This is the part where I introduce Fan Friction, our 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). I generally try to make small changes to the intro so that every post on our site doesn’t look exactly the same to internet spiders, even though I know barely any of you read this part. Except for that time I introduced at least one of you to a very popular internet spelling of the word “more”. Anyway, here’s Alkanarra to pay homage to Jenn motherfucking Brown.
Why She’s Fucking Great
If you told me a year ago that I’d write two articles for The Purple Rock Podcast and that they would both be about a garbage-quality season like Worlds Apart, my response would probably have been: “So what? Who gives a shit?” And it’s in that same spirit of aggressive ambivalence that I come to sing the praises of Jenn “Expletive Deleted” Brown.
What can I say about Jenn that hasn’t already been said? Maybe I talk about her epic idol play or how her vegetarianism lead to finding that idol? Maybe I talk about how Worlds Aparts’ bizarre pre-merge had people assuming she and the other No Collars would be the obvious stars of the season? Maybe I bafflingly compare her to Michael Jordan because this was a time before the PRP learned how to outsource their offseason articles to the comment section? (Editor’s note: a much darker time).
Honestly, I don’t really feel like I need to sell Jenn all that much: most people’s opinions boil down to one obvious issue, which will be addressed below. There is, however, one aspect where she if often overlooked. People can’t really argue about Worlds Apart hitting the gutter with the downfall of the No Collars. They offered a lot to their season: they were high energy, generally pleasant, and really fucking good looking. But the thing that made Jenn stand out from her trio – and the only thing missing from the Worlds Apart post-merge – was that she was a highly underrated narrator.
Ask yourself who else that season had to lean on? Mike was amusing, but also playing an entirely different game, Rodney could be OK but was often too caught up in personal grievances, and everyone else was either powerfully boring or actively awful. Even Joey Amazing was vanilla as fuck. That season needed a Courtney Yates sniping at the players from the sidelines, and Jenn offered it in spades. And while she may be remembered for her humor, let’s not forget that she was both aware of what was happening around her and able to articulate the show’s narrative, whereas everyone else could only parrot “we need to vote out Mike” endlessly because, well… let’s hold off on that for a second. Instead I want to talk about why Jenn is a bitch.
Haters Gonna Fucking Hate
She’s a Bitch
I’ve heard this one enough times that it needs to be addressed. The notion is that, should she return, Jenn Brown would be nothing more than a mean-spirited Corrine or Colton, polluting Survivor with her nasty attitude. Dubious Rob touched on this same theme of “assertive woman = bitch” in his Sophie Clarke article, so yeah… ditto.
But there’s more to it than just blanket sexism. Because while Jenn does have some fairly cutting insults for her tribe mates, let’s remember that they are 100% confined to confessional (Editor’s note: as long as we don’t count that time she told a dude she fucking hated him. Which I’m okay with). In a season where people are outright vile to each other and insensitive to the feelings of adopted people v. non-adopteds, Jenn consoled Nina “Crying on Day 4” Poersch, gave Dan vital “don’t pee on it” instructions, and even formed a deep but brief bond with The Seeker of Truth.
And while we’re on the subject of Jenn being a big meanie, let’s not forget that HER SEASON FUCKING SUCKED. Those people were goddamn awful and deserved to be shit on. She was totally justified in hating them and no argument otherwise can be brooked. Are we really going to call out Jenn because she said some mean things about Carolyn Fucking WhateveryourlastnameisIdon’tcareneoughtolookitup? Give me a break.
She’s a Quitter
Yep. She is. We can argue the definition until we’re blue but it won’t change the fact that she actively wanted to go home. Rather than leave it at that, let’s take a moment to address what is Jenn’s biggest criticism.
When playing backseat Survivor we often like to participate in the “what if?” game, coming up with all the right decisions to win for someone else. The truth, of course, is that it just doesn’t always work out. Sometimes you’re Kelley Wentworth and you got swapped onto a tribe where your dad burned all your bridges. Sometimes you’re Courtney Yates and all you can do is wait to see which one of Rice or Beans the Villains decides to send home. Sometimes you’re Michelle Yi and my God Fiji was an awful season.
So the question is… what could Jenn have done? Yes, part of her reaction was due to her obvious connection to Hali, part of it was not being in control of the game anymore, but the biggest factor, and the one that should end this argument for good, is to simply look at the people she was playing against.
As amusing as it is to point out how much the Worlds Apart cast sucks – being arguably the most toxic and/or boring group of players since Thailand – that’s not even what I’m talking about. I’m talking about how they played the game. This was a group of players who were all implementing the same strategy: select a target and stick to them until that person is gone. This was the same group who focused on one man – a man with no allies, who had made countless blunders, and had virtually no game savvy – and they never entertained another strategy, never realistically considered using his vote, and had no defined plan for what to do once he was gone. They stuck to this mindset every week until he beat them. They were so insistent on their strategy that they ultimately coronated him by making him the underdog.
Could Jenn have made some moves to stay in the game longer? Probably. But as much as Hali and Joe and Shirin wanted to stay in the game because they love it so much and rah rah don’t give up until whatever, ultimately Jenn demonstrated once again that she had the best intuition out of everyone that season. She knew her only chance was an immunity run and that was coincidentally the only part of the post-merge where she tried to compete. She knew the players she was up against. She knew it wasn’t worth bothering.
Ultimately, though… so what if she quit? Big fucking deal. This is the same show that had an entire season predicated on the idea of second chances. Even if Jenn came back and did the same thing – was an amusing, savvy player until things didn’t go her way and she bailed – she’d still be entertaining as hell. Don’t ask yourself “who will try the hardest”, ask yourself who will give me the best season. You know the truth. You know what you want. You want more of Jenn Brown.
Embrace Fucking Debate
Or not. Maybe you hate Jenn and that’s that. I don’t give a shit. Jenn doesn’t give a shit. Do whatever you want.
But before you do, consider my final argument. We’ve had some questionable articles during this Fan Friction series. While I don’t want to call any particular Taakos out, let’s just say that I’m not here to compare Survivor to Harry Potter or Pokémon or Sailor Moon or some other gimmick.
No, instead I’m here to compare Survivor to Game of Thrones; or, more specifically, Jenn Brown to her true spiritual counterpart: Sandor “The Hound” Clegane.
Don’t believe me? Then maybe a series of extremely low quality and out-of-context gifs will convince you.
Enjoys a Beverage or Two
Enjoys Curse Words
And One Curse Word in Particular
Able to Withstand Considerable Pain
Skilled at Vanquishing Their Foes
Has a Secret Heart of Gold
Bad at Directions
Accompanied By A Beloved Companion
Supportive and Nurturing
Dismissive of Their Peers
Fueled by Hatred
And Yeah, Maybe Quit a Little Bit Back There
So there you have it. Definitive proof not only that Jenn Brown is the best, but that I have way too much time on my hands. Any other thoughts on the subject?
Favorite Seasons: China, Philippines, Palau, Pearl Islands
Favorite Players: Penner, Jenn Brown, Boston Rob, Courtney, Sandra