Survivor Cambodia hype man preview: Shirin Oskooi

In hip-hop music, a hype man supports the rappers with exclamations and interjections and attempts to increase the audience’s excitement. For Survivor: Cambodia, I’ll once again be serving as hype man for a few select players in order to help get you excited about both the player and the season. And since you knew it was coming anyway, today I give you: Shirin Oskooi.

“John, is this really necessary? Do you even need to hype Shirin? We get it. She’s amazing! Just stop!” you say. I have two thousand and two words for you:

Cambodia Shirin dance
Cambodia Shirin- me to you jump

You think I’m going to jump off the bandwagon now? I built this bandwagon! Shirin is the reason hype posts even exist! I read her CBS bio while listening to Lil Jon yelling “Turn down for what” (that’s why that song gets a mention in that post) and thought, “Holy shit, this woman is amazing. I must tell the world about her, weeks before they watch her on Survivor!” And was I wrong?

Shirin and Jeff Probst do a pregame inverted bomb dance

I was not.

A lot of people- my podcast partner Andy included– have suggested that it would be wise for Shirin to tone it down this season, to dial back her unbridled enthusiasm. Why? Because the wet blankets she was surrounded by found it so very annoying (exception: Max <3)? Would you assholes ask the sun to stop shining? Do you ask puppies to stop being so adorable?

Do you think I give a shit if Shirin wins Survivor? I’m the same person that demanded Tyson come back even after he couldn’t manage to just stick to the plan in Heroes vs. Villains. I want a great winner, but I really want to be entertained. I want Bob Dogg getting drunk in the Charmin Shack. I want Rob Cesternino telling me that he’s going to borrow Matthew’s car when Mateo returns to his home planet. I want Eliza Orlins yelling about fucking sticks.

Eliza Jason Micronesia fucking stick
But it has a face on it!

If Shirin wins this season, that’s great (and I will gloat about it relentlessly; see my reactions following Blood vs. Water). But if it’s some off-brand, hollowed-out husk of Shirin calmly cutting throats on her way to victory, I’m out. That is not the Shirin I signed up for. I want the pure, unadulterated Shirin experience; the one that’s like snorting a 5-pound bag of sugar. Is that Shirin going to show up?

Cambodia Shirin popping out of bushes
Signs point to yes!

Are you questioning my motivations? Maybe you’re suggesting this is all some convoluted scheme to get her to tell me who wins this season? Do you think I just hype Shirin because she took time out of her busy schedule to acknowledge me?

Cambodia Shirin- Google calendar
Check her calendar. It was full.

Well, she did slum it and allow us (mostly me) to interview her. Twice. But I have years of dating experience that prove I do not require acknowledgment from a woman to remain interested. And honestly, how could I not be invested in a woman who does the Mr. Burns “excellent” fingers during her official CBS pre-game interview video?

Cambodia Shirin- excellent and then

Could she be gone too soon from this season? Yes, because any time before day 39 would be too soon for me. And after reading Shirin’s pre-game interview with Josh Wigler, I’m already nervous. Partly because of this quote from prolific people watcher (and epic troll) Kass:

Cambodia Shirin- Kass need time off

Still, what does Kass know? It’s not like when she played last time she was surrounded by people that hated her and said terrible things to her, right? Oh, right. Shit. (I’d be less worried about this if Rob Cesternino hadn’t brought up the exact same thing when he interviewed Shirin before Second Chances.)

But read some of those other preseason interviews and watch the videos. People are looking to align with Shirin. And some of them might even be enjoyable people with a sense of humor! Do you think Jeff Varner or Kelley Wentworth are going to roll their eyes if Shirin re-enacts howler monkey sex for them? Spencer and Woo have already proven that they are amused by human imitation of animal acts. And the fact that Shirin loves talking about Survivor shouldn’t grate on Stephen, unless he secretly hates Survivor and talks about it on a podcast only because podcasting is so insanely lucrative.

The point is, there are people here she can work with. She even suggests that she’ll form a Babe Brigade alliance in that Wigler interview! Wentworth, Monica, Ciera, Abi-Maria, and Shirin? Sign me up for the Babe Brigade fan club! (I also like that it’s abundantly clear who the Natalie Bolton of that group will be.)

Black Widow babe brigade Shirin Kelley Abi Maria Monica
Natalie Bolton 2.0 will ask, “How does your Survivor gameplay translate to the bathroom?”

I get that there are people that watch this show that don’t like Shirin. Those people are fucking wrong. I know we’re supposed to pretend that everyone has a right to their opinion, and that all opinions are equally valid, but that’s bullshit. If you don’t like Shirin, the problem is with you.

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John is the co-host of the Purple Rock Survivor Podcast. He can get loud too, what the fuck!

Favorite seasons: Heroes vs. Villains, Cagayan, Pearl Islands, Tocantins, Cambodia
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24 thoughts on “Survivor Cambodia hype man preview: Shirin Oskooi

  1. I feel I should clarify, because I think there’s been a lot of confusion about this: it’s not that I find Shirin annoying. It’s that I find YOU annoying.

    1. In a similar vein as indescribable hat, I think it’s hilarious that his super Shirin fandom drives you up a wall, and I am 100% team Shirin/John.

  2. I agree 100% about Shirin being entertaining. I am looking forward to her confessionals this season more than anyone else’s.

  3. Babe Brigade: Black Widow Alliance with 100% more crazy…I like it. I don’t know how plausible it is, but I like it. My only question is who will be the Alexis? Peih Gee? If it’s her, I don’t like the classification.

    1. Going by Shirin’s interview, it would be Ciera. But if we were making my ideal Babe Brigade, it’d be Shirin, Kelley, Peih Gee, and Monica (Monica wins out over Kass only because “Babe Brigade” implies sex appeal.)

      1. I could see Ciera as the Alexis of the alliance. I could also see Abi-Maria or Peih Gee as the Eliza of the group who would make crazy expressions on the jury when the rest of women are working their magic at Tribal.

    2. Shirin is the Cirie (the smart, giggly one), Kelley is the Parvati (the deadly viper), Tasha is the Amanda (the good-in-challenges, subtly arrogant one), Abi-Maria is the Natalie Bolton (the nutbar), and Monica is That Girl (oh wait she’s in this too!).

      1. Well thought out. However, if the previews that show Monica and Joe in a potential showmance are to believed, we could see Ozzy Version 3.0 (Joe) being voted out by this Babe Brigade while Monica is the true Amanda figure who didn’t see it coming. However, Monica is not that good at challenges.

    1. I tried not to jinx it. But if you think I’m obnoxious now, just imagine me after a Shirin victory.

  4. I didn’t really want Shirin on this season. It’s not that I don’t like Shirin, because I do. She’s fun and enthusiastic and all that stuff. It’s just that it feels like she brings out the worst in the people around her. Everyone found her annoying, and though some people eventually got over that and came to like her, it really kind of skews our view of these people when they insult and/or are mean and/or are just annoyed by someone who is an audience surrogate in terms of their enthusiasm for the game.

    People’s annoyance and/or dislike for Shirin has a tendency to turn us against people I don’t really want to be turned against. And it’s not completely fair, because in close quarters with Shirin for days and days might be tough compared with the enjoyable 40 minutes or so of her we get just on our TV.

  5. I wish I could share your enthusiasm, John. Shirin is brilliant, and her enthusiasm is infectious. (I don’t share her particular sense of humor, but that’s true of lots of survivors.) But last season I found myself getting weary every time the story shifted to her.

    With only so many hours to tell the season’s story, I don’t want a character who (literally, in her promo shots above) jumps up and down and waves her arms for attention. I would rather watch people do things that further their game, like steal coconuts or build ridiculous spy shacks.

    The bullying that occurred last season was inexcusable and deeply uncomfortable to watch. After Max left, Shirin found herself in the hopeless position where nobody wanted to play with her. Maybe this season will be different. Maybe she’ll make real allies and do amazing things. But if we’re in for more “Shirin the outlier,” I don’t want that story on my TV. It’s completely unfair to her, and I don’t blame her for getting bullied, but unless the show can show me a happy, thriving Shirin (in relatively equal proportion to the other dynamic characters on this season), I’d rather not see her at all.

    1. Those are valid concerns, and well-stated. Hopefully what we’ll get instead this season is infectiously enthusiastic Shirin working from a position of strength.

  6. My ideal for Shirin this season is that she makes it a couple places farther, while in a power position, only to get blindsided by an excellent idol play. I think she’d be as happy with it as the audience.

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