Purple Rock Survivor Podcast: Heroes vs Villains Watch-Along Episodes 1-3

Time to begin the next Survivor Watch-Along, in which we watch a previous season of the show and invite you all to watch along with us. This time, we’re discussing the first three episodes Survivor: Heroes vs Villains. Because it’s awesome.

NOTICE: Because this podcast is unedited, there are some curse words throughout. Those listening with younger people around may choose not to this time. Apologies. It’s Emma’s fault.

Purple Rock Survivor podcast: Heroes vs Villains Watch-Along Episodes 1-3

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Andy and Emma kick-off the rewatch of perhaps the greatest season in Survivor history. In this podcast, we talk about:

  • How the Heroes vs Villains theme impacted the season.
  • Which members of the cast were mis-cast on their tribes.
  • Discuss possible alternatives for the person that maybe shouldn’t have been cast at all.
  • The epic-ness of the opening scene.
  • How fun the Villains tribe is.
  • How much less fun the Heroes tribe is.
  • The beginning of the Rob vs Russell feud.
  • What possible mistakes people made in the first three boots.
  • The quick epilogue to the Gabon Watch-Along.
  • Saying goodbye to Survivor coverage on The AV Club.

Thanks for watching along with us!

310 thoughts on “Purple Rock Survivor Podcast: Heroes vs Villains Watch-Along Episodes 1-3

  1. Finally, someone will address the completely under reported story of how Candice became a hero!

  2. (Haven’t listened to the podcast, have only watched the first episode; haven’t seen Race Wars or Micronesia, so this is my first exposure to Parvati). 1) Going from a season where nobody knew how to play Survivor to one where 19 out of 20 do is giving me whiplash. 2) Parvati’s read of Russell was so instantly and completely correct that I suspected production shenanigans, but the few facts she knew (he was in the yet-to-air season 19 and he’s on the Villains tribe now) and a little logic (he must have gone deep into the game and made a huge but negative impression) was probably enough (and the fact that Danielle was mostly suckered by Russell does not reflect well on her). 3) The way Probst tells Coach exactly what he wants to hear and then editing clowns Coach at every opportunity is amazing. I wish they had done this in South Pacific. 4) I’m really surprised that Tom’s suggestion to vote out Cirie didn’t get any traction (and it’s yet another sign of Tom’s mastery that he quickly backed off).

    1. Oh mate, you really should watch CI and Micronesia. Micronesia might be my favourite season, it’s not as “good” but it’s very very enjoyable.
      I think you are right on Parvati, she gets that if Russell played in season 19 and is on the villains then he must be pretty bad, but I think she also trusts her ability to manipulate men socially.

      1. I was planning to watch those two and Fiji (the only middle period seasons I haven’t seen yet) and save HvV for last, but the PRP rewatch forced my hand.

          1. Well I think it and say it in a British accent so fair play. All my comments should always be read in a London accent. (not too broad for I am middle class).

          2. You and me both. I just read Kemper’s stuff in the voice of David Attenborough, because he’s a delightful narrator.

          3. Manc and Londoner (and West Country) sound totally different to me only because I was a devoted Ricky Gervais Podcast listener. KB, do you hear a night and day difference between say Tom and JT, or is it all American to you? Also, I hear your comments in a super-posh Kate Beckinsale accent 🙂

          4. I am not super posh but rarely does my muddled London middle class accent get shown on tv in the UK let alone in America. I have the accent of a kid whose mother speaks more like Helen Mirren, whose father spoke like someone from Last of the Summer Wine (google it!) and who grew up going to school with people who spoke like Idris Elba (he’s from my ends).

            And for the accent I can tell the difference between Tom and Jeremy, JT and Tom are a completely different. But I’ve always had an ear for accents.

    2. Funny you should suggest production interference. Rumour has it that Parvati had a friend in production that told her to team up with Russell and told her details about him.

    3. Perhaps it could also be a case of Russell being easy to read. Subtlety isn’t a word I would used to describe his game. His tribe mates in Samoa pretty quickly assessed the type of person Russell is.

    4. Oof. Just watched the second episode. My praise of Tom for not pressing an issue too hard? Retracted.

      1. The thing is, Tom is totally right, but at a certain point you have to shut the fuck up and take that this is the way things are going.

        1. Yeah, this is why I was reluctant to condemn the Worlds Apart cast for not coming to Shirin’s defense.

          1. He did, but he was similarly on the outs for the auction shenanigans so he wasn’t risking his game to defend her. And he had the HII besides.

          2. I’ve gone back and forth on whether I would have tanked my game to come to Shirin’s defense. I honestly think I would have, but I’m not sure that’s the right call.

          3. I generally saw it as the “better them than me” instinct, which is very natural (especially in a game like this), but I’d like to think I might have at least tried to stop it from getting worse had I been there.

    5. One of my big frustrations with this season is that more of the Villains (especially Danielle) should have been thinking “Shane Powers, one of the most insane assholes in Survivor history, was supposed to be here. What terrible thing did this guy do that they cut Shane so he could be on?”

      But then again, I’m not sure how many of the Villains had seen Panama.

  3. I appreciated that they didn’t put Sandra and Cirie on the same tribe. Even if I think Sandra is a true hero. I’m really looking forward to watching this season and your recap podcasts.
    You guys are right with Danielle she seems incongruous but that’s just because she is surrounded by the best of the best.

    1. RE: Danielle, I agree completely that it’s THIS cast that makes her incongruous. As I alluded to on the podcast, she’d be a titan in subsequent returnee seasons given that she was a runner-up. But among this group? Her Q rating just isn’t up there.

      1. I think she overall was worthwhile in the season. The tug of war over her between Parvati and Russell was enough for me not to mind after the fact at all.

      2. I’ve said this before, but I feel like “villain” really ended up meaning “people who are funny assholes in confessionals” which makes Danielle stand out even more. Not that Candice would have been better.

        There’s a great moment on the TEoS for HvV where Josh asks Rob if he thinks anyone on the Villains knows Danielle was in a final two, and Rob’s response is “no, I don’t think they do.”

          1. There might be some truth in it (until the post HvV seasons). Look up her nominations for the Survivor Hall of Fame. Somehow they always end up having a weird connection to her.

          2. In his most recent RHAP, he couldn’t remember Ashley’s name from RI. It was hilarious.

          3. At the time, yeah, mostly because she was agitating to get him out in a way Phillip or Natalie never would.

          4. Well, he and Amber have popped out a lot of kidlets. It does things to your brain… like replace memories of important things (like names of real people) with unimportant things (like names of fictional cartoon characters and their siblings)

      1. Anyway, to end the suspense, Sugar said in post-game interviews and on Twitter that she and JT slept together prior to the season, which is why she thought they’d have an alliance.

        Then (I’m guessing unrelatedly), she basically attempted suicide with pills in Ponderosa and thus was sent away for help (or to not die on their watch).

        1. I think recently Stephen has said that the JT/Sugar thing was fake, because Stephen has no reason to protect JT at all.

          Another recent development is that Randy said that he did pregame with other non-Gabon people: Coach and Tyson.

        2. Fuck, I don’t love her on Survivor but she’s someone I want to have a happy life.

        3. OMG, that’s awful (re: Sugar). Glad she is doing better now, and hopefully put Survivor behind her (both because she’s awful at it, and it doesn’t seem to be healthy for her)

          1. It is. It does sound like one benefit to being on Survivor is at least she wasn’t using when she was on the island.

  4. I’m conflicted about the James and Steph/Tom situation. I understand being frustrated and upset at what’s going on in the challenges. At this point the heroes lost a lead in two straight immunity challenges where there seemed to be a lack of a plan or good communication. Him expressing that frustration in the moment is understandable to me and I don’t see much of a problem with it. Where I begin to get bothered is when Steph is constantly being berated later on. Talk to her like the person she is. The two of you are both adults, she is not beneath you. It’s just disrespectful to address her the way he does. With Tom, I get his intentions and he has some points but there are buzzwords that I’ve seen or heard too many times specifically when talking about black men that it causes me to step back a little and question what exactly the real issue is. Overall I think Steph was treated unfairly and James was being a dick but at the same time the criticism of him may be a little misplaced.

    1. The in the moment stuff didn’t bother me at all. It was the continued attacks that were a bad look for James. Which continued with the Randy moment. And will continue in future episodes.

      1. I forgot to mention the Randy incident, but yeah that’s not a cool move even if I envision doing something like that to Randy after watching Gabon.

    2. I think Andy was definitely right about how being in control went to James’ head and that he felt he needed a justification for voting someone out, but James also just straight up hates losing. Even when he could easily have been the target in China, he was ripping into Pieh-Gee and Jaime about how they didn’t compete; we as the viewers just sided with him more easily there because they threw the challenge and we could understand his frustration.

      But yeah, he was a little more vocal this time around.

      1. I also agree with that assessment that he needed a reason to vote Steph, though I wish it didn’t have to play out like that.

  5. Coach was the MVP for me in these first batch of episodes. My two favorite moments of his was the facial expression he had when looking at Jerri from afar and the reaction he has after his illegal victory of Rupert in the immunity challenge. Coach is so much more enjoyable when he isn’t in a position of power.

    1. Amen. Undermined and comic effect Coach is the best Coach. Remember this is a man who is such a good player when he finally got to the end he was beaten by a 21 year old woman and we know how hard it is for women to beat men at FTC.

        1. That’s all if you are keeping it to a 3 person final tribals. Tina, Jenna and Amber also beat men in the finals. Unfortunately still a low number overall.

    2. sandra and rob betting how high he would get up the tree is so great. i just love how much the villains tribe likes to mock coach

      1. I wonder if his team/orchestra members ridicule him behind his back just as much.

  6. As the last remaining Stephanie fan in the world and the 800,000th remaining Tom fan, it still kinda sucks to see the Tom/Steph team lose. Those two running the heroes like cold-hearted mob bosses all while spouting nonsense justifications about “needing to play with the best” would have been amazing, especially with hapless Colby as their tagalong.

    It also robbed us of the moment where those two would have inevitably turned on one another. Tom pulling Colby aside, saying “we gotta take out Steph tonight”, and Colby’s incredulous, unable-to-accept-this-turn-of-events reaction would have been priceless. Just imagine Colby’s tortured confessional about “I thought we were the heroes” and “shouldn’t the good guys stick together?” ‘Tis a damn shame, ’tis.

    1. Count me in as a Steph fan, even after Guatemala. I was legitimately upset watching HvV the first time and seeing her eliminated so early. Your scenario sounds way more fun than more Rupert talking.

      1. Yes, although then we’d miss Rupert’s on-camera realization of how Russell is worse than Jonny Fairplay, which is a great moment.

    2. I think this is a big reason why I don’t like James at all this season. Not only was he kind of an awful presence, he was a big reason why Tom and Stephenie went out early, the two people I was cheering for most on that tribe (them and Amanda, anyways).

      1. I remember being so happy that they were working together as I assumed Steph would still have been bitter about her boot in Palau. They seemed like they’d be such an entertaining duo, but alas: James will be James.

  7. And yes as the resident Phillies fan of the Purplerock crew I got all the baseball wife jokes

    1. You’re not alone. I also got the jokes as a baseball fan, though not the Phillies.

          1. I know that you like lists. The Yankee’s are my 30th favorite baseball team.

          2. Well, it’s not like I’m gonna get mad and go back to the AV Club or something.

          3. And now at 1:04 out comes the accentism.

            I like how Emma comments on how bad your accents are but her Colby sounds like something from Gone with the Wind.

          4. It’s a nice cap to the complaining about how hard JT is to understand. He is from Alabama, not outer space.

          5. I really don’t find JT that hard to understand. But then again I sound a lot like Colby.

          6. Rob and Josh complained about the same thing with Darah during the TEoS on Pearl Islands and I was like, “really?”

          7. I don’t actually find him hard to understand. I was just making a joke to explain why James kept saying JT was trying to lead anyone when the show didn’t really show the evidence. James can be hard to understand in some China confessionals if he’s excited.

          8. The good news is, I say “boot” a lot to totally counteract my outlandish claims of not having an accent.

          9. For some reason I’m kind of insulted that you don’t hate the Yanks more than the Rays. I do like a lot of the current crop of Astros players though, so I’m down to root for them.

          10. So many fights… So many bench clearing brawls… Yes we’ve had our share of fights with the Yankees as well but it just seems so much more frequent with the Rays.

          11. The Yankees might be my 29th favourite baseball team. The Red Sox would be 30th.

            (Blue Jays fan here. Hi everyone!)

            Quick edit: Actually, the Royals are currently in 30th place. I hate that team so much. But I don’t expect them to stay there).

          12. The Rangers are like the Colton of baseball. You don’t love to hate them, you just hate them. They aren’t A-Rods, they are just where A-Rods come from.

          13. Yes. Way more than the Rangers. The Royals annoyed me with their constant timely hitting, which all advanced statistics say is just luck.

          14. Which, of course, don’t matter in a short series. Not enough time for regression.

          15. You are the first person I have ever “known” that was a Blue Jays fan. I look forward to thinking about you when the Jays do a good or bad job from now on.

          16. Jays are my other team. Picked the Mariners because they’re closer to me, we had their AAA team when I was growing up, Ken Griffey Jr, and I wanted to be different. Also, the Expos moved.

    2. Trying to figure out how much trash talking I can get away with as a Nationals fan. Thanks for all the wins this year!

      I’ll balance it out by hashtagging #Natitude because even I thought that that promotional phrase was absurd and it’s easy to make fun of that.

      1. remember the days when Phillies fans outnumbered Nationals fans in your ballpark? like for 7 years straight?

        1. The Nationals were founded in 2012, I don’t know what seven year stretch you are talking about…

      2. Watching the Braves has gotten so depressing I’m seriously thinking of switching to rooting for the Nats. I lived there long enough that I feel like I can get away with it.

          1. Putting a stadium in a place that nobody can get to and nobody wants to got to is a completely necessary thing!

            Is something I’ve been told by racists.

          2. I’ve never had to go to a Washington Football Team game but I’ve had to work events at FedEx Field, so I can say with confidence that trying to get to Cobb county is worse. At least Landover has Metro access.

          3. damn that is bad. but the new parking rules the braves want are based off Snyder’s rules

          4. The difference is that Snyder had the good sense to build his stadium somewhere out of the way. SunTrust Field is going up where 75 and 285 cross and it turns out nobody planned on how to deal with that.

            Mercedes-Benz Stadium, by contrast, is going up well and looks like it’s gonna be pretty cool, at least from when I’ve drove past it.

          5. I’d still trade Snyder for (whoever owns the Barves) because they seem to understand how to build up a roster. Snyder seems to think it’s like playing Madden on his PlayStation.

            On the plus side there is a new GM in town and he (Scot McCloughan) is fantastic. The burgundy and gold are finally moving the right direction.

          6. So he has a plan other than “pay a bunch of money for the hottest prospect you can find, then drive him until he is physically broken beyond all repair?”

          7. Against all odds, that seems to be the case now. As far as I can tell the strategy has become stuff like “shore up the trenches” and “plug up holes in the secondary”. Basically McCloughan is doing what he did to get San Francisco and Seattle to the Super Bowl. I never thought a GM would be my favorite team member but what can I say?

          8. Don’t mind me guys, I’ll just be here in the corner quietly weeping and hoping that someday I’ll get to complain about the Athletics’ new stadium.

          9. The thing is, nobody, and I mean nobody, who lives inside the Perimeter wants this stadium. Turner Field only 20 years old and in good shape. The entire idea was ginned up to appeal to white ex-urbanites who are ascared to downtown because that’s where the black people are. That’s what we’re pissed off about.

          10. Dan Fienberg’s best Survivor recap on HitFix is and will always be episode 1 of Cagayan with the constant David Samson Marlins jokes.

    3. Reading this baseball sub-thread I finally realized who Tom Westman sounds exactly like (the way Penner sounds exactly like Alan Alda): Bobby Valentine! Man, that was bothering me ever since I watched Palau a year or so ago.

  8. I just got to the end of the podcast and I need to agree with you on this. I watched Survivor in my diet of far too much TV from Cook Islands onward, I started reading AV Club Survivor stuff during Caramoan I think and from the moment I began commenting Survivor went from something I really enjoyed but never mentioned to anyone to something I love talking about (mainly with you guys) and I listen to podcasts and do rewatches (I did those before). This community has given me the place to nerd out like I want to without feeling weird. Basically thanks guys.

    1. Pft, don’t thank them. They single handedly destroyed AVClub’s Survivor coverage. It definitely had nothing to do with Univision scrapping tons of shows and forcing the site to redirect more focus on pointless Game of Thrones articles and idiotic, atrociously edited clickbait nonsense to the point where I can’t stomach visiting it anymore. It was totally Purple Rock.

      Not that I have a loud, obnoxious opinion on the matter.

        1. I read that tweet and I’m pretty sure I remember her confirming it was all Emma’s fault.

      1. Nah, Todd killed TV Club by letting it balloon to unsustainable levels, because he’s a writer and thinker, not a business guy. And then finally, someone from Onion HQ took a look at what was going on and told them they were throwing money into a pit and had to dump everything that didn’t make a profit.

        Even when there were 800 comment threads, it was the same 30-40 people hashing out arcane comparisons between the current season and previous seasons. Probably maybe a hundred more lurking or reading the article but not comments, but probably few enough that they were losing money paying Carrie to do it.

        1. Enough with your rational analysis.

          But agreed. This is more of a reflection of the twilight of the recap error of TV criticism than anything. And yes, comment totals were high (albeit less high than previous seasons). But advertisers don’t pay for comments. The same people coming back over and over is a great way to build an audience and community. Not exactly great for unique pageviews.

          And as for us and our role in reducing those comment totals: we were the ones artificially inflating them in the first place. Which still wouldn’t have passed muster once editorial was taking hard looks at the actual analytics.

          1. The three big issues for me are this:

            1: They’ve known this is an issue for years. We were constantly getting told about how TV Club Classic was getting shuttered because nobody read it, so they clearly had some sense of what was going on.

            2: If they had just a few niche shows on the schedule they could have pointed to them as loss leaders and talked up how important the community was. But no, they had to cover everything.

            3: TV Club was what drew me back into the AV Club, and while I adore John Teti as a writer, I don’t feel like it was ever a priority for him. I think the transition from Todd to him made it much easier for this to happen. My only hope is that it means we get more Gameological, because Teti seems more interested in that.

          2. For me, the site was the writers and editors that made it popular. They brought in some good talent, but once they left, its relevance to me started leaving as well.

          3. AVC died when the original staff left and then later formed the Dissolve (not that I blame them, they didn’t sign up to recap every goddamn shitty TV under the sun).

          4. TV Club is what drew me there too since I watch a lot of TV and dont see many movies, then the community kept me around, but now with a lot of shows shuttering, i just dont comment that much anymore

  9. Because I obsessed with ranking shit: The majority of my initial Survivor viewing came on one crazy binge watching quest last spring/summer. When I got to Heroes vs Villains these were the people I was most excited to see return to play in order of most to least. Basically the first 15 on the list I was extremely excited to see. Note: I did not watch Gabon until after HvV so I had no impressions of Sugar and Randy.

    1. Cirie
    2. Parvati
    3. Boston Rob
    4. Sandra
    5. Tom
    6. Stephenie
    7. Russell
    8. James
    9. J.T
    10. Jerri
    11. Courtney
    12. Coach
    13. Amanda
    14. Colby
    15. Tyson
    16. Candice
    17. Danielle
    18. Rupert

    1. other than moving Tyson up a bit (not sure where I would put him but probably between James and Coach) this is a really good list

      1. This is my first time watching HvV (although as a Survivor fan I know pretty much everything that happens), and I’m incredibly disappointed by how under-edited Courtney is. How has she not had one confessional complaining about Coach?

    1. My freshman year roommate was from India and he staid up all night to watch live cricket and insisted he had to have a light on for it. And then one night I caught him watching me sleep.

      I hate cricket so so much.

        1. I asked for a room change and got put in with a casual heroin user who cut patterns into his body “for style.”

          That was better.

      1. My freshman year roommate did not watch cricket…. but she did undress herself in her sleep…

  10. Emma, as someone who lives near one of the busiest intersections in Atlanta, I just want to say I sympathize with your car noise issues.

    1. I grew up on a Night Bus route. The old buses used to make the whole house rattle, it was so soothing. Growing up in London means I can’t sleep with silence.

      1. I used to live next to train tracks that were, among other things, used to deliver tanks to the local army base. Every morning at 6:30 I’d wake up, wonder what the fuck was going on, realize it was just a train, and go back to sleep.

        Living down the street from Buckhead drivers who think a 5 second pause after the light changes means they need to slam on the horn is worse.

    2. I’m actually on a side street, that seemed to just be one specific asshole. I used to live right by LAX and there was always plane noise.

  11. Also, I love how the “who should be here instead” discussion comes up and Andy immediately stumps for Danni Boatwright.

      1. I think Danni is an excellent player, but I can also see why production is hesitant to bring her back. She was purposely giving them nothing to work with!

        1. Is there proof of this somewhere? I see this repeated constantly, but I don’t recall seeing evidence from her suggesting that she did this.

          1. There’s supposedly an interview with Survivor Oz where she says this is the case (haven’t listened to it myself). Also, I watched Guatemala within the past year and her edit doesn’t make any sense at all if it isn’t true, even if you assume that Guatemala is edited as a “how Stephanie lost” narrative.

          2. I have listened to it because I love Danni and while I don’t remember specifically her saying that I do know it’s something I’ve always taken as fact. I don’t usually do that with second hand stuff so there’s probably a correlation there.

            (I still don’t really fully believe the Lil voted out of the Outcasts story for instance.)

          3. That’s cool; I don’t fully believe the Caramoan reunion ever happened.

        2. This season wouldn’t have mattered much. They have other players for confessionals. She’d bring in the prestige of being a former winner.

          1. I guess it’s not like they got any grade A confessionals from Danielle. She didn’t even call herself a “captain of sports” this time.


    So this is a little project that I’ve been working on based on something that came up in the S34 thread that I’m gonna dump here because I have nowhere else to put it.

    I went through every season and picked the most useless player who made it deep into the game. It’s obviously not a scientific process, but I used a four factor balancing test (yes, I know everyone except Matt and Alycia zoned out at the the phrase “four factor balancing test”) to figure this out.

    My four factors:

    -Strategic significance: Players who run the strategy are obviously going to be useful, but I also factored in players who tried strategies that failed but at least made work for the winning coalition.

    -Challenge performance: I’m not a challenge guy, but I can acknowlege that sometimes challenge performance affects the game (see e.g.: Holloway, Mike). That said, not all challenge wins are created equal. Things that end up having no effect on how the game runs get treated less importantly than things that don’t.

    -Being a pocket vote: If someone is clearly being told how to vote by someone else, it’s a knock against them, even if they’re on the right side of the numbers.

    -Entertainment value: Did you have no game or clue what you were doing, but at least made good TV? Congratulations, this is your saving category!

    I don’t have a firm definition for “made it deep in the game,” but everyone on this list made it through at least a couple merge votes.

    Borneo – Jenna

    This was one of the hardest for me, because every one of the post-merge players in Borneo has something distinctive about them. It’s obviously not one of the Tagi 4, and I couldn’t make it Sean because I saw him more as a useful idiot than a pocket vote. Greg at least tried to do things, so not him. It came down to Colleen and Jenna, and while I’m personally not a huge Colleen fan I respect that she made a big impact, so Jenna stumbles into it by default.

    Australia – Amber

    This one, on the other hand, was super easy. Amber’s role in th game is being Jerri’s sidekick basically from minute 1. Once Colby’s defection marginalizes Jerri, there’s nothing left for her to do. Her only possible avenue of redemption is to be the new Colleen, and oh, fuck, Elizabeth outshone her in that arena without even trying.

    Africa – Kim Powers

    (Guys, I swear this isn’t going to be all young women.)

    Also hard, not because everyone gets featured so much as because the post-merge of Africa turns into the Tom, Lex, and Ethan show. I went with Kim because I have recognizable moments for everyone else, and the best I could come up with for Kim Powers is that time she let Big Tom pour water on her chest. She was a vote for Boran until it was time to clip Boran people, and that’s it.

    Marquesas – Paschal

    (See, I told you. There will also be a lot of old dudes.)

    This is the first one that really goes down to the pocket vote factor. I didn’t want to go with a member of the Rotu 4 because, even though they lost, they had a huge effect on the game. So, out of that winning alliance, because out of the 5 of them he seems most passive. He basically lets Neleh, who is like 40 years younger than him, tell him how to vote for most of the post-merge.

    Also, Paschal is a racist, so fuck him.

    Thailand – Jan

    Jan is one of those people where you’re not sure she’s aware she’s on Survivor. She marks the emergence of one of my least favorite Survivor archetypes – the “kooky old lady.” I thought we had put this to bed when Survivor started casting relatable, sane older women like Dawn, Lisa, Monica, Kass, and Trish, but unfortunately no, it’s come roaring back in the form of Debbie. Anyway, that’s unrelated to Jan, who is… irrelevant to her season. She’s a number for Chuay Gahn until she’s not needed, and then she’s clipped. End of story.

    The only other person I could possibly consider her is Jake, and Jake at least had a leadership position for a chunk of the game, whereas Jan seemed out of it for all of it.

    1. I love this idea. Looking forward to the rest of it though I feel like in Marquesas that Zoé is the answer. She seemed to be the just along for the ride member of the Rotu 4. I have trouble remembering her as any significant part of the season. I second your sentiments on Paschal.

      1. I’m totally up for debate on any of these. I think there’s a valid argument for Zoe, but my general rule was that, if two people were both useless and one went deeper than the other, err on the side of the one who went deeper.

        1. I just never got the sense that Neleh was driving that duo (but Paschal was definitely racist)

          1. It’s muddy because that group doesn’t really have to make a decision again for three votes, but Neleh is the one who, after the coconut challenge, is more forceful about the idea that these people aren’t really with them and something has to change.

            Thanks for the feedback. The full entry is longer but still doesn’t make that clear. I’m working on picking photos right now but I might go back and clear up what I meant.

          2. It is tough because Paschal is clearly the one that those outside the group viewed as being in control and if he got to the final 2 im pretty sure he wins, but that doesn’t mean he is driving the decisions

      2. Zoe didn’t make it far enough. Plus, she flipped on her alliance at the drop of a hat, and then pretended there never was an alliance. It was a Costanza-level lie that made me laugh my ass off. I agree she was mostly pointless and terrible though.

      1. I’ll shoot the Purple Rock gmail a message when the whole thing is finished. It will be long, because there are 32 of these to do.

        1. I can’t tell if your serious, but useless.doc is now up to 3,800 words, and I’m only through South Pacific. I wrote five paragraphs about Rancher Rick.

          And that’s excluding Cook Islands, where I am going back and forth between Parvati and Sundra and haven’t written an entry yet.

          1. Keep it going. Also, you’ll need to compile photos for each.

            Welcome to the #content world.

          2. I’m waiting to go back and do photos after I finish the whole thing, but of course I’m planning photo choices. (I can do .gifs, too right? There’s two places where I need a .gif, and I think you’ll agree with them.)

            Also, do you have an opinion on Parvati vs. Sundra? It’s seriously the hardest one I’ve dealt with.

          3. Just include the link in the Word doc and we can upload it on the site when publishing the guest post.

          4. Cool. I finished the last entry last night. I’m gonna spend some time this evening polishing it and then start hunting for photos.

          5. Parvati v. Sundra is tricky but I would go with Parvati for the sheer fact that Sundra has the Aitu 4 and the fire making challenge on her side while Parvati just has naked hot tub time from Cook Islands.

          6. Aw, thanks. I got through the One World entry tonight. They’re not all equal, but Amazon, China, Samoa, and the final line of Nicaragua are the things I feel best about.

          7. If the category is useless players, the Nicaragua final 9 is an embarrassment of riches.

          8. “embarrassment of riches”

            I’m dying laughing right now, because I wrote my Nicaragua entry a few hours ago and used that exact phrase to describe them. Great minds think alike.

          9. Actual sentence, cut because the full paragraph reveals who my pick is:

            And then I remembered, “oh wait, It’s Nicaragua. I have an embarrassment of riches when in comes to useless idiots who should have gone pre-merge.”

  13. If she hadn’t had a baby during that time, I would have loved for Shii-Ann to be on the Villains tribe. I would feel bad that Shii-Ann is the only person from Thailand they’ve ever asked back, but then I vaguely remember that everyone was pretty awful that season–Brian Heidik was considered but they hate him too much. Looking on the Wikipedia page, there are some that were supposedly considered that weren’t chosen: Twila (Vanuatu), Taj and Sierra (Tocantins), and a few that you two mentioned; I would’ve maybe picked them over Candice and Danielle, but hey, we got what we got and we got an awesome season. A few duds ain’t gonna ruin that.

    I’ll miss Survivor coverage on AV Club. It was my introduction to discussing a show I’ve loved for over a decade, when I didn’t really have an outlet to do so before (no one else in my family watches Survivor, so it’s hard to talk about it with them). I didn’t regularly visit the AV Club until about 3 years ago, and I didn’t start commenting until this year, but even as a newcomer, I enjoy discussing a show I love with people who also love it. And if not for Carrie’s reviews, I wouldn’t have found Purple Rock Podcast. For that, I shall be forever grateful. Thanks to Carrie and PRP for making me enjoy Survivor even more. As long as you guys are still doing this, I think we’ll be okay.

      1. Nah, Shii Ann is the best part of both of her seasons. Though they are both in my bottom 5 seasons.

  14. Listening to the podcast now. Heidi was a good villain suggestion instead of Danielle. Deena Bennett would be my suggestion but on the hero tribe more than villain. Then Candace could have been moved over to villain. Twila perhaps as a villian?


      I’m sorry, this is just what I have to do when someone suggests bringing Deena back. I don’t really think she makes sense here, between her early-ish exit and being from an older season, but I’d love to see her back on one of these seasons with lower-profile returnees.

      1. Yeah, I was really trying to find higher profile women. And, frankly, younger and attractive (as that was part of the role Danielle was obviously cast to play). Deena would be better for the more recent type of returnee, where they reach for diamonds in the rough. HvV was about stars.

        1. Younger, attractive, villainous woman who gives great confessionals? As the self-proclaimed “Bring Back Natalie Bolton-er”, I recommend Natalie Bolton.

          Edit: Just listened to the podcast. I get that there are a lot of Micronesia, but I’d be disappointed in myself if I didn’t mention her.

    2. I know Micronesia had enough people, but Ami Cusack is kind of perfect for the whole Heroes vs Villains concept, no?

      I love Deena Bennett and will throw a massive fit if she ever gets invited back, though.

      1. To me Deena is an ideal casting need to live up to. I need more Deena’s cast on Survivor, the only person who is like Deena was Denise, a tough, cool, smart, physical older woman. What I don’t need is Deena herself back.

      2. Ami would’ve been perfect if she hadn’t come back in Micronesia, which kind’ve muddled her role. Plus, it’s not hard to imagine that she was done with the experience after that.

    3. I kinda have a slight suggestion here: Jenna Lewis, who could be a good fit for either tribe to be honest. She’s a hero in Borneo because her slaying the “misogynistic” Joel and being allies with the clearly heroic Colleen. However, in All Stars, she is the mouthpiece for the thing that ruins the season for many people, getting rid of the winners/stars of the season. This causes people like Colby, Ethan, Tina, and Rudy to leave early. It also helps that she was a young and attractive (in theory) woman (in fact, she is only 3 years older than DD, but she does not look it). That could also be their way of getting a Borneo alum on HvV.

      Of course there is a major downfall here. Although her most recent season is All Stars, was she an All Star then or now?

      1. I thought about her. Didn’t want another All-Star, and she’s not really cast as a “hot” girl, even though I always found her attractive. Including now.

  15. I need to clarify one thing. When I say I’m baffled by Coach as a villain, it’s not because I think he should be a hero. Quite the contrary. He’s way too pathetic for either label. I enjoyed watching his ego get crushed on the Villains tribe though.

    1. there are some people who don’t fit either label. But I think the viewer perceived Coach as a villain

      1. I certainly did. He and Tyson treated Sierra terribly. Maybe everyone did hate her but we did not see everyone treat her poory.

    2. Coach bullied his way into control of his tribe and, when it failed spectacularly, gave himself one of the most self-obsessed exits in Survivor history.

      He was more Mad Bomber than the Joker, but the Mad Bomber is still a villain.

    3. They don’t have to be _successful_ villains. For god’s sake, look at Randy.

    4. I feel like Coach would be a really interesting person to have as a casual friend/acquaintance. I had a really pleasant twitter interaction with him about classical music (being that he conducts orchestras in his spare time, because of course he does!).

      But I forgot how insufferable he can be watching play Survivor… just so out of touch with the reality of what’s going on and how he’s being perceived, and when presented with evidence to the contrary, just continues to dig his heels in deeper…

  16. Emma: “The comment culture had gotten a little weird there.” (On the AVClub Survivor reviews).

    Clearly, you didn’t spend any time perusing the comments on the first few seasons of Girls or Season 1 of The Leftovers.

    1. I didn’t. But also I was specifically referring to the Survivor comments, but TV Club as a whole.

    2. The Deep Space Nine comments were great. Great discussion of the episode and the show in general, plus by the end there were so many gimmick commenters

      Although now that I think about it, the Parks and Rec comments may have had the best gimmick commenters. Ben Wyatt Fan Fiction, ManPretendingToBe Perd Hapley, LeslieKnopeHeadlines, Andy Dwyer, ThisIsAprilMakingFunOfBenWyatt, Orin … they were epic.

      1. Sorry, I didn’t realize there were replies to my comment when I deleted it. After listening to the eulogy for TVClub’s Survivor coverage I didn’t want to kick TVClub when it’s down. But the gist is that Emma noted that the comments section was “getting weird” and I said it was nothing compared to the comments for early-season Girls and season 1 The Leftovers. Also, I re-visited the latter and it looks like some deleting/banning has happened.

        DS9 was the best Star Trek series IMO. The 10-part episode that ended the series really felt ground-breaking at the time, although of course serialization is practically the default now.

        1. DS9 was the best Trek series, hands down. I loved when AV Club started doing Trek reviews and said they would continue on with TNG and DS9. No was clamoring for them to hurry up and get to Voyager.

      2. Parks and Rec gimmick accounts were legendary. Thank you for reminding me of them.

  17. For me the weird thing about Coach being a villain is that I think he’s just like Rupert, but Survivor decided long ago which one of their delusions to indulge and which to expose.

    1. Kind of, but I think 1st season Coach is much more hypocritical and much less an audience fan favourite than first season Rupert. And once first season Rupert is a hero, all future Rupert’s are heroes as a result.

      1. I know he’s a fan favorite, but I found Pearl Islands Rupert plenty hypocritical. I see them as similar people who were packaged and therefore received differently.

        1. I don’t necessarily disagree.

          This is probably a super unpopular opinion, but I enjoy HvV Rupert more than Pearl Islands Rupert. That whole giving up rewards thing that Rupert had going early merge in Pearl Islands was pretty annoying and one of my two major flaws with the season that keeps it out of my top 5.

    2. You make a good point. I think the key difference is that Rupert’s first-season tribemates either bought into his act or let Rupert be Rupert, whereas the Tocantins cast was having none of it. If (God forbid) Tocantins had had a Brandon and/or Edna, Coach wouldn’t have received the full dodo edit.

  18. I’m sad that there is no more AVClub Survivor coverage. As was said, it was the gateway to this site/community for so many of us. But at least I will now be able to post my randomest of thoughts here as soon as I finish the episode and not have to wait ~1.5 hours for Carrie’s review to go up so that I can post my comment and finally go to bed.

    And Emma was right, I was just copying my main comments from one site to the other. Too lazy to write up new content.

  19. I love that a large portion of this podcast turned into Andy yelling about how great Rob is, and how he should have won this season and then we would all acknowledge he was the best of allllllll tiiiiiimmmeee. Gotta stay on message.

    On another front, good eulogy of the TV Club. It’s weird having been a reader of the AVClub both before the existence of, and after the decimation of the TVC. But if we got the PRP crew to comment with so we don’t have to wade into Reddit or Sucks, I am glad something good came from the slow destruction of the best place on the internet.

    1. You think THIS episode was me yelling about how great Rob is? Whoa buddy, you’re in for a treat for the next couple then.

  20. I’m from Massachusetts!

    First time around HvV, I was kind of weary of it being The Russell Show Mach II, but in retrospect, yeah, it’s pretty excellent across the board.

  21. Few things –
    – I think Candice was supposed to be in Villains tribe and Paravti’s heroes. But they did not want 4 micronesia folks to be together so they switched that up. Hence the incredulous addition of Candice as a Hero.
    – I think Heroes demise came down to Cirie vs Tom rivalry. Both recognized each other as the big threat in the tribe and them working together seemed out of question. Both even said as much during their time there. Once they were gone, Heroes were always doomed.
    – I will elaborate on this later but I don’t buy into the narrative that Cirie messed up in HvV. I think she was in a great position in that tribe, and it took an idol and a flip to send her home in a split vote situation.

    – The most interesting aspect of tribe division for me is that I firmly believe that producers expected and wanted Villains to go to tribals more often than Heroes in pre-merge. When you do a straight comparison. Heroes men’s line up is just ridiculous. James, even though he does not have any individual challenge wins, he was key for his tribe teams in China and Micronesia. Tom, immunity beast; Rupert, again good tribe team player; Colby, immunity beat from his day; JT, another great physical player. On women’s side you have Stephanie, Amanda and Candice as standouts. Only weak physical members can be Cirie and Sugar.
    On Villain’s side, men;s side is strong but can;t match up to heroes in pure physical prowess, especially with Randy in there. On women’s side it is even worse- Parvati is the only comparable person to the three mentioned above.
    I am not even sure if producers expected Heroes to suck that badly at puzzles.

    – Finally, I don’t think there has ever been anything like the Rob vs Russell rivalry, we saw in the pre-merge episodes of HvV , in Survivor since or before that. A lot of stuff almost seemed scripted. Best part of HvV for me.

    1. You are underestimating Danielle’s physical ability. She was a college athlete and is probably built better for the team stage than individual immunities. Parvati is athletic enough to be useful but it’s when the challenges become about will power and favour being smaller that she really gets good.
      I agree though on Sandra, Courtney and Jerri, Sugar and Cirie are better than Sandra or Courtney.
      HvV is an all round great season.

  22. Random question: I’s fairly wide known that Corinne was supposed to be the fifth female villain but declined due to work, hence (ala a certain person who changed the game) the rather last-minute addition of Danielle. How do you think Corinne could have done with the other villains? I am sensing a thrown challenge to get rid of her, but what say you?

    Man, I really am the Gossip Queen of Purple Rock.

    1. I don’t know about a thrown challenge. Assuming they had the first TC at the same time, there wasn’t enough time for them to get anxious or annoyed enough to do that. I don’t think she would’ve lasted long because she wouldn’t have been a good fit in the Rob group, and she probably would’ve hated Russell, making her quite an outcast.

    2. I see her going early because I don’t think Rob would have liked her and I think she would have been too lippy for Russell. If Russell and Rob didn’t like her then she’s probably gone instead of Randy.

        1. I think Randy would have turned on her had the first vote been everyone v Corinne like it was against him.

  23. I watched way ahead (Episode 7) and I won’t leave any spoilers here. I will just say that this season is what I was expecting from Cambodia: great characters, great stories, great emotions, and great (and not-so-great) strategy. I am already in love with it.

    1. You’ve never seen it before? I have a HORRIBLE Survivor memory (probably because I watched more casually then), but some of the highlights of this season stuck with me. You won’t be disappointed 🙂

        1. It’s always been about casting, which is probably meant to be the main takeaway from watching this season after Gabon. 😉

          1. I think it is also the idea that these people know that they are the best of the best, so they have to play at a level deserving of that title. As a result, we get a lot of interesting things going on.

          2. My takeaway is the negative version of the same thing: Even the consensus greatest-season-ever had a mostly nonsensical theme that definitely affected how some people played the game, and some questionable casting decisions, so maybe we shouldn’t be so quick to bemoan things like BvBvB or MvGX.

  24. Just finished listening over the weekend — I TOTALLY relate to Andy’s comment about how Survivor was one of those shows I watched, but didn’t openly talk about — not because I was ashamed or anything, but since most people would just make fun of it, it didn’t seem worth the energy. I would describe it as a guilty pleasure, and I’d defend the fact that it’s far more an unscripted game show in an extreme setting than a “reality” show, because there is NOTHING realistic about it other than that the conditions are more harsh/intense than they appear.

    Finding the AVClub and talking about it with like-minded people made it all the more fun and interesting to discuss, and now here I am listening to podcasts and actually participating in one (which was VERY fun, thanks for including me a few seasons back!). Enjoying being a part of this community, and I am TOTALLY up for any PRP get-togethers in the NYC area should it work out. My mom says I’m cool!

    1. I don’t talk about it either, because I don’t know anyone in real life who actually watches. I loved the AVClub coverage for the same reason you and Andy. But I felt like the best of the AVClub crew came over here, so I kind of trailed off over there. If anyone is near Boston (or the greater Boston area like @disqus_eZAEfHymmj:disqus), I’d be up for a get-together as well.

      1. I have one friend who watches (who actually gets the credit for getting me into Survivor in the first place during season 1) and my husband watches with me when he’s not making horrible fantasy picks. Both have been recruited to this podcast/blog.

        one of us… one of us…

    2. Anyone coming to Ny for Ny comic con?

      I also don’t talk about it either as I don’t run into many people who like it either.

      1. Huge crowded cons have not been a big draw for me, personally — I have a few friends who still try to go, but even they are starting to get disgruntled as it’s nearly impossible to get tickets and they get closed out of the good stuff.

        In terms of Survivor, if I can catch wind of it at the right time, I want to try to go to the NYC Live Know-it-alls next season if I can.

        1. Just as a heads up, Rob’s patrons are likely going to get the vast majority of available tickets. So if you aren’t a patron, try to befriend one that won’t be going.

          1. hmmph, that’s unfortunate. I’d love to go if I could, but I’m not THAT invested. Thanks for the tip though…

  25. Why is AVClub dumping Survivor? It’s one of their popular TV Club posts. Hundreds of posts there.

    1. Obviously, we don’t know for sure since we don’t work there or anything, but the gist of what we’ve read via comments from those that do is basically that while the posts got lots of comments, it didn’t get a lot of unique visits.

      So basically, it was the same handful of people coming back over and over again to comment on any given post. But advertisers care about UNIQUE visitors, because that’s the potential audience number for their ads.

  26. Hey, I got some scoop on the Stephenie LaGrossa situation. According to Surivor Wiki, “Stephenie married high school history teacher Michael Ward on July 7, 2006. 8 other survivors attended their wedding, including Survivor: Palau castmates Tom, Ian, Gregg, Jenn, Katie, and Caryn, and Survivor: Guatemala castmates Amy and Rafe. The two eventually divorced. On November 13, 2010, Stephenie married again, this time to Philadelphia Phillies pitcher, Kyle Kendrick.” So, they were either dating or engaged when Steph filmed HvV in the summer of 2009 and she was definitely engaged at the reunion because I was paying attention to that ring and her mention of a certain pizza topping.

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