Survivor Fan Friction – Woo Hwang

We still have more 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). When I thought of the idea for this series, I knew a must have would be to get Other Scott to write about one of his bland-ass faves. So glad he could bless us.

Why He’s Great

Why do you watch Survivor? I think the heart of all Survivor arguments lie there. I think people always look for different things in their favourites, whether that be players or seasons. Here at the Purple Rock Podcast, we tend to want to see people be good at stuff, particularly strategic and social maneuvering. The standard favourites are Yul, Rob C, Denise, Kim Spradlin, Todd, Earl, Cirie, Tony, pretty much a who’s who of people who have defined how Survivor is played. And I love most of those people as well, because the other thing those people have in common for the most part is they are extremely entertaining and pull the viewer in a way that the viewer can feel like they relate to that person.

But speaking for myself, I don’t only gravitate to the people who are good, because I don’t really watch Survivor just for strategic maneuvering. I want the season to tell me a story, I want a season to tell me about people, I want the season to have specific rooting interests and people you can get behind. There’s people that are easy to cheer for and people who just sap the fun out of things. And that is completely independent of how intelligent they are.

So let’s have a nice chat about Yung “Woo” Hwang. Because I think this guy is incredible, he embodies everything I want to see in a player. Here are the five things you need to know to love Woo.

He’s a huge fan of Survivor

There is a cute little moment right before the Cagayan idol hunt where Woo says “I’m a huge fan of Survivor”. The reason it’s cute is that Woo is 100% definitely not remotely anywhere close to a huge fan of Survivor. It’s not just that he thinks the jury will respect his “honorable” game after Survivor history shows that’s failed time and time again. No, in the finale, Woo has no clue what the Final 4 tiebreaker is. I don’t doubt Woo has seen some Survivor, but boy if he thinks he qualifies as a huge fan, he’s pretty naive to what fandom is nowadays. And I think that kind of blank naivety is part of what draws you to him. He’s a cute thing that must be protected.

He once fell out of a tree

No further explanation needed. But rewatch this scene someday, it is an absolute joy watching him narrate this event. And for how much it must have hurt, he still manages to find reason to laugh at it.

Absolutely Not

The second episode of Cambodia is Woo’s greatest triumph in a way, even moreso than making the finals of Cagayan. In Cagayan, Woo was constantly seen as easy to manipulate, Tony could make Woo do whatever he wanted. Whoever was the last person to talk to Woo, got Woo. So Shirin and Spencer, fighting for their lives on Ta Keo thinking, they just need to go to Woo, give him a semi-convincing argument, and he will go along with them. And he shuts them down HARD. It’s a beautiful moment that not only shows that Woo isn’t QUITE as dumb as he seems that he’ll just be convinced by whatever anyone tells him, but also gives more credit to Tony to show that it really isn’t that easy to make Woo do whatever you want.

His blindside face

He just enjoys being out there

This is the number one reason Woo is one of my favourites. He is having the most fun out there, no matter what is happening. It rains hard early in Cagayan. Jefra is basically breaking down crying because of it on the beauty tribe. Woo? He’s like jumping up and down excitedly because of it!

The whole major idol clue fiasco? Spencer is down there being Mr. Grumpy-Gills about losing the clue and everything? Woo is doing a Tony Spy Shack improvisation, he’s sprinting through the forest.

He took something that was crucial to the game and basically had the time of his life with it. Or the falling out of the tree talked about earlier, when he’s describing it in confessionals he making it into this dramatic affair. You know those blindside faces? Almost every time it’s followed but a laugh, including the time Cliff gets evicted. It’s not personal to him, it’s all a game. That applies to the strategy, the challenges, the island life, the rewards. He’s determined to have fun and enjoy himself through all of it.

Haters Gonna Hate

Why do people dislike Woo? Well there’s two reasons, they think he’s bland and they think he’s dumb.

For the blandness, he doesn’t initially pop off the screen. But you know what happens when you get a season full of “characters”? A season of people who are more in it to be on TV and cause drama and not just enjoy themselves out there? You get Gabon. You need the people who are laid back, settled. And Woo is undoubtedly FUN. Like there’s no way you can look at some of his confessionals and his line deliveries and think “that guy is never entertaining and adds nothing to the season.”

As far as being dumb, I think it’s overblown by the surfer dude persona. For the most part, perception is that if a person talks in big words and has a scientific approach to the game, they are a smart strategist and the strategy lovers in the audience will flock to them. And if someone talks in “yeah, bros” the audience will see them as unintelligent. And I don’t think that’s true. I think Woo knew his strengths and limitations out there. And guess what, how often do those “strategists” win? Not very often. The smart players, the true smart players are the social players, the ones who can form bonds with everyone. And that’s what Woo did, he formed bonds. He was on both alliances on the Brawn tribe in the early going, and managed to be a swing with Tony in the late game. He was able to work with pretty much everyone but Abi that he had more than 3 days to interact with in Cambodia and just ended up getting in a bad swap situation. Woo knows what his strengths and weaknesses are and plays to them, he’s no dummy out there.

Except for bringing Tony to the end, I have very little defense for that

Embrace Debate

I love Woo, not because he’s the smartest or best Survivor player, but because despite his limitations that he knows he has, he’s out there to have a good time. He has a once in a lifetime opportunity and he’s going to savour every minute of it. Falling out of a tree is an experience. Getting blindsided is an experience. Stealing idol clues and running through the woods with it? That’s playing Survivor, that’s what he came out to do and what all those people watching at home would kill for. Woo understands that, and Woo is gonna celebrate every minute and every part of it. And that’s the kind of person I want to see succeed. That’s the kind of person I want to cheer for.

Other Scott

Other Scott

Other Scott started watching Survivor while Cagayan was airing. He and his schedule often regret that decision.
Favourite Seasons: Heroes vs Villains, Samoa, Palau, Amazon, Cagayan
Favourite Players: Jon Misch, Aubry Bracco, Woo Hwang, Ian Rosenberger, Monica Culpepper (you know, the regulars)
Other Scott

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180 thoughts on “Survivor Fan Friction – Woo Hwang

  1. Gabon? I get the argument you’re trying to make but… Gabon? There are four people on Gabon – Corinne, Randy, Kenny, and Sugar.

    1. Straight up disrespectful to Queen Crystal (and also Charcus, but I can see why people forget about them)

    2. My point is no one on Gabon was having fun and they all hated each other and were trying to put on TV personas. Except Bob I guess. And maybe Matty. But like Kenny, Crystal, Sugar, Corinne, Ace, Michelle, Randy – they all fall into one of those categories.

  2. @sharculese:disqus

    LET’S TALK TAZ

    My boys! They aced it! This was a fantastic finale. I’ve said before that my favorite phase of TAZ was the middle bit where THB found ingenious ways to overcome obstacles and where Griffin didn’t railroad the character development or just narrate the entire episode. This hit that perfect sweet spot. I also take back whatever I said about The Stolen Century’s stupid asset/bond mechanic because it was a great use of that bringing back Roswell to deliver a massive gut punch to John. I didn’t exactly understand why the J’fandru bit was necessary aside from Griffin getting meta with his narrative. But aside from that, this was a great end to this campaign. The last thirty minutes specifically. If they had cut right as Magnus and Julia walked into the house, it would have been perfect. Also, the actual end end of this episode (like, the last two minutes) was fantastic. If the McElroys can capture that in the upcoming campaigns, making them shorter and not rooted in these massive, overwhelming narratives, I think TAZ will be in a great place past the THB era (because god knows how the fandom will revolt if they try that and fail to match THB).

    1. I’m going to start by quoting something I wrote on the Avocado last week, because I think it sums up why I’ve been more forgiving of this endgame than you have while also summing up how great this episode was.

      I’ve been thinking a lot about the recent complaints that TAZ is getting too on-rails again, and, while I understand that complaint and why people would like it to be more like a D&D campaign, I’ve come to really appreciate the parts where it turns into an improvised radio play, and I don’t see why it can’t be both.

      This was both, and it was fantastic.

      As for the Jeffandrew thing, I have a theory that makes sense of it – I think Griffin capped off his freewheeling tour of inspirations with an episode built around classic JRPGs.

      Think about the beats of the episode:

      – Final boss fight against the ultimate evil you only learned about in the back half of the game.
      – Final boss transitions to a more powerful second form. Second form has multiple auxiliary parts with specific powers that you have to hit separately.
      -Just when you think all is lost, a new mechanic pops up that allows you to call on the friends you’ve made along the way for help.
      -After the final boss is dead, your team makes the ultimate sacrifice to save the world.
      -You wake up in a strange but familiar place where you meet God.
      -Closing montage showing the peaceful lives you get to live after saving the world.

      The endgame of like, 80% of JRPGs is built from a combination of those elements. In that context, everything about their visit with Jeffandrew makes perfect sense.

      I loved all of the epilogues but especially Magnus’s. As soon as Griffin asked Travis “how does Magnus die?” I was like “where is this going?” and as soon as I realized where that was I knew it was the perfect destination. I can’t fault him for cutting back to the wedding though. That was such a sweet moment.

      And then: Thus ends the Adventure Zone: Balance. The story of four idiots that played DnD so hard they made themselves cry.

      So two side notes: 1.) Are you still down for a relisten?

      2.) The new episode of Beef and Dairy Network, which dropped Saturday, had a TAZ promo in it and I just thought, “wrong timing, guys.”

      1. I have less experience with JRPGs, but I can appreciate the homage angle. Still though, the railing of the narrative gave almost no room for improv to the point that it was barely an improved radio play.

        I’m down for a re-listen pending on interest and schedule. How many new people are we going to pull in for this? Because if it’s just us old-timers going through the greatest hits, that’s less interesting to me than getting to witness someone experience for the first time in real time. Also, I probably couldn’t do more than two or three hours a week, which means this re-listen would take over half a year.

    1. I actually liked Woo quite a bit. I’m a bit like @Other Scott in liking characters over strategists (imo Kim Spradlin played an excellent but boring game). Woo was fun.

      He was also part of one of the worst editing jobs in Survivor regarding the tree incident. The NTOS that warned that a survivor could be hurt showed his fall, but the next week they aired a confessional with him discussing the event right before they showed it. Way to suck out the suspense, editors!

  3. I’m in a weird place where I don’t hate Woo as a player (pretty much for all the reasons Scott laid out), but that doesn’t add up to me actively liking him either. I’m also pretty sure I would hate him as a person in real life. So people should stop hating on Woo, but also, … him?

    1. This is probably me on Woo as well. I don’t dislike him, I don’t like him, I’m just indifferent. Which makes him fine on a season, especially as comic relief, but I’m never going to root for Woo

    1. I don’t, but just to check, are you up for doing Aussie Survivor coverage next week? ASD and I have talked about it but I wasn’t sure if he had talked to you.

  4. Based upon your article, I think the best argument for Woo is that, as a community, we tend to boil his entire time on Survivor to bland and dumb, and there is certainly more to him then that.

    Personally, i never found Woo to be overly boring, sometimes I thought his antics were a bit much, but I think Cagayan has just enough of him for me. He’s fun and energetic, but doesn’t dominate every second of every episode, and occasionally is just the calm, easy-going presence necessary. Now, I can understand he may not be people’s cup of tea, and thus they are bored by him, but to call him boring would be a discredit to the guy.

    In regards to his intelligence, I think there are enough moments that demonstrate he knows how to play the game and isn’t an absolute idiot. The problem is, his million dollar mistake is easily one of the dumbest moves in Survivor history, and thus it is easy to use that as a summary for his time on the show. And he says as much in Cambodia, he wants to show people he isn’t just the guy that throws away a million dollars. But in the same way, we have him stating clearly that if he were to take Tony to the end, he will be the stupidest player in Survivor history. It’s like he’s asking us to believe that. I don’t think Woo is anywhere near the stupidest people to play Survivor, but his defining moment in a massive lapse in judgement, and it’s hard to get out from under that.

    1. I mean he’s not like super smart, and I don’t think he plays strategy games in his spare time or anything because that was clearly not part of the game he enjoyed.

      But I don’t really understand disliking people because they aren’t at the highest level of intelligence. It’s like disliking someone because they’re short.

      1. I wasn’t arguing that people should dislike him because he isn’t highly intelligent. I was saying that I understand why people’s big takeaway for Woo is he isn’t smart. Even if he was super smart, he made one of the least defensible choices in Survivor history, and that will probably always define him.

      2. But surely it makes more sense to admire someone like Cirie for being super fucking sharp than it does to admire someone for being tall. I think a lack of admiration would be more fitting to how people view Woo, rather than dislike as a person, which can translate to not liking him as a player of Survivor. Beyond that, I think it makes sense to not enjoy being around people of lower intelligence*. As someone who considers himself to be pretty spacey, I fully understand why someone could get annoyed with me.

        *Not that I think this applies to Woo. He did play a good game before the final 3.

    2. I think of Woo as sort of like a next generation Ozzy or Rupert (with popularity scaled down in proportion to the current popularity of the show of course) – easy appeal for casuals and well suited to all of the non-strategic aspects of the game. Basically, I think Woo is a lock to keep coming back as long as he’s interested.

      1. The difference is that Woo never got full of himself to the same degree as those other two did.

        Though the latest Ozzy has toned that down. The latest Ozzy was also horrendously boring.

  5. “And if someone talks in “yeah, bros” the audience will see them as unintelligent. And I don’t think that’s true.”

    Also a great example of this? Jay. But Jay did things on screen which actively disabused us of this notion, Woo kind of doubled down on it by taking Tony. He’s probably perfectly fine intelligence wise in real life, but it never really came across on screen. (I’m really just taking the opportunity to talk about Jay)

      1. I’m not sure Jay Byars spoke enough to assess whether he bro-talked or not. Or maybe I was just too busy staring and wasn’t listening

        1. Almost 100% of my Jay Byars knowledge comes from his mentioned on RHAP where Nicole brought him up (to Rob’s chagrin) and discussed his hotness.

  6. I only have three things to say here:

    1. I have not seen Cagayan
    2. I need to go see Cagayan
    3. Given all the praise I’ve heard about it a part of me has died inside knowing I did not see this season when it aired.

    1. It was so good that we were concerned we were overrating it immediately after it aired. Like we thought maybe recency bias was causing us to call it one of the greatest seasons ever.

      Silly us.

      1. Between Palau and Worlds Apart I was very off/on back/forth with Survivor. For the most part I was lucky catching a lot of the best stuff (Micronesia, HvV) and missing the worst (Nicaragua, South Pacific). I took two big hits though, missing Cagayan and catching Gabon…

    2. It’s not an exaggeration that during (and after) that season, many Survivor websites were saying it was the best cast of new players since Borneo.

      1. OK cool so it took them 13 years to get a cast as good as the original… which means they should be able to do it again around 2026. I’ll clear my calendar for that season.

        1. Well, I wouldn’t say that none of the all-new casts from Borneo to Cagayan were good. The Borneo cast is a very high bar. If the Borneo cast is a 10/10, there were a few 8/10s and 9/10s in that stretch.

          1. Just out of curiosity who are your 8/10 and 9/10s? I’m willing to hand a few out from the seasons I’ve seen:

            8/10: Amazon, MvGX
            9/10: Pearl Islands (that one is damn near perfect, even some of the early boots are memorable, though the gimmick for the season certainly helped in that aspect)

          2. I don’t have all the all-new-players casts ranked with a score out of 10 (paging @BlackDynamite!) but just off the top of my head, the casts I’d rank that high would be …
            Australia
            Amazon
            Pearl Islands
            Palau
            China
            Tocantins
            Cagayan
            MvGx

            Honorable mention:
            Philippines (yes, there are 3 returning players, but take them away and the rest of the cast is great)
            Panama (the Aras tribe is awesome, but Terry’s tribe is zzzzzz)

          3. I haven’t seen a lot of those seasons but I can endorse Australia for sure, as much as I loathe some of them now. I watched Palau but I barely remember that cast, I was kind of checking out of Survivor at that time…

          4. Australia was the number one show that year, highest ratings ever for the show. It’s no coincidence that it holds the record with most returnees (8, half the cast).

            Palau is the season where one tribe won all the immunity challenges. The winning tribe didn’t do much until the non-merge, but still had a bunch of great characters (and Janu). And the losing tribe had some great characters and were hilarious in their ineptitude, and James’ ability to be wrong about almost every prediction he made.

          5. Yeah now that I’m putting my mind to it I do remember a handful of good characters from Palau… I’ve never been as high on Palau as most people are though.

          6. It’s a very one-sided season – the losing tribe does win a few reward challenges so it’s not a total blowout. But it’s hilarious that Production said “You know what … the next time one tribe starts losing every challenge, instead of doing a tribe swap, let’s just let it go and see what happens.” A tribe of 1 person before the merge is crazy.

          7. Yeah it’s super one-sided which was probably why I didn’t dig it. The whole 1 person tribe thing just annoyed me for some reason back then, I don’t even know why anymore…

          8. It was unprecedented! Every time before one tribe started losing they had a tribe swap to try and even the tribes up. I’m glad they did it as least once. I remember watching it when it aired thinking “Ok, they’re down to X people, they have to do a tribe swap now, they can’t just keep going.”

            It was pretty funny watching Stephenie and Bobby Jon, a tribe of 2, going up against a tribe of 8 people in those final two tribe challenges.

          9. For sure it was a good production choice not pulling the trigger on a swap that season. Not the only season that benefited from not doing a swap. Wish they’d remember that sometimes…

  7. I think someone like Woo was perfect for a season like Cagayan. His running around, just having fun attitude was great on such a high energy season. He always made me smile a least a couple times an episode. As a player, I didn’t take him too seriously but there were other players on Cagayan I can that from. With Woo, I just need a little bit of entertainment and he delivered. Also, the Beauty tribe concept is a joke when the most beautiful man on the island isn’t on the tribe.

    And one more Cagayan related thing: Bring Brice back. Alexis as well.

    1. Brice is such an obvious choice to return and he clearly wants to, so it’s a shock they haven’t dipped into that well yet.

      Spyson Intern Lita did a special with Dom last week to talk about the politics of The Bachelor, and one interesting thing she said is that gay men of color are a boon for reality casting because they let you check off two representational boxes at once. Combine that with the fact that he’s a presence who pops on screen and someone who wants to play the game hard and it he seems like a slam-dunk.

      1. I am almost through old RHAP episodes and I’m at the point where the Spyson show just got their official Spyson intern. I know Spencer eventually leaves and it morphs into NewsAF – is Lita still known as “the Spyson intern”?

    2. Of all the early boots people talk about bringing back, Brice is the one I most want to see again. It’s such a shame he didn’t last longer in Cagayan.

      1. During the RHAP Second Chance campaign episodes one of the snubs Rob mentions more than once is Brice.

    1. Oh wow! Woo’s name is spelled and sounds the same as the exclamation “woo!” I just got that! This explains so many of the Cagayan and Cambodia comments that I didn’t understand at the time!

  8. Woo saying he loves Survivor is like me saying I love baseball (note: I wouldn’t say that). I love going to one Cubs/Rockies game a year with my husband to eat kettlecorn and root against the home team. I understand the basics of the game but in whatever would be the baseball equivalent of a final 4 tie I would be just as clueless as Woo.

    1. I have actually been to a Cubs/Rockies game. It was the year before Madden, Tulowitski had his yearly injury, it was a weekday afternoon, and Wrigly Field was still packed. You cannot fault the fans for their loyalty.

      1. There’s nothing like going to a game at Wrigley! Though now that I live in Denver I can admit that Coors Field has a few perks (like mountain views and generally much cheaper tickets)

        1. Guaranteed Rate is the same for Chicago. Tickets are cheaper, views of Downtown are amazing, and since the White Sox are pretty terrible, there is usually very few people there. It’s a nice change from Wrigley, which is always super crowded and frantic, but the gameday atmosphere at Wrigley is far superior.

          1. My worst memories of Chicago are being smooshed on the red line when a Cubs game had just ended D:
            But I loved listening to drunk people talk about the differences between Cubs fans and White Sox fans.

          2. Yeah, Wrigley comes with its highs and lows. You know, like anything…

            *We’ve now exhausted my knowledge of baseball…

          3. I was in Chicago on vacation and went to a game at (ahem) New Comiskey just last week! It was great for all the reasons you cited and the stadium itself isn’t nearly the catastrophe it’s reputed to be. But hoo boy the White Sox are terrible, though.

          4. What day of the week was it? I think that has a huge impact for White Sox. I was there on a Wednesday and there was hardly anyone, which was nice. As a north side resident and casual cubs fan, i’m obligated to agree they are terrible. But also, Cub’s Fans are pretty brutal too, so…

          5. I was accosted by a drunk Red Sox fan in the Tokyo Dome when the Red Sox and Athletics opened the season there in 2008. I was wearing A’s gear and he was all “the A’s suck”. I said “the Yankees suck worse” and suddenly he was my best friend.

          6. I’m trying to get “The Garfield” rolling, and when I say “get it rolling,” I really mean “never talk about that pit of despair where my team plays.”

          7. I thought it was fine. Yeah, the upper deck is definitely a case of unintended consequences, and the number of luxury suites is… optimistic. But it was fine. I like it better than, say, Great American Ballpark in Cincinnati.

          8. Oh yeah, people should definitely know that you can’t even get within spitting distance of the lower deck if you have upper deck tickets. Which, from a food and beer standpoint is kinda irrelevant, but it still sucks nonetheless.

          9. I usually recommend Sox games to out-of-towners just on the food and beer choices alone. But yeah, atmosphere isn’t great there. I was there for both Konerko Day and Buehrle Day, and we couldn’t even turn out a packed house for either legend. Some things like that make me wonder how everything might be if the Roosevelt & Clark site had been developed.

          10. Yeah, that would have been smarter. I just read up on it and baseball people consider it the biggest mistake in franchise history. Plus, proximity to Soldier Field and the loop in general would have been a big plus. They have cleared and seem to be finally developing the site southwest of Roosevelt & Clark, which is going to be crazy.

            I’d recommend Cubs over White Sox, but i’ve got dat north side bias. Also, if you are looking for that rowdy Chicago fuck you atmosphere, Cubs is where ya need to be.

          11. I’d argue the biggest mistake by the Sox was letting Hawk fire Tony La Russa, but this one was still bad. At least they didn’t move out to Addison, which really would have been stupid.

            I’m kinda waiting for this new batch of Roosevelt & Clark development talk to fizzle out again because I swear that land is cursed and uninhabitable. It’s like the Temple of Doom. I also wish something more exciting would go up there instead of just more expensive condos.

          12. I don’t know baseball, let alone much about the White Sox, so i’ll let you have that, lol.

            They did clear the whole site, but that was a bunch of months ago and now nothing. I wish they would do something related to the Roosevelt collection. Like, an extension of that pedestrian-oriented shopping/entertainment district would be awesome, and really emphasize the area. But, competing with State street, and given the odd demographics of the south loop, i’m not sure they would get a developer for that concept (let alone any concept for that site…)

          13. A team that wore shorts and polo shirts in the 70s and continues to employ Hawk Harrelson has a pretty high bar.

          14. I’m just thankful that Hawk is retiring after this season and not trying to drag it out to 2020.

        2. I have some family in Boulder, so that I plan to go there at some point.

          One of my life goals is to see all 30 stadiums. My current total is 12: The AL East (minus the Red Sox), The AL Central (minus the Royals), and the NL Central (minus the Cardinals). My favorite so far is Progressive Field (Indians). It was just very pretty and well designed.

          The Cubs fans at that game were under no delusions of their team’s quality that year. Luckily they picked up baseballs best manager, Joe Madden. My thought when I heard they hired him was “He made a team with no budget or fan support able to keep up with the Yankees and Red Sox; just think of what he can do with a club that has both of those.

          1. Counting stadiums that have since been torn down, I’m at 13/30 (the five in California, the two each in Chicago and New York, Fenway, Camden Yards, Cincinnati, and St. Louis). FWIW I’m at 6/12 of the stadiums in Japan (the four in Tokyo plus Yokohama and Hiroshima).

          2. Angels Stadium isn’t worth the drive from LA, but it might be worthwhile to check it and Petco off the list on the same weekend (I’m assuming those are the ones you haven’t been to).

          3. You would be half wrong. I’ve been to AT&T (and Candlestick back in the day), Dodgers, and Angels. I have an uncle who is an Angels fan, and my mom came down to visit when the Giants did interleave play once.

          4. Safeco, Rogers Centre, King Dome, Stade du Olympique. So one great field, one alright but outdated, two outright dumps.

          5. I have the same goal, and I’m sitting at 9. I’ve done both in Chicago, both in LA, Minnesota, Milwaukee, Oakland, Seattle, and most recently, St. Louis. I should note that going to the Coliseum and not At&T was not a choice, the Giants were just out of town while I was in the Bay Area.

            I use two measures for parks: (1) Is it nice to be in? (2) Is it nice to watch a game in? For example, it’s nice to watch a game at Busch, Wrigley, and Dodger Stadium, but they’re not terribly nice parks outside of that. Vice versa for the Cell and the A. So right now, my favorite stadium so far is Seattle because it scores top marks by (1) and does decently by (2). I’m sure once I get to AT&T or PNC, that top ranking will change.

          6. The Nats were out of town when I was in DC so I saw the Orioles. The Cardinals were also gone when I was an hour or two away from them in Iowa.

            Toronto was my least favorite one, mostly due to the multisportness. If the dome was open during my game my opinion might have been higher.

          7. I’ve been to the Rogers Centre, but not for a Jay’s game, so I can’t truly rate it. But I at least know that it’s ugly as sin with those nets and tarps all over the place. Somehow the Coliseum is always ranked lower, even though they have similar atmospheres and appearances.

          8. Plop a few luxury boxes, some nosebleed seats, and an conspicuous garage door in front of those mountains. That’ll make it look like the Coliseum.

          9. What Taako said. To lure the Raiders back from LA, Oakland gave Al Davis, in addition to a steamer trunk of money, hundreds of millions in “upgrades” to the Coliseum involving a ton of luxury boxes and in effect a fourth deck of seating that is comically out of proportion to the rest of the stadium, which was already too big for baseball. Thus the “Mt. Davis” nickname. Photos don’t really capture what an eyesore it is. The punchline is that because the Raiders mostly sucked after they came back, the top tier of seats never sold well and haven’t been used at alll since 2013. https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/9a8ce836890d5daaec60f2e3acfd3ccacf34c5fc8fbde52fa5cab5b911a89336.jpg

          10. Obviously I am biased towards AT&T, but I’d really love to go to PNC one day (plus I have a soft spot for the Pirates), I’m just not sure that I’ll ever have a reason to go to Pittsburgh.

          11. If possible, I would do a road trip through Cleveland, Pittsburgh, Toronto, and Detroit. In each of those cities, I can spend two or three days and probably be good.

          12. I’ve heard that PNC and AT&T are the best of the retro ballparks. I really hope the new Oakland ballpark goes in a completely different direction, both because I think the retro ballpark trend is over and because they’re not likely to out-do AT&T, if for no other reason than the stands face the Oakland hills and not the water. I don’t really have anything specific in mind, but I want it to be different. Of course, that’s the kind of thinking that resulted in that monstrosity in Miami.

          13. But Jeets is getting rid of the statue, apparently. I do hope Oakland gets a nice new stadium though, especially since the Warriors are moving to SF.

    2. There is the remotest possibility this year for a five-way tie to determine the second American League Wild Card spot, and it turns out Major League Baseball is just as unsure about how to handle it as your are.

      1. It really should be Fastball Bowling, but it’ll probably be a round robin, which will be the most boring and tedious way to decide it.

        1. IIRC there’s only one day for tiebreakers between the last day of the season and the wild-card play-in games. So… fight for it?

    3. It was worth doing a rewatch of Cagayan just to realize that he said that.

      And also because Cagayan is awesome

    4. The Giants were involved in an interminable 17-inning game earlier this season. Even the seagulls gave up and went away around the 15th inning. It would have been far preferable for the teams to fight for it.

      1. But it did give of photos of Denard Span, who is afraid of birds, looking nervous about the circling seagulls.

  9. So the AV Club is dead and gone now. It was worse than i could have even imagined. I don’t know why I didn’t it expect it to look like a gawker site, but it is now a gawker site.

    1. I just looked. I thought only the comments would be affected, but holy cow!

      Good Night Sweet Site

    2. I thought the front page layout would at least stay the same. Holy shit, it looks terrible. I might start following the site on twitter to get the updates on articles, but even that sounds like too much work.

      1. I couldn’t even figure out how to find reviews for shows that I got to late. Is that still possible? If not, what is the f-ing point?

          1. From my Disqus notifications page, I can still access old AVClub comments for articles where someone had replied to one of my comments. Even though I can’t get my new Kinja/Disqus account to work on their site. So there’s that at least.

    3. That was my go-to pop culture snark site. Its confusing and strange now.
      Any recommendations for other sites with similar content?

    4. I tried to migrate/merge/whatever my Disqus account with a Kinja account and it told me to create a burner account so my old Disqus comments on AVClub would still be accessible. A burner account gives you a 20 character key that you have to use as your password when you login on their site. And you don’t choose it – it’s 20 random letters.

      At least my Disqus account will live on here, on RHAP, and other sites that recognize it.

      1. One plus of the new site is now it looks exactly like dozens of other sites, so you don’t have to worry about visual cues helping you know what site you are visiting. That’s nice. You can also only see two stories on the main page without scrolling and the spacious layout has the added benefit of only allowing you to read 1-2 comments per page.
        All around an excellent reboot.

      2. I tried again today to visit the av club, but the new site design has nearly rendered it useless. It’s just so hard to navigate. You are forced to just endlessly scroll and the whole left side is rendered useless. The content organization just sucks now. Cest la vie.

        1. Another thing they messed up on is that they said in the weeks before this switchover is that all old comments on their articles would be saved. But if you look up anything article from before the switchover, there are 0 comments. They now say “Those old comments will reappear in a month or so”. So much for the switchover all taking place on Aug. 23rd.

          I’m a bunch of episodes behind in Twin Peaks s3 and I enjoy the AVClub reviews, but I really rely on the comments because a lot of them explain things that I missed or references to s1-2 or FWWM that I didn’t remember. But now I have to wait a month before I can go through my next episode?

    5. I’ll probably read the last 7 GoT Expert reviews, but doubt I’ll be going back much beyond that. I didn’t really like the last re-design, but I could tolerate it. This is a bridge too far.

      1. Good luck finding the reviews! I can deal with a new format of the comments section since I mostly lurk there anyway. But the site itself, I give a 2/10 in terms of usability. It’s just not easy to locate the content.

        1. Unless I’m looking for a review the day after the episode aired (and it can still be found it on the AVClub main page), I usually just google “SHOWNAME avclub” if I’m looking for a review.

    6. It’s beyond horrible and worse because I use my mobile phone to access it (and most things these days). Just so so bad. I will really miss the reviewers and commentors on a lot of shows. *pout*

    7. I found it interesting that when 1/3rd of the page is missing to the right of the comments (like, for instance, this very website) it’s not a big deal, but that gaping white maw to the left of their new comment section is so fucking infuriating. How it wasn’t immediately scrapped is beyond me.

      1. It’s basically a wordpress template, that they can execute across multiple sites. But it just doesnt work on AV club, now its just a pile of content. It used to have 10-15 stories you could access from the homepage. It’s just an inefficient use of space.

  10. I like having Woo’s around. Having a goofy, positive doofus adds to the color of the season. Moments of levity always are welcome and if the game is going to have pawns, at least make them fun pawns.

  11. First a Fandango commercial, now a Fan Friction article! What else can Woo do that Ken can’t?

      1. Psssht! That’s like saying that Rodney is better than Rob because his fan friction article still has three more comments.

          1. Tasha says more than once (but I just listened to her RHAP Second Chance campaign episode) that she recognizes that Tony played an amazing game, better than Woo, but he said many sexist things to her late in the game and she could not bring herself to vote for someone who talked to her like that.

          2. Didn’t know that. If that’s true (grain of salt for post game interviews, etc) then that’s fair

          3. Also in the Vytas campaign episode he confirms that part of the reason he voted for Monica in the BvW FTC is because he knew Tyson was going to get the rest of the votes and he wanted to make sure that Gervase didn’t get tied for second (because Gervase had betrayed Aras during the game). This had been the rumor but (as far as I know) it was the first time he confirmed this was the reason (plus he had told Tyson that if he voted him out at that particular tribal then he wouldn’t vote for him at the finals).

          4. The specific incident that gets references is that, after the merge, word got out that Tasha was trying to start a women’s alliance, and Tony told her that it was a stupid idea because everyone knows a bunch of women can’t survive by themselves in the jungle.

          5. She’s also said it was part that and part she just wanted to reward the person who voted out Kass.

          6. She only mentioned the sexist reason during her Miss Survivor interviews and the Second Chance campaign interviews.

        1. And that’d be like saying Wentworth is the greatest ever *flips hair* or something like that.

      2. I was going to make the same comment but I felt that was not a good move as the Hannah defender.

  12. Great post!

    For me to like a Survivor, they have to check off one of these things, a) play great, or b) be entertaining (and my absolute favourites are the ones that have both). This is one of the reasons why I actually like Gabon, becuase a lot of people there are in the b) category for me. Woo is another one of these players. He was perfect for the role that he had in his season, because he had a good time out there. I wasn’t rooting for him to win, like most of players in group b), but he definetely made the season better by being there.

    Ashley Underwood, we’re forever grateful for what you’ve brought to the game. We are not worthy of the joy you bring us.

  13. I’ve been taking time off from PRP during the off season, but couldn’t resist poking my head in to celebrate Woo. Woo is the greatest.

    And people who think Woo is bland are insane. Woo turns boring filler like eating ribs or searching for idols or recapping tiebreaker mechanics into pure joy. And Woo made one of the most fascinating and perplexing decisions of all time on Survivor. Cagayan is a top-tier season because Woo Woos. A season of Woos would be a disaster of course, but fortunately there is only the one twoo Woo.

    WOO!!!

    Reading thi, you may think I like Woo. You may think Other Scott likes Woo. But the Lady Roswulf…that’s true Woo love. What sucked her into really watching Survivor was righteous indignation at a jury voting for Tony over Woo. So thank you Woo, because of you I get to watch Survivor WITH someone I love, and then get to rehash it with you PRP folk.

    1. I’ve always appreciated having you around Roswulf, just so I wasn’t the only Woo fan on the site.

    2. I’ve also been taking off because I’m buying house but I had to post comment for Woo. I love him too for all the reasons in the article and Roswulf’s post. But also, he does not seem to be snide or mean … and he’s cute too.

  14. I’m listening to old RHAP eps, I’m currently listening to the Second Chance campaign episodes, and more than once potential players ask Rob what he recommends they do when/if they get back on the show, and he tells them “Align with Woo. He’s strong in the challenges, he’s loyal to a fault, he won’t lie to you, and if he does you’ll know it.”

  15. IMO, the one flaw in Cagayan is that, all of a sudden, in the final episode everyone (including Woo) starts talking about Woo’s honor and integrity that he lives his life by. This has to be mentioned because it’s how Tony masterfully convinces Woo to take him to the end. But it’s not mentioned in any of the previous episodes and just comes out of nowhere in the finale.

    I remember watching the finale and when it’s brought up I was like “Wait, since when is this a thing?”

    if it was mentioned in pre-finale Cagayan episodes and I missed it, let me know. But I commented on this at the time (and probably during Cambodia) and no one ever replied “Well, it’s mentioned in episodes …” so I assume it’s only introduced in the finale.

  16. Well played, PRP. Posting this immediately after the Colby entry was pretty sneaky.
    Dangit Woo, everyone knows you don’t play a pre-season-10 game post-season-20.

      1. ooh, I was just trying to be clever, but now I’m frantically running through all the second place finishers we haven’t seen a defense of yet. There’s gotta be a Russel Hantz lurking back there. He certainly inspires opinions.

        1. There is another finalist that somebody has said they’d write about, but I don’t think it’ll be ready for tomorrow. Or if I’ll have time to edit pieces that have already been submitted for tomorrow.

          Oh… I also have another finalist already submitted. Which you may know about.

        2. I think it is simply “second placers who picked the winner to go to FTC instead of the other person” and there are a few possibilities in line. Russell is one, but I think we got a Game Changer coming up.

  17. 1) No Weasel Woo references?

    2) I love Woo in Cambodia. He is a great pre-merge character because he shows some growth from his first season and he gets in a fun fight with Abi which causes ALL OF THE BLINDSIDE FACES!!!?!!?!? I especially love how Woo’s exit tanks a lot of people’s games. Kass/Ciera/Abi are immediately bottom the barrel. Savage can not get over this. Spencer gets a brief reprieve, but it is because of this vote that his game will become damaged in a way he couldn’t have predicted.

    1. But its also because of this vote that Spencer is around long enough for his game to become damaged. I’m always fascinated by the argument that Spencer played a bad game in Cambodia, because I think he got out of the gate bad with Ta Keo getting systemically picked off pre-merge. This vote saved him, but because at the merge he was barely clinging to the bottom of the Bayon majority, he really did not have the capital to save Kass or the allies to flip the vote. He then did a great job working his way up the totem pole, but because Kass blamed him (quite unfairly) for her boot, she poisoned the jury on him. Sure he botched the F4 tribal and maybe couldn’t have beaten Jeremy anyways, but he didn’t play a bad game

        1. It seems to be a theme lately where one of the losing finalists will look really good and then fall apart in the final episode.

          Like Brad Culpepper!

      1. “He then did a great job working his way up the totem pole, but because Kass blamed him (quite unfairly) for her boot, she poisoned the jury on him.”
        She did? I always thought she seemed to be a good sport in regards to Spencer. Tasha, on the other hand…

        1. I’m pretty sure she said in post-game interviews that she did, but maybe I’m confusing it with Tasha

    2. I did focus a bit on Cagayan here, but it was Cambodia that really sold me on Woo. Like I liked Woo, but after Cambodia I loved Woo. I was as heartbroken by his vote-out as anything.

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