Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Survivor South Africa Champions: Zavion and Corné - And a brand-new bromance blossoming on TV (which always starts with a shoulder slap).

There's a brand-new bromance blossoming on South African television, and its playing out - thanks to the content directors and a reciprocating shoulder slap - between Corné Krige and Zavion Kotze on Survivor South Africa: Champions on M-Net (DStv 101) on Sundays at 17:30.

Viewers tuning in to the new fifth season of the local version of the international reality show would have seen the insta bromance which is developing between the former Springbok rugby captain and the former rugby player wedding planner.

And the other Survivor South Africa: Champions contestants have picked up on the Joey-Chandler camaraderie it too.

"I just want to get picked by Corné. That's all. If I'm on Mark's team I will be quite upset. Corné please pick me, pick me, pick me," narrated Zavion Krige to camera in the first episode.

And indeed Zavion Kotze ended up being picked second by Corné Krige ("The guy at the back with the blonde hair and the straw hat and blue shirt.") during the first episode last week. Zavion responded with a "Yes! I'm on Corne's team. Yes!")

"Zavion. I won't forget your name because you cleaned them up," said Corné Krige later when the Selatan tribe properly introduced themselves.

"We've got a connection in terms of rugby. I used to play rugby with the Sharks Academy for two years after school. And we've got that to connect on, and I'm hoping that its going to carry through getting to know him better, so he can root for me to won," said Zavion."

Oh, and how to viewers' delight is that little bromance not blossoming on that island in the South China Seas.

Not just sitting together at the Selatan camp, Cor and "Big Zav" were also sitting together and right next to each other at tribal council (yes, it could be that they were set up that way by the content directors), but from their non-verbal body language you can clearly see who the leaders in this season is at the moment.

Where you sit, how you sit and who you sit with - given a choice - is one of the most obvious non-verbal cues of who we like and who we don't like. People try to sit close to (and stand and interact with) the people who they have an affinity for.

"Zavion and Corne are very tight. They're like a bromance," remarked Shona during Sunday evening's second episode.

People look but they often don't really see. Observe closely, and you will see how friends blatant mimic each other's non-verbal body language and facial expressions for instance, without even being aware of it.

You can quickly work out who's friends with whom, even if you've just arrives at an event or enter a group and don't know anybody, by looking at what people are a mirror of each other's faces.

Do you still have Sunday's episode of Survivor South Africa: Champions on your PVR or DStv Catch-Up or On Demand?

Go back to the first tribal council and look at Zavion's face and Corne's facial expressions.

They constantly make the exact same facial expressions, given the same verbal cues, even when they're not looking at each other - for instance leaning forward, gazing down, even when they're not looking at each other (go see if you can spot it).

Fascinating huh, when you know what to specifically look for.

One swallow does not make a summer, but once you notice a repeat pattern you can trust it.

So you'll quickly see, and would be able to gauge the level of the friendship between Zavion and Corne. It's clear they are much better friends with an instantly high level of trust from the outset than any of the other remaining contestants on either tribes.

They sit the same, they shoulder slap the same (doesn't it always start with a shoulder slap?) and the adorable burly duo even make and echo back the same little laugh in the clip above if you study it closely for your sociological perusal.

Yes. Now do you see how the one gorilla is signalling to the other gorilla that they're running the show together?

And speaking of sociology, lets get to Survivor South Africa: Champions' first tribal council. The whole of Selatan - including Corné Krige - were answering dishonestly. Lying, lying, lying.

Look at how someone would shake their head from side to side in the negative while trying to give a positive to an answer.

Look at how they "uhm" in the middle of a sentence just before blurting out something they have to make up (a lie or half-truth or justification); the eye-blinking while talking (I want to hide with my eyes because what I say with my mouth is fake), the quick downward gazes (admitting defeat or your body non-verbally admitting you're "caught in a lie"), the shoulder shrugs.

It's all too much, yet fascinating television. With Zavion Kotze and Corné Krige as the first very strong relationship in Survivor South Africa: Champions, it will be interesting to see what other strong relationships take shape on that island.

(PS: A long time ago before I had a Samsung Galaxy, far, far away, when Survivor SA first came to South Africa, this journalist was one of the journalists who played a real-life version of the game in Media Survivor, and actually managed to win. And yes. I study micro-expressions since having watched Lie to Me.)