Grading the Fake Idols of Survivor

Since the premiere of Survivor: Healers vs. Healers vs. Hustlers, there has been talk and anticipation about how Chrissy would use what amounts to a professional fake idol to her advantage. “Excellent,” I thought to myself. “That will give me an opportunity to write about the fake idols of seasons past. And then I waited. And waited. And waited.

And then Ben made one instead, so here we are. There have been several instances of fake idols since hidden immunity idols were introduced, and I’m going to judge them all. The criteria are craftsmanship (or how realistic the idol is), effectiveness (or how much it changed the game), and entertainment value (or how much joy it brought).

Note: Jaime Dugan playing a non-idol is delightful, for sure. But as it’s not so much a fake idol as it was a mistaken idol, and thus will not be included here. However, it was, in fact, hilarious and gets an honorable mention for being the first time Probst threw a false idol in the fire.

Survivor: Fiji – It’s Not a Turtle

It has a face on it.

Craftsmanship: C
This may seem high for a painted coconut with a few holes, but Yau-Man gets bonus points for being the first person to make a fake idol.
Effectiveness: F
Nothing actually happened with the idol, and we’re in the land of results-oriented thinking today.
Entertainment Value: C+
You never forget your first, no matter how subpar.

Survivor: Micronesia – It’s a Fucking Stick

It also has a face on it. Kind of.

Craftsmanship: F
I mean, it’s a fucking stick.
Effectiveness: D
While Jason was fooled by the idol, ultimately this hurt Ozzy’s game when Eliza played it and exposed him for having the idol.
Entertainment Value: A+
From Jason thinking the idol was real, to Eliza’s reaction to finally seeing it, to James and Ozzy at Tribal Council after Eliza played it, this was the gift that keeps on giving.

Survivor: Gabon – The Art of Trolling

Now THAT’S a face.

Craftsmanship: A-
At last, someone put some real effort into their fake idol, allowing non-idiots to fall for it.
Effectiveness: B
It’s not like Randy was going to be tough to vote out, but this did endear Bob to people like Sugar and Crystal, which helped him to get to the end and ultimately win.
Entertainment Value: A+
In addition to the schadenfreude of seeing Randy and Corinne get some comeuppance (rewatch the clip and see how smug she looks), watching Sugar and Crystal barely be able to contain their laughter before the reveal shows how satisfying trolling your enemies can be.

Survivor: Heroes vs. Villains – It’s a Fucking Rock

It doesn’t even have a face on it!

Craftsmanship: F
It’s literally just a rock in his pocket.
Effectiveness: A
And yet, that rock spooked Russell and the Villains enough that they split the vote, allowing Colby and Rupert to piggyback and get revenge on Candice.
Entertainment Value: C
Look, he put a rock in his pocket.

Survivor: Worlds Apart – Joey is Amazing

I bet it would have worked if there was a face.

Craftsmanship: B+
Joe put his jeweler skills to the test and made a lovely idol, but the centerpiece being a carved piece of wood is likely to drive suspicion.
Effectiveness: C+
Once he was talked into handing it over to Mike, the fake idol basically lost all value for Joe. But Mike did manage to use it with his real idol, which spooked Tyler and Will into voting Dan, revealing some cracks in the Axis of Evil.
Entertainment Value: C-
Maybe if it had actually saved Shirin it would score higher, but by sheer virtue of being a moment from Worlds Apart makes it tough to get even a passing grade.

Survivor: Millennials vs. Gen X – Jay is Going Home

Jay and Adam are shocked, despite the fake idol not having a face.

Craftsmanship: B+
The idol itself isn’t particularly special, but David’s ability to get it inside a seemingly sealed coconut with (the wrong color) paint helped it look more realistic. It even had the note!
Effectiveness: A-
The goal was to have Jay find this fake idol so he would stop looking and thus, not find the real one. That certainly happened! Sure, David got lucky that Jay stumbled across that path first, before seeing the real idol. But again, we’re results-oriented right now.
Entertainment Value: A
It may not be as splashy as the Micronesia or Gabon fake idol plays, but it does highlight how delightful of a Survivor character Jay is. He takes out the idol, bursting in confidence and playfully proclaiming that he’s not going home, while everyone but David freaks out. Then, Jeff reveals the idol is fake. Jay takes a beat to process, and then quickly shifts gears to “You got me!” and leaves the game smiling. “Go ahead Jeffery, snuff my torch.” I tweeted this the night of the finale, but it bears repeating: If that exit doesn’t make you want to see Jay come back, I don’t know what to tell you.

Bonus: 

Someone put together a compilation of every time a fake (or mistaken… looking at you Jaime) idol played at a tribal council.

Emma
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Emma

Emma is the token chick of the Purple Rock Podcast. She has watched the show continuously since the second episode and is pretty sure she's never seen the pilot.

Favorite seasons: Heroes vs. Villains, Micronesia, Cambodia, Cook Islands, China, Philippines

Favorite players: Courtney Yates, Parvati Shallow, John Cochran, Cirie Fields, Yul Kwon, Kim Spradlin
Emma
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  • pufflehuff

    Hoorah for the return of Emma’s listicles! Jay’s roller coaster of joy-shock-good grace is very special, but it’s hard to wrest ‘it’s a fucking stick’ from its top place in fake idol entertainment. Also, it’s a fucking stick had a face, which is more than David’s did, so…

    Wentworth’s fake idol from Cambodia also deserves an honorary mention, even if Keith ruined all its potential strategic/entertainment value. Bonus points for repurposing birthday gifts!

    • purplerockandy

      There actually was another Wentworth fake idol play: Dale in SJDS. It’s easy to forget, since like most fake idol plays, it was worthless.

      • Purple Rock Emma

        Unlike Kelley’s, I actually did remember Dale’s but chose to ignore it since it basically added nothing.

        • purplerockandy

          I support this.

    • Purple Rock Emma

      My only excuse for missing Kelley’s was that I was quite literally feverish while writing this. Also because the video embedded at the end only showed idols that were played and Cambodia aired after our 30 from 30 series. So I have three excuses.

      • pufflehuff

        I was really convinced by your excuses until you got to the ‘Cambodia aired after 30 from 30’ bit which er, so did MvGX. It’s okay, though: you’re part of the PRP Establishment, you’ve got to give people something to revolt against…

        • Purple Rock Emma

          Yes, but the MvGX fake idol was featured in the video. Come on, dude.

          • pufflehuff

            still though, it’s like that podcast you did with wentworth meant nothing. #wow

          • Purple Rock Emma

            Feverish!

          • pufflehuff

            Once you were literally feverish, that’s grand.

  • Alkanarra

    Despite it only being a year ago, I forgot all about David’s fake idol, which was executed well, worked exactly as intended, and didn’t even hurt him with that jury member’s vote. I’d also argue it was done out of earnest strategy with no intention to troll another player, though that would go against the proclamation of noted armchair analyst and Lauren fan Andy.

    Instead I’ll say that of all the contestants who just missed FTC and most deserved to win… it’s Cirie. But if it weren’t Cirie… it’s Wentworth. But if it weren’t Cirie or Wentworth… it’s Malcolm. I guess the point is David is there somewhere.

    • pufflehuff

      I just watched that compilation video and was impressed with how well + graciously David handled that moment.

      I also noticed that the hashtag for that moment was wow, which #wow.

    • Blurry Denzel

      Sounds like a list to me, and probably one I’ve already done but I’ll do it again.

      Most deserving winners that missed FTC

      1. Cirie (Mirconesia)
      2. Rob C. (Amazon)
      3. Wentworth (Cambodia)
      4. Cirie (Panama)
      5. Malcolm (Phillipines)
      6. David (MvGX)
      7. Kathy (Marquesas)
      8. Holly (Nicaragua)
      9. Cirie (Game Changers)
      10. Cydney (Kaoh Rong)

      Cirie is the best!!

      • pufflehuff

        I think you forgot Ashley Underwood.

        • Blurry Denzel

          1b. Ashley Underwood (Redemption Island)

          She is the uncrowned queen.

          • pufflehuff

            Maybe she wins the ‘Managed to Fail at being a Proper Goat’ Least Deserving People to almost make the FTC.

            1. Ashley Underwood
            2. Jan from Thailand
            3. ‘Lunchlady’ Denise.
            4. Dog-bar Dreamer Eddie.
            5. Probably somebody from One World.

          • Blurry Denzel

            That’s a good topic. Ashley Underwood wasn’t shown as anything until all of a sudden she had Boston Rob shooked because she was willing to go after him and seemed nice after all the work he put in the first 36 days.

          • Also, she had an immunity streak going.

          • Blurry Denzel

            That too, if Boston Rob wasn’t perhaps the best ever at puzzles we could be looking at Ashley Underwood Survivor winner.

          • purplerockandy

            Goddamn that season was garbage.

          • Blurry Denzel

            What a weird alternate universe where Ashley is a winner, Boston Rob just finished a stint on Gamechangers and Super Duper Fan is singing the praises of Baylor Wilson.

          • Assistant Dragon Slayer

            Hmm. Is Boston Rob in some ways just The Russell Who Doesn’t Suck? And is even that designation solely contingent on Rob winning (and Russell getting smoked in) Redemption Island?

          • Max_Jets

            Russell couldn’t win against anyone in HvV, but likely could have beat Shambo and Jaison in Samoa. Is there anyone Rob could have won against in All Stars? Jenna, maybe?

          • Super duper fan

            I think Rob could’ve beaten Amber if he owned better his game for Shii Ann. She was basically a swing vote.

          • Super duper fan

            Hmph, Baylor could only wish to even be an ounce of a legend which is The Lord and Savior of Survivor Ashley Underwood. She is basically to Her as is PRP to other podcasts.

          • Blurry Denzel

            Obviously. But if Ashley had won then everyone would already recognize her grearness. Someone else would’ve needed someone to bring attention to their greatness. Also, I have a strange feeling that it was almost Baylor anyway.

          • Super duper fan

            Hmm, maybe. We’ll never know either way. But it’s not like I choose my favourites at random like in a deal, so I sincerely doubt it.

          • Blurry Denzel

            So I’m super egotistical and was thinking if I was to rank the best contributions I’ve made to this site, a bet of some kind that resulted in another commenter stanning for a random player that turned out way better than anyone could imagine would be close to the top of the list. I’m not saying that’s what happen here though.

          • Saturday Night Palsy

            But who’s feet are better looking for a foot challenge?

          • Hornacek

            Katie Collins?

          • Saturday Night Palsy

            If there is one thing that I have actually learned from Survivor, it’s that feet are not an undiscovered kink of mine.

          • Remember that Ashley beat him in a puzzle.

          • pufflehuff

            Are we sure that this season’s Ashley isn’t actually Ashley Underwood in disguise? I haven’t seen them together ever, which seems proof enough.

          • I’m sure. Ashley U looked to be really short like ashley t is a bit taller.

          • pufflehuff

            if height is the only way to tell them apart that does not bode well.

          • Also, they have different pigment of blonde hair.

          • pufflehuff

            I feel like I need somebody to do a Count the Kellys style listicle so I can be sure that all the Survivor blonde Ashleys are different people.

          • Max_Jets

            Hey now, Ashley is somehow the best person on that list!

          • the sky is falling

            TBF, it would have been pretty tough to out-goat the KOAG, The Specialist. It was very unlikely that Phillip wouldn’t get dragged to the end.

          • pufflehuff

            Unless she pulled a Panama Cirie and got him out but that might have been a bit beyond the strategic play level that season!

          • Maritimer

            Definitely Christina from One World

          • pufflehuff

            Thanks, I haven’t seen One World but I was pretty sure the final boot was a goat.

        • Super duper fan

          Someone who finally speaks my language!

      • Alkanarra

        Oh yeah, I forgot about Rob. *Maybe* Fairplay, though not higher than any of the people there already.

        • Blurry Denzel

          I actually forgot about Fairplay. He deserves a mention, though if only he wasn’t such an asshole during that season and the huge final five blunder. He did have some good strategy. The wrestling heel version of Rob C.

      • Mike Hirsch

        Micronesia seems almost designed to ensure Cirie loses. Like, “oh hey, by the way, we’re having a final two.”

        • Blurry Denzel

          That sucked and no way could Cirie have known. The thing is, I don’t think she wins in a final three.

          • Mike Hirsch

            Maybe not, but she definitely deserved to be there.

          • Blurry Denzel

            Absolutely. I wonder which would’ve been worse for me as a Cirie superfan, Cirie doesn’t make it to FTC or does and loses. I think reality is worse because of the unknown.

          • purplerockandy

            The missing part of the calculus of what would have happened if Cirie made the Micronesia FTC is what happens when she gets to argue her case in front of a jury. Especially in comparison to Amanda and Parvati, who both sucked at it.

          • Blurry Denzel

            I agree with that and obviously we’ll never know what would’ve happened. But if I had to speculate, I think Ozzy and James votes for Amanda no matter what. I also think Alexis and Natalie vote Parvati. I believe for Cirie to win, she needs the other three. As much as I want it to be true that she would’ve won Micronesia, she was the best player on that island, I’m not sure she would’ve.

          • purplerockandy

            I think James and Alexis could have been had by Cirie.

          • Blurry Denzel

            Perhaps, if anyone can get those votes it would be Cirie. I just think with the relationships they had with the people they voted for, it would be really tough for them to go a different direction.

          • purplerockandy

            Alexis and Natalie were working with Cirie to oust Amanda, not Parvati.

          • Blurry Denzel

            They were and smart on their parts because Amanda was Parv’s #1 and taking a spot from one of them. That doesn’t mean Parvati wasn’t still their favorite.

          • Purple Rock Emma

            She definitely gets Eliza’s vote.

          • Blurry Denzel

            That’s the one I feel is a lock for Cirie.

          • Purplerockmatt

            she also definitely gets Erik’s vote

          • Hornacek
        • Maritimer

          Except that I think that final challenge was designed to her strengths as best they could, short of doing a challenge about manipulating people

          • giorgos

            Yep that challenge was tailor made for Cirie to win and she still lost.

      • Super duper fan

        I will spare you for at least mentioning the Legend Ashley Underwood below…for now.

  • I went into this season high on fake idols but with absolutely nothing coming of Chrissy’s fake idol and the constant barraging by Andy about it has caused me to succumb. I will stand by the fact that a fake idol MIGHT be a good way to keep people from looking for the real one IF you’re lucky enough that they find the fake one first (finding idols is largely luck based anyway so throwing a fake idol into the mix can’t hurt in that situation and it might actually help). Other than that I think I’m out on fake idols at this point from a strategic perspective.

    But from an entertainment perspective? Never stop trolling Survivors. Never stop trolling.

    • Max_Jets

      I do still wish we had seen what would have happened if Wentworth told Keith her idol was real. I could see that turning into something.

  • Blurry Denzel

    Goddamn, Jay is so likable. I really love that cast more and more I think they belong amongst the best newbie casts ever.

    • I knew it was a good season, I enjoyed it a lot, but in the absence of good Survivor with the current newbie cast it makes me appreciate MvGX even more.

      • Blurry Denzel

        I agree. MvGX was so exciting. Everyone came to play a game, have fun with it and actually make some savvy moves and they were all interesting in their own ways.

        • I had a looooooooong period of being in and out on Survivor between Palau and Worlds Apart, so I’ve missed a lot of good seasons. Considering the seasons I have seen, MvGX is the best newbie season I’ve personally seen since Pearl Islands and that’s pretty crazy when I think about it.

          • Blurry Denzel

            Out of the seasons between Palau and Worlds Apart, I would say China, Tocantins and Cagayan are up there on the best newbie casts. Cagayan is my pick for best ever.

          • And those are sadly three seasons that I have yet to watch. They also happen to be the very three seasons I’m debating on watching next (after HvHvH is over).

          • purplerockandy

            I think we can count Philippines as a newbie cast.

          • Blurry Denzel

            Then that season also belongs on the list.

          • Another one I haven’t seen that’s on the short list to watch next. I am going to need help making a decision…

          • Philippines is fantastic.

          • Yeah the short list is that, Cagayan, China, and Tocantins, and the deciding factor is going to be which season is the best one to bring my wife back on board with Survivor. She was with me from Cambodia through Game Changers but I’ve COMPLETELY lost her because of this season which is just another reason why I am down on it.

          • Max_Jets

            Cagayan would get anyone back on board.

          • Blurry Denzel

            I’m going to suggest what the great Kemper Boyd tells me. Philippines is perfect for getting people into Survivor. Follow that up with Cagayan and it’s either a done deal or it’s never going to happen.

          • I need big personalities if I’m going to win her over. I need people you really want to get behind and someone you love to hate. Big moments. Juicy conflict but not anything over the top. If Phillipines can deliver this then I will go for it.

          • Blurry Denzel

            Philippines has all of those.

          • Yeah I am really thinking it’s down to that or Tocantins, which is crazy because I thought for sure I’d want to watch Cagayan before anything. She was really turned off by Tony during GCs though and she liked Woo during Cambodia, so…

          • Saturday Night Palsy

            That is Tocantins in a nutshell. Excellent heroes, villains that you love to hate, and a satisfying outcome.

            Plus everyone here just rewatched Phillipines in the off season. If you choose Tocantins, people may watch with you. In fact, the PRP people kind of owe me one for that fake poll stunt, so maybe they can be convinced to do a Tocantins rewatch in the off season.

          • Blurry Denzel

            I would easily watch Phillipines again.

          • Saturday Night Palsy

            But wouldn’t you also watch Tocantins?

          • Blurry Denzel

            Yeah, i guess. I am also committed to Cambodia/Palau this off-season, so there’s a lot.

          • Saturday Night Palsy

            I’m considering doing a straight run through the jungle this next year. Season 1 to the present. But that may be too big of an undertaking.

          • Assistant Dragon Slayer

            I’m thinking about doing the same thing. One episode a day for 16 months. In fact I watched episode 1 of Borneo just last night trying to decide if I actually want to commit to it. I was shocked that Hatch got a “I’m winning the million dollars” confessional not 10 minutes in.

            The only seasons I haven’t seen are 2-5. I thought that if I’m tackling those I should just rewatch Borneo also. Then I thought that I’ll need to watch Amazon as an antidote to Thailand. Etc etc.

          • If and when I finish the seasons I haven’t seen I think Palau is one I’d have to rewatch. I didn’t like it when it aired, so much so that I stopped watching Survivor for a while, but it ranks so high on so many people’s lists that I feel like there’s a huge disconnect between my memories and reality.

          • F***ing Stick

            Do you remember what it was about Palau that you didn’t like at the time?

          • A few things:
            – The opening that immediately cut two players left a bad taste in my mouth
            – Tom’s dominance was obvious but nobody ever did anything about it, it annoyed the crap out of me
            – Janu quit, annoying me further
            – Katie drove me crazy, not in a good way
            – Ian’s quit in the final immunity challenge was the last straw for me. I think I was screaming at the TV “Why didn’t you all just give Tom the freaking million dollar check weeks ago!” It was infuriating.

            After All Stars disappointed me and Vanuatu was lousy, three seasons in a row where I was dissatisfied made me think I needed a break.

          • F***ing Stick

            Fair enough. All of those are, IMO, very valid criticisms of that season, although not all of them annoyed me as much. For instance, the Janu quit didn’t bother me that much when I watched it live because I loved Steph and wanted her to stay. With Ian quitting at the FIC, by the end of that season, especially when I rewatched it recently, I really just felt bad for the guy with how much Tom and especially Katie had messed with him emotionally.

            I don’t have it rated quite as high as some people, but I think one reason it gets rated so high is that it’s such a unique season, with the fall of Ulong, and we will never see anything quite like it again. Some people also find it fascinating how “dark” it gets towards the end of the season.

          • I get the argument about the unique circumstances leading to one tribe completely eliminating the other, I appreciate it, but that never did it for me. Quite the contrary actually, for me it contributed to the fact that the entire season was so completely lopsided towards Tom which I did not enjoy.

          • F***ing Stick

            Fair enough. It still might be worth rewatching it when you get the chance, but I wouldn’t be surprised if you still don’t like it.

          • Yeah I think I have to do it someday, the discrepancy between my memory and how it’s perceived at large is just too big for me to ignore. Maybe I will think differently.

          • The rest of PRP rewatching the season may sway me as well. I like your strategy.

          • purplerockandy

            It’s not happening.

          • Blurry Denzel

            Way to not only pour gasoline on dreams but use a flamethrower to ignite it.

          • purplerockandy

            We have other plans.

          • Blurry Denzel

            I figured

          • Do those plans involve a season that includes the things mentioned above?

          • purplerockandy

            No.

          • Aaaaaaaaaaaand there goes that point.

          • pufflehuff

            I think Philippines is an excellent choice but to add a twist to your debate, China is a really solid all newbie season to watch and has great characters (James + Courtney!) a solid comeuppance story for a villain and some nice strategy + over-strategizing. And some good conflict but nothing that makes you want to smash the TV.

            Plus I think it has one of the most likable casts & (like Tocantins) it’s also one of the nice midseasons where there’s a small enough cast that everybody gets some spotlight.

          • Yeah China has been under consideration as well given what I’ve heard about the cast, I am familiar enough with some of them having seen their returnee seasons. Courtney in particular is a big draw since I did not get enough of her when I saw HvV. And Todd’s name gets thrown around a lot, I’m interested to see what his path was.

          • Try tocantins maybe to give more context to Cambodia Stephen.

          • The way people talk about the Tocantins cast makes it sound like it would be a good match for her. Plus I’ve seen some of that cast’s returning seasons so I know a little bit of what we’re in for.

          • It’s the last “classic” season despite exile island and idols being in play.

          • Yeah that’s another point in it’s favor, I almost want something with an old school feel since she’s only seen modern era Survivor and I don’t think she completely understands why I fell in love with the show back in the day.

          • Saturday Night Palsy

            Tocantins is the best!

          • Oh it’s in the running for sure based on what I’ve heard. Blurry is really pushing me towards Philippines though. You need to sell it harder.

          • Saturday Night Palsy

            I don’t care for any of the three returnees in Phillipines. That season has it’s moments, but it also has Abi-Maria. Tocantins has Tyson and Coach at their absolute best, it has the second best loved ones visit ever, and it is easily the funniest Survivor season ever. At times it feels like a Survivor mocumentary.

            Tl;dr: Tocantins is the American Vandal of Survivor seasons.

          • Humor is a point in it’s favor. However, a point against: We watched Blood vs. Water together and she did not dig Tyson. Counterpoint: she doesn’t like him and he doesn’t win that season so she might actually enjoy seeing him get booted.

            Tyson’s a stalemate. Not sure what she would think of Coach…

            Still a tight race between Philippines and Tocantins.

          • Saturday Night Palsy

            Really? Tyson in BvW got me back into Survivor. He’s much more arrogant and villainous in Tocantins and his exit is satisfying. Coach is at his most tolerable and is downright hilarious. Editing just straight up trolls him the whole time. The loved ones visit, man! I get giddy with anticipation just thinking about it!

          • OK so that actually favors Tocantins because I need a good villain for her.

          • Blurry Denzel

            Abi is a great villain. Jeff Kent is awesome to possibly root against. Actually either season is great so there isn’t a wrong answer. Philippines is just a little better of a season.

          • Saturday Night Palsy

            Phillipines has a real life villain in it and he’s not great to watch.

          • Blurry Denzel

            I didn’t mention him!!!! Though it makes Artis more fun when he just craps all over him.

          • Saturday Night Palsy

            That’s because Artis isn’t fun. You can’t be less fun than no fun!

          • Max_Jets

            Pete is a good villain too. Tandang is just Lisa and the villains.

          • Blurry Denzel

            Yes!! Pete Bro is an awesome villain. The perfect amount of harmless bro guy.

          • Saturday Night Palsy

            Abi-Marie and Petebro are such inferior villains to Coach and Tyson.

          • Yeah she didn’t like Abi during Cambodia, good villains, that’s a point for Philippines.

          • Saturday Night Palsy

            With Tocantins you get two.

          • Assistant Dragon Slayer

            You can’t go wrong with either season (or China or Cagayan). I don’t know if it’s important to you, but I’d say that Philippines is the closest to a normal standard-issue season of Survivor. China is not on a beach and in Tocantins and Cagayan, one player hogs a lot of air time.

          • Blurry Denzel

            That’s a good point. While there are still a couple of “purple” players, the storytelling in the season is super balanced with the cast. Also when the purple players do get their moments, it’s great with Katie’s foul-mouthed badass scrambling and everything Carter.

          • Max_Jets

            “Tocantins is the American Vandal of Survivor seasons”
            Well, Tocantins is great, but let’s not get carried away.

            Abi Maria is also a selling point, damn it!

          • Saturday Night Palsy

            Holy cow! I just realized that your user name is an anagram of “Abi-Maria”!

            Tocantins really is the best, though.

          • Assistant Dragon Slayer

            Erinn drew the dicks.

          • Blurry Denzel

            I just finished American Vandal and I loved it so so much. I think the best live action show Netflix has put out all year.

          • Assistant Dragon Slayer

            I loved American Vandal too. It’s amazing how they kept a single joke going for eight episodes. Best Netflix show of the year is a tough call though. I guess Kimmy Schmidt and OITNB took a slight step back this year, but Master of None and GLOW were fantastic. I’ve heard MIndhunter and Alias Grace are great too.

          • Blurry Denzel

            Netflix still had some other strong stuff and it may not be wise to make that strong statement two weeks before Black Mirror.

          • Assistant Dragon Slayer

            Oh good point. Like how Beyonce ended the album of the year discussion at the last minute in 2013.

          • Blurry Denzel

            Yeah, like that. Late running shows ruining publications top ten lists.

          • Purple Rock Emma

            I just started it yesterday! The layout of the high school really reminds me of my high school, but I don’t buy that many SoCal kids going to summer camp.

          • Blurry Denzel

            Similar to the layout of my high school in Florida. Also not many of us went to summer camp.

          • Purple Rock Emma

            Summer camp always felt like a New England thing to me.

          • Assistant Dragon Slayer

            That’s a real school in the real Oceanside (where my dad lived after he retired).

          • sharculese

            What gets scary is when you reach the point around episode 7 when you really start to want to know who did the dicks.

          • Max_Jets

            I think it’s the best Netflix original, period, though that’s if I exclude Black Mirror from the conversation.

          • Saturday Night Palsy

            I tend to focus on the villains too much, so I just want to add that the heroes of Tocantins are just as awesome and are extremely easy to root for.

          • Blurry Denzel

            As are players like Denise, Lisa, and Malcolm.

          • Saturday Night Palsy

            Yeah, they’re almost as easy to root for.

          • Blurry Denzel

            They are. Some might say even easier though idk who would be debating the topic.

          • Saturday Night Palsy

            People like you and me.

          • Blurry Denzel

            Besides us, SNP, besides us!!

    • pufflehuff

      I feel like MvGX is really getting a Heros Vs Villains boost in a ‘Moment of Joy before Seasons of Despair’ type way.

      I would be fine if they shelved whatever is next and just brought back the exact same MvGX tribe two years later.

    • Mike Hirsch

      The post-merge group was about as entertaining as I’ve seen in a long time.

      • Almost ideal really looking at the cast, though I would have loved it if Michaela had made the merge.

        • Mike Hirsch

          Yeah, maybe swap out Sunday for Michaela.

          • That’s exactly what I was thinking. No offense Sunday.

          • Max_Jets

            I’d swap Will. Sunday seemed interesting but was invisible, while Will was kind of annoying.

        • Max_Jets

          I still wish we had a season with Figgy/Michaela/Michelle going deep, but what we got was still great.

          • Assistant Dragon Slayer

            Do you want a “phrasing” reply? Because that’s how you get “phrasing” replies!

          • Max_Jets

            I almost typed “in the endgame” but thought to myself that I would be happy with them all getting to around final 8 and felt that “going deep” seemed less strong.

          • Super duper fan

            yada yada #bringbackthemotherofdragons yada yada

      • Blurry Denzel

        Even people I wasn’t expecting much from like Sunday and Will brought some good shit to the table.

    • giorgos

      I agree but pretty much the Millenials do all of the heavy lifting. GenX wasn’t anything special but Adam, Hanna, Jay, Zeke, Faylor, Michelle and Michaela is my favorite newbie tribe ever. Even invisible teenager Will Wahl had his moment.

      • the sky is falling

        That was definitely not great casting of Gen X stereotype personalities.

        I will never forgive the Millennials versus Generation X season for the constant false characterizations of Generation X being ‘hard-working and ambitious’.

        We were the first slackers!

    • Maritimer

      I started commenting here because I needed somewhere to talk about my obnoxious crush on Jay. He’s amazing.

      • Saturday Night Palsy

        Have you really only been here since MvGX? Were you at the AVClub?

        • Maritimer

          Yes, really. I started lurking during Cambodia but didn’t comment, other than picking a fantasy team, until around the merge of MvGX. I was never at AVClub

          • Saturday Night Palsy

            Huh, I thought you’d been around longer than that. You have sound opinions on Survivor, sir.

          • Hornacek

            Canadians really understand the game.

          • Saturday Night Palsy

            It makes up for their deficiency in television theme song knowledge.

          • Hornacek

            Glad that I could toss that one to you right over the plate, underhand, from 2 feet away, so you could swing and hit it.

          • Maritimer

            Well, thank you! At least I know I’m memorable

    • Super duper fan

      The cast was SO great. Even the ones that I didn’t enjoy as much due to some reasons (Taylor, Ken) still brought something to the table. The only weak part of the cast for me were the pre-merge Gen-Xers, but I could see for example Lucy even being a really good character in other season.

  • Mike Hirsch

    I’m sure that someday, someone may come along with some fake idol scheme that is actually useful in a way we haven’t thought of, and we’ll be like “oh my god, that was amazing!” and Andy will say, “But was it, though? Here’s why it wasn’t.” Until that day comes, I will mostly side on the “they’re dumb but occasionally entertaining” camp.

    • Alkanarra

      To be fair, lulling people into a false sense of security is useful. We’ve seen so many players get both arrogant and lazy the moment they’re safe for one vote, which makes things easier if you know they’re not. So the idea of using a fake idol isn’t dumb.

      The problem is that most people don’t consider the social ramifications of that trade off, which isn’t specific to fake idols at all. Sometimes it’s OK to say “lowering this person’s guard isn’t worth the blow back when they get blindsided”, but it’s a TV show and they want to look impressive and flashy so they make what is essentially a bad trade.

      So while you can’t discount the entire value of a fake idol, you have to look at it like any blindside or lie: is it worth the risk to my social game. And the majority of players — especially the ones who proclaim themselves to be strategic players — don’t quite realize how damaging all those lies and tricks can actually be to their game. Doubly so if they’re “fans of the game” who think that just because the show is predicated on deception that the deceived will be 100% OK with being on the receiving end.

      And then there’s Kim Spradlin who can kinda do whatever she wants.

      • Assistant Dragon Slayer

        Right. The Triple-H castaways are obviously not masterminds, but one thing they have done well is to think about what happens AFTER whatever Big Move is under consideration. That’s what Zeke, for example, needed to do more of. On the other hand, that kind of thinking led to unanimous votes before the merge and a Pagonging after, so…

    • purplerockandy

      Here’s the other problem with fake idol plays: REAL idol plays often simply just delay the inevitable. Even the most effective fake idol play of all-time (Rupert’s rock) just kept him in the game for three more days.

      Which means that fake idol plays are probably only useful for people who don’t really need an idol (like David in MvGX). Which probably also means that the fake idol play was also superfluous.

      • Mike Hirsch

        Right. Like, good for David for staving off a bit of boredom, but it definitely wasn’t necessary.

      • Max_Jets

        But if David hadn’t won immunity and Jay DID find the real idol, David probably would have been idoled out. Sure, it’s delaying the inevitable of Jay being voted out. But it’s saving David’s ass.

        • purplerockandy

          IF Jay is the one who finds it. IF he doesn’t find the real idol first. IF he doesn’t find the real idol after.

          Or, frankly, this assumes he ever would’ve found the real one.

          • purplerockandy

            Also, Jay winning immunity undoes all these benefits that had a very low chance at mattering in the first place.

          • Max_Jets

            Sure, there are many variables at play and the chance of it mattering are low but that doesn’t mean it has zero strategic value. Wouldn’t it plausible that David increased his chances of staying another round by, say, 3%? Even something small like that makes it worthwhile.

          • purplerockandy

            I’ll allow that it might make it worthwhile to do. It doesn’t make it worthwhile to be a thing that fans keep talking about like it’s a tactic that matters.

            But, hey, looks like we’ll get another fake idol ploy next week, so maybe I’ll be wrong? (Note: I’m never wrong).

  • TheForRealDeal

    Survivor: Healers vs. Healers vs. Hustlers? I expect this kind of editorial sloppiness from the Washington Post, but here? Expect a strongly worded letter to your editor in chief.

    • purplerockandy

      I’m leaving it.

      • TheForRealDeal

        Good. I couldn’t be bothered to screenshot it.

    • Saturday Night Palsy

      The only real hero out there is Ryan.

    • Roswulf

      My local telecast keeps calling this Survivor Fiji, which gets me excited and then disappointed every week, and also may have been a spoiler.

  • Maritimer

    This got me thinking about the 30 from 30 series and the following question: Would anything that has happened in seasons 31-now bump anything from the 30 from 30 list? I know its hard to assess because its hard to see how recent things will effect the game long term, but I argue no. If there’s some evidence of them cutting back on advantages, maybe advantagegeddon gets in there, but that’s all I can think of. The rock drawn that shouldn’t have happened is the other ting that comes to mind but I can’t really see a new significance to it

    • Blurry Denzel

      The Michele win could be something that makes the list

      • Maritimer

        We’ve had winners like Michele before though (Amber, Natalie). Her win would have more to do with editing changes

        • Blurry Denzel

          Editing changes and perhaps future game mechanic changes.

          • Maritimer

            Right, those. I’d say you could argue the direct line there, though misguided thinking by production, would shape Survivor if the mechanic change turns out to be significant

          • I don’t want to do a list based on editing changes, but game mechanics could be interesting since probst has talked about how much he hates Michele’s win.

          • Blurry Denzel

            Has he? I must’ve missed the dozens of times he’s mentioned it in interviews.

        • purplerockandy

          The new tribal council format.

    • The Incident from last season could be seen as the point where there is a clear line defined between The Game and Real Life.

      • Maritimer

        Yeah, this is one. I think I pushed it from my mind when considering this post.

    • The moment where all the moving about and whispering that happened in the Malcolm tribal council.

      • Maritimer

        Yeah, now that its been done again, I think that’s a good choice, if continues to be a trend. You could also argue that the first “live” tribal (the….Jeff Kent vote?) would be the basis for what we see now and make that moment

        • If live tribal was to make the cut, you would have to give credit to the Jeff Kent tribal. It is cool that the innovator of the live tribal was taken out by a live tribal.

          • F***ing Stick

            And on top of that, he was taken out by an idol when he was (at the time) 2nd in Career Idols Found.

          • He was tied with Tony, right?

          • F***ing Stick

            Yeah. The two of them were behind Russel (although True Dork Times lists Malcolm ahead of Tony on that list because Malcolm also “held” Reynold’s idol). They were eventually passed by Tai later in the season.

          • Oh I remember. Tai kept me in champions league last year.

          • F***ing Stick

            Haha, nice!

          • Blurry Denzel

            Speaking of live tribals, if there was one classic tribal I would make changes to, it’s Caramoan and Three Amigos. It’s almost perfect but a couple strategic changes and it may be best ever.

          • Is that Phillip’s boot?

          • Blurry Denzel

            Yes

          • Okay, that was the last I have seen of Caramoan.

          • Blurry Denzel

            So my goal for that tribal would be either for Malcolm to have at least one idol after that tribal or someone better than Phillip leaving, like Cochran, Dawn or Andrea.

          • The problem there is that Phillip was so accepting of that fate and those three wanted to free of that burden, so they took that chance and it paid out for at least two of them.

        • the sky is falling

          Stay in your damn seats! is all I have to say about the new ‘live tribal’ thing. https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/51d60d9cd87d8eb03e48d69ae0f141e363021620299efc1faf1d678cd3a22a3d.jpg

          • Super duper fan

            At least the last episode HAD a “live tribal” rather than it being said it is.

          • I am pretty sure that Chrissy called it a live tribal.

          • You are not the only one who thinks that. I agree that it makes the show worse but can change the game. Buut if I was ever on Survivor I would yell at whispering people to speak up to my face or sit the hell down.

    • Super duper fan

      It’s still way to early to say for sure, and there isn’t any evidence supporting it so far, but I think Jeremy and Adam winning in such blowouts will make contestants more paranoid the “sob stories”. Maybe Ben is already an example, even though he is still in the game, but I think it’s more due to some unusual circumstances.

      • sharculese

        Jeremy and Adam were both already winning. Jeremy’s story swung exactly one vote (Ciera was thinking about voting for Spencer.) Nobody respected Hannah’s or Ken’s game and nobody was going to vote for them.

        • Super duper fan

          Oh, I absolutely know that. But the problem is that the show potrayed it as they won due to their stories (or at least emphatised it more), so people who for example just watched the seasons in pre-game and/or are casual fans could target people because of these stories (casuals still think the only reason Ken lost was because of Adam’s “story”). Maybe even some super-fans who knew that it wasn’t the reason they won, could still have it at the back of their mind. The problem is with the stigma of a threat, rather than it being an actual threat (at least mostly). And like I said, there aren’t any cold evidence supporting

  • Hornacek

    “Jay and Adama are shocked, despite the fake idol not having a face.” Was there a BSG crossover that season?

    • Saturday Night Palsy

      Emma was feverish! Leave her alone!

      Thank you for providing us with content even though it was inconvenient for you, @purplerockemma:disqus.

      • Purple Rock Emma

        You’re too kind, SNP. And let’s remember the real failure here is Andy’s editing skills.

        • purplerockandy

          He was too overwhelmed making other fixes.

          • Purple Rock Emma

            I tried centering the captions, but it wouldn’t work.

    • Assistant Dragon Slayer

      Adama, Tigh, Baltar, Roslin, Starbuck, and Boomer was my favorite tribe EVER, although I thought Baltar getting an extra vote for Head Six was unfair. Ellen Tigh at the family visit was amazing.

  • By The Numbers

    Didn’t Bob make a second game idol in Gabon? Crystal and Kenny fell for it, but due to incompetence still didn’t get the votes right and Corinne went home