In hip-hop music, a diss track is a song that demonstrates a rapper’s disdain for another rapper. This season, I’ll be serving as a hype man for several players from Game Changers. Troy is not one of them.
There are many, many reasons to be excited for Game Changers. I’ll be covering those reasons soon. But before we dive headfirst into unmitigated joy over seeing some of our favorites again, I’ve got to get a little business out of the way.
When we were drawing random names of players from the Game Changers cast to profile and analyze, everyone was openly rooting for me to draw Troy. I get it. It’s fun to troll me. One of the long-running inside jokes among Purple Rock staff is my hatred of the most mediocre of Survivor players. And Troy is mediocrity incarnate. He’s so mediocre he had to give himself a nickname- and he chose a nickname that references Tarzan, which was hilariously already claimed as a nickname on his season.
The poor nickname choice was the first of many, many times Troy was punked in One World. You’ve probably forgotten them all by now. That’s understandable- Troy was very forgettable. He was so forgettable, in fact, that a narrative sprang up that Troy was the only person to present a challenge to Survivor Goddess Kim Spradlin. This happened for two reasons: 1) People instantly forgot a lot about One World because it kinda sucked, and 2) Troy was doing his best to popularize this ridiculous narrative of himself as the guy who played hard.
To be fair, I’ll concede the point that Troy plays hard. But Troy is the person who is dealt a hand in poker, then responds by taking a match, lighting the table on fire, and yelling “Monopoly, motherfucker!” It certainly looks like he’s playing hard, but I have no idea what the fuck game he thinks he’s playing.
Unlike Troy, I’m not just going to present the argument that Troy sucks at Survivor and fail to provide any evidence that supports it. Let’s look at the data: Troy’s laughably awful performance in One World.
During One World, Troy competed in a memory challenge against Kat. And before I go into much detail about that challenge, let me refresh your memory about Kat.
You may remember Kat as the woman who thought appendicitis was contagious. In her defense(?), she only thought that because she didn’t know what an appendix was. If you’re an obsessive Survivor fan (and you’re here, so…yes), you may have heard that Jeff Probst did an interview with Chuck Klosterman in which he mentioned that in a recent season, they had cast two people with IQ scores so low that Jeff was actually worried about how those individuals got through life. The season he was talking about was One World. One of the people he was talking about was definitely Kat. (I’d love to say the other is Troy, but it’s not. It doesn’t take a low IQ score to be terrible at Survivor.)
Now that we’re back from that quick tangent, let me tell you how the Troy vs. Kat challenge went. The challenge was simple: look at a display of eight objects, pull a lever that hides the objects once you’ve memorized them, then run back to a mat about 10 feet away and try to recreate the order of the objects you’d just seen. It’s not complicated.
Well, it’s not complicated for most people. But this is a matchup of Troy and Kat. So when Probst unveils the objects for Kat and Troy to memorize, this happens:
Probst is stunned by the stupidity. Kat is stunned by the stupidity. Let that sink in: Kat is stunned by the stupidity.
But what if Troy is actually a savant? Maybe he has insane visual memory skills and he just-
Nope. Troy is, in Probst’s words, “not even close.”
When Kat is also (predictably) wrong, they do another round against each other. And another. And another. In all, they do seven rounds- the approximate number of rounds Kat would need to correctly spell cat if you spotted her the C and the A.
And in the end, Kat beats him.
“This is my island”
Years before Carolyn in Worlds Apart tried to make “Yeah baby” her personal catch phrase by attempting to say it in as many situations as possible, Troy was desperately trying to make “This is my island” a thing. You may have hazy memories about him saying it after winning an immunity challenge. But Survivor, in an effort to promote Game Changers, slightly exaggerates how important that moment was.
I understand the need for promoting your show and getting fans excited about the upcoming season. But “from the best seasons” and “all-time greatest Survivor moments” are both qualifiers that should exclude this from the list. The two things I can’t dispute: The man pictured is indeed named Troy, and he did claim the island was his. So let’s go back and fill in some more details about this “all-time great” moment.
It’s now day 27. Troy, having been punked by Kim, is fighting to stay in the game. What would a good Survivor player do in this situation? Winning immunity would certainly help, but it would help to also build some sort of coalition- even a temporary one- if you want to target Kim and keep her from controlling the game.
At the auction, Troy buys himself an advantage in the upcoming immunity challenge- sure, he started the bidding at $300 for the item he needed more than anything else, but he won the auction and he’ll only have to compete in two of the three parts of the challenge. He then becomes the first player to advance to the final round, meaning he’ll have a 50/50 shot at winning imm- wait, hold on, Troy has something he wants to say.
Troy takes a page from the Trump book of coalition-building: call yourself a winner, and belittle anyone that isn’t on your side. You’re not going to believe this, but it does not seem to go over well with the four women on the bench. Perhaps he should have just pointed at Kim and yelled “EMAILS!”
Anyway, he’s still got one round left in the challenge. The crowd on the bench is actively rooting for Tarzan to beat Troy for reasons I can’t possibly understand since Troy is a lovable underdog. But in defiance of their hopes, Troy wins immunity! Great job, buddy! Now go collect the immunity necklace from Probst and- oh, wait. Hold on. Troy has something to say again.
In case you can’t or won’t watch the video, here’s a summary of what Troy says to the people he’ll need to align with if he wants to build a coalition and stay in this game: “Don’t fuck with me. I wasn’t even trying that hard before, but now I’m going to win every immunity.”
In response to this outburst, Kat says, “You just lost, like, nine members of the jury.” Survivor is a game you win by convincing people to vote for you at the end. Kat grasped this concept. Troy did not. Quick reminder: This is Kat, seen here playing a game of “What kind of dessert is this?” She guessed “potato”.
Sure, you may point out, Kat suggested that Troy just lost nine members of the jury even though there were only seven players being subjected to Troy’s ranting and raving. But in fairness to Kat, counting is really, really hard.
Regardless, Troy is immune and put these people on notice that he’s going to keep winning immunity. Now, I don’t want to spoil it for you, but- oh wait, no, I definitely want to spoil it for you because it makes me so happy- he immediately loses in the first round of the next immunity challenge and is promptly voted out.
After the glorious moment when Troy’s torch is snuffed, he leaves us with these parting words: “The fans out there I know are gonna love my game, and hopefully they’ll appreciate it.” Speaking as a fan, let me just say: Nope and nope. And there’s evidence that proves it!
Always the (old white) bridesmaid
Troy was on the short list of players that fans could vote in to Survivor: Cambodia. There were 15 men eligible to be voted in (Mike wasn’t eligible after winning Worlds Apart), and 10 got on the show. Now, I’m not going to claim that the voting was perfect- since the cast didn’t mirror my ballot. But Troy had a different take on why the voting was imperfect.
When he talked to the Survivor Oz podcast about Cambodia‘s cast- the one he didn’t get enough votes to be on- he said, “You’re telling me that America and the rest of the world perfectly picked this cast? Two Asians, two African-Americans…a gay guy…you’ve got a Hispanic in there.”
“There’s no way CBS is gonna say, ‘Ok, we’re gonna leave it in the hands of our voters and then we’re gonna have all old white guys play.’ That would never happen in a million years. People would be in an uproar!”
The host then goes on to tell him that he got 11th in the Survivor Oz audience poll. That had to hurt. But surely he fared better elsewhere, right? Actually, he got 14th in Rob’s poll. He got 15th in r/Survivor’s (love you, Survivor reddit!). He got 16th in mine. But, you know, rigged system!
Committed to his terrible beliefs
But that’s not the only ridiculous claim Troy has made publicly! He has also expressed the opinion that Survivor Goddess Kim Spradlin isn’t great at Survivor, despite having the words Survivor Goddess in her name. Until Tony deservedly got inducted a few months ago, there was only one single-season player in the Survivor Hall of Fame: Survivor Goddess Kim Spradlin. So telling people she sucks is an interesting take. Still, I’m sure this isn’t just some blatantly incorrect theory Troy pulled out of his ass- that would be so unlike him! So let’s go back and check the scoreboard, via another trip down One World memory lane.
It’s after the merge, and the reward challenge is “Touchy Subjects”, the challenge where you determine which of your fellow players best fits a certain description. Kim was the majority’s selection for the following questions: “Which person do you trust with your life?” and “Which person would you most like to be stranded on an island with?”
That seems like pretty resounding praise for someone that isn’t very good at Survivor! I’m sure the group had even higher praise for Troy, though. Remind me: Which question was it where the majority answered Troy?
I assume those ladies just got confused- you know, because they’re just silly women and all- and thought that “poser” was a compliment. After all, this was Troy’s island! He told them so! And clearly it sunk in, because when they axed him out of the reward challenge, this happened:
When it came time to vote for a winner of One World, Troy was only one of two people to not vote for Survivor Goddess Kim Spradlin. The other non-Kim vote was from Leif- the person most people suspect was the other low-IQ player Probst was worried about. And given his take on diversity, I bet it’s not the only deplorable vote Troy has ever cast.
But despite the data from the Cambodia fan vote showing a clear lack of interest in more Troy, we’re getting more Troy anyway. Which makes sense, because if we’ve learned anything recently it’s that the popular vote doesn’t matter.
Let's get this started? @troy_zan
— kim spradlin (@SpradlinKim) February 8, 2017
I, too, would put a question mark at the end of that sentence, Survivor Goddess Kim Spradlin.
By now, you’ve hopefully been thoroughly convinced (or reminded) that Troy is awful at Survivor. So prepare yourself for this horrifying thought: There is no greater goat in the Game Changers cast; he’s virtually a lock for zero votes at a final tribal council.
And I’d bet almost everyone not named Troy knows it.
Favorite seasons: Heroes vs. Villains, Cagayan, Pearl Islands, Tocantins, Cambodia