Survivor Fan Friction – Spencer Bledsoe

Moar 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). For this one, we actually got another staffer to do something around here with Mark writing about the young lad.

Why He’s Great

For a superfan who has placed 4th and 3rd in their appearances on the show, Spencer is a surprisingly controversial player among Survivor fans. Many people love him as a scrappy underdog, and just as many seem to hate on the guy. But these passionate positions are about as out of place as feelings within the man himself.

There are a lot of highly-strategic players who get branded with the “gamebot” tag these days. (Which is an ironic classification, because if you’re on this site or r/Survivor, you’re probably watching for the strategic elements of the game.) In Spencer’s case, this is in one respect due to the character he sold pre-game in Cagayan, one part his genuine love of chess, and largely the fault of the Cambodia producers who leaned hard into the “SpencerBot Learns to Love” arc in that season.

But within both of his appearances, Spencer’s real story is that of a super fan who fights hard to climb his way to the top of the pack, despite the many obstacles in his way. It’s no “my mom has cancer” triumph over adversity, but it’s an admirable experience that a lot of us can take heart in. The fact that he does it while playing a pretty great game makes him a fan favorite that has been sadly under-appreciated post-Cambodia.

Since the early days of Cagayan, I have always maintained that Spencer played a lot better in his debut season than many claimed later on. Here we have a guy who could have been voted out pre-merge—before the rice dumping J’Tia!—because of a potential female alliance, but challenged the two dominant personalities in that game (Tony and Kass) to have a real shot at the end. He fooled Kass into thinking he hadn’t found an immunity idol. He powered through a minority position to win several immunities. AND he almost convinced Tony to keep him at final 4 (Editor’s note: “almost”). It was ultimately for naught, but a brash young immunity threat on an older-skewing season should be target number one. Instead, he persisted.

Yes, he was a little arrogant at times. But so were you at 21. Instead, Spencer read the game correctly (noting the presence of a final two) and used his fan knowledge to make solid cases for his game and, ultimately, Tony’s. He’s been a fairly astute analyzer of the game since.

Haters Gonna Hate

Let’s be real, the reason you hate Spencer isn’t because of anything he did in the game. It’s because of two things:

That Pre-Game Bio In Cagayan

Except for Rob and Stephen, you dislike know-it-alls. Our progressive readership recoils at anyone who claims to like Mitt Romney. (Those were simpler times). And you certainly hate pompous guys who think they know everything. See: Mariano, Rob. But guess what? It was all an act for the cameras.

Sure, he has the upbringing to lean conservative, and is a little boastful, and thought about a strategy game show in strategic terms, but he also knew he was on a reality show that picks up people at the bar who claim to be “big fans”.

Unfortunately for your biases, we’re analyzing gameplay here. His real crime was picking bad alliance partners at the top in both of his games. But again, he recovered nicely from both calamities and went the distance.

His Cambodia Emotional Arc

A large chunk of Spencer’s storyline in Second Chances had to do with his new goal to get to know his fellow players and wear his emotions on his sleeve. As often happens on Survivor, the producers cut their storyline from the footage and molded it in their image. Thus, a scene of him crying and a scene of him missing his girlfriend was turned into this epic emotional journey.

But was that really more compelling TV then the Abi Show? Or more emotionally manipulative than Jeremy’s baby bombshell at the final tribal council? I don’t think so. A producer’s narrative turned a strong strategic player into a running joke—despite taking out his archenemy, once again aligning himself with strong players, and making it all the way this time. Not to mention, strategic fans hate when squishy feelings are put on display.

Embrace Debate

Barring a major incentive, I don’t think we’re likely to see Spencer on our TV screens again. The stress of Cambodia and a promising career seems to have dimmed Spencer’s excitement for the game. But can you blame him? He checked off a bucket list item before he got his Bachelor’s degree. His rivalry with Kass and competition with Tony was the heart of Cagayan, which is more than some players get in 3 seasons.

Taken together, he, Malcolm, and Cochran provided the template for a new vanguard of superfan casting. Which is ultimately a good thing. While Malcolm provided the crazy moves and Harry Potter jokes, and Cochran covered the neurotic angle, Spencer laid a template for underdog players and number crunchers (hi, Michaela). So the next time you complain that Spencer is just a robot who was saved by Tony, remember that he owns a lot of his game progress, not owes it.

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A Survivor fan since the end of season one, Mark hasn’t finished One World, but still thinks Kim is overhyped.

Top 5, Baby: Cambodia, Cagayan, Heroes vs. Villains, Pearl Islands, and Palau.
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283 thoughts on “Survivor Fan Friction – Spencer Bledsoe

  1. “A Survivor fan since the end of season one, Mark hasn’t finished One World, but still thinks Kim is overhyped.”

      1. It’s not worth it. After the first or second post merge episode you’ve seen everything you need to see.

  2. While I’m Team Kass all the way, I’ll admit that I felt a little bad for him. If Val hadn’t squirted out another kid he might have gotten a vote or two, but damn you could see the light leave his eyes when Jeremy dropped that bomb. A little disappointing to think that’s how his arc will end.

    I’ll also say this to Spencer’s credit: his girlfriend is far too pretty for him. So good job with that.

    1. He would have gotten exactly one vote. Ciera has said she came into FTC ready to vote for Spencer, but Jeremy’s speech tickled the mommy place in her heart.

        1. I don’t know if she’s said explicitly, but it’s Ciera, so presumably she wanted to reward his scrappy, play-from-the-bottom, never-pass-up-an-opportunity play style.

          Ciera and Spencer are pretty similar players, Spencer’s just better suited for it.

          1. Why is this so shocking to me right now to realize that they are extremely similar except that Ciera seems to be too late on her moves while Spencer seems to be too early in some regards.

          2. Which kind of proves too early is better than too late, right?

            (This also substitutes as a Jon Misch defense)

          1. It’s always been my impression that a Final 3 shutout gets $50k, aka half of the $100k a runner up would get.

          2. Vytas said in his Second Chance campaign interview that there were 2 reasons why he voted for Monica:
            1) He told Tyson that if he voted him out at that vote he would not vote for him at the FTC. Tyson went ahead and voted him out then, so Vytas felt he had to keep his word.
            2) As Barb mentioned, he was upset at Gervase for betraying his alliance with Aras, so he wanted to make sure Gervase only got 3rd place money and not a tie for 2nd place money.

          3. I can’t wait for you to get to the part where Michael Jackson shows up in town as part of his Thriller tour and helps the kids out.

          1. Yes, instead of footage of Russell we could have had much more footage of those interesting heroes (dozes off).

        1. It can be argued that it is Russel Hantz show 2.0. Not AS big Russell Hantz show, but it’s still evident especially after the post-merge.

          1. That’s a fair point. I mean, my potential problem is the fact that Jerri and Colby had a major reconciliation at the merge, but none of it made it to the show. But that is something I only knew about thanks to post game interviews and secret scenes.

          2. Yeah, I think they should’ve replaced some Russell scenes post-merge to that. It sucks we didn’t see it on the show.

          3. I believe that Parv and Sandra were under the impression that Russell won, so they believed that the jury would be more likely to give the money to Jerri because she was not a previous winner.

          4. Yeah, the Danielle boot was when she lost control of who she could get to F3 (or if she could get there at all) but if she could flip that F4 vote she probably has a better chance

          5. Well it’s clear why Russell wanted Jerri out. I guess Jerri was always voting Parv so Parvati had no choice but to go with Russell?

          6. I think that’s something that would have been a much bigger storyline had Jerri made FTC and had Colby vote for her.

        2. Good question! The problems are minor. It’s likely personal preference, but I think any season with returning players has that as an immediate flaw. Prior reputations of course has a big impact, there are little things that effect the social dynamics that make the game feel less “pure.” (ugh, I sound insufferable) For example, Amanda and James likely wouldn’t have been running the Heroes tribe against Tom on an all new players season. Jerri also might not have flipped against Boston Rob. It’s worth it to have returning players because it leads to a higher level of gameplay and it’s exciting to see old favorites interact, but if an all new players season were as good as HvV (and I don’t know that any have been as good) then I would have to put it higher.

          Also, lack of Courtney.

        3. Pre-merge jurors. I mean, it ends up not mattering because of the all Villains final 3, but it was a risk they shouldn’t have taken.

          1. So pregame alliances are only season killing on seasons where people don’t like who does well. Got it.

        4. I know this argument has been challenged repeatedly, but I still think the mini-Pagonging of the Heroes prevents HvV from being the single-greatest season of all-time. It’s certainly one of Survivor’s best Pagongings, but it doesn’t make for top-tier TV.
          Now that I’m thinking about it, I wonder if HvV’s pre-merge, which is easily the best in Survivor History, unfairly damages my perception of the post-merge.

  3. I feel like I need to write a Fan Friction about Spencer’s edit in Cambodia. I liked it fine! It was relatable!

    1. Spencer was my favorite player coming out of Cagayan, and his edit in Cambodia kept me from wanting to watch him. Like, he played a fine game in Cambodia, but we were just relentlessly hit over the head with it. When Andy asked me about doing a Fan Friction piece, my mind went to “Oh, Spence would be a good one. Wait, nvm, that means dissecting the ‘Spencer-bot Learns to Feel’ storyline, and fuck that.”

    2. The story line was fun, I just thought they hit us with it a bit aggressively. Spencer is one of my favourites because I basically totally get him – he’s a lot like me – so the storyline made so much sense

      1. Yeah, I feel like him going out there as a taken man and coming to terms with his feelings for Marcela is an interesting storyline that pays off perfectly at the loved ones visit. But, his growth narrative in Cambodia is obnoxious, especially since he had it a lot worse in the pre-merge of Cagayan.

        1. Right. Its good as a storyline, there’s just way, way too much of it. I was when we all started getting really concerned about one-dimensional Survivor characters

    3. Here it is:
      Spencer was the top character in Cambodia. It was a growth arc that just suddenly fell flat out of nowhere, which a lot of you say is bad, but I think its a clever Sixth Sense like twist that was really important to the story of the season.

      Spencer came out saying he was going to do a better job making connections, and the edit showed him attempting to do that and him continually commenting on his attempts. But despite that we never actually see it working until the end of the season. He spent the entire pre-merge on the bottom.

      Then we get to the merge and we see the result of the connections he made, he’s a swing vote and has some level of relationship with everyone on the island. Perfect, he’s got this. He now has the freedom to use those connections to make the moves to dictate the end game.
      Except he didn’t make those bonds the right way. He didn’t realize how he was connecting with people, on a deep personal level, which was the only way he could think to do it. He built the connections on personal bonds, confiding important things about his personal life and really making himself into a close friend and confidant of the people he was working with. So now when he goes to make the moves, he’s deeply betraying their trust, and hurting them, and losing the votes like Stephen Fishbach and Kelley Wentworth and even Kass and others who he worked so hard to build himself with to put in a position in the game.

      And it’s such a contrast from what Jeremy did, because Jeremy also built up social bonds, but he did so from more of a distance. He got to know everyone, he got people to want to work with them, but he never committed to the betrayed jury members in the same way Spencer did. And the ones he did commit to, Stephen for example, he never turned against and had them as a shield so the opposition would target them instead of him. Spencer committed to personal relationships, but he committed too much and when he broke them suddenly that friendship he created seems very fake to everyone. He not only loses the game, he loses the relationships he built on the island and people who were his friends no longer even like him. Jeremy keeps his distance and wins the respect of everyone.

      I love that story. That, and not the blindsides and idols and sometimes incomprehesibly complex strategy is why Cambodia is on the fringes of my top 10. It’s stories like these, and contrasts like these, that make Survivor such good television for me.

      1. This is the same reason I always give Chelsea Meisner a little more slack than most. She saw Kim getting super close to people and thought they’d be more bitter at FTC because Kim betrayed basically everyone. It’s not a bad strategy, she just executed it terribly.

      1. Hater Point #4: his talent portion of his Mr. Survivor interview was 10+ minutes long (or felt like it).

  4. In all honesty, as I have discussed on other Fan Friction pieces, Spencer played a pretty good pre-merge game in Cambodia. Unfortunately, Kass going out the way she did basically meant that Spencer and Tasha had no shot at winning.

    1. Yup. Spencer in Cambodia lost to bad luck being in Ta Keo basically. I think I talked about this with you elsewhere, but he hit the merge with no numbers or control and had to just roll with the majority alliance’s plan, which unfortunately was vote out Kass, which led to her poisoning the jury on him

        1. Not the ones who got voted off Angkor. Or Woo really. He lost because of Savage. Spencer and Wentworth certainly did though.

          1. I think Woo ultimately lost because he kept trying to vote out Abi and people kept flipping on him because they thought they could “manage her” which then completely turned Abi against him when he needed her.

            That was largely a result of being on Ta Keo and going to nearly every tribal council.

          2. I would also note that it was Tasha who managed, in an inspired moment, to properly handle Abi and convince her to flip on both Redacted and Woo. So, I would say Tasha has more of a hand in his loss then Savage.

          3. Yeah. I think my main point was, Savage didn’t do anything on his own. And when he did, it blew up.

          4. Oh, yeah, I’m not crediting Savage with Woo’s boot, I’m blaming him. Tasha certainly deserves credit too though

          5. As much as I don’t like Tasha, she has come the closest to being the most successful Abi wrangler partly because she would have recognized that they needed Abi with them to the merge and then cut her.

          6. Yeah. Tasha is probably the only successful Abi wrangler I can think of to date? I mean, maybe Petebro, but he was such a footnote to other characters at that point, we couldn’t see much of him doing it. And he didn’t really successfully wrangle her, but his boot wasn’t really because of her directly.

          7. I don’t think the witches wrangled her that much. Besides Woo, the vote outs that they impacted were because of her.

            Also, remember that Abi went rogue at her boot TC, despite Wentworth’s best efforts.

          8. As much as we’d like to toss Varner down the memory hole, he was fairly successful at wrangling Abi. I mean, not successful enough, obviously, but we’re grading on a curve here.

          9. Wasn’t that the vote where Savage told Ciera “You’ll be the decoy vote” and she said “Wait, what? Why me?” and they turned it around to vote out Woo? Big blunder on Savage’s part there.

            Never tell someone they’re the decoy vote. And if you have to, never be too quick to do it – make it seem like you have to think long and hard about who it should be.

          10. That’s exactly right. That was the tipoff for both Ciera and Kass that they were the bottom of the totem pole and that there was no big happy Bayon (little did they know…).

          11. When an alliance needs a decoy vote, is it ever a good idea to volunteer to be the decoy? If you got voted out you’d look foolish (like convincing your tribe to throw a challenge to vote out someone, and you end up getting voted out), but it seems that suggesting someone else be the decoy vote always leads to trouble.

          12. Plus wasn’t this the first time this tribe had gone to tribal? They hadn’t had a chance to establish trust by voting someone out as an alliance. All of a sudden Ciera is expected to trust Savage enough to let him put her name up as the decoy vote.

          13. That’s a super good point. Telling someone they are the decoy never goes over well, ever. Same thing happened with Michaela in GC. Question: Would it be a better option to volunteer yourself to be the decoy? On one hand, it doesn’t upset anyone, but it also means you yourself are putting your name out there, and it could look like a self promotion.

            Probably best would be to act like you hadn’t thought about it, then say something like “who would they most expect, who makes sense” and then talk through it with everyone out loud, hopefully guiding it to where you want…

          14. That sounds good in theory, but obviously it can backfire immediately, and I’d say it can also backfire in the longer term. I think that once someone has “permission” to write your name down once they’re more prone to do it again later.

            The thing to do is let somebody else, or the group, decide. And not just in this situation. It’s one of the underrated power moves that Cirie and Sandra, among others, are masters of.

          15. Well, in these situations, you’re giving “permission” to write your name down to a person(s) who you are blindsiding because everyone else (hopefully) is voting for them to blindside them. So really, everyone in your alliance is voting for the actual target, so you haven’t given them permission to write your name down.

          16. I expressed myself badly. You’re right, but you’re still granting everyone permission to toss your name around. I think merely saying the words “we’re voting Hornacek tonight” incepts people, even if it’s a lie.

          17. I would hope that I’d be playing with people perceptive enough to realize that when I told them to tell Assistant Dragon Slayer that I was the one everyone was voting out tonight, they would understand that was just a lie to fool Assistant Dragon Slayer. I’d hope they wouldn’t think “I never intended to vote for Hornacek, but now that I hear it said out loud, maybe I should.”

          18. Baffles me to this day why he did that. Abi and Wiggles were both right there as options. Tell Spencer its one of them and none of this happens

          1. This answer is maybe overly serious, but if you do the math, Mana. Mana and Ta Keo’s boot placements line up perfectly except in two instances: Wiglesworth outlasts Hali by two tribals, while Michaela only outlasts Abi by one. So Ta Keo has an overall +1 over Mana. (I also think the tribe divisions in Cambodia were unbalanced in Bayon’s favor, but that might be something else entirely. Ta Keo outperformed Mana at the very least).

          2. I agree that Ta Keo was at a serious physical disadvantage. Mana was just at a disadvantage. But my thoughts are just half-baked there, so I’m actually interested to hear what your thoughts on that are. Though if I were to play devil’s advocate, I’d say Hail Satan! that it might be impossible to have a returnee season with evenly balanced tribes without casting for archetypes. On the other hand, Bayon’s top two of Joe and Keith are tiers better than Terry and Spencer/Woo; Joe and Keith really should have been split up there.

          3. I think part of the problem was that Production was trying to separate people from the same season as much as possible on Cambodia. What ended up happening was that by the time they had people separated in this manner, they didn’t go “Oh crap, we can’t have four alpha males on the same tribe” or “Oh crap, we have the weakest females on the board on the same tribe”.

            With Game Changers, they did this somewhat, but then you had people with history on the same tribe (Cirie and JT/Cirie and Ozzy). But, we kinda figure that there was some last minute shuffling due to Natalie Anderson

          4. I think it’s fair to think that happened, but unfair in the sense that you could do the same process and have a better result. For example:

            – Start with Cagayan and SJDS as they have the most returnees. Woo and Tasha go to one tribe, Spencer and Kass the other (and I will defend the choice of starting Spencer and Kass on the same tribe, but not in this comment).
            – Jeremy and Keith can’t go together, and Wentworth has to go with one. She spent more time with Keith in SJDS, so she gets paired with Jeremy. Flip a coin, and we have T1: Woo, Tasha, Jeremy, Wentworth; T2: Spencer, Kass, Keith.
            – Then we need a foil for Wentworth on the tribe that’s short a person; make that Ciera. Then Vytas needs to go to the other tribe. Now Vytas needs a foil to join Ciera; make that Joe, sending Shirin to T1. Same problem again, so send Peih-Gee to T2. All of her castmates already played a second time Peih-Gee has no castmates from China, so we terminate here. T1: Woo, Tasha, Jeremy, Wentworth, Vytas, Shirin; T2: Spencer, Kass, Keith, Ciera, Joe, Peih-Gee.
            – Our last castaways from the same original season are Kimmi and REDACTED. Kimmi works as a foil for Kass, so she goes to T1 while REDACTED gets put on T2. This works out because he’s clearly last among the male castaways by physical ability, so he, Keith, and Joe balance out to any combination of three on T1.
            – We’re going to separate Savage and Terry. And just in case Terry still has some challenge magic left, we won’t put him with the Boy Wonder, Joe, on T2. Terry to T1, Savage to T2.
            – Stephen works as a foil for Spencer; put him on T1.
            – T1 has two old-school players; T2 has maybe 1.5 (I don’t remember REDACTED’s campaign style or how he said he’d play the game, but I imagine it was strategically aggressive). So Wigles probably fits on T2. Also, if she goes to T1, Monica and Abi are put on a tribe with Kass, and then we’re definitely not balancing the tribes. Wigles to T2.
            – If we expect enough friction from Spencer, Kass, and Savage to create sufficient drama in T2, T1 needs someone for good TV. Abi to T1, and that leaves Monica on T2.

            Final tribe division:
            T1: Woo, Tasha, Jeremy, Wentworth, Vytas, Shirin, Kimmi, Terry, Stephen, Abi
            T2: Spencer, Kass, Keith, Ciera, Joe, Peih-Gee, REDACTED, Savage, Wigles, Monica

            I think that’s immediately better balanced, and hey, we even managed to not have Wentworth and Wiglesworth on the same tribe. If I could do that in a few minutes, there’s no reason production could have done this well or better with the time they had.

      1. In that regard, couldn’t ‘not targeting Kass’ be one of his biggest mistakes? By both of them making the merge, it was likely that whoever went to the jury first would actively campaign against them, to ruin their chances in an FTC. So for Kass and Spencer (and I guess, most other super enemies) the most important pre-merge step would be to remove the other.

        Or, i guess, make up with them? But Spencer and Kass tried that and it felt so put on, no one was thinking it wouldn’t fall apart.

        1. Spencer didn’t have an opportunity to target Kass. If he doesn’t take the lifeline she throws him at new-new-Ta Keo he is 100% going home. What’s he gonna do? Rat on her to Savage? Maybe that works. Maybe.

          1. I wasn’t really saying that he had the opportunity, but more that, heading into that season it should have been a key goal of his. And for Kass to some degree. They needed to both either boot the other, or befriend the other, but anything in the middle would make it very difficult to get a win.

            Kass had two good options, one being to eliminate him, the other save him and hope that would help her down the line or in getting his FTC vote. Obviously, neither panned out for her, but in Spencer vs. Kass, she had the better position to ensure he couldn’t win.

        2. I’m not sure where he gets the numbers to boot Kass. They only went to tribal together once and he was busy working with her to save his own ass

  5. I’m actually probably one of the people who appreciated Spencer much more during his second time, and it’s not like I ever disliked him. I feel what Spencer was trying to do in Cambodia was genuine, but editors turned what at best is a fun, little storyline, into something bigger than it really was, which also ate up a lot of screen time for other people like Keith and Kimmi, and maybe a few others. If/When I rewatch Cagayan though, I think I’ll prefer Cagayan Spencer though.

    But one major thing that I’m completely tired of hearing, is that Spencer was the “BIGGEST GOAT OF ALL TIIIIME”. Most of that is counter-measure made in the super-fan community, for example Mario Lanza, against the claim that Russell Hantz was robbed. Since then, most people do acknowledge that Russell didn’t play a great game, because he isolated people in the jury. But now, people just call everyone a goat if they lost against someone in FTC, and I’m tired of it. Just because Aubry lost the jury’s vote, it doesn’t mean she’s Russell Hantz. I do agree that it would be hard for Spencer to actually win Cambodia, but most of it was because a)Kass was in the jury, and b)he got a little arrogant during Kimmi’s, and Kelley’s TC, which turned some of the jury off.. But some people even argue thay ABI would’ve beaten him and Tasha, which I don’t believe for a second. And, like in Zeke’s case, his hate is WAY uncalled for.

    And to end my comment on the positive note, here is a video of Spencer reacting to things.

    1. Mario Lanza is cock-fucking awful at any sort of strategic analysis. There’s no coherent through-line to it; it’s entirely post hoc rationalizations to justify why he likes the players he likes. It’s part of his overarching theory that only he understands what’s Good about Survivor.

      Also, motherfucker wrote Survivor fan fiction. And printed it out and mailed it out to players he wrote about. Never forget.

      1. I find myself weirdly in line with Mario’s opinions more often than I’m comfortable with. And I don’t think the whole Spencer was a goat is a Lanza opinion.

        Spencer was not remotely a goat and people pull post game quotes from players that back up their opinion when it agrees with their worldview of Spencer hate and make it into some sort of established fact. The Survivor community really annoys me sometimes

        1. A lot of people said it but I think Rob C. was the first- Cambodia was an older season than usual, and no amount of good play was going to make those people not resent the brash young dude who jostled his way to the top. It’s not Spencer’s fault that Kimmi chose to use her jury question to throw a tantrum, and it doesn’t make him a goat.

        2. Mario totally lost me on his game opinions with the idol clue burning post. Also, in a fairly recent post, he used the word “retarded” which is not okay

          1. I’m not saying I’m a Mario fan, I’m saying I agree with his opinions a lot more than I feel like I should. He’s got a lot of problems obviously.

        3. I wasn’t trying to say that it was Mario’s opinion (although, I wouldn’t be at all surprised if he would say that in a version 4.0). I meant that after he was a part of people who said that Russell wasn’t robbed, and one of the arguments he used was that because he lost a jury’s vote, and because he allianated people, he was a goat. And I don’t have any problems with the arguments he had concerning that. My main issue is that now some people just call anyone who lost a jury’s vote a goat. I don’t know if he has the same mindset, but his arguments snowballed an issue that I have with some people.

      2. It also doesn’t help that he seems to outsource a lot of his research to the Sucks forums, and I would rather occupy r/Survivor than that hellhole.

      3. I’ve mentioned it here many times, but it bears repeating … Mario wrote an all-stars fan fiction season and had Vecepia win. And she was a deserving (and unanimous?) winner.


        1. I can see Vecepia doing well if she were to come back. It’s not anything I’d write fan fiction about, but she had a strong social game and a light touch, and she’d be way under the radar.

          1. I never read it, just skimmed it, but it read like he portrayed her like she was a strategic mastermind.

            Just found it – written in 2002, it only contains members from the first 4 seasons. I agree that if she came back now, who would be targeting her? But not sure if she’d make it in modern-Survivor.

            Also, I was wrong – in the fan-fiction it wasn’t unanimous – it came down to the last vote.

          2. I think V would have trouble keeping up with the modern game, and might even be unwilling to scheme at all, but I do think she would make it really far as long as she could still hold her own in challenges. And in the right season, making it really far and being well liked can get you the million (cough*Kaoh Rong*cough)

          3. True, but I think the idea of her returning to play again and being a strategic mastermind is far-fetched. Not impossible – it happened with Parvati, but I don’t see it happening again

          4. I think she is solid, but I don’t think greatest of all time is appropriate. I do have to give her respect for being the first person of color to win and the first player from a minority alliance to win, though.

        2. In the Historians chapter on Marquesas he won’t shut up about how Vecepia is the most underrated winner ever. He never actually defends this claim, he just repeats it over and over as if just talking about the season will make the reasons obvious.

          That chapter was also maddening because Paul Asleton refused to stop pronouncing Zoe as “Zoh,” even as his two co-hosts were getting it right. That was the chapter where I realized that maybe Historians sucked and I should stop listening to it.

          1. I mean, you’re not wrong, but I think you’re being just a bit harsh on Mario, but I can’t be bothered to articulate why, so that should indicate how strongly I feel about it.

            However, another thing that drives me insane is the way they can take a joke and just run it into the ground and into the Earth’s molten core. Exhibit A: Yau-Man’s “I found a lemon tree” quote.

          2. I mean, he’s a funny guy who isn’t great at analytical thinking or looking at the world from the perspective of anyone who isn’t a straight white cisman; he’s not as stupid and awful as someone like Dalton Ross. I would probably bag on him a lot less if he wasn’t such a prissy, self-important dickhead about the singular rightness of his approach to Survivor.

          3. The thing that really sticks in my craw about Mario is the time during the Historians’ China coverage when he said he never thought miscarriages were that big a deal. I don’t care if he personally feels that way about his own experiences, but it’s disturbing that he didn’t seem to understand that other people might be upset by them.

          4. Holy shit it’s like he goes out of his way to be a creep. I take back what I said earlier. He actually is as bad as Dalton Ross.

      4. Mario’s weird self-congratulatory shiz is the worst part of Historians (besides when Paul keeps talking even though he needs to clear his throat). But other than that Historians is an acceptable way to pass the time in the off season at PRP (and RHAP I guess).

        1. I powered through into Thailand, but, when it got to their dismissive treatment of grindgate, I was like, “yuuuup, I’m done.”

          1. I’ve had arguments with people about grindgate all over the place where people told me it wasn’t a big deal. But yeah, it really is an awful thing that was treated flippantly.

    2. “But one major thing that I’m completely tired of hearing, is that Spencer was the “BIGGEST GOAT OF ALL TIIIIME””

      I wouldn’t say that Spencer is the biggest goat of all time is; he’s not even the biggest goat of that season. Tasha was completely content to get to the finals and then lay down and lose. Listening to her post-game interviews (especially her long-form interview with Rob C) was so infuriating – she had zero drive to try and win at the end.

      1. Plus Tasha totally sucked in Cambodia. I LOVED her in Cagayan and was actively excited for her to come back starting as soon as the season ended, but from the very beginning of Cambodia my opinion of her crashed and burned. I wanted to like her so bad, too.

    1. Have you watched his Mr. Survivor campaign videos? (not his interview with Rob) They are pretty impressive, especially the one where he got so many Survivor alumni to appear and endorse him.

    2. Somehow I never read that. I had no idea Mitt Romney had “been successful in everything he’s ever attempted” in 2014. Really, I’m lucky I grew out of my stupid young Republican phase before I was old enough to be mocked on the internet.

      1. @purplerockandy:disqus’s right though. The person doing the post-season interviews after Cambodia was not the same person who wrote that pre-Cagayan bio.

        I sometimes wonder what kind of monster I would have turned into if I had read Atlas Shrugged at 16 instead of at 26.

  6. Spencer to me is basically how I feel about Fleetwood Mac, specifically the Buckingham/Nicks years. They’re alright. Some big hits, clearly wildly popular. Just kind of there, though. Nothing to get excited or agitated about.

    1. That is a deep, deep insult to Fleetwood Mac. Maybe if you took Rumours out of the equation, but otherwise Spencer isn’t even in the same league as a B-hit like “You Make Lovin’ Fun”. Which, incidentally, he doesn’t.

      1. Yeah, pretty harsh to compare a final 4 boot and one time FTC runner up to the creators of one of the most definitive albums in rock history. But that’s PRP, so fuck everything!

      2. Rumours is fine and all, a very good album. But it’s good in a completely not exciting way. I’m more a fan of the Danny Kirwan years.

        1. I wholeheartedly disagree, but accept that I probably won’t be able to change your mind. Music tastes, and the rating of albums, is one of the most endlessly subjective things.

    2. So what you’re saying is Rumors is Cagayan, and Tango in the Night is Cambodia?

      (I really have no idea if this analogy works; those are the only 2 FW album titles I remember)

          1. I’m not well versed enough in Fleetwood to confirm that. But it was the album where Buckingham got the most creative control, and thus it is more art-rock then previous albums.

            Also, Fleetwood has a crazy fucking timeline. There have been tons of different lineups and iterations, including a point where all the real band members were replaced with a completely new band, I believe because the producer owned the name and was mad at the rest? It’s crazy, the band was like, 7 or 8 years old before Nicks/Buckingham even joined.

      1. Ha, I kind of like Tango In
        The Night. I have fond memories of playing Earthworm Jim while listening to that album.

    3. Huh. Fleetwood Mac is reasonably enjoyable but also gets on my nerves for somewhat unclear reasons, and that’s not far from how I feel about Spencer.

  7. Spencer was easily my favourite player on on both his season. I think it’s because as a socially anxious but competent, arrogant mid 20s man I relate to him pretty well. I see his flaws and I understand the issues with his Cambodia storyline but I really never understood the vitriol of hate that exists in some places

    1. Cagayan was my first season, and since Spencer was the de facto narrator and, yes, someone I identified a lot with he was my first Survivor rooting interest and someone I’ll always be fond of.

  8. Is anyone still watching Big Brother, and if so does this season change the way you feel about what Rob did in Redemption Island?

    1. I’m still watching, and yeah, it makes me a bit lower about his win than before, although I still think it’s really good. I do think Paul plays well, but him being an only returnee GREATLY helped him get to the position he’s in, and it shows that positives greatly outweigh the negatives.

      I just kinda want this season to end, really. If someone shakes up the game, great, but it probably won’t happen. I’m only watching to see who wins, but I don’t have any big rooting interests. Now, I just hope that BBCAN6 will be good, and that BB20 is an all-star season (seriously, I HOPE they’ll finally do another one).

      And does anyone heard any news about BB:OTT2. Is there gonna be another season, or nah?

    2. Not really. I don’t hate Paul because he’s dominating and all the other people are idiots. I hate them all because their mean spirited assholes. As someone who enjoyed BB16 watching Derrick totally run the show, I can deal with that kind of game. I can’t deal with the fact that the people suck. (I say as someone who quit like a month ago, but still follows on blogs/twitter)

        1. This is true, Derrick did have more obstacles to navigate, and even required his own Woo. I think (again, from what I read) Paul may have a couple landmines, but the thought of anyone else winning, besides Kevin, is also horrifying. Whereas I guess BB16 and RI there were palatable other winners (even if they never got screen time)

    3. Fun slightly off/on-topic story about Big Brother, but it requires a little context: My parents DVR Big Brother. My mom watches the tv episodes fairly religiously but can’t keep track of anything (she thinks every episode ends with an eviction). My dad hates the fact that my mom watches it, but he still keeps track of it to the point that he looks up Google stories.

      Anyway, we were talking about how Kevin was probably going home soon and my dad said “Don’t they know that he cast for a certain type?” I was already proud of him, but he then drops this bomb: “You know like Hogeboom or that guy who pretended he wasn’t a cop (98 percent sure he was referring to Derrick, not Tony”. I thought I misheard him, but I still had ask him. While my mom thought I made up words, my dad was like “Oh yeah, he was a former football player that they brought on-not the house, but Survivor”. I have never been more proud of my dad. Also, I just realized my dad and Keith Nale both use “the house” to refer to two fairly different reality tv houses.

    4. I have only seen 3-4 seasons of Big Brother. Do they usually not take numbers into consideration? It was so weird to me how Jessica and Cody seemed to think they had a chance of winning when almost everyone in the house hated them.
      Again, not too experienced with the show, but I’m enjoying how Paul is dominating. A little unclear on the strategy though, BB seems to encourage showmances, is that just this season that so many are pairing up?

  9. The Haters Gonna Hate section is missing “He had the temerity to take a mental break from Survivor after playing twice in a couple of years and suffering a heartbreaking loss, thereby proving he thinks himself too good for us fans and since we made him we can fucking unmake him”. And people wonder why we make fun of reddit.

    On that note, it’s pretty great that a guy that came into Survivor as a junior Republican came out the other side with a podcast promoting the value of mental health. Pretty good success story if you ask me.

  10. @stormofcuteness:disqus (and anyone else), how are you liking this season of SYTYCD?

    I don’t love all the format changes they’ve been trying lately, especially when it results in only 10 contestants. I think the show really suffers from having a smaller pool and giving us less time to get to know them and them less time to adjust to the show. I did enjoy having the All Stars more involved in casting though, and I generally like this pool of contestants and All Stars. Talk about good shows for male eye candy!

    There haven’t been any routines yet I’ve watched over and over again, which isn’t a great sign, but on the whole I’m just glad it’s not canceled. I’m hoping things gel a little more as we get further into the season.

    1. I do not like the change in format either. Without only 10 contestants some still weren’t shown. It’s means Jasmine got screwed early.
      I feel like Impavido isn’t getting treated well by the judges, she is being critiqued far harder than the partners of some favourites. You’ve got Taylor getting rave reviews while being mediocre and Kiki literally stands or walks lowly around his partner and he gets standing ovations. Too many contestants have connections to all stars or choreographers and producers and it seems to be colouring their critiques.

      1. YES I miss Jasmine! And I liked Robert as well and was sad to see him go so soon for his own sake. At least they’re keeping her in the all star group routines.

        I prefer Taylor to Impavido/Kaylee myself, but I agree with you about Kiki. He’s a hottie but he’s struggling outside his own style. I feel the the judges are over praising everyone this season and I’d like to see them be more critical. I wonder if they’ve been told to tone it down to keep the young fans happy. Remember how the crowd used to boo the judges when they said anything negative?

        I blame a lot of the decisions I don’t like on attempts to hang onto viewers. In particular I don’t think every all star this year is really equipped to elevate their contestant in a range of styles.

        Which just reminds me that I don’t like this use of all stars at all. I prefer when they’re brought in only in styles they excel at. It’s weird to ask some of them to stretch and maybe fail like this when they’re not competing. The show really hit upon a perfect format for a while and I miss it.

          1. You’ve cleverly figured out who I’m talking about! Much like Kiki, Cyrus is top notch eye candy but lacks range. It’s absurd to act like he’s the one helping Kaylee in this week’s cha cha.

        1. I cannot accept you liking Taylor who is like every other contemporary girl ever on the show better than Kaylee who is so cool and nice.

          1. Kaylee picked Cyrus! I don’t actually remember who her other options were but that is an inexplicable choice. I think she’s a little too focused on image, and Logan is really upstaging her in look how weird I can be! Taylor dances beautifully and I hope that Robert will be able to teach her something about performing because I think her face is where she’s falling down. I don’t know, I like them both fine. My real pick of the contemporary girls is Koine.

          2. Koine is just perfection, I just like Kaylee because she’s a different style of girl. You can be a weird male dancer on SYTYCD but the weird female ones rarely make the live rounds.

      2. But on the other hand at least we haven’t had any ugly homophobic/misogynist critiques yet this season.

      1. I will take space-wasters over Jason Derulo telling little boys they have to be more masculine, but yes, she is.

          1. Even Nigel and Mary are pretty toothless these days. I could take a celeb judge who’s too nice if we had some actual judging from the other two.

            I haaaated Derulo as a judge, he was like the new Nigel of gender role enforcement. We’re stuck with Nigel, but we don’t need another.

            Rotating the third judge used to be a good compromise. Hudgens one week, then Misty Copeland, that would be okay.

    2. I don’t have too much more to add because I feel the same way. I’ve also become super annoyed by Vaneesa Hudgens as a judge.

      It definitely feels like the men are way better this year, but it’s all moving way too swiftly. Last week I didn’t feel we got enough diversity with dance styles. Very jazz, broadway, contemp heavy. But at least the costumes weren’t as god awful as the week before.

      Sounds like I’m bitching, but, like you, I’m grateful to have anything!

  11. This may have been discussed already and I just missed it, but I noticed that the cast bios for HvHvH (is that how we’re abbreviating Survivor 35?) are up on CBS All Access. Anyone have any thoughts or reactions to the cast? Over all I like that they seem to be moving away from some of their old archetypes and trying out new types of players.
    There were some people who stood out in a negative way (namely the guy who lives in his Prius by choice, eye roll) but there were a handful that I like and who could potentially do pretty well. I don’t know anyone’s name, but in particular I liked the Olympic Swimmer (she gave me a Dawn Meehan vibe, in a good way), the physical therapist, the probation officer and the social worker. I was pleasantly surprised by the personal assistant and the belllhop and can see them both going far. The urologist and the commercial fisherwoman were iffy for me – I could see them bombing out horribly or doing okay and/or being entertaining. And finally, the diversity consultant lady is my pre-season pick for first boot :/

    1. I’m pushing to call it 3-H, but that’s probably a little cute. I’ll have to check out the bios!

    2. I’m high on the cast even if I’m down on the stupid theme. The common abbreviation I’ve seen is Triple H. Also, Cole (Prius guy) is amazing and easily my favourite because mostly shallow reasons.

    3. I want the math mom to be great, but I know my biases well enough not to put any stock in that. I also got good vibes from the personal assistant, the social worker (the way to my heart is to compare yourself to Sophie, as long as you don’t talk about astrology), and the bellhop.

      Is Andrea the new Parvati? All the young women want to be her.

      1. I liked math mom but I thought her video started out really slow. She was like ‘let me use my precious intro time to explain what an actuary does’ ~yawn~
        But seriously, I hope she does well because she actually seems cool.

    4. Ms. S, you missed the whole discussion in the Sophie post! Prius Guy’s name is Cole, and like @disqus_sjBnbSyo83:disqus, I like him a lot for very superficial reasons. Olympic Swimmer (Katrina) is another one I like, but I worry about her getting the Mom treatment and being booted early. But I think that the Heroes are stacked with physical threats (JP–Firefighter, Alan–NFL player, and Ben–Marine) and they have good swimmers (Katrina, Ashley–Lifeguard). So they could coast on winning challenges if there isn’t an early swap. I would actually bet on the Hustlers getting Matsing-ed if swaps weren’t so predictable in recent seasons. Simone (diversity consultant lady) screams first boot, so much so that I’m wondering how she’s picking up so many fans.

      1. ICB2T. I for one went from fan when the first cast photos leaked to “yeah, first boot” when the bios and vids came out.

      2. I agree that Simone’s chances doesn’t seem very high right now. It’s just that I hope she can survive against the odds. Plus, she gives me major Natalie Bolton vibes, and she proved to be a competent player later on, so I hope she will go that tragectory, rather than So’s.

        And I could see this season being more like a Worlds Apart in terms of immunity wins, in that there is no Matsing or Luzon in there. I don’t think Heroes will ever go to Tribal, but with Healers and Hustlers it’s 50-50 for me.

        1. I also think the Heroes will never go to Tribal, but the Healers and Hustlers are more 60/40 for me. You have Cole, Joe, and Desi as a strong core, Roark and Jessica as probably average, and Mike, who you could hide by putting him on puzzles. With the Hustlers, you have Devon and Patrick, but the other four are real question marks. Is Ali any good at challenges? Will Lauren’s profession help her physically? Do Ryan and Simone need to be stuck on puzzles? Does that lack of flexibility hurt the tribe?

          Also, if you’ve listened to Wigler’s podcast, the quote from the first boot sounded like Ryan or Simone, though I might be projecting there. But there’s also the fact that Ali and Patrick know each other (or at least, Ali knows Patrick). That could screw up the tribe dynamics enough to create major dysfunction.

          1. You never know. I lot of us thought the Brawn tribe would never go to tribal in Kaoh Rong, and they fell apart immediately.

          2. This is fair. The difference might be that Actuary Mom whose name I’m forgetting makes them a more balanced tribe than Brawn.

      3. I just asked about Prius guy above. The Prius thing isn’t in his bio, so I’m assuming it must only be in the video. I think I’ve already staked out my Costanza Pick 4 team, but I must watch the videos to determine my draft strategy in the other league.

        1. You definitely need to. There are more insufferable people than Cole (also, how can you not like him after watching his video?)

    5. I mostly agree with you. One of worries though is, like I said in the Sophie post, that not many seem very charismatic on camera. I only base it off 3 minute videos though, so that may be just paranoia. But overall, I think this interesting, and I can’t wait to see how they’ll all do on the island.

      1. Definitely a fair point. There were a good number of them who seemed like they were maybe uncomfortable on camera and didn’t know how to play up the interesting parts of themselves. My hope is that it actually ends up being a good thing, because they will be more ~real~ on the island, but who knows they could also just be boring people?

        1. Really? He may be my rooting interest but he’s got “gets booted as a threat” written all over him (I’ll probably still pick him)

        2. I only draft people based on how insufferable I think they are. This guy seems like he might achieve Ken levels of insufferableness.

        3. WHAT?! I thought he was the lamest lame out there. He strikes me as the Taylor of this season 😀

          1. To be fair, a lot of people also chose Taylor as a winner pick last year, including Andy if I remember correctly. At least Cole seems much more likable for me than Taylor was, and I wasn’t a fan even in the pre-season.

            And I may very well be exagerrating how many times he is picked, but I’ve seen people predicting he will go far. And I’m also not trying to look, because I want to form my picks in our fantasy league based on my gut, rather than second-guess myself by other people telling me otherwise.

    6. Breaking news! They changed Chrissy’s bio, and they removed Candy Crush as one of her hobbies, and instead Jenna, they put Tai as the contestant she’s most like.

      1. I wonder if they were afraid not enough current fans know who Jenna is? If so that’s kind of a bummer :/

    7. Going by pictures and reading only a couple bios, quite a few of these players seem like , wait and see players. I’d say its a red flag when they compare themselves to recent players, or first season players in the bio. At minimum everyone watches first season and last couple. I can see many of them going either all the way or flaming out early.

      1. I agree! Most of the player comparisons were really lame. My personal favorite is “No one! I’m so unique!” because I just mentally translate it to “I’m a recruit and I’ve never seen a single episode”
        I could personally do with out all of the young white dudes (except Ryan, I guess) so I’d be okay with them being cut first. I could actually see this being a season run by the middle aged women, assuming they’re able to pull in a few others (Ryan and Roark seem like potential candidates…maybe Desi too)

      2. While it seems like a red flag, it could also just be production. They probably assume most casuals only remember very early-on players or recent players. The Jenna switch to Tai on Chrissy’s bio (noted below) being a good example of swapping someone not a lot of casuals and modern fans may be aware of for someone very big from the past few seasons.

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