Welcome to Survivor Analyst Russian Roulette, where the authors of this site are randomly assigned contestants from the upcoming season of Survivor: Game Changers and must give an honest assessment of what to expect from them. Next up: Debbie Wanner.
Editor’s note: Since six entries didn’t feel like enough for this series, we invited some more regular contributors to the site and put them through the randomizer. We’re not saying that the gods were punishing Mike Hirsch for being flippant, but we’re also not NOT saying that.
When given the chance to write about one of the contestants for this season of Survivor, I jumped at the chance with the outward confidence of a Ron Swanson, but inside was feeling the panicky “Nooooooo!” of a Tom Haverford. What if I got Ozzy? Good God, y’all, what if I got Ozzy? But fortune smiled upon me, and instead of Ozzy or some other douche, I got Debbie. Debbie the Strange. Debbie the Many-Chyroned. She for whom puzzles like lovers lay down.
To be completely honest, I had forgotten entirely that Debbie was going to be on this season until an hour or two before I started writing this. So this should be fun!
Analyzing Debbie’s game in Kaoh Rong is a bit of a challenge, because the show went to great lengths to paint Debbie as an eccentric oddball, and not as someone to take seriously (as evidenced by the “Derp” music that seemed to follow her around for much of the pre-merge). Debbie was a master of all trades (source: Debbie), and never met a single obstacle in life that she had not already overcome in some capacity at one of her many, many previous jobs. She would have you believe she could accomplish any task, and talked at great length about doing so.
That said, there was a method to Debbie’s apparent madness. She knew that her fellow players wouldn’t take her seriously, and tried to use that to her advantage. And temporarily, at least, it worked: she properly worked out that Peter and Liz were trying to take charge of the Brains tribe, and managed to solidify an alliance with Aubry, Neal, and Joe to quash that. She also was able to align with Cydney and Michele after a swap, setting the table for a strong women’s alliance (plus Joe and Neal) come the merge. Debbie was styling! Damn, Debbie!
So what happened? Basically, her game fell apart at the merge. She made some questionable moves, such as telling Tai they were in an alliance after a ten-second conversation. And she was not at all concerned with things she should have been concerned with, such as the potential for Scot to have an idol and whether or not her alliance needed a backup plan. Ultimately, Aubry and Cydney had enough of dealing with Debbie, and rather than risk being idoled out, voted her out shortly after the merge. Damn, Debbie.
If Debbie starts off the game as kooky, daffy Debbie, she could make everyone forget the glimpses of shrewdness she exhibited in Kaoh Rong (look, I’m not saying they were constantly evident, but they were *there*, dammit), and she could lull them all into the notion that she is harmless enough to ignore for the opening rounds of the game while bigger targets need to be…um…targeted (I have misplaced my thesaurus).
Once the merge hits, Debbie drops her façade, forms a women’s alliance again, kindly asks Tai if he’d like to be in their alliance and lets him respond, and then manages to steer that ship all the way to the final 4. Then, at the final immunity challenge, it turns out that…what’s this? It’s a puzzle! The puzzle somehow literally lays down for Debbie, and she saunters right past it for a win. This remarkable event is all anyone can talk about at Ponderosa, and at Final Tribal, she sweeps the votes without have to once utter a single thing. She merely gives each juror a knowing nod.
Debbie has the double-edged sword of coming into this season as one of four Kaoh Rong cast members. It wouldn’t take much for the Kaoh Rong 4 to pull in a few other players and find themselves in the majority once the merge hits. However, it wouldn’t take much for the Kaoh Rong 4 to pull in a few other players and find themselves in the majority once the merge hits, and everyone else playing will likely know this. The Kaoh Rong 4 could find themselves quickly outnumbered in the early stages of the game while they are split up amongst the tribes, and Debbie seems like an easy vote in that regard, as Tai probably would contribute more in challenges, and also probably talk less? Debbie could very easily rub people the wrong way. The first time her tribe loses, Debbie could be in trouble and gone.
Most likely scenario
Despite the possible disadvantage of having 1/5 of the Game Changers cast hailing from her season, Debbie should be able to lay low and let some of the more obvious threats be eliminated in the pre-merge, and will likely be seen as a potential goat to protect and bring to the end by several players (I’m looking in Andrea’s direction, due to her frequent dealings with Phillip).
Whether or not she manages to get to the end (as a goat or otherwise) depends entirely on her ability to rein in some of her over-the-top tendencies that completely dominate every facet of her personality. I wouldn’t take that bet. Essentially, I think Debbie is the likeliest candidate from this cast to play almost exactly the same game as she did the first time around, note for note. I think she’ll hit the merge, form an alliance of people who are willing to let her serve as the de facto leader, and then let that alliance take her out as soon as they feel she’s too much of a question mark to be relied upon as a vote. I’ll say she ends up in 10th place.
Read the rest!
- Jeff Varner by Andy
- Andrea Boehlke by Sharculese
- Tai Trang by John
- Caleb Reynolds by Mark
- Sandra Diaz-Twine by Kemper Boyd
- Cirie Fields by Emma
- Zeke Smith by Barbara Anderson
- Sarah Lacina by Black Dynamite
- Malcolm Freberg by Diego Armando
- Ozzy Lusth by Gouis
Other Game Changers preseason contestant content:
Favorite seasons: HvV, Pearl Islands, Tocantins, Cagayan, Cambodia
Favorite players: Earl Cole, Sandra Diaz-Twine, Kelley Wentworth, Boston Rob, Jay Starrett