Purple Rock Survivor Podcast: Game Changers episode 7 “What Happened on Exile, Stays on Exile”

The Purple Rock Survivor Podcast discusses the events of the seventh episode of Survivor: Game Changers.

Zeke Smith – The Survivor Player


Purple Rock Survivor podcast: Game Changers Episode 7 “What Happened on Exile, Stays on Exile”

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In this episode, Andy and John discuss:

  • It. We discuss it. As best we can. What Jeff Varner did, how Zeke reacted, how his tribe reacted, what the show did and how we feel about all of it.
  • Jeff Varner’s defining Survivor moment.
  • Is there any way that Brad Culpepper isn’t winning this season?
  • Predictions for next week – two picks, in order.

If you have questions or comments, @ us on Twitter, or send us an email (purplerockpodcast at gmail).

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  • Taako From Teevhii

    It’s your friendly neighborhood PRP VJ. I’ve already posted some bonus content in the live blog, and I’ll post more later this afternoon for people who don’t interact with Survivor media outside of this site. For now though, THE STAR WARS TRAILER IS HERE EVERYONE WATCH IT

    STAR WARS: THE LAST JEDI pic.twitter.com/2LW7L8yt0N— Movie Trailers™ (@BestTraiIers) April 14, 2017

    //platform.twitter.com/widgets.js

    • Violina23

      YESSSSSSS! SQUEE! Can’t wait 😊

    • VoicOff

      The trailer is good, but this aggressive marketing is starting to feel alienating to me.

      Now we have teasers for the trailers. And about half a dozen trailers for one movie. And the marketing starts a year before the opening.

      It’s too damn much.

      • Violina23

        I think they’ve been pretty conservative in this case, given the secrecy. Star Wars kinda markets itself. But on top of Rogue One and all the other stuff in the expanded Universe, there is a cumulative effect that is a bit… heavy.

      • Taako From Teevhii

        I’ve been numb to the mega movie marketing campaigns for a while. I watch the first trailer to drop to get some hype going, and then radio silence so I don’t spoil the film.

        But I’m with you about those wearing you down when you’re exposed to them. I’ve seen the last four Fast & Furious films because they’re generally fun, but I think I’m going to skip this new one. I’ve seen an ad for it in every commercial break for every show I watch. I’ve seen enough of this movie.

        • Kingoftonga

          So….you’re gonna turn your back on family?

    • Mike Hirsch

      Chills. Actual chills. Can’t wait.

    • Taako From Teevhii

      The OWBC edit is overflowing. Most of this confessional got cut form the episode

      • prettyboyprobst

        Brad tells us WWMD really is his M.O. for this season and he’s sticking to it. He’s just not sure yet if he can do it. #WWMD #OWBC

    • Taako From Teevhii

      Michaela talks about improving on her last time playing.

      • BadPlayer91

        I would like to remind everyone, that Michaela is BAE! She will soon be a merged, definitely on the jury BAE!

        • Roswulf

          It IS worth celebrating that we’ve pretty much clinched Michaela faces for the rest of the season.

          • BadPlayer91

            And Sarah faces! But not enough Ciera faces….

          • Super duper fan

            Damn bastards, robbing us of Ciera faces…

        • Taako From Teevhii

          Because, in this comment, you’ve given your blessing to say that Michaela won’t make FTC: I’m excited for juror Michaela reaction gifs. It’ll be pure gold.

          • BadPlayer91

            (I’ve always been prepared for the idea she won’t make FTC, but you gotta have hope) HOW DARE YOU MICHAELA IS BAE SHE WILL WIN FOREVER YOU CANT CONTAIN GREATNESSSSSSSSS

          • Wait, was the whole “Michaela can’t control her emotions or feelings” plot from the premiere a set-up for her to be the best juror of all time.

          • BadPlayer91

            NO BECAUSE SHE WILL FTC BAE
            (but like, could be, probably, yeah…)

    • Taako From Teevhii

      Many Survivor viewers are not including Aubry confessionals in their balanced diet. Here, Aubry says “Oz-ilicious” and other things (including a Denise reference).

      • BadPlayer91

        70% I love Aubry yay yay yay – 30% She kinda seems to be very self-aware in her confessionals, like she’s trying to make them fun so that they will get used. Though maybe this was always the tone, and it’s just more pronounced here.

        • Taako From Teevhii

          Could be that, could be she’s more comfortable here than in her first time playing and her sense of humor is showing more.

          • Max_Jets

            I think this is a lot of it. She’s always had a playful, goofy sense of humor, but it seemed to have been reserved for her interactions with the other players before.

    • Taako From Teevhii

      Debbie discusses why talking with Cochran was so valuable.

      • Max_Jets

        I think I would be on board with Debbie this season if not for her weird flashback plot and for pronouncing Cirie’s name wrong.

    • Taako From Teevhii

      Troy talks about family members and “Brad and his wife Monica.” It’s almost like Troy’s never met her.

    • Taako From Teevhii

      Hali mentions eating just coconuts, her morning pushups, and her strong spirit. btw, the last two make Hali the Lady Coach of this season.

    • Taako From Teevhii

      Apparently Brad makes crude jokes. What is the OWBC edit hiding?!? Also, Cirie is moved by Brad talking about Monica.

      • indescribable hat

        Crude is such a mysterious word. I need to see some of these jokes so I can tell if they’ll make me love him or hate him!

        (So clearly we have dirty jokes, the question is are they misogynistic?)

    • Taako From Teevhii

      Sarah praises Sandra, does not understand that Sandra is the Michael Jordan of Survivor, and wants to claim Sandra’s crown.

      • indescribable hat

        It’s happened before though! Amanda Kimmel’s torch was first snuffed on her 108th day playing Survivor. (Obviously Sandra’s is more impressive because of, you know, the winning, but I will not let an opportunity to defend Amanda’s legacy go by!)

  • BadPlayer91

    I may end up double posting, but before my other thoughts, I just want to thank both of you for what I believe is one of your very best podcasts. It may not have the pure joy and fun of the last couple, but I believe you handled the subject matter in a very sensitive yet very real way.

    I believe that is is always important to review these kinds of incidents and consider, what can we learn form this? how can we avoid this in the future? I think you both did a great job of opening the dialogue in a way which is accessible to survivor fans and yet, respectful of the issues at hand. So thank you, truly.

  • Roswulf

    You know, I really like The PurpleRock Podcast, in both website and podcast forms. Survivor is in some ways a difficult show to love- it’s real enough to touch on many of the most ugly elements of our society in a way that denies us clean resolution and clear answers. And that’s part of why I love it- my favorite season is Race Wars after all- and it is part of why I feel awful about loving it.

    Having this place and this podcast to provide a structure of mostly decent folks to engage with Survivor in a mostly decent way is what makes me stick with Survivor at times like this.

  • Violina23

    I won’t be able to listen until maybe tonight at the earliest, but I also wanted to say thank you to the “Staff​” for being such great hosts, and the community & commentators for being awesome.

    I’m going to break with a general rule of mine and share the picture I took with Zeke at KIA’s from last October. (Both for privacy and I hate pictures of myself). He was awesome and funny and kind to me, as I was being my socially awkward and geeky self. Zeke, you rock, and I hope you find peace with everything. https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/99de71ace20b78bd25058e6ded4f991ffc83f0932321905bdb3a7cc896326283.jpg

    • StormofCuteness

      So adorable! (Both of you)

  • VoicOff

    I don’t get why the fact that gay men can be transphobic is still a surprise for some. Trans people are ringing the bell about the transphobia of the “Queer” community all day, everyday.

    A gay men can be transphobic, mysoginist, racist, ableist…

    I was just today reading a piece about Tracey Norman, black trans woman, mentioning how she got her modelling career ruined, by all appearances, by Susan Taylor, a black cis woman, outing her…

    Intersectionality. It’s complicated. Just because you are part of a minority doesn’t mean you don’t have the power to oppress some others minorities.

    • Taako From Teevhii

      What you’re saying bears repeating. For me, I just feel that members of minority communities should know better because they be able to sympathize with the challenges and the struggle. But of course, privilege in other domains can override that, like you say.

  • Taako From Teevhii

    I’m somewhat hesitant to share this, but it’s being reported that Varner was let go by his realty company because of all the bad press. To be clear, I’m not excusing what he did, but he sounds extremely and genuinely remorseful. It’s bad that it shook out like this.

    • VoicOff

      Yeah, it’s complicated because i do think neither our worse hour nor our best hour is an accurate representation of who we are. It’s what we do everyday that defines us.

      It was his worse hour. I am mad at him, it was heinous, but i do hope he can bounce back once the dust has settled.

  • pufflehuff

    Thanks for the thoughtful podcast. I’m glad to hear that Zeke had some say in the presentation of this episode. I’d agree with John that I’m pretty skeptical that production had no idea about what was going to happen at Tribal and I think it does matter because the type of show that’s okay with outing a contestant for ‘strategy’ or the sake of drama is not one that I want to watch. That said, it seems like this will be remain unclear and I agree that there’s not much value in debating this question now.

  • Alkanarra

    On the Culpepper thing, I gotta disagree with everyone a bit here. Let’s keep in mind that the last two seasons that the “obvious winner” didn’t actually win. If the winner is unpalatable (Michele) or played a game that’s hard to sell (Adam) then you focus on someone else who made it to the final episode, someone more charismatic, someone more strategic, and make them the weekly focus.

    Because while of course none of us are going anywhere, the casual viewers need someone to root for or they don’t tune in, and this is, after all, a ratings game. They could have looked at the final five, saw Culpepper as the biggest ratings draw, and make him the bait for their hook. Simple as that.

    So congratulations, Sierra Dawn Thomas. Your boring strategy that you didn’t change even a little bit just happened to work this time. Enjoy watching them coronate someone else.

    • Roswulf

      “They could have looked at the final five, saw Culpepper as the biggest ratings draw, and make him the bait for their hook”

      So, you are saying Sarah/Sierra/Troy/Bad/Hali as the final five, with Sarah taking it?

      GAH! KILL IT WITH FIRE!

      • BadPlayer91

        I will throw out this bit: My boss LOVES Brad Culpepper. He sees Brad as trustworthy, honorable, and a guy he could ‘get along with.’ I found this interesting because I have always been MEH on Brad. But i do think there is something to be said that for a lot of viewers, particularly casual viewers who also love sports, Brad is a BIG draw. Playing him up could easily help to capture some of that NFL viewership…

        That being said, I do think the Brad winner’s edit her is quiet lathered on. Not 100% on him winning yet, but it appears as such…

        • purplerockandy

          I’m pretty sure Brad Culpepper wasn’t an NFL draw back when he played in the NFL.

          • DrVanNostrand

            Brad has all the NFL star power of Gary Hawkins, professional landscaper. Actually, in all seriousness, Brad probably has much, much less. He played at a very non-prestigious position, and I seriously doubt his college has made a shrine to him like Gary’s did.

          • purplerockandy

            Brad Culpepper’s claim to fame while playing was “no, you’re thinking of Daunte”.

          • sharculese

            Other roommate is a hardcore football fan, so as a test I asked if he knew who Brad Culpepper was and his response was “nope, no fucking clue.”

        • pufflehuff

          Agree that his edit can also be accounted for by fame and that it’s a bit too in your face for winning (though that’s still a good possibility.)

          One reason I think he might not win is he has a journey where ‘winning’ can be presented as something else, e.g he got to play like Monica/connect with Monica at family visit etc. Similarly, Sandra got to ‘win’ by defeating the other two time winners or say Wentworth got to play a much better game, David got to overcome his fears etc.

          One reason I think that Cirie might still take this is that she’s been on Survivor journeys before and the only thing left to do is win. This is about 90% wishful thinking on my part, but I think if her story reignites next week she’s still in this.

        • Roswulf

          I agree- largely because this kind of edit push WORKS. Survivor is effectively telling a story about how awesome Brad is, at least for most viewers. I really like Hali, but I’m under no illusion that Survivor would push her over Brad if they came in 4-5.

          But as a character to build a story around…he’s not Cirie, or Ozzy, or Zeke. I’m highly skeptical he’s Aubry or Michaela, though that may be my bias. If you assume that Brad is getting this extreme edit because he is “the biggest star in the finals” rather than because he is the winner, that means bigger stars don’t make it to the end.

          Admittedly you could sub Tai or Debbie for the quieter fodder.

    • DrVanNostrand

      If it’s someone that sucks, I want the winner to be Troy’s dong.

  • pufflehuff

    Double-posting as it feels a bit weird to segue from talking about Zeke to the game (felt like two different episodes) but also wanted to weigh in on the Brad is Surely Winning this thing. I still don’t know about that…

    I agree that he’s getting a great edit but it feels similar-ish to David’s last season – a lot of personal content about his experience alongside the strategy. I think he’s getting a sort of redemption edit and that he’ll ultimately be taken down by Hali, Sarah or FFSDT. The latter two I think are good alternate winner contenders but I don’t like to close down possibilities and could imagine other winners. I’m still rooting for a Cirie win (which is just about possible with a squint) but if I had to place money I’d put it on Sarah.

    • Alkanarra

      Typing cat gif.

      • pufflehuff

        If only the typing cat could win this season instead of Sarah or FFSDT.

  • Roswulf

    On Zeke’s edit as a predictor of his finish, I think it’s very difficult to extrapolate anything from what we’ve seen so far. This episode is SUCH a pivot point in his story that everything we’ve seen is equally consistent with him going quietly next week or winning in stunning and dramatic fashion.

    Now obviously this doesn’t account for Brad’s “winner’s” edit. I think Zeke loses, because I think Brad wins. But I do think this episode completely breaks an Edgic-y approach to analyze Zeke episode by episode retrospectively. We’ll learn a lot from how the show edits Zeke next week.

    • TheForRealDeal

      Has anyone checked on the Edgic people? Are their heads intact?

    • Ms. Sweaterfan

      My instinct is that Zeke will be safe for a couple more votes. Either his tribe will feel a bit protective of him (at least for the merge vote) or he may be a bit stunned by the Varner TC and take a few days to get his head back in the game. Either way, I think he benefits from the fact that they haven’t seen his first season so he can be a bit under cover.
      In all likelihood, I feel like Zeke will eventually join Brad’s alliance and be a strong strategic collaborator for a few weeks before Brad starts to see him as too much of a threat and he goes out in roughly the same spot he did in MvGX (maybe even in a similar way).

      I skimmed the Inside Survivor Edgic article for last week and the week before, and I thought they were strangely high on Zeke. Maybe there were things in the edit I wasn’t seeing, but I thought he’s been edited pretty minimally until the latest episode. I would love to see him step up strategically as an alliance leader again this season, but I fear his only viable option may be to take a backseat in Brad’s alliance.

      • Diego Armando

        I think he is safe next week, but may be a victim of his alliance being Pagonged.

  • BadPlayer91

    The best way to describe this episode is:

    Catharsis: the purification and purgation of emotions; any extreme change in emotion that results in renewal and restoration

    I don’t think I have much to add on the central situation itself, but I did have these thoughts:

    -Looking past the horribleness of the incident, I think it’s fascinating that this is where Survivor ended up after 34 seasons. The mantra of “I’ll do whatever it takes to win” has always been pretty prominent. I feel like we’d be hard pressed to find a season where someone didn’t utter that phrase in one form or another. We’ve seen nasty tricks and betrayals and all sorts of stuff, but few moments have felt as awful as this. I think, there was always a question of how far is too far, and it’s amazing that it took 34 seasons to find something that is, quite frankly, too far. To find something that players and fans alike believe is off-limits to consider gameplay. Seeing this happen puts so many of those other ‘controversies’ or villainous moves in a very harsh perspective.

    -Moving outside the details of this event, and to a larger picture for the season, this episode showed each tribe in what was essentially a bonding moment. After the reward challenge, Mana bonds over how difficult the game is, everybody has a good cry, and this seems to bring Brad closer to Aubry and Cirie, although separately. What this means moving forward, I’m unsure, but this group seems to be getting much closer. Then on the other side, we have the major tribal incident at Nuku. And if we shed back a lot of the terribleness, there was some legit bonding here. Usually events of this kind bring together the people involved because they all share such a traumatic experience. I can’t imagine anyone on Nuku trying to betray the group after this tribal. And if Brad decides to stick with this new Mana group, particularly given that he is weary of Debbie, these tribes could be our fighting lines going into the merge.

    • indescribable hat

      I think it’s less that it took 34 seasons to get to off-limits behavior and more that the culture and the limits have moved over the long run of the show. Survivor, along with many other corners of the world, has grown into a place where this behavior is unacceptable, and I assume it has also grown into a place where rubbing your naked genitals on someone to intimidate them is unacceptable, but it wasn’t always.

    • EmAndScoutInBK

      I don’t think it’s taken 34 seasons to get here – I think our standards as audience for what’s wrong have evolved.

      Boston Rob outed John Carroll in Marquesas in Season 4. He didn’t do it the way Varner did. He didn’t do it at tribal, and he didn’t do it in front of others, as I recall. But he did do it on national tv, and he did it knowing CBS might air it, which they did. He did it “to see if he would be honest” with him. We, as an audience, just didn’t have that reaction. And of course, outing someone as gay is not the same as outing someone as trans, but it’s still outing someone – and this was 2002. Not being outed as gay in 2017. Not that that would be okay either – it wouldn’t.

      • sharculese

        The other thing (and it doesn’t make when BRob did any better, because he couldn’t have known this was that case) was that John Carroll wasn’t telling people he was gay because he didn’t want them to know, he just didn’t care enough about it to tell them. When BRob tried to out him his response was basically, “yeah, I’m gay, what of it?”

        There’s actually an interesting comparison to Borneo. According to Mark Burnett’s book, early on Hatch was a target for elimination because Tagi rightfully thought him to be shady. So he staged a tearful fireside conversation where he came out to them, and suddenly the tribe rallied around him.

        • EmAndScoutInBK

          I thought his response was “Don’t ask me that.” But regardless, you’re right, BRob had no way of knowing that when he asked him. Also, I just googled it (for reasons other than this comment – I’ve been thinking about the history of Survivor and its LGBTQ contestants), and John Carroll wrote a letter in 2012 that described being outed on Survivor as a hate crime. So I guess he wasn’t thrilled about it.

          I’ve heard about the Hatch moment. That totally feels like him.

          Also, this confessional by BRob also got under my skin.

  • BadPlayer91

    FYI, i believe this is the article John mentioned:

    http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/live-feed/survivor-zeke-smith-outed-as-transgender-guest-column-991514

    I would definitely recommend reading it.

  • Mike Hirsch

    Thank you both for your commitment to this site and making it what it is! And thanks to those other three, too.

    I’m so impressed by today’s podcast I’m going to buy something from Amazon!

  • Pavlos Siaperas

    I will laugh when Brad loses the season by being a goat as foreshadowed in episode 1 and remember this podcast.

    • sharculese

      lol wut?

    • purplerockandy

      I mean, we’re not exactly invested in it, so sure. Maybe we’ll laugh with you.

  • Roswulf

    Throwing a tier list out there, purely based on chance of winning. I’m pretty confident on the tiers (Michaela’s the only placement that gives me pause), though I’m open to the suggestion that they should be intermingled a bit.

    TIER 1 Sure looks like a winner’s edit
    Brad

    TIER 2 Edit is consistent with a win…but Brad’s winning, isn’t he?
    Sarah
    Zeke
    Sierra (on the assumption that Sierra’s confessionals are always boring)
    Hali
    Troy (on the assumption that Troy always sucks)

    TIER 3 It’s not a LOSER’S edit…but shouldn’t we have seen more of them?
    Ozzy
    Michaela (we should always be seeing more Michaela)
    Cirie
    Aubrey
    Andrea (I literally forgot she was still on the show while making this list)

    TIER 4. A loser’s edit…but Adam did just win and is it THAT much worse than Adam’s edit?
    Tai
    Debbie

    • Max_Jets

      Tier 3 is pretty damn cool.

      • Roswulf

        This is the non-Varner problem with this season in a nutshell.

      • DrVanNostrand

        Minus Ozzy it’s pretty cool. He brings the average way down.

        • Max_Jets

          Swap Ozzy with Zeke and you have the 5 best people remaining.

  • sharculese

    On the subject of gay people in Iowa – my old boss’s husband was a former Miss Gay Iowa, and it sounds like it was a pretty lucrative gig. And this was decades ago. Iowa had gay marriage before most of the east coast. Or either coast, for that matter.

    • Back in the day, Iowa was really liberal-leaning in regards to the Midwest states.

      • Diego Armando

        I have family currently living in Iowa. My uncles there are on the exact opposite ends of the political spectrum (Democratic professor/politician and Born Again Consevative). There is some political diversity in the state.

    • I don’t know what area Sarah lives, but I had a friend that lived near the University of Iowa and she says it was a lovely little liberal haven.

      • Ms. Sweaterfan

        I believe Sarah is from Cedar Rapids which is about 10-15 minutes from the U of Iowa. It’s also one of the larger towns in Iowa.
        And I grew up near the U of Iowa and went to school there – it is a lovely liberal haven 😀

    • indescribable hat

      The real divide is urban vs. rural pretty much everywhere, but Sarah’s from Cedar Rapids, so I don’t know if that explains it better. (Not that there aren’t LGBT people everywhere, but you can go a lot longer without knowing you know any in small towns.)

    • Hornacek

      In Sarah’s defense (what has this world come to, me defending Sarah), when she was saying that where she’s from there aren’t any gay/transgender people there, I think she probably meant that she doesn’t know or interact with them so as far as she knows, they aren’t there. Just like as far as she knew there weren’t any transgender people on her seasons of Survivor. But now she knows that’s not true. Maybe she’ll come away from this thinking “I didn’t think there were any transgender people on my season, but there is, and I like this guy, so maybe my belief that there aren’t any where I live could be wrong too?”

      Oh wait, she voted for Trump. Forget I said anything.

  • Diego Armando

    Here are the 5 potential players who, based on edit and screen time, could plausibly win instead of Brad and how I think it is possible, in order of likelihood (Brad is winning this season):

    1. FFGCTPPTPICDSABMSDT: She gets to the final 4 with Brad, Tai and Troy. The challenge is some sort of endurance thing that Tai wins. They decide to vote out Brad since he is biggest threat. Tai is unable to articulate and Troy’s dong traumatized the jury so she wins by default.

    2. Tai: Same situation, but the jury likes him as a person more than Troy and Sierra and decide he was proactive enough to reward.

    3. Zeke: This horrific event cements unbreakable bonds between him and Andrea, Debbie, Ozzy, Sarah and Tai. Brad is taken out in a SJDS Jeremy level shocking moment. He is able to use Ozzy as a meat shield and manipulate the other players to get to the end.

    4. Sarah: Swap her for Tai or SDT in their scenarios.

    5. Ozzy: Never loses Immunity.

    • Taako From Teevhii

      I think there an interesting question in this: Is there someone to be Mike 2.0 to box Sierra out of every IC win? Ozzy or Michaela, maybe Sarah or Andrea. I don’t know if there are any others. And considering that the island is increasingly swamped with goats (and not shark like the editors are trying to imply), could Sierra’s first strategy actually work here?

      • Diego Armando

        Brad. Brad is competent to good in most challenge components and if Michaela, Ozzy, Andrea and Aubry go away he could clean up.

        • Taako From Teevhii

          I was leaning that way, but we haven’t seen him in individual challenges (or Michaela for that matter). I think there’s a big different between how team and individual challenges shape up.

          • sharculese

            Technically we’ve seen him in two, and he has a 50% success rate.

          • Taako From Teevhii

            And the one he lost involved counting. Maybe he’ll be better than he appears…

          • Diego Armando

            I see Brad potentially cleaning up the same way Mike did. Once the players who are better than you in certain areas start to fall, you can clean up. Mike’s Immunity chances skyrocketed once Joe, Jenn, Hali and Tyler left.

          • BadPlayer91

            I’m SOOO excited to see individual IC Michaela!! Like, could she clean up at some of the endurance ‘will of mind’ challenges? And if i’m remembering correctly, a lot of the early post-merge challenges were more endurance and balance and things. Probably 1) to give everyone a more even chance than say, swimming around and 2) easier to film everyone in stationary places when there are 13, save the mazes and such for 6 or less…

          • Taako From Teevhii

            We haven’t had a good maze in a while. Those used to be my favorite challenges.

          • BadPlayer91

            I think the World’s Apart maze was pretty awesome. But it was all World’s Apart-ed up.

          • Taako From Teevhii

            I will say, Cagayan’s maze almost gave us Kass McQuillen: Sole Survivor. Then Tony comes in third. Then he comes on Game Changers and is underestimated and wrecks everything. Gosh, mazes might be bad.

          • The HvV maze is simple yet has one of the best finishes in all Survivor FIC history.

          • Diego Armando

            I’d love to actually do one of those.

          • Taako From Teevhii

            When I get cast and make it to Day 37, Kirhoffer better have one ready for me.

      • Diego Armando

        Weird fact: Only 7 players from this season have won individual immunity challenges and 3 of them (Malcolm, JT, Ciera) are gone. That leaves Ozzy, Andrea, Troy and Tai left as the front runners.

        • Taako From Teevhii

          Challenge Beast Tai Trang winning me fantasy points; I like it.

        • If we expand out to individual reward challenges, then we can include Aubry and Cirie for sure. If you want to get technical, I guess you can count Brad if you count second place at Redemption Island as a win.

    • BadPlayer91

      I think #5 is the biggest stretch. Just because, this is the largest merge tribe, along with Cambodia. So, while Ozzy could maybe get away with losing an IC or two in the very early stages, he will then have to go on the longest IC winning spree of any season to remain safe. If there is anyone to do it, Ozzy would be one of them, but still a huge ask.

      • Taako From Teevhii

        It’s definitely unlikely that Ozzy wins every immunity. But the bigger implication I think Diego was alluding to was an Ozzy win. That’s certainly within reason. If he can be on the right side of the vote for the first few tribals, then he can turn full challenge beast mode. There’s a small bubble where everyone’s going to need every vote they can get. I feel that he can maybe suss out when others think he’s expendable.

        And while he’d probably be shown more if he was to win, I will say that his confessionals are bland. Very bland.

        • Diego Armando

          That was what I was going for. He has been present in the edit (likely because he is very popular) also I can see a victory possible and took the most humorous option.

      • Diego Armando

        Yeah, I know it is near impossible, but he is Ozzy.

        • Purple Rock Emma

          And a lot of his biggest competition is already gone.

        • Roswulf

          Maybe Production goes all in. Every challenge starts with a 200 meter swim! Every puzzle is 20 feet under the water!

          • sharculese

            It’s all word scrambles and all of them are Cheech and Chong references.

          • There will also be a puzzle about Robinson Crusoe.

          • Ms. Sweaterfan

            “We have hidden keys inside 5 tropical fish and released them into the ocean. You must spear these fish to get the keys, then climb to the top of a palm tree to retrieve a locked box containing your puzzle.”

    • Purplerockmatt

      I can’t believe I am saying this but I think there is one more person who has a chance to win and we are all avoiding it because we hate him. Troy is getting enough of a edit I would put him ahead of most people actually (not Brad though)

      • EmAndScoutInBK

        NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!

  • Diego Armando

    Great episode. I think you two did a great job explaining the situation as best as you could. Thank you for creating this site and somehow fostering this environment.

  • ignign0kt

    Did you guys even listen to his exit interviews? It wasn’t premeditated

    • Taako From Teevhii

      Did you watch the episode?

      • ignign0kt

        Did you know that episodes are edited?

        • Taako From Teevhii

          Oh, sorry. Didn’t realize the editors dubbed in “I know something no one else does. Something nothing to do with this game.” Crazy how Varner’s lips matched up perfectly to that soundbite, innit?

          • ignign0kt

            He says it’s “..insignificant to this game, it means nothing”.
            Sorry I must have missed the part where he said “I have a plan that involves outing him”.
            He said he blurted it out in the moment and I’d believe him over the edit.

          • Taako From Teevhii

            Why would he even bring it up in the context of “raising hell” at tribal if he wasn’t going to talk about it at tribal? Context clues.

          • sharculese

            Dude, it’s important we take the words of a known bullshit artist at face value.

          • Taako From Teevhii

            Listen, I just think that people are only guilty if they provide a clear and explicit confession. It’s amazing that we even consider things like “evidence” and “established motive.”

          • ignign0kt

            Do you not notice how heavily the confessionals are edited? The show literally uses audio that’s clearly not from a scene being showed. This happens frequently and is pretty obvious

          • Max_Jets

            Go ahead and give Varner the benefit of the doubt if you want, but you’re going beyond that when you say definitively that it wasn’t premeditated.

          • Roswulf

            I’d also add that the drive to give Varner the benefit of the doubt is itself pretty gross, as is traced in the podcast.

            A guy we all liked on TV did a fucking awful thing. Let’s not create elaborate stories to make us feel better about liking him.

          • Max_Jets

            I get the idea and am normally all about giving someone the benefit of the doubt. I can’t imagine having such an ugly moment be shown of yourself on TV and internet witch hunts are brutal. I’ve tried to avoid talking about Varner very much because I don’t want to pile on, but to me it seems pretty clear what his intent was even just from watching the way he spoke at tribal council and it wasn’t a good look. Pretend this last sentence makes a nice point to tie everything together.

          • Blurry Denzel

            I’m with you 100%. What this man did is completely reprehensible. I don’t care how people try to spin the narative. Even if they are right, it doesn’t matter. There are no excuses for what he did. Jumping to his defense so vehemently is to minimize the action he did and quite frankly I find it disgusting.

          • EmAndScoutInBK

            I don’t know what I missed here guys, but I’m glad I missed it.

          • Blurry Denzel

            Just some bullshit that got shut down quickly.

          • hardcöre umlaut

            EXACTLY. I might quit r/survivor for fucking good because they are bending over backwards to excuse Varner. Not attacking Varner on twitter is one thing (and very understandable). Claiming that Varner shouldn’t have been fired from his job this morning because “we all make mistakes” and “well he really didn’t MEAN it” is fucking reprehensible.

            This whole thing has pretty much soured me on Peih-Gee, too.

          • Max_Jets

            I may not buy into her rationalization for Varner’s behavior, but Peih Gee is coming at it from a perspective of someone who is concerned about her good friend who was supposedly already suicidal before losing his job and becoming hated by millions of people he has never met.

          • sharculese

            What did Peih-Gee do?

          • EmAndScoutInBK

            Well, before we get into her statement, she liked a tweet that shared pre-transition photos of Zeke. So she’s pretty much dead to me.

          • sharculese

            Jesus fuck. I’m shocked Scot Pollard still cares enough about Survivor to do that but fucking just jesus fuck.

            Other roommate was there while I was watching the episode. Midway through tribal he asked me what Zeke’s name was before he transitioned and I said “I don’t know, because it’s none of my business.”

          • EmAndScoutInBK

            That is the proper response to your roommate. I only edited my comment above because I didn’t want to draw more attention to the tweet itself, but yeah, he’s human garbage.

          • Max_Jets

            I did not know this 🙁

          • EmAndScoutInBK

            It’s incredibly upsetting – she used to be (as in, right before she opened her mouth on this issue) one of my favorites. I was rooting for her in China, and I picked her to win in Cambodia. Girl wished me congrats on quitting smoking. But I’m furious, and I’ll never see her the same way ever again.

          • Max_Jets

            Yeah, I just scrolled through and there’s some other dismissive bullshit she liked too. She’s been one of my favorites too and I also wanted her to win Cambodia. My reaction to her big post about it was kind of “yeah, this isn’t perfect but she’s just a person”, but this is pretty disappointing.

          • hardcöre umlaut

            Peih-Gee has now made multiple posts updating the r/survivor community on how Varner is doing (one pre- and one post him getting fired). One of which (https://www.reddit.com/r/survivor/comments/65eu9j/a_little_perspective_on_the_zeke_varner_situation/) included this quote:

            “We have all made mistakes in our lives, spoken out in anger or desperation or some misguided sense. We are all lucky that those moments were not scrutinized on national television. I am horrified for Zeke, but I’m also horrified for Varner. I know he is remorseful and really struggling emotionally over this.”

            I understand that living with the public backlash that resulted from his actions is incredibly tough, and it sounds like he has had some really, really dark days. But her posts have led some r/survivor members to call anyone who was ok with Varner losing his job “evil SJWs” (people have legit called me this in both comments and reddit DMs, because I said I can understand why Varner’s employer fired him). She also seems to be equating the backlash Varner is receiving for DOING AN UNACCEPTABLE THING to Zeke being outed. I get that she is one of his best friends. I understand that she wants to support her friend. But she needs to do it in private, not publicly on reddit.

          • Taako From Teevhii

            Ok dude, I’m not going to explain to you what B-roll is and why it’s necessary. You can just keep on believing whatever you want.

          • ignign0kt

            Yeah necessary to maintain a narrative and not accuracy. You’re watching an edited drama reality TV show and you’re a fool if you think you get the whole story on screen lmao. Get a clue.
            John and Andy are also foolish for taking the bait

          • sharculese

            When you are taking as gospel the word who was trying to backtrack and change the story literally as the story was unfolding, you don’t get to haughtily sniff about how other people are being gullible.

          • sharculese

            Someone linked this on the liveblog thread today, but apparently Varner gave a longer interview where he claimed that what he was talking about in that scene was a conversation he had where Ozzy admitted he a secret alliance with Zeke and Andrea.

            Which makes no fucking sense in that it a.) that is something to do with the game and b.) if it’s true, why is he not talking about using it on Ozzy, his stated target?

          • ignign0kt

            He said that’s what he was referring to with the “deception”.
            The “something i know” was clearly about Zeke being trans, but that doesn’t mean “I’m going to exploit this”

    • sharculese

      Exit interviews aren’t canon.

      • Taako From Teevhii

        Especially since memories get severely skewed over time.

        • sharculese

          And especially especially when the dude is known for talking out of both sides of his mouth and spinning like a centrifuge, and especially especially especially when the dude started doing those things moments after the act in question and has now had months to get his story straight.

          Maybe it’s true. There’s no reason to believe him just because he said it. Exit press doesn’t work that way.

          • TheForRealDeal

            Always close the lid on your centrifuge folks.

          • Alycia Swift

            And didn’t production have confessionals from him that alluded to the fact that he was going to do something at tribal?

          • Ms. Sweaterfan

            He did a similar thing with the “we’ve got a rat” situation in Cambodia – he ran his mouth and then later claimed that he “blacked out” and couldn’t remember anything he’d said. This struck me as odd at the time, but now it seems like an insidious pattern where he does something ill advised and then refuses to take any responsibility for it. I hesitate to go too far into extrapolating what this means about him as a person in real life, but it doesn’t reflect well.

          • sharculese

            Rob brought that up on KIA. They were speculating as to what Varner planned to say in exit press and concluded it would be “I don’t know what I was thinking,” and Rob said “Is this a pattern with Varner? Isn’t that what he said in Cambodia about the whole ‘he’s a rat’ thing?”

      • Kemper Boyd

        I don’t listen to them, even Sandra’s.

  • Assistant Dragon Slayer

    Just gonna throw this out there: In episode 4, old-new-Nuku let the goats escape. Every boot since then has come from that tribe. THEY LET THE GOATS ESCAPE.

    EDGIC!!!1!

    • BadPlayer91

      upvoted for !!!1!

    • Taako From Teevhii

      Survivor: Game Changers
      Survivor: GC
      Survivor: Goat Corral

      All the goats of the season will be there at the end.

      • Alycia Swift

        This cracked me up.

      • Maybe there will be a reward for Golden Corral.

        • Taako From Teevhii

          Maybe there will be a punishment for Golden Corral.

          FTFY

    • sharculese

      What’s terrible is that this is a better edgic argument than the actual edgic argument upthread.

      • Taako From Teevhii

        ARE YOU BASHING EDGIC SHARC? I”L HAVE YOU KNOW THAT BRAD TALKED ABOUT HIS INTERIOR DESIGN HOBBIES IT’S VERY SIGNIFICNAT

        • BadPlayer91

          HIM AND MONICA GO ANTIQUE SHOPPING! THEIR HOME LOOKS LIKE A DAMN HOME & GARDEN MAGAZINE!

          • Diego Armando

            ADAM WANTS TO KNOW WHY YOU ARE TALKING LIKE ME.

          • HOME AND GARDEN MAGAZINE = CPP4! NO ONE CAN DENY THIS!

        • sharculese

          HE TALKED ABOUT HIS WIFE AND HIS WIFE LOST SURVIVOR. EDGIC.

      • Head Architect Sylvia

        I actually lost it when I saw someone on reddit post a few episodes ago that that the inclusion of the audio when Brad and Sierra were pushing a cart at a challenge and shouting “ONE, TWO, PUSH” was because the editors were hinting at the fact that Brad and Sierra finish first and second. Lol. OK then.

        • prettyboyprobst

          This clearly foreshadows a tie at FTC.

          But I have to admit that I’m getting worried on how JT is going to follow through on his premiere quote of “Ozzy’s gotta go!”.

    • hardcöre umlaut
      • sharculese

        Ah, but then why did they make it look like they let them go?

        *EDGIC*

        • Because it wasn’t a super important part of the show? Nope, just edgic.

      • PurpleTally

        Yeah, but they didn’t eat the BABY goats.

        • EmAndScoutInBK

          Do we know they didn’t eat the baby goat though?

          (my great contribution for the day)

          • PurpleTally

            Yes. They let the mom and baby go. And then caught another and ate that instead.

      • Didn’t we discuss why this is not a good decision on the basis of all of the blood?

  • Max_Jets

    To all of you Hannah heads out there – Hannah is on the RHAP recap and she’s still great.

    • Blurry Denzel

      The rise of Hannah continues. Hannah Forever! We are all witnesses. That still feels great to write.

    • sharculese

      Serious question for Hanna fans? Do y’all just like her as a character or do you actually think she’s good at Survivor?

      • Max_Jets

        I enjoy her as a person and think she is okay at Survivor.

      • Blurry Denzel

        As a character mostly. I don’t think she is bad at Survivor though.

        • Alycia Swift

          I have to agree. She knows where she did go wrong and stated it on the podcast.

          There are those that are truly bad at some or all aspects of Survivor. She is not one of them.

          • sharculese

            I’m planning to listen to her interview with Rob so I’m interested in what she has to say about her game, but I feel like she played herself into an unwinnable position.

            I dunno, maybe this is how other feel when Penner fans start talking, although nobody who loves Penner thinks he’s good at Survivor.

          • Alycia Swift

            I only got through part of it on the way to work. Heading out in a minute so I’ll either finish it or listen to Purple Rock or both since my ride is LONG and its Friday night.

          • sharculese

            I mean, a new Cool Games, Inc dropped today,so that takes priority.

          • Assistant Dragon Slayer

            She pretty much said as much. She said her biggest mistake is that she didn’t manage the jury’s perceptions (or even realize it was a thing).

          • purplerockandy

            Which, given how unconfident she seemed just in delivering answers on a podcast, is not a shortcoming I think she can overcome.

          • I like to think I’d play Survivor like Zeke or David, getting over my anxiety in my quest to play a respected strategic game, but I’d almost definitely play like Hannah. (I love Hannah, but I agree that she has significant flaws in her gameplay that probably can’t be corrected.)

      • giorgos

        Mostly as a character but she was decent as a player. Adam wasn’t THAT much better than her even if the scoreboard says otherwise.

        • Kemper Boyd

          I agree.

      • Mike Hirsch

        I felt Hannah got better at Survivor as the game went on, and was pretty good at final Tribal, but it was too late for her to change anyone’s mind.

      • Violina23

        She seems like someone fun that I would hang out with. So I couldn’t help rooting for her to do well, but she was NOT very good at this game.

      • hardcöre umlaut

        Love her as a character, but I’m a sucker for a nerdy Jew (note: am a nerdy Jew)

        • Violina23

          We’re an underappreciated demographic 😉

          • EmAndScoutInBK

            Nerdy jews forever!

          • Kemper Boyd

            UNITE

        • indescribable hat

          Oh my god, her inability to stop making Jew jokes even though she kept second-guessing them was cracking me up.

      • Super duper fan

        I love her, cause she seems as the sweetest person on the planet, with whom I can relate to sometimes with being anxious. I don’t find her great, or even necessarily good player, but I think she is underrated, and I can see her being much better if she realizes what her mistakes were.

        Ashley Underwood, we’re forever grateful for what you’ve brought to the game. We are not worthy of the joy you bring us.

      • EmAndScoutInBK

        I like her as a character. I think she is an okay Survivor player who did really well at tribal council (at which point, it is WAY too late). I think with some tweaks, she could be a good Survivor player.

      • Other Scott

        She’s good at Survivor in the sense that she knows what to do to make the right strategic moves and connections to put herself in the best positions to do well.

        She’s bad at Survivor in the sense that she’s never going to be able to shake people’s perception of her as neurotic and indecisive and thus would never really be able to gain the respect to win a jury vote.

        • sharculese

          I would agree with this assessment, and the thing is that I think I value being able to sell yourself as a winner, both at FTC and in everything you do before, more highly than a lot of this community does.

          • Other Scott

            Yeah, and I think I value it less because a lot of the problems with Hannah aren’t tied to how Hannah plays, but rather who Hannah is as a person. I tend to be more forgiving of that.

    • Max_Jets

      Choice quote: “You know what my goal was going into our season? I want one person on the internet to say ‘she’s funny looking, but I’d date her.'”

      • Purple Rock Emma

        Hey Hannah, haaaaaaaave you met Blurry Denzel?

      • corndogshuffle

        I’ve made multiple comments like that @hannahshapiro

    • Ms. Sweaterfan

      I listened to the first 15 minutes or so this morning and thought she was doing great. It may actually be a RHAP recap that I listen to all of (which hasn’t happened yet this season – even Denise’s, and I love Denise).

  • hardcöre umlaut

    Brad is either going to win or be final jury member and I am ok with either. I’m ok with him winning because I love the Culpeppers, and I’m ok with him making final jury member because I don’t want him to beat Monica.

    • sharculese

      This is literally the only thing that would bother me about Brad winning*: he would be the first to say that Survivor is really Monica’s thing. It would suck for him to succeed where she couldn’t.

      *Well, also that I deliberated between Brad and Caleb in the Outcasts League for 30 minutes and chose Caleb.

      • sharculese

        This really encapsulates the overdrive the show has put into rehabilitating Brad. Seriously, if you told me 3 months ago that on day 20 I’d be talking about “Brad Culpepper, dude who loves his wife and would consider his own victory bittersweet,” I would have told you to go fuck yourself.

  • Blurry Denzel

    Aubry Talk: We got more of her this week, which isn’t a high bar. Unfortunately her confessional is just about how awesome Brad is. This could be a sign that she is at least in a good spot if that side wins out in the merge. We’ll see what sbe can do from here. I haven’t given up hope.

    • Violina23

      In an episode like this week’s, I don’t think we can read too much into the long term edit. But the fact that Aubry DID get any attention is noteworth.

      P.S. I am dying over your new name! BWAHAHAHA! Love it!

    • gouis

      Who?

      • Blurry Denzel

        You forgot to take the knife out of my back.

        • gouis

          Oh I didn’t forget.

          • Blurry Denzel

            This from my future podcast partner on either the Gouis on Fire or Training Gouis podcast.

          • gouis

            It’ll be our thing. You can ruminate on the skills of the current nerdy girl on Survivor an I’ll pretend like they don’t exist.

    • GuiltySquirrel

      Oh man, she was totally used to tee up Brad for his big moving confessional (which moved me just about as much as Andrew Savage’s crappy story in Kaoh Rong did). It’s so hard not to fall into edgic despair!

  • Rusty Shackleford

    As a member of the LGBTQ community this was a brutal episode but there are positive lessons society can take away: gay people are just like anybody else – some on them can be bigoted, entitled, a$$holes just like “regular” people. Seriously Varner and Colton Cumbie can sit together on the world’s worst gay pride float and we can push that float into the ocean to set adrift.

    For real, this podcast and community is amazing (first time poster!). Props to Andy and John for handling this better than any other site. That said, it would be rad if y’all could have had imput from a trans or queer person on the pod. Would be nice to have a catharic rage fest! Maybe let someone write an opinion piece? I would totally click.

    • Diego Armando

      Welcome to the site. We are happy to have you.

    • We did debate that. We definitely have a strong LGBTQ presence here. Having guests on the podcast at the moment is exceptionally difficult because Andy and I are both parents of young children; rare is the podcast that doesn’t get delayed or interrupted by parent life.

      However, I am extremely open to an opinion piece or roundtable post on this issue. That’s an excellent idea, and if anyone is interested, please let us know.

      • Taako From Teevhii

        I know it probably feels like this goes without saying, but I want to say it anyway: a roundtable only works if there are trans voices at the table.

        • Indeed. The roundtable would be great, but it’s unlikely. Although we would of course gladly offer anonymity to anyone that wanted to participate. I’m just not going to hold my breath. An opinion piece would be far more likely.

        • I know that @disqus_FeYRrg1QKY:disqus has brought up the idea of a LGBT roundtable ala the International Women’s Day roundtable in the past, and I think it would be cool, but only if we could have at least one trans representative.

  • sharculese

    If I were on the jury of this season and I knew Brad was winning in a runaway I would cast my FTC vote for “Bart Clubpooper” not out of any malice but because it would be funny to me and as long as they have enough votes not to have to read it on air I don’t see production making me change it.

  • jersey_luck

    If there was one great thing to say about this episode: music at the tribal council was great. It was properly dramatic and swelled at great points. That something that been on my mind since this episode started.

    • I am a sucker for pirate-y violin/fiddle music because it sounds epic and menacing at the same time. That was all over the minutes right after the reveal.

      • Taako From Teevhii

        I’ve been loving the strings this season, and I miss the Rogue One siren that they used once or twice but not enough.

        • Across the board, I love the shipwreck/nautical theme this season.

          • Taako From Teevhii

            The only thing that would have topped this tribal set would be a wrecked ship in the water.

          • Yeah, but you heard that a lot of the props in that TC set was damaged stuff from the cyclone that hit during MvGX?

          • Taako From Teevhii

            I didn’t but I love it. I think it might be even more impressive if they made the entire shipwreck theme in a few weeks after the cyclone inspired them.

          • If only, although it may explain why the logo isn’t the best.

          • Assistant Dragon Slayer

            I haven’t seen Thailand, but if they couldn’t make a fantastic TC set using Thai architectural details, somebody should have lost their job.

            What season had the TC set up in the trees like an Ewok village? SJDS?

            I sense an off-season post here.

          • Both All Stars and HvV have treehouses for TC.

            Micronesia’s TC looks like an Ewok village on water.

          • sharculese

            Worlds Apart also had a shipwreck theme, although there the emphasis was more on things made from salvage. It just wasn’t as fully executed as this is.

          • Taako From Teevhii

            Oh I remember Worlds Apart’s failed execution. That Individual Immunity necklace is a contender for one of the ugliest and worst designed necklaces they’ve ever had. It looked like it was made for $20 in the Luau section of the Dollar General.

          • sharculese

            To be fair it looked like it was made for $20 in the Luau section of the Dollar General and then the props team hot-glued a compass on it.

          • sharculese

            In terms of design concept, it’s the best season since Nicaragua.

          • Yeah, there had been decent design concepts in the intervening years (Cambodia’s theme of temples and Redemption Island’s Redemption Island comes to mind), but this one feels weirdly fresh. Yes, Cook Islands had a similar theme, but not the same way that Game Chaners does. Cook Islands was more of an exploration/navigational theme while GC’s is more like what happens after the exploration went south.

          • sharculese

            Cook Islands is up there for me in terms of set design. If I had to pick a top five it would probably be:

            1. China – Everything is perfectly put together, love the little arches at camp, tribal council is gorgeous, and it carries over into the challenges. Awesome stuff like the meteor hammer challenge makes it possible to ignore flubs like the fact that shuriken aren’t Chinese.

            2. Game Changers – Love everything about the design this season. The diving bell is a great prop and that tribal set is perfectly put together. Also, I fucking love Jeff’s jerry-rigged pulley wheel snuffer. The only reason China beats it is that the design theme hasn’t carried over into the challenges.

            3. Nicaragua – Maybe my favorite TC set ever, and the touch of having them walk out through the graveyard of the fort is perfect. Would be higher if it weren’t for a fact that they try maybe a little too hard incorporating the conquistador stuff and it ends up a little busy.

            4. Cook Islands – Again, a great TC set. The inclusion of the shipwreck on exile island is a fun touch, but there’s not a lot else there.

            5. Africa – Good but not great set, and a decent number of challenges tied into the location. I give them points for making them live in a setting that was appropriate to the region, but then take some of those points away due to the fact that the camp setup was necessary to prevent them from being mauled by lions.

          • There have been some tie-in with the shipwreck theme this season with the first challenge ending with the puzzle solvers spinning a ship wheel to lift the banner up.

            Also, Cook Islands’s nautical theme is somewhat present. A lot of the challenges/elements are based on that theme (they had a mutiny, the HII was a compass, they had to coordinates, they had to answer questions about Mr. Cook)

          • sharculese

            These rankings are completely about sets, set dressing, and props. Cook Islands has some non-visual stuff that ties into the theme, sure, but that’s not what I’m evaluating.

          • Sorry for the confusion.

    • Maritimer

      Survivor has the best sound editors. This is not the first time they have shown it this season either

  • wonderand

    I’m glad you mentioned the weird self-centeredness of the rush to forgive Varner here. Not only does it seem to stem from a need to alleviate discomfort, it seems to me to show how many viewers consider Varner their closest stand-in in this whole debacle, rather than Zeke, or any of the crew caught in the middle. We want to believe that we wouldn’t do what Varner did, but also if we DID do that, it would be okay, because it was just ____ and that outweighs a trans person’s safety and wellbeing.

    Also, if someone did something wrong and you genuinely believe they can/should do better, don’t you owe it to them to NOT let them off the hook? (On that note: you gotta work on “a transgender.” It’s now standard use to treat “trans” or “transgender” as an adjective describing a “person,” “man,” “writer,” “competitor,” etc.)

    • purplerockandy

      Apologies if we made that error. It was not intentional but is something to note and work on.

    • Kemper Boyd

      I’ve seen a few posts by a few of his Survivor friends supporting and almost defending Varner but I feel like these people should shut up. They are allowed to still like and love him but they should be telling him not us. Telling us feels like trying to erase the damage of what he did because “he’s got a good heart”.

      • Ms. Sweaterfan

        I was about to make this exact same comment! I have been avoiding Varner’s exit press, but the one article I clicked had a picture of him looking so sad and defeated that I almost felt sorry for him, but then I remembered the context and stopped myself. I totally agree that if his Survivor friends (or even fans) want to reach out to him personally and let him know they still love him as a person even though he made a huge mistake, then more power to them. But we don’t need that noise invading the really productive and meaningful conversations that have resulted from this episode.

        • Assistant Dragon Slayer

          Rationalizing away or defending Varner’s actions is certainly ridiculous, but that’s not the same as having some compassion for him. One of the hosts of the Snakes Rats & Goats podcast put it well–compassion is not zero-sum: Feeling badly for Varner doesn’t negate or decrease the compassion you feel for Zeke. I for one am grateful that my worst moment as a human being wasn’t shown on TV.

          • indescribable hat

            Compassion may not be zero-sum, but time/space in public discourse kind of is.

  • Taako From Teevhii

    This wasn’t a great episode, but nonetheless, here are Taako’s Totally Subjective RPDR Power Rankings, this week measured by challenge performance, previous rankings, and foot size cuz the runways sure as hell didn’t count for nothing.

    1. Shea Coulee (+1)
    2. Nina Bonina Brown (-1)
    3. Valentina (+1)
    4. Sasha Velour (+2)
    5. Peppermint (-2)
    6. Alexis Michelle (-1)
    7. Trinity Taylor (-1)
    8. Charlie Hides (-3)
    9. Farrah Moan (-3)
    10. Cynthia Lee Fontaine (+2)
    11. Eureka (-5)
    12. Aja (-2)
    13. Kimora Blac (-)
    14. Jaymes Mansfield (-)

    First note about the runways: as it happened, I was confused to why they were whipping through them. But getting a closer look at some of the outfits, it’s abundantly clear. Shea, Sasha, and Valentina were the only queens with runways looks above “pedestrian.”

    I’m starting to worry about Eureka sticking around long-term. Every time she’s not in front of the judges, she’s insufferable; every time she’s performing, she aces the challenge (or at least isn’t the worst). I need Aja or Trinity to take her out in a lip-sync.

    Speaking of lip-syncs, I’m glad Trinity was on the bottom and not Peppermint. Regardless of Peppermint’s lip syncing ability, there had to be something to keep that lip sync from being downright depressing. Charlie, I get it; lip syncs aren’t your gig, and you probably aren’t wearing the right heels for them. But like, at least pace the boards or something. Please don’t just stand there. Anyway, I haven’t been a huge fan of Trinity, and I continue to hope that she repeatedly lands in the bottom so we can get her lip syncing every week.

    Also, get Jeffrey Bowyer-Chapman on every week because DAYUM. I should probably note that my favorite character on UnReal is Jay because I’m shallow like that. But he actually gave constructive feedback, which makes him a plus judge regardless of anything else.

    • Blurry Denzel

      I was also into Jeffrey as a judge. Really fit seamlessly. I also agree with Shea Coulee being at the top of the power rankings.

      • Taako From Teevhii

        SHFMOTBSBALTBAB DENZEL WHY DIDNT YOU MENTION YOU WATCH DRAG RACE AND WHY HAVE YOU NOT BEEN PARTICIPATING IN OUR DISCUSSIONS THESE PAST FEW WEEKS

        • Blurry Denzel

          This is my first season of Drag Race. A couple of friends of mine got me watching and it’s been really entertaining. I’m still learning how the show works so I’ve been quiet when it comes to discussions. Also, the same friends took me to a couple of drag shis featuring some queens from this season and it was a really great time.

          • If you’re liking this season, you need to watch Seasons 2-5, especially Season 4. Your mind will be blown.

          • Taako From Teevhii

            And don’t forget Untucked; that’s an essential part of the viewing experience, especially in the earlier seasons.

            Is there a season viewing order you would suggest? I feel like 4, 5, 6, 2, 3, 7, 8 if you don’t go in order. (also I’m leaving off 1 because I consider it nice but not essential)

          • I would skip 1 and watch them in order after that. 2 lays a ton of the groundwork for what we’ve come to know and love and I think it would be beneficial to watch those things evolve organically.

            But if one had a limited amount of time (say, for example, a nuclear bomb was headed from North Korea (“or is it South Korea, Kim Chi????”) directly towards your face), you start with 4, then 2, 5, 3, 6, 8, 7.

          • sharculese

            I’m gonna buck convention and say 5 is better than 4, even with the dumb manufactured drama, but it was the first season I watched live and from “Draggle Rock” on I was completely #MonsoonSeason.

          • Taako From Teevhii

            5 is better than 4, but 4 has to be viewed first to understand the Sharon/Alaska factor in 5. (and note that my viewing order isn’t necessarily in order of season quality)

            I liked Jinkx, but #AlaskaWasRobbed and if Alaska had won S5, Katya wins AS2

          • sharculese

            When Jinkx announced she was doing Little Edie for Snatch Game I audibly gasped, and after she pulled it off I wasn’t going to accept a non-Jinkx winner and If Ru had put Pearl in the bottom 2 for the Hello Kitty challenge like she should have been, Katya would have won S7 and it would be a moot point.

          • Taako From Teevhii

            Fair, and true.

          • Blurry Denzel

            Thanks for the recommendation. I’ll try to binge this summer.

          • sharculese

            Also get All Stars 1 in there somewhere. It’s not great, but the final LSFYL is one of the most emotional moments in reality tv history. You can skip All Stars 2.

          • Sharc is high. AS1 is an abomination, it’s not even really a season the way it was screwed up so royally. AS2 is unmissable canon.

          • sharculese

            I said it’s not good, but you have to power through it to get to the Rujubee LSFYL. That’s a moment you need context for that is worth all the bullshit before it.

            As for AS2, I mean, yeah, it’s not bad, but the result is just so painfully telegraphed.

          • You can just find and watch that on YouTube. And all the context you’d need is Season 2.

            Like, the entire first episode, setting the format and then how it ends, is just…I can’t.

          • sharculese

            It’s not the same if you haven’t seen that bond build.

            But also, unless you know something I don’t, you can’t really watch it on YouTube. You can find a shitty version that someone made by pointing a camera at their TV, but the glare prevents you from getting all of the facial reactions that make that scene so special.

          • Taako From Teevhii

            Are we the type of people you think you have to be quiet around? Just because you’re new to it doesn’t mean we’d judge you for it. And if you have questions, ask ’em cuz I could talk about this show all goddamn day.

          • StormofCuteness

            Me too!

          • StormofCuteness

            Now I feel even worse that this season seems so off! Drag Race is the show that, for me, has always brought me joy (yes, even more than Survivor), and it kills me to have you start here. I agree re: at least watch season 4 so you know why we love it! Also, watching Untucked is essential.

            PS Am I the only woman on here watching DR??!

        • indescribable hat

          Why did these discussions start at the same time we lost free access to Drag Race? I’m extraordinarily jealous. Is this season worth buying on iTunes? I hear you get the swears if you do that so I’m a little tempted.

          • Taako From Teevhii

            I think they started because there a bunch of us here who watched Drag Race but we didn’t know we all watched.

            90% sure you get unbleeped swears. Can’t speak to if it’s worth if because that’s subjective, but I know that
            (1) it’s ad free
            (2) No Wendy Williams
            (3) costs less than two tickets to the movies
            (4) is usually up within 24 hours
            If there’s a new system like iTunes movie rental where you don’t *have* to buy the whole season, might be more worth it.

          • sharculese

            You know what else gets you no Wendy Williams? DVRing it and fast forwarding.

            Also, the DVDs are uncensored, (there is nothing like watching s5 on DVD and getting to hear the phrase “straight up motherfucking dick pig” unbleeped) so I would imagine the iTunes releases are uncensored too.

    • Eureka is definitely going far, she’s been featured a lot and she is fitting nicely into the famous “oblivious she’s a villain” edit that RPDR is so fond of. I can already hear her yelling about the editing at the live reunion show.

      Super grumpy about the LSFYL because I love watching them, and once it started down its inexorable path tonight, I couldn’t watch. What’s with the queens refusing to do the definitive tasks of the show this year? And why is Ru choosing them if they’re so flaze-dah about their inability to master these tasks?

      The season is kind of wack. No mini-challenges yet. Editing seems off. I know it’s happened before, but I hate truncated runways. It’s especially annoying because I think this is probably the most talented bunch since S6 and they’re kind of getting the shit end of the production stick.

      • Taako From Teevhii

        I just find it ironic that Eureka isn’t going by Eureka O’Hara on the show for a reason. But the general bitchy vibe she always has around her isn’t helping her cause.

        I get what you’re saying about the LSFYL because as soon as they showed what Charlie was doing, it stopped being fun. But I hope you actually did watch it because Trinity turned it out.

        I also prefer the full runways, but like I said above, we didn’t miss much if you go back and see the outfits. Three good looks from three queens we already knew were fierce. Otherwise, *punny Ru voice* Ladies, your naughty nighties … put us to sleep.

        • So, I did watch it, and yes, Trinity did a great job. But I do think back to Latrice/Kenya and how this was very nearly a rerun of that, except with the opposite result. Now sure, that was a VERY different song, and Charlie legitimately gave up and didn’t know the lyrics, but…I don’t know. Just popped into my brain. I guess I don’t really have a point.

      • Taako From Teevhii

        Oh, one more note about this lip-sync: I feel like I recall Charlie using her age as a reason she wasn’t a strong performer. I mean, bicth, Chad was about to die and she took it to the end twice. I don’t wanna hear any goddamn excuses. Be prepared! Make it work! Fucking make it happen!

    • Taako From Teevhii
    • StormofCuteness

      After this week’s Survivor, I really needed DR to get back to, if not great, at least good. It didn’t, and I am sad ’bout it.

      That LFYL was infuriating.

      • Wednesday: SUPER shitty Survivor
        Thursday: shitty Amazing Race (possibly broken show?)
        Friday: improving but still mediocre RPDR

        Like…I need reality TV to escape from my soul-crushing career please.

        https://gfycat.com/MasculineWarpedBluet

        • StormofCuteness

          I want to give this a trillion upvotes.

        • Max_Jets

          Big Brother Canada has been pretty entertaining, if that interests you.

          • Is Trudeau on it? If so, I’m very interested.

          • Max_Jets

            Unfortunately no, but here is a minute long showcase of your new favorite reality TV mom, Karen http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YlbB3aioZgE&t=34m13s

          • Maritimer

            I am now sad I haven’t been watching this season, this Karen seems awesome.

          • Blurry Denzel

            It has been entertaining but that last boot was devastating. Really more about Canada’s reaction than the boot itself, though I was a big fan of that player.

          • Max_Jets

            I agree, I really liked everything else about the eviction but that audience was just unbearable and made it uncomfortable to watch. She didn’t deserve that at all. I’m not going to say she was screwed by the twist, but I do wish we had seen her play a normal game at least. Even with her, Gary and Cass going out (I loved all of them), the cast is still gold. I would be happy with most of them winning at this point.

          • Blurry Denzel

            It screams of sexism to me. People love this women when she’s the underdog and paired with this goofy charming dude. Now she was in a position of power and knows it and of a sudden this same person isn’t so popular anymore. That gets some eyebrow raising from me.

          • Max_Jets

            That definitely plays a role. I also think Canada was bound to turn on anyone they gave that stupid twist too, especially if they were active with it. Combine that with a negative edit and being against lovable underdogs Cass (who, as much I as love her, was at fault for her position in the house), Gary, and the French Connection and you’ve got a complete monster, apparently. It does sound like she might have let the power go to her head a bit, but come on. I really wish they would calm their audience more. Are you rooting for anyone left in particular?

          • Blurry Denzel

            I agree with you about all that playing a role as well. I’m a big Kevin fan, so him.

          • Max_Jets

            It’s hard for me to choose, but I might go with one of the French Connection because it’d be nice to see a newbie win a fans vs favorites season.

          • Blurry Denzel

            Dre was my winner pick going into this season. Her winning would be great.

        • Assistant Dragon Slayer

          I didn’t want to risk trivializing this week’s Survivor by comparing it with other reality shows, but holy cow did this week’s Amazing Race episode suck. But what makes you think the show is broken? Gunning for the strongest team and bullies and villains getting away with their crap is pretty standard stuff.

          (to be clear, I’m not saying you’re trivializing it, I’m saying I didn’t want to risk being the first to go there).

          • I mean, the Survivor episode had a level of real-world grossness that isn’t comparable to typical television shenanigans, but let it not be ignored that it was a super-disappointing run for competitive reality TV last week.

            I just think it was too early for a U-Turn this season, because strong teams (correctly) are targeted, and especially with a double U-Turn, it was likely that a contending team would go home, and that sucks in Week 3. If the show needs multiple double U-Turns to stay vital, then maybe the show has exhausted its usefulness.

          • Super duper fan

            Eh, while I do think this was the weakest episode of TAR 29 as of right now, I don’t think it was exceptionally bad. And maybe I’m the only one who thinks this, but even though they were strong and likable, They weren’t people at the top of my rooting intersets (and it was possible to get out of that situation, Matt and Redmond managed to do it exceptinally well, but I wasn’t a fan of where the U-Turn was). And from that “villain” team, I found only Redmond annoying, Matt was mostly just there and was brought down by him.

    • sharculese

      Fuck, I forgot Drag Race was on last night. I even saw the red light on the DVR but assumed it was coverage of actual racing. (It’s Formula 1 season, which the roommates are all about, and has kind of made me want to pitch a hybrid game to CG,I, where half of it is a AAA racing game and the other half is a dating sim).

      And now there’s actually racing today plus the Atlanta United are playing, so I’m not sure when I’ll get to watch the episode.

    • sharculese

      Also, have you had a chance to listen to TAZ yet?

      • Taako From Teevhii

        Not yet, but I hope to get to it by the end of tonight. You can throw your thoughts wherever and I’ll comment after I finish. I’m surprised you’ve been able to sit on it for two days, I at least know it’s a really big episode.

        • sharculese

          Okay, I’m just gonna dump everything below this, so don’t read until you’ve finished:

          I love how game the boys were for the change in setup. As I alluded to before, they’re playing into it in ways that make telling the story easier. I grinned when Griffin got excited that they turned his “last night at home” prompt into a tutorial level for the system. That said, it was obvious from the moment Justin spent five minutes talking about eating deli meats and confirmed when Travis interrupted to ask if there was a confetti canon that this was not a thing they could actually resolve in just two episodes. I don’t know why Griffin thought they were capable of that.

          The basic backstory is cool and makes as much sense as fantasy bullshit is capable of being. I’m fine with it, because it had to be something, and this is a sufficient something. Loved the ten minutes of bickering about the name of the ship, which, again, Griffin, why did you think you could do this in two episodes? You let them name a boat. You had to know that would take ten minutes.

          The rest of the basic premise seems fun and I’m cool with it running for a few episodes, especially if it involves shit like Travis insisting he has to fight the Power Bear. There’s one thing I’m curious about though – I know Griffin said that this was partially inspired by CYOA, but the way the animal planet segment played out felt less like that, and veeeeerrry much like it was inspired by King of Dragon Pass. And KoDP is precisely the kind of deep-cut gamer reference that Griffin would know, so I’m wondering if that was his real inspiration, and he’s just not saying it because he doesn’t expect people to know what he’s talking about.

        • sharculese

          Also, I have nowhere else to put this rant, but I’m listing to the new CG,I, and Griffin made a snide comment about Lord of the Rings Online so:

          GRIFFIN, YOU FUCKING DO NOT UNDERSTAND LoTRO. NOBODY INVOLVED IN THAT PROJECT CARED ABOUT MAKING A FUN, ACCESSIBLE MMO. IT IS A LOVE-LETTER TO MIDDLE EARTH MADE BY TOLKIEN FANS, FOR TOLKIEN FANS.

          MMOS ARE FUCKING STUPID. THE IDEA OF PLANNING MY SCHEDULE WITH TEN OTHER NERDS SO I CAN SPEND FIVE HOURS MAYBE WINNING THE PIECE OF DIGITAL TREASURE THAT LETS ME GET COOLER MAGIC HORSE THAN MY OTHER INTERNET FRIENDS HAVE IS REPULSIVE TO ME. BUT IF YOU TELL ME I CAN SPEND HOURS DICKING AROUND IN THE BARROW DOWNS OR THE TROLLSHAWS DOING MY SMALL PART TO HELP FIGHT THE WITCH KING, SHIT YEAH I’M DOWN FOR THAT.

          • Taako From Teevhii

            I feel like I have to defend SWTOR, but honestly MMOs aren’t my thing.

          • sharculese

            They’re not mine either, and I expect your instinct to defend The Old Republic comes from the same place as my instinct to defend LoTRO.

        • sharculese

          Oh because this just occurred to me, prediction, again don’t read until you’ve listened to the episode:

          I can’t remember what the fuck their engine is called but I’m gonna bet the Grand Relics are made out of it, that they thought they could stave off the Hunger by splitting it into pieces, and that Lucretia realized that wasn’t working and was trying to recollect the relics so they could bug out.

    • sharculese

      ” I should probably note that my favorite character on UnReal is Jay because I’m shallow like that.”

      First season Jay I would question you about. Second season Jay I turned to my roommate and said “Jay got hot.”

    • sharculese

      Alright, so I watched it, and first thought, Eureka, as someone with a history of eating disorders, seriously go fuck yourself. You don’t know what it’s like to weigh 105 lbs and think “but that’s still triple digits, better not eat for another week.”

      Second thought: nope don’t have any second thoughts. This episode mostly sucked, it’s not worth talking about, so I’m gonna focus on “fuck you, Eureka.”

      • Taako From Teevhii

        I will say, “Fuck You, Eureka” seems to be the theme of this season of Untucked. It’s kinda cathartic.

        • sharculese

          I’m going to trust you and go watch that, but I’m seriously in tears right now.

          • Taako From Teevhii

            Shit, I’m sorry that you’re upset *internet hug* I’m about to listen to TAZ, so I’ll be back in a hour and we can talk about something that’s awesome and fun and totally not Eureka-like at all.

          • sharculese

            Thanks. It’s weird because I exist in this crazy little privilege divot – nobody thinks about straight men having eating disorders because we’re privileged to not be expected to care too much about our body shape. but there’s a small group of us who develop them anyway, and it sucks as much as it does for anyone else who’s dealing with it.

          • EmAndScoutInBK

            I’ve been avoiding this thread because I haven’t been keeping up with drag race, and I didn’t want spoilers, but this comment thread caught my eye, and I just want to give you a giant hug.

          • sharculese

            Thanks. Like I said, weird weird little crevasse, but we do exist.

          • I’m sorry you struggled with that, Sharc.

            Eureka’s mouth moves way faster than her brain, especially when she is feeling herself in drag.

    • sharculese

      Actual show related shit, I kind of feel like Trinity fucked herself tonight. She was competing against a queen her fifties who was on platform heels. And if Charlie was saying on the stage she doesn’t lip sync, no fucking way she wasn’t saying it in the workroom. A lot of the moves she dropped tonight she could have saved for someone she needed them against. Now she risks getting read for giving the same things over again (because you know Trinity is landing in the bottom again.)

      • Taako From Teevhii

        Hmm. That’s an interesting thought, but I think I have to disagree. You have to go all out in every lip-sync (it’s for your life, after all), and I actually don’t doubt that Trinity has more moves up her sleeve. I don’t know that she should or would be saving them. And that’s kinda like playing a post-merge game too early; you need to get past the day in front of you to get to what comes later.

        That said, if she had seen Charlie she probably could have coasted through the back half of the lip sync. But she’s got to be paying attention to her performance and not her opponent, so I don’t blame her.

  • Taako From Teevhii

    Something that was mentioned in the podcast and in some other places was that people shouldn’t be quick to make themselves comfortable in the wake of uncomfortable situations. It’s too much to get into the whole context of this, but I’m pasting what someone once told me in response to what I referred to as my “no bummers” rule (which mostly amounts to “Live your best life and fuck prejudice. There’s no room in life for bummers.”):

    “I think it’s important to note that your “no bummers” rule is something that’s more important, in my mind, for people from historically marginalized communities. I would argue that [privileged people] have to intentionally enter into spaces where we feel bummed out — because we’re opening ourselves to the perspectives of people who have been hurt by society (and possibly by us). Historically privileged voices need to let ourselves be “bummed out.” Historically marginalized voices need to be protected from bummers like this. Much in the same way that I would want some teachers to push harder with Mr. Duncan than I might expect others because, as you call them, opportunity costs. White/cis/high-SES/etc. teachers can “risk” more, but it’s up to everyone to decide for themselves and have to live with their response.”

    The idea of using privilege to be an ally in nothing new. But letting yourself soak in the bummer and gaining perspective makes that true and effective. Unless you’re a trans woman of color, you’ve privileged in at least one way, and I just want to reiterate that this is an important step if we actually want to help the marginalized around us.

    If you’re reading this Liz, sorry for sharing this without your permission, and also, how did we never talk about Survivor once?

    And to end on a high note (because, like, no bummers), I’m off to watch Birdman as part of a class assignment. Peace.

    • purplerockandy

      Birdman the movie?

      Talk about bummer…

      • Taako From Teevhii

        Yeah, it’s not the happiest movie. But watching it as homework? That’s no bummer.

        • purplerockandy

          I hate it.

          • Taako From Teevhii

            Wait, you hate the movie Birdman?

          • purplerockandy

            So much.

          • Taako From Teevhii

            Well that’s just, like, your opinion, man, so I’m cool with that. But you gotta admit that it’s a feat of cinematography and acting to pull off a 20-minute take.

          • gouis

            Wrong. Bridman is garbage.

            It’s so bad that it made my wife throw up (in the theater!)

          • Mike Hirsch

            If I had been watching movies after 1997, then I also might have thrown up in a movie theater. While watching Zoolander. During the part where Mugatu tries to brainwash Derek. It would have been possible that mass quantities of alcohol may have been imbibed beforehand.

            Fortunately, Zoolander didn’t come out until 2001, and so this never happened, as I have not seen a movie since 1997.

          • sharculese

            By that logic Russian Ark is the greatest movie of all time. (Russian Ark is pretty great.)

          • Mike Hirsch

            If I had sat down and watched any movies after 1997, and said movie happened to be Birdman, I also would have hated it.

            But it came out after 1997, so I have not.

          • purplerockandy

            Never. Break.

          • Diego Armando

            Preach it brother.

  • Side Character

    Man, this season is just slaying our faves even in ways we couldn’t possibly imagine. It’s not enough to take out our favourite players pre-merge; now they have to besmirch the name of those who we once liked. We really can’t have nice things.
    On the plus side, as this season gets worse and worse (only in certain ways, though, not all), this podcast gets better and better. You truly own the title of “The smartest, funniest, most humble, and best Survivor podcast on the internet”. Thank you both.

    • Listening to this podcast and commenting here has been incredibly cathartic this season, especially this week. I still kind of can’t believe what happened this week, but being here has certainly been helpful to work through my disbelief, anger, and various other emotions which I rarely felt before January 20.

    • Listening to this podcast and commenting here has been incredibly cathartic this season, especially this week. I still kind of can’t believe what happened this week, but being here has certainly been helpful to work through my disbelief, anger, and various other emotions which I rarely felt before January 20

  • Wait, so we don’t have to buy everything Amazon suggests?

    [gazes forlornly at freshly delivered copies of “Game Change” (book) and “Game Change” (DVD)]

    • Just think of it as a worthy investment in your quest to become an expert on all things Palin.

      • This is going to be the gayest thing I’ve ever said here (!), but here goes…I’m glad “Game Change” exists because when it looked like Julianne Moore was going to be Oscar-less (and she should have won twice, maybe even thrice by then), at least it gave her a chance to accept a Primetime Emmy, the Sprint™ Fan Favorite Player of the Season of the entertainment awards.

        But now she has an Oscar, so fuck it.

        • EmAndScoutInBK

          This comment has me LOLing. She was an amazing Palin, so I’ll give her that

        • sharculese

          An Emmy is better than an Oscar at this point because I’m more confident in the Emmys ability to reward talent then the Oscars.*

          *I mean aside from ignoring The Americans.**

          **But also, as bad as I feel for Kerri Russell, I fucking hollered when Tatiana Maslany got her statue.

          • Emmys will probably eclipse Oscars in prestige in the near future because, let’s face it, TV now has a much higher average quality than cinematically-released movies do, and I don’t expect that to change.

            But for now, the paucity of Oscars given to actors (4 per year rather than, what, 12 Emmys per year? 16?) still makes it the most difficult award for an actor to obtain, and that’s still enough to keep it at Holy Grail status. For now.

            And I also YAAASSSSed for Tatiana. And, in AS2, Tatianna.

          • sharculese

            When they had me covering Australian Survivor, my title for week 5 was “Tatiana Maslany got the Emmy, and Australian Survivor also happened.”

          • prettyboyprobst

            There was that one episode early in the season where they painted her as a real headcase (which I don’t think was very hard).
            That recap was probably one of the best.

          • We are at 16 because you have your main four in comedy, your main four in drama, your main four in movie/miniseries, and the guest actors in comedy/drama.

          • YES, Guests. I knew it was 16 but my brain wasn’t quite functioning.

          • Violina23

            I think the shifting model of TV towards streaming is leading to MUCH more interesting and diverse content in that medium, since they aren’t beholden to network advertising dollars. Traditional movies still require so much more $$ in overhead and advertising, so they will still default to telling stories primarily about (and marketed to) straight, white men.

          • Diego Armando

            If that is true, why did Hannibal never get a nomination for anything?

          • sharculese

            They’re not perfect. See, again, The Americans getting repeatedly ignored. They’re just better than the Oscars.

          • Kemper Boyd

            I’m sorry but how is Keri Russell not hands down the best actress currently performing in a drama? HOW? Tell me Sharc. Matthew Rhys is superb but Keri Russell is killing it every single moment she is onscreen.

            Maybe I’m a little obsessed with Keri Russell in the Americans.

          • Assistant Dragon Slayer

            TBH, I’d give the championship belt to Carrie Coon in The Leftovers, but she’s not coming within a mile of the Emmy. At least Tatiana Maslany won and Keri Russell got nominated.

          • Kemper Boyd

            Nominations for Keri Russell gives me hope this won’t be Friday Night Lightsed and get ignored until their final season.

          • Blurry Denzel

            Upvoted for the Carrie Coon love. She is amazing and have two shows with her at the sane time is amazing.

          • Assistant Dragon Slayer

            I may be wrong but I think that in the very early years of the Oscars, they were given out for the winner’s entire output for the year, not for a single movie. I wish CC could be considered on that basis this year. It’s kind of crazy that she’s the female lead in two of the big prestige TV shows, although with 10 episodes/season shows I guess it’s not that crazy.

          • Yes, this happened, but only the first year of the Oscars, where the Best Actor and Best Actress won for 2 and 3 films respectively. A couple years later, the same performer could be nominated for multiple performances, but only win for one. Pretty quickly they set the rule that an actor could only be nominated for one performance in each category (but once supporting categories came into being in 1936, it has happened a number of times that an actor got one lead and one supporting nomination in the same year).

          • sharculese

            Keri Russell does an amazing job playing one character. If she had won the Emmy I would have been perfectly happy. She deserves recognition for her work.

            But Tatiana Maslany does just as good of a job playing seven different characters (we won’t talk about Tony). And she has to do scenes where those seven characters interact with each other. And she sometimes has to play one of those characters pretending to be one of the other characters. And she does it all with style.

            She has one of the hardest jobs any working television actor has, she more than delivers, and she does it on a genre show, something the Emmys are typically reticent to reward. It was shocking just to see her nominated. To see her win was incredible.

          • Kemper Boyd

            We literally had this discussion at the time and I think it was agreed that Maslany is clearly superb and she plays multiple roles.
            What Russell does playing a woman playing those roles is also a remarkable and difficult performance. She often has to portray someone playing other roles and successfully allow us the viewer to see both Elizabeth and the act Elizabeth is putting on.
            Basically we concur.

          • sharculese

            Yeah, I don’t think it’s possible to pick who’s doing a better job between the two of them. They have different jobs that require different things and both turn in a fantastic performance. The difference is that Keri Russell is doing it on a glossy prestige drama that in a sane world the Emmys would be fawning over, while Tatiana Maslany is doing it on a mid-budget genre show that isn’t even made by Americans. That’s not something the Emmys usually even bother to recognize. The fact that TM getting an Emmy for her work seemed so implausible that it made it more exciting when she won.

            And now that Tatiana has her statue they better fucking give it to Keri Russel for one of these last two seasons.

          • EmAndScoutInBK

            I’m all about Tatiana Maslany. THAT DANCE SCENE.

          • I’m all about Keri Russell. VARIOUS SCENES.

          • Mike Hirsch

            Mads was pretty much the best thing ever in that. Maybe not *ever* ever, but he was pretty great. I could honestly take or leave the rest of the show, and just have watched Mads serve food to people all episode.

          • Violina23

            I gave up on Orphan Black around season 3 when I was too damn confused to follow it, but damn, Tatiana Maslany was amazing.

            And “The Americans” is friggin’ fantastic. I’ve come to the conclusion, they will never win an Emmy. Ever.

    • purplerockandy

      You’ve been on fire lately, HT.

    • PurpleTally

      My whole family watched that the night it premiered on HBO. Sat in the basement, ate popcorn, and watched an HBO movie about Sarah Palin.

    • TheForRealDeal

      [Gazes lustily at freshly delivered copy of Game Changer: Seattle Steelheads Football (Game on in Seattle Book 7)]

  • indescribable hat

    Thinking more about Sarah’s response, I think I and maybe other people reacted strongly to the self-congratulatory notes at the end because that’s an issue that gets talked about a lot in our circles. I think I overlooked that the whole situation was new to Sarah. While not every nuance was immediately apparent to her, she articulated the most important points very well: that this was a malicious and unacceptable attack, and that this information in no way reflects poorly on Zeke. I also agree that there was value for the viewers in talking honestly about her changing perspective. I now feel that basically Sarah took a misstep in the course of a largely compassionate and worthwhile response, and that it’s worth mentioning but ought not overshadow her larger point.

    • VoicOff

      I was annoyed at Sarah’s discourse too because
      1/ I don’t care if you live in the tiniest midwestern shithole, there is queer people there. They are just maybe not out in your presence. You don’t catch the gay by moving to the big city

      2/ It’s not about you honey. Don’t make it about your amazing personal growth. And It’s not enough to say you will “never see him that way” when we have yet to see how your attitude will change or not. Talk is cheap.

      That being said, it’s a process. For most of use we don’t have the choice of being at least a little transphobes / racist / sexist etc… because society is, it’s the default setting. And being a product of it, we internalize some of those values depending of our envirronment and need to deconstruct that.

      Sarah has the base covered, her heart is in the right place, and she seems to want to do good and support Zeke. It should be enough for now.

      The Discourse TM is ever-changing, sometimes totally inscrutable for outsiders/beginners, and terms and notions that were “ok” last year are not in usage now depending on how the conversation has changed in your local Queer Collective / Twitter Crew.

      • Ms. Sweaterfan

        On point #1, I grew up in the area where Sarah currently lives and it’s not even ~that~ small a town. I haven’t lived there in over a decade, but I still can come up with tons of LGBTQ friends and acquaintances in the area off the top of my head without even really trying. If she really has never met a trans or gender non-binary person, then I have to assume she’s living a pretty sheltered life in addition to “being from the midwest” (which is what she blamed her lack of experience on in the episode).

    • The reason I praised Sarah’s reaction- and I didn’t do a great job of explaining this on the podcast- is that I regularly interact with many, many people that share Sarah’s conservative experiences and/or views. And when I engage with them on any social justice issues, they are obstinate as hell. It is maddening and frustrating, and these are often not people I can simply refuse to interact with.

      So seeing Sarah show a willingness to be open-minded was a glimmer of hope for me. And the fact that she was the only one to refuse to shake Varner’s hand or hug him as he left was, to me, a sign that she recognized just how vile Varner’s decision had been- even though this was probably her first experience dealing with these issues.

      And maybe it was just a one-off thing for her, and she went back home to her bubble and never tried to change anyone else’s mind, or even permanently change her own. But in the moment, I appreciated her reaction.

      • I believe she is also the only person to not wave at him as he goes out.

    • Ms. Sweaterfan

      I agree with all of your points and would also add that I assume that Survivor contestants must be coached and/or conditioned and/or predisposed to always explain how everything that happens in the game relates to them and their experience. Granted, this moment completely transcended the game, but I don’t totally blame her for monologuing on her own reaction when she must be asked by producers to do that for hours a day about every little thing that happens.

    • Maritimer

      I wasn’t totally annoyed with Sarah either. I get the issue with making it about herself but as you said she said and meant the major points. She was pissed at Varner and for the right reasons. Also, she and the rest of the tribe were also digesting what happened. I don’t think she consciously made it about herself, it was just her speaking while she was still processing, that’s what came out of her mouth, and it was the right sentiment if articulated from the wrong point of view

  • EmAndScoutInBK

    I listened to this last night while doing my laundry. I trusted you guys to do a great job, and you did. I especially appreciated your comments about how being outed to 6 people is not okay – it doesn’t matter if Varner thought he was only outing him to 6 people. As previously stated, one of the times I was outed, it was to one person, but I REALLY didn’t want that person to know. It’s about our agency, our choice, etc.. Of course, when it is a national scale, it becomes about safety and more as well.

    Anyway – my point is, I love you guys, and I love this community.

    And I still miss Sandra.

  • Violina23
    • Kemper Boyd

      That makes me sad. Unfortunately though he’s in a public facing job. He doesn’t deserve to be able to weasel his way out of the criticism but I don’t think this deserves a firing.

    • gouis

      It’s unfortunate but actions have consequences.

    • sharculese

      Heads up guys. Do not look at the comments on this article. Do. Not. Look. They are bad, uniformly.

      • EmAndScoutInBK

        I LOOKED AT THE COMMENTS FUCK

        • Kemper Boyd

          There is one beautiful person there who is just going after everyone. I love her.

          • I can only imagine how those comments are going (I won’t look), but I have to ruefully snicker at the irony that hateful people are spewing hateful shit in (direct or indirect) support of a gay guy. Progress?

          • Oh wait, I looked, it’s actually mostly support of no one. Forget I said anything. The world is awful.

          • Kemper Boyd

            It’s a mix of hate towards Varner, hate towards all LGBT people and hate towards Zeke. There is a small amount of sensible commentary so you are better off not looking.

        • sharculese

          I warned you!

    • Violina23

      I feel bad but I don’t feel bad at the same time, if that makes sense.

      • EmAndScoutInBK

        Yeah. I completely understand this comment.

        • Kemper Boyd

          yeah basically how I feel.

  • gouis

    I was in a similar situation to Varner in grad school in that I knew someone there who was trans but he hadn’t told anyone else. (I knew because we became live journal (LIVEJOURNAL) friends because we both knew we were going to the same program. Then I looked at his back posts and saw all this information about transitioning (including surgical pictures) and was kind of in shock).

    Basically I didn’t tell anyone and just let it play out. One day he wore a homemade “tranny” shirt and it was made clear to all.

    Anyway I just wanted to say it’s not hard to keep your mouth shut about that stuff if you have even the slightest respect for others. I don’t really want to think about or hear from Varner ever again. Let’s just all root for Zeke and hope he pulls it off somehow.

    • sharculese

      I had a similar situation. My dad comes from a hard-right conservative Catholic family; I was friends with a couple of my cousins on Facebook and one day my feed featured a post from one of them where his friend comment that he was ‘dancing like a slut last night.’ And my immediate reaction was that there’s only one explanation for one dude saying that to another dude, and going back through his timeline confirmed that yeah, he was hell of gay.

      And for the most part I know he’s out and proud, I know from other people who knew him that he was instrumental in the successful movement to make Georgetown a gay friendly campus, but I don’t know how far out he is to the family. The one time we met up when we both lived in the same place I made a vague allusion to the fact that my brothers and I aren’t really considered part of the family because we’re Jewish, and he just kind of nodded and moved past it, so I know he knows how backwards they are.

      Obviously, I don’t speak to any of my dad’s family because they’re Nazi cretins, but, even if I did, I would never ever think of responding to any situation where they were acting like total shits (and even with a thousand miles between us and them, my dad’s older brother finds ways to act like a total shit to him) by outing him to them.

      • gouis

        +1 for “Nazi cretins”

        • sharculese

          I mean Nazi pretty literally. Like I don’t think my grandparents were actively rooting against the US in WWII, but I’m pretty sure my grandfather thought this Hitler dude had good ideas in regards to the Jews.

  • PurpleTally

    So, if you think, “Hey, maybe it wasn’t as bad as I thought” and then decide to go back and watch tribal…yeah, it’s just as bad.

    • Kemper Boyd

      I spoke to a non Survivor watching friend who read all about it in British gay news sites and I tried to explain the utter gut punch it was. He assumed Varner was some redneck Republican and was shocked to find out he was an older gay guy.
      I’m not sure I’ll ever watch it again honestly. It could easily ruin this season for me.

      • Violina23

        I think it depends where things go from here.

        • corndogshuffle

          This gave/gives me such an “All-Stars” vibe. That season lost at least one episode to it’s “incident” and never recovered from it’s dark turn. I hope this season can bounce back because the “kill the stars” aspect was already hard to watch and that was just game mechanics, not a really disgusting incident from a character I’m assuming most people really enjoyed.

        • Kemper Boyd

          I was starting to feel like the ride was about to become super boring. Having a really exciting pre-merge often means the season will not sustain itself. But now we have a horrific moment in the middle and if the post-merge is boring it’ll sink this season.

    • Assistant Dragon Slayer

      I rewatch every episode over the weekend because my kid just doesn’t have any spare time on school nights. Yeah, pretty bad even when you know what’s coming. I will say that if you have kids it’s at least a good conversation starter, and the front row are pretty good role models (on rewatch, I’m even more convinced that Ozzy–and only Ozzy–was still playing the game).

      • PurpleTally

        I was very impressed by the mature responses from my students (9 and 10) about it. That’s definitely from their parents taking the time to talk it through with them. One of them is kind of a “mean girl,” but even she was really sympathetic to Zeke and understood that what Varner did was wrong on multiple levels.

        Also, yeah, Ozzy was checked out, further proving Ozzy is a dbag.

    • Violina23

      I can’t bring myself to listen to any exit interviews, which I usually love to do.

      • PurpleTally

        Yeah, after listening to every single one from last week, I have listened to ZERO this week.

        • gouis

          Yeah I’m also out on most Survivor pods this week

          • Assistant Dragon Slayer

            FWIW, Rob and Stephen handled it surprisingly well (especially considering that they record the night the episode airs), PRP handled it very well (no surprise), SRG said they really had nothing new to add and kind of ran away from it. Dom and Colin TBD.

  • Taako From Teevhii

    @sharculese:disqus I’m starting a new TAZ thread so it doesn’t get tangled up in Drag Race stuff.

    I found Justin and the turkey to be delightful, though it sounds like he’s just eating slices of turkey out of the bag, and that’s a sandwich injustice. I enjoyed the press conference (and Lup’s mic drop), and the boat-naming session. Definitely agree with J that Griffin was kinda “no, but”-ing their suggestions, but we got “Starblaster,” and I can’t say they could have done better.

    I agree with you that this isn’t quite CYOA, but I do think that would be the most accessible reference for the general listening audience. I think there’s a significant portion of the TAZ audience that is entirely unfamiliar with the particulars of D&D, so even slightly more obscure RPG pulls would go over their heads.

    I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: I think the Suffering Game was twice as long as Griffin expected it to be. I can’t imagine how he thought we’d get this done in under two episodes. We’d be visiting three versions of the prime material plane tops, and at that point, couldn’t Griffin just give 10-20 minutes of exposition and continue in the present day? Get in depth or just don’t do it.

    I don’t think I’ve mentioned this, but I’ve always pictured Barry as a Bojack-esque horse-man. Barry Bluejeans is a horse name; bottom line, cut and dry. Griffin probably briefly described him once in There Be Gerblins, but I don’t remember it and I will most likely ignore it when re listening to that arc. The problem here is that it’s not inconceivable that horses live on that planet and they should have been able to recognize Barry. With that said, I’m going to believe that horses couldn’t or didn’t live/evolve in such a heavily forested habitat.

    Also, are you on reddit at all? Because if you’re not, I’m sharing that engine/relics theory if it’s not already been said on r/TAZ. I love that theory, and I’ll be amazed if that’s not what Griffin has planned.

    • sharculese

      No I mean, Justin eating deli meat right out of the box was a a total Justin thing, in any other circumstance I would have found it hilarious but in the one i was just like “but I wanna know!” I’m not sure they could have done better but maybe one of them is a hidden Iain Banks fan and we get a fun name from that.

      My deal with the format isn’t so much, “this isn’t pure CYOA” as it is “this feels inspired by KoDP, it would be cool if Griffin said that’s what he was thinking.” I like knowing about the game mechanics Griffin draws his inspirations from, and I’m wondering if that was one of them.

      I picture Barry Bluejeans basically looking like John C. Reilly. Which is part of the cool thing about TAZ they stressed in the last TTAZZ, everyone gets to imagine this the way they want to. I don’t know what that says about me that I picked John C. Reilly for this role, but that’s how I see Barry.

      And no, i”m not on Reddit, so feel free to share that theory if nobody else has suggested it. Just attribute me as ‘some guy from another website’. I’ll be shocked if that’s not what’s going on.

      • Taako From Teevhii

        The theory I’ve seen is that the relics were made from the light of creation I honestly don’t think that’s what happening. And of course I’d credit you.

        • Taako From Teevhii

          @sharculese:disqus Thought I’d share the link: https://www.reddit.com/r/TheAdventureZone/comments/65p5ww/spoilers_theory_about_the_relics/?st=J1KQYX0S&sh=daf74d01

          Also, let me know if you want that credit changed. I don’t think any redditor can google that and find you; I tried and it’s all sunrivers and engineering. Nevertheless, if you want it to say something else, I can edit it.

          • sharculese

            Thanks. The two thing I’d add are 1.) Griffin yadda-yadda’ed the structure of the Starblaster but then made a big deal of explaining the engine, which suggests the engine is a big deal thing and 2.) which is the part that got me wondering this: where has the Starblaster been all this time?

            Also sure. That’s fine. You can credit me as sharculese if you feel like it. All that brings up for me is a survivor and politics stuff, plus my steam account and that time a dude melted down because my avatar made him think I was a woman. There actually is a sharculese reddit account, but I made it two weeks ago and never planned on doing anything with it besides submit ideas for Cool Games, Inc.

          • Taako From Teevhii

            I don’t know if Griffin yada-yada’d through the ship. I have an image of a scaled-down Star Destroyer with a larger bridge and a glass/force field top. I agree though that he made a point of discussing Chekhov’s engine. I want to say that the Starblaster is in a dome somewhere on the BoB base, but I really don’t have a clue.

          • sharculese

            In my mind it’s still a GCU. I don’t know if any of them read Banks, but I don’t care, I’m thinking of it as a GCU.

    • DrVanNostrand

      I’m late to this, but I also love TAZ. It was discussions here that made me start following it.

      • Taako From Teevhii

        The new gameplay could be refined. If it is carried past the Balance Campaign with no revisions, I can’t say I’ll be happy. But I have learned to just trust the McElroys, especially our 30 Under 30 Media Luminary.

  • Kemper Boyd

    How many of you will be watching Survivor NZ?

    • Blurry Denzel

      I’m definitely in if it’s easy to find.

      • Kemper Boyd

        I’ll look at for links for you.

        • Figaro

          Not sure if this will work outside of NZ (and maybe Aus), but this is the link for watching it on demand:
          https://www.tvnz.co.nz/ondemand/survivor-new-zealand

          • Kemper Boyd

            It works if you vpn to NZ but if not then no. I’ve watched stuff on their before easily with a vpn though

    • Super duper fan

      I’m gonna think about it. Right now I’m binging through the Big Brother Canada seasons (now I’m on season 2), cause I wanna watch the current season (it will probably by mostly over when I finish, but I don’t wanna be spoiled on who wins it later on), so I don’t know if I am gonna have ennergy to watch 4 shows at the same time.

      • Blurry Denzel

        I binged Big Brother Canada 2 for the first time before this current season. It was amazing. I’m curious about where you are at in the show right now.

        • Super duper fan

          Just now I watched when Allison used the POV on herself and Rachelle put Ika on the block. I’m liking it so far, I’m not amazed just yet but it may soon be changed (I would probably say that I prefer 1st one’s cast a bit better than this, but it may win me over soon).

    • Maritimer

      I will probably give it a shot. It starts at a good time for me in terms of time to watch TV shows. And its not quite as big a commitment as Australian Survivor which is nice

    • Ms. Sweaterfan

      I’m going to try, though I still haven’t even finished Australian Survivor (though I have been thoroughly spoiled)

  • Crappy

    Just wanted to point it out that Zeke or anyone else yet (to my knowledge) has not confirmed that CBS ever gave him a say in not airing this incident at all. Even in his appearance on CBS’ view, he explicitly mentioned that CBS gave him full liberty in how he can chooses to respond to this event. At best it can be implied from his answer that they also edited the scene after consulting him for approval. Specifically when it comes to production’s involvement in this case, I have following points to make –

    – I think as soon as JP decided that they won’t vote, it made the job of editing this out very very tough. I even sure they always wanted to show this in fact.

    – Coming to Zeke first. I would slightly disagree with what John said in this podcast. It is not ideal but as soon as Zeke signed to be on a popular reality tv show playing himself and turning into a public personality as a result, his past was always going to be crawled into. Like I said, in an ideal world it would not happen but 2 decade history of reality television informs us otherwise. Going on survivor, always involved the risk of getting outed for Zeke, who himself fully knew about that possibility and was prepared for the risk. What he definitely did not anticipate was someone using his past as a weapon against him. I think he expected someone to come up to him on the beach and politely inquire about the same, which then may or may not be shared. Heck, maybe after MvG he expected another sequence like the one he shared with Bret over his sexuality to be a template for this topic. (if at all it was to come up).
    This is not to say that Zeke does not have the choice or final say in disclosure of him being a transsexual. He absolutely does and should in the real world but on a reality show where production have all the rights to air any footage, that right is compromised defacto.

    – I don’t full believe Varner’s exit press that he did not think about exposing Zeke’s past before the actual TC itself. It came across clearly as a pre-mediated move and his confessionals hinted just about enough as an evidence towards that as well. So I am not inclined to believe his assertion that no producers knew about it before hand as well. I don’t think it is out of the realms of possibility that some producer could have egged him on once he aired this initial idea. At which level such thing could have been discussed in production would involve too much speculation so I would leave it at that. BUT in the end Varner was the one to pull the trigger and even if in his exhausted state in the island, he was influenced by a producer or two, he should know better.

    – I am almost certain that production always wanted to air this is because just look at the amount of exposure show has gotten since the last episode. Katie Couric interviewed Probst, NY times carried a piece on it, several celebrities tweeted about it, it appeared on Non-CBS news hours too, not to mention so much coverage in magazines that already carry survivor coverage.

    – In the end, I actually don’t even have a problem with CBS sort of milking this situation. It is what is, they are shooting for reality show that demands certain amount of drama and can’t be expected to just pass up an opportunity to gain more coverage. I am just glad that they handled this in a very careful manner. They involved Zeke and GLAAD, gave Zeke freedom to discuss and interact with media bout this. And also going by reports, followed up with Varner and provided him a therapist too. Even though they are some what exploiting this situation for their own gains, they have come across pretty well here.

    • hardcöre umlaut

      I agree that the voice vote made editing it out impossible, but I also think it was the right move 100%. They couldn’t take the risk of Varner pulling out an idol or something going wrong. Outing people is an assault (Varner has said this in his exit press, too bad he couldn’t remember it in the moment), and people who physically assault others don’t get a traditional vote off. Those who assault people by outing them shouldn’t either.

  • Hey Guys!
    Guess what is reportedly happening during the merge? That’s right, another unnecessary twist!
    According to the episode description: The merge brings another twist in the game that leaves two castaways out of the celebratory feast

    • Super duper fan
    • Blurry Denzel

      I just can’t wait to see which player receives the Diamond Power of Veto.

    • Maritimer

      I’m excited for when American gets to vote Malcolm back into the game

      • Roswulf

        Somehow, this season will find out a way to reinsert Caleb instead.

    • BadPlayer91

      I feel like, Production couldn’t decide if the cast were game changers, or they were. They landed on BOTH and as a result, endless twists.

      I’m really unsure where I land on this. I mean, on one hand, the idea is very sound: a group of great players are challenged by rapid-fire twists which force them to show just why they are so great. And of course, twists make for easy, dramatic television. But, thus far, the twists have made the game seemingly unstable and unmanageable, and as a result, those players who have proven themselves as great are becoming easy targets. Maybe, like so many of our theories, they break down when you add a healthy dose of ‘not proven as great’ players into the mix.

      And i guess you could argue that the twists haven’t affected the best players much yet. Malcolm for sure, and by proxy J.T. But Sandra was a more typical tribe swap boot, and Tony and Ciera were normal. But it seems like Tai, Debbie, Sierra, Troy, Brad are most likely to benefit from them going forward…

      • Maritimer

        The other problem with this many twists, as has been discussed in many places, is that it leads players to play a more conservative game, which I think results in a more boring season, where the twists are what matters rather than the gameplay

        • Assistant Dragon Slayer

          Yeah, even when Survivor was relatively twist-free it was a high-variance game (looking at you, Jenna Morasca). At some point the twists make it completely random. One reason I’m caring less and less who wins, or at least I don’t let the identity of the winner ex post facto affect my enjoyment of the season (remember how much we were enjoying Kaoh Rong?).

    • Taako From Teevhii

      Plot Twist twist: the merge feast is sponsored by Golden Corral, and two players get food poisoning.

      What hath you wrought, Barbara?

  • gouis

    On the plus side (if you’re into schadenfreude) this whole thing seems to be tearing Survivor Reddit apart.

    • Roswulf

      Honestly gouis, you should have sympathy for Surivor Reddit. Aren’t they the real wronged party in all this? Shame on Zeke for not thinking about how his outing would effect Survivor Reddit’s feelings.

      • Sylvisual

        *affect

        Now I’ve hurt your feelings.

    • hardcöre umlaut

      I’m considering unsubbing from r/survivor. The amount of posts in the past few hours saying “Varner is a victim too” is kind of enraging.

  • the sky is falling

    It’s about time for someone to write a fan-fiction of this season had it not turned into a garbage fire.

    Some ideas:
    1. Andrea actually picks up the damn special reward on the boat and Sierra and Debbie are the first two voted out.
    2. Tony/Sandra/Malcolm/Cirie/Aubry/JT form a super-alliance on day one.