CBS is really not a fan of millennials this fall TV season. There’s that upcoming Joel McHale show “The Great Indoors,” which centers on a 40-something journalist who is horrified that he has to work with those millennials, all obsessed with their tweets and selfie sticks.
But first, there’s “Survivor,” which offers an irresistible gimmick this season with two teams that battle against each other for the last person standing to win $1 million: Millennials vs. Gen Xers.
Basically, the narrative throughout the 90-minute premiere was that millennials are spontaneous and creative, but wildly irresponsible. And Gen Xers are very thoughtful and careful, but maybe too slow.
“This division goes a lot deeper than just old versus young,” host Jeff Probst cautioned. “This is two very different philosophical approaches to life, and what we’re going to test this season is which one is better suited to the game of ‘Survivor.'”
The premiere seemed quite anti-millennial, using a series of tropes regularly used to bash the generation, from entitlement to laziness. One scene showed that even though there was a storm brewing, the millennials preferred to goof off in the ocean than build shelter. As a result, they spent a freezing night in the rain. Later, though, they beat the Gen Xers to win the immunity challenge, as the older team had its own issues. “Our generation sees things in a different way, and as millennials, that’s our advantage,” one young contestant offered.
Anyway, here are some of the most cliche millennial tropes used throughout the premiere: (“Survivor” is defining Gen Xers as born between 1963 and 1982 and millennials as being born from 1984 to 1997. Sorry, people born in 1983, you’re nothing.)
– Millennials are too restless and immature to stay in one job.
“My generation, it’s all about doing what you want to do, and I’ve done a lot,” boasted 24-year-old Taylor, ticking off his jobs: Beekeeper, beer brewer, snowboard instructor. “I’m definitely a Peter Pan type. I’ll never grow up.”
David, a 42-year-old TV writer on Team Gen X, would not be surprised by Taylor’s path. “It took me 15 years in assistant purgatory to finally become a writer. I don’t think younger people would put that kind of time into whatever their dream is,” David said. “They would just try to find a new dream.”
– Millennials do not have real jobs.
“I play video games online for a living. And as an adult, you’re constantly told: ‘Grow up. Stop playing. It’s not a game,” said Mari, a 31-year-old from Los Angeles. “But I want to make my entire life about playing.”
– Millennials are obsessed with social media no matter what.
“I generally resent technology,” complained Zeke, a 28-year-old asset manager from Brooklyn. Still, he’s on Twitter, even though he thinks it’s “the worst thing ever invented.”
– Millennials live with their parents forever and let them pay for everything.
“I’m surprised at the 25-year-old kids that live at home and play video games all day,” said Sunday, a 45-year-old youth pastor with four children. She imitates a supposed millennial attitude: “If it takes me seven years to do school, who cares? My parents are paying for it.”
– Millennials are coddled.
“We didn’t always get a trophy to win. Only the winners got a trophy,” said Paul, the oldest contestant at 52.
“You had to go through without an iPod and an app for this and an app for that. You actually had to walk to the store and get milk. It didn’t come in a drone,” he continued, raising questions about how exactly Paul thinks millennials do their grocery shopping.
– Millennials are lazy.
“They don’t work for anything. Everything is handed to them,” CeCe, 39, said, while the millennial team looked very offended. “You have to work to get what you want, and that’s how success really comes.”
– Millennials do not think long-term.
“Gen X is looking long-term. Millennials are looking short-term!” Probst yelled as the two teams collected supplies, and it did not sound like a compliment.
– Millennials do not know how to fight.
At least, that’s our takeaway from this quote: “I know the older generation,” explained Chris, a 38-year-old trial lawyer. “They take and they actually listen, and they use those life experiences. If you have ever been knocked down, then you know how to get up and fight.”