Purple Rock Survivor Podcast: Kaoh Rong cast preview

It’s our season preview for Survivor: Kaoh Rong. We discuss the entire cast, from our favorites to…Caleb.

kaoh rong cast tribes


Purple Rock Survivor podcast: Kaoh Rong cast preview

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In this episode, we discuss:

  • Every single player on the season. Even the terrible ones. Sometimes especially the terrible ones.
  • Who the first boot from each tribe will be.
  • Whether actual douchiness or a contrived douchebag act is worse.
  • If Neal and Aubry are the new Max and Shirin.
  • Scot Pollard’s points per game, for some reason.
  • Our winner picks, and why we are probably incorrect.

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!

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  • sharculese

    Haven’t listened to it yet, just wanted to say welcome back.

    • Your blatant pandering won’t get you a shout-out in this one. (Next time, though…)

      But thank you. And same to you

      • sharculese

        Sadly, I’ve realized I won’t be able to join in live this season because I just took on a 7:30-9:00 precalculus student without thinking first. But I’ll be in the comments day after.

        • Violina23

          If it makes you feel better, I often have orchestra rehearsals on Wednesday nights, which is why I’m not terribly active on the live posts either… I do read all the comments though, you guys rock and make it all more fun πŸ˜‰

  • Barbara Anderson

    Good point about whoever gets the Angkor beach is screwed.

    • Barbara Anderson

      I just remember something that I hope I am remembering correctly: After Worlds Apart, I remember hearing that the Masaya beach was a.)terrible and b.)served as Exile Island for SJDS. I also have my suspicious that the Luzon Beach was either Redemption Island for BvW or the beach that the #coconutbandits had successfully raided. So, basically the brains tribe is thoroughly screwed.

      • You’re correct about the Masaya beach being Exile Island from SJDS. I don’t know about Luzon, though.

        • Barbara Anderson

          I haven’t exactly watched BvW, so I am not much help there. I just know that Luzon like Aparri had the random body of water. However, Luzon also had the weird plains area where a lot of strategy talks and challenge practice occurred. On that note, the Brawn/Blue Collar/Bayon tribes are bound to be the merge beach, so keep an eye out for there.

  • Purple Rock Emma

    Ahem *pushes up glasses*
    Aubry is actually 2 years older than Liz, so she is not the youngest on the Brains tribe.

    • Kemper Boyd

      They are a pretty old team all round though, their youngest member is 27.

  • Barbara Anderson

    I am extremely shocked that you didn’t bring up how Peter didn’t like bros types yet picked Petebro as the Survivor he is most like.

    • DrVanNostrand

      That was hilarious

      • Barbara Anderson

        I wonder how that impact Andy’s viewpoint on him.

        • DrVanNostrand

          I picked him in the fantasy league, and I really like him in general, but that comment was a huge WTF? moment.

    • Purplerockmatt

      that makes me love him, because that is just insane.

    • andythesaint

      There’s a chance he just picked a Peter via Wiki-ing.

      • hornacek

        Shall we call using the Survivor Wiki as preparation for the game “Savaging”?

    • Kemper Boyd

      like a 5 year old he just picked the guy with his name…

      • Barbara Anderson

        Hey, it could be worse…he could have picked Peter Harkey.

    • Diego Armando

      We can only hope that Pete will look into Tai’s eyes to determine that he doesn’t have an idol.

      • Barbara Anderson

        Oh my gosh…that is fantastic.

  • DrVanNostrand

    I was with John on Max and Shirin, but I loathe Aubry. Astrology is for dolts. It should automatically disqualify you for the for the Brains tribe. The crayons and art therapy hippie nonsense also drives me up the wall. I actually think the Brains tribe will be dominated by the older military alliance and that the younger women will be targeted first.

    • andythesaint

      The art therapy was another eye roll inducement for me.

      • DrVanNostrand

        There’s a comment about hipsters vs. nerds that always resonated with me. (**all caveats about generalizations are bad, etc…**). Nerds are obsessed with the things they love and want to share them with anyone who will listen. Hipsters choose a bizarre collection of obscure obsessions with the express purpose of being weird and special. Shirin is a nerd. Aubry is a hipster. I make these judgments based on almost no real knowledge of Aubry’s personality.

        • As we said at the beginning, we’re making all these judgments based on no real knowledge of any of these people. It’s the equivalent of seeing them across the room at a party and reading their LinkedIn resume, then deciding you know everything about them.

          • Kemper Boyd

            Is that why I have no friends?

          • No, that’s because everyone is really self-conscious about what to do with their hands around you now.

          • Kemper Boyd

            I showed my best friend and he thought I was a massive weirdo, which he knows, because we’ve been friends for 18 years.

      • sharculese

        The more I think about it, the more convinced I am that she’s unintentionally right. Being able to say “I’m going to spend 10 minutes filling in this defined space with a single color” is probably actually a really therapeutic thing to be able to do on Survivor.

        Y’know who else brought crayons and coloring books on Survivor? Varner. And while he had ulterior motives, there’s a scene in the penultimate episode of Australia where someone, and I’m pretty sure it’s Colby, laments that they have no more pictures to color. Because I’m pretty sure doing that was a very useful outlet for a lot of things.

        • andythesaint

          I do arts and crafts all the time. I’d understand how it would be a welcome piece of entertainment. Calling it “art therapy” is too fucking twee for me.

        • Assistant Dragon Slayer

          I haven’t seen Australia, what was Varner’s ulterior motive for bringing crayons and coloring books (for that matter, what was his non-ulterior motive)? Nowadays I imagine you can’t take anything that could possibly be used to make a fake idol as your luxury item.

          I think it gets lost since the show (understandably) has de-emphasized the survival stuff, and since we’re watching the most interesting 42 minutes out of 72 hours, but simply filling all those hours must be really hard.

          • sharculese

            Nothing sinister. His plan was to auction off ‘pictures colored by Survivor contestants’ to benefit a charity he founded.

            Although, as I argued last season, it’s evidence that Jeff Varner having a keen sense how to work the audience is not a new thing.

    • To be clear, I also think astrology is for dolts. I hope I made that clear in the podcast.

    • sharculese

      “I was with John on Max”

      “Astrology is for dolts.”

      There is… a disconnect here.

      Although yes, astrology is stupid. When people ask me what my sign is I pretend I don’t know.

      • In Max’s defense, I don’t know that he’s into astrology. I think he just knew random trivia about the signs of former Survivor winners.

        • Other Scott

          Isn’t “in someone’s defense” something you say when you are defending someone you don’t like from someone just not making a fair statement?

          • It can be two things.

        • sharculese

          You know who agrees with you? Corinne. So think about that.

      • DrVanNostrand

        I’m with John here. Max knows dumb Survivor trivia like astrological signs because he’s a Survivor fanatic. I don’t think there’s any evidence that he actually believes astrology is a valid idea. And even if he did, he didn’t put it in his cast bio, so I couldn’t pre-judge him harshly about it.

    • gouis

      John is totally snakebit. Aubry and Neal are giving off extreme Shirin and Max vibes.

    • Diego Armando

      Jeremy also knew a lot about astrology. It is complete crap though.

      • DrVanNostrand

        Ugh. Don’t remind me.

  • Kemper Boyd

    I just want to let you all know that I don’t like Max. I’m cool with Shirin but I really find Max obnoxious.

    • gouis

      I’m sure Max is delightful in person, but when he is playing a ‘persona’ it’s a bit over the top.

      • Kemper Boyd

        I watched some of the Family Feud and just couldn’t get over how much I disliked him.

        • I didn’t watch the Family Feud thing. Was it worth watching?

          • Kemper Boyd

            No, it’s really garbled, they all shout over each other and enough of them are dicks that it’s not really all that fun.

          • gouis

            It’s worth it to see Eliza get taken down a peg. Also, Jen is still a delight (and so is Mike).

          • Purple Rock Emma

            Yeah, Eliza came off pretty poorly. She is proof that you can largely agree with someone while still finding them incredibly obnoxious.

          • sharculese

            ELIZA CAN DO WHATEVER SHE FUCKING WANTS!!!!!!!!!!!!!

            Seriously, I was listening to it and wincing and then thinking ‘nope, don’t care.’

          • Assistant Dragon Slayer

            That’s how I got through the Caramoan reunion with my Brenda crush intact.

  • Kemper Boyd

    Thanks for the mumbled “awkward hand placement” after you mentioned Remington. I hope we can make this her legacy.

    • It wasn’t mumbled so much as it was drowned out by Andy being in the shout phase of his shout/trail off speaking style (and yes, I’m just bitter because I had to edit two hours of it).

      • Kemper Boyd

        Well thanks anyway, that’s as far as I got because I made it to work.

  • Alkanarra

    Long time lurker, first time contributer. I’ve broken my long-time silence to discuss something very important to me: the merits of Caleb Reynolds.

    Disclaimer: I have not watched BB or seen any of his clips. I make all assumptions based off the style in which he wears his hat and the odd scrunchiness of his face when he tries to smile.

    1) To contrast with your assessment, boring isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Annoyance factor, especially early on, tends to dominate close decisions with early boots. If he is *inoffensively* boring then he could easily make the merge or become someone more capable’s number two. And then down the stretch when the real threats are targeted, he slides by due to his inoffensiveness. (This all hinges on him not overtly being a total jerk or immediately hitting on Anna in the creepiest fashion imaginable, which seems 100% impossible.)

    2) A lot of these contestants seem to like Jesus a whole bunch. This could turn into another prayer-circle-with-Jenn-Brown-in-the-corner-rolling-her-eyes season. Advantage: Caleb.

    3) I’ve got a strong feeling this season will be awful. The immediacy with which they pushed it back leads me to believe that they needed more time to edit so the outcome could be even somewhat palatable. If so, then a boring, macho bro like Caleb has *exactly* the necessary amount of Rodney in him to agonize us on a weekly basis.

    4) I assume the people who aren’t picked as much are more valuable when they contribute because they affect the field more. I say this with a strong background in English lit and no understanding of mathematical odds.

    In conclusion: Caleb Reynolds, Undisputed Season 32 Champion.

    (Note: Even I couldn’t will up enough self loathing to pick him.)

    • I hope you become a frequent commenter, so that I can always point out to you that one of your first comments was a defense of Caleb.

      I don’t necessarily disagree with what you said, though. Also, on most seasons a large majority of the contestants love Jesus. They might just be trying to cast people that will appeal to Survivor’s middle-American audience.

      • Alkanarra

        That’s a badge I’ll wear with shame.

        And yeah, let’s hope for all our sake’s that I’m dead wrong.

      • Kemper Boyd

        Unless Caleb wins, then you’ll look bloody silly won’t you?

    • Assistant Dragon Slayer

      Given how often the person driving the post-merge game keeps the douchebag around as an enforcer/to keep the blood off their hands (Rodney, Alicia in One World, arguably Shane Powers), it’s really only a matter of time until one slips through to the end on accident and wins it all in a Fairplay-Lil type finale. To be clear, I’m certainly not looking forward to that day.

      • Other Scott

        Wasn’t Rodney actually driving the post-merge though?

        • Assistant Dragon Slayer

          He was in his own mind, for sure, but the entire endgame hinged on whether Mike ever lost immunity, and IIRC Mama C was often the swing vote, so both of them were driving the game more than Rodney was. But I will grant that Rodney wasn’t being kept in the game as a shield by another, superior player. He got to (nearly) the end under his own power, somewhat Hantz-like.

          • Kemper Boyd

            Rodney was 100% in charge of that alliance, things broke badly for him with Mike dominating and then having an idol for the 1 immunity he didn’t win but Rodney was in charge. Mama C was portrayed as the swing vote but was she? did she ever swing? nope, only at Final 4 when it was clear Rodney and Will would be voting for her and Mike would vote with her to force fire.

          • Assistant Dragon Slayer

            I was going to say that it’s no great feat to form an alliance when there’s one player who’s certain to win unless they’re stopped. But then I realized there are plenty of seasons where such an alliance never got off the ground (Redemption Island, One World, Palau). Also, good point about Mama C. If a swing vote never actually swings, is it all an editing trick? Hmmm.. maybe I need to watch the post-merge of Worlds Apart again (fat chance).

          • Kemper Boyd

            I’ve rewatched SJDS so you might end up doing it (that post-merge is way way worse than SJDS). I feel it was an editing trick with Mama C, she was completely locked in with that alliance and would have made final 3 had Mike lost immunity along the way.

          • sharculese

            How are there other people who have rewatched SJDS? I’m not even sure why I rewatched SJDS.

          • Kemper Boyd

            I know Barbara Anderson has too, we got into what may be the most detailed discussion of SJDS ever had since it stopped airing (minus The Evolution of Strategy of course). In this discussion we did wonder why we had both rewatched it. The truth is it’s got a fun post-merge, it’s an easy rewatch, not too heavy with a badass winner.

          • Assistant Dragon Slayer

            I’d gladly rewatch the Drew Christie boot episode and the endgame of SJDS. I’ve only watched Survivor in real time since Caramoan, so most seasons I’ve watched I’ve had the winner spoiled for me (thanks Dalton Ross). Seasons with unexpected winners are fun to rewatch for the signposting that the editors do. I’m not a proponent of the strong version of the winner’s edit theory, but even the likes of Fabio and Natalie White got multiple, clear “here’s your winner” moments. The only exception I’ve found is Amazon, and I think the disappointment in Jenna’s win taught the editors that you have to give the audience some narrative, even if you have to gin it up.

          • sharculese

            I started with Cagayan, but I was discussing the season at the AV Club (which was what led me here), so when I started watching old seasons I pretty much knew all the winners already.

            As for Amazon, I don’t think it was failure to tell a narrative, so much as not realizing that you can’t tell just any story. My theory is that, for the first time in its run, the show got winners it really didn’t like, and got them back to back in Heidik and Jenna. You can’t tell Thailand without telling Heidik’s story, but you can absolutely bury Jenna make Amazon about someone else, so they went with the dude who was giving them mountains of gold and being the most amazing sport ever about being on a reality show. Which does not work because that’s not how things end.

          • Assistant Dragon Slayer

            Agreed, and another factor (I think Historians raised this point) is Christy. Although she turns out to be more than a bit nuts/abrasive, you have to be made of stone not to root for her in the early going, so her antagonists naturally end up the villains.

    • Kemper Boyd

      The pushback of season 32 was because of the hype for Second Chances, if they’d left that until now then the momentum in the fan community would have died down.

      I could see Caleb making the merge but I can also see him easily being the first boot from his tribe because the women seem to be complementary where as Nick, Caleb and Tai are very different.

      • Alkanarra

        I definitely agree that Second Chances was very convenient for them (and that, yeah, your momentum explanation makes sense), but something about this season worries me and the fact that they had no qualms moving it was just a possible red flag. Almost no one likes medivacs, one of the teams still has miserable Angkor beach, and a guy named Best Mode Cowboy will be on my television.

        Let’s just say if he’s the first boot then I won’t be lamenting my endorsement. It’s mostly just a matter of how obnoxious he is to his teammates that I think will really determine his fate. (And if he isn’t booted then that means Tai is a more traditional choice, and that would make me a sad turtle.)

        • Kemper Boyd

          I’ve been thinking about it and if this season was a complete shit show and they wanted to bury it then the best possible thing would have been to show it before Second Chances, because in Second Chances they had a top 5 season (some think top 3) and it would have washed the memory of Kaoh Rong away, this way they are risking a Nicaragua and Gabon level bomb coming off an all time season.
          So I have hope, although not much hope because as I say Gabon and Nicaragua came straight after FvF and HvV which are two of my favourite seasons.

          • Second Chances probably had to air when it did to get the stink of Worlds Apart off of them. Particularly when the reunion focused on some of the most awful portions of that season, the best thing they could do was immediately move on to something that would excite the fans about the show.

          • Kemper Boyd

            I can see it either way to be honest. I just think it would have been really bad to let fans vote on the cast then make them watch a new season before they get to see the one they voted for.

          • Alkanarra

            I guess when you think about it, if they went with their regular schedule then Second Chance would only just be airing *now*, which would be really weird to me. I would have to realize all over again that somehow America wanted Woo to come back over Shane. So I’ll relent and say that hopefully the delay had nothing to do with the quality of this season, which will of course be dominated by strategic mastermind Caleb Reynolds.

    • Diego Armando

      Welcome to our community. May good tidings be upon you.

      • Alkanarra

        πŸ™‚

  • gouis

    John your Florida is showing. Re: Not thinking Caleb looks like a GIANT douchebag.

    • I might be overexposed to tribal armband tattoos.

  • sweaterfan

    I’m so happy to have Survivor podcast content in my ears again πŸ˜€

    Does anyone have any speculation on why the airing of this season was delayed? (No spoilers please, but conspiracy theories are welcome)
    Do people think that Second Chances was just such an exciting idea that it took precedence? Or does it maybe suggest that there is something about this season that the producers were less than thrilled with?
    My current off-the-wall theory is that maybe one of the medevacs is something so severe that they wanted to hold off on airing the season until they could do a follow up segment and show us that the player actually survived their medical emergency.

    • Kemper Boyd

      I think the delay was purely to keep the momentum up for Second Chances after a fan vote than got millions of votes and a season fans were really hyped for.

      • sweaterfan

        I think/hope you’re right πŸ™‚

      • Violina23

        I think this is exactly it. The producers are smart enough to know that people have VERY short attention spans, and TV is very saturated right now, thanks to netflix and advent of binge-watching.

        I think this looks like a fun cast, and assuming the horrible conditions and medivacing doesn’t ruin it, I’m cautiously optimistic.

  • Roswulf

    With what little information we have, I think Beauty’s first boot is by far the most interesting conversation. As you guys acknowledge, all rational calculation points to Tai- he’s the obvious outsider by age, race, attitude. He may have Keith/Yau-Man-style challenge prowess, but he lacks the markers of obvious strength and athleticism that get a tribe to keep you for such prowess. Especially if you think the girls will bond into a vote controlling trio, the scrawny old guy is doomed.

    And yet…who among us is so devoid of hope as to predict a world where Tai is the first boot? What a sad, unlikable cast that would leave us with.

    All I know is that I will be pulling VERY hard for Beauty in the first challenge. If they get beat episode one, I think challenge “strength” protects Nick and Caleb, and dooms Tai. But if he can make it to Day 4, and dispel the worry that his tribe might never win a challenge, I think goodness wins and Tai manages to incorporate himself into the majority.

    So in summary, I am 100% in the tank for Tai.

    • Kemper Boyd

      I agree with you 100% on beauty being the most intriguing tribe re first boots. A lot of the cast reactions seem to be that the 3 women on beauty seem most likely to be able to band together take on one man and then decide who is being voted out. Stereotyping tells you the gay guy should get on with the women best.
      If Tai is remotely as challenge competent as his cycling ability (500 miles trips) tell you he could be, it may be they target the big dumb oaf Caleb. Guys with Caleb’s build are rarely helpful at challenges beyond the pure strength challenges and those challenges have been few and far between in recent seasons. Guys built like Caleb break down due to lack of food. Basically I think Caleb could be in trouble.

    • sweaterfan

      I’m also intrigued by the Beauty tribe’s dynamic. Just looking at the cast, I think the alliance that makes the most sense on paper is their 3 girls since they’re all similar ages while the guys seem like a much more diverse group. BUT a part of me wonders if Anna is the type of young woman who has trouble getting along with other women? I could see her buddying up to Nick and then pulling in Caleb as an easy vote. That still only gets them to 3 though…

  • Mike Hirsch

    I’m looking forward to next week! This podcast got me thinking: if you were going to be on Survivor, and had to reduce your onscreen persona description to a cross between two former contestants, who would you pick?

    I would probably tell producers that I was a Cochran, but secretly mean that I was Hot Mess South Pacific Cochran. But in actuality, I’m probably a cross between Skinny Ryan and Boo.

    • Assistant Dragon Slayer

      From the comfort of my living room, I’d like to think I’m a cross between blue-state JT and Denise Stapley, but I’m sure the actual conditions of the game would turn me into a combination of Shane Powers and Shambo, if not a combination of Osten and Bruce from Panama.

    • Saturday Evening Palsy

      Sadly, the personality of Tyson Apostol and the physique of Dan Foley.

    • sharculese

      Penner and Eliza.

    • Kemper Boyd

      I’d probably say a cross between Sophie and Denise, I think I’d be wrong but that’s who I would aspire to be. In actuality I’m probably more like a cross between Courtney Yates and Becky.

    • Ideally: A mixture of Caramoan Cochran and Tocantins Tyson.
      Reality: A mixture of South Pacific Cochran and Caramoan Erik.

    • sweaterfan

      Absolute best case scenario, I think I would be a combo of Angie from Palau and Eliza from Vanuatu/Micronesia (basically I’m saying I’d be a trainwreck physically and everyone would hate me).

      • That’s your *best case* scenario?!

        • sweaterfan

          Worst case scenario, I’m two Papa Smurfs

    • Roswulf

      I think I’d play as a hybrid of Papa Smurf and Tyler.

      But I’d try to sell them on me as a poor man’s hybrid of the first season versions of Cass and Penner.

    • Purple Rock Emma

      I’ve always said that if I went on the show my bio would say “The bastard child of Courtney Yates and John Cochran” so I’m very annoyed that Aubry ruined this for me.

      • Barbara Anderson

        In theory, she only ruined half of it.

        • Purple Rock Emma

          Well I think her use of “love child” bites some of the cleverness of my use of “bastard child.” So I guess I should really just say I’m a bitchier, more sarcastic Aubry, but I don’t see a lot of myself in Aubry except for being into Harry Potter.

          • Barbara Anderson

            I don’t know much about you Emma, but I would agree with that. Aubry seems more like a less intense and more quirkier version of Shirin than anything else.

      • Mike Hirsch

        If I had my druthers, I really would want to be a cross between Courtney and a second Courtney (say, Heroes and Villains and China Courtneys), but I feel like I would have a very difficult time projecting anywhere close to that level of sheer awesomeness.

    • andythesaint

      Rob Cesternino and Chris Daightery.

      • Other Scott

        Your two favourite winners.

        (I hope someone gets that really obscure callback)

    • Violina23

      I’d be a paranoid mess of a nerd and would probably cry a lot. So does that make me a combo of Cochran and Dawn?

      Guys, I’d never last a day out there.

    • Barbara Anderson

      I have said this on Twitter, but I am known to repeat myself.
      Dolly from Vanuatu because she is a fellow sheep farmer and we both wouldn’t know how to play being the swing vote correctly.
      Shirin: We’re both super smart, super unathletic, and super enthusiastic. We also share a similar history of being bullied in the past.
      I know this isn’t the most favorable comparison for me, but it is the most truthful.

      • I do like that the common theme of most of these answers is that we’d probably do pretty poorly, though. Nobody is going for “I’d be a cross between Kim and Tom Westman.”

        • Barbara Anderson

          And that is why we will probably never be on the show.

          • Violina23

            BINGO! πŸ˜‰

            I’d be horrible, but at least I KNOW I’d be horrible πŸ˜‰

          • Barbara Anderson

            And that type of self awareness doesn’t work on the show, unfortunately.

        • Kemper Boyd

          We are a self-aware bunch…

        • sharculese

          Is the point of Survivor not to be as hilarious and Jewish as possible? Fuck, I picked wrong.

          • That’s the point of life, at least. L’Chaim!

    • Other Scott

      John Fincher and Jon Misch. (In other words, the characters I irrationally hate and irrationally love the most)

    • gouis

      Yul and Russell Hantz

      • Depending on which pieces you’re taking from each, that could be a very flattering assessment of yourself.

        • gouis

          Naw, it’s like a yin/yang type thing. Can’t cherry pick when it comes to Russell. Also, I wanted someone to say Russell.

    • Ms_Woozah

      Hmm. Probably Sophie and Cirie.

    • Diego Armando

      I would like to be a fusion of Earl Cole and Sandra. I would probably wind up having Lisa’s fluctuations of emotion to competence, Boston Rob’s puzzle skills and Sandra’s skills at any nonpuzzle challenge.

    • Diego Armando

      I want to think that I would be the well liked guy who comes up with great strategies, ala Shirin, but I would probably be booted as a liability or become too complacent and get blindsided.

    • DrVanNostrand

      Yul Kwon’s mind πŸ™‚
      Dan Foley’s body πŸ™

  • sharculese

    I’m siding with both John and Andy on Nick. On the one hand he’s giving me Vince level douche-chills, but on the other hand I don’t think he leave early.

    • Other Scott

      I just feel like Nick is Garrett/ David Samson waiting to happen. It sounds like he might try to seize the alpha role, which doesn’t work in modern Survivor, you kind of have to be a natural leader and let people flock to you.

  • Mike Hirsch

    Today, I finally finished Nicaragua, after a good long while of watching it on and off. Once you get past the cast and the concept, it’s still not very good. But I’d argue that it is ever so slightly better than Thailand. That said, I haven’t seen Thailand since it first aired, so my memory isn’t to be trusted.

    • “Once you get past the cast and the concept,”

      *braces self*

      “it’s still not very good.”

      *breathes sigh of relief*

      • Purple Rock Emma

        He can stay.

      • Mike Hirsch

        I’m going through the seasons I’d missed out on originally, and one thing I can say: watching Gabon hard on the heels of Nicaragua makes Gabon seem so much better than it probably actually is.

        • Assistant Dragon Slayer

          I’m binge-watching the seasons I missed too, and I’ve also noticed that my assessment is highly influenced by the season I just watched. Immediately after Cambodia finished I watched All-Stars and Vanuatu, and my gut reactions were that All-Stars should be in the discussion for worst season ever, and that Vanuatu is highly underrated.

          • Yeah, I imagine that’s highly influenced by the order of your viewing.

          • Dutch

            I just finished my rewatch of Vanuatu. I’d agree it is highly underrated……off the cusp of the original All Stars season and a lack of returning players.

        • sharculese

          No. Gabon is worse, and I will fight everyone here on this.

          • DrVanNostrand

            A lot of Gabon hinges on how you feel about Sugar. I despise Sugar.

          • sharculese

            My antipathy towards Sugar has been I would say not so much tempered as… modified by being in a complicated situation with a girl who is basically a smarter version of Sugar, but Sugar and Gabon are both still the worst.

          • Mike Hirsch

            For me, the worst people in Gabon are Corinne and Kenny. They hit some particular buttons that drove me nuts. I can see the Sugar hate happening, although I didn’t really mind her.

    • Diego Armando

      It is better than Thailand. I watched Thailand last year and it nearly sapped all of the happiness out of my body. Nicaragua would be in my bottom four though.

      • Assistant Dragon Slayer

        Disclaimer: I’ve never brought myself to actually watch Thailand, but I think it just edges out Nicaragua because, say what you will about Heidik, he doesn’t just Mr. Magoo his way to a million dollars like Fabio does.

        • Diego Armando

          Counterpoint: I did not despise every moment of watching Fabio like I did the winner I refuse to name.

          • Assistant Dragon Slayer

            Yikes. I’ll get to Thailand eventually because I’m a completist, but that’s not sweetening the deal. That’s also the obvious answer to my speculation upthread about whether the season’s douchbag could ever win.

          • sharculese

            If you go into Thailand accepting that everyone in the majority alliance are varying degrees of awful, and that the minority aren’t much better, it’s acceptable. But even Heidik isn’t anywhere near on NaOnka’s level, or at least not in anything that happened during the season.

          • Diego Armando

            I was in the same boat at you. Wanted to see every episode and found Thailand at my library. My low point was watching it on my laptop, in my car, in an empty parking lot (long story). I really hope that you enjoy it more than I did. Before I saw that season I was ready to declare that Samoa was my personal pick for the worst season ever (that was the one that had me questioning whether I should give up on a season or not).

          • Assistant Dragon Slayer

            Samoa is pretty fresh in my memory (I watched it and other first-chance seasons just before Second Chance). It must have been an entirely different experience watching in real time. On a rewatch (or knowing what happens going in), it’s fun to watch in the knowledge that Russell will get what’s coming to him, and to look for Natalie White’s winner’s narrative (it’s there, it really is). It has to be more fun than watching Thailand knowing that Heidik *isn’t* headed for a fall.

          • Dutch

            One thing Thailand had going for it was the challenges. Cast is a big thing, but it’s difficult to overlook a decent set of challenges for their earlier season. Very location-specific.

          • Diego Armando

            I can believe that. I just really cannot stand Russell Hantz. It was fun watching Natalie win over him. If the season were edited more like Heroes vs. Villians (where we had a Sandra mocking him constantly) I probably would have liked it more. Glad you enjoyed it though.

    • andythesaint

      This is my highly scientific process for determining that Nicaragua is the worst: I watched every season as it aired. Nicaragua was the only one that almost made me quit Survivor.

      • Assistant Dragon Slayer

        So Redemption Island pulled you back in?!?

        • andythesaint

          I will always prefer to see a season where one player is amazing at the game than one where everyone sucks. I’d prefer to see one where there’s a mix of good and great players, but if I have to choose among bad options, I’ll take ones where I can appreciate dominance like that of Rob or Kim’s to ones where everyone sucks.

          This is also why I don’t hate Thailand as much as Nicaragua, Gabon, or South Pacific. Because Heidik fucking owned that season. He was an awful person, but a great player.

          • Assistant Dragon Slayer

            Speaking of seasons where everyone sucks, I watched All-Stars for the first time during the off-season, and I knew going in about the Sue incident, the Lex incident, etc., but I was completely unprepared for how much every. single. person. in the post-merge sucked (at the game of Survivor, not as people, but also that too). Chaboga Mogo (ick) was Goat Island, and every one of the “All-Stars” (including Amber) was playing a self-destructive, second-place game.

  • Violina23

    Here are my quick notes based purely on the interviews ( my opinions on a few people changed after I watched the videos)

    * Neal Gottlieb (BRAINS) – maybe more athletic than he looks, used the word incorrigible (ha) Lack of filter, probably not helpful
    * Darnell H (BRAWN) – Self-made success story, fit, likable. Smoker? Probably won’t freak out if he loses a challenge
    * Peter B (BRAINS) – doesn’t like bros and “know it alls”, claims he knows how to make people feeL “important”, but that might be hard if you can’t “bro-down”
    * Jennifer L (BRAWN) – illness/drug addicted past, became an engineer/contractor. Doesn’t like girly girls — might not fit in with the girly girls. No fear.
    * Anna K (BEAUTY) – Thinks she’s clever, hard-working.
    * Debbie W (BRAINS) – Family issues, Might be too tough for her own good. Compares to coach though? DANGER!
    * Alecia H (BRAWN) – Adventurer. Has to be able to handle conflict if you’re a real estate agent.
    * Nick M (BEAUTY) – Calls other people narcissistic while being narcissitic. Not very self-aware… looks like he wants to stir up conflict for no reason
    * Tai Trang (BEAUTY) — 11 siblings, probably knows how to get along with people. bee keeper? Eccentric, but has skills
    * Julia S (Beauty) – Young and fluffy
    * Elisabeth M (BRAINS) – Smart, gambler. don’t get any sense that she has strategy up her alley.
    * Scot P (BRAWN) – Loyal, tough, loud — people will resist to work with him long term.
    * Aubry B (BRAINS) – Sounds silly, could rub people badly. Into astrology and coloring? Fun but kinda nutty…
    * Michele F (BEAUTY) – Inspired by Harry Potter? HA! Sounds positive and likable, but not terribly strategic
    * Cydney G (BRAWN) – strong, tough, annoyed by whiners — might have a problem there. Might blow up at the wrong person.
    * Caleb R (BEAUTY) – Religious & superficial. Not a good combo.
    * Kyle J (BRAWN) – Bounty Hunter (WTF??) – Loud and blunt. Will be hated.
    * Joseph DC (BRAINS) – Looks like a solid, all around great guy, but most likely to be medivac-ed?

  • EmAndScoutInBK

    Good assessment as always. I’m high on Anna and Michele – bouncing between them as winner picks. I kinda think Michele and Anna will align, probably with Julia and Tai. They probably won’t go to tribal too much, given the brain tribe, but even if they did, it’s a majority alliance on the tribe (and dear gd boot that asshole Nick, Mr. “I always be a better listener than you,” I mean, what the fuck), and I think they’d be a decent kind of a alliance to do well post merge (not too physically threatening, but likable enough to work with other people). I have high hopes for them. Of course, this is insanely premature conjecture. I once picked Sierra Dawn Thomas to win so…

  • Other Scott

    Really guys, you’re going to force me to get a disqus picture by saddling me with a Dead Fishy?

    • When I was playing around with it this morning, it was either:

      A) Disinterested Wiglesworth from that Second Chance cast photo
      B) Keith vacantly staring off into space
      C) Dead Fishy

      It ended up on Dead Fishy mostly because I had to go work on something else.

  • Diego Armando

    Thank you for the preview. I have John’s favorite Outcast Tribe (Tai & Aubry). Hopefully this season will not be terrible.

  • hornacek

    Woohoo! Canada Post shout-out!

  • Violina23

    I just want to point out that I have a picture from college (developed from actual film at the local Wal-Mart you could reach via bus from campus) of myself, @Vaderdawsn , and a third friend posing like Charlie’s Angels . And for the record, I have never seen a single episode of the show, nor the movies with Cameron Diaz, et. all.

    I’m not sure if this proves or contradicts your point, but there you have it…

    • I’ll do the Andy thing and decide that it proves my point, whether that’s the correct conclusion or not.