Survivor Fan Friction – Denise Stapley

Introducing our latest 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). This isn’t a place to be fair and balanced. This is a chance to let your fan freak flag fly. Let’s continue with EmandScoutinBK’s response to all the Denise haters out there. Wait… is there such a thing as a Denise hater?

Why She’s Great

“I don’t pray for anything. If anything that’s gonna get me to the end of the game, it’s gonna be me.”

Denise Stapley is a not just a Survivor player that I love. Denise Stapley is a person that I aspire to be. Denise is the type of winner that keeps me watching this show because I truly admire her. It’s no surprise that she’s a therapist (and, yes, Iowa’s only AASECT Certified Sex Therapist as well). Several reactions to Denise’s personality from fellow fans aside include: “I want to marry her”, “I want to be her when I grow up”, “I want her to be my mom”, “I want to hang out with her”, and “I want her to be my therapist.” All of these reactions are valid, and all of them are very telling. This is the primary reason that she won.

Denise showed up in the premiere with her functional cargo green pants and black tank. And despite being, by all appearances, a heterosexual woman, she probably came the closest to representing my soft butch style on the screen as anyone to date (and no, I’m not nearly as buff and would not wear a bikini). And that’s just it about her – I saw myself in her. And that’s probably a very common occurrence for the people around her. Denise has the ability to connect with people on a level that I have not yet seen in other players. Perhaps it’s her training as a therapist, but more likely, she’s a good therapist because of her natural intuition with others and ability to put them at ease.

Look at her thought process regarding Zane, for example:

“I’m really curious about Zane because, at first, you go, G-d, this kid is trouble but then, you look closer and you go, ok, wait a minute; look closer at those tattoos. He’s lost somebody. There’s a death date of somebody on his arm, and he’s got the serenity prayer on his hands. So, part of me is kinda of hoping this guy’s got some story, and if nothing else, I’m curious about his story.”

Her meticulous attention to detail allows her to notice these important pieces of information about Zane early on. And when she says she’s genuinely curious regardless, I believe her. That curiosity likely comes across in her conversations with others and allows her to build strong alliances (or, at least, give the appearance of wanting to do so). Granted, Zane was not the most important person to the season, but she gained some insight into his personality, and it’s telling of her ability to read people.

But as much as she may put people at ease, she doesn’t bullshit them either. Case-in-point: after the merge episode where she votes for Penner, Penner directly asks her if she voted for him. Unlike Jeff Kent, who’s full of excuses, Denise admits it without qualification. When he asks why, she says something to the effect of, “I’ve got my own strategy; I’m playing my own game, and if it blows up in my face, it blows up in my face.” She tells him the truth, and she doesn’t rub it in. Short of some brilliant, undetectable lie that magically explains everything (which Sandra probably could’ve pulled off), it was the perfect thing to say.

Denise may have appeared to play a quiet game, but she dominated the game she was playing. She went to every tribal council but somehow managed never to be truly in danger. The only time she faced any real potential danger was at the final four vote and, even then, she was never actually in danger – Lisa and Skupin were always voting Malcolm. Thus, the alternative timeline where Malcolm agrees to Denise’s proposal of voting Lisa would’ve resulted in a tie between Malcolm and Lisa – not Denise and Lisa, as she had suspected.

And we can’t talk enough about the fact that she is the only contestant ever to attend every single tribal council. She’s the ultimate underdog, and we were rooting for her. Imagine the toll that should have taken on her – the mental and emotional stress it should have put her through, in addition to the physical effects of Survivor. But we never saw it. She barely broke throughout the season – just once due to an insect bite. She toughed it out and became the oldest female winner. She managed to do what contestants like Dawn Meehan couldn’t do – no one held her motherhood against her (and of course, nobody should), which is incredibly difficult and speaks to her ability to shape how the contestants view her. And she certainly didn’t win because of a lack of competition – Lisa Whelchel played a strong second place game.

Speaking of strong…

Haters Gonna Hate

All Time Great?

I mean… Some people may not think she’s one of the best of all time, but YOU’RE ALL WRONG. You’re just wrong. Despite being popular among subsections of fans, she’s never quite gotten the respect she deserves as a winner (which is all of the respect – ALL OF IT). For example: that Hall of Fame is still missing her name. But we don’t have to travel to other parts of the internet to see her get disrespected. For some reason, this site did not vote her ahead of J.T. Thomas in the winners bracket this year, and I will never forgive any of you who contributed to that outcome. J.T. GUYS?! REALLY?! Still think he’s a better winner?! FIGHT ME.

But Abi… and Malcolm!

So let’s discuss potential weaknesses on her season: she has zero chill about Abi-Maria. But then again, who does? And also, she convinced Abi to vote for her at the end and handled her quite well at final tribal council.

Arguably, the only potential mistake that she ever made was not being willing to vote out Malcolm immediately at final four. However, we don’t actually know if she would have voted him out or if she was just proposing a tie vote to him to take the target off of her, a la the Russell vote earlier in the season. We never got to find out because he didn’t agree. However, assuming she meant it, if Malcolm had agreed and Denise never approached Lisa and Skupin for their votes, she could have wound up facing Malcolm in the finals, which would have threatened her victory. Whether she could have beaten him in final tribal council has been a source of contention for years.

The popular theory is that Malcolm takes it with the Petebro contingent, but it’s hard to say in hindsight. Denise rocked her final tribal performance, so if there was anyone on the fence, she certainly had a chance at swaying them. Ultimately, it’s impossible to know, but more likely it wouldn’t have happened. Denise’s interviews suggest that she always intended to vote against Malcolm before final three, save for an immunity necklace around his neck.

Embrace Debate

Denise is an ideal player. She’s physical, she’s brilliant, and she’s emotionally intelligent. She understands every facet of this game. She knows how to listen, and she knows how to talk to people. And yet, while she has this incredible skill to appeal to so many different people within the game, it feels genuine. It’s not a put-on. That genuine quality makes her utterly likeable. This isn’t just who she is in the game – this is who she is outside of it as well: a genuine person willing to engage openly, empathetically, and respectfully with the people around her.

Denise has earned her spot in history, rounding off a trio of strong woman winners after Sophie Clark and Khaleesi Spradlin. But unlike Clark and Spradlin, she was on an actually enjoyable season with undoubtedly strong competition. A disappointing winner (in the eyes of fans) would’ve hurt the season’s reputation greatly (See: Kaoh Rong). And this is certainly not to take anything away from Clark and Spradlin- as they are two of the greatest- but Denise’s win was satisfying in a way that theirs weren’t because Denise was more relatable than both of them.

But it’s not just that. Denise basically looked Survivor in the face, said “Yeah, I got this,” and did it, no matter what obstacle she faced. Losing every challenge? Big deal. Tribe swap? I will make myself integral to the group. Every single goddamn tribal council? I am like iron – you cannot break me.

Because that’s how she rolls. She’s a BAMF and she knows it. After three dark seasons of Survivor, Denise provided us the win we needed that year to give us the combination of entertaining season and a winner that we could love, and it was that very thing that reinvigorated my love for this show. She was the underdog we needed, the badass we needed, and the good guy we needed to root for in the end. Denise represents Survivor at its best because she represents the best of us. I can only hope to see her in an All-Winners season someday where she will almost definitely be underestimated by every single member of the cast. And that’s why she’ll win.



Em has watched the show since the first season, though her enthusiasm for it skyrocketed during Philippines. Her favorite Survivor-related moment was when she and her best friend of several years both realized that the other was secretly a huge Survivor fan as well. Em also has a crush on Ken McNickle, which is very confusing for everybody.

Favorite seasons: HvV, Pearl Islands, Micronesia, Amazon, China, Philippines.

Favorite players: Sandra, Denise, Yul, Parvati, Kim

213 thoughts on “Survivor Fan Friction – Denise Stapley

  1. Yay! This recent rewatch of Philippines has vaulted it up in my rankings. And Denise played a nearly flawless game. She had a few breaks go her way (Penner refusing to commit to ally with Lisa and Skupin is the chief one), but what winner hasn’t? Doesn’t change how stellar she played.

  2. I love the scene in the 4th episode before the vote where she and Russell talk. Denise has already decided that she’s voting for him, and is probably fairly confident that Malcolm is voting for him too. But she takes the time to talk to Russell and give him a free therapy session where he opens up about a childhood fight. There’s no reason for her to do this – it’s likely that she liked the chance to do something that reminded her of her home life. I remember when this aired that I hoped Denise would set-up a psychiatric booth and provide free sessions for the other players.

      1. By this point both Malcolm and Denise suspected that Russell didn’t have the idol. And I think that this therapy session took place right after the challenge (where he had blown up, again) – they saw him digging for the idol at the shelter corner for the idol much later.

  3. To me Denise only ever had one fault: Malcolm existed. No knock against her, but Malcolm was more charismatic and a larger focus of the season. His F4 boot was a lot like when David lost in MvGX; it seems like this was his story and he got taken out at the last possible chance, and after that I didn’t really care much who won.

    Over time I’ve come to appreciate that Denise is arguably one of the most impressive winners (every F’ing tribal?) and it was good for the show in the long run to have that type of winner, but I don’t fault people who had an initial grudge. We were all just drunk on Malcolm.

    1. You also had Lisa who was probably the only successful actress they ever had and was more charismatic and had a meltdown and recovery. A good portion of the audience grew up watching her on tv.

  4. I love the episode 4 tribal where Malcolm and Russell act out how Denise would be at the final tribal and how the jury would react to her. Such a great moment, especially when you know how the season goes.

    1. Foreshadowing is one of the best things for rewatches, and has made Pearl Islands so much fun for me thus far. Johnny Fairplay said that Sandra won’t make final 4. In fact, he has ‘a mil’ that she won’t be final 1. She proved him wrong twice, lol.

    2. Its funny because its exactly like Brendan talking about JT but is not brought up nearly as much

  5. In my ill fated attempt to rank winners (never do it) a few a months ago, I surprised even myself when I ranked her 5th. She’s an elite winner and her social game is so magical. You know she had the skills and you need to cut her but she has a way of just making you feel so comfortable, so at ease, that you can’t help but want her around. She gets along with so many different types as well. I believe she makes it far in so many cast formations, which cannot be said for a lot of players. I do think Abi is a legit weak spot in her game but the way she combats that with selling the idea that it’s not “honorable” to take her to the end and have that idea actually go over is brilliant. Denise is amazing.

    1. I think if she played again with other returning players she could win. While it would depend on the players and how many winners were in the mix, I think she could avoid being targeted for a while.

  6. Today in ‘sharculese was a weird indie college kid in the mid aughts’: I can’t read the title of this feature without thinking of this:

      1. tbh I thought most of that album was an okay re-tread of stuff Another Sunny Day had done fifteen years before them, but this song is a fucking gem.

  7. I don’t like that we have lawyers writing stuff on this site. It makes my writing look like shit in comparison. Boooooooooo.

    On a different note, I don’t understand how Denise doesn’t get more love, specifically among casuals. Tina Wesson is a beloved castaway, but everything Tina does well, Denise does better. Does that just boil down to Tina being an OG legend?

    1. I didn’t really know that Tina was considered that huge a legend, except for the legendary elements of being the Season 2 winner and a winner at all.

      1. Wow yeah. These article’s could be a never ending snake of rants on rants on rants, each triggering the next defense…

        1. For about half a second I thought about writing a defense of JT 1.0, but Game Changers exists and I actually fully agree that Denise is one of the all-time great winners.

          1. Somewhere deep in the PRP archives I said that as a Survivor player I’d either be blue-state JT or male Denise. I need to go back and edit that.

          2. Honestly I thought about writing one for this but then I found an article that describes JT’s game and defends it better then I could ever write about it.

          1. You guys only have one channel? No wonder everybody watched that dumb hobo-dog show!

          2. We have 3 channels! CTV, CBC and Global (formerly MITV).

            We also have just gotten internet, and have just stopped the practice of putting our elders on ice flows when they turn 70

            And that dog saved hundreds of people!

    2. I think it is because she was a winner, and huge character for the most viewed season. Plus, I think tit’s hard getting the legend status after HvV, after just one appearance. The only one I think KINDA pulled it off is Tony.

    3. Pshhhhhhhh your writing is fabulous.

      I consider Denise the superior player. I didn’t think Tina had THAT much love among casuals, but it looks like you’ve seen it. My guess is that the popularity of Australia was something that Survivor will never see again, so that alone elevates Tina among casuals.

      1. I wasn’t fishing for that compliment, but I’ll take it anyway. Thanks. Though I would hold on that until after my next post goes up; I tried to take it in a different direction with an unusual sort of argument, and I’m not positive it works.

        I think you’re right regarding the popularity of Australia. I know the hype height of Survivor in the mainstream was during its early seasons, but I always forget that it probably peaked in the Outback. I think it buoyed the popularity/public awareness of almost everyone on that season, but Tina and Colby especially.

    4. I think its OG but in a weird way. Liking Tina as a winner has become “trendy” because at the time, people thought Colby the challenge beast should have won, but as we got further away from the season and people began appreciating the social game, Tina became more respected. I think Denise has a similar problem, being overshadowed by Malcolm (which has a lot to do with how Survivor portrays men vs women, but that’s a different topic) but as we get further away from Philippines it will become trendy like Tina’s win did and she will become more beloved

    5. The first thing we have to do when we get submissions from lawyers, without fail, is search/replace all their two spaces after a period.

          1. Who made this decision? I wasn’t informed. Good thing I’m not an English teacher anymore.

          2. 2 spaces or GTFO.

            I didn’t spend days in grade 11 Typing class typing rows of a period followed by 2 spaces just for millennials to undo all of that.

          3. I bet Ken would was poetic for hours on the beauty of 2 spaces after a sentence-ending period.

          4. Hey, don’t blame millennials. Blame grammar organizations and companies who make ridiculous and arbitrary changes to grammar standards simply to sell books of the ‘latest’ version.

            I feel like every other year in high school and college we switched between the Oxford comma being required or the ultimate crime. Who gives a fuck about an Oxford comma! (eh, EH?)

          5. Millennials are to blame for all erosion of language in the past few years, with their abbreviating words, not using punctuation, and their complete lack of semi-colons.

            When I was in school, it was 2 spaces after a sentence-ending period, and that’s the way it had always been. The rules didn’t change until millennials came along.

          6. I learned double spaces when I was in high school and I am generally considered the exact median age for millennials. All it really means is that I was able to adapt when the rule changed.

          7. It’s not arbitrary. Double spacing after a period made sense when everyone used typewriters and the only way you could type was in a fixed-width font, but, now, when we’re all using Times New Roman, it’s basically a waste of time because nobody can tell.

            I don’t care enough to tell someone they shouldn’t double space, but I understand the idea of having a consistent stylesheet.

          8. I was more insinuating that the changes themselves are arbitrary, as many grammar guides tend to jump back and forth on certain issues, the Oxford comma being an easy example. While I was in college, every other professor would tell you not to use or to use the Oxford comma, because they all went by different editions of different style guides.

          9. I think you’re right, Typing was in Grade 10. It was Computing Science I took in Grade 11, even though it was a Grade 12 class.

          10. I meant that I was in it Grade 10, not that I was trying to correct you. In my school, I could have taken it any year but grade 9. It was still one of the two smartest classes I took in high school.

          11. You’re right, but your correction to your own memory also applied to mine. Also, taking Typing the year before I took Computing Science was one of the best decisions I made in high school.

            Well, second best, behind “not helping my friend steal Chemistry lab equipment so he could make a still in his basement”

          12. I can’t remember if my course was Computing Science but these were real early Apple Macs we worked on.

            The other smartest class for was Stenography. I was able to get better and better-paying part-time jobs while in school because I had those skills. I can still take steno somewhat.

          13. Typing was an optional course but it always filled up. Even in the mid-80s we knew that knowing how to type would help in our futures more than learning FOIL or simple machines.

            In Computing Science we had a bunch of PETs, a couple of Vic 20s, and 1 Commodore 64 (“I adore my 64, my Commodore 64”). After the desk work was over it was a rush to get one of the Vic’s or the C64. The PETs were so old that sometimes the keyboards would lock up, so the teacher would pour this liquid from a jug onto them to “unlock” them – he told us it was acetone, but looking back he may have just been playing with us.

            And this has been another installment of “You Kids Had It Easy”.

          14. Ok maybe it was the Commodore 64s and the Macs came in college about 3 years later. It all gets so foggy. 🙂

            I did learn typing on a Selectric and used white out and tape.

          15. I still have a Smith Corona in my attic somewhere (it was a memory typewriter). I’ve tried to donate it for years but no one wanted it.

          16. You should donate it to a theater group, or a local school theater, they will eat that shit up. My high schools props cage was a beautiful disaster of weird donated stuff!

      1. Do you also change the tabs into five hand-typed spaces at the beginning of a paragraph or vice versa?

      2. At work, before we send ANY project, we do a find all replace of double spaces, and then we do it again to capture all the triple spaces. And again, cause i’ve got a boss who basically starts everything he types with a space.

      3. What the what? I was trained with double spaces, and I will never stop typing them. Unless I’m on my phone. 😉

        1. That your phone dies something different with them should tell you that it’s the wrong thing to do.

      4. Is this an American lawyer thing? We don’t do that in Canada (or at least, the Maritimes)

        1. I can’t remember being taught I had to do that.

          I may have also once told a teacher I wasn’t going to change a phrase she found to be too argumentative, because it was in iambic pentameter, so I’m maybe not the best source here.

      5. Huh. I went to journalism school and double spaces were pretty much grounds for expulsion.

        1. My undergrad is in journalism but we still did double-space. But that was, OMG, about 30 years ago.

          1. Same here, but we shifted to Pagemaker by the time I graduated. All of that plus developing film, printing photos, and making halftones are among my utterly useless skills. I guess my school was an outlier about double spaces, or maybe it was the proximity to Silicon Valley?

          2. High 5 for old school newspaper production skillz. Knowing how to use a waxer and an Xacto blade are practically useless skills now. There’s always scrapbooking I guess.

        2. Hmm, curious how everyone saying they like and or use two spaces uses a single space between sentences in their comments… Oh whoops, the comment system does that…
          I haven’t been here in months, but my graphic designer sense was
          tingling. Let’s settle this once and for all, NERD-STYLE

          Fonts are designed to have the proper amount of space after a period now.

          “The size of a space in typography is not absolute. It changes relative to the point size of the typeface. The default (spacebar) space between words is larger in 24 point text than it is in 12 point text. Several special spaces are used in typesetting and are based on an em. An em is equivalent to the point size of a given font. In a 12 point font, the em is 12 points. Various space characters range from the em space at 1 em to the hair space at 1/10 of an em or smaller. The normal blank space between words, creating by pressing the spacebar, is generally around 1/3 to 1/4 the size of an em. For 12 point type the normal space between words would be about 3 to 4 points before any additional tracking or character spacing is applied.”

      1. I remember when I was doing intro to law school, one of the speakers just said to us “lawyers are bad writers because they don’t read enough stuff that isn’t written by other lawyers. don’t do that. read books.” I took that to heart and made sure I was always reading something that wasn’t a casebook, but my classmates would always stop me and ask “how do you find time to carry a book around?”

        1. I always found time then probably to my detriment. Not so much anymore. I start books and then let them drop. Mostly I read comments on the internet.

          1. I’m the complete opposite. I start books and no matter how much I dislike them, i refuse to not finish. Even if I wish I was reading something else, i’ll slog it through.

          2. Oh no, I will fucking bail on a book that’s wasting my time. I think that’s part of why I mostly read non-fiction stuff, because it’s easier to drop if I’m not into it.

            I also never watch movies. Something over two hours feels like too much of an investment, yet I’ll gladly start a TV series with 22-60 minute episodes. It doesn’t make sense really, but my wife is the same way.

          3. I also don’t and have no intention to watch movies, besides Disney and Pixar. But my reasoning is that: books, TV shows and more story-based games have more story and have more developped characters for the most part, so it’s much easier for me to be invested than in the movies.

            (to be fair, I didn’t read/watched/played much books/TV shows/games, but from the ones that I did, it was true, and thanks to that I do play to read/watch Tv shows/play more).

          4. I should clarify that I also will watch Disney/Pixar stuff. In fact, I think the only movie I’ve seen this year is Moana.

          5. A pop culture site that has wobbly movie coverage but used to have incredible tv coverage, though.

          6. I find it weird that I only ever see a handful of PRPers there now. Did y’all deactivate those accounts or something?

          7. No, with very few exceptions, when I read for pleasure, I read the entire book. Its more of just being too tired to do it. So the book sits and sits. I watched the Expanse and loved it. Went back to read the book and read the entire series and still loved what I read of the book but I have not finished it over several months months because I’m just to tired late at night when I get home. Its just sitting there, staring at me.

            But that does not stop me from buying more books.

          8. Same here, though I never know if I should be doing that or toughing it out in case it gets better on the back end. Dune was supposed to be some great epic, but I couldn’t get past the first few chapters. Even in school, when I really should be reading the entire book, I’ll drop it and sparks notes it or something when it loses my interest. I would think though that most successful bad books were written by authors with terrific world building abilities and terrible skills in crafting dialogue and/or concluding plots.

          9. Now Dune is one series I have read several times and one of the few that when I new book comes out, I drop everything and read even if I’m overtired. I even own and read the Dune Encyclopedia.

          10. I stopped after the last of the original six Frank Herbert books. You’re saying the others are worthwhile? Wait, maybe don’t answer that.

        2. My mom is a law professor and is always saying she wishes more of her students majored in languages or literature as undergrads so that they would be better readers and writers.

          1. That’s probably a good thing for people going straight to law school after college that have mommy and daddy paying for everything. But in reality, there’s not much you can do anymore with those undergrad degrees.

      2. Terrible real world writers. They teach us to write in such a fucking weird way in law school that we can’t write in normal ways anymore. Like how we can’t interact in normal ways, read in normal ways, etc. I swear law school made me a worse writer and I hate it

        1. I don’t think it made me a worse writer or a better writer. Worse proofreader at times, yes.

        1. I can’t stand reading legal based fiction books. I also can’t watch most legal television shows and movies. (Exceptions – Harry’s Law, Good Fight and Boston Legal but not because they had any ties to reality in how the legal system works. I admire(d) the actors/actresses.)

  8. *Standing ovation*
    Wow, you said it all so much better than I ever could, Em! I rewatched her season and was just in awe anew. Btw, JT over Denise, wtf?! I really need to start participating in these crazy things.

    1. Yeah, part of the reason i’m keeping on the train to complete is because I want to participate SO BAD. But i refuse until I’m finished.

      1. Even if I’ve seen every season, I forget so much that I’m afraid to participate! For instance, I didn’t think I’d seen Amazon, and then someone mentioned who won it, and I remembered I’d watched it when it first aired. The winner is pretty much all I remember. Sigh.

        1. My boyfriend is the same way. I’ve been texting him all the time about things as I go through the early seasons, but he barely remembers any of it. Then again, he forgets recent seasons too. Unless it was amazing, he kinda just lets it tumble out of his head…

          1. This is definitely one of the drawbacks of:
            1. Aging
            2. Watching way too many shows

          2. Oops, sorry, I truly just meant it was something I could have added about myself and how it’s effecting my memory.

  9. Unrelated note: I’m currently in the middle of planning roommate’s Survivor audition video, which is a thing she wants to do. Her big problem is that her type is squarely in the Aubrey/Hannah camp of “dark-haired girl who is nerd-cute.” The good news is that, unlike them, she really doesn’t give a fuck about strategy and just wants to live in the jungle and do obstacle courses. I think she has a solid shot to get on the show, or else I wouldn’t be bothering with this. Also, honestly, if she’s not too bossy around camp in the first 3 days and gets voted out for that, I think she could win.

    Plan right now is to get her a little bit tipsy, take her to Waffle House, and then interview her while she eats. I’ve planned an outfit for her that I’m describing as “sexy, badass Lara Croft type, who’s still nerdy enough to know who Lara Croft is.” It involves one of her Wonder Woman t-shirts.

    1. Her big problem is that her type is squarely in the Aubrey/Hannah camp of “dark-haired girl who is nerd-cute.”

      Stay out of my territory.

      1. Unless you also plan to talk in your video about all the summers you spent as a counselor with Outward Bound it should be fine.

          1. Which is sort of the whole point of this scheme. Roommate superficially is that type, but she’ll hit the beach and immediately be like “I’m gonna go get supplies and how long until we get to do a challenge?”

          2. If she wins with your guidance, then you can claim that. I mean, in tennis players technically aren’t allowed to be coached or communicate with their coaches during a match, but they get coaching before. If tennis coaches claim that shit, you can to.

          3. Oh I’ve talked to her about what her path to victory looks like:

            Her instinct will be to be too bossy in the first couple of days, so she needs to keep a lid on that, but, if she gets past that point, she’ll be enough of an asset at camp and in challenges that she’ll almost certainly make the merge.

            Then she needs to resist the urge to become a leader, because if she just stays in the majority she can rely on her skill at being a soothing presence and maybe win a few immunities, and if she can pull that off she has a shot at sitting at FTC as the finalist the jury just wants to reward more than the other two because they like her more.

          4. I just went on a week-long vacation that involved lots of hiking at National Parks! How dare you.

            *And* I only got sunburned once, and it was just a little bit.

          5. “I just went on a week-long vacation that involved lots of hiking at National Parks! ”

            Oh god, do you also have a terrible family who thinks looking at trees is a better vacation than going to museums?

          6. I happen to enjoy both of those things! But i’ll choose a roller coaster over them anyway. Roller coasters are my jam.

          7. omg sharc, not all national parks have trees. You can’t just like assume these things, it’s 2017.

            Also, national parks >> museums, nearly every time.

          8. We keep going to the ones that are all trees. And I’m like “guys, we live in a forest*, we know what trees look like. Why is this where you want to vacation?”

            *It’s the northeast Perimeter, so, technically, we live in a marsh.

          9. Sharc, I must say, it certainly sounds like you’re missing the forest for the trees. Like, literally.

          10. It’s true, I went to Zion and Bryce Canyon (as well as Grand Teton, but that’s very tree-heavy) which have trees, but that’s certainly not the main appeal.

          11. Zion is beautiful, but I must say, I wasn’t exactly comfortable with a national park explicitly censuring a two-state solution.

          12. My biggest problem with Zion was that it was 103 degrees out, but otherwise I loved it. Bryce, on the other hand, was like 78 and we got super lucky in that we were there the only day that week that it didn’t rain.

          13. I hate art museums. Trees are awesome. I don’t go on vacations with my family anymore.

          14. That’s why I specified art museum, but all of those except maybe history sound boring too.

          15. The bookbinding museum was a little place in the mission district and it was stupid fucking cool. So many awesome craft projects built off just books.

    2. This sounds like a great plan. Also, I would love for someone you know to make the show!

    3. Lara Croft was portrayed in a movie by Angelina Jolie. I don’t know that a woman that has been named Sexiest Woman Alive is your perfect “nerd girl” comp.

      1. If you’re taking the movie adaptation of a video game into account, you’re doing it wrong.

        Unless it’s Valerian and the City of 1000 Planets, which is the live-action Final Fantasy movie the world needed.

        1. TANGENT CONVERSATION BEGIN: Are there any movies that are better than the video games they are based on? I’ll also accept movies based on video games that are at least decent…

          1. Thus far all I got is the first Resident Evil which, while way different than the games, is pretty good.

          2. I’ll admit to that. I really like the first one. That may also partially because I used to watch it with my Mom all the time, but it at least deserves the rank of decent.

            The second one though, is kinda awful. Not even Angelina’s Gerard Butler nipple lick can save it…

          3. All I know is that the Final Fantasy movie was utter shit. I’m kinda shocked Metal Gear was never made into a movie, since it basically already is one.

          4. I saw Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within in theaters. It fucking sucked. Valerian is the thing it should have been.

          5. I never play video games. But I liked the early Resident Evil and first Tom Raider movies.

            I wanted to see that Assassin’s one with Michael Shane/Shannon – you know the guy from Prometheus and the recent Aliens movie – because it looked interesting but hubby vetoed going to that one. I’ll get it on Netflix eventually.

    4. I was half-drunk in a Houston-area Waffle House just this past Saturday. It wouldn’t be my first choice for a Survivor audition tape.

      1. Waffle House shouldn’t be your first choice for anything other than “place to buy both waffles and meth simultaneously”.

        1. *sigh* Jonn, this isn’t Florida. The meth doesn’t flow freely like salmon in a stream.

          1. That’s beautiful, but that’s Florida. Atlanta has its problems, but it’s not Florida.

      2. Regional charm. Plus she likes it and it’ll make her open and candid, which is what I want.

      1. In the most Atlanta Story Ever: The night I moved in we went to a Mellow Mushroom on Peachtree and she and her brother spent ten minutes telling our waiter about how awesome the Clermont is.

        1. I’ve still never been. At this point I’m trying to see how long I can hold off my friends from dragging me.

          1. There’s multiple problems with filming it there like “I’m gonna have to drive and I don’t feel like driving there” and “they don’t let you take pictures in strip clubs,” but the main issue is that she would get distracted.

            At Waffle House the biggest distraction risk is that she gets chatty with the server. Which she will.

  10. I was just talking with Purple Tally during our Gabon rewatch about how we probably wouldn’t be defending Denise since that was a big purpose of the rewatch in the first place. Thanks for proving me wrong, Em!

    1. I really misunderstood the intent of this project when we were initially discussing it, so I chose someone that is more in need of defending.

      I’m more looking forward to the ones where there’s some disagreement amongst us about the player being discussed. You guys are fun to argue with.

      1. Does that mean the time has come for me to write a 2000 word post in defense of Michele?

        1. Holy shit, I would be all over that. Just be prepared for the entire PRP staff to unite against you in the comments.

          1. I’d be a solid 80% against, 20% willing to play devil’s advocate by force of habit, heh

        1. I like how she found the “you guys don’t love her enough” angle. Quality outrage, that.

  11. Everything you’ve written is perfect and true, except for the fact that there’s never been a Survivor player I related to more than Sophie Clarke.

      1. I’ll see what I can do, I’ll take a stab at it. It might just end up in the garbage.

    1. Tai is gonna hate having both Reince’s and Sessions’s heads on his body. And while Bannon on Randy doesn’t exactly track, it doesn’t exactly not track either. And is Trump supposed to be Probst here? Because Probst doesn’t fire castaways, but if Trump was on the island, he’d be voted out first for dragging the tribe down and being a camp cancer.

      Metaphor doesn’t work, is what I’m saying. This is more like Game of Thrones if Westeros was entirely populated by Freys and Arryns.

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