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Tipsheet

'Survivor' Catchphrase Falls Victim to Wokeness

Photo by Willy Sanjuan/Invision/AP

After being on air for over 20 years, "Survivor" has fallen victim to the woke movement. Host Jeff Probst ultimately declared during the 41st season premiere on Wednesday that it will be the last time he ever uses his catchphrase of "come on in, guys."

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He had asked contestants earlier in the episode if it was time to retire his signature phrase, and nobody expressed issue at the time. Evvie Jagoda, a contestant, said that "I personally think 'guys' is okay. ‘Come in guys’ is such a signature expression. I, as a woman, as a queer woman, do not feel excluded by guys."

Except another contestant, Ricard Foyé, shared later in the episode that he had rethought his response. "The reality is, there was so much going on, there was so much commotion, cameras, my hair is messed up, I’m half crying, I don’t have the capacity to do what I’m really supposed to do, which I regret," Foyé lamented.

"I don’t agree that we should use the word, 'guys.' I fully agree that we should change it, whether it just be dropping the guys, changing it to something else. I just don’t really agree with it," he continued, also pointing out that "the reality is, 'Survivor' has changed over the last 21 years and those changes have allowed all of us, all of these brown people, black people, Asian people, so many queer people to be here simultaneously."

Probst's response in the exchange also seemed rather fitting for reality television. 

"It’s a great point, and I gotta say, I love that you thought about it more," the host said. "I love that you had the courage, inside a million-dollar game in which standing up anytime is risky, to bring it up again, because I’m with you. I want to change it. I’m glad that was the last time I will ever say it."

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Probst anticipated the backlash that would ensue, and noted that "somebody right now is on social media saying, 'oh, he caved,'" and shared that "it’s @JeffProbst on Twitter, though he also pointed out "I’ll probably never read it anyway." He went on to declare "all right, I love that we just made a change. From now on it is, 'come on in.'"

As Mairead Elordi pointed out for The Daily Wire, though, contestants referred to each other as "guys" several times throughout the episode. Even Probst used the term.

Sure enough, many social media users were less than pleased.

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In an interview between Probst and Dalton Ross with Entertainment Weekly, Ross pointed out that "I support the change."

Perhaps the most ardent supporter of the change was Bernardo Sim at Screen Rant. In "Survivor: Jeff Probst's 'Come On In Guys' Catchphrase Change Explained," Sim wrote: 

At the end of the day, this exchange is not simply about determining whether the word "guys"can be exclusionary to certain players that don't identify as men. Instead, this conversation is about people in positions of power listening to feedback and making incremental changes that create more welcoming spaces. As such, dropping "guys" from "come on in, guys" is a small but significant sign that Jeff and the production team behind him have good intentions in mind and aren't bothered by the ever-changing nature of this series. Survivor has many female and LGBTQIA+ fans from around the world, so making them feel even more welcomed into this universe is not a bad thing at all.

There are always going to be reality TV viewers who resist any changes that are made to their favorite series. But there are also many fans who love competitions like Survivor and just wish that these shows could be a little more inclusive to minorities. Thankfully, Jeff is showing that he isn't afraid to adapt to new circumstances, which is what Survivor is all about, anyway.

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Such a push for diversity isn't a one-time thing, either. As Marina Pitofsky wrote for USA Today:

Wednesday’s announcement is not the only recent push for gender or racial representation on the popular reality show. The move comes after CBS, which is home to reality series such as “Survivor” and “Big Brother,” last year announced a goal for reality shows to have casts that are 50% Black, indigenous and people of color.

An online poll from Golden Derby asks people to vote on if they agree with Probst retiring the catchphrase. As of Saturday morning, by an overwhelming majority, at 88.3 percent, said "NO -- He should have kept it the same." Just 3.11 percent said "YES -- He made the right decision," while 8.59 percent said "MEH -- I don't care either way."

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