Survivor Fan Friction – Todd Herzog

We’re winding down the offseason series 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). Luckily, Sharculese got this one in under the wire.

Why He’s Elite

I thought about writing one of these for Sophie, but unfortunately I got snaked on it. But then I remembered that there are like ten of us who stan for Sophie, and only the one of me who stans for Todd Herzog. I don’t think I have to convince anyone here that Todd did impressive things, but discussion of his game tends to begin and end with his Final Tribal performance. I’m here to argue that Todd played one of the top five social games in the history of Survivor, and he started on day one.

I have a fascination with Survivors’ professional backgrounds and which skillsets actually correlate with game success. Of all the people from the Different Walks of Life who have been on the show, I have to say, flight attendant might rank near the top. Todd was getting paid to deal with people in uncomfortable, inconvenient situations long before he hit the beach swamp. When you’ve had your head chewed off by the lady in 28B because her 4th G&T didn’t have enough ice in it, gritting your teeth through Jean-Robert’s latest sexist anecdote probably feels a little easier.

The moment the game begins, Todd is working people, moving them where he needs them to be. He harnesses Jean-Robert. He pushes Aaron into a leadership role they both know he shouldn’t want. He makes a solid two with Amanda, but not so solid that anyone worries.

Todd is everyone’s friend, always.

I’m going to spin something that borders on fan fiction, but watch this scene and tell me there’s not some truth to what I’m saying. In episode 3, Fei Long finally go to tribal council. The obvious target is Leslie, the bubbly Christian radio host who just does not fit in with her snarky, cynical tribe. And then Leslie gets kidnapped by Zhan Hu and comes back gushing about how much nicer everyone is over there. So yeah, Leslie kind of has to go and it’s her fault.

As the votes come in for her, there’s one that always caught my eye but it took me my third viewing of China to notice it. One of the votes for Leslie is appended “mom.” The first two times I assumed it was someone, probably Jean-Robert, being a dick. The third time I noticed that right after that vote, Leslie looks over at Todd, grins and pats him on the knee. That grin says everything. Todd’s game has one rule – no relationship is beneath cultivating.

Todd’s gift for bond building doesn’t end at the borders of his tribe. Thanks to the kidnapping/shanghai twists, members of the other side are constantly rotating through camp, and he makes the most of this as well. It’s not for no reason that successive Zhan Hus see him as the person to give the idol clue. He greets Sherea with a smile and a “welcome to your new home”, turning a thorn in Zhan Hu’s side into someone who at least can be dealt with. Most impressively, when Frosti catches him and Amanda finding the idol, he doesn’t panic, he turns it into an opportunity to create an adjunct member of his alliance.

This is Todd’s game. It’s not flashy or exciting. There are no big moves. It plays out in the slow, boring moments between all the big things. And we probably missed most of it, because what for us is a ten minute montage between challenges is for the players the grinding monotony of day-to-day life, and it’s within the cracks of that monotony that Todd worked his magic.

Hater’s Gonna Make It All About that Final Tribal

He Gave Away an Idol to James

He did. That was stupid. I am not going to try to defend it.

He Only Won with Amanda’s Help

I’m going to loop back to the Amanda of it all because that was part of my inspiration for writing about Todd, but, for now, I’ll concede that she’s a better strategist than he is. My question is: how much does it really matter?

Fei Long came into the merge with an impenetrable core of five (I’m not counting Jean-Robert, who is a crazy person) plus Frosti. There was not a lot of strategy to execute beyond “which order do we Pagong these stragglers in?” People who don’t care much for China generally point to the lack of dynamism in the post-merge. I see their point, but there’s a reason it played out like that, and it’s because there was no reason for that core group to rock the boat. If anything, their biggest problems were when they got creative and ended up doing dumb things like voting out Frosti when they should have just appeased Courtney and gotten rid of Jean-Robert.

There’s one situation where I’ll allow that Todd really needed Amanda’s help: the James dilemma (which again, was his own fault.) Without her to finesse things, I’m not sure Todd successfully threads that needle. But it’s one vote.

It’s Really All About that Final Tribal Performance, Though

If I haven’t convinced you yet that this isn’t true, I’m not sure I can. But to dive a little deeper, to the extent that Todd won with his FTC performance, it’s due to the arcs that he and Amanda had been traveling all season.

Everything Todd is as a player, Amanda isn’t. Across three seasons, we’ve seen the same basic story play out. She makes strong connections with one or two players and is tightly linked to them, but has trouble making connections outside that core group. People not in her core see her as cold and aloof, even when they’re nominally her allies. The only outlier is Erik Reichenbach, and that can be chalked to the fact that he was the most susceptible of the Fans to falling for the fan/favorite status imbalance. (Also, he got to see her boobs that one time. That probably helped).

As amazing as Todd’s final performance is, it’s greased by the fact that he had the bonds ready to make people want to buy into it. Amanda did not. He was working a warm room. She was working a cold one.

You Know You Haven’t Said a Lot that Couldn’t be Said About Michele Fitzgerald, Right?

Yeah. I know. I’ve kind of come around on Michele as a winner. We’re not in the Big Moves Era of Survivor; we’re in the Bodhisattva Era. If you trace one through line between the last four winners – Jeremy, Michele, Adam, Sarah – it’s that to one degree or another they all operated within the Earl/Todd paradigm of being the presence everyone else finds most comforting.

Embrace Debate

I want to make clear that no part of this post is an attack on Amanda. She’s a very good, maybe great strategic and physical player. But there’s a trend I see sometimes on the internet where pointing out what Amanda did right bleeds into eliding what the people she lost to did more right. Parvati has enough defenders, so I’d rather talk about Todd.

Todd’s game is admittedly hard to pay attention to. It’s a quiet, subtle game in a season that a lot of people find boring. But the way he played embodies one of the fundamental principles of Survivor: you win the game by being the person everyone else is okay losing to. Todd made sure he was that person, and he started making sure of it way earlier than he’s given credit for.

Sharculese

Sharculese

Sharculese first saw Survivor when his roommate wanted to watch Cagayan. He has now seen every season because he has a skewed sense of priorities.
Sharculese

Latest posts by Sharculese (see all)

  • Mike Hirsch

    Todd had, as I recall, a pretty good sense of collectedness despite the game throwing curveballs at him. Situational control is a great quality to have in this game.

    I get the meaning of it based on context, but is “stan” short for something?

    • sharculese

      Todd was one of the masters of going on and saying every mean thing he was thinking in confessional so he could come back and smile at you. He does go a little crazy toward the end, which is one of the places I think he most benefits from Amanda’s presence.

      Also:

      • Mike Hirsch

        Ahhhhh, ok, that makes sense. I’d seen the word enough to know it was all about unhinged fan-ness, but never got the correlation.

        • Maritimer

          You know, I knew the song and the expression but had really never put two and two together here

          • Mike Hirsch

            Glad I’m not the only one. To be fair to us, that song is super old now.

          • Maritimer

            Yeah, I definitely thought it was a new reference, did not think it would such a deep callback

      • Hornacek

        Is this the video where Eminem is writing a letter to a fan the entire song and then at the very end he realizes the fan is already dead?

        • Purple Rock Emma

          Yes. Also lol at spoiler tags for a music video/song. Very conscientious.

          • Hornacek

            I wasn’t going to include the tags, but then I thought “It is a very storylike video with a twist ending, so better safe than sorry”.

            But for you, I’ll spoil another Eminem video. In “The Way I Am” where he’s falling off a building for the entire video, at the end he hits the ground and survives with no damage.

          • the sky is falling

            I am pretty sure anything created 17 years ago passes the statute of limitations for requiring a spoiler.
            Keep up with pop culture!

          • Hornacek

            So I can finally freely talk about Darth Vader being Luke’s father?

          • Taako From Teevhii

            WHAT

          • Hornacek

            Woody: “You know, Darth Vader can’t be Luke Skywalker’s father. They don’t have the same last name.”

          • the sky is falling

            No! That’s not true! That’s IMPOSSIBLE!

          • Hornacek
  • sharculese

    Australian Survivor friends, trying to get this together in the two hours before the storm hits. Predicted windspeeds have dropped another 10 mph, tho, and I suspect I’ll have all afternoon to finish.

  • Taako From Teevhii

    This article is making me sad that we’ll never get to watch Todd play again. Which prompts me to nominate China as the next rewatch (though I also feel like SJDS has been getting a lot of buzz around here, not that it’s old enough to warrant a rewatch yet).

    • Alkanarra

      Fuck yeah – I’m all in on China. Strong beginning to end, best cast of newbies, everyone post-merge gets a decent story, Chicken, deserving winner, best villain the show has ever had, and Courtney.

    • indescribable hat

      I rewatched it by myself very recently but I’d probably still be in. I love China.

    • Hornacek

      “I also feel like SJDS has been getting a lot of buzz around here”

      Really? Who are these crazy people?

    • Saturday Night Palsy

      Why will we never get to watch Todd play again?

      • sharculese

        Todd had never had alcohol before China, and afterwards he spent a lot of time partying with Courtney and got to like it a little too much. It’s been a rough couple of years for him.

        • Saturday Night Palsy

          Ouch.

          • purplerockandy

            He’s been on Dr. Phil a few times for it. It’s really bad.

          • Saturday Night Palsy

            It is very hard not to drink when you love it. Very, very hard. I looked it up and saw that he had seizures and trouble walking. I’m glad my own problem isn’t that bad. I’m sorry that this happened to Todd.

    • purplerockandy

      We will probably never rewatch a season that was covered by the podcast. If we ever did, it would not be SJDS.

  • TheForRealDeal

    People don’t like China? What the hell is wrong with people? And another thing; why has there never been a Survivor named Stan?

    • Taako From Teevhii

      There should be a Justin before there’s a Stan. When’s the last time you met someone in the wild named Stan?

      • TheForRealDeal
        • Taako From Teevhii

          I knew exactly where that link was going before I clicked it, and you should know that IT DOESN’T COUNT

          • TheForRealDeal

            It’s technically correct, i.e. the best kind of correct.

          • Taako From Teevhii

            When it says “Justin” in the chyron, we’ll have a Justin on the show. Otherwise, Survivor has never had JT, Coach, and Boo as contestants.

          • TheForRealDeal

            You’d rather have Boo over Kenward?

          • Taako From Teevhii

            You’re hurting my narrative here (but no, I forgot his name was Kenward. I just knew it wasn’t Boo. Of course I’d rather have Kenward).

          • Blurry Denzel

            I wish they would have exclusively went with “Bubba” in the chyron back on Vanuatu. I could have pretended that they never had a Travis on the show.

          • Purple Rock Emma

            It’s kind of astounding that there’s never been an Emily on Survivor.
            *looks around nervously*
            Uhhhh I mean that there’s never been an Emma!

          • Blurry Denzel

            That is surprising for such a common name. I guess I’ll just have to settle for being the first Denzel on the show, along with being the first boot after I tell my tribemates to call me Denzel.

          • Hornacek

            Nice save!

          • Diego Armando

            There have been no Diego’s either, but there have been several notable contestants with my actual name.

      • Hornacek

        EXCELSIOR!

    • Purple Rock Emma

      I love China!

      • TheForRealDeal

        You’re hurting my narrative here.

        • Hornacek

          I like China?

    • Diego Armando

      I’m just going to stay mum on this.

      • TheForRealDeal

        So you’re the one responsible for keeping Stans off of Survivor.

        • Diego Armando

          They know what they did.

    • Other Scott

      I wouldn’t say I dislike China, but I don’t like it as much as most people.

      Tocantins is the season I don’t understand the love for.

      • purplerockandy

        Same on Tocantins. It’s fine, but nothing particularly special. I guess it all comes down to your tolerance level of Coach and Tyson.

  • Taako From Teevhii

    I don’t think anyone here has talked about this since the announcement, but who do y’all think should be on CBB?

    (And I’m talking about Celebrity Big Brother, but I will also accept answers for Comedy Bang Bang)

    • TheForRealDeal

      Thomas Middleditch, on both counts.

      • Taako From Teevhii

        Only if Patrick Stewart comes with him.

        Side note, what do you think is his best CBB character, and why is it Angry Man from China?

        Side side note, why are those Verizon commercials so terribly unfunny?

        • TheForRealDeal

          I’m personally fond of Joey Tortellini and that accent, but then I’m easily amused.

          Angry Man from China is great because of how uncomfortable it makes everyone else in the room, even as they are compelled by the rules of improv to carry out the bit. And there, we’ve brought it back around to China.

    • Maritimer

      I mean, Beyonce, but I’ll be realistic in my expectations. I don’t know C/D list celebrities to really make any real guesses, so long as a certain former contestant isn’t cast.

      My biggest long shot hope – Randy

      • Super duper fan

        SHINE BRIGHT LIKE A FRANKIEEEEE!!! (I didn’t watch BB16 btw, but I know he’s a really unpopular)

        • Maritimer

          He was just terrible. And he thought everyone would love him.

      • Taako From Teevhii

        I’m wondering if they can get anyone better than C/D list celebs. Like, NPH is a known BB fan, and there’s a connection that CBS can try to work. Also, is he doing anything besides ASOUE right now?

        • Maritimer

          NPH would be amazing. I know he’s a Survivor fan, is he a BB one too? My worry would be if a couple higher tier celebrities are cast they would be booted immediately because the C/D list celebs want airtime

        • StormofCuteness

          I can’t imagine leaving his kids for that long.

      • Blurry Denzel

        She won’t do it but I want Natalie Anderson to complete the CBS reality trifecta. Live feeds with her would be next level.

        • Max_Jets

          Oh man, I can only imagine how many comments she’d make that would be blowing up the BB internet. I’ll still love her though.

      • the sky is falling

        I think Randy was interested

        • Maritimer

          He’s definitely interested. I’m just not sure if they would consider a former Survivor player to be a “celebrity”

    • Super duper fan

      The only real D list celebrities (which they’ll probably cast) that I know are YouTubers, and there are actually a few that I wouldn’t mind seeing, so probably that.

      • Taako From Teevhii

        I can see Tyler Oakley after TAR. Maybe.

        • Diego Armando

          Fun fact, he apparently went to my high school.

          • Taako From Teevhii

            At the same time as you? He’s at least like a D/E list celebrity. My high school has the drummer for the Plain White Ts and an NFL WR who floats on and off practice squads around the league.

          • Diego Armando

            At least 5 years after me. I did hear that someone in my class played for a metal band in Seattle though. The only other semi-famous person from my high school is the guy that played Clark Kent on Smallville.

          • StormofCuteness

            Mmm, Tom Welling? Too lazy to see if I remembered it correctly, but he was lovely to look at.

    • Purple Rock Emma

      I wonder if there’s any realistic casting choices that would actually get me to watch. My gut says no.

      • Blurry Denzel

        I’m going to watch regardless no matter who is cast but I think the type of realistic casting that would get me excited would have to be someone from a show I adored growing up or a Survivor player I really liked.

    • indescribable hat

      Podcast or TV? This is a very ambiguous acronym.

      • Taako From Teevhii

        But the show has been cancelled for over a year.

        • indescribable hat

          And that’s how you know I listen to the podcast from time to time and have been wondering “Should I try to TV show?” for a while.

    • Ms. Sweaterfan

      Is this a real thing? Exciting!
      It probably wouldn’t work logistically, but it would be really funny to see Jeff Probst or Phil Keoghan compete.
      More realistically, I hope they get at least one stand up comic because I’m sure their confessionals would be entertaining.
      Also I like BD’s idea below of Natalie Anderson. But more generally I think that a former Survivor winner of some sort would be fun too.

      • Taako From Teevhii

        I’m thinking that if a Survivor winner gets on, they’ll be targeted for being a Survivor winner. And there’s no way to hide it because they don’t have any other sort of celebrity to claim a spot in the house.

        That said, Sandra should be in the house; she’s essentially an insult comic and a CBS reality star.

        • the sky is falling

          not really a celebrity though

    • Hornacek

      Spencer Pratt

      Oh wait, did you say “will” or “should”?

    • the sky is falling

      Larry David. Louis CK. Axl Rose. Terry Bradshaw. Hillary Clinton. Cyndi Lauper. Charlie Sheen. Jenna Bush. Kathy Griffin. Kim Kardashian. Johnny Knoxville. Stevie Nicks. Ally Sheedy. Tina Fey.

    • purplerockandy

      Boston Rob.

  • Maritimer

    Todd is awesome, though I will never quite understand his thought process on the James idol thing. Why not keep the one from their camp and tell James where the one is at their camp. I guess fear it was only at his?

    General thought on China: Its great of first watch, because there is a bit of uncertainty in the Pagonging, but I find it a slog in places on rewatch, mostly because I was looking for Todd’s game and its boring. No discredit to Todd, but watching for social game is not my favourite thing.

    • Harvey Dent

      The rewatch for me worked because of China’s great characters above all else. The strategy was eh, but the cast was filled to the brim with memorable characters who were consistently funny and interesting (Courtney, Todd, James, Peih-Gee, Jaime, Jean Robert, Amanda, even Chicken is probably the best first boot ever).

      • Super duper fan

        I personally prefer Timber Tina as a best first boot, but Chicken is great too.

      • Maritimer

        The characters are exactly what keeps it up enough to be worth a rewatch. One of the best newbie casts ever. Its when they talk strategy I find it tough on re-watch, especially because I think in a couple places the show passes over the “Why” on some boots, particularly Frosti’s. They don’t really tell us why not JR or Erik

      • sharculese

        China is like if they let Larry David design a season of Survivor. Almost everyone is some kind of jerk and instead of a tropical beach they have to live on a dirty lake shore.

      • Hornacek

        DAMN!

    • purplerockandy

      Todd couldn’t guarantee that the other tribe’s idol was there or not. Or if James would have opportunity to grab it.

  • Alkanarra

    I was expecting a lot of Amanda bashing in order to prop up Todd’s game so pleasantly surprised. Girl gets way too little credit sometimes.

    • Blurry Denzel

      Amanda would be a good subject for this series. She has a glaring weakness that has impeded her winning the game but she has a lot of other qualities that would make her a really good player. I especially love how she plays in Mirconesia in the post Ozzy boot. I think another issue is she may not pop on camera the same way her closest allies in the game like Todd, Courtney, James, Cirie and Parvati has. I find her very fascinating though.

      • Alkanarra

        I think it speaks perfectly to Amanda that she’s probably the best fit for a Fan Friction article but nobody cares about her enough to actually write it.

        • indescribable hat

          Aw, I care about Amanda, I’m just very lazy. And a little embarrassed about the fact that I’m always jumping to her defense, but mostly lazy.

          • Purple Rock Emma

            Very on brand for PRP. (Guess who was supposed to write one of these and then didn’t?)

          • purplerockandy

            Answer: every staff member but me and Mark.

        • Maritimer

          When I was considering who I could write about for the proposal I never actually submitted, Amanda never even crossed my mind. I guess I thought she was someone who had enough said about her

          • BadPlayer91

            I haven’t seen 2 of her 3 seasons, so that’s my reason for never considering her. But, for what it’s worth, I liked her in Micronesia. And there must be something said for first player to 100 days.

          • Hornacek

            Don’t forget her bedroom wrestling match with Daniel DiLorenzo!

          • sharculese

            Sylvia: I’ve only seen Micronesia.

            Hornacek: Remember that one thing from not-Micronesia?!

          • Hornacek

            Would you believe I meant to reply to Blurry Denzel’s comment?

          • sharculese

            I’ll give you the benefit of the doubt…

          • BadPlayer91

            Wait…i’m not Sylvia..

          • sharculese

            You have similar avatars.

          • BadPlayer91

            Unless Sylvia’s avatar is also Beyonce, I must, by the laws of all that is Bey, be insulted.

            or in the words of Queen Bey: Middle fingers up, put them hands high
            Wave it in his face, tell him, boy, bye

          • Assistant Dragon Slayer
          • BadPlayer91

            YUUUUPPPPP

          • Hornacek

            Ha! We both made mistakes regarding who we were responding to!

          • purplerockandy

            Daniel? Is he Danielle’s brother?

          • Hornacek

            Thanks, corrected.

        • Dubious Rob

          I would totally write about Amanda. I’m one of those who thought she deserved the win over Todd, but I’ll concede that her loss is entirely her fault.

          One of the things I love about China is that it’s a season with several strong female competitors, with Amanda leading the pack. Much of the post-merge is a showdown between Amanda and Peih-gee, and it’s a shame that it doesn’t get as much attention because the challenge beasts are women.

          • Super duper fan

            Don’t forget that Courtney won immunity. Did Todd, James, or Jean-Robert win immunity?

          • Ms. Sweaterfan

            I think China was fantastic as is, but this comment made me wonder how it would have gone if they’d done a it as battle of the sexes… 😮

          • Dubious Rob

            Now there’s an interesting idea! Amanda, Peih-gee, Jaime, Sherea, wrestler Ashley, and even Courtney would probably wipe the floor with Chicken, Crazy Dave, Jean-Robert, cute-but-useless Erik, and immunity-immune James. Todd, Aaron, and Frosti would be the only real threats to the women here. This is all assuming that team of women with strong personalities would hold together, though. 🙂

    • Hornacek

      She went to FTC in back-to-back seasons, that’s impressive, even if most of the people in her second season had no idea who she was.

      • Assistant Dragon Slayer

        Totally cosign. Amanda doesn’t get her due in part because the last impression she makes in each of her seasons is so damn awful. And with Micronesia in particular, you really see how playing two complete seasons in a row drove her a little crazy toward the end (one thing that really stuck out to me in the rewatch was how it was the next-to-last tribal, not FTC, where she lost the jury).

        • Ms. Sweaterfan

          Also she was pretty much a non-entity in HvV

        • Hornacek

          I will totally tangent that response.

      • the sky is falling

        So did Russell.

        • Hornacek

          Yes, but she did it first. If Russell had seen other seasons before playing he would have known this before talking all the time about how he was the first person to do this.

          (I don’t know for sure that he claimed this, but it sounds like something he’d say)

        • Max_Jets

          Also impressive.

  • Super duper fan

    I’m personally a BIG fan of Todd, and he might be in contention of being my favourite winner and player of all time. I think he played a great game, obviously had a great FTC, and thought he was a really fun character. And the season itself is great also.

    And I’m also glad he’s doing really well right now, after all that he went through. I would love to see him play again, but it’s probably VERY unlikely, and if it would damage his health, he shouldn’t go back.

  • Ms. Sweaterfan

    Great article!
    China is def in my top 10 seasons, and probably even top 5. Todd’s win isn’t flashy, or necessarily even the most interesting or exciting part of that season, but I will always maintain that you win on Survivor by lasting to the FTC and convincing a majority of the jury to vote for you, period. There’s no single “right” way to do this, so it’s pointless to bash winners based on their type of win in my opinion. It’s much more fun bash them for their personalities anyway 😛

  • indescribable hat

    I love Todd, but I am one of those people who mostly loves him for FTC, which makes me a hater? Anyway, on a recent rewatch I was also particularly impressed with how he sold Amanda and Courtney on the idea that he was especially hated and they needed to keep him around to have a shot at the end.

    • Other Scott

      I don’t blame them for thinking that though, Todd was a backstabber and sneak and really this is the first tribal council in the history of the show where someone who had backstabbed a lot of people still ended up getting their vote in the end. The historical precedence was against him being a jury threat and this was really the first time that historical precedence was proven wrong.

  • Super duper fan

    Big Brother thread:
    I actually enjoyed the last two episodes. I still would prefer this season to end already, and to not think about it.

    And since there is kind of a discussion about it below, what are everyone’s thoughts on the announcment of Celebrity Big Brother? I personally don’t have any real problems about it, but I would like the season be in the US/CAN format, rather than the OTT/UK format (to be clear, I don’t know which format they’ll use).

    And continuing my journey of watching all Big Brother seasons, I just finished yesterday BB7, and soon I’ll begin BB8. My goal is to finish all the seasons before the end of the year. I don’t know if I’ll succeed, but I will try, dammit!

    • indescribable hat

      Ugh. There’s nothing new to say about this season.

      The celebrity cast could be good or terrible and I’m not sure we’ll know which until we see them play. I agree with you about format.

    • Ms. Sweaterfan

      You have officially lapped me in your BB rewatch! I started back at work last week so I haven’t made any more progress on BB6. Now it will probably take me months to finish it 🙁

      • Super duper fan

        Well, it isn’t exactly my rewatch, because it’s my first time seeing them, but it’s no big deal. I hope you’ll soon catch up!

        • Ms. Sweaterfan

          Oh that’s right, haha. It’s my first time watching too! I’m just so used to watching Survivor seasons for the 10th time, haha XD

    • indescribable hat

      Oh, anyone who was leering at Caleb at the beginning of Game Changers may enjoy that Revengers video though. Just a PSA.

    • Max_Jets

      Good luck with BB8! I’ve only made it about a third of the way through and am more interested in trying out BB13, but I know it has a lot of fans.

      Any takes on BB7?

      • Super duper fan

        BB7 has actually became my favourite BB season as of right now. It was SO great.

        I think they chose a really great group of 19 people plus Erika, and the people who got on were 92% percent fantastic. But if I were to make some changes though, I would remove Erika (obvi) and Howie (he REALLY annoyed me during the season), and replace them with Lisa and Monica. But really, they couldn’t do no wrong with a grou consisting of people like Will, Diane, Janelle, James, Alison, Danielle (my personal favourite BB player of all time btw), Marcellas, Nakomis, or Chicken George.

        Chilltown played an absolutely AMAZING game in there. While I really liked Will in BB2, I really began appreciating him as one of the best in this season. And Boogie also was a pleasant surprise for me, and thought he played a really good game, although I prefer other winners than him.

        And one of the things that I really loved about the season is how all people were actually trying to win, unlike some seasons (*cough*BB19*cough*). The level of gameplay was so high this season, and it was great. Plus it had SO many great moments: Alison vs. Danielle first eviction, bacdooring Jase, George winning the veto, Marcellas blindsided, Howie going during the double eviction, Mr. and Mrs. Smith, James breaking out from his season 6 alliance, basically all of Will’s DRs, Chilltown’s phonecalls, Janelle the challenge beast, Erika stabbing Danielle in the back, her keeping buzzing onto Erika’s HOH room, Janelle evicting Will and I’m sure I’m forgetting a lot more already.

        It was a such a great season for me. The only things that I would change, are that I would like to see BB5 girls going further, their eviction weeks being more exciting, Will actually winning (I think he really missed the ball in Final 4), and having a different Final 2, because like All-Stars, I would say they were the “least” all-stars in the cast (but I did ended up liking Boogie in the end, so it wasn’t that bad).

        And what were your opinions of BB7 if you’ve finisged it?

        • Max_Jets

          I did finish! I thought it was really good and I too found myself rooting hard for Danielle, to my surprise a bit, despite knowing the season’s outcome. She has to be one of the most likable people to have played, because a lot of the other players lose some of their shine in a new context (despite still being entertaining) but she still comes off so well. The final 7 was just stacked with everyone playing a good game in their own way (yes, even Chicken George).

          But I’m a little down on the season in other ways. I think it had the worst final 2 possible out of the final 7, and I would even say the worst winner possible. Erika really impressed me for most of the season, and while I did want to throw my laptop away when she was falling for Boogie she had a good attitude when she found out she was being played that made me think she wasn’t AS into their relationship as she had suggested. Boogie on the other hand… I know people complain about people throwing away games for their showmance partner but maybe my biggest game pet peeve is when a guy just wants to be loyal to his bro to the detriment of his own game. Don’t get me wrong – he deserves full credit for navigating Chicken George’s HOH, which is one of my favorite HOH reigns – but his reaction to Janelle and Erika turning against Will sunk him for me both on a game level and just on general likability. What did he say to Will? Something like “these bitches are trying to steal our show”? Ugh. You can still win the damn game, who cares about your dumb dream final 2 that you would have lost in? And I also have a confession: I don’t really like Chilltown very much in general. I have a begrudging respect for Will because he is an amazing player, but I don’t really enjoy their sense of humor or personalities very much so watching them run the table on everyone else was pretty unsatisfying. Janelle evicting Will was probably the highlight of the season for me because of that (though Janelle had her own issues with her weird targeting of every woman in the house.)

          But hey, I don’t need to be rooting for the winner for a season to be great and the season was packed with great game play and players who were really trying to win. So while I can dream of an alternate season where Diane and Allison make it further or where Danielle comes out on top, I can’t really complain with what we got.

          • Super duper fan

            Since I’m spoiled for every winner, I also knew that Danielle wouldn’t win, but it didn’t make me not enjoy every moment she was on screen. She’s so likable, is very entertaining, and is a great player. I just can’t say enough great things about her. And while on topic of Chicken George, I thought he was SO likable. Since I didn’t watch BB1, it was interesting to see someone who I didn’t know anything about, and he surpassed all of my expectations.

            I definetely understand why you may not be a fan of Chilltown. Will would probably make my top 10 favourite contestants, but Boogie not so much. I would probably like them much less if they weren’t good a the game. I don’t mind them being so cocky confessionals and whatnot, because they can actually back it up. And I’m not as down on Boogie being so loyal to Will, because a) being aligned with one of the the best contestants to ever play isn’t that bdad of an idea, and b)it’s kind of a similar situation as with Rob and Amber, because they are SUCH close friends, that probably he would probably still get quite a bit of that money to share, and it was only a case of who would get a larger chunk. It’s a bit of a stretch of course, and it was definetely the biggest knock on his game, but overall I still think he played well, even if he isn’t necessarily one of the best winners.

            And although I put a lot of shade of Erika in my comment, I do agree that overall she played a good game. Being part of ousting Will was easily the best thing she has ever done in Big Brother. But her showmance with Boogie, and her being so boring, din’t make me at all a fan. Plus she ruined Danielle’s game, sooooo yeah.

          • Max_Jets

            I think Will also annoys me because of how put on his TV personality is. I don’t like hearing that his speech on the block about hating everyone in the house was just for TV and that he had a real speech before that which was edited out. Just be a person! I will say this for Will though – he is an excellent sport. While Boogie acted all entitled when the women were blowing up the duo, Will took it like a champ. He comes to play and acts cocky, but just brushes it off when things don’t go his way.

          • purplerockandy

            Dr. Will Kirby is easily my favourite Big Brother contestant of all-time.

            Note: I have no second favourite.

          • Max_Jets

            I know you watched his seasons, but did you watch any others? (Not that it would change your opinion – it probably wouldn’t)

          • purplerockandy

            Just the first season. Which is a different show.

    • the sky is falling

      So as a relative novice to BB, can someone explain to me why no one is targeting Paul? THeres clearly no way the remaining players can beat him.

      • Maritimer

        They’re idiots. There is no good reason not to target him, and there hasn’t been for at least 4 evictions

  • BadPlayer91

    Want to comment, haven’t watched Season yet, so didn’t read fully. I was previously spoiled on Todd though, so at least this isn’t ruining me any more.

    Actually, I think by my last count, I know the winners for at least 11 of the remaining 16 seasons I have. But, i’ve learned that knowing the winner cant be a bit of a mixed bag. Like, for Thailand, it was bad, because that season is so off putting that the question of who wins is one of the only interesting things left for a viewer. By comparison, knowing for All-Stars was fascinating, and made for a really interesting viewing experience across the entire season.

    • Alkanarra

      I was gonna ask which seasons those were, but I’m afraid you might get replies with accidental hints. So instead I’ll marvel at being able to watch an old season without knowing. I wasn’t able to pull it off when I combed through the ones I missed.

      • BadPlayer91

        I probably wouldn’t have answer even if you asked, lol. They are a mix; mostly I know the winner of a specific season (like HvV) but in some cases I know that a specific person won a season, but i’m not sure which it is. For example, for a long while I knew that an ‘Earl’ won a season, but wasn’t sure exactly which one.

      • Blurry Denzel

        So I watched most of the seasons during/after Worlds Apart And was able to go in blind on the winner in every season other than Australia, Thailand, All Stars, Gabon and Nicaragua.

      • Ms. Sweaterfan

        I went back and did a massive rewatch after I got back into the show around South Pacific, and ended up spoiling myself on every single season I hadn’t watched/couldn’t remember because I kept insisting on going on Survivor Wiki XD

        • BadPlayer91

          Lol. I did something kinda similar. After finishing Koah Rong with my boyfriend, my interest was piqued enough to look things up on the internet, but not enough to dive into the rest of the seasons (Particular given 30+ seasons sounds crazy in terms of any non-survivor show). One of the things I came across was a ‘best survivor winners’ slideshow, I think maybe by Entertainment Weekly. I don’t think I went through all of them, but I definitely spoiled myself on a ton of seasons. Luckily, I forgot most of them, but I think Jeremy, Denise, and Todd were all in there.

          Now that I think about it, i really want to go back once i’m done and re-read it. Based on the few names I remember, it will be interesting to see what I actually agree with.

    • Diego Armando

      Knowing the winners only hurt me for Thailand, but I doubt not knowing would have made it anything close to watchable.

      • BadPlayer91

        Lol, I was waiting for someone to call me on that. Yeah, it doesn’t help much, particularly given the winner’s edit is pretty blatant. But if you’re looking for something, anything, to enjoy, it might have given you a speck?

        • Assistant Dragon Slayer

          My first season was Caramoan, and every season that I’ve seen prior to that was spoiled. Sometimes it helps, sometimes it doesn’t. Micronesia would have been better unspoiled, but Samoa is fascinating to watch spoiled. South Pacific is tolerable only if it’s spoiled.

    • Maritimer

      I watched seasons 12-19 for the first time spoiled on the winner almost every time. It didn’t really hurt my experience at all. I never did finish Samoa though

  • Hornacek

    One of my favorite Todd moments is when James has been kidnapped and is at his camp, and they’re both sitting down when Todd tells James where he can find the idol back at his camp. James is so happy that he gives Todd a playful shove, which, to someone like James would be nothing, but from James to Todd it nearly knocks him over.

  • NearlyNina

    YEAH!!!! I loved China and I loved Todd!
    I find it really frustrating that his gameplay is so often minimized to just his final tribal performance when he clearly must have done something right to get there in the first place! Todd’s gameplay is not loud, but it didn’t need to be. Every single episode had at least a few attempts at building a relationship, changing a power dynamic, solidifying alliances, bringing in new people etc. He may not have won any challenges or played any idols, but he didn’t have to rely on those options and using them would likely have just made his game harder and put a target on his back. At the end of the day, whether they trusted him or not, everyone trusted him enough and felt close enough to him that he was able to use that to his advantage.

    Todd is probably one of my favourite winners.

  • purplerockandy

    I think the issue with Todd is that the things he was good at (that Sharc does a good job breaking down here) and the things he claimed to be good at in confessionals didn’t always match. He clearly WANTED to be the master manipulator super fan. So as a result, we judge him based on strategy and moves. Areas in which he sometimes came up lacking.

    • Other Scott

      It’s the Rafe problem – because of who he is and what he looks like and his background people see him as this great strategist, even though his actual strengths are the exact opposite of that.

      • purplerockandy

        Zeke is similarly affected.

        I swear it isn’t just a LGBTQ thing.

        • Other Scott

          I do think Zeke is a better strategist than people give him credit for. It’s just that he’s aggressive, and when aggressive strategy goes wrong it really goes wrong and looks horrible, even if in reality it’s not worse than just sitting back and getting picked off at 5.

    • Hannah Etienne

      I always wonder if it’s true or not, but his claim whenever he does lengthy interviews is that a lot of strategy the show presents as Amanda’s idea was actually his.

      • purplerockandy

        Probably a little true, but maybe not as true as he would have us believe.

  • super interesting piece about Todd. I saw something that itched at me tho. I don’t think Amanda is the better strategist, however she’s the superior challenge performer. I’m not as high on Todd as others and I’ve never really been. I think he’s a better character then player which is the exact reverse of what Amanda is. Yes she’s a solid player but damn is she boring (idol play excluded).

    • Ms. Sweaterfan

      That line gave me pause, too. I think they can both hold their own in terms of strategy, but China was not won with superior strategy IMO. It was won with subtle social moves and the better FTC performance (*cough*likeKaohRong*cough*). Yes Amanda and Todd did work hard to get themselves into a place of power in the premerge, but then it mostly becomes a pagonging in the jury phase.
      Personally, I barely remember enough of the specific strategy moves from China to do an accurate tally of who had the better overall strategic game between Amanda and Todd, because that’s not what that season is about for me. It’s a season of fun characters thrown into a setting that is completely unique in terms of Survivor history. And you’re right – Todd is the better character anyway. Sure Amanda is beautiful, but when the most interesting thing about you is a showmance with Ozzy…snooze…

  • Taako From Teevhii

    GUYS. I’m listening to Homophilia and Guy Branum said he went through all 34 seasons of Survivor in two and a half months. It’s a very serendipitous occurrence or Survivor talk in the wild.

    Also he spoils the winner of Fiji in the interview.

    • TheForRealDeal

      Almost five hours a day for 75 days? That might test me.

      • Taako From Teevhii

        How’d you do that math? I guessed 14 hours per season, 34 seasons, divide by 75 and get over 6 hours per day. Which would definitely test me.

        • Assistant Dragon Slayer

          Each episode is 42-43 minutes without commercials, so it’s more like 10 hours per season (so 4:30/day for 75 days). If you fast-forwarded through the credits and the challenges a season would be about 8 hours long (around 3:40/day). Still a lot, but not impossible. I’ve often thought of doing a highly compressed rewatch like this. As it is now I can barely remember anything about the pre-merges of any given season.

          Watching AU Survivor really underscores how compressed American Survivor is. This season is absolutely fantastic, but it will total around 26 hours even without commercials.

          • Ms. Sweaterfan

            I haven’t gotten to the point of fast forwarding through challenges (though I like that idea) but I always skip the stupid recap episodes and I haven’t watched a reunion in years.

        • TheForRealDeal

          (512 episodes/75 days)*(43 minutes/episode)*(1 hr/60 minutes) = 4.89 hrs/day

    • Assistant Dragon Slayer

      Lol his take on the formula for winning Survivor is spot on (the calculating gay man skill of knowing what’s going on everywhere with everybody, the Midwestern gay man skill of not letting any of it show on your face, and a touch of cruelty to get the job done without any blood on your hands).

      • Taako From Teevhii

        So Utah ain’t exactly in the Midwest, but is this not what Todd did and then some?