Purple Rock Watch-Along: Survivor Nicaragua Episodes 3-5

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

Before I dive back into my running thoughts of Survivor: Nicaragua, it was pointed out that I should let everybody following along know what I am spoiled about. I am spoiled on the following things: I know who wins, I am pretty sure I know who is second and third (but not the order), and I know who quits. Aside from that. I believe I know a few other people who make the merge (for instance I’m pretty sure I know one makes the merge based on getting invited back for Caramoan).  And that is it. Now with that out of the way, to the liveblog!

Episode 3 – “Glitter in Their Eyes”:

Previously on Survivor: “An epic battle”. Sure, right. Whatever you say, Jeff. Jimmy Johnson is the leader and Marty resents this? Huh? That wasn’t really shown, it was Jimmy T who resented Jimmy Johnson.

Also in the “previously on”, Shannon dug his own grave and Kelly B and Alina are the ones in trouble. Pretty sure Kelly B voted for Shannon, and Fabio didn’t.

NaOnka starts talking and yup still don’t like her and she didn’t even say anything overtly awful! Just kinda hate her entire attitude. Like even when she is playing “nice” she just seems mean-spirited. (And she clearly thinks she is hot shit, when she is clearly not. She kinda reminds me of Corinne).

The older tribe is trying to follow howler monkeys for food and Jimmy Johnson is “communicating” with them by hooting and making monkey noises. This makes sense, after all he did coach the Cowboys. (Yeah, not letting this joke die.)

Editor’s note: When Shirin did that, the monkeys banged. Advantage: Shirin.

Marty thinks Jimmy Johnson is a threat because… he is a celebrity? This is pretty silly. He is annoyed his shine is getting stolen.

Did Jill suggest that Marty should show everyone the hidden idol? For what reason?

Fabio is trying to suggest his idiocy is a front to make people laugh, and as he explains this he sounds even stupider. I mean I guess work with what you’ve got, right?

Wait, Marty is telling everyone he has the immunity idol? Wait why? This is bizarre. (The idol is a key going with the whole recycled-Pearl Islands aesthetic they are using this season.)

Jimmy T is kinda really weird. But he is all on board the Marty train. Also Jill sees Marty’s gain as her own? Hmm I don’t think Jill is aware of how credit gets given on this show and how it doesn’t get given to women.

Marty thinks the idol wouldn’t have stayed secret… not sure why.

Dan has a knee that looks like it is 3 times the size of the other one. Also he believes the women on his tribe are built like mooses. That’s insulting, Dan. The plural of moose is moose. Not mooses.

Purple Kelly is talking! Also, NaOnka thinks Alina and Kelly B need a shockwave because… I don’t know, she has made it abundantly clear to them that they are on the bottom. So why do they need a shockwave? Obviously you just want to rub it in.


In a season where you have an advantage that gives you a leg up in challenges (Editor’s note: Sorry, Kelly B), why keep combining reward and immunity? The younger tribe doesn’t use the Medallion of Power because the level playing field benefits them and the older tribe can’t keep up without it.

They actually showed some of the tribes planning for a challenge before it started. They never show that. Kinda interesting.

Oh sure, older tribe, use the black guy for a shooting challenge. Even if does require underhand throwing (well doesn’t require, but everyone is using it).

Tyrone built up a big lead and is blowing it, but won’t come out (and Jimmy T is hilariously insisting they are wasting him).

Jimmy Johnson really is running the show, he “pulled” Tyrone and put Jimmy T in.

Kelly B looks for and sees the idol clue, but NaOnka sees her see it and both…do nothing?

Hahahaha I spoke too soon. They both drop the basket at the end and literally fight over it and everyone else is just confused.

Fabio is mad the bananas are smushed and Benry says, “Come on, Fabio”. Seriously, the people on this tribe cannot believe how stupid/naive he is.

Man, fuck NaOnka. She is awful, and she is the biggest narrator on the young tribe.

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

Jimmy T: “Coach, my talents are being wasted. I am an obvious leader and threaten you, put me in coach!”

Tyrone thinks Jimmy T is a little league player. (I mean that was what I gathered).

Marty enjoys the tension because he hopes it gets the tribe to “play the game.” I feel that people that want that don’t actually value such silly things like trust and alliances.

Marty thinks Jimmy Johnson is the tribe’s daddy, and wants to make them all uncomfortable. Brilliant, Marty. Sure, throw the tribe into chaos. Great plan.

Dan can’t walk and is all “I’m in much better shape than Jimmy Johnson.”

“There are some people that are definitely smart… actually not that many” (camera cuts to and holds on Jimmy T). Good work Survivor editors.

This is interesting, but Jimmy Johnson is actually closer with the women on his tribe it seems. I say interesting because I would think with his background he would’ve bonded with the men, but he seems to threaten them.

Marty to Tyrone: “Can I count on you?” “For what?” “For everything” “Oh, of course. Absolutely… Wait, what is everything? Oh, that. No, not that.” So… no, you can’t count on Tyrone.

This season seriously lacks narrators. NaOnka is the only prominent narrator on the young tribe; Marty is the only one on the old tribe.

I think Jimmy T isn’t getting more “court time” because he is using basketball metaphors on a football coach. Rookie mistake Jimmy T.

The reactions to Jimmy T remind me of the reactions to Judd in Guatemala. People find them weird, and find their self-absorption and out-of-whack self-esteem hilarious. And then they just ignore them. I wonder if Jimmy T has Ayyy Deee Deee?

(Oh, the other good narrator on the old tribe is Jimmy Johnson.)

So the only person on the old tribe who thinks he is a weaker player is Jimmy Johnson, so he is the only one not lying.

Probst slams Marty when he wants to get people thinking about all aspects of the game. Probst comes back with “if I didn’t think people were thinking about that I wouldn’t remind them.”

Jimmy T finally uses a football metaphor (to vote out Jimmy Johnson).

Jimmy T is so happy to vote for Jimmy Johnson, he is beaming like a proud papa to see him go home. (Jimmy was a unanimous vote, so despite the “drama” this was an easy decision).

Should’ve doused his flame like this, imo.

Episode 4 – Pulling the Trigger

Previously on Survivor: Hey, remember when Jimmy Johnson was on the show? Also they show a confessional from Brenda that she did not give in the previous episode.

Jimmy T doesn’t think much of Jimmy Johnson’s leadership despite the fact he was dying for his approval just two episodes ago.

Jimmy T is singing Tom Petty so I was totally right in comparing him to Paul last time. Just acknowledge that Jimmy T is the superior version of Paul, Sharculese.

Hard to convey this via text, but after the rain the beach is covered in mud and debris and just looks disgusting.

Jimmy T, who I will remind you is a fisherman, decides to model his fishing after a bird. He is pretty terrible at it. (This is feeling like a Jimmy T boot episode.)

NaOnka: “I pay so little attention to my surroundings that I missed that it rained last night. Also I have no idea what the clue says and if not for Brenda I would be lost.”  This might not be an exact transcript of her confessional…

And of course NaOnka gets the immunity idol despite Brenda doing all the hard work. “I figured it out!” Brenda literally led you to the spot and said I think we should dig here, but sure NaOnka you figured this out.

Alina and Kelly B decide to follow and search where NaOnka and Brenda were looking. NaOnka decides to scare them because she gets off on lording her power over them. She is like a 4th grade bully.


Now NaOnka wants to force Kelly to quit the game. Ugh. Again I remind you that she is the most prominent narrator on that tribe.

The old tribe is now discussing who should be the leader. No one nominates Jimmy T, Jimmy T gets mad. He now thinks Marty dislikes him because of his insecurities… which was exactly what he said about Jimmy Johnson.

Jimmy T, I am going to break it to you right now: no one is threatened by your obvious superiority.

Jimmy T is literally explaining what 15 steps forward mean. Marty is not a fan and apparently meant to rile up Jimmy T because he is a ridiculous person.

Young tribe uses the Medallion of Power so they get an advantage of 2 items to start.

Also I just want to point out that NaOnka is literally huddling behind Alina while blindfolded because she talks shit but is a goddamn coward. (She will obviously talk about how she was awesome in the challenge).

“Damn, that boy don’t listen”- Tyrone talking about Jimmy T (Brenda overhears and laughs). Jimmy T: “I couldn’t hear you.” Tyrone was literally screaming.

Dan is a horse-racing guy, saying he is not a mudder. I am becoming more and more convinced that Dan might be in the mafia. Jimmy T asks to do more, Tyrone calls him out on it asking if he could have done more today and Jimmy T is like, “Oh, probably not.”

Tyrone is not a Jimmy T fan.

Chase sees a clue in the tackle box, and hides it while everyone else is celebrating. Shares it with Brenda, because everyone is just coming to Brenda.

Editor’s note

So Brenda is helping him look for an idol that was already found. Whoops. Damn, Brenda just like stabbed her stick at Chase to tell him to listen to her about the idol.

Brenda had to tell Chase because he knew where it should be, but if he lets NaOnka know then NaOnka will turn on Brenda because NaOnka is crazy. That won’t come up again I’m sure.

Jimmy T tried to call out Marty as selfish and I am pretty sure that Tyrone overheard him complaining and is just laughing in the background.

So the thing about this season and this old tribe in particular is that Marty is talking about swing votes, but I have no idea where the alliance lines are because every vote has been basically unanimous. With unanimous votes we need a clear explanation of where the lines are in the tribe, because there are clearly lines and we don’t see them.

Jimmy T is again going on about not getting the chance and Yve asks him what he would do differently. “Well nothing, but I want the chance”.

Yve: “I don’t coddle my kids as much as Jimmy T needs.” Jimmy T, no one listens to you because you are an insane man who is totally delusional.

Reminder: this is Yve. She wasn’t on this season much because Nicaragua hated nice things.

(Jimmy T’s redeeming feature is that he gives funny facial reactions at tribal council. When Tyrone says their plan worked out well, he jerks up like the dog in Up).

Marty is like, “No I’m not open to Jimmy T leading, because look at this guy.” (Someone stuck up for Jimmy T, but I wasn’t sure who it was because the women on this tribe outside of Jill have gotten no airtime and blend together. I think it was Holly?)

I think Holly and Jane were with Jimmy T. So I think the alliance on that tribe is Marty, Jill, Yve, and Dan, with Tyrone as the swing. But again, the only part of this I’m sure of is Marty, Jill, and Yve because they haven’t supported this in any way beyond that.

Jimmy T said his plan was to keep his mouth shut. That was never gonna happen, buddy.

Episode 5 – Turf Wars:

Previously on Survivor: The younger tribe is winning a lot, Marty is happy to be in control. Brenda is in control of the younger tribe, I guess?

Holly is the one person that has been consistently on the outside, so sounds like the coming swap is up her alley.

Marty: “You can’t get cocky in this game.” Immediately gets cocky.

Also he’s apparently not watched enough Survivor to anticipate a swap.

So NaOnka is the main narrator here, because she can actually articulate who is in her alliance (Purple Kelly, Brenda, Sash and Chase). No one else has even done this much.

Lot of people shocked and unhappy at the swap, but I think I caught Chase with a big giant grin. (Swap captains are Brenda and Holly- Brenda gets to pick three people from the older tribe, Holly 4 from the younger).

Brenda picks Jane, Jill and Marty… not sure what the reasoning was there. Why not Tyrone? Holly chooses NaOnka HAHA TAKE THAT NAONKA. (Also the Medallion of Power is out of the game, what a great twist).

Marty is happy to be going to a new camp. NaOnka admits her allegiance is to the young tribe.

The reward challenge is Plinko-esque. This would be fun to play. (Marty seemed to be the weak link of his team, by the way.)

So the old tribe added Alina, NaOnka, Chase and Benry. I think Tyrone is already pissing off all the young people. Alina is not a fan.

Holly is already flipping to the kids. (Pretty sure Tyrone is first gone from this tribe, though. Maybe Dan.) Alina and NaOnka are making nice so far.

Saying it is ironic that you and Alina are both on the same tribe is not ironic NaOnka. That isn’t even Alanis Morrisette ironic.

Dontchu think?

Marty and Jill are saying that they are willing to be used and in talking about working around camp literally every young person’s face falls as if they ate a bug at the thought of work.

Marty criticizing them for not going after NaOnka for stealing the clue and then admits he has the idol, which he has to do because Jane knew. He is very arrogant, Brenda is right about that, and very stupid, Brenda is right about that too.

I’m still not sure why Marty told everyone in the first place and it is just causing him more problems.

NaOnka doesn’t like the rain and is worried that she will lose it because that happens when she is cold. So this is a reminder that she hasn’t lost it yet, everything before this was normal NaOnka. (She is also already talking about quitting.)

Alina accuses NaOnka of being a high school girl on her period all the time, and is relishing her suffering all while pretending to care. Again I like Alina, but that is mainly because NaOnka doesn’t. Chase is doing a better job of convincing her not to quit because he actually cares, the monster. Chase tells NaOnka a story to calm her because she is a literal child.

The challenge has tribe members attached to a giant wheel where three people get periodically dunked in the water and being the awful person I am I want NaOnka on that wheel suffering. (She is not on the wheel.)

This honestly seems like a torturous challenge. The old tribe decides going slower is better because they can actually hit the target and yep they are right. Also after releasing the ball they leave someone still in the water, producers should have thought that through.

The tribe that is split 4-4 is going to tribal, but Holly seems set to jump. I could see it being Tyrone for being bossy, or Dan. Also NaOnka talks again about quitting… sigh.

Tyrone is the only one who doesn’t want to eat the chicken. And he gets outvoted. Chase is brutal in killing that chicken and everyone reacts in horror. (Editor’s note: Could it be that Chase was too… indecisive with the chicken killing?)

Every episode thus far has had long sections between the challenge and immunity where there is no strategy but character stuff and that is how they decide who goes home. Tyrone eats too much chicken, so he is probably going home. No strategy here, just people reacting to the latest slight or insult.

Benry gets a long confessional. Alina wants to send NaOnka home and I’m pretty sure that when Tyrone goes home and NaOnka has a change of heart next time, she will pay for this.

NaOnka is divorced? NaOnka has enough self-reflection to blame herself for a divorce? I don’t believe that for a second. Also how did anyone meet her and know her long enough to marry her?

Benry plays dumb when Probst tries to say that you should vote out NaOnka who is breaking down, and Yve tries to play dumb as well and Probst isn’t having any of either of them.

NaOnka keeps explaining her expressions because I’m pretty sure she doesn’t expect white people to know them. (Example: Keeping it 100, which I guess back when this aired white people might not have known. It wasn’t an emoji yet.)

Also Benry gives a “badass” speech voting for Tyrone and clumsily knocks over the weight saying Benry’s here baby! (Tyrone laughs, Benry apologizes to nobody).

Tyrone is gone. I liked Tyrone but he also was not good at the game, a little too blunt, wore too much emotion on his sleeve, and was way too bossy. Being on an older tribe was perfect for him, but he couldn’t play with younger people.

Closing thoughts:

So last week I was not yet totally down on the season. After this batch, I am quickly getting there. Quite frankly the game in this season has been lurching from vote to vote with the main explanation behind the boots being the current fits of pique plaguing the tribe going to tribal council. Oh, this is the person currently pissing us off? Well s/he is the one going home!

There is also a real muddle about what the alliances are, only I don’t think this was a muddle on island, I think this is a muddle to the viewer because no one can explain the divisions.

Finally, there are a lot of invisible people in this season beyond the obvious. Yve has barely been on, Kelly B is only on so NaOnka can bully her, Benry is largely absent, Sash disappeared after the first episode, Holly was totally absent for two episodes, and Jane is a non-entity. Meanwhile, all three of the last boots received a fair amount of screen time and were big personalities on their tribe. So we are losing the loudest people and not having anyone else talk in their absence.

So in thinking about these episodes and this season, I think I have identified what I believe to be the fatal flaw. The primary narrators on this season are Marty- who is sub-competent at explaining the tribe dynamics, not very interesting, but is willing to talk- and NaOnka, who actually can explain the tribe alliances and what is happening in the game, but is someone I already cannot stand. Relying on NaOnka to explain what is happening is really problematic from a show perspective because when you put the narrative burden on the villain of the season, it casts the season from her point of view. But the show cannot use someone else because no one else is competent (or will last long enough I suppose).

Similarly, Marty is at least willing to talk about the game, but is a little too cagey in confessionals to explain the divisions, which is odd considering he has no secrets on the island. There is a tertiary narrator, and that is Fabio. But he poses his own challenges as a major narrator because 1) he is a dope, and 2) he has no idea what is going on in the game. But at least he laughs at himself, I guess. Anyway, my point is that bad narrators undermine a season fatally.

Narrator of the season: NaOnka. Delightful!

What else? Well I promised to talk about Jimmy T, who went home this week. If you didn’t realize, Jimmy T got on the show by winning a fan voting contest that was run by Sears. So this should prove that fan voting should be reserved for returning players. And yet in many ways, Jimmy T was one of the most enjoyable people in this cast.

Some other thoughts on the cast:

  • Chase might be nearly as dumb as Fabio.
  • Sash has completely disappeared since the premiere.
  • Brenda is the power player, but also isn’t seen doing much aside from having people approach her with idol clues (though she at least seems set to target Marty).
  • Marty is arrogant and honestly kinda terrible at the game, just constantly overplaying.
  • Jill shows some promise but has tied herself too close to Marty and doesn’t realize he is a millstone.
  • Now that Yve has appeared on screen I actually really like her! This means she is going home next week I am sure.
  • Alina I think might have game, but will suffer from being in the NaOnka doghouse.
  • I have no idea what is going on with Benry other than his terrible name.
  • Jane and Holly are there.
  • Not sure the same can be said about Purple Kelly.
  • Kelly B has also faded from view and her current trait is NaOnka’s victim.

I think I disagree with the assessment that the cast is all terrible people. It isn’t all terrible people, it is half terrible people and half boring people and it places the narrative burden on the terrible people.

Still, this season is not a tire fire yet, it is just a run of the mill shitty pre-merge. However, the narrative muddle and reliance on unlikable or under-competent narrators does not promise the season will get any better. Some people have said Nicaragua is like a parody of Survivor, only I’m not laughing.

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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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159 thoughts on “Purple Rock Watch-Along: Survivor Nicaragua Episodes 3-5

  1. Yeah, thinking over who I actually like on this season, it’s primarily the boring folk, because they stand in sharp relief of the terrible people by not being featured enough to irritate me.

    I can see people who hate the very idea of Survivor loving this season, because I can see it confirming all preconceived notions about how terrible a show like Survivor must be.

    And, thank you, Matt, for further Simpsons correlations.

    1. After i wrote this all up we were editing yesterday and Andy and John said “ok we are done, just need some Simpsons gifs/images” and away I went to Frinkiac

    2. to your actual point, right no one stands out because they are good, they stand out because they aren’t irritating… yet. It is like hey I like Alina! Alina is a profoundly boring player, but in this cast… that is enough.

      Your second point is so spot on though, this is what people that don’t watch Survivor probably imagine Survivor is always like.

      1. Thank god it (usually) is not like this. I am glad that I when I originally stopped watching (due to life obligations), it was during Fiji, because I would have absolutely given up on this show during Nicaragua if I had been watching in real time.

        1. I came back at Phillipines and this is part of my back fill, only the less than stellar seasons to go including this one. My one thought about this season that sticks out so far is that it is a lot like One World without Kim with a little bit of worlds apart without Mike

          1. It’s a fair comparison. I came back at San Juan Del Sur and then bopped around all out of order, myself. One World was last for me, because I thought it would be more of a *shrug* season, but it was pretty bad. Like you said, take away Kim, and you have Nicaragua. Fabio is Kat.

          2. Haha maybe he will prove to be a little more dense through the season but Kat seemed definitely on another level of thickness that Fabio can’t match

    3. Yeah, the people I was going for at this point when I watched it were (not watching it with you guys, because I’m not doing that to myself) Benry, Brenda, Alina, Chase, and Yve, making it clear that a) I’m shallow and b) as you said, being bland makes you rootable on this season

  2. Jimmy Johnson is the leader and Marty resents this?

    Every time Marty isn’t on the screen all the other Survivors should be asking where’s Marty. Plus, we already know Marty has access to a time machine for some reason.

    (Jimmy was a unanimous vote, so despite the “drama” this was an easy decision).

    The rumor is that Jimmy Johnson realized Survivor was way harder than he thought it would and asked to be voted out. Production just chose not to show it because trying to quit-shame Jimmy Johnson had the potential to backfire.

    1. Backfire because he’s Jimmy Johnson, or backfire because there’s enough quit-shaming in the back half of this season and the dissonance would be too much?

    2. And that is why Terry Bradshaw has an oddly defensive stance about Jimmy at the reunion if I am remembering correctly. Also, who else is excited to see Matt watch Terry Bradshaw?

    3. “Every time Marty isn’t on the screen all the other Survivors should be asking where’s Marty. Plus, we already know Marty has access to a time machine for some reason.”

      Wait, are you saying Piombo is a pseudonym for McFly? I thought the joke was that Jimmy T is Malcolm from the future.

      Even if production soft-peddled it, it’s clear Jimmy J was a non-quit quit, given that the vote was unanimous even though he should have had no problem rounding up some other votes for Dan.

  3. So the argument over killing a chicken boils down to how much they want to limit their egg production. Tyrone is out voted and Chase reaches into the coop, passes over the rooster, and grabs a chicken. Do these people not know the difference between a rooster and a chicken?

    1. That’s not the only season where they do not know the difference. I forget which season(s) but it has come up before and/or after this iseason.

      1. there was definitely a season where they think they know the difference and kill the wrong one. I think it was Worlds Apart and the No Collars

      1. A lot of people are idiots and think there has to be a rooster around to fuck eggs into the hens.

  4. I had forgotten about Naonka and Kelly B. It could be that I forgot over all those years, but it’s also likely that it just blends into the general awfulness of Nicaragua. At least in Worlds Apart, there were a handful of people you could root for.

    1. Perhaps the worst thing about Nicaragua is that the villain who brags about potentially throwing a prosthetic leg in the ocean NEVER gets her comeuppance. Is never voted out; never faces a jury. She just peaces out on her own time after shitting all over the show. Characters!

        1. But worse. Because she lasts longer, has a significant effect on the end game, and we could at least squint and pretend that Colton’s fate was karmic.

          1. That is true. The only real impact that Colton on the end game is ensuring that people like Tarzan and Leif made it far in One World and quitting before Brad could really get enough momentum to vote out Caleb (RIP) in Blood vs. Water.

          2. Spoiler alert: “Brenda would have won if NaOnka had quit a day earlier” is probably the hill I’m going to die on.

          3. I forgot that the main power player of the season was Naonka. Many of the decisions that were made during the season was because of her choices. She controls so much and I will say that that what hurts the season the most. It hurts the story because you have to see most of it from this villain who has no positives that we see. If they showed cut more of the harsh stuff that an actual teacher (still not over the fact that she taught children at one point) said then this season would probably be better.

          4. ” (still not over the fact that she taught children at one point)”

            It’s not shocking. A lot of elementary school teachers go into it because they genuinely care about beginning the process of growing children into adults, but a lot of them are also emotionally stunted creeps who have identified the precise level of human development they’re just barely smart enough to be able to effectively bully.

            For NaOnka it was five-year-olds. Nobody is shocked.

      1. Again, this is something about Nicaragua that’s worse in another season. Everything you said applies to Colton, twice. And in One World specifically, not only does Colton not get a comeuppance, but neither does Alecia (any other season and she would have gotten what’s coming to her at FTC, but Kim was so dominant she didn’t need goats).

      2. She kind of does. The spontaneous applause when Probst announces they’ve changed the jury-phase quit rules to prevent another NaOnka, she looks like she wants to crawl into a hole and die at that point.

        Unlike a Will or a Dan, she actually figured out how despised she was and didn’t find a way to make an excuse for it.

          1. You don’t understand, Survivor features too much of people playing Survivor to be good anymore, which is why the best season of this run is the one where a bunch of creeps voted in lock-step so they would have more time to behave like children to everyone around them.

            Also, apparently Tarzan is smart, which is not an opinion I thought it was possible to have.

          2. As someone who wrote a whole lot of Shirin stuff during that season, I just felt like there were a lot of ways to make that one funnier. I did appreciate the Wet Blanket Tyler burn, although apparently that one came directly from Max.

          3. I’m not loving this run of the 115 so far, but this is also a fairly rough batch of seasons overall. The Tyson continuing to be a dick was a good one.

          4. Of course, Thailand and Africa are 10 out of 10’s, while Cook Islands and Cambodia are unwatchable.

      1. I gave in and started reading v3 tonight, and I was getting sucked in against my will and then I got to entry 109 which starts:

        “It is entirely possible that Dan Lembo from Nicaragua was the single most useless player in Survivor history.”

        And now, oh shit, it’s war, kid.

          1. It’s not an accident that during the biggest confrontation that Dan’s been involved in so far (when Holly tells him that she threw away his shoes) Dan is once again laying down.

          1. The phrase “most useless” is a registered trademark of Sharculese Enterprises and Mario Lanza will be speaking to my attorneys (which are me, pretending to be an attorney.)

    2. Suffering Game episode 4, I’m spoilering but I don’t thin that works if you read this in your e-mail.

      So, I think this conclusively proves the Red Robe they keep meeting isn’t one of them, but mostly I’m just glad this chapter is finally going somewhere. I love Wonderland as concept, but much like the labyrinth section of Crystal Kingdom (still my favorite chapter) there’s only so much of the boys going through trap rooms that’s compelling.

      1. No worries, I turned off my email notifications for comments (plus, I’ve already listened to the episode).

        Absolutely agree. But I will say that Griffin could have split the introduction of thieves’ cant and what I’ll call gas siphoning by the RR into different episodes. They’re both tied to the presence of the Red Robe, but once we found out what the liches were doing, I think the RR siphoning would have been a great end to that episode. Enough to get us and the boys thinking about what’s going on over the break.

        Loose Thoughts:

        – What did you think about the wrong room glitch? Will there be any narrative purpose to that?

        – What is Cam’s purpose? He must appear in TSG’s end-/post-game, because he’s done jack up to now.

        – What if the boys are running into different Red Robes? i.e. a group of RRs (if not their entire order) are aiding the boys? I thought for a hot second that Magnus was a time traveler, but I said then that he makes the least sense out of the three to have that ability (assuming that the Temporal Chalice is in fact destroyed). So I don’t think the boys are meeting past/future selves. But as far as I recall, this is the first episode where they got more description than just “wearing a red robe”

        – Taako’s triple combo at the end is my favorite thing’s done thus far. Even better than him getting the sword at Fantasy Costco.

        – I don’t know how the Director made it out of Wonderland in one piece. I hope this doesn’t cause my Davenport-is-the-Mastermind theory to take a hit. The only way it won’t is if Davenport is the one who actually went through Wonderland, causing him to be the way he is today, but somehow his psychic abilities were retained, allowing him to control/talk through the Director.

        – Dammit, I’m just going to go listen to this episode again.

  5. Was it just my copy or did Fabio not have any name displayed in the opening credits of episode #3?

    Have we ever seen so much uncomfortable hugging on the show as when Jimmy T hugs multiple people in the rainy dark after Jimmy J was voted out? No one is reacting or hugging him back. He is so desperate to be acknowledged.

    I’m really enjoying this trolling of Sharculese about Jimmy T/Paul. Too bad it won’t continue for the rest of the season.

    Dan loves the slop, loves it, eats it up. Eats the slop. Born in the slop. His father was a mudder.
    His father was a mudder?
    His mother was a mudder.
    His mother was a mudder?
    What did I just say?

    Jimmy T’s ridiculousness is both hilarious and annoying at the same time.

    It was Holly who stood up for Jimmy T at tribal.

    I haven’t watched episode #5 yet (I thought this week was just #3 and #4) so I may be back with more comments tomorrow.

      1. I am in the middle of a Seinfeld rewatch (listening to Rob’s Seinfeld podcast along the way) so when I read “mudder” here that exchange was fresh in mind. Also, I just heard your username in The Nose Job so the synergy is good.

        1. Seinfeld is my favorite sitcom of all time. I’ve only done one real re-watch, but I’ve seen every episode at least 5 times. One exception: The Puerto Rican Day Parade episode, because they never re-play it on TV. I can’t even remember if it’s in the DVD set, but I’ve seen it once or twice.

          1. It’s on the DVD set. I know because my brother loves Puerto Rican Day Parade and doesn’t understand all the hate it gets. Or well, he understands why people think it’s racist, he just doesn’t understand the part where it’s also a bad episode even before the racism.

          2. I’m thinking I saw it on the DVD now because I remember there was a pretty cringworthy, “I’m not racist, but…” rant by one of the writers on the commentary track. The only part I like about the episode is the meeting of Vandelay, Van Nostrand, and Varnsen.

  6. I wonder if Tyrone would have fared better in a mixed age tribe from the beginning. That way, he could have maybe found his balance earlier. Instead, he got the typical swap boot crappy draw

    1. I don’t think so. I think Tyrone’s personality was geared to older people and a worker bee tribe. if he started off with some of these younger people he just would have started pissing them off sooner

        1. I dunno. Gen X maybe, but I don’t see Tyrone and Dan Foley getting along (although to be fair, you can substitute almost any contestant’s name for “Tyrone” in that sentence and it still works).

          1. In retrospect, we got really lucky with the boot order on Gen X. Imagine if David and Jessica had gone home pre-merge instead of Paul and Lucy. Obviously, the editors try to give bigger edits to the people who survive the longest, but other than Michaela, I can’t think of anyone in MvGX who went home pre-merge whom I would’ve liked to see much more of.

          2. Maybe Mari, but other than that, nobody else. It just seems like (unless Worlds Apart, for example) the cast cannon fodder actually went early. Unfortunately, they all seemed to be WOC.

          3. I think an alternate boot order where all of the Millenial women make it far would be ideal, but it definitely could have gone worse.

          4. I disagree in a sense. Your Pauls and Lucys go home early in almost any season, and among the others I can think of plenty of alternate boot orders that would have been awesome. A de facto BvBvB season with Mari, Michaela, and Figgy leading the alliances? Yes please. Jessica draws a white rock and pendulum strategys her way to the end? Cool.

            I think casting has really stepped it up since S25 (fewer recruits maybe?) and as a result casts have become boot-order-proof (with the notable exception of Worlds Apart).

  7. I forgot about this, but one of the many, many bummers of the Nicaragua cast is how many people say they feel like quitting, and from relatively early on in the game. Through Day 14 we already have Nay, Holly, Dan, Jimmy T, and Jimmy J not wanting to be there. That’s a quarter of the cast!

    1. Yeah, that is something I didn’t realize was a theme of the season. Here’s a essential guideline to Survivor: if your season has a theme of people wanting to quit, then your season is not that great.

  8. Holly looks like Lil from Pearl Islands. So in this instance Lil is Holly in the time machine

    Was not sad about any of the boots but also not excited about anyone still left. But I think I don’t disdain the rest of the cast as much as I anticipated

    So best I can say is I dain this so far… also I’m 100 percent sure Fabio has used the dain in a non-sarcastic or referential way.

    Additionally if anyone knows what where the reference of “dain” comes from let me know so we can become friends.

  9. Nice work again guys. Getting a small hit of survivor no matter how quality the Season is better than no survivor

  10. So five episodes in and I’ve decided you all can have Brenda. I’ll just be over here crushing on Alina.

    And Yve.

    And Kelly B.

    And, somewhat confusingly, Marty. Midway through episode five I realized he actually has some muscle on him despite the fact that he also strikes me as chubby. I’m now mesmerized by his physique and I’m only somewhat comfortable about it.

      1. She’s 41! I assumed she’d fit right in with the young people at the merge since she looks younger than half of them, and I’m so hoping for more Yve that I’m willing to ignore the fact that her being on the wrong side of the Tyrone vote is a sign of her inevitable doom.

    1. I looked for Yve online, and she is really pretty; too bad that I don’t remember actually seeing her on my TV screen. Kelly B. is quite pretty, and so is Alina, but Brenda is gorgeous. One of the all-time prettiest Survivor contenders.

  11. Normally right now i’d be defending Nicaragua (And believe me i do actually have reasons) but fuck it i’m still high on the Switch presentation and I don’t want to kill the buzz like this

  12. Episode #5:

    So either the Medallion of Power was only ever intended to be used when the tribes were young vs. old, or Production had already realized it was a bust and decided to get rid of it earlier than planned.

    It was dumb of Marty to tell his new tribe about the idol, but he figured that Jane was going to tell all the young people anyway, so better to tell them first and take away any power she would get from that. His real mistake was telling his old tribe about the idol. Jill seems so willing to do whatever Marty says when he talks strategy or who to vote out with her, it was odd that she was so vocal and adamant about telling the whole tribe when Marty found the idol.

    I almost felt sorry for Naonka this episode (*almost*). Not just for her suffering physically, but after lording it over Kelly B and Alina last week, after the swap she was stuck trying to pretend that she and Alina were allies and friends. When she’s on the beach with Holly and Alina, and Alina is telling Holly about their old tribe, Naonka has this look on her face like she’s thinking “I have to say nothing and agree with whatever Alina says, even if she insults me, because I don’t have the power here that I had on my old tribe, and I desperately need to make Alina think that we’re friends now.”

    Alina seemed to be anywhere from invisible to a witness to Naonka’s attacks on Kelly B in the previous episodes, but in this episode she’s almost the power player on the new tribe (I suspect that won’t last).

    The giant wheel challenge – isn’t this the one where Russell’s tribe throws the challenge to vote him out next season?

    I took Benry’s response to Jeff’s question at tribal to be him not understanding what Jeff was talking about instead of him trying to avoid the question. I’m guessing Jeff will not be asking Benry too many questions in future tribals.

    “Benry’s here baby!” I thought he said “It’s Benry time!”? I forgot about the bell drop though. Have we had a list of embarrassing voting moments? If not we should (although I may be over-inflating the number of these events in my head).

    1. The medallion of power was a really lame twist. Instead of adding excitement, it removes it, as the team that uses it almost surely is going to win, so you basically don’t need to watch the actual challenge anymore. And if both teams use it, you are basically forcing each team to win one week, might as well remove challenges at all. (If the best team is smart, they won’t use it, as the young team did for a week. The older tribe was silly not to use it the first episode, although if you predict the younger tribe not to use it, then you know you only have 1 shot at it, and might as well save it for when you need it the most.)

      About the Giant wheel challenge, I think it was very socially sensitive for Survivor to add a waterboarding challenge right when Obama started proposing to close down Guantanamo Bay.

      I didn’t hear it properly, was NaOnka getting back at Jeff during tribal, when she said, after the Benry question, that her tribemates “knew when to shut up”?

      1. The MoP might have been better if the first 4 episodes had separate reward challenges so the tribe with it would have had to decide “Do we use it for this reward challenge or keep it for the immunity challenge tomorrow?” But it’s still awful.

        However, as I said on the podcast, I’m glad Survivor came up with this idea and tried it. I want the show to try out new ideas, whether they think they’ll work or not. For every MoP there’s the hidden immunity idol, vote-steal, reward-steal, idols hidden at challenges, etc.

        1. I’m fine with them experimenting too, especially when they realize the idea is dumb and cut it early. (Looking at you, three seasons of Redemption Island.)

          1. With RI they figured out that it worked best with a Blood vs Water season. I thought I heard Jeff say after the first BvW that they were only going to bring RI back for BvW seasons, but maybe that was just wishful thinking.

            But we haven’t seen it since, and there’s been no indication that it’s coming back on its own.

        2. I think they went with combined reward/immunity challenges to make the MoP worth using (the older tribe, in particular, should only use it for immunity, if they’re smart. Big if). And that’s another strike against the MoP in Nicaragua: It forced us to watch a combined 24 minutes of this terrible cast’s camp life that otherwise would have been spent on reward challenges.

        3. I like it when Survivor experiments with new ideas, but it does seem like there are many more busts than successes. Redemption island effectively ruined the game, and small things like the MoP or legacy advantage never really amount to much. I also think the legacy advantage will be either meaningless or too powerful whenever it appears (and, kind of by definition, the same goes for the juror vote-out). The extra vote/vote steal was entertaining in Worlds Apart and Cambodia, but after it became a non-factor in Kaoh Rong, I’m not sure if it’ll be returning any time soon.

          1. The odds are that more ideas are going to be a bust than successful, so I’m all for them keeping trying. The reward steal was a terrible idea, but it led to some great TV, so who knows? They’ll probably bring it back, but I think the good that came from it was because of the specific characters involved, not from anything related to the advantage itself.

      2. Actually I think the only thing the show did right with the Medallion of Power was to have it only confer a slight advantage, not an insurmountable advantage. And I would argue that of the two times it was used, it was the difference-maker only once (the youngsters would have blown away the oldsters in the blindfold challenge regardless. Thanks Jimmy T).

        In fact I’ll go full contrarian and say that I want to see them try the MoP again (rebranded with a not-lame name, of course). The real problem with the MoP is that they used it in a season with an inherent imbalance in challenge win probability. Put it in a normal season where the tribes are in theory evenly matched and I think it works. It would be particularly fun in a three-tribe season (the tribe that uses it also decides which of the other two gets it next). In fact–and I admittedly haven’t thought through the implications thoroughly–it might even be fun in the post-merge.

    2. Koah Rong Alicia writing with the cap on a pen and Hannah’s 10 minute vote are good embarrassing moments.

  13. If I did think the first two episodes were passable; man, these next 3 are horrible! Episode 4 in particular must be among the most boring episodes in Survivor history.

    I will go against the majority here in that I don’t even hate NaOnka. She is so bad a person that she becomes cartoonish, and neither Kelly B. nor Alina (much less Fabio) seem really hurt by what she says (as opposed to, for example, Shirin). (Indeed, Jimmy T. bothered me way way more than NaOnka. He wasn’t a villain per se; he was just annoying, annoying to play with and dreadfully annoying to watch. I’m not sure I would endure continuing watching if he remained for long.)

    And this leads to the real problem of this season to me: while a lot of shit gets thrown towards NaOnka, can you imagine the season without her? Whenever anything happens in this season (besides Jimmy T. 4-episode whining people’s brains off episode arch), it had something to do with NaOnka. Who are the other players? I watched 1/3 of the season, and besides Brenda (which seems to be incomprehensibly underused), Marty (which is also not very likeable) and some of the people voted out, I barely know who the others are. Holly had a “good” episode, but now barely appears. Benry, when he argued with Jeff, I swear I looked at TV and asked, “Who the hell is this guy?” Purple Kelly is so not there that is becoming comical, and Yve had like 1 confessional so far. The problem of this season is not that the cast is awful (it is), it is that the cast is boring.

    By the way, I think voting out Jimmy J. was the last straw for this season’s hopes. I guess people here don’t like him much because he is famous, but coming from someone who barely knows what Cowboys and Eagles are (besides animals), he was far and away my favorite character.

    1. I’ve already said that I had no idea who Jimmy J was before this season aired and didn’t recognize him at all. I kinda liked the idea of a player telling everyone “I’m not gonna win, so I just want to make sure one of you wins.” Of course you’re gonna suspect they’re lying, but it’s an interesting idea.

    2. NaOnka mostly bothers me because I’m sure if she is putting on an act to get camera time or if this is what she’s really like. Either way isn’t appealing, but the uncertainty is maddening.

      The rest of my anti-NaOnka sentiment is because I side with Kelly B and NaOnka is basically her cartoon super villain. It’s similar to my feelings with the Christy/Jenna feud except this time Jenna is just an outright monster. But watching this time, almost everyone — including Alina — talks about how they’d never let Kelly B get to the end, so I suppose maybe Nay should get some slack on that one.

      1. I agree: some confessionals I got the distinct impression that she was putting on an act to the camera, and it bothered me much more than anything else she did on the show. But since she acts so over-the-top even when she is clearly not acting (like when it rained and she wanted to quit), now I tend to think that this is actually how she is as a person. (Or at least as a person stranded in an island with strangers that she doesn’t like and with little food and comfort.)

        It bodes less well for her as a person (the thing that surprised me the most about her divorce story was that she managed to get married in the first place), but it makes her better TV.

        1. yeah its hard to tell where the act is with her which is what worries me, it can’t all be an act, and the non act stuff seems to corroborate the stuff you think is an act, so i lean towards it being all her

    3. This is kind of what I keep coming back to as well. NaOnka is someone I hate but she is also one of the very very few people to show an actual personality here. The rest are so blank slate boring it is amazing. how did they cast them? And I agree with your take on Jimmy J. because he did offer something and even with 3 episodes he is one of the biggest personalities on the season. I also really feel like we have lost a lot of the personalities this season. Shannon had a persona, Jimmy J and Jimmy T both were outspoken and offered something to the camera (even if you didnt like it), Tyrone as well had this curmudgeonly tight ass persona. So what do we have left? A lot of nothings, Marty (who leans boring and not likeable but still displays more than the rest), Fabio (who has something) and NaOnka. they have to use NaOnka, they are forced to use NaOnka because of the rest of the cast, and she is either too bad a person for me to laugh at, or not funny enough to excuse her bad person qualities.

      1. The problem with NaOnka is that she didn’t have a Sandra – there was nobody who balanced her out, who made us feel okay about it. Having someone like NaOnka can totally keep a season interesting – but it makes it hard to watch when you don’t have a Sandra to fight back. And yes, I am aware that Sandra was on the villains tribe, but come on – she was Fairplay and Russell’s foil. If we had that, the season would be completely different, I think. There were people who could have played that role, maybe? (not as well as Sandra – nobody does it as well as Sandra). But because of the way the alliances shook out, it didn’t happen.

    4. “Brenda (who seems to be incomprehensibly underused)”

      Two sides of the same coin. If Nay isn’t on this season, Brenda becomes the sole narrator for La Flor by default. Win-win-win, especially for me.

      There’s certainly a ton of evidence to suggest that this cast was boring beyond belief, but it’s kind of a chicken-and-the-egg situation in seasons like this and Samoa. Dividing up the 42 minutes per episode is a zero-sum game, and if NaOnka, Russell, and Shambo are hogging it all, everybody else gets underutilized.

      1. I guess we can never know which comes first, the chicken or the egg. And when she appears, Brenda is (mildly) entertaining—hence my “incomprehensible” comment. But I doubt that Survivor producers would have given so much emphasis to NaOnka if they had another viable option. (I haven’t seen this season before, but if I have been spoiled correctly, I understand that NaOnka also quits later in the game, and we can all see how hard the editors punished Purple Kelly for it. Anyway, we can discuss this more when it happens, so I don’t get spoiled even more.)

        1. I’m the Brenda fanboi around here, and I even I suspect that–between the way she immediately allied with NaOnka and the way she kind of gloats about hypnotizing Chase–she may have a mean-girl side, and that the edit may have been protecting her a bit. I choose to think otherwise.

          1. Well, her returnee season also did little to dispel notions that she might be a mean person, quite au contraire.

          2. I don’t know what you’re talking about. She was nothing but criminally underedited unicorns and rainbows and hotness until she was horribly betrayed. But it was super-weird how that season had no Final Tribal Council. IIRC.

            But seriously–Caramoan was the first season I watched, and with my incomplete understanding of how Survivor works at the time I thought Dawn was The Worst.

          3. I plowed through Philippines and Caramoan in about 3 weeks, so by the end I was pretty fatigued with Crying About Survivor, but at that point I had seen I think 14 or 15 seasons, so I had a little more context.

          4. We saw the mean girl a bit even though it was way overshadowed by others. I have not had a chance to watch but I definitely remember not liking her either. And we saw it in what she did to Dawn at the reunion.

        2. It’s unclear how much Purple Kelly was being punished and how much that was just what they had to work with. There’s a post-merge reward where Chase tells her to her face how weird it is that she never talks, so they may just not have had any footage to use.

    5. On Brenda and the incomprehensibly underused thing, she was also underused in Caramoan which makes me start to wonder if she’s generally boring with flashes of brilliance/good narration which results in the lack of use. She can articulate what is happening (again, better than most of this cast) but maybe not in the most interesting way

    6. Just a reminder: I love Jimmy Johnson. Matt only dislikes him because Johnson coached his favorite team’s rival (very, very successfully).

      And the cast is awful in a lot of ways: they’re boring, they aren’t good at telling us what’s going on, and they’re generally inept strategically.

      1. Had Jimmy Johnson lasted in Nicaragua, I feel confident in hypothesizing that he would have far and away been my favorite for this season. Because he kind of already is, even though he didn’t stick around.

        1. I think a flaw of Jimmy Johnson’s game (besides being ancient, which is his main flaw), is that he has too much of a reputation as a nice guy to protect. He could never really get down and dirty on this show because that could impact his main gig.

          I think Chase had the same problem: hard to start a country music career if you look like a scoundrel on national TV. This could explain a lot of his indecision throughout.

          1. I didn’t realize Chase was trying the country music route, that does make a lot of sense. And, I do agree about Jimmy, but this season could have used more nice people.

          2. Do you not know that Chase Rice has become a pretty famous and popular country music act, or just didn’t realize he was trying it then?

            (No judgments for not following the interchangeable nature of modern country pop stars. But apparently when we weren’t looking, Chase Rice became the second most famous-person-after-Survivor-for-something-other-than-being-a-former-Survivor).

          3. I had no idea he was trying at the time, nor did I realize he had achieved any sort of fame doing it. Good for him, though. I’m sort of surprised the show wouldn’t try to play up that association, but then again…Nicaragua.

          4. After I went to a phillies game this past year I saw that they were advertising that country music star Chase Rice was playing at the stadium next week! I was like… wait I think he was on Survivor…

  14. Jimmy T is like damn Judd, man!!???!?!?!? On his best day, Jimmy T is about 25% as entertaining as Judd. I hope you get bit by a freakin’ crocodile… Scumbag….

    1. Jimmy T is much more entertaining than Judd! Judd is just threatened by Jimmy T’s entertainingness! Why won’t you give Jimmy T a chance? Put him in, coach!

  15. I know that many of you have watched every season. Of you guys, how many have you re-watched? And what’s the most times you’ve watched a season?

    1. I’ve re-watched every season, and I’ve seen very few seasons more than twice. However, I think the recent HvV re-watch was #4, which is the most for me.

    2. Except Nicaragua, I’ve seen them all, and about half have been re-watched. Haven’t seen any of them more than twice either.

    3. I’ve rewatched Amazon and All Stars because they were the earliest seasons I saw. I remembered having no idea how Jenna won Amazon and thought a rewatch would help clear that up (it mostly didn’t).

      I plan on rewatching Palau since I missed an episode from it and enjoyed it anyway.

      I am not going to rewatch any bad seasons (with the possible exception of Vanuatu, due to age in my memory, but I probably won’t do that).

      1. I think Vanuatu is solidly in the middle of the pack, and probably rewards rewatching with the knowledge of how it turns out (in a way that, say, Palau doesn’t).

        1. I think my opinion on Vanuatu is close to Andy’s, although I don’t dislike Chris as much as he does. He had a great final tribal, but he did not mastermind the revenge plan others posit he did.

          1. had we paid more attention to the modern re-imagining of Chris we could have seen Donald Trump coming

          2. I am with you there. I distinctly remember Twila explaining the vote out Lee-ann plan to him and his skepticism.

          3. Chris is not particularly high on the list of things that make Vanuatu great surprisingly watchable. The season is less Chris’s story than the story of how the women let Chris happen. Plus, the war of the pudgy middle-aged men on the alpha bros makes the pre-merge pretty entertaining, and the speed with which alliances shift around from the swap onward is pretty advanced for only the show’s ninth season. Also, the way Eliza 1.0 drives everybody absolutely insane is quite amusing.

    4. There are still five seasons I haven’t watched. Since Cagayan, I’ve watched every episode twice in-season, but Nicaragua is the first season I’m rewatching in the traditional sense. Lol.

    5. Saw every season as it aired, have rewatched about four seasons (give or take an episode or two of one of them) once each. Have rewatched some episodes for things on this site.

  16. Yah, I think you nailed it Matt, the failure of nicaragua is not the characters in and of themselves, it’s that whether it’s the lack of narrators, poor episode production, or just things were not making any sense, you can never tell anything that was happening until it happened.

    1. As we go along, I think we’ll find that there is no single reason for the failure of Nicaragua. It is a failure on all levels.

    2. I think there are a lot of failures for this season, but I think the way the game will turn out forces production to lean upon people ill-suited to carrying a narrative load which only helps crumple the whole season under its own weight. Basically, if all the worst people make it to the end, then the season must rely on those people to tell the story whether they are able to or not. And these people can be bad for multiple reasons, whether it be an inability to convey what is happening in the game, being boring, or being like NaOnka.

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