But it's not quite the same old, same old. This time, the members of Tambaqui (named after a tasty fish) are all guys, while Jaburu (a local bird) is all female.
After several seasons of rumors, Survivor executive producer Mark Burnett has finally done it: created two single-sex tribes for America's most popular reality show. "We knew the Amazon was the right place to do it because of the legend of the fierce and courageous Amazon women," Burnett says one November day on the show's set in the equatorial state of Amazonas, 1,700 miles northwest of São Paulo. "The men clearly are physically stronger, but we've learned in Survivor that isn't necessarily how you win the game. The women could bond better, and the men's testosterone and ego could get in the way."
It's fun to wreck the strategies of players hoping to charm the opposite sex, but why eliminate any chance of flirtation and rejection? "The value of the social experiment far outweighs in watercooler talk the sexual tension," Burnett explains.
Watching the tribes try to survive their second day of living hard in the jungle is indeed like studying a Mars-Venus petri dish. At Tambaqui, the men stripped to the waist or in sweat-soaked T-shirts are veritable workhorses. Under the direction of Alex Bell, 32, a tattooed triathlete who has quickly grabbed the leadership reins, the guys compete to chop down saplings and shape them into planks for their sleeping platform. "The chicks can't do this!" crows 33-year-old restaurant concept designer Matthew Von Ertfelda, swinging his machete. When he adds with a smirk, "Maybe Burnett left them a chain saw," he sets off a chain reaction of derision-spotted with a little bit of doubt. "How can they say they're equal or better than men if it's not a level playing field?" Dave Johnson, 24, a for-real rocket scientist, chimes in.
If the men's camp echoes basic training, the women's is more New Age spa albeit one where the guests wear machetes as a fashion accessory. Unlike their sweaty male counterparts, the members of Jabaru have taken time to bathe in the nearby lagoon notwithstanding the snakes, piranha and crocodilelike caimans that occasionally lurk in these waters.
This Survivor's shapely It Girls, Heidi Strobel, 24, a blond gym teacher, and Jenna Morasca, 21, a brunet swimsuit model, are taking turns having their hair braided by 41-year-old dairy promoter Jeanne Hebert, who appears to be angling for the tribe mom role. As a pot of river water boils to soften the day's ration of manioc, a nutritious if not tasty root supplied by the producers, curly-topped marketer Shawna Mitchell, 23, volunteers she'd love to eat worms. That notion sends JoAnna Ward, 31, a school counselor with a propensity for shouting "Hallelujah," off to check the tribe's fishing nets. "We're going to devastate the guys," she says confidently as she leaves.