Purple Rock Podcast’s Survivor Gabon Watch-Along: Episodes 7-9

It’s time for Survivor Watch-Along, in which we watch a previous season of the show and invite you all to watch along with us. As promised on the podcast, we’re starting with Survivor: Gabon.

For this Watch-Along, the three of us that haven’t seen Gabon– John, Mark, and Matt- will be watching the season and discussing three episodes here each week. Advance warning: Even though we haven’t seen the season yet, we are aware who wins and we may accidentally spoil that at some point (and commenters may as well). With that out of the way, rejoin us on our descent into Survivor madness.

John:  Episode 7 kinda feels like Gabon in a nutshell so far. First, we get cranky Randy. He’s mad that Susie laughed when he said Fang tribal councils were easier. And then we get the fantastic madness that was the merge feast.

Matt:  Yeah, we need to unpack that because there are games within games.

John:  It’s like a layer cake, only if every layer were something laughable and/or awful.

But let’s start with Randy, King of Gabon, First of His Name. Drunk Randy is the best Randy.

Matt:  It is just Randy, but more Randy. Normal Randy doesn’t have a filter. But Drunk Randy really doesn’t have a filter.

Mark:  Randy on alcohol is like, negative filter.

Gabon- Randy is the king of Gabon with wine glass

Matt:  He is saying all the stuff he wouldn’t even normally think.

Mark:  And claiming credit for everything, naturally.

John:  He’s the puppetmaster! All of these people are his pawns!

Mark:  Which is hilarious given what happened before and after that.

Matt:  Yeah, Randy is definitely not the puppet master. Randy is definitely a pawn.

Mark:  So they think it’s a merge, but wait, multiple twists because why not.

Gabon- Marcus celebrates a merge

Matt:  Yeah, can I say how pissed I am at this second swap?

John:  Not yet.

Because first we have to talk about the immunity idol.

Charlie sees the clue to the immunity idol, which Kenny had seen first. But Kenny was unable to stealthily acquire it for himself, so Charlie grabs it from him and says, “Here everybody, you can read it”. Basically, the Onion Alliance is just cocky as hell. They assume they’ve got this.

Matt:  Oh yeah they are strutting around like, well, Drunk Randy.

John:  So the clue tells you almost exactly where the idol is, and Randy finds it (in his words) “in about seven seconds”.

Matt:  And to be fair to Kenny, he is trying to get Matty to acquire it stealthily because Matty is the closest.

John:  Well there’s his first mistake. Don’t rely on Matty for things.

But the fun begins once the idol is found.

Matt:  Because Marcus convinces everyone to throw it in the ocean with basically no pushback.

John:  Because Drunk Randy takes the idol and sits it right in the middle of the table and then says, “Anybody want it?”

Matt:  Yeah, but Marcus planted that in Randy’s head first. Before they even found it, Marcus said “lets all go find it together and then get rid of it”.

John:  Definitely. But Drunk Randy was the one who was like, “Yes! This is a great idea!”

Mark:  This is like the proto version of the “hide immunity at challenges so everyone can watch you” thing.

Now this is a Kelley who can play the game.
Now this is a Kelley who can play the game.

Matt:  Nah, this was like Blood vs Water 1.

John:  So nobody grabs the idol. Any of you want to suggest that someone should have?

Matt:  Taking the idol is just putting a huge target on your back and I don’t think anyone is the super obvious boot here. Especially before they find out it is not a merge. Because if it is a merge, than that means they just take out your allies and then everyone resents you.

Mark:  Agreed. As much as I wanted someone to go for it, it would have been a bad move.

Matt:  It could buy you a few days, but I think the risks here make me sit on my hands.

John:  Exactly. Not a great idea. Which is why I’m surprised nobody went for it.

But after everyone passes on the chance to grab it, they execute the second stage of Marcus’ plan: Throwing the idol into the ocean. And then, as the idol drifts back in to shore because currents are a thing that exists, they open the box to reveal that we’re not merged yet.

Matt:  Okay, now can I talk about why I hate swap 2?

John:  Do your thing, boo.

Mark:  I’d just like to say that it was clear production didn’t trust them with this swap after they messed up the last two. But logistically, the whole thing is weird. Anyway, Matt, please proceed.

Matt:  This is why it annoys me:

  1. We just watched a forced double boot, making the whole thing feel even more arbitrary and unfair that they have to each boot one person from their tribes and then get swapped up expecting a merge.
  2. This swap is so late that you are building everything to the merge, which basically just makes this a clear chance for smaller groups of people to isolate and eliminate one strong contender.
  3. Why deprive us of the comedy of having them pick tribes again!

John:  Well, here’s further evidence for the theory that this was just thrown together: The “tribal” immunity challenge is an individual immunity challenge.

Matt:  Right! Which deprives Randy of the chance to throw the challenge to protect Corinne and Charlie’s precious, precious Marcus.

John:  I wonder if this was production taking their last shot at preventing a Pagonging from the Onion Alliance.

Matt:  So instead we are going to get a Pagonging of the Onion Alliance.

John:  Probably. But if they had gotten all four Fang on one tribe, or all Kota on one tribe, and either of those tribes had lost, an Onion Alliance member was going home.

Instead, it broke almost perfectly for the Onion Alliance… and the Onion Alliance leader went home.

Matt:  This boiled down the struggle of the season into one discrete conflict where Marcus is trying to win over Susie, and Kenny and Crystal are working her the other way.

Mark:  But you have to give Crystal some credit here.

John:  Do you?

Matt:  Yeah do you?

tumblr_mfeci52Z5u1qcnzaso1_500

Mark:  Kenny too, but it was made to appear that Crystal had the defining conversation to swing Susie.

Matt:  Mmmm not sure of that.

Mark:  Susie also had it out for Corinne, and could use this as a strike back, but she was waffling.

Matt:  This is where I will give Crystal credit: She had a cousin that Marcus knew in real life.

John:  I loved the “My best friend is friends with your cousin, so we’re clearly friends now.”

Mark:  ATL represent! But that should have swung her the other way. Marcus just picked the wrong target. Would anyone have objected to Susie going home?

Matt:  Nope, and that was what I was going to bring up. Marcus’ biggest mistake this episode was in how he played this vote. Now maybe Kenny and Crystal use a Susie vote to try and sway her.

Matt:  But Marcus should have been telling Crystal and Kenny different stuff than what he was telling Susie. If Marcus wants Kenny gone, he should tell Susie that and he should tell Crystal he wants Susie gone. Also Crystal’s big “sway” of Susie was “he can’t promise you final three, the rest of his alliance won’t let him”, but come on, of course they would let Marcus do whatever he wants. The rest of Marcus’ alliance freaking loves him like he is JT.

John:  But you know who could promise Susie final three right then and didn’t (that we saw)? Crystal! She’s only really aligned with Kenny. Matty is their third by default.

Mark:  Yeah, but this is the same woman who thought tribal immunity made you a Survivor god.

Matt:  Right, and I think Susie should have flipped. This is a good move for her.

John:  Yeah, we said this as soon as they split the vote on her. She needed to flip immediately, and she did.

Matt:  Especially since that Onion Alliance did such a bad job of reassuring her.

John:  As an added bonus, she got to take out the leader of that alliance.

Matt:  Right. Whereas if it is a merge and she flips the best she can do is tie it up.

John:  One thing we forgot to mention: That “tribal” immunity challenge.

Crystal is the worst, y’all.

Gabon- Crystal immediate challenge failure

Mark:  Seriously. 2 seconds!

Matt:  Sugar did better!

Mark:  Jeff is a lot bitchier this season too. “Hey Matty, shut up and play. Oh hey your board is almost off. Again.”

John:  Jeff is so cranky. Someone shit in that man’s cornflakes. Actually, this whole cast probably did.

Mark:  And then when Corrine tries to act like Fang is Target in its bougie pronunciation, he mocks her. No wonder the man wanted a talk show.

John:  He mocks her, but in the very next episode he calls them Fang.

Mark:  Even better, he mocks them in the episode preview. “New Fang, same as the old Fong”

John:  Salty Probst.

Matt:  I love Jeff mocking them in the episode previews. He is just done with this cast.

Mark:  I’m surprised Lynne Spillman (Ed. note: the casting director) kept her job. But then again, the Tocantins cast was great.

John:  Maybe they held back all the good casting choices for Tocantins instead.

Matt:  Oh, so I want to mention something about tribal. At tribal, it is clear that Susie is the swing vote and Bob says to Jeff “hey, if I knew we were going to swap and not merge I would have changed my vote”. Meaning, “hey Susie, I should have voted you out last tribal, now please side with me and Marcus, okay!”

John:  Bob, master of the social game. He’s legitimately worse than Michele. At least she generally kept her foot out of her mouth.

Mark:  Agreed. It took this season to realize that. (God help me if I watch Nicaragua…)

So yeah, Marcus is out, draws what I think is a Dreamcast logo on his Kenny vote, and becomes the first jury member. More proof this whole thing was thrown together. Has there been a juror with tribes before? I’m sure I’m forgetting something.

Matt:  HvVCook Islands.

John:  Yeah, not the first time this has happened.

Matt:  Nor the last.

John:  Episode 8 starts with Social Mastermind Bob getting a confessional to tell us that he’s doomed. Actually, he says, “I’m history, even though I teach science. That was a little joke.”

So now Bob is Mark’s favorite player ever.

Bob workshopping another "joke" in his thinking chair
Bob workshopping another “joke” in his thinking chair

Mark:  And you people think I’m bad. Even I rolled my eyes at that one.

John:  Oh, you’re bad. Bob is just worse.

Matt:  Yeah that joke was awful. That was sub-dad level joke.

John:  Then we get Corinne’s confessional: “I just can’t wait to see Marcus.”

John:  Yeah so Charlie isn’t the only one who is thirsty for Marcus. Naturally, that leads into one of the most famous Survivor GIFs there is: Corinne, Sugar, and Matty seeing that Marcus got voted out.

Gabon- Corinne Sugar Matty react to Marcus being voted out
Taste the sad, Michael!

Matt:  YES! Matty is so happy he is grinning so freaking big. I love it.

John:  Corinne is legit devastated. Sugar is probably just shocked. But Matty? Matty is like “FUCK YEAH, BRO!”

Matt:  Yes it is great. [Editor’s note from Andy: what makes it perfect is that none of the reactions are simultaneous. We get to take it in all in sequence.]

John:  And the fun doesn’t stop there, because Corinne tells the other tribe “Marcus didn’t deserve that”.

Mark:  And the whole bitch-fight about “deserving” to be there? This isn’t final tribal, people.

John:  To which Kenny- KENNY!- responds, “Who does deserve that?” Now that is a revenge of the nerd moment, Mark.

Mark:  I was ahead of the curve.

John:  There’s your scrawny hero rising up against the pretty mean girl!

And the handsome jock.

Matt:  And the gay guy.

John:  And Drunk Randy.

Mark:  Indistinguishable from Sober Randy.

Matt:  It is like a Breakfast Club. Marcus is Emilio Estevez.

Mark:  Yeah, and the nerds are about to have their lunch.

BOOM, now that is a good pun.

Matt:  Wait, no, Marcus is the other guy. Charlie is Estevez. Randy is the spaz Anthony Michael Hall.

John:  Marcus is Bender?

Matt:  Wait no, Randy is Ally Sheedy!

And Bob is Anthony Michael Hall

John:  I feel like this analogy is falling apart.

Matt:  No it works dammit.

Mark:  Bob is a serial killer?

John:  Prove to me that he isn’t.

Matt:  Mark is thinking of Michael C. Hall, btw.

John:  I know. Anyway, let’s talk golf. Slingshot golf.

Mark:  For as ridiculous as this season has been, there are some really cool challenges.

John:  Is it just me, or are there a lot of challenges on this season that just seem really fun?

Matt:  Yeah, this season has fun challenges.

John:  When we all meet up at PurpleRockCon someday, let’s play slingshot golf. And Human Plinko.

Mark:  Human…Plinko?

Matt:  The challenge that Ace lost by listening to Randy

Mark:  OH. I thought we were throwing humans down the game board and adding pegs.

John:  If you make one more bad pun, Emma might throw you down the game board.

Wait, no. Emma can’t lift things.

Mark:  She was adept at the Paley Center Survivor challenges!

Matt:  Those were all just balancing balls and holding balls.

John:  Don’t….

Let’s move on.

homer-bushes

Matt:  When Kota is practicing for the challenge they launch a ball and Matty goes running after it like a golden retriever.

John:  Get it, boy!

Matt:  Haha yes!

John:  That would’ve been the ideal role for Dan if he were still around.

Matt:  And then I forgot to mention this in the Marcus sad off: but Charlie mentions that three power players have just been voted out in Ace, Dan and Marcus. Which, lol Dan as a power player.

John:  Dan wouldn’t be a power player if this were Tic-Tac-Toe.

Mark:  Dan would just keep marking the center square.

Matt:  The challenge has the most Gabon moment in the entire season.

John:  Yes! The highlight of the slingshot golf challenge is Randy, Matty, and Charlie. They’re about 6 inches from the goal. It’s the easiest shot you can have.

Matt:  And them arguing over something that is blindingly obvious for an excessively long time. That was a rancorous argument too!

Gabon- Matty and Randy arguing at reward challenge
“I will fucking cut you!”

John:  Oh, Randy was enraged! He was even pissed after they won the reward! Probst even said, “This should be a fun afternoon.”

Matt:  This is why I enjoy Randy. He is going to find the worst in everything and he holds grudges.

John:  His opinion changed on Kenny, though. He says Kenny is all grown up now. And Kenny really has gotten an odd dose of confidence.

Matt:  And he and Matty seem to weirdly get along.

Gabon- Kenny and Matty share a moment

John:  Well, with that one exception we just noted.

Mark:  One quick note about the reward: Cultural rewards are my favorite thing each season. And this was fun. Corinne and the child. Like, eww.

John:  Randy had a lady interested in him!

Matt:  Hahahaha I love Randy “flirting”.

Mark:  Randy can smile genuinely, guys!

John:  With or without alcohol? Were we clear on that?

Matt:  Unclear. I think Randy has one true love. And that love is alcohol.

John:  Oh, and since Randy’s tribe won reward, that meant that Sugar was ineligible for exile!

Matt:  So they send Bob there.

John:  And Bob also plows through all the clues, proving that Dan really is just that dumb. But since there is no idol there, Bob decides to make one. And holy shit, it’s a good one.

Gabon- Bob's fake immunity idol

Matt:  It is honestly better looking than some of the idols the show has done over the years. Mark, we need your artist’s assessment.

John:  Mark couldn’t make something like that because it involves touching nature.

Mark:   Bob did a great job given the fact he had to put that together in a day with random stuff. It was really impressive. Maybe more than Joey Amazing’s. The middle portion looks obviously fake, but the tendrils look legit. And I’m excited because it builds up the one thing I’ve seen from this season.

And I enjoy nature, thank you.

Speaking of Bob, how adorable is his buff bow tie?

John:  Hard pass on bow ties.

Matt:  But using the buff is funny.

John:  Eh, sure. Bob is good at being outside and making things. He’s just not great at Survivor. Actually, he’s not great at making fire, surprisingly. Because Susie won the immunity challenge, which was to build a fire and burn the rope.

Matt:  Yeah how the fuck did Susie win that challenge!?

Susie and Sugar! That was unexpected

John:  Susie and Sugar were the only ones to get a flame going!

Matt:  I like Randy’s assessment of Crystal’s chances: “you could give Crystal a book of matches and gasoline and she couldn’t start fire”.

John:  Well, Randy built just as much of a fire as Crystal did here.

Mark:  Was Susie a fire tender at Kota?

John:  She claimed she was the one always working, and that Corinne wasn’t.

Mark:  Because she was the only one who knew what she was doing. Even Sugar just threw a bunch of shit on her flame.

Matt:  Seriously, how do none of these people know how to make a fire this far in? Oh right, because Gabon.

John:  But let’s talk very, very briefly about the merge tribe name. Nobag. This is Kenny’s fault. So, by proxy, I blame Mark.

Gabon- Nobag flag
Worst. Tribe Name. Ever.

Mark:  A rare black mark on his resume.

Matt:  Sound reasoning John.

Mark:  That said, I don’t hate it. I’m just bored.

John:  Hey, just like Gabon! Actually, I’m not even bored by Gabon.

Matt:  Yeah, this season is not boring.

John:  It’s interestingly terrible so far.

Mark:  Agreed. It’s fun. Like most reality TV.

Mark:  It’s very… Amazing Race. A bunch of people yelling at each other, failing at running, and being mildly entertaining for five minutes each week.

Matt:  I wouldn’t know. But it is not boring in the way a B-movie is not boring. Because you spend most of the time heckling the TV.

John:  So we’re Mystery Science Theater 3000?

Matt:  Yes. And this is The Pumaman.

John:  B-movie Survivor.

Mark:  The black guy did die early on. Oh wait, that’s B-horror.

John:  And Sugar is involved, which does make it feel very B-movie. Hey, speaking of Sugar, she’s the swing vote once they find out the merge is happening.

Matt:  And Corinne is sure she has her on her side despite the fact that they obviously hate each other. False confidence and a terrible read of other people, classic qualities in a returning player Corinne!

Seriously, she is terrible. She is Randy without the wit or occasional moments of being good at something.

Mark:  No wit and a terrible read on people? That’s who I want hosting a podcast!

bxpV1A

John:  Corinne admits that she’s been treating Sugar like shit for 25 days. But after being nice to her for one day, she thinks she got Sugar back on her side.

Mark:  That’s how interpersonal skills work!

John:  Because she assumes Sugar is gullible. Which she is! But she’s also gullible for other people. My favorite part of all this is that everyone seems to know Sugar is the swing vote. So what do they do? Each side dictates the vote to her.

Matt:  Classic Gabon!

John:  Nobody says, “hey Sugar, who would you want to vote out?”

Matt:  Seriously why not let her vote out Randy?

John:  Do whatever it takes to get her vote! You need it!

Oh, and Randy at tribal council is fun.

Mark:  Um, are we calling that fun? Because I’m starting to get annoyed.

John:  Fun in the sense that you can see why some people hate him now.

Mark:  That was uncomfortable coded racism. But at least his assholability got him called out during the vote.

John:  Crystal asks Randy why he hates her, and he gives her a list. And he politely offers to give her additional reasons, but Crystal declines.

Matt:  Randy is never going to pass up an opportunity to be a dick. He relishes those opportunities.

John:  He certainly didn’t when he was voting. Because he used his voting confessional to say “Bitch.”

That was it. No additional commentary.

Mark:  Dick Randy is fun! Calling Crystal and GC “your posse” terrorizing camp is another thing.

John:  Yeah, Drunken King of Gabon Randy is my favorite Randy. That’s what I want more of.

Oh, and tribal council gave me one more chance to use another one of my Gabon autotexts: Sugar cried again. Both at tribal council and while voting.

If anyone ever got dehydrated in this season, they could just lick Sugar’s face.

Matt:  Too much salt [editor’s note: Salt? Sugar? Frankly, I’m disappointed that Mark didn’t do something with this.]

Charlie also said about Sugar, “Sugar has played this game very differently from everyone else”. Which I found to be an amusing summation of Sugar’s game thus far.

John:  It’s putting it mildly.

Mark:  Charlie is so thirsty for Marcus in his vote-off confessional. I’m excited for them to bring their babies to tribal from now on.

Gabon- Marcus and Charlie are gonna do it
MAKE OUT!

And boom, another blindside, for a genuinely nice guy. RIP Charlie.

John: Let’s discuss what is easily the best episode of Gabon so far (and let’s be honest, it’s probably going to be the best episode of the season).

Matt: Yeah, it will all be downhill from here.

Because we lost Randy.

John: The “previously on” segment reminds us that:
A) Kenny is now a mastermind, but more importantly,
B) There are two idols out there: Sugar’s idol, and Bob’s art supply closet masterpiece.

Matt: Which is important because one of those is getting played tonight.

John: And as you mentioned, this is Randy’s boot episode. So we get a lot of Randy.

You’re not going to believe this, but Randy is a total dick. And the show wants to make sure we know it.

He starts with a conversation with Corinne in which he says he doesn’t like any of these people, and he can’t pretend to. And that transitions perfectly into the auction, which might be my favorite Survivor auction of all time. It’s definitely a contender.

Matt: It is a damn good auction. And, again, like everything in Gabon, something small somehow sums up the entire season.

Matt: Kenny has all the power from stealing Bob’s money and doesn’t use it. (Because Kenny is going to lose guys).

John: Well, the very first item is a bucket of beers. And Randy, perhaps sensing that I’m egging him on years later as I watch, is going to win them.

Matt: Damn straight he is! Don’t part a Randy from his beers

John: Sure, Randy at an auction would be nice. But if this is going to be Randy’s parting shot, we’re going to get some Drunk Randy.

Matt: The best version of Randy.

John: Randy is just bidding on everything right away. But Kenny outbids him for that blind item. And the blind item lets Kenny boot someone from the auction and steal all of that person’s money. So Kenny pays $340, boots Bob, and gets Bob’s $500.

So now Kenny has $660.

Matt: And then he buys nothing else

Mark: And doesn’t use any of it!

Matt: Yeah I saw that pattern coming and was laughing at it.

Mark: I mean, he didn’t need the advantage, but he doesn’t know that. So much for being a mastermind.

Matt: I even like the one where he let it go last second. And said don’t worry it is something terrible.

And it definitely was not terrible.

Mark: Well he knew enough to know about the punking Jeff does with gross food sometimes.

But these were all really good rewards!

John: But we did get to see Ladies Man Kenny. Because when there was a bath and clean clothes up for bid, Sugar offers to snuggle with Kenny if he wins it.

And Kenny responds with, “Will you cuddle with a rich man?”

Mark: Kenny could give me some tips.

Matt: Instead Susie wins it and spends approximately 30 seconds in the bath.

Mark: Sugar is used to people paying her to cuddle.

Matt: There goes Mark again, demeaning women who use their sexuality. Next you are going to say they aren’t people.

John: Typical Mark.

But yeah, Susie wins that reward and takes a 30-second bath. Now sure, it might be awkward to bathe in front of people. But once I got in that tub, I’d be bidding and having Probst deliver my items to me like he’s my manservant.

Mark: Producers were probably hoping for some Sugar or Corinne butt shots.

Matt: Who did that in Micronesia?

John: Kim did it in One World. But I wish Randy had won that bath. Because you know he would have been like “Probst, bring me my spaghetti and breadsticks!”

Mark: This isn’t Olive Garden…

Matt: Randy doesn’t know that

John: Instead, Randy won Angie Layton’s ideal reward: cookies.

A cookies joke? Is Angie Layton gonna have to cut a bitch?
A cookies joke? Is Angie Layton gonna have to cut a bitch?

And Probst informs Randy that he can share the cookies with everyone. How nice!

Matt:  Not can. He has to share the cookies with everyone.

Has to.

John: But Randy ain’t interested. He actually asks Probst if he can keep them all to himself. This is Peak Randy.

Mark: Probst is so over these guys by now.

“Kenny has money but wastes it. Randy these are For. The. Tribe.”

Matt: This is the season that almost drove Probst to quit right?

Because that makes sense.

Mark: Yep. And understandably so.

John: So Randy goes around and offers everyone a cookie.

Sugar turns him down. Multiple times. But perhaps because he heard about Crystal’s rule that even if someone repeatedly refuses your offer of food you should save her some, Randy gives his own cookie to Sugar.

…which Sugar immediately hands to Matty.

Matt: I think he offered it to her again at the end to prove some sort of point. Because they were arguing over him not giving her one the entire time.

When she turned it down.

John: Oh, Randy was absolutely just being a dick here.

Mark: Guys, give Sugar some slack. She gets enough sugar every day. [Editor’s note: there’s the Sugar/sweet pun I was looking for from Mark].

Matt: But if she doesn’t want the cookie, she should have either taken it right there and then or, you know, not taken it at all. I mean, I appreciate trolling Randy. But I would have gotten annoyed at her too.

John: We can discuss the fallout of Cookieghazi right after we acknowledge that Randy tips Probst at the end of the auction. It was like the cherry on top of that beautiful auction scene.

Matt: Randy tipping Probst is just the best thing ever.

Mark: Probst got to keep that, I hope.

Matt: Probst kinda smiled at it too.

John: Maybe that $20 is what convinced Probst to come back for Tocantins.

Matt: He definitely thought “hey maybe this will be a thing from now on!”

John: But back at camp, Randy acts like a congressional Republican and will not let Cookieghazi die. It’s all part of his campaign to be completely intolerable to others.

Matt: The best part is he is about to start being even worse. And Matty sees him start and goes: “don’t do this”.

Mark: “Dude, don’t do this. No. Man…”

John: Matty’s response is the best!

It’s how I want to respond to everyone on r/Survivor that starts in about Nicaragua being an underrated gem.

But perhaps because Matty sees right through Randy’s shtick, Matty’s proposal is that they get rid of Bob next. Because Bob is a huge threat.

Mark: Literally!

John: Maybe Matty could just hear the helicopter flying overhead to get Bob’s over-the-top winner’s edit shot on top of a mountain, lording over all the lands beneath him.

Matt: Practically Earl-esque

John: I can imagine watching this season in real time and finding that shot of Bob incredibly jarring, though. Because at this point, nothing else about Bob would have signaled to me that he was a potential winner.

Matt: He has been getting a little more screen time since Marcus got voted out.

Mark: Never at camp though. Until the idol swap.

John: If there were Bob Truthers back then, I would have been telling them to go fuck themselves.

Mark: This is far worse than Michelle. Even giving the fake idol to Randy was Sugar’s idea.

Mark: And they made a point of showing Bob tripping at the immunity challenge!

John: Yeah, even the plan to punk Randy wasn’t Bob’s idea.

Mark: This show is not interested in painting him as anything other than crafty with idols (see: last week, preview for next week)

John: One interesting part about Bob giving Randy the idol: when accepting it, Randy says, “If you’re at final tribal council and I’m not, you’ve got my vote.” We’ll see if he holds to that.

Matt: I forgot that, but yeah we’ll keep that in mind. So should we just skip to the important part?

John:  Definitely.

Matt:  So, tribal council.

Randy’s plan to drive them even crazier worked.

Everyone knows that Randy is getting the votes.

And for some reason Randy is going to use his idol to take out that huge threat… Susie.

John: Oh, Randy admits it’s not strategy, it’s personal.

Matt: Right. Which is what makes it funny.

John: And Corinne’s voting confessional also notes that “Payback’s a bitch.”

Matt: Corinne never has any idea what is happening.

John: But why are we wasting time discussing those voting confessionals. These pale in comparison. One voting confessional rules them all.

Matt: Crystal!

Mark: And everyone can hear her.

Matt: I love Crystal just yelling.

John: “YOU HAVE MADE MY LIFE HELL SINCE DAY ONE! FORGET YOU! GO HOME! GOOD BYE!”

survivor-gabon-crystal-votes-randy

So at that point, I’m pretty sure Randy knows his plan worked.

Mark: It’s like she’s been practicing with these confessionals the last few weeks in order to reach perfection.

Matt: And I love how it cuts back to the rest of them and shows their faces while they are listening to her.

God, that was beautiful.

John: Oh, the reaction shots are fantastic.

Matt: And Randy definitely thought his plan was going to work.

This is the moment when King Randy takes control people!

John: This is it! Randy’s revenge!

As soon as Randy stands up, Crystal is just choking back the laughter. By the time Probst announces that it’s not a real idol, Sugar and Crystal are practically in tears from laughter.

survivor-gabon-sugar -laughing

Matt: Yeah them choking back their laughter until it just explodes is fantastic

John: Less amused? Randy, who stares daggers at Bob.

Matt: And Bob looks juuuuuust a bit ashamed.

John: And Corinne, whose face is balled up in rage.

Matt: Is Bob the only one in on the plan who isn’t laughing?

Mark: Kenny smiled. Bob didn’t say a word. Just kinda hung out like “whoops”

John: And with that, the King of Gabon has been slain.

Matt: The King is dead, long live the King

John: What a way to go out.

Ok, let’s get an update on current favorites and predictions.

Matt: So we are left with frankly the dregs of the season.

Mark: If we didn’t know the winner, this could be an exciting sprint to the finish.

Matt: Corinne and Bob are all that remain of their alliance and neither is any good at this game.

Mark: Bob still has options in Sugar though. And he’s proven to be crafty. Dumb, but crafty.

Matt: Yea and I think Kenny and crystal especially are going to get too big for their britches. But Kenny will be targeted as the mastermind.

Basically I think the pagonging takes a rest and Kenny goes home next because people recognize him as a threat. Alternatively maybe Kenny turns on Matty as a challenge threat.

John: But if we were watching this live with no knowledge of who would win, who would we be rooting for at this point? Kenny?

Matt: Yeah Kenny, he took control from a disadvantage and seems to be playing well now.

Certainly not Crystal or Sugar or Corinne.

John: I’m entertained by Crystal’s awfulness, but I would never root for her to win.

Matt:  Maybe Bob would be my second rooting favorite. Actually, I enjoyed Matty these past few episodes. Matty might be my number 2.

John: Every person left has been shown to be inept strategically/socially at least once.

Matt:  The Kenny thing though is that he is getting better at the game.

John: Yeah, at least there’s an arc that suggests Kenny is improving.

Matt: Like a gamer learning the tricks of a new game.

John: The trick of the game is to play against people who suck at it.

Matt: Crystal is definitely not improving.

John: So our favorite at this point is Kenny by default? Except for Mark, whose answer is just Kenny.

Mark: With Randy gone as the entertainment, I hope the bumbling duo of Bob and Sugar fill the void. But as far as actual gameplay, yeah Kenny is continuing to shine (kinda).

Matt: I think Kenny is playing well enough.

Mark: Crystal is grating as an underdog. Matty isn’t bad. But he’s just so surfer bro.

Matt: I find Matty’s bro-ness hilarious he has won me over

Mark: Matty is fun, yeah. But will he get taken out at 5 for being a threat.

Susie …I’m not sure about her.

Matt: Susie is there.

I think Susie is kinda like Sugar in that they both have this sort of cunning enough to realize they are in the bottom but they can’t do anything once they are out of that.

Mark: Predictions: Corinne falls, Bob weasels his way in and causes rifts.

Matt: Bob isn’t causing the rifts.

Mark: He’s lying about idols next episode!

Matt: The rifts will occur regardless of anything he does.

Mark: Ok, fair enough.

Matt: Yea no one is going to believe him.

I say the alliance turns on itself and ether Kenny or Matty go next followed by Corinne and then the other of Kenny or Matty

John:  I say Corinne next, then Matty. Thus setting up Matt’s nightmarish final five prediction from last week.

John
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John

John is the co-host of the Purple Rock Survivor Podcast. He is still not sure if it was just a f*%king stick.

Favorite seasons: Heroes vs. Villains, Pearl Islands, Tocantins, Micronesia, Cagayan
John
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  • andythesaint

    Programming note: next week’s post will skip the recap show. You can watch it and discuss it if you’d like, but we’d never force you to.

    The Heroes vs Villains rewatch will begin in July.

    • Mike Hirsch

      Oh man. I had forgotten that they even did recap shows back then. *shudder*

    • Hornacek

      By this season, had the recap shows improved to where they were over 50% new footage? Or was this still in the era where it was only ~10% new footage and a real slog to get through?

      • Assistant Dragon Slayer

        I’m not going to watch the recap show, but I can’t decide which is worse–a Gabon recap show that’s mostly recycled footage or one that’s mostly footage that wasn’t good enough to make the show.

      • Diego Armando

        I remember they showed the top 7’s audition tapes.

    • sharculese

      I watched ep 1 of HvV last night and it was such a breath of fresh air compared to talking about Gabon. I they managed to top it with Cambodia, but fuck that intro is cool.

      • I am known around these parts as the Cambodia contrarian (hi, how are you today), but I have to say that I find the Cambodia premiere nearly flawless. We got a lot of good set-up for our major characters of the season.
        Jeremy got to show off his meat shield strategy.
        Spencer got some awkward time trying to make relationships with Terry.
        Tasha got to be the second in command to Jeremy while also giving Joe eyes (really, I can think of at least two times where she is just looking him up and down, but I feel like there is more out there).
        Kelley got her first idol discovery.
        Hurricane Abi
        Joega
        Stephen’s Doofus Edit/Savage’s Manly Edit
        Varner’s Two Alliances Colliding with Each Other

        My only major gripe with the episode is the fact that of the 12 people that got confessionals, 11 of them make the merge. Stephen and Keith (who you know would give fantastic confessionals about their second chances) don’t make the cut while Varner does. Why not expand that opening a bit and give all 20 an opening confessional before they meet Jeff? That way, people who have not seen China know about Peih-Gee’s story with specific examples of why Abi is bringing to her dark side.

  • Kemper Boyd

    The fake idol is the moment where Gabon becomes the season where you can’t root for anyone.

    Also when everyone was saying Michelle was the worst winner ever and I point out that someone would have to do something spectacularly bad to be worse than Bob, I was right. Bob seems like a nice man but not good at Survivor. Just rewatching Gabon reminded me that Michelle was a much better winner than Bob, maybe as good a winner as Vecepia.

    • andythesaint

      Disagreed. It was such champion-level trolling that I had to root for Sugar after that.

      • Black Dynamite

        Sugar’s best moments were dealing with Randy. I’m assuming this is the main and perhaps only reason they brought them back for HvV.

        • Hornacek

          I can’t remember, but in the second episode of HvV when the Villains see that Sugar had been voted out, does Randy say or do anything?

          • Black Dynamite

            I don’t remember either but I’m going to say yes because it’s Randy.

          • If he didn’t get edited showing some reaction, that should have been a tip off to edgic readers everywhere that Randy is not going far in this game.

          • Hornacek

            Oh man, don’t remind me about the Randy Truthers I had to suffer through during those first two episodes.

          • I know you’re joking, but I remember hearing a podcast that said seeing Ciera react to Vytas’s voteout (since they were close-ish in BvW) was a good sign for her. Now, I don’t think Joe’s reaction to Shirin’s vote out or lack thereof was a big deal because they only work together for three Tribal Councils, and she was closer to Jenn and Hali anyway.

      • sharculese

        There’s literally nothing that could make me root for Sugar.

      • Kemper Boyd

        It was master trolling of someone who thinks they are the master troll, but it was the cracking up as it happened that made it mean. I think everyone in this season is slightly mean and slightly dumb, except Dan and Marcus, one of whom was very dumb and the other was dumb to the concept that someone else was actually playing.

        • andythesaint

          The laughing at him as it happened is my favourite part. I’m not disagreeing that it was mean, but I loved it. It only helps that Randy WENT OUT OF HIS WAY to engender that hate. Be careful what you wish for…

          • Purplerockmatt

            I still can’t get over Matty’s reaction when Randy started down this path. It was amazing how quick he realized exactly what was going down.

          • Kemper Boyd

            But I mean, you are a troll not a callous one but you like to dig on in the pod.

          • andythesaint

            Also, I really hated Corinne and Randy. In that order.

          • Kemper Boyd

            Join the club!

    • Alkanarra

      What’s interesting is that had Bob played and won during Borneo he would have been the prototype of what the creators originally wanted out of their show: someone super outdoorsy and well liked by his peers. Just another reason to thank the maker that Richard Hatch turned it all on its head, ’cause 30+ seasons of Bob would have been a tough watch.

    • Max_Jets

      Yeah, I have Michele ranked 25/32, higher than Bob and Vecepia. I think the combination of her not so exciting confessionals and lack of big moves is what sinks her, but she doesn’t have a ton of flaws. I have her over Mike and Sandra 2.0 too, but Mike was a huge character and Sandra is arguably the greatest Survivor personality ever.

      • andythesaint

        Michele’s RHAP interview proved to me that the disconnect is too wide for me to be objective. Because I thought she was boring AF. Lasted about 20 minutes before I had to concede.

        My biggest takeaway was OF COURSE she toured with Jack Johnson, John Mayer, and Dave Matthews Band. Of course she did.

        • Hornacek

          In that interview she admits that she wishes it had been a final two with her and Tai so there wouldn’t have been as many people questioning the legitimacy of her win.

          Finally, something Michele and I agree with.

        • Hornacek

          While on tour, she talked to the kids about fracking!

        • sharculese

          I didn’t listen to it because I expected her to be boring, but that last revelation… ugh, just ugh.

        • Assistant Dragon Slayer

          I listened to the entire 2.5 hours. She was…..OK I guess? She seemed shrewder about the game of Survivor than she came across on TV (although she’s had a year to think about it), and she specifically said some things about the Debbie and Julia votes that were astute (although not so much so that I can remember what they were now). She also seemed pretty gracious about the negative reaction to her win (neither deluded/self-pitying nor “I got a million dollars, bitches!”)

          • Hornacek

            One example of the type of view Michele has of her own gameplay is that she says that Nick told her more than once during the game “Show me that you’re smart!” She told Rob that was a big turn-off for her as far as working with Nick, since she knows that she’s smart and Nick should be able to see that so if he can’t it’s his fault for not seeing it, not her fault for not showing it.

        • I never thought I would hear of a boring hippie.

          • sharculese

            There are tons of boring hippies, but Michele isn’t a hippie.

          • I thought she described as a hippie. My apologies.

          • sharculese

            She might have self-described as a hippie. I just don’t see her as one. Nothing about her read as hippie.

          • Saturday Night Palsy

            Sure there’s boring hippies. I usually refer to them as “hippies”.

      • Kemper Boyd

        I did listen so I may be a little biased towards her. I think it explained her low key game really well.

      • Diego Armando

        Michele should not be above Sandra. Sandra was the uber example of Michele’s game type and was actually proactive in her season.

        • Kemper Boyd

          which season though? there is an argument that in HvV she spends the whole post merge trying to vote out the guy she can beat at the end and trying to go to the end with people she would lose to (Heroes).

          • Black Dynamite

            Would she had lost to any of the heroes? I’m not sure about that.

          • Kemper Boyd

            I suppose it depends on who she sits with and who is on the Jury. Wanna join me for a wildly speculatively thought experiment. Let’s say she’s there at the end with the final 2 Heroes Colby and Rupert who voted for whom.

            Coach: Colby (I think his “honour” thing would go for Colby)
            Courtney: Still Sandra,

            JT: Colby
            Amanda: Colby

            Candice: Colby

            Danielle: Sandra
            Russell: Colby (I think he would be super bitter about Sandra getting there)

            Jerri: Sandra
            Parvati: Sandra
            I think the result comes down to who Coach and Russell vote for.

          • Max_Jets

            I’ll join that! I think Sandra transforms from a golden jury goddess to a bit of a goat in this case, as she likely pisses off the 4 remaining villains when she flips on them. I don’t know if Coach or Russell would vote for Sandra in any combination and I imagine Jerri votes for Colby. If she made it to the end with Rupert and Colby under different circumstances that didn’t involve her flipping, I definitely think she would win, but I don’t think she would have much of a chance here.

          • Kemper Boyd

            Shit, yeah! Jerri totally votes Colby. I just don’t think she beats any of the heroes unless she gets lucky and it’s two who will both get votes, like JT v Colby v Sandra and she gets Parvati (I feel Parv will vote on game not personal anger), Danielle (votes for who Parv wants her to), Courtney and then Russell votes for her (Coach is voting JT here).

        • Max_Jets

          What Kemper said. I guess Sandra was more proactive, but she was failing at what she was trying to do and her failure benefited her. Still a satisfying ending, because Sandra, but not the most impressive win. Michele’s game didn’t have as many mistakes in my opinion.

          I love Sandra’s game in Pearl Islands though.

    • sharculese

      Bob does one thing right towards the end of the game, but then does that one thing super wrong when it matters most and has it not bite him in the ass through sheer luck, which I’ll talk about when we get there.

      He’s still a worse winner than Michele, but it’s a game of inches.

      • Kemper Boyd

        I don’t think it’s a game of inches because Michele’s social game and calm was part of her plan. She made a plan that worked for her. Thus she is better than Bob.

        • In that regard, I bet Rob would have her higher than him on his TEOS winners ranking, but considering he likes how winners dominate their season, I don’t see Michele breaking out of the 20s.

          • Assistant Dragon Slayer

            Bob is dead last in Rob’s ranking (30), below even Fabio (29) and Jenna (28). Rob bases his ranking specifically on how much the winner controlled his or her season, so for example he ranks Sandra’s wins much lower than he “likes” her as a winner. I think Michele would rank no higher than Natalie W (26) or Vecepia (25), although maybe Michele gets a bit of extra credit for finishing relatively strong.

          • I was actually thinking in that Natalie W./Vecepia/Amber range (Amber’s 27, right?). But I could actually see him favoring Vecepia over Michele because Vecepia had to fight a lot in the game (when she was outnumbered in Rotu/when she outnumbered in the merge tribe/when she gets Neleh to take her to FTC). But, Michele did win considerably while Vecepia only won by 1 vote, which some people (cough John Caroll cough) regret to this day.

          • Kemper Boyd

            I said to BJ my bottom is very similar to Rob’s. I’ve never sat down and tried to rank them but if I did I know I’ve got Bob and Fabio 31/30 but I think I might have Mike at 29 because honestly Mike sucked at the social and strategic game part of Survivor.

          • Diego Armando

            His strategy was not bad. He had the auction mistake, but tried everything he could to make people vote on his side. They all thought he was too big of a threat to keep around and I don’t think he had any chance to win other than winning those challenges.

          • Kemper Boyd

            His strategy is consistently bad from after they threw the challenge to keep Kelly. He gets himself in to a very bad situation and can’t ever come close to convincing the bottom of that alliance (Dan, Sierra) they are the bottom. If he were good he’d have been able to get something going at least once and he completely isn’t. He never worked out how to talk to Dan in a way that Dan liked, he never managed to convince Sierra she was #5 in her alliance, an alliance of people she didn’t even like.

          • Hornacek

            “I said to BJ my bottom is very similar to Rob’s”

            Phrasing!

          • Kemper Boyd

            Oh god no, I think she’s bottom 5 for me personally but Bob is just so unbelievably below the 2nd worst on my list.

          • Who’s the second worst on your list?

          • Kemper Boyd

            Fabio. Michele got herself on the right side of too many votes for me to think she was totally rubbish. My list is quite like Rob’s at the bottom but it’s from like 20 up mine is different. Because I still think that Sophie played a near perfect yet intensely uninteresting game.

          • I guess 4/7 (?) is pretty good.

          • Kemper Boyd

            4/6 and I don’t count final 4 because fire.

          • She didn’t vote correctly at the Scot vote (and final 4, but we are not counting that), what was the other one?

          • Kemper Boyd

            She voted Tai at the Scot vote but she voted correctly at all but Scot and Cydney at fire. But she only went to 6 TCs.

          • That’s it.

          • Kemper Boyd

            So if you don’t count Aubry it’s 4/5 so 80%.

          • Hornacek

            “Michele got herself on the right side of too many votes for me to think she was totally rubbish.”

            Most of those votes were her just going along with what everyone else was doing, she wasn’t directing the votes in those cases. And the others she was left totally in the dark about what her alliance was doing. So that’s not very impressive, mostly lucky.

        • sharculese

          Survivor is a TV show, so my evaluation of how much I like a winner is a combination of how good their gameplay is and how entertaining they are to watch. Great gameplay can make up for not being that entertaining (see Yul and Kim) but you can’t be both mediocre and boring.

    • Diego Armando

      I would rank Jenna as the worst winner, since she was bad at the game and unlikable. Bob is not great at Survivor, but I liked him and found him entertaining. I would rank him ahead of Michele (not good at the game and boring), Fabio (even worse than Bob at the strategy), Jenna, and Brian (because I hate him and This is my list).

      • Kemper Boyd

        You are ranking your enjoyment of the winners, I am not doing that. I am trying to rank them based on how well I think they played. Bob is way higher on likeability, Sandra is a top 5 winner both times but she isn’t a top 5 winner either times on game play.

        • Diego Armando

          Eh, that may be true. Honestly I have use entertainment as a value for the bottom spots since the bottom is a game inches and Fabio, Jenna, Bob and Michele do so little to distinguish themselves Gameplay wise that I have to go to side criteria, like how much I enjoyed watching them and strength of season.

          Ranking winners really sucks because of how little we know of what went on. I will argue that Sandra is the best player in Survivor though.

          • Kemper Boyd

            I would be beside you because when it comes down to it results matter and Sandra did it twice.

      • Hornacek

        “I would rank Jenna as the worst winner, since she was bad at the game and unlikable”

        Plus, as Rob has mentioned on RHAP, Jenna wanted to quit just a few episodes before the finals.

  • Black Dynamite

    I found these batch of episodes to be the high point of the season. I enjoyed Crystal’s sound bites, Kenny feeling himself as a power player, Matty’s further descent into madness (that laugh), and the downfall of Randy. It’s basically all down from here.

    • Figaro

      Matty’s weird seal-laugh is both hilarious and terrifying!

  • Black Dynamite

    I’m glad Randy’s racist comments were called out in the article. That really left a sour taste. That is beyond just being a troll.

    • Assistant Dragon Slayer

      Yeah, that was precisely when Randy stopped being fun for me too.

    • Kemper Boyd

      I had completely forgotten or maybe been younger and more naive at the time. Hearing words like “gang” and “posse” coming out in such an obvious coded way really bothered me.

      • Black Dynamite

        Unfortunately it’s language I’ve heard most of my life either said about myself or other POCs. So it’s something that really jumped out at me when Randy went there. I think Crystal handled it pretty well.

        • Alkanarra

          (A quick Google search informs me that you were not, in fact, referring to yourself as a Point of Contact as I had initially thought.)

          • Black Dynamite

            Damn, my bad. I didn’t even consider that POC could be anything besides people of color.

          • Alkanarra

            It’s also possible my sheltered, Jewish upbringing may have played a role there too.

  • Scarlett3639

    Episode 7: During the immunity challenge, when Matty said “Ain’t no thing Bobby boy” I immediately started rooting for him to lose.

    Episode 8: Matty seemed on the verge of a nervous breakdown during the reward challenge.

    I think Kenny has described every woman on the show as beautiful.

    At tribal–Yes Charlie, the best way to soothe upset people is to scream”Calm Down!” at them.

    Jeff said they couldn’t talk to the Jury but Charlie was speaking volumes with his eyes at Marcus.

    Episode 9: At the auction I liked that one of the items was to be able to send someone from the auction and take their money. Is that the only time that has happened?

    Bob is listed as “Runaround Bob” on the Nobag flag. Why?!?!?!?!?!

    Why don’t people just walk away from Randy when he is ranting?

    Is the Randy vote the most personally motivated vote ever? By a group I mean, not an individual.

    • andythesaint

      “Is the Randy vote the most personally motivated vote ever? By a group I mean, not an individual.”

      I’d have to say yes. I’m not sure what else would even contend. Russell in Redemption Island maybe? Obviously Bill Posely in One World was very personal for Colton, but not so much for everyone else.

      • Alkanarra

        Yet somehow he managed to get them to give up immunity to do it – including Bill. That’s some Gabon-level critical thinking right there.

        To answer the question, I originally thought God was personally motivated in getting Colton off my TV, but then he/she/it brought him back for BvW! That’s like bringing Corrine back for… oh, wait.

    • Hornacek

      “At the auction I liked that one of the items was to be able to send someone from the auction and take their money. Is that the only time that has happened?” Can’t think of another occurrence. The closest I could remember was in WA Will bought a covered item which banished him from the auction (but he got a hidden stash of food back at camp).

      “Is the Randy vote the most personally motivated vote ever? By a group I mean, not an individual.” Drew Christie getting voted out in BvW2 is a little similar but not as bad.

      • sharculese

        It happened in Micronesia and Cook Islands, too. In Cook Islands Becky did it to Candice and in Micronesia Natalie Bolton did it to Jason.

        • Alkanarra

          Penner in CI too, kind of, in that the minority wanted him out so badly that they offered Yul votes to do it.

          • sharculese

            I was talking specifically about the first part, where someone gets an auction reward that lets them take someone’s money and send them to exile. Penner won a ton of shit in that auction, but that item went to Becky.

          • Alkanarra

            Oh I’m way off — I thought we were still talking about people whose boots were personally motivated. I was wondering how anything Becky the Robot did was personally motivated.

          • andythesaint

            I thought of Penner as personally motivated, but that was only true for Adam and Parvati. The other four just went with it (in Yul’s case, to curry favour).

          • Diego Armando

            Yuk also thought Penner could think up a way to flush his idol.

          • Diego Armando

            By minority you are referring to the white people and not the actual minorities right?

          • Alkanarra

            The fact that you have to ask that question shows how amazing it was that CBS actually let such a preposterous season come into existence….

    • I believe it happened in Cook Islands to Candice because Candice basically spent half of her game in CI on Exile Island.

      • Kemper Boyd

        Candice’s repeated trips to an empty exile were great. I do love a little bit of purely personal punishment on Survivor.

        • sharculese

          God they hated her so much and it’s so funny.

          • Kemper Boyd

            I get that Parvati ended up as a Villain because they couldn’t have Amanda, Cirie and Parvati on the same tribe but there is no way that Candice isn’t the villain of Cook Islands. As much as they wanted it to be Penner as a fun villain it just wasn’t.

            edit: I’ve been on this site too long my chrome spellcheck recognises Parvati as a word.

          • Side Character

            Hypothetical question: Say Candice is on the Villains tribe and Sandra is on the Heroes tribe (because Jeff’s explanation for why she was on the Villains tribe was weak, as was his for Candice on the Heroes tribe), who wins HvV?

          • Kemper Boyd

            See then the whole game is different isn’t it. Russell would take Candice in to the “dumb girl alliance” and then the 3 women he’s with are more dangerous than Parv + DD. If it played out exactly the same and Candice is sitting final 3, I think it might be Parvati. But the whole thing is different from the very start. That is too complex a thought experiment for me. I can do post merge ones but going to the beginning is tough.

          • Mutineers must be the first to die/go…except for Nate, he’s the worst.

          • Kemper Boyd

            Nate!?! No ADAM was the worst. I agree with Wigler on that.

          • Clearly that is the case. But Nate was the first person voted out of Aitutonga, when they could clearly get out Candice there.

          • Kemper Boyd

            Yes but that was entirely to get Penner. It’s the smart move. They couldn’t have gotten Candice because Penner doesn’t flip against Candice. Yul wanted to keep his idol (he could have just used it that vote) and get Penner to vote someone off, he let Penner chose and he wasn’t choosing a white.

          • I am kicking myself right now because I forgot how much Penner liked Candice.

          • sharculese

            Penner didn’t like Candice so much as that one of Penner’s blind spots is he assumes that everyone is playing by rationally optimizing their strategy, and he’s super bad at noticing when that’s not true. So he assumed Candice was his ride-or-die because that made sense, and he can’t conceive of someone who’s playing a game that’s not sensible.

          • Kemper Boyd

            Or playing a game he doesn’t view as sensible. Think Cirie in FvF, he thinks “there is no sense at all in her going with the couples” but she’s already got a F3 deal with the 2 women.

          • sharculese

            To be fair, we know that Amanda and Parvati were willing to take Cirie to final 3 because they did, but there was no reason in the moment not to see it as her being sold a bill of goods.

          • Kemper Boyd

            But it was the only offer given that wasn’t bottom of a 5. Penner never offers what he won’t be willing to deliver so I doubt he offered her anything beyond being in the 5. Also she has to see as 5 with the couples she’s in a position if they get to the merge she has two big targets ahead of her.

          • sharculese

            Oh yeah, Penner’s not capable of making it sound like she’s coming in any better than fifth, which is a pretty predictable Penner failure. The fact that he doesn’t see the trap he’s putting himself in is classic Penner.

            But Parvati’s promise shouldn’t be convincing either, because she’s trying to bring someone into an alliance of two pairs that are strongly locked together. I think the way it breaks is strong evidence of the fact that this skill set is where she’s at her best and Penner is at his worst.

          • Kemper Boyd

            I don’t think Penner at his best comes close to Parvati at her best. I know Penner thinks everyone will play a way that is logical and as I said in another thread he never considers what is logical to others. To me it is far more logical for Cirie to go with the couples because she trusts her own abilities to find a way to get rid of Ozzie and James later on. And Parvati saying “I know I can’t win against Ozzie, I know I can’t win against James” is completely believable. I don’t think for a minute Parvati wanted to go that deep with James and Ozzie.

          • Alkanarra

            … phrasing.

          • sharculese

            As opposed to getting rid of Eliza and Yau-Man later on? Those things shouldn’t be hard to do either.

            Of course Parvati is a better player than Penner. I’ve said this a thousand times, I’m a huge Penner fan but I recognize the flaws. What I’m saying is that, at that moment, the bonds between the two couples seems tighter than the bonds between Yau-Penner and Ami-Eliza, so Cirie deciding to go with the couples is either brilliant work from her ferreting out what was going on or the brilliance of Parvati’s snow job. Because at that point, I kind of suspect that Parvati had no interest in going F3 with Cirie, and I also suspect that Penner did.

          • Kemper Boyd

            I think that they were both snowing her to some degree at that point. But Penner’s big flaw is that people don’t like or trust his style. He gets agitated when people don’t agree with him and that style was never going to fly with Cirie. Also Parvati offered her the ability to get out the person she wanted out in Yau-Man, Cirie doesn’t care about getting Parvati out there.

          • Diego Armando

            He also thought Adam had the idol.

          • Kemper Boyd

            If he didn’t it would have been the Aitu 5!

          • I guess I need to rewatch Cook Islands soon.

          • Kemper Boyd

            It’s a good rewatching season.

          • andythesaint

            Also, Nate was the bigger dick to Penner personally.

          • sharculese

            It’s a classic case of letting the person you need to flip decide the vote. Penner was the person Aitu needed, and Penner wanted Nate gone, so sure, vote him out. The plan is to get all of them, and all of them are incompetent, so who cares what order they go out in?

          • Because clearly Yul didn’t have the idol…oh wait, he did.

          • sharculese

            Sure, but why create a tie when you can create a majority?

          • Kemper Boyd

            and keep an idol to keep you save if there is ever a blind side.

          • Hornacek

            DIE, JERKS

  • Hornacek

    Episode 7:
    Had we ever seen every player get a HII clue together? It’s hard watching an old season and trying to remember if this was the first time the show tried something.

    Of course Randy would know the name of the real King of Gabon.

    The fake merge! I’d forgotten about this! Watching this at home, I’m sure Shi-Ann was shaking her fist.

    Marcus is best friends with Crystal’s cousin, and yet he doesn’t know she’s an Olympic athlete? If my cousin was in the Olympics I’d not only tell my best friend, I’d tell everyone I know.

    Sugar thinks that Ace betrayed her until Matty says “Ace turned on you? No he didn’t.” It didn’t take that much to convince her.

    I don’t like an individual challenge for tribe immunity.

    Marcus votes for Ken and draws … a spirograph?

    Episode 8:
    Nothing says “exciting reward challenge” like … golf.

    The fight over Fang’s final shot was just bizarre.

    You can tell Kenny is inexperienced with women when he’s at camp with Crystal and Susie and says he’s “with two very beautiful women.”

    Sasquatch aka Bigfoot aka T-Rex.

    The merge at the immunity challenge is just more proof for the conspiracy theory that Production was adjusting the rules every episode due to the awful performance of Fang.

    Nobag? Makes ‘Murica seem original.

    Take a shot every time Sugar cries at tribal.

    Episode 9:
    So Susie got naked and bathed right in front of everyone? Then she didn’t stay in very long because “it’s too hot”.

    I’m surprised Randy didn’t cough over all those cookies before handing them out.

    Kenny took all of Bob’s money but didn’t even spend all of his own. And Crystal didn’t buy anything (I know they sometimes cut items for time, but the wiki doesn’t list anything for her).

    Randy tips Jeff his final $20 as he leaves the auction.

    When they get back to camp Sugar says that Randy “wanted to give everybody a cookie but Sugar”. She must have forgotten how he offered her a cookie before anyone else.

    At Exile Island Bob goes for a safari and is shot majestically from a helicopter. Aras was watching at home and yelling “Winner’s edit!”

    It was very weird going into tribal because there was no suspense, we knew exactly what was going to happen. Poor Randy.

    That tribal was both hilarious and uncomfortable at the same time.

  • Saturday Night Palsy

    At this point in the game, Bob looks like someone out of a dustbowl-era photograph. That is one filthy man.

    • Hornacek

      Production: Bob, please put your shirt back on.

  • Mike Hirsch

    It was around this batch of episodes that I started to like Matty, due to his nervous tittering laugh that repeatedly comes out of nowhere.

    Also, thank you Matt, for mentioning Pumaman, now I have that song stuck in my head:
    Pu
    Ma man
    He flies like a moron

    When
    You want
    The flavor of bacon in a dip

    Somehow, both times through watching Gabon, I did not notice that shot of them reacting to Marcus being gone. That really is a thing of beauty. And, I’m glad the different, fun challenges got a mention. It’s one of the reasons I enjoy this season as much as I do. It’s nice to have a few challenges that we haven’t seen elsewhere five or six times.

    • Purplerockmatt

      I am glad someone got the Pumaman joke. John and Mark’s complete non-reaction was tough to take

    • Diego Armando

      Puma man honestly did not seem like that bad of a movie, it wasn’t good, but MST3K did far worse.

      I liked Matty too, he seemed dim, but he generally meant well.

      • Purplerockmatt

        The reason I always think of Pumaman as the classic MST3K movie is because it is the first one I saw, and i just randomly came across it one day as a kid when i was wandering through the channels without knowing what MST3K was.

        • Mike Hirsch

          Similar. I had seen a few episodes here and there of the show, but one weekend my friends and I happened to turn it on when Pumaman was on and could not stop laughing. Then the show became appointment television for us.

      • Mike Hirsch

        Yeah, in the history of MST3K, I’d say Pumaman is one of the more watchable films. Goofy, but harmless. Kind of like Matty!

  • Alkanarra

    Alright, strategy talk…. was there any? Did anyone do anything that you would consider a “good” move these last three episodes?

    + Kenny/Crystal convince Susie to flip, but they had almost no other option and Susie was basically already there.

    + Sugar stays with Fang after the merge — also kinda a no brainer.

    + Bob giving up his idol to humiliate an alliancemate, while silly, did take his name off the block for that vote and give him an in with Sugar. It’s a controversial move but there are positives to it.

    + Randy’s decision to intentionally make himself the vote target *would* have been reasonable if (A) he weren’t torpedoing his chances to actually win and (B) they wouldn’t have still been in the minority even if it worked. Nonetheless it, too, wasn’t totally devoid of logic.

    Anything I’m missing?

    • Hornacek

      I saw this season when it first aired, and I remembered how Randy got voted out, but I couldn’t remember the specifics of Randy’s plan for how to beat that vote; before this rewatch I thought Bob just offered the “idol” to Randy who then came up with the plan. Randy pinning everything on the assumption that Bob had found the idol on Exile Island was pretty flimsy since Sugar had been there 4 (?) times.

      Bob had already been there before and (I assume) told Randy and Corinne that he hadn’t found the idol, so why was Randy so sure that he would find it this time? I understand that in Randy’s mind this was their only option since they were outnumbered, but he seemed so sure that Bob had the idol without first checking with him that he had found it, and that it was a done deal.

      • andythesaint

        The fact that Randy and Corinne didn’t even entertain the notion that Sugar had the idol tells you all you need to know about their arrogance and idiocy. THE ENTIRE POINT of sending her there over and over was to ensure you knew who had the idol. I don’t care how little you think of someone, you should assume after four tries that they were able to accomplish something.

        • Diego Armando

          I remember reading in an interview that Fang told them they tried voting her out at the Kelly vote out, but Kelly tipped tainted Sugar with that info, so she played her idol and her one vote sent Kelly home. That does explain some things.

      • Alkanarra

        I assume it was just editing; they spitballed a bunch of options and the idol one happened, so it’s the plan they went with.

        On the other hand, since they cast that one idol into the ocean, production really should have placed a new idol somewhere, so it’s not improbable. Bob just decided to go on safari rather than look again, as giving Kota an idol is exactly the sort of thing they’d do to keep the game interesting.

        • Hornacek

          I don’t blame Bob for not looking again. He didn’t get any new clues, and the last time he had exhausted all possible locations where he was told the idol was. He (or one of Randy and Corinne if he told them about his time on Exile) should have come to the conclusion that Sugar already had it.

          • Alkanarra

            Fair enough. Really production’s fault then; handing Kota an idol is the absolute best way to prevent a pagonging, though then Randy’s plan would have worked and robbed us the delight of his downfall.

  • Why has Bob’s pelvic thrust become immortalized in the Survivor fandom while Marcus’s attempts to be a rock star havent’?

    • sharculese

      Because the internet Survivor fan community lets its opinions on what a classic moment is be colored by the comments of a grumpy reactionary?

      • Perhaps. I have just never seen the Marcus gif before, but I have watched it 15-20 times in the past hour and half.

        • Hornacek

          He’s not including any funny moments from a particular season because he doesn’t like that season? He’s not allowed to do that!

          • I wonder if he realizes that people will expect him to include it eventually. He included Cook Islands, the season that he famously hates, why not include Cambodia?

          • Purplerockmatt

            he has the worst goddamn taste

          • I don’t mind him but I understand the argument against him. I just have a weird hunch that the Historians chapter on Samoa is going to be unbearable because of his hatred of Russell.

          • Assistant Dragon Slayer

            I’ve listened to Historians from Amazon through Panama and Lanza has been pretty tolerable. Does it get worse? I think he has a semi-decent point in that the new elements in the middle years (idol hunting, exile island) separate people from the group and chew up airtime, I just wish he’d let it go.

          • Cook Islands and Fiji are decent, but not because of him. Lanza is often the champion of the fact that CI was rigged against original Rarotonga, which is a running thread throughout the two episode discussion of Cook Islands.

          • Hornacek

            I am always surprised that anyone that loves Survivor could hate Cook Islands aka Survivor: Race Wars. Oh, right.

      • Saturday Night Palsy

        I don’t think that Andy has that much sway over the community.

    • Hornacek

      Because Bob’s pelvic thrust is awesome! Never has a player been more excited for herbs!

    • Purplerockmatt

      That Marcus gif basically summarizes why I did actually like him and didn’t consider him the typical Survivor alpha male

      • He’s like the male version of Tasha: nerdy people who are trapped in non-nerdy bodies yet possibly try to hide their nerdiness.

        • Purplerockmatt

          Marcus is overly judgmental and very religious?

          • I would say not considering that Marcus’s closest ally was a gay guy who he kinda flirted with.

          • Purplerockmatt

            yeah i know he wasn’t i was taking a shot at Tasha

          • I figured as much. I just don’t want to seem like I hate Tasha. I am just not in love with her like a lot of the fandom is. Part of that comes from the back that I watched the majority of Cagayan right before Cambodia, so I had these high hopes about her and I think her high water mark is the Angkor arc. While she did perform better in challenges in Cagayan, I think her social game leaves lot to be desired.

          • Alycia Swift

            Yep.

    • Alycia Swift

      Because Bob is a skinny, really skinny, old white guy with a bowtie, who is a science teacher. It looked very strange for him to do that and it was probably not in character normally. Marcus probably does the rock star thing a lot.

  • I have a question: John, you and Andy often call Fiji an interesting failure. Do you think that Gabon is in that caliber of interesting failure (while clearly still being worse than Fiji)?

    • Assistant Dragon Slayer

      I started watching Survivor with Caramoan, and going back and catching up on older seasons I realize now that we’re experiencing an unusually consistent run of seasons with mostly good gameplay and sensible winners. I actually think it was good for the franchise to have a WTF winner this past season, and furthermore, I think it would be good to have another lovable catastrophe season like Gabon, if only to keep things from getting formulaic (the key word there is “lovable”; Worlds Apart doesn’t count).

      • Kemper Boyd

        Oh yeah, this is a really really good run without a more middle of the road winner. It had to happen eventually. As much as I think Mike was crap he was fun and interesting to watch.

      • Purplerockmatt

        well before this we had a run of terrible seasons in nicaragua, ri, sp, and one world

    • Purplerockmatt

      I have been thinking about the comparison a lot. i think the question is that fiji is an interesting failure because the season so stacks against one tribe. gabon doesnt have quite that level of unfairness to it (you’d have to argue based on the swaps). also no one on gabon is at the level of yau-man or earl

      • Yeah, Fiji is clearly how a season can succeed and fail when Production hinders the cast while Gabon is how a season can mostly fail even when Production throws the cast several bones.

        • Purplerockmatt

          Nah Gabon is a season about the casting because the failure of Gabon goes back again and again to the casting

          • As someone said below, the Gabon cast seems odd especially when it is surrounded by two good casts.

          • Black Dynamite

            It’s weird how that worked out. I consider China & Tocantins two of the best newbie casts the show has put out there. So to have a such a miss in Gabon the way they did is super baffling.

          • Even the Micronesia fans aren’t terrible, especially if the conspiracy theory that they were cast to mirror the faves is true.

          • Black Dynamite

            I haven’t heard that theory. I’m having trouble matching up all the people though outside of the super obvious like Ozzy/Jason and James/Joel

          • I believe it was discussed on the early Purple Rock where they discussed all of the seasons, but I am going to put a couple together:
            Ami and Tracy
            Cirie and Kathy
            Parvati and Natalie
            Amanda and Alexis

          • Black Dynamite

            Even with that it kind of falls apart when there has to be comps for the rest. Is Mikey B like Fairplay? If that’s the case who is Erik matched up with? I like the concept though.

          • I believe Chet is believed to be a mirror. I think Ozzy may have two mirrors with Erik and Jason.

          • Kemper Boyd

            Chet is Yau? Joel is obvs James.

          • Purplerockmatt

            No Chet is Fairplay.

          • I’d believe that Joel is supposed to be James, but Joel sucks and James is great.

          • Purplerockmatt

            the idea is that the fans are all the crappy mirrors of the favorites. So Joel thinks that James is just the big strong guy. Jason and Erik are both like Ozzy in that they think its just about challenges and surviving. Alexis was SWFing Amanda on the island anyway so that one is clear. Mikey B and is Penner, Chet is Fairplay. There are a lot of them it works for, though not quite all. And yes Natalie as cast and portrayed is more like Parvati.

          • Sorry, I was on my phone and didn’t finish my thought. Chet is believed to mirror Jonny Fairplay. I think Yau is the only one without a true mirror, because who could ever truly mirror Yau…oh wait, Tai. I think Mikey B. somewhat resembles Penner with their career paths of being writers.

          • Kemper Boyd

            Harsh on Ami, being as she’s like 35 and Tracy is easily 50+.

          • Black Dynamite

            Tracy was 43 when Mirconesia happened.

          • Kemper Boyd

            WHAT? No way. Still harsh on Ami. Also isn’t Nat Bolton the same age as Ami and also bi sexual, wouldn’t she be the mirror?

          • Black Dynamite

            Ami and Nat does seem like more of a match. On another note I was impressed with what Tracy brought to the table in Micronesia. She played well

          • I have always heard the Natalie/Parvati comparison because of the flirting element (keep in mind, we were still in the “all Parvati does is flirt” days). I think they saw Ami and Tracy as attractive women (possibly with some enhancements) that had a strategic edge to them. They aren’t afraid to play hard. On the surface level, Ami/Natalie seems to be the natural fit but the problem was that is that Ami is a bit soft (see the Leann vote from Vanuatu for a prime example) while Natalie wants to be the bitch (even if she goes out without a fight).

          • Kemper Boyd

            A decent player who go stuck on a FvF there for got screwed. It’s why FvF isn’t workable, it only gives 6 or so players any hope of winning.

          • I’m finishing up Micronesia (for the first time) right now. I think the fans are really hit-or-miss casting-wise. The pre-merge fans are pretty obnoxious and bland, but I absolutely love pretty much all the fans who make it to the merge. Erik and Jason are entertaining in their naivety, Alexis seems like she could have been pretty good at the game had she not been dominated by the favorites, and Natalie is the best. Watching Micronesia is making me angry at the possibility that Natalie was considered for 34 but didn’t make it (especially now that I’m aware of nataliebolton.com).

          • But 4/10 for fans in a FvF season is better than 1.5/10 (at best) in Caramoan.

          • I consider myself somewhat of a Caramoan apologist, but it’s an insult that it’s supposed to be FvF in the same way Micronesia is.

          • Caramoan is a stretch in both directions. While Micronesia has a few WTF choices for Fan Favorites (the F2 perhaps), they actually had favorites. All three eligible winners of the Fan Favorite award (Cirie, Ozzy, and James) are on the cast along with at least one other who probably could have won it if it was offered his season (Yau-Man). I suspect that if Vanuatu had one, Eliza could have been in the running, but I don’t see her winning it over Chris or Twila (because of her story). Not only that, you had arguably the show’s biggest villain (which was fan voted at America’s Tribal Council) in Fairplay, the first “big” player in the post-All Stars era as well as the first alpha female in the show’s history in Ami, and the show’s best narrator in Penner. That is a really stacked tribe.

            In comparison, the Caramoan Favorites tribe had a struggle because so many of the Fan Favorites from Micronesia to Philippines were either a)the winner of the season or b) a returnee, so that knocks down the potential actual favorite list a lot. Add to the fact that several people in the running for Fan Favorite (Taj, Sierra, Shambo, etc.) do not want to return, and we are already on the bottom of the barrel. So, let’s start with the highlights. Cochran and Malcolm were runners-up in their season’s Fan Favorite, so that makes sense. Dawn was probably near the top of that particular pool, but Ozzy had it won, so bring her back. Thus, we are already struggling to get actual favorites, so they decide to make a drama tribe with Brandon, Phillip, Francesca, and Corinne for drama’s sake. Were they really favorites? Probably not.

          • My perspective is also skewed because I didn’t watch Micronesia until long after Parvati legitimately earned “favorite” status, but I can see how she was a WTF choice after Cook Islands. Still, looking at the run of newbie seasons between Micronesia and Caramoan, it would’ve been hard to find many legitimate favorites without just repeating Tocantins and Philippines.

          • The problem is that there were some seasons that could have been tapped in there instead of having three from Redemption Island and three from South Pacific. You could have brought a couple from Tocantins (admittedly only Stephen was in the mix but was cut for Cochran) and a couple from One World (the rumor is that Troyzan was cut at the last minute for Malcolm-now imagine that Favorites tribe with Troyzan instead of Malcolm). I think there could have also went to Holly Hoffman from Nicaragua (potentially! potentially!) or even went to a Natalie Bolton from Micronesia instead of a Corinne.

          • #BringBackNatalieBolton

          • YAAS!

          • Black Dynamite

            I’m curious to who you consider to be the half in Caramoan. I’m assuming it’s Reynold’s skill for throwing things at things.

          • Reynold is definitely up there. I was thinking splitting it three ways between Reynold, Eddie, and Sherri, but that is largely due to #dogbar.

          • Max_Jets

            Pre-merge Laura is pretty great, but no one remembers her.

          • Emma used to refer to Laura as her Survivor doppelganger. And considering how far Laura made it, I think that’s probably accurate.

          • Hornacek

            Production missed a great opportunity when they didn’t have one tribe all wear moustaches and goatees.

          • Like that one MST3K episode, right? #millennialwithanoldsoul

          • Assistant Dragon Slayer

            That’s a Star Trek TOS reference. #evilspock #notoldenough #genxhighfive

          • I know…I was just kidding that some millennials would only get that reference from MST3K.

          • Saturday Night Palsy

            Isn’t that what they’re doing next season?

          • Hornacek

            We can only hope so.

          • Hornacek

            Back in the 80s, Marvel has an Assistant Editors Month where for one month, all the editors of their comics took the month off and let their assistants do their jobs. I think something like this happened when it came time to cast Gabon – Lynn Speelman (sp?) and her people went on vacation, and the unpaid interns took over for casting that season.

          • I like that theory a lot. I would also posit a theory that maybe Lynn Freaky Fridayed with somebody in Production so that Production person wasn’t familiar with the casting standards.

          • Hornacek

            Or Lynn had a great cast selected, but on the day before submitting the cast list to the show, her niece came to visit her at work and accidentally shredded all the paperwork, so in a rush she just picked the next 18 applications without even looking at them first.

    • That’s a question we’ll likely answer when we’re done with the season (and we’ll probably answer it in podcast form). But as of right now, I’d say this season is more of an entertaining diversion from how actual Survivor is played.

      • andythesaint

        When you answer that question, try to imagine what it’d be like watching this season week to week, with no knowledge that Bob was the winner. Then try to imagine how frustrating it must’ve been to see people fail in every way possible.

        • Oh, I’ve already thought of that while watching. As others have mentioned, this season is incredibly difficult to have a rooting interest in.

  • Assistant Dragon Slayer

    I think I hit the back-10-seconds button a dozen times in a row at the “FOR. THE. TRIBE…RANDY” moment. Those three seconds where the camera lingers on Probst you can actually see him thinking “I can’t take it anymore. I’m outta here” and then “Aw shit. Burnett’s got my passport.”

    • Probst hating on Randy for not wanting to share was the best. It was like a parent scolding a child.

    • Side Character

      We were so close to a re-creation of the scene from Half Baked, but without Jeff telling anyone that they’re cool.

      I would hope that I remembered the comparison of Kelly to Zosia Mamet. I’m the one who made that comparison in the first place.

  • DrVanNostrand

    Bob is a lot like slippery Pete. He’s the best…. and the worst.

    • sharculese

      I’ve never seen Pete called that before, but between that and your username all I could think was, “also, I have horses.”

    • Hornacek

      Not as good as Handsome Pete. He dances for nickels.

  • Black Dynamite

    I have a random question. Have you guys st Purple Rock ever considered doing something not directly Survivor related? I ask because I think it would be interesting to watch a season of “The Amazing Race.” Explore the pros and cons of that show, how it compares to Survivor, why the hell it wins at the Emmys so much. It could even be the seventh season with Boston Rob and Amber so it has some Survivor ties. I think it would be cool to read and talk about.

    • andythesaint

      I’ve considered it, but figure I’d never get anyone else to go along with me so haven’t bothered proposing it.

      John covered The Genius for at least one podcast once.

    • sharculese

      The answer to why it wins so many Emmys is simple – the Emmys is mostly voted on by people who are too busy making tv to watch tv, so in a lot of categories it’s easiest to vote for whatever you voted for last year.

      • Black Dynamite

        Yeah sounds about right. The same people who gave post season one Modern Family all those wins when Parks & Rec was right there.

      • andythesaint

        I’ve answered this before, but there’s a few reasons for TAR’s Emmy dominance:
        1. It really is an impressive technical achievement. They’re shooting days of footage in an uncontrolled, live environment designed to move at a rapid pace. Pulling it off is a bit of a miracle, even moreso than Survivor where they control the environment and the action takes place in static areas. If Emmy voters are doing their due diligence (most aren’t), they watch the one episode submitted. It’s not hard to believe someone could watch one episode of that and marvel at the achievement.
        2. Especially early on, there was resentment toward the idea of giving awards to reality shows, which were viewed as the barbarian at the gates, here to steal jobs for hard-working creatives. Thus, they weren’t exactly thrilled to give it to popular shows that were getting all the ratings (Survivor, Idol, Dancing with the Stars, etc). When it first started winning, TAR was a low-rated show that was always on the bubble of cancellation (and thus has been moved around on the schedule). Giving it an award was a non-threatening option.
        3. Emmy voters tend to vote for whatever they already voted for. Which is a common phenomenon in a country with a 96% incumbency rate for its Congress.

        • andythesaint

          I should add that these are all just personal theories. Not things I’ve read elsewhere or anything.

    • Violina23

      My husband and I used to watch The Amazing Race, and it was some good fun, but we lost interest after a while, especially with so much else on TV (and limited time due to kidlets). But I’d be more prone to giving it another chance if it was a group thing.

      P.S. If you like Natalie Anderson, I would not recommend watching her season of TAR, unless you like to hear two girls scream “TWINNIE!” at each other a lot. I cannot emphasize enough how annoying they are to watch when it’s pretty much the two of them cheering or screaming at each other.

      • Black Dynamite

        I also used to watch every season when it first started but quit with that awful family season and only watched about 3-4 seasons since. I like the travel aspect of the show a lot. Very visually appealing. The casting though is incredibly hit and miss with more of the latter.

        • andythesaint

          I started during the Rob and Amber season and stuck around for awhile (and went back and watched the first). After awhile, it just wasn’t different enough season to season to keep my interest, particularly as my TV time dwindled and choices grew. But there was a time when I really enjoyed it.

          The biggest problem is that the structure of the show doesn’t allow for as much variety in play. Whereas with Survivor, the contestants dictate how the game will be played, with TAR, it’s the opposite. The Race is the race, and it’s basically up to the contestants to see how well they can do it. Which can be thrilling on its own, but after awhile felt pretty repetitive.

          I also think restrictions on international travel forced the show to change some of its more interesting elements.

          • Max_Jets

            If you were to do something else, Big Brother seems like a pretty good fit for here. It’s much worse than Survivor as a television show, but more complex as a game.

          • andythesaint

            The impression I get of Big Brother is that it’s a more complex social game played by much stupider people.

            But I haven’t watched since Dr Kirby.

          • Max_Jets

            Probably not too far off, though I haven’t watched a lot of it. Vanessa Rousso got me sucked into last season and I recently binge watched an old season that I enjoyed, but it sounds like there is some pretty great gameplay to admire in most seasons at least.

        • Kemper Boyd

          I think it’s season 17 that for me is peak Amazing Race for me.

    • Alycia Swift

      We could all watch Pumaman.

    • Assistant Dragon Slayer

      I think most people on here like talking strategy and interpersonal dynamics more than, say, challenges and the travel porn aspect of Survivor. I’m a big TAR fan, but I just don’t think there’s enough going on in terms of strategy for a fruitful discussion. On the other hand, I’ve started watching The Genius, and I would love if if they discussed that in the off-season (John did a “back-door pilot” podcast about The Genius with Shirin a while back, but there was no followup). Strategizing and alliance-making on that show are intense: it makes Survivor strategizing look like TAR strategizing.

      • Black Dynamite

        You make some really good points. From what I remember on the show, most of the strategy came from things like which flight to take or which detour challenge to do. I found it engaging but can see that there may not be much to say about it. The Rob and Amber season may be the exception because they played the Race differently than any team I saw before them.

  • Violina23

    Thanks for the entertaining write-ups… I’ve been crazy busy so I haven’t had time to make insightful comments, but I’ve half-watched the episodes in the backgrounds while I’m doing other stuff, which means I probably couldn’t tell most of the guys apart in a lineup aside from Bob and Randy.

    Maybe because I know what to expect, but I’ve kind of accepted Corrine for who she is and is kinda finding her tone-deafness a little entertaining. Again, I guess it’s because it doesn’t go terribly well for her 😉 I actually laughed at her “Oh REALLLY??” confessional when Susie said she was going to vote her out. She may be “the worst”, but she’s at least some sass, and not as inherently negative and sulky as Crystal.

    ETA: I remember Bob being a better player than I’m seeing. I remember being somewhat satisfied by his win, so I’m curious to see if he actually had some strategy, or if it truly was a “Well, he’s the least objectionable” kind of thing.

    • Alycia Swift

      What she said – except the part about watching in the background. As much as I intended to participate and watch, work has gotten in the way. But I’m enjoying reading everyone’s comments when I need a break and remembering the season.

    • Saturday Night Palsy

      I do not like Corrine at all. I’ve finished the season and watched the Ponderosa videos. She is a disgusting human being. I have no desire to ever see her, Marcus, or Charlie again. That was some pitiful behavior.

      • Black Dynamite

        I haven’t watched Ponderosa but what did Marcus and Charlie do? It would be disappointing for them to be major assholes.

        • Saturday Night Palsy

          They were major assholes. It was high school shit. It was sad. Corinne and Marcus wouldn’t speak to some of the people who got voted out later (no spoilers!) and Charlie said (paraphrasing) “They’re my friends and they don’t want me to talk to so-and-so so I won’t to make them happy!”

          This was the first time I didn’t like Ponderosa.

          • Black Dynamite

            Well that sucks. After watching the clip, I realize it’s an emotional, highly stressful game. I understand being angry that things didn’t work out but to do that is some bullshit. Have some decency. Treating people which such disrespect gnaws at me. I don’t understand where this sense of entitlement comes from. They lost fair and square and they are not better people than whoever is eliminated after them. You don’t have to be best friends but look them in the eye and greet them at the bare minimum. I’m disgusted by that behavior. This got to me more than I expected it to.

          • Alkanarra

            I actually remember this clip from my first viewing and totally despising all of them after that. Frankly I enjoy Ponderosa *more* than the actual show since it’s where I can decide my final impression on players because — as much as they still know they’re on TV — the show no longer cares about hiding their true colors. Jim/Ozzy berating Cochran, RC being bitchy with Abi and Peter, Savage being a douche. It’s sadly a long list.

            But I’m 100% with you there; F the people who can’t understand it’s a game. 30+ seasons of this show and somehow they come into it thinking they’re the only ones that nobody can lie to? They’re the only ones who were “unlucky”? Those people stink.

        • andythesaint

          This is after episodes that we’ve touched on, so anyone watching along for the first time might not want to watch:

          • Black Dynamite

            I’m struck most by Charlie’s comments. He knows it’s wrong but he does it anyway because of friendship? They are shitty friends if you feel like they can dictate who you can talk to like that.

      • Violina23

        So, I finished the season (mild “spoilers” ahead), but forget what I said because she got exponentially more horrible up to and including the final tribal council (I totally blocked out those particularly low comments towards a particular person), and even at the reunion. I never buy someone who claims to “like” being booed. It’s a defense mechanism, maybe, but it was just gross.

        I’ll try to compose more thoughts on next Wednesday’s write-up…

  • Quick update from my non Survivor fandom friend watching Survivor: She has finished her pre HvV homework, so she is ready for HvV. I have decided that she will be playing the Purple Rock Podcast Pick-4 Fantasy League for HvV. Her four choices?
    1. Sandra (Her reasoning: “If they don’t knock her out early for being a former winner, I think that “anyone but me” voting strategy would do well among everyone else playing deep strategy looking for extra votes.”)
    2. Russell (Her reasoning: “Russell has an advantage because the others haven’t seen his schtick before.”)
    3. Cirie (Her reasoning: “Cirie always seems to do inexplicably well, too. She has a similar play to Sandra.”)
    4. Sugar (Her reasoning: And I’ll toss in Sugar, because I can kind of see her sticking around with people not seeing her as a threat.”)

    She is now not so sure about Sandra or Sugar, which she is half right on.

    • Wow, two pre-merge boots (including the first boot) and two of the final three (including the winner). Well done, newbie fan!

      For the record, one of the seasons I tested our scoring system on prior to our first fantasy league season was HvV. And even though she wins, I’m pretty sure Sandra did not get the most points.

      • It’s either Russell or Parvati, right?

        • Purplerockmatt

          pretty sure its Parv

          • That was what I was thinking due to the idols and her multiple immunity wins.

          • I think they both beat her, actually. I’ll have to go back and look.

          • Yeah, Sandra is like a Rodney in Fantasy League since she has never won any individual challenges.

          • Saturday Night Palsy

            Please never bring up Rodney when discussing Fantasy League ever again. Please!

          • Love you bay/bae!

          • I checked, and they did indeed both beat her point total. Though that was also on an early version of our scoring system, so it’s possible that with our current scoring system Sandra would be ahead of Russell. She’d probably still lose to Parvati, though.

          • What changes were made to the scoring system?

          • We initially proposed things like higher point values for individual immunity wins. Part of the reason we ended up with them at 4 points is because it’s unfair to a winner like Sandra or Cochran or Tony, who don’t need them.

            We’ll do another offseason scoring system discussion this summer, though. So if anyone wants to weigh in on potential changes, we can have them in place before this coming season.

          • Great. That would be when we discuss if Tai winning the advantage as a reward would count as a reward, an advantage, or a reward and advantage, right?

          • Indeed! That’s definitely going to be one of the topics discussed.

  • Alkanarra

    @SpicyMayoJaySimpson

    I have no fucking idea how to use Twitter, so I’m burying my email for fantasy league in this Gabon comment section. Let me know that you read it and I’ll edit it out.

    elliot . mensonger [at sign] gmail . com

    If you’re someone else and stumbled upon this whilst browsing through old commentary on Survivor Gabon…. why are you spending quality time reading old commentary on Survivor Gabon? Feel free to email me your explanation!

    • purplerockandy

      I’ll send him your email address.

      • Alkanarra

        … do you hang around in Gabon comment suggestions often?

        But thank you!

        • purplerockandy

          I see every comment posted here via the back end.