Purple Rock Watch-Along: Survivor Nicaragua Episodes 1-2

Welcome to the first two episodes of Purple Rock Podcast’s (well, Matt’s) watch of Survivor: Nicaragua. Read my live blog below.

What Nicaragua lacks in strategy, it makes up for in awful people.

Episode 1 – “Young at Heart”:

In the intro Jeff says Nicaragua has resisted taming since the Conquistadors? Really Jeff? Bringing the Conquistadors into this? Too soon, man!

Hey, it’s Jimmy Johnson! I hate Jimmy Johnson! As an Eagles fan this could be unpleasant.

I like how all the opening monologues are about how much they dislike the look of someone else (except Brenda who is apparently single or was at the time this season was filmed).

Someone is named Benry? UGH this season.

Will Jimmy Johnson try to hide that he is obviously Jimmy Johnson and easily the most recognizable person ever on the show?

So they hiked out with ten random people and then they are going to split them up by age?

Hey we have our second Survivor amputee.


Marty recognizes Jimmy Johnson immediately, because again he is Jimmy fucking Johnson. He won multiple Super Bowls as the coach of the biggest NFL team of the 90s. (Editor’s note: Also the coach of the best college football team of the 80s. I loved Jimmy Johnson.) He is on the pregame show every Sunday before football season. He is massively famous in the US.

Brenda sees something hanging from the tree. It should be a snake, but it is the Medallion of Power. And Jimmy is already in coach mode.

Remember this thing? Us neither.

Probst already going to Marty a lot. I mean A LOT. (Not alot though)

Wait the age division is 40 and older or 30 and younger? Good lord that is way too big of a gap.

Ok, Jimmy doesn’t hide who he is. Because, again, he is Jimmy fucking Johnson.

Trade the Medallion of Mysteriousness for fire and fishing gear? Yeah sure I’d do that. No idea what the dumb thing is. Bird in the hand and all that.  Also Medallions can be traded for goods and services.

Survivor really built this decision up as an act break? Really? UGH.

They take the sure thing. This might be the only smart decision of the season.

I am getting a pre-merge Fiji vibe. That is not a good thing.

Oh god there is another Jimmy? This is a nightmare.

Jimmy knows what fans hate him most and he is damn right it is Eagles fans.

I always hate when people are like, “Oh I knew I liked you from first look” because it is so dumb. Remember RC and Abi?

This is a lot of time with the older tribe… what does that say about the young tribe?

Wait, how many farmers are on this season? Two? More?

Starting fire early on has nothing to do with winning but I always do find it weirdly impressive.

So our intro to the young tribe is Fabio hurting himself repeatedly. And people are just calling him that to his face. Okay, that got an actual laugh from me.  I had always assumed it was a nickname he came into the game with.

Wow, Shannon. What a pleasant human being. Oh no, women run marriages and soon they could even be president! The Horror! This is the face of the Trump voter.

Amputee girl (haven’t learned names yet) reveals to everyone what is going on with her being an amputee and all. (Editor’s note: This sounds like a Perd Hapley report.)

Oh man, Fabio is really a dummy.  Probably should save this to the clipboard, seems like it might be evergreen.

Shannon wants amputee girl out because of her story, NaOnka wants her out because… she is just a jerk? I guess?

Jimmy Johnson is already struggling. It is because he coached the Cowboys. Eagles coaches would do much better. (Editor’s note: Sure, Andy Reid could have made final tribal before he inevitably blew it in spectacular fashion. He’d run out of time with every question.)

Brenda used to cheer for the Dolphins, she says casually as she flirts with Chase. Subtle girl.

In case you need something to cheer for this season.

Wait, where did they find this clue? Just like lying around? And the clue is just a pictograph.

Hey, another person who has it out for the disabled person! Man, these younger people are just classy.

“In the gutter?” Is this a bowling challenge? Oh, the old people would dominate that.

Jimmy Johnson is giving a pre-game pep talk. It is awful. No wonder he coached the Cowboys. They barely won him two Super Bowls!

And the younger tribe comes dancing in except for Shannon and Chase who don’t give a shit.

Wait, there is another Kelly? Haven’t heard from her yet. I guess this is where the purple nomenclature started.


Tyrone seems the type to go way too hard and hurt someone in a challenge.

The Medallion of Power gives you a head start on a challenge. Okay, that can be big. But it basically just will never be used or always used.

“The younger tribe has a nice flow.” I guess the older tribe is all obstructed if you know what I mean.

Younger tribe wins. Shocker.

I like the conquistador helmet on the idol.  It isn’t offensive to the history of the area at all.

Jimmy Johnson: “I won a Super Bowl!” (That wasn’t really his confessional, but that was his confessional.)

Goat farmer girl is the other target besides maybe Jimmy Johnson. If it is Jimmy Johnson remember John’s theory of shine. People want the attention and spotlight and he steals that.

HAHAHA! Ok, this scene was funny. They all say they want to just be honest and talk about who to vote out and who they prefer, and no one wants to say it first, and they are all avoiding the conversation and just awkwardly standing around staring at each other.

“Most people on Survivor are born leaders.” Really, Jeff? Really?

Born leader.

Okay, I like Tyrone because of his deadpan/sarcastic “you look so young” when Wendy wonders why no one asked her her age and everyone else is like “you never ask a woman that.”

Yup, definitely Wendy. She interrupted Probst! He just gave her a death glare. And everyone is avoiding looking at her. They already made up their mind.

Say goodbye to Wendy. Wait, why is there a graveyard outside of tribal? That is super weird.

Episode 2 – “Fatigue Makes Cowards of Us All”:

This intro explained a lot that was really not necessary. Like this is a long previously on and it tells us very little. Doesn’t bode well.

“My ally got voted out, so I am going to go it alone and kick their ass!” Seriously? It’s been one episode, Holly! Just pretend you weren’t that close. It was the first vote!

Old people can’t sleep, amirite? (Editor’s note: Urrite.)

The old tribe has a morning meeting and Jimmy Johnson is delegating like this is his football team. Did you know he won two Super Bowls? (Editor’s note: And a college football national championship.)

Jimmy T doesn’t like Jimmy Johnson and I bet 80% of the reason why is because they are both named Jimmy. (Editor’s note: I’ll take the over).

Jimmy T seems like a Paul type. I bet Sharculese loves Jimmy T.

Sash wants to form a minority alliance of … three people? You need more people dummy!

Why do people think there is a challenge where they will straight up race? That was done once in the beginning of Gabon. And Gabon sucked!

Holly sees Jill making a funny face while eating snails, and thinks that they are causing her to have a weird reaction? Really? Like does she think snails have prions in them? That they are causing seizures?

“Someone made fun of me so i’m going to ruin his shoes!” Oh yeah this is classic winner behavior, Holly.

Wait Dan really spent 1600 dollars on alligator shoes?!? Really?!? Who spends that much on alligator shoes? (Editor’s note: Not alligators. They get them for free. Yes, good joke. Publish.)

Ugh this episode is fucking awful. So melodramatic.

Holly just straight up admits she drowned his shoes and does it in the weirdest way possible. Like literally the weirdest way possible. She leans over him as he is lying down, puts her hands on his knees and stares him down. I can’t even describe this crap, what even is this.

Seriously, what is this? (Though Tyrone provides some comedy with his “one eye on her, one eye on my shoes”.)

Oh, NaOnka has shoe (well sock) problems.

Fabio is the last to realize NaOnka is wearing his socks. Again, this dude is a fucking idiot.

“I can get loud too” THAT IS NOT YOUR LINE!

What the fuck?

Jimmy Johnson is reminding you that he is a football coach. Hey Jimmy, did you win two Super Bowls? I haven’t heard about that recently!

Matt is obviously working through some stuff. This should help.

A combined reward/immunity challenge is the time to use the advantage.

“Artificial leg not bothering her at all!” I feel Probst aimed that at NaOnka.

Did Tyrone miss at all? He didn’t catch one ball, but I think he made the throw every time.

Isn’t this the season that rained so much two people quit later on? Not picking the tarp may be really dumb. But they probably picked the fishing gear because they have a fisherman.

Jimmy Johnson wants to remind you that if an NFL player has a crisis, that same player will have another crisis in the future. Probably because he had undiagnosed CTE and you didn’t care for your players, you monster. Fucking Cowboys.

Wait, Jill figures out the immunity idol clue and instead of looking for it herself, she tells Marty? And then she just walks away? (Marty finds it and goes all Gollum on her.)

“My precious, I found it, mine! I mean uh we. It is our precious. My, I mean our, beautiful precious.”

NaOnka sat out because she was setting Kelly B up for failure. And when she succeeded, NaOnka is like, “Well sure, but I still hate her because she is disabled.”

A classic post-merge game, pre-merge. “NaOnka isn’t a threat because everyone hates her.” COME ON THAT IS WHY YOU VOTE HER OUT FIRST, DUMMIES.

I know this vote isn’t Brenda or NaOnka. So where will this flip to? Shannon? Would they really do that?

NaOnka, I want you to remember the old saying. If you meet one jerk during the day you met a jerk. If all you meet are jerks than you are the jerk.

Another person calls her Kelly Purple! I like that better than Purple Kelly. Or at least it’s funnier.

If Chase is with them shouldn’t it be 5-5? I feel like I am messing my count up. Either that or people are gunning for a tie vote?

Shannon starts off shots firing at Chase, basically accusing him of all sorts of stuff. And Chase is just spilling all the beans.

Good mind game from Brenda turning all of Shannon’s anger back at him and stroking Chase’s ego at the same time.

Wow, Shannon. Class act. Accusing people of being gay as a defense mechanism is just… what the hell, man?

You guys, this season has such wonderful “characters”.

I feel that answer from Alina, which supported Shannon, means she will be the next person to go from that tribe.

“Brenda isn’t sitting here plotting.” Literally all we have seen is Brenda plotting.

Naonka thinks Fabio has something smart to say? The man has never said a smart thing in his life.

Probst asking NaOnka if she is complicated and her reaction is honestly funny. She is like a more stable, but more hateful Abi.

Kelly B wondering how to unify the tribe; oh that ain’t happening.

Fabio’s honest cluelessness might be the most appealing quality on this tribe.

Also Sash and Shannon in a figurative dick measuring contest. Even the guys that should be likable this season are terrible.

So yeah, it was Shannon (called it!) but where were the votes? And god that graveyard is still super creepy.

Wait, wait, wait. Shannon has been married for 11 years?!? Good lord, that woman must have the patience of a saint.

Ok, Benry and Kelly B. flipped on Shannon.

Closing thoughts:

So that wasn’t…too awful? I mean I don’t think I like anyone, and I actively hate a lot of people, but I suppose the episodes themselves could have been worse? Maybe? But usually after two episodes I am rooting for a few people. Here, Fabio is literally only played for comedy relief and he is one of the most likable people. Brenda is a plotter and played a nice mind game on Chase (who she has wrapped around her finger), but she doesn’t pop.  Alina is cute and seems not terrible, so that puts her in the upper echelon. On the old tribe… the Jimmys (plural) stink, Dan had 1600 dollar alligator shoes, Holly is this close to a breakdown (might be CTE related). Marty thinks he is smarter than he is, but honestly thus far he isn’t bad, and compared to most of his tribe he seems fine. I think my favorite on the old tribe is Tyrone, who is at least funny.

Also, we got to see two tribes engage in classic pre-merge play and post-merge play on the first two votes. Normally I would say the fact that the old tribe is more together would bode well, but damn that age thing is gonna be a killer (unless everyone starts using the Medallion every time, which I kinda expect).

Thus far on my scale of 1 to 5 screams, I give these first two episodes 1.5 screams. There are a lot of hateful people and no one I love, but I could have hated this more. Leaving myself room to go up!

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Matt has an irrational dislike for all contestants named Michel(l)e. Also if he ever takes a strong stance about why everyone else is wrong, it is he that is inevitably wrong.

Favorite seasons: Micronesia, Heroes vs. Villains, Palau, Philippines, Pearl Islands, Cagayan
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187 thoughts on “Purple Rock Watch-Along: Survivor Nicaragua Episodes 1-2

      1. Ok. Many thanks for the info. Maybe a disclaimer up the top, it just changes the complexion of your commentary.

    1. I didn’t understand this question at first. I thought Matt was supposed to answer with something like “pretty spoiled. I had an outdoor and an indoor Bigwheel growing up.” And you would say “well then of course you hate Nicaragua, you brat!”

  1. Episode 2 of Nicaragua is widely regarded to be one of the funniest, most trainwrecky post-HvV episodes to date, so if THIS was your reaction to it… I can’t imagine you’ll like the rest of the season.

    1. the young people stuff was kinda funny and trainwrecky. the old people stuff was fucking awful melodrama of weirdness

  2. “Jimmy T seems like a Paul type. I bet Sharculese loves Jimmy T.”

    I’m gonna need to see him fix a boat and cover a Coldplay song first.

    Also, dear god, no, Paul would be around Jimmy T. for five minutes before he told him to stop being such a crybaby.

      1. Ruin? Let me rephrase, which Coldplay song did Paul play badly but not surprisingly badly because Coldplay songs suck?

          1. The whole album that A Rush of Blood to the Head named is kinda shockingly not typical Coldplay, but also not the the Coldplay you get today. Sure, you do have some of the traditional Coldplay songs, but the deep cuts are pretty great.

            But, let me be perfectly clear: I think Coldplay has taken a tumble off the cliff with all of their stuff now.

        1. “This is like the time I got kicked out of Coldplay!”
          “Hey guys, I’ve got an idea! Why don’t we play something besides whiny bullcrap?”

  3. You’re slowly piecing it together, but all of Nicaragua has unstated conquistador theme. In addition to the helmets you’ve already seen, there are swords involved, the tribes have names like Spanish galleons, and tribal council is supposed to look like a colonial fort, which is why they exit through a graveyard.

    Also the individual immunity necklace will be a giant key and they also have a treasure chest which, because this is Nicaragua, they manage to set on fire.

      1. I vaguely remember gun shooting in one because of the WW2 island battles, did that happen? if so that’s fucking weird.

        1. I’m listening to the China edition of TEOS right now and when they get to the challenge that involved throwing shuriken at cutouts of Chinese warriors Rob and Josh mused about how horrified everybody would be if they had been shooting at cutouts of soldiers during the gun challenge in Palau.

          1. They also brought it back for Micronesia. It’s the challenge that starts off the series events that leads to Erik giving up immunity.

  4. You know most people remember Wendy Jo as the worst player of all time but I kind of forgot that Shannon is right up there with her. I remember that he had horrible tribal council but forgot that he lost the game for the whole alliance there too but did not remember that he misread the social dynamitic. He also made the mistake of agreeing to change from an easy target in Naonka (who teaches children mind you) to Brenda, the nicer social player. He was tough player to get along with and actually managed to talk himself out the game at tribal council.

      1. And I agree because I think Chase stays with them and they might be able swing Purple Kelly along with them

    1. I don’t think Shannon talked himself out of anything at tribal council. It was the classic example of he knew he was going home, so he was going to burn the camp on the way out. And hey, it was entertaining if nothing else.

    2. I think a guy like Shannon seems worse than someone like Wendy Jo. Wendy Jo is at a huge disadvantage early on, she should 99 times out of 100 be the first boot on her tribe then she’s annoying and everything bad. Shannon should be able to survive a couple of tribals because he’s challenge muscle but he’s so hateable they dump him immediately. (also the obvious strength differential between his team and the olds doesn’t help his value).

    3. Wendy Jo sounds exactly like Morello on Orange is the New Black. It’s really startling–the voice, the accent, the diction, the self-absorption, the nuttiness, everything.

      Oh man, while typing this it occurs to me that casting a season of Survivor exclusively with characters from OITNB, and gaming out that season, would be great fanfic.

        1. Definitely possible, but I was thinking Suzanne, transforming from the goat into the boss at FTC like Kristie on Australian Survivor.

          ETA: And obviously Piper is the unanimous first boot.

          1. Taystee as Cirie, the city girl who ends up being a lot smarter than people originally gave her credit for. Embraced by the fans.

  5. The season didn’t look good from that start but I remember at least until sometime before/after the merge it had an interesting trainwreck-y vibe. Even if I was not enjoying the episodes I was intrigued about the randomness of it all and where it will lead. I can’t exactly pinpoint the moment where you realize that it’s just “awfull people doing random shit for no reason”, but for me it was even before the famous quits.

    It’s a really good season to test your love for Survivor. Or your will to live.

  6. This is my fifth time attempting to watch all of Nicaragua, so regrettably these are some of my most-seen episodes of all of Survivor. But as God is my witness, this time I’ll finally finish!

    I’ve never made it past episode four, so it’s hard to say who to root for, which was always my big “I’m quitting” point with this season. No one stuck out and way too many people were duds. From these episodes:

    1) Jane – made fire, seems rational, had little screen time

    2) Sash – made an alliance, alliance was successful

    3) Brenda – absolutely ruined by Caramoan but obviously is being sold to us as someone we should root for

    Then maybe Marty/Jill? They weren’t deplorable or stupid and seemed to be playing the game. Based on Nicaragua’s reputation I’m sure that’ll change, but for now it’s something.

    Anyone else have/had any favorites this early on?

      1. It’s a good thing Marty is there to narrate, since like 3/4 of this cast aren’t smart and/or articulate enough to narrate anything

    1. At this point I’m more rooting against people than for people. Looking at you NaOnka and Jimmy T!

      1. NaOnka is 100% the reason I quit every time. She’s worse than Colton and that’s no small feat.

        1. I can’t say she’s *worse* than Colton. But it took her a lot longer to quit, so she tainted more of the season.

          1. Colton is still the worst, but she can fight Brandon Hantz and Alicia (One World) for the 2 spot.

        1. I feel you are going to have the same constant realization I had after each episode of Thailand; “It’s going to get worse”.

          1. If you do a rewatch, I will be a very vocal commenter. I would advise not doing it; it lived up to its “hype”.

        2. My favorite part about Jimmy T (and that’s a short list) is how he got on the show through the online contest at Sears.

      1. Based on these two episodes, sure? All she did was make fire and say “you dummies should know how to make fire if you’re playing Survivor”. That’s reasonable. She even got a weepy “I’m a widow” speech to push her winner’s edit.

        I’m guessing that’s gonna change, though, huh?

        1. Jane is one of those people who got a way better edit compared to how they actually acted on the island. and that is all that should be said until she is longer on the show.

        2. I’ve always remembered that conversation of Jane telling Jeff at tribal that she read his interview and practiced making fire at home, but for some reason I always thought that was Cochran and not Jane. I guess rewatching Nicaragua has at least one upside – it’s corrected a long-standing mistake in my memory of this incident.

          1. I have to assume that your mistake in memory has to do with your brain trying to suppress any and all memories of this season

      2. I will never watch this season again, but I think early on she seemed rational enough. What really convinced me that I hated Jane was when I realized I liked her even less than Marty. And Marty’s main redeeming quality is that he seems to agree that Nicaragua is a shit season.

    2. At this point of my first watch, I like Tyrone for his comic relief/straight man. I fully expect him to look at the camera and be like, “Yeap, I am stuck with these losers…and Coach Jimmy Johnson”.

    3. “Brenda – absolutely ruined by Caramoan”

      Over on RHAP I mentioned that Brenda was brought back on Caramoan because she was one of the best (?) players on this season, and that crazy DB person got into an argument with me that she played a much better game on Caramoan than this season. He never was able to defend how after her early injury (which we never learned about until after the show, and exit interviews) she disappeared from the screen so much that both Rob and Stephen were calling her Purple Brenda.

        1. I can’t remember what it was, and it wasn’t mentioned on the show, but Brenda was so invisible for most of that season (Rob and Stephen were starting to call her Purple Brenda) that Rob started including a question in every exit interview asking “What is Brenda doing?” Eventually someone (can’t remember who) said that she got injured in the first few days (can’t remember if it was in a challenge or not) and was taking it easy because of it. It obviously wasn’t mentioned on the show because she was such a non-factor until she saved Dawn’s teeth.

          1. That makes sense, but I also like the theory that she laid low after the Francesca boot especially since she is the next biggest threat on that side (yes Erik and Brandon are challenge beasts, but she also has the strategy).

          2. IIRC, she hurt her knee, and she often used her buff as a wrap. On the other hand, it couldn’t have been that debilitating since she got targeted in part because she kept finishing second in the challenges. I haven’t watched Caramoan since it aired so I may have the details wrong.

          3. I haven’t watched it since it aired, but I did listen to the RHAP episodes just last year and most of the players in the exit interviews said that Brenda had got injured (I think you’re right in that it was her knee) and was taking it easy in the challenges. But there was a lot of “Purple Brenda” talk.

  7. I also have been spoiled with the winner and thus far, my very low expectations are not being met.

  8. I think I know who the winner and maybe the two quitters are just from hanging out at this site, so I don’t think I’ll be shocked by those things. So far (I’ve watched about seven episodes) I don’t dislike it. But like Matt said, I don’t think there is anyone I really love on this season. I imagine post-merge is really awful?

    1. The season goes downhill after the two quits and does not really recover until the FTC combined with the fact that no one on this has super star power makes this season hard to watch.

      1. It’s like a violation of the laws of physics for something to go downhill from a point that low, but it’s true.

      2. Agreed. The merge had been getting a bit of momentum after the consecutive vote-outs of Alina/Marty/Brenda especially Brenda’s vote-out is caused in a large part by Na’Onka, but then the double quits happen

        1. It is kind of surprising if you think about how the season was going between three separate alliances of three and how the season might have turned how if everything stayed on track.

    2. Vague spoilers The infamous episode in the post merge really throws everything off, but the way the actual votes go is actually kind of interesting and unpredictable. If you end up hating it later it will probably be more of a “why the hell did I waste my time watching that” kind of way rather than anything being unbearable in the moment. It’s similar to Gabon in that way, though I am one of the few that thinks Nicaragua is a step up from Gabon.

  9. Already this is my favorite Nicaragua-related experience. I wish I had held off on watching the season until this had rolled around.
    Kudos to your Simpsons and Justified references. (Justified side-note: I would pay good money to see Choo-Choo as a contestant on Survivor. I don’t care that he’s fictional and deceased. Make this happen, Probst!)

    1. you can always count on me for Simpsons references, those come as naturally as breathing (some might say more naturally)

  10. I legitimately get startled when Purple Kelly shows up on screen. It’s like spotting a ghost. It’s good to finally get context on the “Purple” nickname.

      1. Good idea. I just finished episode one and I believe I’m at zero. I don’t expect this to change much.

        1. I considered running a pic of her for the header of every post, given our branding. But since I’m not watching to take screenshots, I realized I’d run out of Googlable shots at one or two.

          1. I meant that you could count the number of Purple Kelly confessionals on one hand.

            Get your mind out of the gutter!

  11. Prediction: Some people watching Nicaragua for the first time are going to be tempted to stake out a contrarian position, in the sense of “this is actually not that terrible”. Don’t give in to that temptation! It’s true in the sense that for everything bad in Nicaragua, there’s a worse version in another season. One World has worse villains, Gabon has more incompetence and arguablya more random winner, Amazon has a stupider fire, and so on. Nicaragua is mediocre even in its badness. What puts it at the bottom of the ranking isn’t that any one thing is supremely awful, it’s that the season is a smorgasbord of bad Survivor, with no redeeming aspects.

    The scary thing is that this means there could definitely be a worse season someday.

    1. “it’s that the season is a smorgasbord of bad Survivor, with no redeeming aspects.”

      I’m stunned you’re saying that about a season with Brenda on it.

      1. Well yeah, but that’s obviously a YMMV thing. Plus the Nicaragua rewatch has a very long way to go still, and I’m worried that if I discuss that particular redeeming aspect too much I’ll come across as pervy.

        1. As a straight female who is known for her many Survivor crushes on this websites, it doesn’t come across as pervy because you don’t go into detail about how hot she is. You just say it and move along.

        2. I’d say as long as you don’t go into detail no one will be annoyed because who can disagree with the fact Brenda is one of the singularly most beautiful women to be on Survivor in 32 seasons.

        3. I agree with the previous comments that Brenda is probably one of the most beautiful women to ever play Survivor, and I would also note that given the fun we all had ogling Ken this past season, I think there’s a bit more leeway for discussion of Brenda’s beauty in this rewatch just because of the timing 🙂

    2. I guess it depends on how you judge a season. There are probably 5+ episodes in Fiji and Redemption Island that are worse than any individual episodes of Nicaragua, so I prefer Nicaragua to them because it’s more consistently watchable and less of a chore to get through even if it has few highlights.

      1. As someone who just finished watching Fiji for the first time a couple of weeks ago, I agree. That pre-merge is the worst extended stretch of episodes I’ve ever seen.

        1. i honestly do not think they can ever have a worse pre-merge than they did in Fiji, that the post-merge became somewhat watchable is a goddamn miracle

          1. I still think the stretch of episodes after the Turtle episode are pretty bad as well. It’s a post-merge with some interesting things but it’s not like an all-time great post-merge or anything.

          2. I think Mookie’s boot is somewhat improved by Alex voting for him, but throw in the “merge” episode with one of the show’s worst twists & the worst final tribal council of the series and the post merge is still quite a mixed bag.

          3. Alex voting for him is literally you learning as the votes were read, there’s not all that much great lead-up to it, it’s mostly them failing hard at blowing up Yau’s spot with the idol.

            I actually really like the merge episode. The twist sucks and is unfair but not in a way that makes the episode worse from an entertainment standpoint.

          4. I guess I was giving Fiji too much credit on the Mookie vote. The merge episode is good until the twist, but the twist also doesn’t add anything of entertainment for me in addition to being unfair (I have a bigger problem with the lack of pre-tribal scramble than I do with the randomly divided groups) so it just sours me on the whole episode. & like much of Reddit, I also became weirdly attached to Michelle despite her small edit.

          5. I actually really enjoyed Alex using Jeff’s question to identify to his allies exactly who he’s voting for: “I have no reason to vote for Mookie, Stacy, Dreamz”, “I don’t know Michelle very well and she hasn’t been in my tribe”

          6. Alex, Edgardo, and Mookie all get lumped together as douchebros, but Alex was clearly the closest to being a good Survivor player. He didn’t warrant a return appearance, but in a different cast he would have had, say, Albert upside. He also correctly noted in his boot FTC what the pecking order was, and that those not in the core alliance were blowing their final opportunity to do anything about it.

          7. Albert upside? I think Alex is better than Albert as a player anyways. Alex’s allies were terrible.

          8. Fair. It’s hard to come up with a comp to a hypothetical Alex in a better alliance. Not super but not objectionable alpha type. Reynold maybe?

          9. Michelle essentially got the rock draw loser edit. In a different season she might have been completely purple, but in Fiji she wasn’t because a) she’s so damn charming, and b) Fiji had only four people to root for in the entire cast (three if you dislike Dreamz for being erratic even before the car deal).

          10. I really want someone to delve into the rock draw loser/traditional idoled out edit, because Jessica Lewis has a bit more substance due to the fact that she had the Legacy Advantage and was saved by an idol.

          11. Hmm. I remember it differently. I remember people wondering why she was so absent from the edit even though she had the Legacy Advantage etc. and seemed to be someone the other GenXers were focusing on (half wanted to get rid of her immediately, half wanted to ally with her, but nobody was ignoring her).

          12. I said a “bit”. But then again, Katie Collins didn’t exactly have a Purple edit either but part of her edit was tied to Tina, so who knows…

            If anyone from BvW that made the merge still active in the game had a Purple Edit, it was unfortunately Caleb, which is sad because Caleb seemed to be a solid enough guy and ally.

    3. I would definitely put Naonka on any list of the worst people to ever play the game, as far as being an awful human being. I’m sure there are others, but they were ever so slightly more tolerable due to either early exits or far less focus in the editing.

      1. I don’t disagree, but One World and Worlds Apart have Nicaragua beat because of their multiple terrible people.

        1. I think Worlds Apart has all of three of the seasons beat because Colton and Alicia dominate the pre-merge and then Colton leaves and Alicia becomes less evil (I think…I need to finish the OW post-merge…eventually). You are stuck with Dan/Rodney/Will for the whole season.

  12. As a Giants fan I can empathize on your hatred of the cowbobys, as a Dolphins fan fuck you for your hatred of Jimmy Johnson.
    Also the Shannon tribal is hilarious

    1. As a Hurricanes fan I will always defend Jimmy Johnson*. Also, Jimmy was screwed with the Dolphins because he couldn’t get rid of a declining Marino.

      * Unless it comes out that he harbored a child rapist like a certain Penn State coach.

      1. Agreed with you on the Dolphins point. Those late 90’s/early 00’s teams were pretty stacked, except at QB.

  13. Well, i finished the first two episodes and it was pretty terrible. This cast is all kinds of awful. Already there are people I want off my TV screen.

    Seems like the show is setting up Brenda as the power player of the season while Marty is setting up Marty as the power player of the season.

    Jimmy Johnson (who I’m obligated to hate, Go Giants!!) seems to think he is still coaching football and has somehow convinced Jimmy T that this is a football team.

    Part of me thinks Yve ended up on the wrong mat and they just went with it. Part of me also thinks that “Benry” is actually Beck Bennett playing a role.

    Naonka is incredibly bad and somehow isn’t the worst in these batch of episodes. Fuck Shannon, that dude is awful.

    Characters I’m actually interested in going forward are Brenda, Chase, Sash, Holly and Marty.

    Purple Kelly confessional count through two episodes: 0

      1. I have no opinion on him. He was invisible these first couple episodes. There were a few people that got very little time in these first two episodes. Obviously Purple Kelly but also people like Benry, Yve and probably someone else I forget existed.

        1. i’m going to be totally honest: you keep mentioning someone named Yve, I am pretty sure I have never seen this person on my screen

          1. I think that’s her name, though I don’t remember anyone actually saying it. Anyway, she is in the over 40 group but she looked younger. Though anyone could look young next to Jimmy Johnson, Jane and Dan. Jimmy T pulls off the impressive feat of being 48 and not looking a day under 58.

      2. His full name is Ben Henry, but before you cut him any slack for being saddled with a terrible nickname, know that he told people to call him Benry.

        1. I definitely don’t cut him any slack for his self imposed, stupid nickname. But that aside, he managed to be one of the least objectionable people in this cast. I think. I don’t particularly care to revisit the show to prove myself right or wrong.

  14. @purplerockjohn:disqus I’ll have you know that I’ve interrupted my first-watch of Season 2 of The Genius to re-watch Nicaragua.

    1. Season 2 is probably my favorite season of The Genius, just because I like the cast so much. The games are better than season 1, but not as good as in the later seasons.

      1. Wow, that’s something to look forward to, because the games in Season 2 (through the first two episodes) have been extraordinary. I’m kind of torn between wanting Hongchul and his Jonny Fairplay act gone immediately or losing in the finale.

        1. Ugh, almost everything I want to say about the season is a spoiler in some way. So I’ll just wait until you get around to watching it to discuss my opinions.

          1. Just finished episode 6. Holy shit, that turned very Survivor-esque very quickly.Is that why you like season 2 so much?

      2. Interesting! Aren’t you in the minority? I also happen to be watching season 2 right now. I’m on episode 6 and I must admit I am very disappointed with all but 1 of the women leaving so quickly. I haven’t been as invested as I was in season 1 and considered skipping to season 3, but I will stick with it.

        1. There’s not a huge community of Genius fans, so it’s easy to be in the minority. But yes, I think more people tend to prefer season 3/4. And I totally understand that opinion, there is just a few specific reasons I like season 2 (although what you mention is a definite negative).

          1. @Max_Jets:disqus and I have been having a side conversation about Society Game. With two episodes left to go I’m really liking it, although the games themselves are not nearly as brain-busting as in The Genius (the games in Society Game test a mix of intelligence, strength, and dexterity). Basically Society Game is what Big Brother could be if you handed the keys to the producers of The Genius. This next thing isn’t a spoiler about anything specific, I’m just hiding it in case you want absolutely no foreknowledge of anything: Although IMO the edit has kind of tipped off which side will win, and one player in particular is getting the Tom Westman edit. It’s too bad, because if the next couple of eliminations go the way I expect, the two sides will be very evenly matched in the finale.

          2. I’m a season three man myself. Games are great characters are great, and I’d be amazed if anyone liked a final ep more than season threes. But two is still the genius, so you know, it’s better than every survivor season. Love the genius.

          3. I am not a fan of the winner of season 3. I respect the winning gameplay, but I was actively rooting against that person winning.

          4. I preferred the other contestant, but was really actually fine with either winner. My faves are those top two, Hongchul, Sangmin, and Sunggyu.

        2. Just finished episode 5. Even after episode 2 I had a hunch about what you hid behind the spoiler tag and I was right.

        3. Holy shit. Part way through episode 6 is precisely the wrong time to skip ahead. Please tell me you finished it.

          1. I pushed ahead and finished episode 7! I was probably too bitter about episode 5’s elimination but am definitely over it now and reinvested. Episode 6 was amazing. I had read that parts of season 2 were controversial and pissed some people off so I was a little worried about what was going to happen. I guess not every english speaking Genius fan is a Survivor fan though (a weird assumption I made), because I can’t imagine a Survivor fan not being excited by it. Great work by Sangmin and I’ve been very impressed with Yoo-young too.

  15. The arrangement of Ancient Voices that Russ Landau came up with for Nicaragua is just awesome. But Nicaragua can’t have nice things so production rejected it and went with the generic version.

  16. Some memories from watching Nicaragua all those years ago …

    The reason the idol clues have pictograms is that the producers were making a conscious effort to make the idols harder to find after two seasons of Russel making it appear like they were were super-easy to find, and the clues weren’t difficult enough.

    I seem to recall that after the premiere aired Jeff said that they expected the immunity challenge to take much longer, but one tribe hacked the challenge by arranging the gutters in a different way that let them finish that section of the challenge much quicker than expected. But I didn’t notice anything watching this time that indicated that one tribe did this. Am I mixing up this challenge with another one?

    Maybe it’s just me, but I had zero idea who Jimmy Johnson was when this aired. His name meant nothing to me, and even after I heard about him in pre-season press, if you had shown me a cast photo I wouldn’t have been able to pick him out from the 10 men. Was he really that famous to the viewers? I can understand if you were a football fan you might know who he was, but who really know what the coaches look like? As far as him as a player, for someone who says that he’s watched every second of Survivor, I guess he missed the many episodes where new players talk about how they had no idea how tough it would be to be a player.

    I like how Fabio’s name in the credits (and his chyron) in the first episode is JUDD but quickly changes.

    1. Jimmy Johnson, as Matt mentioned, was the head coach of two Super Bowl-winning teams. Those Super Bowls were viewed by over 90 million people. In the years since, he’d been on the pregame show for Fox’s NFL coverage. And since the NFL is the most popular sports league in America, it’s pretty likely that even a relatively casual football fan would have known who Jimmy is.

      1. “it’s pretty likely that even a relatively casual football fan would have known who Jimmy is.”
        Hi. Yes, I knew who he was by sight.

          1. I had no idea who he was or actually any of the other sports figures either. I knew only Lisa Welchel.

      2. I absolutely despise football and only half-heartedly watch it in the
        background of Superbowl parties (or in Friday Night Lights episodes) and
        I definitely knew who he was.

        1. He’s really a special case. He was a very high profile coach for personality reasons, and eventually left the team for personality reasons. He was also the coach of one of the most dominant teams in recent memory. The only coach today that is anywhere near the same category is Belichick.

      3. Jimmy Johnson is so famous that he had to go on Survivor to become more anonymous (given that his normal gig is viewed by at least ten times as many people).

    2. He was the coach for the Dallas Cowboys so he was pretty well known (they were known as America’s Team back then). If he had been the coach of a lesser team, like, I don’t know, the Eagles for example, nobody would have known who he was.

        1. People that live outside of Pennsylvania and don’t watch football? No, they can’t. Look at it this way: Ten years ago lets say you round up everybody in the US that doesn’t watch baseball at all but can still name one manager. I’ll bet at least 75% of those people would have named Joe Torre just because he managed the most evil popular team in the MLB. Jimmy Johnson just happened to be a good guy.

          1. Right I mean the current equivalent would be Belicheck. Also I’m not sure I could still identify Ray Rhodes or Rich Kotite

        2. I could identify Rhodes because he coached the Pack. I’ve heard of Kotite, but couldn’t pick him out of a lineup.

      1. I guess I just don’t get it. Yes, he coached a team that won the Superbowl, but doesn’t that happen to someone every year? Does the coach of the Superbowl-winning team become a famous person every year, someone that everyone instantly recognizes?

        1. Maybe? For a little while when the memory is fresh? Jimmy Johnson also became a commentator on ESPN which may have boosted his profile. (I wonder how many young folks don’t realize that Terry Bradshaw was a fearsome player once upon a time) I may also have a skewed perspective because I live in (and have spent most of my life in) Texas.

        2. Just winning the Super Bowl isn’t enough (I don’t think non-football fans would recognize Tom Coughlin, even though he won two SBs with a NYC team). To really capture the general public’s attention, you have to either coach a genuine dynasty (Bill Walsh, Bellicheck), be very colorful (Ditka), or have a long second career as a broadcaster (Madden). In Jimmy Johnson’s case it’s a bit of all three (although the early 90s Cowboys weren’t a real dynasty and he’s not quite as colorful as a Ditka type).

    3. Jimmy Johnson isn’t so famous that when he walks in a crowded room, everyone knows who he is. But it’s probably been a long-ass time since he’s been able to walk into such a room and no one knows who he is.

      1. Depends on where you are. In Canada, you’re probably right. In some places in the US, it’s a mixed bag. In the state of Texas, every fucking person knows who he is.

      2. I guess, and maybe I’m misremembering, but when this aired all the talk around the show was like the most famous person in the world was on Survivor, and I was like “Who is this guy?” Even after I learned who he was, I still didn’t understand why he was famous outside of people watching football games. I mean, I could count on one hand the number of professional sport coaches that I recognize if you showed me their picture. I just never understood the hype around him.

        1. “I could count on one hand the number of professional sport coaches that I recognize if you showed me their picture.”

          I love this comment sitting right next to your avatar.

          1. True. I walked right into that one.

            My nickname was given to me because my friends said I looked like the guy, who I had never heard of before and had no idea what he looked like (although after they told me I assumed he looked like me).

  17. They should totally do Survivor: NFC East. Tribe leaders Joe Gibbs, Tom Coughlin, Jimmy Johnson (screw Dallas), Andy Reid. I bet that would be a hoot. I mean it wouldn’t be as bad as Nicaragua?

  18. Well time to actually start watching Nicaragua so I can keep defending it, partially because I actually kind of like it, partially because I like being a contrarian
    (I do have actual reasons for liking Nicaragua other than lol parody, but that has to wait till the quits)

  19. I certainly don’t doubt that this season is going to be terrible, since the cast is terrible, but so far it hasn’t been so bad. The first episode is boring, but acceptable (as premieres are often the worst part of Survivor), and the second episode is legitimately good. People are still horrible, but at least it is funny.

    Holly sees Jill making faces and takes upon herself the duty to save the tribe by throwing away their food, instead of talking to people about it. Then she hears Dan calling her crazy, and to prove him wrong, eliminates his 1600 dollars shoes mobster style (which is something that Dan should at least appreciate).

    Dan gets furious, but seriously, YOU TOOK THE SIXTEEN HUNDRED DOLLARS SHOES TO SURVIVOR. NaOnka is crazy and awful, but I thought she was more in the funny side of crazy than the hateful side. (Although I fully expect that to change in the future.) And by the second episode I already started finding Fabio’s stupidity endearing. The TC was also quite fun and messy.

    So, I don’t want to seem like a contrarian, but so far, to me, we are doing well.

  20. I didn’t pay attention, but I feel fairly confident that everyone was wearing either yellow-ish or blue-ish clothes to correspond with their tribe color. Doesn’t anyone (when Jeff does this) go “Hmm….wonder what tribe I am in?”

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