Purple Rock Survivor Podcast: Kaoh Rong Episode 14 “Not Going Down Without a Fight”

So… that happened. Listen to us struggle to figure out why the finale of Survivor: Kaoh Rong went the way it did and do the impossible: admit that we were wrong.


Purple Rock Survivor podcast: Kaoh Rong episode 14 “Not Going Down Without a Fight”

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In this episode, we discuss:

  • They were right, we were wrong. Definitively.
  • Why was this so obvious to a subset of fans while being a complete mystery to the majority?
  • Did the show make a convinced case for WHY Michele won?
  • Why do we think she won?
  • Is this the best edit the show could have given Michele?
  • How does she rate as a winner?
  • How the Truther wars impacted our enjoyment of the season and what can be done in the future.
  • Why did Aubry lose? Could she have done something different?
  • The vote out a jury member twist.
  • What does Michele’s victory say about the game of Survivor?
  • Cydney and Tai and what we liked about them.
  • How does the season rank?
  • The promo for the next season of Survivor.
  • The winners of all our little contests.

Of course, we always welcome your comments. You can leave a comment here, tweet us (@purplerockpod, @purplerockjohn, @purplerockandy), or email us at purplerockpodcast on gmail. Thanks for listening and/or watching!

Note on our Explicit rating: This is not a particularly explicit podcast, but we do have some in our archives that qualify and we are sometimes more lax in our editing. So to comply with iTunes, we’ve erred on the side of caution and put in that rating. However, we will always warn listeners if a particular podcast is actually explicit before it begins.

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Andy and John are the hosts of the Purple Rock Survivor podcast.
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  • Other Scott

    I love that screencap!

    I love this season a ton, but I think we’ve received definitive explanation about why Probst hates it.

    • andythesaint

      Agreed. I was totally wrong about that. The Probstian disappointment was real.

      • Other Scott

        Andy on Kaoh Rong: I was totally wrong about that.

        • Roswulf

          …HOWEVER

      • Yeah, we were both kinda skeptical on that. But I get it now.

      • I wanted to see his reaction to Michele’s win, so I hit up his Dalton Ross interview and here is a condensed version of what Probst has to say: “You know me well enough to know that at this point in our run, I won’t contradict a jury. Because I have learned over the years that part of winning is winning over the jury. Michele did that. She earned it. From a big picture view, I think Michele had a lot of momentum going into the vote. She really turned it on at the end. She kicked the afterburners on at the right time!….(Goes into talking about how the Final 3 has three different styles of gameplay) On the flip side, when Michele started the game she was seen as a beautiful woman… and nothing else. She had a lot to prove. So when she started to play the game, even voting out her best friend, (delving into the dark side) the tribe and the audience saw her as exceeding expectations so she was rewarded. Both were playing the game. But the perception was altered by the first impression made. It cost Tai. It helped Michele. And as for Aubry, she was in the middle. Neal votes for Aubry and we have a 5-3 vote. Very close.”

        I feel like this is him covering his butt, but I could be reading into this. When did someone say that Michele was just a pretty face? I thought the Beauty men wanted to pull her as their fourth. I am so confused right now.

    • turgid_legume

      Wait, did I miss some snippet of Survivor news? What’s the definitive explanation? Michele winning out over Aubry? But shouldn’t Probst get behind Michele (phrasing), given her excellent come-from-behind challenge wins at the last hour (and the fact that there was no male stud in the final three to root for)?

      • Other Scott

        Probst’s male and challenge bias is overstated. For the most part he likes the same type of player most viewers like, the control oriented person moving the votes who are also engaging narrators. Most of those times, for whatever reason, those just happen to be male players.

        In this case we had Aubry, who was basically the female player that Probst would dream up (remember how much he loves Cochran?). And she the fact she gets beaten by a do-nothing floater would physically hurt him.

        • andythesaint

          He loves Cochran so much that they’re now carpool buddies for finales.

          • Other Scott

            I haven’t gotten through all of the the Rob-Wigler podcast, but that was such a “This can’t be a real thing” story that it can’t be a real thing.

        • turgid_legume

          Ah, that does make a lot more sense. Thanks. Geez, I keep forgetting how bland her confessionals were.

    • I know this for a fact (because it appears from time to time on Survivor reddit sidebar), but he looks happier revealing Fabio’s winning vote (which includes a drawing of a volcano and 420 written on it).

  • Smocke55

    My main issue actually isn’t with Michele’s edit,but more with Aubry’s.They really didn’t do a good job of conveying why she lost.Though watching the jury speaks video has answered most of my questions,it stills feels like as if Kathy lost to Vecepia.Also,this ending probably wouldn’t have happened had they dropped that horrendous twist and gone ahead with a f2.Michele boots Aubry at 3 and we get the ending that makes much more sense.

    The finale mostly sucked,but the season was still riveting from start to finish imo. I’d place it 8/32

    • Assistant Dragon Slayer

      (Disclaimer: Haven’t listened yet) I think you answer your own question. It’s clear why Aubry didn’t get the jury’s votes once you see them being such crybabies at Ponderosa, but they can’t show that on TV. It’s also clear from Michele’s exit interviews why the jury was fine with giving her their votes: She was an oasis of goodwill and level-headedness, and she wasn’t constantly probing for strategic advantage. That’s also something they couldn’t show on TV unless Michele spelled it out for them in a confessional (as Natalie White did, IIRC).

      • Smocke55

        I think Michele gets some credit for maintaining good relationships with Scot/Jason and correctly estimating how petty they’d be.However I do feel sorry for Aubry because there was no way to the end other than burning them.Looking back on the season,she probably should have booted Michele when she had the chance so that she could be in the f3 with 2 people Scotson hated more(Probably Cyd and Tai).

        • Assistant Dragon Slayer

          I’m not even sure she deserves credit for realizing how salty they would be. I think she was simply the beneficiary. On the other hand, hindsight is 20/20 but maybe it should have crossed Aubry’s mind not to put both Scot and Jason on the jury.

  • Roswulf

    Andy, I applaud you for managing to go a full 100 seconds (exactly 100 seconds) before pivoting to all the reasons the internet people are wrong.

    Your humility knows very specific bounds.

    • andythesaint

      I had to filibuster to get to 100.

  • sharculese

    Parvati is arguably a luckier winner than Michele. She also had the benefit of 3 people leaving the game without a vote and got that surprise final 2, which worked in her favor, but the big one is that first tribal council because I’m pretty sure that if Fairplay hadn’t asked to be voted out she would have gone home.

    The difference between winner and last place because you got put on a tribe with a dude who was going through pain pill withdrawal is about as lucky as you can get.

    • andythesaint

      You’re speaking my language here.

    • andythesaint

      Chet also quit his way out (without it being an official quit).

      • sharculese

        I count that one less because it’s too speculative to say what would have happened if he didn’t do it. Maybe managing to clip Ozzy there has an effect on her game downstream, but I don’t know what that effect is.

        • andythesaint

          You’re right. Completely neutral for Parvati.

    • andythesaint

      Avoiding TC for 22 days is probably more lucky than those things though. And Joe’s elimination probably has an even more profound effect than Penner’s (since we don’t have definitive proof that Penner and Eliza has the fans on their side or if they would have even gone to TC in time to get rid of her).

      • sharculese

        Agreed for the most part. Going so long without going to TC is way luckier than most of the things that broke Parvati’s way, but I think not getting voted out first when you were supposed to be still trumps that.

    • Vagabond

      Agreed completely. Being lucky doesn’t make you undeserving but some winners are certainly more lucky than others and it should be a factor when you are discussing them. Same for quality of competition, you have no control over it but some people have to beat much more able opponents than others. If we’re talking about how Parvati got lucky can we talk about how half that cast would have had difficulty putting their shoes on the right feet every morning…

      • andythesaint

        Agreed on both counts.

        Because even with all that luck, Parvati still had to put in a lot of work to get her win. So she was really good and really lucky. And, yes, that was a pretty weak field of competitors.

        • Vagabond

          Actually I think Cirie did most of the heavy lifting that season and as I think you guys have said before, without the unfortunate surprise final two Cirie wins. I’d probably rank Parvati as a middle of the pack winner rather than the survivor goddess that she’s normally considered.

          Btw just got to your breakdown of Aubrey’s game on the podcast. Respect for trying to look at it objectively, it’s difficult to do sometimes.

          • We’ve been objective about it throughout the season, we were just convinced that it was probably going to result in a win despite all its flaws.

          • Vagabond

            I didn’t mean to imply that you guys haven’t been objection, my apologies if it came off sounding that way. I meant that while true objectivity is impossible and personal bias always creeps into any analysis, I appreciate you trying to be as objective as possible because it’s often sadly lacking in the survivor community. Not so much here but you know of where I speak…

            edit: and I very much include myself in the bias always creeping in comment.

          • If there was anyone from this cast that I might lose objectivity on, it was Cydney. She was my favorite player by far.

        • Violina23

          Had Aubry won, I would have described it the same way. Because she [seemed] very socially aware, but got very lucky that her bad choices didn’t bite her in the butt waaaaay sooner

    • Kemper Boyd

      Sandra… Sandra’s tribe loses the first immunity or even second she is gone. But the fact it took 4 tribals to get there gives her the time to do her thing and the time for other plays to get itchy trigger finger to play and take out a threat.

  • Vagabond

    I think people are trying too hard to make sense of why the jury rewarded Michelle when it’s really very simple. You DO NOT let someone from the minority alliance make it to FTC, and if you do they must be crazy objectionable. Aubrey waited too long before trying to get rid of Michelle and it cost her. Maybe a bunch of these jury are big bitter babies, I’m not gonna argue they aren’t, but even if they are then Aubrey needed to pick up on that and plan accordingly. Jury management and making sure you don’t give them another viable option is a big part of the game so it doesn’t bother me that she lost to a mediocrity like Michelle.

    • Other Scott

      I’m upvoting you for the minority alliance comment, not the Aubry comment. Aubry rocks.

      • Vagabond

        Appreciated but respectfully disagree. Clearly I’m in the minority so I guess the problem is mine and not everybody else’s but I’ll take one Denise Stapley, or Cirie, or Courtney Yates over 20 Aubrey’s.

        • Kemper Boyd

          I like Aubry and I would 100% take Denise, Cirie or Courtney over her. You are setting a very high bar.

          • Vagabond

            I am setting the bar high, I want someone legitimately interesting if I’m going to bother getting emotionally invested in their success. I think generally people really want to have someone to root for in a season and if there’s no one worth rooting for they will find the closest to and make them better than they really are.

          • Kemper Boyd

            Things aren’t black and white. There are degrees to which you like someone and yeah most people find the person they like best and root for them. That isn’t a weakness, it’s just choosing from what is in front of you rather than being grumpy that no one is perfect.

          • Vagabond

            Absolutely, I also like to find the person I like best and root for them, never said it was a weakness, I just have a different rubric for determining whom I like than most people here. As for being grumpy, guilty as charged baby.

  • sharculese

    I’m just gonna go ahead and preempt Emma on this one:

    COURTNEY WON A CHALLENGE JOHN!

    • Purple Rock Emma

      It means so much that you all know exactly what I’m about.

      • sharculese

        You know you can always count on me for China solidarity.

    • I’m aware. I was exaggerating. Courtney- who couldn’t chop a fucking rope- won a challenge that was somehow uniquely suited to her skills.

  • Max_Jets

    Time to defend Aubry AND Michele
    Let’s go back to the much debated Debbie vote out. I think Aubry’s actual mistake here is telling Debbie that she would never vote her out. Clearly breaking this is very important to Debbie. Aubry has mentioned in exit interviews that the biggest reason she wanted to take out Debbie was that she didn’t think she could flip Tai to her side if Debbie was around. I don’t think she would have made it to the end if she didn’t make this move. You can say it was a flaw in her game because it didn’t get her the win, but getting further is better than nothing and I don’t think there was any better option.

    As for Joe, he is his own person and we have learned through the show that he is stubborn and does not care much for strategy or even winning. Aubry being able to convince Joe to do what she wanted her to do would have made her a better player, yes, but it doesn’t mean she is BAD for not being able to convince him. We don’t even know if Kim Spradlin would have been able to convince Joe to do what she wanted. I wouldn’t be surprised if she couldn’t. We don’t know if Kim Spradlin would have had better control over Abi Maria than Wentworth did. They’re working with people, not pieces. A great skill in Survivor is getting people to do what you want them to do, but some of those people might not do what anyone wants them to do.

    The Peter/Julia vote is very bad, I have nothing to say about it.

    Michele’s exit interviews have made me more okay with her win for 3 reasons:
    1. She sounds very charming. It’s too bad most of her screen time was given to confessionals, because I can see why people would love actually having a conversation with her. Michele should have been cut earlier, because she was super well liked. It doesn’t feel much different from Sandra’s HvV win in that sense.
    2. Michele talks about how she wasn’t just a vote but was also keeping Julia with the girls, until she ultimately wasn’t. If Aubry and Michele wouldn’t have made it to the end if Aubry didn’t decide to cut Debbie, I would also say that they would not have made it to the end if Michele didn’t keep Julia in the group for that vote.
    3. This is the shakiest one, because I have the least amount of confidence in its accuracy, but Michele says that it was her idea to cut Julia. This isn’t exactly what we saw on the show, but if true it would be the most impressive on her part. Maybe she meant that she said she was willing to cut Julia but did not orchestrate the exact vote, which I guess we already knew.
    For these reasons, Michele escapes my bottom 5 wins. But most importantly, she is not Bob. The ending to the season doesn’t make the rest of the season feel pointless in the way that Gabon’s does, so for that I am satisfied.

    • andythesaint

      Alright, fine. Joe was an immovable object that Aubry could never manipulate. Still doesn’t change the possibility that it caused her to lose.

      • Max_Jets

        I actually think she could have gone through with this vote if she talked to Jason about it. She still probably would have had Joe’s vote after too. But ya know, hindsight

        • Other Scott

          From Aubry’s exit interview it sounded like she had the opportunity to make that move, but thought Jason would also be a jury threat and wanted to make sure everyone knew that she wasn’t 100% tied to Tai.

          • andythesaint

            Which for me was the wrong read. Or, if she truly would’ve lost to either Michele or Jason, a damning statement on Aubry’s position in the game.

            Here’s another way Michele was more dangerous to Aubry than Jason: Jason would have NO problem voting out Cydney at final four if Michele had won immunity. Not sure the same is true about Michele.

            Note: I put zero stock in the idea that leaving Jason in the game put her at risk of Cydney, Tai, and Jason teaming up. That was not a thing that would happen.

          • Kemper Boyd

            I think Jason in Michele’s place at Final 3 is a closer vote and is more dependent on who wins the juror vote out and who is taken out. But I do think it gives Aubry a better chance to win, but maybe only a 1-2 vote change (granted that could be the ballgame if Scot is off the Jury).

          • DrVanNostrand

            When I put on my Captain Hindsight cape, I agree that was her biggest error. I thought it was a tougher decision at the time, but it seems clearly wrong now. Her most unforced error was the Julia cross-out, which served no good purpose, and seems to have annoyed two future jurors.

    • Other Scott

      On the Michele stuff:
      a) Julia was never with the girls though. She may have voted with the girls, but she was also telling Jason and Scot the plans knowing they would use an idol to combat it.
      b) It was so obvious to cut Julia in that spot that being the one to volunteer it is meaningless.

      • Max_Jets

        a) I meant more that Julia voted for Debbie instead of Cydney. We don’t know if Michele was the reason that she stuck with the plan, but if she was then Michele deserves some credit.
        b) Jason was…still around. Julia wasn’t the only option. I still find it impressive that Michele got back into the majority after being shut out with Julia. If other people don’t, I understand.

        • Kemper Boyd

          I think the Julia vote for Michele is just being able to say “you guys know I’m tight with Julia but I’m willing to do this, because I’m with you” that saves her at 6 and ultimately from there she’s safe til she wins.

      • andythesaint

        OTOH:
        a) The NEEDED Julia to get rid of Debbie. You know, if you think getting rid of Debbie was the right move.
        b) I have a hard time believing that Michele was the one who came up with that idea. As evidence, I’ll present the fact that they ALREADY WANTED TO VOTE OUT JULIA AT THE PREVIOUS VOTE. And also, Michele gave a teary-eyed confessional about how she wanted to vote out Jason and was hurt when they flipped it to Julia.

        • Other Scott

          Also, voting out Julia there instead of Jason is a bad move for Michele. People seem to forget this fact.

          • Max_Jets

            Maybe. Julia only becomes a useful ally at 4 though, when they have half the votes and by then Julia is probably too dangerous to let her get to the end.

          • Kemper Boyd

            I actually think taking out Jason at 7 makes Michele the most sensible target at 6. Julia has been on the opposite side from Aubry all game (despite voting together) but without Jason I think Julia isn’t really dangerous, at 6 if it goes Julia, Michele, Cydney voting together Tai can use his extra vote to get rid of Michele. I’m also not convinced that Julia wouldn’t vote out Michele at that spot to keep herself in the game.
            Basically in my mind the move that screwed Aubry isn’t Jason at 6, it’s not taking out Jason at 7 giving herself 3 tribals to get rid of Michele at.

          • Alycia Swift

            And if she suggested it, why wasn’t it shown since she ended up winning?

    • I agree on your part 1. I think her confessional time should have been more devoted to seeing what she is doing in camp. They did that with Natalie White (showing her in the shelter with the Galu women, quoting Bible verses with Brett).

  • turgid_legume

    Thanks for this. Listening to you guys helped me process my disappointment and anger, and I think I’m ready to put it all behind me and move on. You have successfully made the case (and not just this week) that Aubry is not quite a social mastermind robbed of the title. She was very good at certain aspects, but flawed nevertheless. And it’s not even that I was necessarily a huge Aubry fan, but it’s just that I was sooooo convinced that she was winning it throughout the entire night, particularly during the final tribal council, that when stupid Jeff read that winning Michele vote I felt gutted. The show just did not do a good job at explaining that win at all, but maybe they did the best they could. (On the other hand, you also made me realize what a profound (negative) impact on the game the Joe evac had, which hadn’t really even occurred to me. Damn. This season, man…)

    Maybe during the off-season you should rank the live reunion shows, because while definitely not the worst, this season’s has got to be the in the bottom quintile. (Edit: or did you already do that and I forgot?)

    • andythesaint

      We haven’t ranked live reunion shows, but here’s a preview:

      Reunion Show Rankings
      1. Hit by a bus
      2. All reunion shows
      3. But especially Caramoan

      In short, the reunion show is always a terrible hour of television. Live TV is not a format they excel in.

      • Other Scott

        I make an exceptions for the watching Russell cry reunions.

        • The Samoa one (by the by, I have finally watched Samoa) is fantastic.

          • Other Scott

            What did you think of my second favourite season? Be careful how you answer.

          • It was better than what I was expecting. Yeah, there are major flaws (everybody else’s edit besides Russell’s and the overall suckiness of the challenges are two prime examples), but what Russell did to the modern Survivor game has to be acknowledged and respected, if not loved. I also think that it helps knowing Natalie wins and Russell loses before going in, especially when you watch how Russell plays the last 6 or 7 days of the game. How Russell treats Natalie on Day 39 should be the nail of his editing coffin, but for casuals, it wasn’t.

            I think for me, it is slightly above Cambodia but they are on the same level in regards to strong gameplay but weak storytelling. However, Samoa at least gives more people a more consistent story.

          • Other Scott

            Oh, the challenges are so awful that season. So bad.

            Really its one of my favourite Survivor stories though. And as much as I think Russell is an overall mediocre Survivor player, and a pretty despicable person, I think he makes every season he’s in better (even the start of Redemption Island).

          • Assistant Dragon Slayer

            Mike Borrazi and Russell Swan agree!

          • He is someone you love to hate.
            Also, when the most notable challenge from your season can no longer be played, you might have a terrible challenge season. Now, part of that is them wanting to downplay the water but their challenges become fairly standard

            When was the last truly great challenge season? Kaoh Rong was good, but Cambodia was awful.

    • AubrysWinnersEdit

      At this point, they can make reunion shows as bad as they want because nothing will ever be as bad as Worlds Apart (even Caramoan).

  • Mike Hirsch

    Oh god, next season is going to be excruciating for at least the first three episodes while they hammer home the theme repeatedly.

    Thanks for another excellent season of entertaining podcasts, live blogs, and other various Survivor ephemera! I look forward to the Gaboning!

    • Kemper Boyd

      Cagayan would have been had it not been for the wonderful collapse of the Brains tribe! The beginning of World’s Apart was really annoying too (although that didn’t hugely recover).

      • Roswulf

        Weirdly, I think the theme season that best avoided this dynamic was good ol’ Race Wars. Which was such an uncomfortably bonkers conceit that instead of the contestants steering into it full force, they weaved in and out of it in an entertaining and fascinating way.

        • Kemper Boyd

          Yep, although fuck that season would have been a disaster if the whites won.

          • That fact was probably not lost on the production staff.

        • I read this as Rice Wars, which gave me some pause because Red. I. is considered not a good reason. Race Wars makes more sense

        • Mike Hirsch

          I prefer when the contestants try their collective best to ignore playing into the theme of the season. I suppose Rupert gets a pass just because he can’t help himself. But, otherwise, too much time dwelling on it can drag a season’s premerge way down (with the exception of Heroes and Villains, with the exception that 80% of the placements of people on their respective tribes made no real sense).

  • Diego Armando

    Rewatch Palau Andy and Emma. I really want to rewatch that season and it would be fun to rewatch it along with you.

    • andythesaint

      That’s a solid suggestion.

      • Purple Rock Emma

        It will not help me live down the Ian incident, however.

        • But he’s hot, right?

          • Purple Rock Emma

            It’s been beaten into me that he was hot.

          • Did he not age well? Oh please don’t break my heart.

          • He did not age well.

          • Like he looks bad now? Oh no. He may be the start of my hot guys with open shirts and glasses thing on Survivor

          • Purplerockmatt

            seriously don’t look it up.

          • Oh no…I don’t think he is on Twitter, so I can avoid that. Thanks for the warning.

          • He is on Twitter.

          • Lala I can’t read you Lala

    • tocantins

      For those old seasons, the Survivor historians podcast is just suberb. I rewatched many early seasons that I didn’t really care about just so I could hear their comments.

    • Black Dynamite

      I second that recommendation. It’s top 5 for me. Superb storytelling, great cast and incredibly memorable moments. Also the most unique season of Survivor. There will never be another Palau.

      • Assistant Dragon Slayer

        Palau would be awesome, but I expect Emma to hold out for China (which would be equally awesome).

        • Black Dynamite

          They could also go in order and do Tocantins after Gabon.

          • I proposed this to them, then immediately shot my own idea down because I’d want to join in on a Tocantins viewing. I have very positive memories of that season, and I want to see if they hold up.

          • My non-Survivor fandom friend loved it, but got sick of Coach. I am anxious for her to watch SoPa and HvV.

          • Black Dynamite

            The thing I worry about with whether it holds up is how much I’m into Coach. The first time watching it, I thought Coach was an all time great character. Tocantins is the best version of Coach but after seeing him again twice and having those memories will affect how I view Coach. Also Sierra was treated badly and I kinda wouldn’t want to revisit that. It would definitely be interesting to rewatch.

          • Just remember that everyone hates Sierra including the Jalapao people…you should really just relax.

            But seriously that stuff is going to be hard to watch in a post-Worlds Apart/ToTang world.

          • Black Dynamite

            Yeah that was what I was thinking. I just saw Alecia get shit and I’m not gonna forget what happened to Shirin anytime soon. So to go back and she another instance of someone constantly get piled on makes me feel very uncomfortable.

          • That’s why I think that they should do a Philippines. It’s the closest thing to China that’s not actually China, or so I have been told.

          • Black Dynamite

            Philippines would be another good selection. Solid from beginning to end.

          • sharculese

            Philippines is way too recent.

          • It is almost 5 years old…it is not too recent. But it has to be a season that Andy wants to rewatch, so that knocks out Micronesia (I would guess). I think having three watch Gabon and two watch HvV is just cruel and unusual punishment.

            Wait…I think I got it. What about Samoa?

          • Saturday Night Palsy

            I love Tocantins Coach and Tyson. Greatest comedy one-two-punch in Survivor history!

          • sharculese

            Tocantins is the season I’d actually be most curious to see Andy rewatch.

        • Purple Rock Emma

          China was actually an early suggestion that I shot down because it’s one of the five or so seasons that I’ve already rewatched.

          • AubrysWinnersEdit

            But… but Courtney

  • andythesaint

    Thing I thought of this morning:

    If this was truly the best they could do in terms of telling Michele’s story, due to the reality of a passive, monotone-speaking winner, that also explains why they perhaps overhyped Aubry: they still need to get people to tune in every week. If you’re disappointed, it’s not until the reunion show, at which point, they’ve already gotten the ratings for the season and can start fresh next season. Maybe they realized that a season that accurately reflected Michele’s win would have resulted in fewer viewers.

    • Other Scott

      I was thinking of this too.

      They could edit Aubry like they edited Chase Rice if they really wanted to, but then you end up with Nicaragua with a less fun winner. (Though a more fun 3rd place finisher)

    • Roswulf

      Along those lines, I think it’s interesting that they chose to spend so much energy pushing Final Tribal loser Aubrey as opposed to hyping the arguably more entertaining Cydney in the Amazon Rob spot. This would have had the advantage of making the final result less frustrating, albeit at the cost of the season’s main narrative abruptly ending halfway through the finale.

      It’ll never happen, but I would love to hear one of the lead survivor editor/director/producer types walk us viewers through how they choose and shape the narratives in a season on an episode by episode basis.

  • Roswulf

    As we all take a break from this ludicrous pseudo-sport, I want to thank Andy and John for assembling and being the primary voices of the best gosh darned echo chamber of Survivor discussion on the internet.

    Unlike Andy, I have no compunctions about bubbling my obsessive following of a TV show to this one community. And a huge part of what makes the fascinating and bizarre thing that is Survivor fun and fulfilling to me is having this community of people who watch Survivor from perspectives that I don’t always share, but that I always find engaging, and that don’t make me generally despair about people. Even at its rantiest and most combative and defensive, I admire the fundamental decency and humaneness of The Purple Rock Podcast and the site that has grown up around it.

    • sharculese

      Also, because it can’t be excluded, thank you to Matt, Emma, and Mark.

      • Other Scott

        The chicken?

        • Roswulf

          Matt the Chicken and Emma the Chicken were eaten quite quickly and contributed little to the experience of watching the season.

          Thanks for nothing.

          • Sylvisual

            Victory is mine!

    • Assistant Dragon Slayer

      Yes, thanks fellas. This is one of only two on-line communities I participate in. I’m a hardcore Don’t Read Comments person, because I’m allergic to (let’s be blunt) dumb people and super-allergic to flame wars. I have encountered none of the former and only one of the latter here (and that one was very one-sided).

    • Kingoftonga

      I think I retreated into the echo chamber this season, and I love it. After meticulously poring over exit interviews and Reddit rumors last season, I realized it wasn’t really contributing to my enjoyment of the show that much (and really, the exit interviews get to be so self-contradicting, and so many people treat them as gospel truth, that it occasionally detracts from the show by turning it into a Rashoman-esque narrative). So I cut back to just Purple Rock this season and it’s been great! I appreciate Andy ranting about the other opinions out there so I don’t have to go find them myself.

      I know you guys sometimes joke on the podcast that anyone who listens to you must also listen to Rob Has A Podcast, but I’m one of your fans who considers you my Primary Survivor Community. The five of you who run this site, and the rest of you commenters, are awesome.

      • Come On In Here

        Listening to conflicting exit interviews is funny, until you realize that we incarcerate people based on eye witness accounts…

      • Violina23

        If by “echo chamber” you all mean “[mostly] rational adults who can have a fun, relatively intelligent conversation about a game show and enjoy each other’s company & respect each other’s opinions”, then yeah, I guess it’s an echo chamber.

        In other words, I appreciate that you guys all seem like fun people in real life. It’s nice to have a
        commenting community without assholes. 🙂

    • Ms_Woozah

      Yes, as always, thanks for a great season of discussion, PRP staff and fellow commentators! I’ll see if I have time this summer to join in the Gabon watch — haven’t seen that season yet either.

    • Diego Armando

      I honestly really love the group that has assembled here. Despite our different feelings about certain players, seasons, and strategies, we all treat each other with respect (and the occasional robbing). Everyone responsible for this site has my fullest thanks. Coming here is one of the high points of my week.

  • tocantins

    Good podcast; and good season. I was really pissed on Wednesday, but tonight I feel better about it. Michelle was a lousy winner, but we get some of these from time to time. And even though we liked Aubrey, we must admit that she was far from a Survivor genius. She made mistakes that costed her the game; it is unfortunate that a collateral effect of that is that Michelle ended up winning. But this is part of Survivor.

    I would rank this as a slightly better than average season. But I still rank Michelle as the worst winner ever.

    • Kemper Boyd

      Dude BOB, Bob Bob Bob Bob. Bob seems like the coolest, nicest guy but he is a bad bad winner of Survivor.

      • Max_Jets

        Yeah, Bob is significantly worse than even the second worst winner.

        • Kemper Boyd

          Again I want to clarify. He is probably top 5 in terms of which winners I liked best as people.

      • Other Scott

        Having not watched Gabon, let’s say Keith gets into the final 3 in SJDS. Who’s a better winner, Bob or Keith?

        • Max_Jets

          Keith. Most people actually liked Keith.
          Keith was also in the loop with his original alliance.

        • Kemper Boyd

          Keith, slightly but you finally have a winner on the level of Bob. Keith did play an idol on himself correctly.

        • DrVanNostrand

          Keith. No one stumbled ass backwards to the end like good old Bob.

      • Side Character

        A little late, but hypothetically speaking: If Susie had won Gabon, I feel like Gabon would have been the worst season of Survivor ever. And by extension, Susie would be the worst winner. Of course, I may need to re-watch the season to be sure. It may be because I just didn’t like her on first watch (though if she answered Corinne’s FTC question differently I think I would’ve liked her more). Two immunity wins and voting on the right side of the numbers almost every time she was at tribal seems to challenge my thinking.

        • Kemper Boyd

          You are in perfect time as the site are rewatchingl Gabon this week, posts strating Wednesday. My feeling is Susie was disliked by her tribe mates she played a very Sabdraesque game and was probably the most deserving in the final 3 based on game play. I wonder if she was edited badly to make you feel bad about her so as not too be disappointed in Bob’s win.

  • Vagabond

    As much as I disliked the vote out a jury member twist I will say this for it, I think it gave us the most entertaining moment of the finale. Watching Neil try to get out as much as he could of a jury speech that he had CLEARLY spent hours and hours rehearsing was a moment of pure TV gold. I’ve never enjoyed jury members who try and steal the spotlight rather than ask a substantive question so watching him lividly and impotently call Michelle a puppy on his way out was great. The only thing that would have made it better is if Abby Maria popped out of nowhere to rub some salt in his wound.

    • sharculese

      I thought the more entertaining moment was that we had the best firemaking challenge since Palau, but that ranks up there in things that were good.

      • Vagabond

        Fire making is always a highlight as well. But oh man was Neil pissed and as someone with more than a little troll in myself I loved watching it. If Michelle could have just deadpanned “you mad bro” as soon as he finished talking it would have made me almost excited for her to win.

    • DrVanNostrand

      I’m trying to figure out if it was ‘Russell offering Natalie White 100k to give him the title of sole Survivor’ pathetic, or ‘Billy Garcia calls Candace his prize’ pathetic.

      • Don’t be dissing the Samoa reunion. It’s fantastic.

        • DrVanNostrand

          I’m not dissing it. Russell’s tears fill me with nothing but joy.

          • Of course it also looks like he is wearing eye liner as well.

    • “At least you WERE on the jury”.

  • Kingoftonga

    I’m sorta curious to watch Gabon again. I have very good memories of it, but that’s mostly rooted in nostalgia. It was the first season to air after I graduated college, and due to a weird job schedule I was able to get massively drunk for each episode. It was a good season to watch drunk. I have doubts it holds up while sober.

    • If I weren’t a parent with a full time job, I would be so down to test this theory and let Matt and/or Mark be the control group.

      • Purplerockmatt

        I can be that experimenter

        • Saturday Night Palsy

          I would offer to be the control group but…

          …yeah, prolly not gonna happen.

      • Kemper Boyd

        I don’t drink so can be control
        although I had planned to get high for each episode.

      • Sylvisual

        From what I know, Matt is probably the best out of us to test.

    • sharculese

      I watched Gabon drunk and there was a lot of yelling. Sooooo much yelling.

      • Saturday Night Palsy

        So you couldn’t hear the T.V.?

    • Black Dynamite

      I watched it just last month and while it’s definitely a horrible season of Survivor, it was hilarious watching it sober.

      • Alycia Swift

        I watched it sober and hated most of it but actually like bob. I’m not a drinker but maybe I’ll start. 🙂

    • AubrysWinnersEdit

      Gabon was pretty much the first season I watched. I have it ranked pretty highly, primarily because I have very fond memories of Randy’s boot episode. I was 11 at the time, so I’m not sure how much it would really hold up.

      • DrVanNostrand

        Randy’s boot episode will hold up. The rest….

    • Violina23

      I remember being amused by Sugar and her “Sugar Shack”. Also, was this the season with the epic chase-each-other-around-the-circle water challenge?

  • Scot just completed an AMA on Survivor Reddit which was all right (however, he does slightly burn Denise Stapley, so tread carefully). He did have a really interesting perspective on Michele’s edit/blacklash, “I’m not aware of the backlash. But, I will say, watching the edit it put her in a pickle for when she won. Aubry got a great edit, deservingly. She was great! But, Michele got a ghost edit, so I understand the people going at me for voting for her. They/you didn’t see what 5 out of 7 jurors saw in her game!”

    I think we got a new type of nickname for a winner’s edit.

    • DrVanNostrand

      Did he actually explain what 5 of 7 jurors saw in her game?

      • I don’t know about that…He does say that she seemed spacey.

        • DrVanNostrand

          Then he’s not helping. If he can’t actually articulate a reason, I’m left to make the types of unflattering guesses I’ve been making.

          • Guys, his favorite seasons include Worlds Apart and Gabon. I swear I am not making that up.

          • Black Dynamite

            Worlds Apart?!! It’s like he is begging me to dislike him more.

          • This is in response to a question about a Cydney/Tai/Michele Final 3:
            It was based on a lot of things. But if it was strictly friendship I would have voted for Tai. Love that dude. Aubry had Joe the whole game. That amounts to Tai’s extra vote advantage to me. I couldn’t rationalize giving her a million based on having that advantage the whole game, on top of her indecision, which didn’t get a really good look in the edit. Michele hid. Then ducked. Then jumped. Then won when it counted. If Aubry wins that last challenge, I probably would have been the juror to go, and Aubry probably wins, no?

          • Black Dynamite

            I don’t agree with his line of thinking there with the exception of Aubry’s indecision in a couple of spots.

          • I disagree with the idea that it wasn’t shown. It was made pretty clear.

          • In fact, I seem to remember a certain former NBA champion giving a confessional about Aubry’s scratched out vote for Peter.

          • DrVanNostrand

            The whole thing just smells like what we see a lot in the jury. He liked Michele better, and worked on rationalizing things from there. It actually reminds me of a Dave Ball AMA I read where he tried to rationalize his vote based on Natalie White’s game. It was so unconvincing I could only come to one conclusion: He hated Russell.

          • I think there is a slight difference here because the Samoa jury reportedly got death votes for not voting for Russell. Wouldn’t you try to justify your vote in some way other than I hate Russell and risk getting more death votes? Meanwhile, I don’t think there is that much hate about Michele’s win. I think it is just a lot of confusion and disappointment.

          • DrVanNostrand

            That AMA was like two years ago, not right after Samoa. Anyway, I think the general principle stands.

          • Oh, I didn’t know that but you are right. You can just say I like Michele more than Aubry and be done with it. Trying to add logic to a clearly emotional decision doesn’t always work.

            Also: I was just trying to defend Dave Ball. I really fell in love with him during Samoa, but I know that he is not interested in coming back anytime soon. In fact, it is a small miracle that they have brought back two Galu jury members considering how those two were the two most vocal about rigging to favor Russell.

          • DrVanNostrand

            Dave is a treasure. Other than Russell (who is now 100% played out), he’s the only player I ever wanted to see return from Samoa.

          • I can see why they want to Swan and Laura. Monica though is still an engima to me besides the fact that she likes soft things and she messed with Russell on her way out. Also, I swear she is someone on Survivor who I have seen more of her in her underwear/bikini than the clothes she wore on Day 1.

          • Alycia Swift

            Death votes?

          • Darn it! I meant death threats!

          • In response to whether his vote was for Michele or against Aubry:
            For Michele. I have no spite in me. I played hard, lost like 17 other people, and let it go, knowing I played my best. It’s a game like any other I’ve ever played. When it’s over, it’s over. Difference is now my “survivor” fans usually are told by their parents who I “really” am. Not survivor mean guy, but NBA mean guy! HAHAHAH

          • DrVanNostrand

            I agree about Michele hiding and winning when it counted. I’m not sure how you can call having a loyal ally anything other than good gameplay. But then again, Scot’s not much of a deep thinker.

          • Black Dynamite

            I would think having Joe close to her is a sign that she did well.

          • You would think, but I guess it wasn’t to them.

          • DrVanNostrand

            What was Rich’s first great move in Borneo?

          • I think I see where you are going here and well done.

          • I think the Brawn guys and Julia really resented having Joe go further than they did because he was only there to be Aubry’s second vote. That’s why all three mention it in their “jury speaks” videos.

          • Purplerockmatt

            that makes more sense than that she had an extra vote and therefore played bad

          • Just out of curiosity, do you think Aubry played badly? I like Aubry but I can even see the big holes in her game that were clearly game-sinking.

          • Purplerockmatt

            i am basically in line with Andy’s position. Her inability or failure or lack of will to get out Michele at final 6 is damning but she did other good things. I still am confused as to why she lost, but I think she would be a mid tier winner

          • Fair enough. I just couldn’t tell by your previous comment. Are you saying that Scot is trying to place Aubry in the same lane as Tai because they had these extra votes but they didn’t use them correctly at all.

          • Purplerockmatt

            yes, that is how i am reading what you said

          • I feel like we are having that Friends conversation of “They know that we know that they know”.

          • Purplerockmatt

            If you are saying that Scot thought that Joe was basically an extra vote and felt offended that Joe lasted longer than Scot, than he would view Aubry as having a built in advantage and michele as making it to the end without the advantage is “better”

          • I think that is what I am saying, but you said so much better than I did. I guess I am still processing the AMA answers.

          • Alycia Swift

            Which bugs me because the idol and superidol is an advantage. What is good for the goose is not good for the gander.

          • Black Dynamite

            That sounds like another compliment to Aubry’s game. They obviously don’t think much of Joe so for Aubry to be able to drag him along as a vote past them must mean something.

          • That comment is my conjuncture, but as they have all brought it up, so it has to sting for them. Also, these three played extremely hard while Joe was perceived to be doing nothing. Remember Jason made the comment about how Aubry must have told Joe to go back to camp and sit and not do anything else. Therefore, they see Aubry as not playing as hard.

          • DrVanNostrand

            At least that’s some kind of explanation. A lot of people downgrade B Rob and Kim’s victories for a similar reason.

          • Unfortunately, Aubry wasn’t able to take her goat into FTC like those two did.

          • Alycia Swift

            Which is funny bc each one of them would have taken him had they had the chance.

          • hardcöre umlaut

            I also think Julia was basically parroting back a lot of what Scot/Jason (but mostly Scot) were saying. I don’t blame her for it, I certainly did that a lot when I was a teen in order to seem more mature, but it made me want to throw things at my TV a lot while watching it.

          • Roswulf

            That….that makes perfect sense. Scot would love Worlds Apart, seeing himself as Mike, not realizing that he’s halfway between Rodney and Dan.

          • Admittedly, he did not remember what season “Bob” was, but that makes sense because he loves the fierce competitors.

          • Assistant Dragon Slayer

            Could he mean Boston Rob?

          • Does it make much better?

            EDIT: his full response is “Thank you. I came to play, not to do an appearance. I think that showed. I’m a fan of the show. My favorite seasons are number one. HVV, and worlds apart. Bob won, Gabon, right? That one too. I freaking love Bob Crowley.”

            Someone on Reddit theorized that “He’s a recruit who has most likely only seen HvV (recommended by casting), World Apart (bc it aired if the build up to his season) & Gabon bc Corinne told him to watch it bc they are good friends. This is a case of being the 3 seasons he’s seen.”

          • Ms_Woozah

            this explains everything

      • hardcöre umlaut

        Lots of people asked for an explanation of his vote, some even brought up the praise he and Jason gave her during the TC where he (Scot) went home, and he ignored every single one of them. He even replied to a comment that had that as the second part, just answered the first part and completely ignored the second. Pretty transparent.

    • Alycia Swift

      I have not read it yet but he loses any credibility by even slightly burning Denise.

      • DrVanNostrand

        Denise was the best. Not only is she a top tier winner, she’s on the short list of Survivor players I wish were my friends in real life.

  • DrVanNostrand

    Aubry made plenty of mistakes, but I still say she played a way above average game. As far as the Michele vs. Jason vote, I’ve always thought it was obvious that it was a case where Aubry yielded to Cydney. Joe even said in the episode that he wanted to vote out Jason, but he wasn’t going to fight city hall. Aubry could have pushed him to do it, and she didn’t, which was a mistake.

    • Marlene

      You know who would have voted for Michelle? Jason. I hated that vote so much. I believe I ranted about it on here.

    • prettyboyprobst

      I think she would have had to get Cydney’s vote first to get Joe off the Jason-plan. Michele was very adamant post-game about that situation and said Joe wasn’t budging.

      • DrVanNostrand

        Michele also seemed very certain that voting out Julia was her idea. That said, it’s entirely possible that she’s right about this one. Nothing in the show contradicts the claim, and it does seem roughly in line with Joe’s personality.

  • BruhBruhBruh

    Aubry would’ve went home at F11 had Neal not been medivaced, so why are we discounting Michele for Joe’s medivac?

    • sharculese

      We’re not. Both had holes in their game that got saved by lucky breaks at the right time, Michele just had hers at the righter time. To say Michele benefited from luck is not to say that Aubry didn’t, either.

      • DrVanNostrand

        Also, Aubry had luck, but Michele had EPIC luck.

        • prettyboyprobst

          I’d say it’s the other way around, but Aubry had some bad luck to go along with it, so it evens out. She had already lost the IC, as Nick got a necklace that did him no good, while Joe got taken out before the challenge (I don’t think it would have been the following RC as IC, but who knows).

          I also find it hard to believe that Michele was in a lot of danger pre-merge, with the exception of the swap episode. Getting eliminated there would have been more one the side of bad luck though, as it was for Anna, with Julia’s return looming.

          Then there is Tai and his role in the post-merge – but I better make a new post at a later point for that topic.

    • andythesaint

      We talk about the lucky breaks the winner got with every finale post. Because they all get them. If Aubry had won, that DEFINITELY would have come up.

  • I forgot to mention that you guys brought up an excellent point: It is an old school thing for the jury to vote for the person with no blood on their hands. I decided to try to think of all of the times that this has happened. If there are ones I missed, please let me know:
    Pearl Islands: The jury almost unanimously votes for Sandra versus Lil (who voted correctly at ALL merge votes)
    Tocantins: The jury unanimously votes for JT over Stephen (who voted correctly at all of the tribals).
    Worlds Apart: The jury almost unanmiously votes for Mike over Carolyn (who voted correctly at all jury tribals except for the Joe one since that was a split vote)

    • andythesaint

      Marquesas: Vecepia was the person on the other side who didn’t turn on them (unlike Neleh).
      Vanuatu, Guatemala, Gabon, HvV, Nicaragua

      • DrVanNostrand

        It’s a good list, but I think Sugar and Lill were voted out at least as much for personal reasons having nothing to do with backstabbing, or voting records.

        • andythesaint

          Absolutely. There can be many reasons why someone won or lost. Here might be the better question: has anyone gotten in front of the jury without much blood on their hands and lost?

          • Kemper Boyd

            It’s very hard to get anywhere near the end without blood on your hands even Michele didn’t. But you are right, off the top of my head I can’t think of a losing finalist who wasnt at least majorly complicit in the same moves the winner made.

  • Vagabond

    If I may make a suggestion for Andy and Emma’s rewatch this summer.

    Philippines!!!

    If I may take a moment to extol it’s many many virtues…
    *Denise, Penner and Malcolm, a trifecta of delight
    *Two strong narrative threads, the Matsing decimation/Denise Malcolm underdog story and the Tandang dominance/implosion story
    *A group of people who have almost all come to play, very little dead weight
    *Two extremely viable winners heading into finale
    *three tribe format, always a plus
    *No truly hateful players
    *One of the great survivor trolls of all time, Abi Maria (will also be listed in the cons section)
    *Great social and tactical gameplay throughout
    *Amazing compelling confessionals in every episode.
    *Penner and Kathy’s meta story conversation
    *Penner screwing himself by refusing to lock down Kathy alliance
    *Denise + Abi + tribal council
    *Denise is only player in history to survive every tribal council, Denise is oldest woman to ever win survivor (yes older than Tina when she won), Denise wins at life, Denise is the awesomeness
    *Many more

    Cons…
    *Mixing new and returning players
    *Lisa Welchel + Survivor = buckets o’ tears
    *Medical evac
    *Abi Maria (I realize not everyone thinks she’s a fountain of hilarity that never runs dry so I listed her here too)
    *Artis, just his dour @ss existence on my tv

    • andythesaint

      I love Philippines.

      I should add that I’m probably going to limit it to seasons I have access to via DVD (I know a guy). That would limit it to 1-15 or 20. Unless I can acquire a season via other means (with the caveat that as a Canadian, I do not have access to the same options as Americans via legal streaming).

      • Vagabond

        It has to be in everybody’s top 5 right? And I’ll throw out another controversial opinion because I just love doing that, Denise Stapley, better winner than Kim Spradlin (whom I also love). The reason, quality of competition.

        • DrVanNostrand

          I don’t know about being *better* than the Kim-leesi, but she’s in the same tier for sure.

        • Kemper Boyd

          I gotta agree with the Dr. Kim is the winner I think is the best of all time. Her control over the game was epic and complete. Denise is impressive in a completely different way. But I still have her so high on my list.

        • hardcöre umlaut

          Nit in my top 5. Russell’s elimination gutted me, possibly the most tragic character arc that I’ve seen on Survivor. I thought Denise was pretty horrible to Abi Maria (but then again, I like Abi so I know I’m in the minority). I was already fed up with Penner and him calling Denise a bitch at FTC was the last straw, I cannot stand him now and find it almost impossible to rewatch his seasons. And I will forever be bitter that Skupin got as many votes as Lisa when she was the driving force behind their alliance (and a much more enjoyable player to watch).

          • Black Dynamite

            I’ve seen Philippines twice (It’s in my top 5) but I do agree with you on a couple of points. Even though Denise had valid points about Abi, I also find her verbal berating of Abi to be dicomforting. It seemed like it kept going with the words cutting deeper. Abi had flaws in how she treated people, especially Lisa but to me it doesn’t make what Denise said to be better though I understand the stressful nature of the situation can bring that out. Also Lisa doesn’t get enough props for how savvy of a player she was. Though conflicted by her own life philosophies and the game of Survivor, she had good plans and if Penner would’ve just committed, she could’ve won the season.

          • DrVanNostrand

            Funny. The way Denise dealt with Abi is one of the things that makes me like her so damn much.

      • Saturday Night Palsy

        Tocantins has Tyson and Coach. Both of them.

      • Assistant Dragon Slayer

        If you’re limited to those seasons, then I suggest Vanuatu. Wait, let me finish! Seasons like Palau, Panama, and China would certainly be more fun to rewatch, but they’re so well-remembered that I’m not sure how much more there is to say about them. Whereas Vanuatu has so much that has been unjustly forgotten. The huge characters that got booted mid season (Chad! Rory! Sarge!). Eliza 1.0 versus everybody. Chris’s crazy path to victory (in some ways a precursor to Michele). Plus production decisions like how they handled Ami and Scout’s family visit. Also, in your season rankings I think Vanuatu is the most underrated season, so it’s possible that a rewatch would really change your assessment.

        • Vagabond

          You left out the most compelling reason for them to pick Vanuatu. The endless enjoyment we’d all get listening to Andy rant about as he has dubbed him “Chris F’n Daughtry” after watching every episode!

          • andythesaint

            I hated that guy early and often. Which, maybe possibly biased me against the rest of how it went down.

        • andythesaint

          I’ll be honest: I am completely willing to rewatch Vanuatu with an open mind. It’s the season I’m most curious to see with my new way of thinking about Survivor.

          But it won’t be for this project. Mostly, because we’re trying to avoid a whole summer of bitching about Survivor, which I think could wear thin on the audience. Since Vanuatu could go either way, it’s best to not tempt fate. Instead, we want to find a season to celebrate.

          • Assistant Dragon Slayer

            Good point. A summer of both Gabon and Vanuatu trashing would be a bit much. Although I really do think your assessment would improve if you watched for the narratives of how everybody else lost, rather than the winner’s narrative.

            Is there a specific “new way of thinking about Survivor” that you’re referring to? Because while Chris was far from a UTR player, he also had a keen sense of when hang back and just let things happen.

          • andythesaint

            I used to be more biased and rooted for people I liked/rooted against people I didn’t. I didn’t like Chris from the beginning, so maybe I never gave him enough of a chance after that.

          • Other Scott

            Oh, Chris sucks.

            But it’s really interesting to watch exactly how the woman’s alliance collapses, and how Twila in particular loses.

            Kaoh Rong and Vanuatu in particular are the seasons that benefit most from my policy about not caring about who wins in evaluating a season.

      • Kemper Boyd

        Legal Streaming is for pussies (or people who live in the US and have actual access to it). Basically if I want to watch any Survivor at all ever I must illegally stream or torrent.

        • andythesaint

          I’m not necessarily opposed to that either, but it can be difficult for older seasons. Plus, if I can’t stream it to my Apple TV, forget it.

          • Kemper Boyd

            Ahhh as a Millennial I watch everything on my laptop.

          • andythesaint

            Yeah, while as an old, I spent a good amount of money on a big TV that I prefer to use to watch TV.

          • Kemper Boyd

            My tv is my mother’s old tv. I’ve never purchased a TV, I just wait for her to decide she wants a new one and then I take the old one.

          • andythesaint

            But also, if you have access to 16 seasons of Survivor on DVD, it would be foolish to not take advantage of it.

          • Kemper Boyd

            Well yes, I live in a country it has never aired so it certainly isn’t available on dvd here.

          • prettyboyprobst

            No kidding, I still haven’t seen about half of “Africa” and there were some episodes missing for Marquesas and Thailand as well, iirc. All Stars, too, I believe.

        • prettyboyprobst

          Aye, we’re pirates. HARRR!!!!

  • Crappy

    A couple of things
    – I actually agreed with Andy’s rant against overrating of UTR players by some sections of survivor community. But in this podcast, he seemed to make a complete 180 degree flip and started arguing that UTR players would have a great chance of winning if they just got to the end, ignoring that a lot of them haven’t in the past, and others should pagong such floaters first before thinking of any other big move. I don’t think Michelle’s win contradicts Andy’s rant from last week. I still believe that it is much easier for some one to win playing like Aubry did, trying to control the votes, than Michele did, by floating to the end by a combination of being a number and immunity wins.

    – I think you have it wrong about the edgic/truther debate. One of Dom/Coling actually said that they are normally 90% wrong with edgic stuff but this season it was just so easy to see OWM’s edit. In fact some people who do proper edgic still got it wrong , for example Raymond at IS or Michael with his version at RHAP. Generally someone like Michele, unless they win, would never get anywhere close to the screen time she got. On a high level you get a good amount of screen time with some key confessionals if –
    a) you are the winner, b) you are a big character, c) you are a good narrator, d) you have a pivotal role to play somewhere in the season.
    Michele could only ever tick one of these boxes. Like Fishbach said, her edit had the most obvious story manipulation in quite some time. Just look at Sue from Gabon, she was within one vote of winning the season but still since she was a UTR player like Sandra and boring personality/narrator to boot, she hardly got any screen time unless it absolutely mattered to show her.
    Basically my point is that you did not need to a deep dive into the all this edit business to suss out that Michele is most likely to win despite lack of any concrete in game action.

    • andythesaint

      I’m glad you brought this up, because I didn’t do a good job explaining the difference. I still think playing UTR is a long odds play (look at all the breaks Michele needed to get here). I think the key differentiator for UTR players that make it to the finals is whether or not they were aligned with the other people sitting next to them or not.

      If Michele was more securely with Aubry and Tai (rather than demonstrably antagonistic with Tai, which I think might’ve won her some votes), she might’ve been ignored or disdained by the jury. But since she wasn’t seen as the reason for the ouster of the jury members, it worked. In fact, the UTR part really wasn’t that big a factor. It was the outsider/underdog factor. She just ALSO happened to be UTR. But she could’ve been a big presence and it still would’ve worked as long as she was perceived as the underdog.

      So, yes, I still stand by my statement that playing UTR is no safer a strategy than most, and probably less effective than many.

      As for the edgic/truther stuff, I indeed was wrong throughout the season about what Michele’s presence was suggesting and how obvious it was for those paying attention. I’m guessing it’s because I honestly never thought she WAS all that present throughout the season. That was the disconnect for me (which, again, was proven wrong). I guess all the times she was present thus proving her success just didn’t register with me because it was so benign.

      • Other Scott

        I think for me, all the truthers were saying “look at how much the show is trying to portray her in a positive light!” And I just really didn’t see that positive light. She looked kind of pointless most of the time.

        • DrVanNostrand

          The one thing I thought the truthers had right was that she was getting way more screen time than she deserved, based on the fact that every confessional was profoundly boring. She had a confessional where she explained an obvious joke for fuck’s sake! Somewhere in the middle of the season I actually joked that now we have a name for boring, pointless confessionals: The Michele. I just thought there were more plausible reasons for that than that she was actually the winner. I’m used to the editors trying to make the winner look good, or at least tell some kind of story to explain the win.

  • Jim

    I think the luckiest winner is Parvati. She was almost booted first, and then Fairplay “gave up”. Then Penner and Kathy left her swap tribe, due to non vote reasons, and those are people that were never aligned with her, and with them there, they likely could have voted her out. In the pre merge alone, 3 players left that were not aligned with Parvati, and she could have been voted out instead in all those situations.

    Then, pretty much after the Eliza vote, the BWB had power, and Parvati did get two of them, but I don’t think that they had anywhere else to go, but anyways, she was pretty much a number in the alliance, that was also a number in the Favourites sub alliance, and then a surprise F2, without Cirie, was taken to the end by Amanda because she was less threatening.

    • Vagabond

      I agree that she is definitely one of the luckiest winners and I think generally people overrate her game. Then again I also have a major bias against her because i absolutely hated her in cook island and never could get over that initial impression. She was the epitome of the bratty entitled pretty girl that season and the way her and her allies treated Penner was pretty awful.

    • Kemper Boyd

      What about Sandra?
      Would have gone first or second had they lost an immunity but got to 4th Tribal and then her tribe were over eager to “play” and took out their strongest competitor. She got lucky that Lil won final immunity, got lucky Lil and Burton came back into the game and destroyed the rampaging Morgan tribe.

  • ivrdolj1

    Cydney would have gone home at F5, not Michele, both according to exit press and the actual show after that reward segment in the penultimate episode (and Michele obviously won the F4 IC so she was safe for the remainder of the game).

    So basically, I completely disagree with Andy’s entire premise that Joe’s medevac was somehow apparently this huge lucky break for Michele.

    • andythesaint

      Not disputing you, but I’ve heard the exact opposite. The interviews I’ve heard, both Tai and Aubry said they would’ve voted Michele out at F5. Do you have a link that says otherwise?

  • Diego Armando

    I have an idea for Gabon. A podcast for the season opener, merge episode and finale. That way we could get your opinions at the beginning middle and end of the season.

  • sharculese

    You guys, I’ve been watching videos of Paul from season 33’s cover band and I kind of think I have the thing that will make me care about it.

  • vaderdawsn

    I am going to miss the podcasts in the off-season.

  • I was listening to the TEOS chapter on Samoa and thinking about how Michele could have been edited differently when it hit me…the editors had recently highlighted a winner with a fantastic social game in Jeremy. While Jeremy probably thinks of himself as more a strategy head, his strengths are clearly social and we saw that in camp scenes like the scenes where he swayed Savage into voting for Wentworth instead of Stephen. While Jeremy did that to protect his closest ally, he had that relationship with Savage to get it done. We also saw scenes where he was able to get Keith to vote for Spencer at F5 instead of him which he would not been able to do had he not had the social clout. If Michele had gotten a couple of these scenes, especially in showing more of her relationships with Cydney and Debbie, I think there would be less confusion and sadness in the fandom.

    • Absolutely. But the argument we were making is that those scenes might not actually exist. Survivor’s producers can edit a story, but they can’t put events on screen that never happened.

      • I guess I am giving Michele the benefit of a doubt. My hunch is that Probst and Production was trying to bury Michele because they didn’t like her and they want to not have another Michele-like winner. Cydney and her both said that they were allies on new Chan Loh, but we did not see any footage of this happening. That would have been good to have earlier instead of later.

      • Assistant Dragon Slayer

        Yes, and also what was key to Michele winning, apparently (being likable and level-headed, in a general way and not in a manipulative way) isn’t something you can easily capture in any one scene.

  • DrVanNostrand

    I’m sure this has been mentioned somewhere in the 1000+ comments that have been posted so far, but I just listened to Rob and Josh, so I’ll share my favorite comment of theirs. Jason, who thinks Russell is the only player to ever play the game the way it should be played, basically just voted for Natalie White. The hypocrisy is delicious.

    (All regular caveats apply. Jury management is the responsibility of the winner. If you didn’t do it, you deserved to not win, even Aubry. Still, it’s fun to laugh at people who think they’re such dispassionate gamebots, but then vote for exactly the type of player they hated when they they were just fans, before they played the game.)

    • That is actually something I hadn’t thought about although I realized that Jason would be the closest we will get to seeing Russell Hantz on a jury (yeah, I am counting Brandon here).

      • Kemper Boyd

        You mean completely unable to see the value in anyone’s strategic game but his own?

    • Max_Jets

      I highly recommend everyone listen to Jason talking about Aubry on this podcast:
      http://www.survivoratf.com/episode-listing/2016/5/21/survivoratf-episode-14
      It starts at 1:14:30. I was really put off by Jason’s Jury Speaks video, but it makes more sense now and it’s interesting to hear how much his perspective has changed.

    • UseYourCommonSense

      It had nothing to do with her social game. The jury basically didn’t know she was a mastermind until they watched the show.

      • DrVanNostrand

        Except that’s fucking nonsense because Jason talked about how great her game was on the actual show. His revisionist history isn’t even remotely convincing. I don’t think Aubry is Russell. I think Michele is Natalie. She’s well-liked, and no one blames her for voting them out.

        • Max_Jets

          Yeah, but he’s raving about her challenge strength, not her game play. And of course, Aubry’s challenge strength was trumped by Michele’s towards the end of the game. I wish they hadn’t included that in the edit though, because it made the end result even more confusing.

          • DrVanNostrand

            It wasn’t just that. They were targeting Aubry that episode before the challenge because Jason and Scot thought she was the biggest threat. In fact, they thought she was so much of a threat that they put off targeting Cydney, who they really wanted out. Earlier that episode, who does Scot approach with his hilarious extortion offer? Aubry. In the episode Julia went home, Julia and Jason both pointed out Aubry as a threat. In Jason’s boot episode, he pointed out that Aubry was a threat to them again (this happened right after TC while Tai was telling Aubry and Joe about the plan to get rid of Michele). Aubry was also on the right side of every vote after the merge. The idea that Jason had no idea that she was one of the leaders of the majority alliance on the merge tribe is beyond ridiculous.

          • Kemper Boyd

            Yeah, I read it as revisionist history and if it’s true him just being so fucking self-involved he couldn’t see the wood for the trees.
            Him, Scot and Neal have been far to eager to explain every fucking thing on social media and in interviews for me to take it seriously. I accept Cydney’s answer about actually being very close to Michele since the swap and voting on Michele’s loyalty at F4 because Cydney has given like 1 interview and hasn’t been crowing all over the internet about everything.

          • DrVanNostrand

            Cydney’s explanation is also quite plausible. We saw plenty of evidence on the show that she had a very close relationship with Michele. It’s not a huge stretch to imagine she was closer to Michele than Aubry. Jason’s wildly implausible and self-aggrandizing statements as the season aired convinced me long ago that he’s a completely unreliable narrator.

          • Kemper Boyd

            He’s someone I really hope we don’t see again. I think he might be someone who enjoys the attention he can currently get from the community but will slip back into obscurity in no time.

          • Kemper Boyd

            I am listening the David Bloomberg podcast and I’ve got the same problem with it as I have all season. He’s taking Jason’s word as truth. He says Jason didn’t see what Aubry was doing and I still feel realistically Jason wasn’t looking for what Aubry was doing and straight out ignored the facts he knew that pointed to it.

  • UseYourCommonSense

    I heard Jason’s interview on ATF and he said that he had no clue that Aubry played such a good game. Basically the jury thought she was making things up about her game at FTC. He also said that he would have voted for her if she knew how she played. He basically said that’s what happened.

    Also everyone knows Nick voted for Aubry right?

    • Kemper Boyd

      Yeah on the Nick thing, we were all confused for a while because wiki had it wrong and CBS didn’t show the votes.
      Also to me it just shows what little attention Jason paid to anyone outside himself and his alliance. I think while he was there he truly thought he was the only one playing despite never voting correctly in a post merge tribal. I think he is so self-involved that he didn’t even begin to consider how those votes got put together.

  • LozzyBee

    This is the very first season of Survivor I have ever seen but I don’t see how Michelle won at all, going to to back and watch some older seasons to get a better grasp on the whole thing.

    • Let us know if your conclusion changes after seeing older seasons.

    • Kemper Boyd

      I’d love to talk about the seasons you watch with you. I think for the most part we all really like seeing things fresh again (even though most of us have seen all or most seasons multiple times).
      Did you enjoy the season? I’m guessing if you found the discussion on a podcast website maybe you are now in!

      • LozzyBee

        I was going to watch the season before but I am told it’s an all stars kinda deal? I’ve been recommended season 19, and since I can find it online I’m currently on EP 3. Is there any I should avoid/leave until last? Any to put higher on the list? Of course I expect to have trouble finding older seasons.

        Yes I did enjoy it, I have been meaning to dip my toes in since I’m a big brother USA/Canada watcher so I kind of get the way it’s laid out. This podcast was on a list and since I’m a podcast addict, that plus Caleb, is what made me finally start watching the show!

        • Max_Jets

          Season 19 is a surprising recommendation. It doesn’t feel like an ensemble in the way Survivor often does, but it can be a lot of fun.
          I’d recommend season 25, Philippines, for a newer season. There are 3 returnees, but it doesn’t spoil much of their original seasons.
          Pearl Islands, Season 7, is great if you want to watch an older season.
          I’d also recommend season 1, but you might want to watch it alongside another season as it is very different and much slower.

          • LozzyBee

            Thanks!

        • Kemper Boyd

          Yeah Cambodia (s31) is all returnees. If I were you I’d go further back, if you handle it because it’s a show that has evolved and the players often play like what came before. It goes through cycles where certain styles of play are more common. This very website has a season ranking: http://www.purplerockpodcast.com/2015/01/12/survivor-season-rankings-with-spoiler-free-summaries/ 3 of top 10 (5 of the top 15) seasons are returnees so skip those until you’ve seen a bit more.

          • LozzyBee

            Awesome cheers, spoiler free rankings are a great start, tho with listening to the podcast I have forgotten most winners/players mentioned!
            I might mix it up with some of the not so highly ranked seasons so I do not binge all the good stuff first.
            As excited as when I caught BBUSA the one and only season that aired in the UK (I think it was Dan’s first, it was on because it was played a different time of year?) then realised it was about ten cycles in.
            This is an awesome community!

          • Kemper Boyd

            Are you a fellow Brit?

          • LozzyBee

            Yep I am.

        • DrVanNostrand

          Season 19 is all about how entertaining you find one particular player his first time out there. If you’re on Ep. 3, you probably already know who I’m talking about. Some people can’t stand this player, but I really enjoyed watching him in Samoa. The season can be pretty polarizing.

          Going backwards from now, and skipping returnee seasons, I’d say you can’t go wrong with Cagayan (28), Philippines (25), Tocantins (18), and China (15). Lots of good ones before that as well.

          • LozzyBee

            Cheers! 18 and 15 seem to be the most recommended. I have a sneaky feeling 19 was recommended to me because of said player so to see where I fall with him hahaha. I have heard friends mention him and on the podcast so I kinda know what I am letting myself in for. Takes allsorts to make games like this work!
            Hence why I don’t watch BBUK, cookie cutter dullness 99% of the time.

        • Assistant Dragon Slayer

          Season 19 is a very unorthodox season, but it’s good in its own way, and there’s certainly no reason to abandon ship. I agree with the others that Tocantins (18) and China (15) are ideal introductory seasons, and I’d add Panama (12) and Pearl Islands (7) if you want to go way back. IMO, Philippines (25) and especially Cagayan (28) are best appreciated after you’ve watched several other seasons first. People will tell you to avoid seasons 21-24 at all costs, but even bad Survivor is pretty great.

          • LozzyBee

            Thanks for the advice, will defo follow those seasons when I am done with this one. I have a day off today and plan to binge watch some more season 19. I must admit I was surprised how short the seasons are and how little you get to know a person or was that just lacking in 32? 21-24 can just slip down the list but yeah I can’t imagine a whole series being a total wipeout.

          • If you’re more interested in getting to know the players better, earlier seasons would be more appealing to you. Early seasons were more concerned with the social experiment and keeping the audience guessing about the winner, so the show spent more time on things like camp life and the interactions between the players.

            Kemper Boyd already linked to our spoiler-free rankings, so if you want recommendations of earlier seasons you can find them there.

      • LozzyBee

        So I am on ep 9 Russell has just found the second idol without a clue, and I have to say this is a far more entertaining season than the latest. The Erik blindside was well done too.

        • If you’re entertained by Russell, you’re going to be entertained by the season.

          • LozzyBee

            Entertained as in you could see his mind set but jeeze he would drive me insane. As much as I wanted to hate him I thought we worked the hardest for sure.

        • Kemper Boyd

          Samoa is a cracking season. Really fun.

          • LozzyBee

            It was indeed, I started 15. Whoops!

          • Kemper Boyd

            This is exactly what I did, I watched my first season during Uni, it was Cook Islands which is 15 and then I found and watched all previous ones and I’ve been hooked every since.

  • Diego Armando

    I have posted my review of the reunion at https://robertsreviewsandmusings.wordpress.com/. Thank you to anyone who read these. That means a lot to me.

  • Diego Armando

    I do have a theory as to why they pushed Aubry so hard as opposed to Michele: I thunk the editors/producers think that Aubry was robbed and they wanted us to be as pissed off as they were.

  • My non-Survivor fandom friend is finishing up Amazon and here is her overarching thoughts:
    This such a weird season. Not a ton of drama. No one really dominated anything. Everything was relatively even. It was enjoyable to watch, but for a different reason then some of the seasons where its a clear frontrunner or backstabbing and secret alliances. I can see why some people don’t like it, but I really enjoyed it. Looking forward to final tribal Council.

    Its definitely more focused on the personalities then the challenges and the gameplay.

    • Kemper Boyd

      It’s fun because it’s the first season that feels completely based on strategy, even though Jenna won based on an immunity run. Rob completely taking over the game both as narrator and with his moves I think changed the producer’s minds on what the game can and should be.

    • Other Scott

      Are you sure he/she watched Amazon?

      I can’t see a single way to watch that season and come to that conclusion. Even personality-wise, Rob C was dominant.

      • I think part of the problem is that she watched 12-19 before she watched Amazon, so Rob’s moves don’t seem as revolutionary to her

        • I think Samoa and Cagayan probably suffer from the same problem if they’re watched out of order. If you haven’t seen how the game progressed before them, both of those games seem less revolutionary.

          • She really appreciated Russell’s game, but she just didn’t understand Rob C.’s game.

  • Violina23

    If you decide to rewatch anything between Season 3 and 7 (Which includes Amazon, Marquesas, and Pearl Islands) I have never seen them and I can be your “newbie” eyes 🙂

    Bonus points if they are on amazon prime 😉

    • DrVanNostrand

      I think the obvious pairing for the Gabon watch would have to be a Thailand watch.

      • Kemper Boyd

        NOPE

      • I feel like you’re violating the Hippocratic oath here, doctor.

      • Purplerockmatt

        that would be another season I haven’t seen. So if you really wanted to torture me it would be Gabon, Thailand, Nicaragua and then I will have seen every season

    • Kemper Boyd

      You should watch Amazon and Pearl Islands anyway. I know you have little kids so aren’t as flush with free time as some of us younger ones but those two seasons are definitely worth it.

    • Amazon Prime has seasons 1, 3, then from 12 to 20-something. I know this because I recently tried to watch Guatemala on Prime only to discover that they, like Survivor itself, had erased Guatemala from existence.

      Also, I watched all three of those relatively recently. Pearl Islands holds up really well. If you haven’t seen it (and only have time to watch one), go with Pearl Islands.

      • Purplerockmatt

        12-28. it has cagayan now!