Survivor Fan Friction – Adam Klein

Hey look, it’s more Fan Friction, the series of essays where one of our columnists writes an ode to one of their favorite Survivor players while defending them against any potential naysayers (both real and imagined). In this installment, Super Duper Fan sings the praises of Adam Klein.

Why He’s Great

Adam is probably the person I relate to more than any Survivor castaway ever. But at the same time I feel that every good trait that I have, he is much better at it. He was cast in his season, alongside Michaela and Zeke, to fill the role of a ‘Millennial who defies stereotypes’. Adam is smart, hardworking, easy to get along, and likable. There is even an argument to be made that he’s one of the best human beings to ever be on the show.

The first thing that anyone will think about Adam and his addition to the Survivor family is his “story”. It was one of the rare times where the outside-of-the-game situation of a castaway largely impacted the narrative of a season, a player’s arc, and in some ways even gameplay. Adam’s mother was diagnosed with stage IV lung cancer shortly after they both applied for San Juan Del Sur. But in the end he went to play several seasons later in Fiji, after his family- including his mom- convinced him to do so.

Adam had more of a burden on his back than many players before- he wanted to fulfill his (and his mother’s) dream to not only play, but to win. And he had to play the game while knowing his mother was at home battling cancer. And after many obstacles and bumps in the road, he managed to win Millennials vs. Gen X in a unanimous vote.

I personally haven’t felt so much investment in one player and his decisions in all the seasons I’ve seen. I felt like when he was succeeding in the game, I was succeeding in the game, and he was failing in the game, I was failing in the game, and him winning was a great ending to the great Survivor season. Adam was rootable, funny, and was playing the game until the very end, and he was a major reason for his season for being as fantastic as it was.

Haters Gonna Hate

He only won because of his ‘sob story’

It’s easily the most ridiculous argument there is against Adam. There is real internet proof of it being false. In the ‘Jury Speaks’ videos, which were filmed after last person was voted out, and before the Final Tribal Council, the jury gave us their mindsets going into FTC. And pretty much unanimously, they said that they were going to vote for Adam. Even the people who weren’t completely set on him, like Jessica, Zeke or Will, were still heavily tilting towards Adam. So this argument is wrong, girl bye.

He only won because he was sitting next to two goats

So? The whole basis of Survivor is surviving till the very end, and having someone there who the jury wants to award the money less than you. And it’s not like Hannah and Ken were just people who found themselves at the end with him, when they haven’t been really working together at all ala Bob in Gabon. Adam was allied with Ken since the swap, and with Hannah since the merge, and they all voted together ever since.

While it wouldn’t have been as easy, he definitely could’ve beaten Bret. And yes, he would likely lose against Jay and David, but he never even once considered being at the end with them. In short, he knew exactly who should sit next to him at the end, and did everything he could to make it happen.

He only won UNANIMOUSLY because he was sitting next to two goats

Yeah, I’m not trying to prove that he would have won unanimously against any other player there. But there is a reason that through 34 seasons, only 4 winners have managed a unanimous victory. Just because you’re sitting next to goats doesn’t automatically give you all the jury votes: Brian Heidik sat next to a goat; he was one vote away from losing. Bob Crowley sat next to two goats; he was one vote away from losing. Boston Rob sat next to what are widely considered two of the biggest goats in Survivor history; nope, still not unanimous.

I’m not arguing any of those wins weren’t well-earned (well, besides Bob). But to get every vote, every juror has to both respect your game and like you, which Adam managed to do. That deserves to be respected.

He’s a boring gamebot

First things first, I wanna say that if you find Adam boring, don’t like him etc., I likely won’t be able to convince you otherwise. That said, I just can’t see how you can find this guy at least interesting. He’s a super duper fan of the game, a person whose life has been turned upside down, and he’s trying to play the game which he loves despite all of these unbelievable things happening to him outside of the game. He somehow manages to not have a complete emotional breakdown out there, keeps his cool through most of the game (with a few moments of vulnerability). If that’s not interesting, then I don’t know what more can I say.

And calling Adam a gamebot is ridiculous. Players get called a gamebot now just for thinking a bit strategically, no matter how much value they put into the social game (which Adam clearly does). Gamebot has become a lazy way to suggest that you’re a bad character because you’re actually trying to win the game, and not having these “natural moments” (which, once again, Adam has).

He played sloppily the whole game

This is the most common critique of Adam amongst the super fans. I’ll say right away that I don’t find him one of the BEST players, or one of the BEST winners in terms of gameplay in Survivor. BUT I do think he’s a good player, and is very underrated among the fanbase.

The main critique of Adam’s game comes from the middle of the season, also known as the “Taylor the mason jar lover” saga. I’ll try to summarize it in a few points:

  • His conversation with Taylor after voting Figgy out, a.k.a. the “I screwed you” conversation: My only argument is that it wasn’t that bad. It’s something that I can’t actually prove- it just seemed to me to be a conversation that we didn’t see fully. But this series isn’t really meant for presumptions, so I will take a pass for this one.
  • Telling Taylor about the reward advantage: A lot of people tried to argue that Adam told him about it because Adam thought that Taylor was his ally. But my interpretation of it was that he tried to lure Taylor back in by making Taylor think that he trusts him. And he did this by sharing an advantage that he had. Plus, if Adam really trusted Taylor that much, he would’ve just showed his idol (phrasing). The only real mistake which he made here was telling Taylor that he’s targeting Will. Telling him about the reward steal advantage wasn’t that big of a mistake, because it wasn’t going to hurt Adam. Even if Taylor did tell someone about it (which he did), it wasn’t powerful enough that any of Adam’s allies would target him because of it.
  • Taylor calling Adam out at tribal council: I think this is one of the more overrated knocks against Adam. This goes back to what I said in the previous point that there wasn’t any real downside to people knowing about it. And it was true, because no one held him accountable for what was said about him after tribal. After everything that happened at the merge, he couldn’t prevent these events from happening. So he tried to defend himself against Taylor’s accusations as much as he could, and this event wasn’t mentioned again later by anyone.

But despite what some Adam haters may say, there was more to his game than just his interactions with Taylor. After he found himself on the wrong side of the numbers at the first vote (thanks to brilliant play of the Queen of Dragons herself, Michelle Schubert), he immediately began to work his way out of the bottom.

After the swap he found himself in the middle, and ultimately decided to vote out Figgy with Jessica and Ken. This set him up fantastically for the merge, because he sided here with the Gen X-ers but had people in his original tribe still wanting to work with him. Plus, he made a deal with Ken in which Ken promised to never vote against Adam- a promise Ken actually kept till the end.

At the family visit, he finally found a way to use the reward steal advantage: by telling others that he would not use it. Jay won the reward, and allowed Adam’s brother to join them. Through his brother, Adam got an update about the situation at home. After that he gave Jay the advantage out of pretext of thankfulness, which also led to him being picked for a reward later in the game.

Adam later sided with David’s side at the rock draw, because he could work better with them. And after it turned out poorly for his side, he (along with David and Hannah) convinced Will to flip to their side, despite Ken nearly screwing everything up with his “test”.

Adam also played his idol for Hannah as a hedge against the possibility of Will not flipping. And while in the end it was a wasted idol, it was perfectly understandable decision with the information he had.

After that moment, Adam and Hannah were the two people controlling how the rest of the game went. The cold killer Adam thanked Will for saving his alliance by immediately setting up Will’s blindside. He did so by convincing Bret and Sunday to vote with them, since they were pissed at Will for betraying them. That move ultimately gave his side a majority until the end of the season, and it may be one of his most underrated moves.

He let Hannah lead the charge in voting out Sunday to avoid making any unnecessary waves. Adam also convinced Jay to waste his idol, then voted him out at the next vote. At Final 5, he made one of his biggest mistakes- telling Hannah about the idol he’d just found. This spooked Hannah into changing the vote to Bret. But Adam and Hannah re-aligned at the next vote, and voted David out by convincing Ken to vote with them.

It was this combination of not-sloppy moves that let Adam win by a vote of 10-0-0.

Embrace Debate

Adam is a player who was playing to win from day 1, and was likable all the way through while doing it. His mistakes didn’t detract from his character, they expanded it.

I’m not trying to convince you that Adam was the mastermind of his season, or that he is in the pantheon of the best Survivor players ever, because he isn’t. I do maintain that his shortcomings are magnified, and that his strengths are often overlooked. Adam is someone who would do well in almost any season.

If he returns some day, he won’t have a chip on his shoulder (like, for example, Lex in All-Stars). Adam will be just grateful for getting another chance to play one of his favourite games of all time. And he’ll (in the words of the great Ciera Eastin) be there to PLAY THE GAME- not just for the fame. He also has the tools to actually win an all-winners season.

Super Duper Fan

Super Duper Fan

Super duper fan first found out about Survivor in May 2015. But it was Survivor: Africa which made him completely fall in love with the show, so he will always have it dear in his heart.

Favourite seasons: Micronesia, The Amazon, Cagayan, Philippines, Palau, Heroes vs. Villains, Millennials vs. Gen X

Favourite players: Cirie Fields, Rob Cesternino, Courtney Yates, Sandra Diaz-Twine, Yau-Man Chan, Adam Klein, the worldwide treasure Ashley Underwood
Super Duper Fan

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173 thoughts on “Survivor Fan Friction – Adam Klein

  1. 100% not trying to be a jerk, but the last sentence of the first paragraph seems to have some typos? Just FYI in case that was intended, lol

    1. In addition to pointing out the typos, you failed to point out that the post identified me as the author even though it was written by Super Duper Fan. That has now been corrected.


  2. 2 small gripes:
    1) Jay also had a minor to major part to saving Figgy at the Millennials tribal council by getting Michaela on board when she had every right to be with Adam, Zeke, and Mari
    2) Another big gripe about Adam is how his second idol is a little suspicious especially considering the timing of finding it.

    Overall, I would be interested in seeing Adam playing again when his dying mother is not in his head every second of everyday out there.

    1. Not everything is a conspiracy, Barbara!

      Also, why in the world would they have tried to rig that season so Adam would win it? Jay and David would both have been more interesting winners.

      1. Although unlike other disappointing winners (Aras, Vecepia, Michele) at least ADAM had a story.

    2. Yeah, I know Jay had a part in the blindside, I just didn’t feel that it was that important to include, plus I do personally think that Michelle had a bigger part in the blindside.

    3. While I agree with the sentiment that hiding a new idol after F7 is kind of stupid, I don’t buy that it was a pro-Adam conspiracy. I just think it’s emblematic of what got us too advantagegeddon, the idea that there always have to be idols floating around. I’d say like F8 is probably the last time an idol should be rehidden

          1. I personally think they should keep the idol count and restocking irregular. I see both the pros and cons to heavy idol use.

          2. I’m okay with both of those. It adds a bit more strategy. I just think there should be a late cutoff for hiding new ones, around F7 or 8

  3. I’m reserving final judgment of Adam until I complete my MvGX rewatch. My feelings during the original airing of the season were that he was annoyingly shouty (which came off as fake) in confessionals and that every plan he tried backfired horrendously. But I’m going to rewatch with an open mind, because I do think he got his game back on track at some point and so maybe I was just unfairly judging him based on my assumptions of how the game would play out (I was sure David was winning).
    I also want to say that I don’t think he won because of “pity votes” since I can’t remember that actually being a thing in the past either. In fact in the history of the show it’s really been more of a hindrance to players since everyone assumes the jury will vote based on pity so many emotionally compelling players have been voted out prematurely because of it.
    I still think Adam’s voice will always annoy me, but I can almost concede at this point that that’s his natural cadence and volume.

  4. I’d like to apologize as the editor of this post for not using editor’s notes to take digs at r/Survivor. Adam is forever tainted by being a Redditor.

    (In all seriousness, I did see that he posted there during the Zeke outing and was trying to convince them that maybe- just maybe!- the important thing to do in that moment was not to concern ourselves with how we could make Varner feel better.)

  5. For me, Adam is the ultimate example of a personal narrative that seems to affect every element of his game. Adam’s mother and his struggle to play under that pressure affected him throughout the game, and while he didn’t have a breakdown, it clearly weighed on him regularly. But more so, it weighed on his entire game. His social interactions were often defined by him telling people about his mother, his FTC was defined by his story, and on a number of occasions, he would justify his strategic actions as “I have to do this, so I can win, for my mom.” I’m not trying to put down his narrative, but rather, I think production so constantly attributed everything Adam did and represented to the narrative with his mother, that It was hard to see a lot his strategy and gameplay. When you pull it apart, his gameplay certainly has merits. As noted, Adam isn’t a hidden mastermind, but he isn’t a Michele Fitzgerald, and its unfortunate that people have lumped them together before. But I understand why people would leave that season unimpressed by Adam, because the takeaway that production gives you is “Adam’s dying mother spurred him to victory” and not “Adam won.”

    I agree that Adam would be great for a returnee season, particularly an all-winners season. He has a love of the game, brings a high level of joy with it, and it would be really fun to see how he plays when he’s a little less stressed and a bit more free spirited.

    Also, it’s interesting Adam gets so heavily knocked for his ’emotional story’ blurring his win, and Jeremy doesn’t. I mean, Jeremy’s story wasn’t as heartbreaking, but it was clearly portrayed as an important factor in Cambodia. Again, I’d question if this is the edit. We got clips of Jeremy talking about his family and his pregnant wife, but not NEARLY as often as we got clips of Adam talking about his dying mother.

    1. Similar to Zeke, he has to be in strong contention, if not a lock to be a Male Hero for HvV2. Plus, he is the youngest winner in the lot now by birth year, so that will keep him in the casting pool.
      The Adam/Jeremy comparison has always interested me because Adam’s story is either “I’m a super fan”, “my mom’s dying” or “I’m a super fan playing for my dying mom” while Jeremy’s “my second chance is for Val”. I also wondered if it helped that we know who Val is and we saw Val, so she is tangible. We never saw Adam’s mom on the show unfortunately. Also, another knock on Cambodia, is that Jeremy had a winner’s edit that was oddly joyless. Unlike Sarah (who seems to be utterly boring when she is on Survivor and not mocking Tony) or Michele (whose personality may just be hard to capture on camera), the editors tried to make Jeremy not one of the “fun people” on that season (not counting eating the balut or speculating if Abi-Maria is a Scorpio).

      1. I feel like Adam will almost definitely be on the next all-star/partial all-star season involving winners

    2. Good point about Jeremy’s story, and about Adam’s love of the game. I want to see more players out there actually enjoying the damn experience, there’s too much angst these days.

      1. That is one of the best things about MvGX: your endgamers were just happy to be there. Everyone who made it fairly far (minus Ken) was a fan.

        The Cambodia crew was happy to be there because they came close to not being there again. Of course, some of them maybe played up to their “fans” a little too much, but there was still some pleasure in being out there again.

        The Game Changers cast just seemed miserable to be out there.

        1. This is the legit truth. One of the hardest things I’ve found in the early seasons is that they really push this idea that players are ‘Surviving’ in terrible conditions, and a lot of the time production shoots itself in the foot with this. Because, they want to convince you of the struggle, but the result is segments where players are just complaining about how hungry, hot/cold, tired, itchy, generally uncomfortable they are. Compared with the seasons where people are just so excited to be playing and doing well, it can feel like a slog. Particularly Thailand and Africa, but also parts of Amazon and even Borneo. There is a good 5+ segment in Borneo about how ‘boring’ it is toward the end of the game to just be sitting around with nothing to do. Probably not a great sell to have your players telling viewers how bored they are, lol.

  6. I’ve said in the MvGx comments what I thought of Adam as a player/winner. I don’t think he’s a great winner – he made just as many bad moves as good moves, and the bad moves he made were just dumb – so if I ranked the winners I’d put him somewhere below the half-way point. But whatever – I have no problem with him winning against Hannah and Ken (although I think Hannah had a much better FTC performance than Adam, but it was too little too late for her at that point).


    As someone whose mother had cancer when I was a teenager, and at one point the doctors told her that even with the chemotherapy she would not live another six months*, I cannot excuse him for leaving home when he his mother has cancer so he could play a game show when he knows there was a reasonable chance she could die while he was gone. I don’t care if it was his lifelong dream, I don’t care if his family (and his mother) told him to go – of course his mother is going to tell him to go – if she’s anything like most mothers she is going to say “You go, I’ll be fine, this is important to you, don’t worry about me.”

    Adam can talk all he wants about how this was a family decision, and I applaud him for all the good he’s done since his mother died – but in my mind it was an incredibly selfish decision for him to leave to play Survivor. In that situation I never would have left no matter how much my mother told me to go. There would be no need for any discussion. Even if CBS said “You’ll never get another chance to be on the show” – there’s no way I’d be leaving.

    What if Adam’s mother had died while he was on the show? In his post-Survivor interviews I have heard “everything happens for a reason”, “there is a master plan”, “she survived long enough for me to make it home”, etc – I’m sorry but that’s just BS that people tell themselves to try to make sense of how life works out. Adam was incredibly lucky that his mother didn’t die a day earlier. It had nothing to do with God or fate.

    So my personal feelings about this situation (which have nothing to do with his game) are clouding my judgement about Adam’s worth as a Survivor player/winner. But I don’t care, it’s how I feel. And that’s why I can never look at Adam as a good player, because he made the worst possible decision before he even started playing the game.

    * My mother’s cancer went into remission and she is still around 30 years later, so I’m one of the lucky ones.

    1. So glad to hear your mother beat cancer! When I was off at college my mother suddenly and unexpectedly went into heart failure. I still feel guilty for not being there, even though by the time I could have gotten on a plane or train they had already installed a pacemaker and things were looking much better. I don’t know how I would have coped if things hadn’t improved and I was two states away just going to classes and hanging out with my friends totally oblivious.
      Then again, my best friend’s mom had stage IV cancer for like 3+ years until she finally passed away while he was studying abroad in Japan. It still haunts him, but he’d been saying goodbye to her for so long at that point that I don’t think anyone expected him to put his life on hold any longer.
      It’s so hard to think about and I’m sure Adam’s mother wanted him to live his dream, but you can see how rough it was on him. I can’t imagine how hard it was on the rest of his family having him gone and out of communication for that long, too. I would hope that if Survivor really wanted him they would have let him defer his casting for a few seasons (like Timber Tina, except I don’t think she waited quite long enough).

      1. I’m sure that Survivor would have made exceptions for Adam with regards to casting, or when he was out there if she suddenly took a turn for the worst. But he shouldn’t have been out there in the first place.

        1. I don’t think I would have made the same decision as Adam, but I don’t think it’s so black-and-white given that his mom was also a superfan, having applied for BvW2. I don’t think she gave her blessing purely because she was being a selfless mom (although partially that too, surely).

          Both of my parents died of cancer, and I can confirm that (sample size: 2) 1) you can’t put your life on hold indefinitely, and 2) things can be at an equilibrium for quite some time, then go south very quickly.

          1. My mother recently had heart problems and was in the hospital for 2-3 weeks, and there was a point where the doctors weren’t sure if she was going to make it (coincidentally, they thought her condition may have been caused by the drugs she had received during chemo 30 years previously, but no one could find those old hospital records, and her doctor back then had died). During that time, my sisters and I didn’t put on our lives on hold – we went on with our own jobs and day-to-day normal life duties. But none of us made plans to go on a vacation while we didn’t know what was going to happen with her. You can avoid putting your life on hold indefinitely and still not leave for months when there is a family medical emergency.

            And my mother is all right, she recovered from that too. She’s back at home still doing bookkeeping for the family business. She’s a trooper.

            Sorry to hear about your loss, ASD.

          2. You make a good point that “not putting your life on hold” and “going to a remote island in the Pacific where all outside communication is banned for 39 days” are pretty different things.

    2. In Adam’s defense, and I may be wrong about this, I don’t think they knew she was so close to the end. I have known terminal cancer patients who have lived years. Its simply impossible to put off your entire life to wait for someone to die when there is not really an expected timeline.

      (I say this as someone who has never gone through this with a close family member so am in much less a position to comment than others)

      1. I think it’s been said that she was in treatment before he left. My experience with dealing with cancer is luckily only this one example, but I do know that when someone is diagnosed with cancer and is receiving treatment for it, you don’t say “Well, I’m sure they’ll be around 3 months from now, I’m going off for personal reasons and I’ll be back later, I’m sure everything will be all right until I get back, it’s just cancer.”

        People can survive cancer, but it can also take a person very quickly. I can’t understand how someone could have a family member diagnosed with cancer and undergoing treatment and thinking that it’s all right to go away for a few months.

    3. First, I wanna say that I’m so glad that your mother survived cancer. I wouldn’t wish that situation to even to my worst enemy.

      Second, I wanna say that I perfectly I understand where you’re coming from on this. I personally would also never leave for that long my family, if something that terrible would meet them.

      The only thing that I can say to somehow excuse him, is that we don’t know for sure in what state was his mother before him going to Fiji. It could’ve been easily something that went south only during the game, and there wasn’t nothing saying that she would’ve die until then.

      And probably the second thing that makes me not feel as angry at this situation is that, I do believe in God, as a Christian-Catholic, and I do believe that things happen for a reason in life. Call it blind optimism, that the good is rewarded, and evil is punished, and that there is a life after death, like in some kind of fairytale. Will I somehow convince you that it was because of God? No. No, I won’t. And I’m not trying to. But it doesn’t mean that I myself will change my mind about this. Neither should I, neither should you, and I fully respect the stance you have on this matter.

      1. Well, we know that Adam knew that she had cancer before he left, and as I said in another comment, I’m pretty sure (but someone correct me if I’m wrong) that she was already receiving treatment before he left (didn’t his brother tell him during the family visit that she had stopped the treatment?). So I’m pretty sure that he knew how serious it was before leaving.

        And I don’t want to get into a whole discussion about God here, but if you believe in God, terrible things still happen in the world every day. So I’m don’t agree with someone who says “God wouldn’t let this bad thing happen to me.” Bad things happen to people all the time. Adam could have been as optimistic as he wanted, but he should also have been realistic and said “My mother could die while I was on the show and I would have missed out on those final weeks/days to spend with her and say good-bye at the end. I can’t put all my hopes in God keeping her alive until after I get back from the show.”

        And thanks.

        1. Oh, I definetely agree that just someone believes in God, that doesn’t mean that they are safe from bad things happening to them, it’s a really naive thinking that can really hurt you. It’s a complex thing to talk about, and I also don’t think that this is a time, or a place to talk about all things regarding faith and religion, so I’m glad we were able to left it in here.

          1. I mean, it could have just as easily been that Adam’s mother died the day afte rhe left for Survivor, or the day before he got home. There’s no “God’s plan” in her dying the day after he got home. And telling people that it was fate that she would live long enough for him to win and tell her about it is just giving people that may hear this story false hope about God stepping in and doing great things in their lives. People die – God doesn’t step in and delay someone’s death just so that they can find out if a relative won a game show.

    1. After he mangled it at the start too, he still managed to get good mileage out of it. It was probably his single strongest play

        1. I…had kind of forgotten about him being the main driver behind that. Because that’s probably the right answer

    2. The advantage that he said multiple times on the show was a great advantage, but in post-game interviews said that he knew at the time how terrible the advantage was?

      I know editing tricks are used on the show to pick and choose bits from confessionals, but some part of me doesn’t think that’s what happened here. There are just too many times where Adam talks about this advantage and how great it is, I really think the he legitimately thought it was a great advantage and would help him if he used it, and that once he saw the reaction from viewers he said “Oh, I knew it was a bad idea, they just didn’t show me saying that.”

  7. I really like Adam. Always did. We (and others) mocked his game play mercilessly during his season and we all had him at 0% chance to win. (Though, to either John or Andy’s credit, I am currently going through the MvGX podcasts since I wasn’t listening at the time and one of you marked him as a winner in the first episode). Adam was the first Survivor to make me cry since Jenna Morasca and he did it multiple times. I started out going for him, then switched to Jay when I developed my massive crush on him, then came back around when Jay got booted. The argument that Adam is a boring gamebot fascinates me since he was probably the winner with the most personality since Nat A. I like Adam so much that we can forgive him for being a redditor, especially since, as John said below, he called out the reddit community and other Survivors following the Zeke outing. I would 100% love to see Adam back. His social game was clearly A+ and he absolutely nailed the meat shield strategy Jeremy had set up two seasons ago

  8. Though I would’ve wanted an article about her, seeing Ashley Underwood anong the list of Super’s favorite players puts a smile on my face and warms my heart.

    And as a show of support for Super’s Ashley fandom and a good article here..

    Ashley Underwood, we’re forever grateful for what you’ve brought to the game. We are not worthy of the joy you bring us. (A brilliant statement Super came up with.)

  9. I agree he’s not “greatest of all time” material (at least not yet, as noted, he is the rare case of a Survivor winner I could see being able to pull off a second win under the right circumstances) but he was a deserving winner and a good player. I actually enjoyed the fact that his edit threw some shade his way during the season. It’s nice to see a winner who wasn’t “perfect” and who had to fight his way back several times to seize the victory. And I say all this outside of his personal story.

    He was also a great fan surrogate in a season that had several good fan surrogates.

    Do people really argue that he only won because of his sob story? Maybe he steals some votes because of that and he gets the unanimous win because of it (MAYBE) but he’s the clear winner at that FTC.

    And he only won because he faced two goats? Come on. That’s not a fluke, that’s good strategy. Hell the fact that he identified two goats AND managed to make the right moves to get them both in the FTC with him are several points in his favor, not against. I feel like most good players are lucky enough to just get one goat up there with them (ie: Sarah with Brad (legit contender) and Troy (goat))

    1. “Do people really argue that he only won because of his sob story?”
      Not people here, but they’re out there.

      1. I want to say that’s gross but I probably shouldn’t talk. I was in the “Jenna Morasca only won Amazon because of her sob story” for many years before I made my peace with it. I was a younger man then though…

        1. I remember having no idea how she won when I watched it live. Rewatching it 2 years ago let me see that Matt was creepy, but I still think she is the worst winner the show has had.

          1. According to unfounded rumors, Christy only voted that way because she was confused at FTC and thought you were still supposed to vote *out* the person you didn’t want. Probably utter rubbish, but it makes her arch 100% funnier if you just go with it.

          2. I honestly think it’s true, and the reason is that, when asked about it at the reunion, she has no explanation and is just kind of like “uh… outwit, outplay, outlast?”

          1. This is a good point. Having recently finished Amazon, I was sure that people would give Matt more credit for being ‘honorable’ and working hard, but he clearly scared people off. The fact that the show kept bringing up how creepy he was acting is important to understanding his loss, but it wasn’t edited in a good enough way to clearly indicate the reasons others voted for Jenna. Overall, I just think that whole FTC was a sloppy mess, and probably rightfully so. After Rob C bows out, no one really knew what to do anymore…

            It’s also interesting how often honor and trust and integrity are brought up in the early seasons (over and over and over) but never rewarded at FTC. Even the players who say “I tried to play this game true to myself” almost always admit you can’t win the game that way and give their vote to someone who ‘lied’ and ‘was strategic.’ It can be frustrating to watch, because even though i’m not a fan of the ‘integrity and honor’ strategy, those players often get snubbed at FTC by others who had the same strategy, specifically for having that strategy.

          2. The problem is that by saying you played with honour and integrity to get to the end, you’re implying “unlike you, filthy juror”. And also “voting you out was the noble thing to do”. No one wants to hear that.

          3. Yeah. Also, hindsight is a cruel mistress. Often the jury has had a lot of time to think about what they did wrong, what others did right, and how they could have played the game better. So, in Matt’s case, the jury was looking back at their ‘integrity’ game and comparing it to Rob C’s better strategy. The result being that by FTC, they had probably decided integrity wasn’t all they made it out to be, and thus rewarded Jenna for having the more strategic (more being the key word, not very, just more than Matt) game. A lot of that thought process is hard to have while keeping your integrity game on track.

            Matt also fell into the ‘too little, too late’ zone, where even if he decided to play more strategic, it was too late to build a suitable resume without looking like he abandoned his ideals. So, his only option was to stick to his gameplan and hope that he could swindle a few votes out of that.

    2. Yeah, claiming that someone only won because they had two goats is like saying someone only won chess because they got their pieces in a winning position. A lot of the early runners-up get shade because they made the wrong decision and chose NOT to bring the goat. We can’t say that Colby should have brought Kieth, but then also knock his game if he had done so…

  10. I cosign almost all of this. WRT the “YES, I SCREWED YOU” conversation, it seemed obvious to me even watching it in real time that the editors cut out the followup: “…BUT SOMETHING SOMETHING” (e.g., “here’s why its in our mutual interest to work together now.”). Adam confirmed that’s what happened in his long-form RHAP interview (yes, yes, not canon). It’s also an important milestone in the Great Edgic Wars, since Survivor would NEVER make the winner look stupid, so Ken is OBVIOUSLY winning.

    1. Of all the great things about Adam’s win, the fact that it threw off the Edgic community is possibly my favourite

      1. Some Edgicers say that it didn’t throw them off, but I think EVERYBODY thought it was David’s win. There was just some little touches that screamed winner looking back. The one I can think of is his “Survivor bucket list” confessional.

        1. David was the consensus choice. I remeber discussing that his arc was personal growth, not winning but even then, my backup was Jay. We all made the mistake in writing Adam off when we clearly shouldn’t have. I can’t remember where Edgic had him, but I feel anyone sold on his “winners edit” was spoiled

          1. I can understand Michele, but there is no way the show would show so little postmerge time and respect to a Ken if he won.

          2. I haven’t seen all of the season with unanimous winner and 2 finalists (Stephen gets a bye here because he is such a presence in Tocantins) but it often seems like one FTC goat is a big presence in the pre-merge and then disappears in the post-merge and the other one is a fairly steady presence throughout.

          3. Say what you will about Spencer and Tasha, but they weren’t invisible in the post-merge. Although Spencer was supposedly inches away from getting a vote at FTC.

          4. I think Tasha flat out disappears after that merge episode until the penultimate episode unless she is saying something like “I’m with you Jeremy”. Spencer is the one with the consistent edit.

          5. No, I don’t think we was widely spoiled but I do think if you were saying “100% for sure edit says Adam” you probably were

    2. I called ADAM winning going into the finals. The narrative of the previous episodes seemed devoted to him and reestablishing him as the hero. David seemed to drop off the earth after the Jessica boot and Ken seemed to be someone the players who were not devoted to him did not respect.

  11. Adam has to be one of the nicest, most sincere, most earnest players they’ve ever had on the show.

    No wonder I can’t stand him.

          1. I considered that, though that would render the first and fourth paragraphs of this piece incredibly masturbatory.

          2. Are you trying to say you are Adam? Or that you know who Adam is? Cause, even if the answer is yes, i’m not sure what proof you could give that would convince me…

          3. I don’t recall if you were commenting during MvGX or not, but Adam’s consistently screamy confessionals were a running gag of Diego’s, so any Adam-based content was delivered in all caps.

  12. Big Brother thread: Yeah, I don’t know what to say. This song basically summarizes all of my thoughts regarding BB19.

    And regarding my own first watch of all of BB seasons, I’m halfway through BB6, and I’m really enjoying it so far.

    1. I’ve been following along a bit on blogs/twitter and I am not regretting my decision to tap out on this season even a little bit

        1. I bailed after Cody won back in and Jess blew her HOH, with the intent of coming back after the halting hex was used. But then Josh won that HOH and I just couldn’t

          1. I’m glad that Cody finally decided to actually campaign this week (even though it will probably amount to nothing), but it’s so hard for me to actually feel any sympathy towards both of them, cause they played SO TERRIBLY. I’m almost impressed that they had several twists going for them and they somehow managed to screw up pretty much all of them. Jessica’s HoH reign was HORRIBLE, Jessica screwed up the Halting Hex, they didn’t play during the Temptation Competition during its 1st week, they were always in alne in some room not trying to socialize with others, and after Jessica didn’t win the veto she basically gave up, despite Josh not targeting her, and don’t get me started that extremely petty “spelling bee” fight which basically sealed all her chances of staying.

            I kinda like Cody because he’s such a unique character, but Jessica basically did nothing for me, and I think the only reason people even liked her was because she’s an underdog, but I don’t think they would have so much sympathy for her if she was in power position. Plus, I think the reason Paul has that big of a grip on this house is because they needed 4 weeks to actually get rid of Jody, and the house has solidified so much cause they all wanted to get rid of two targets for that long (like, seriously, it’s over halfway done and only 6 people were eliminated from 17, pluss there is not even a single jury member yet!). After Cody will most likely get evicted, I’m actually interested how the dynamics of the house will change after having to have other targets. It’s hard for me to believe that Paul will actually go soon, but we’ll see.

          2. Yeah, I was more optimistic before lol. But to be fair to production, it DID seem as a pretty good cast. It shows that it’s always hard to predict how contestants will behave in the game (and it’s not like I actually HATE this season. At least there was always something happening in each week, and I still have Alex as my guilty pleasure. Plus, while it’s hard for me not to see in F5 or 4, I still don’t think that his win is guaranteed yet)

          3. Maybe this is my hyper competitiveness talking but Matt is one of my most hated players in awhile. I can’t stand his vocal disinterest in winning the game. His actual plan is to bow out in third while Raven and Paul go to the final two. Not just words, he actually believes this shit. In his mind he won when he hit jury and got that extra money. He’s awful and it’s even ruining his eye candy appeal.

          4. Yeah, they should have gone straight for a big gun and nominated like, Paul and Christmas. Even if they didn’t get Paul, they could have exposed the cracks in the other side

          5. I think that they could also nominated Alex and Raven, and try to catch Paul promising either of them safety, so that they could nominate Paul after the Veto and actually have a chance of getting him out. But we’re talking about Jody, and they proved time and time again that they don’t think logically.

          6. That would have worked too. Really, any two of Paul, Christmas, Alex, Raven, Mark, Matt, Elena would have worked for the purposes of dividing the majority alliance. Not Ramses and Josh

    2. I’m still watching but I’m not sure I can defend that decision. I just need TV I can knit to right now.

  13. Alright, here’s my Adam critique in a nutshell: it’s not that he didn’t make moves, it’s that those moves really didn’t matter. Ultimately, Adam was able to be in a position to succeed because he was the THIRD most desirable FTC opponent once Taylor was eliminated. Maybe fourth after Will, but Will became dangerous for non-FTC reasons and thus had to be dealt with.

    Not only were David and Jay bigger threats than he (and thus it could be argued that he used them as shields… even though he wanted to eliminate both of them much earlier than they were), I believe that he would have lost to Sunday and Bret as well. And Zeke was also more dangerous. Jessica it’s harder to say, but she was dangerous to Adam’s position (because she’d have taken his position).

    So a lot of the things accredited to him just feels like window dressing. He survived because no one was particularly interested in him NOT surviving. Some people will argue, with reason, that this is a good Survivor play: to avoid being dangerous so you can avoid being targeted. You can win Survivor playing that way (as he did. As Michele did). But that style is not particularly interesting to me. Especially since LOTS of players play similarly and lose, easily. If Jay or David win a key immunity, Adam would have.

    1. If Jay or David won one of those final immunities and voted Adam out, Adam becomes mostly inconsequential and probably gets very little air time.

      1. I think Adam gets the same amount of air time win or lose. The steal a reward stuff was going to be a big deal regardless.

    2. My understanding is that Adam was the main reason Will stayed on his side after The Ken Test, so even though he didn’t need to play his idol then it was still because of work he put in that gave his alliance the numbers advantage.

  14. The comparisons between Adam and Jenna Morasca are pretty interesting. Both went on Survivor having an sick parent that could pass away during the filming. Both struggled with the stress of not knowing what was happening at home, and both fought really hard at certain points to get any information they could (Adam with his loved one visit, Jenna with her letter’s from home). Both managed to persevere despite the stress.

    The main difference would be, Jenna considered quitting a number of times because she was so spent and anxious about her mom. Adam never considered quitting from what we know, I would guess because he felt he had to do his best for his mom. Also, I believe Jenna only found out about her mom’s illness directly before shipping out, so she didn’t quiet chose to go with complete knowledge, more just chose not to quit after finding out. And of course, she returns for All-Stars and then quits 9 days in to be with her mom.

    I was wondering if the main difference could be the level of fandom at that point? When Jenna was playing, Survivor was at its height, but the idea of ‘superfans’ and people who had watched for years to learn the game wasn’t developed yet. So, without this ‘die-hard’ investment that Adam and his mom had, then Jenna may have felt less a need to ‘do it for my mom’ and less a personal investment in being on the show. In the same place over a decade later, Adam probably considered that he may never get another opportunity to play, and thus must make the most of it. But, I really don’t know. Just thinking out loud really, cause it’s interesting two people in such similar situations, with only a few major differences in how things turn out…

    1. ADAM was also more genuinely likable. The guy who works with the homeless, loves the show, and is playing for his dying mother is one of the easiest people to give a hero edit to.

    2. I think Rob has talked about how Deena, Jenna, and him would go off somewhere private and geek out about Survivor. I think a big component about Jenna and her mom is that she was so young (21 IIRC) so of course the two biggest experiences of her life are happening at the same time and it is the worst possible time.

      1. This is very interesting!

        I still think that the inherent importance of this experience was probably higher for Adam then for Jenna. Only 6 seasons in, Survivor was a huge fad around Jenna’s time, but it wasn’t a time-hardened way of life. For Adam, Survivor had existed for the majority of his life, and the fact that he and his Mom watched and applied for it together makes it more important to them specifically. Jenna didn’t have that.

    3. On a totally different level of comparison between Adam and Jenna, in terms of end game: they both won by bringing someone else’s goat to FTC with them: Jenna brought Matt, who had been brought along as Rob’s goat, and Adam brought Ken, who had been brought along as David’s goat. Both goats also betrayed the person bringing them at the last minute (Matt throwing Jenna final immunity, Ken voting David out)

      1. Very true. Though the ‘awaken goats to convince them this one move will hand them the game’ strategy has been employed by many.

          1. I mean, Sandra kinda spent a lot of Pearl Islands awakening goats, just to keep herself out of the target.

  15. In all seriousness, I think ADAM, while not the most dynamic player, is better than people give him credit for. He actively tried to boot the power players, and was the person most responsible for taking out Jay and getting him to play his idol. He played well to the jury, which was the fatal flaw of Hannah, who waited to vote out David until there was no one around to verify that she did anything. He actively sought and played Idols and was able to get out of some horrific positions.

    He also gave me so much personal joy that I cannot hate him.

  16. I’m curious to see how ADAM would do without having his mind partially consumed with his mom’s illness.

    1. David’s face makes this. It’s like he’s learning that the secrets to life is IN ADAM’S CROTCH.

  17. I have no idea how he really played because the edit was obviously trying to make him a surprising winner and I don’t trust everything he says post-game. As a superfan, he is obviously more likely to put a positive spin on his game.

    1. I enjoyed the cries from the edgic crowd after Adam won, along with the accompanying claims that the show had tried to trick them. The level of self-importance from a group that is *generously* about 1000 people out of Survivor’s 9+ million audience was so great.

      Also, can you name a single Survivor- superfan or ortherwise- that has ever given an interview that didn’t put a positive spin on his/her game? There are pre-merge boots that claim they were so close to winning and had these masterful, brilliant plans.

      1. Edgic, edit reading, whatever you want to call it does bleed into things like the Survivor Facebook page. You also don’t really need to be a part of “edgic” to find a lot of Survivor winners easy to predict. Adam’s edit wasn’t Jeremy’s or Mike’s or even Natalie Anderson’s, and I don’t think it’s crazy to think that they would try to disguise their winner a little better by throwing people off a bit.

        1. This once again shows how impossible it is to please Survivor fans. If the winner is too obvious, we call it predictable. If the winner isn’t obvious enough, we knock their game as boring and undeserving. I guess really, the perfect edit would equally demonstrate how a handful of players could all win, but how often have we seen that? It seems more often the edit swings back and forth, trying to avoid the “how did she win?” of one season by making the next super obvious, then trying to avoid the “of course only so-and-so can win!” by hiding the next one.

          But also, there is only so far editing can take you if one person does or doesn’t dominate a season….

          1. If an edit gives too many players agency and properly reflects how a season has many people doing many different things, people will complain that the storytelling is too “chaotic”.

          2. Yeah, right. So, it’s really almost impossible to set up a perfect winner’s edit. Either it’s too obvious, not clear how they won, or too chaotic and we don’t know how anyone won. #SurvivorFansAreDifficult

          3. I’m starting to think that there really isn’t such a thing as a “winner’s edit”, but rather that the “winner’s edit” is really just an emergent property of the editors trying to craft good individual episodes. It’s true that, unlike BB for example, the editors know who won and the order of finish. But think about what they have to do episode to episode: whittle down hundreds and hundreds of hours of footage into 43 minutes. Not only that, maybe half the running time consists of scenes where they’re basically just documenting what happened, rather than shaping a narrative (the aftermath of the previous week’s tribal, the challenges, tribal council). Add in scenes that are just too good not to include even though they’re irrelevant to the narrative (Mike Holloway eating a scorpion and getting sick, Keith driving a tug-tuk) and they have maybe 20 discretionary minutes to work with. Even then the priority is on explaining that week’s boot. Maybe it’s just that people who win Survivor usually do and say interesting stuff, and interesting stuff makes the edit, then we call that stuff their “winner’s edit*.

            This would also explain why winners who won primarily through their social game, like Natalie White or Michele or even JT to an extent, get so under-edited. While the things they did and said to other players got their FTC votes, none in isolation is interesting or significant enough to force the hand of an editor who’s focused on cramming all the good footage into the this week’s episode.

          4. People usually narrow it down to a couple contenders though, and it’s often not based on game positioning. Michele seems like the perfect representation of there being a winner’s edit. She had a lot of content, people just forgot about it.

          5. Yeah, I think Michele is an outlier in a lot of ways. It’s entirely possible that the editors said “oh shit, she won but she didn’t do anything. Better at least keep her visible in every episode”. I’m just saying that I’m starting to suspect that the “winner’s edit”, if it exists at all, is far from top of mind for the editors.

            Here’s an analogy: If you’re, say, 40 years old and meet somebody in a bar or whatever, and they ask you how you became (whatever your job is), it’s easy to craft a coherent narrative, but for most of us we were just trying to get from week to week the entire time.

            I will say that I’m sure the editors prioritize the stories of the players who go far in the game (with Game Changers Aubry being a notable and very strange exception) and that this results in a “not-winning” edit for players who don’t, particularly the mid-pre-merge boots. I also thing the rock-out edit is definitely a thing.

          6. I mean, I don’t disagree that players who are interesting, good narrators, or exciting to watch are going to get good edits regardless of their finish. But, I think the concept of a “winner’s edit” is simply that the editors choose a specific person to tell their point of view on a larger basis, and provide a greater sense of investment in that character. This can be through more confessionals, but also, more timely confessionals or a healthy number so we never forget where that character is and stands. It can also be selective editing, or how other player’s are edited to talk about them. While how much editors consider the winner in their work is uncertain, I think it’s fair to say they must considered it at least some in the choices they make.

          7. “we never forget where that character is and stands.”
            This, I think, is the most important. Even someone like Natalie White lays out her primary strategy a few episodes in and we never wonder why she’s doing what she’s doing because her original confessional still explains what’s happening at the end of the game. Contrast that with Sierra Dawn Thomas and even Carolyn (who gets a lot of screen time) in Worlds Apart, where we go for episodes without understanding their perspective.

          8. I can get behind this version of the winner’s edit, but I think they do this for almost everybody who’s important in the endgame, not just the winner. I still think, though, that some segment of the fandom way, way overinterprets the winner’s edit. Confessional counts, what kind of animal they cut away to, all that stuff is just so much Cliff Claven finding Nixon-shaped potatoes, if you ask me.

          9. Yeah, that’s true. I was just trying to gender-balance my examples of under-edited winners, but that’s a whole nuther topic.

          10. This is generally true. But in Cagayan, Andy and I were screaming “Holy shit, Tony won this season” shortly after the merge, and I don’t think it dampened my enthusiasm for the season at all.

          11. Yeah, there are exceptions of course. And Tony is such a unique case, because even when you thought you had him pinned down, he kept reinventing the crazy. So it was entertaining even if you thought/knew how he won (i was spoiled on my first go). Perhaps even more so, because knowing he won allows you to pay a bit more attention to the things he does. But, in general, one of the things consistently discussed when reviewing and ranking seasons is how obvious or not the winner was, and there seem to be more reasons to complain about it then to praise it, lol

          12. I considered mentioning Nat A in my comment above but I wasn’t sure what others thought of the edit. I personally didn’t peg her as the winner until the finale and I loved the slow burning vengeance edit. But I thought I remembered some people claiming it was obvious? I just know that I fell for every single one of the decoys lol

          13. I actually really like Adam’s edit too. Its a straight up “here is what happened” no pretending or polishing, like Nat A’s. I think that is the standard, but I understand its also not always possible, and the result was people being upset that OW Ken didn’t win

          14. I also think some of it depends on how much we like the winner. For example, I don’t often see people complaining about Kim Spradlin’s winner edit being too obvious (granted, there are plenty of other things to complain about with OW) or Sandra’s HvV win coming out of nowhere.
            I’m trying to come up with a few recent seasons where I objectively think the winner’s edit was handled particularly well, irrespective of how much I like/dislike the winner or the season.
            Maybe Sophie in South Pacific? Denise got a super visible edit in Philippines but it was always a toss up between her and Malcolm right up until she votes him out. And that’s kind of all I’ve got…
            It’s hard because, as you mention, sometimes the winner just dominates and there isn’t much the editors could do while still being true to the story as it unfolds.

          15. Sophie’s was good in everything but visibility. If she had like 50% more screen time they would have nailed, but she was way too invisible for being a finalist, an important player in the game, and a very entertaining person.

      2. I found both Spencer post-Cagayan and Nick post-KR to be pretty self-effacing and cognizant of the ways their games were deficient.

        1. Notably, you bring up two players who intentionally played the character of cocky young douche. Although Nick was pretty open about the fact that that really is part of who he is.

        2. Spencer post-Cambodia was really good as well. Large parts of the internet hate Spencer because of his character type, but he is extremely self aware of both his and other people’s games and how people perceived him out there.

          I’m almost regretting not doing my Fan Friction on Spencer now

          1. I didn’t include post-Cambodia Spencer because that dude just sounded beaten down by Survivor. It was kinda sad.

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