Survivor Game Changers Episode 7 Liveblog: “What Happened on Exile, Stays on Exile”

Follow us on Twitter and Storify below for episode 7 of Survivor: Game Changers!

Can’t teach height!

Matt
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Matt

Matt has an irrational dislike for all contestants named Michel(l)e. Also if he ever takes a strong stance about why everyone else is wrong, it is he that is inevitably wrong.

Favorite seasons: Micronesia, Heroes vs. Villains, Palau, Philippines, Pearl Islands, Cagayan
Matt
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  • Violina23

    Awwwww, I’m a commenter! Thanks for the shout-out!

    • Taako From Teevhii

      I thought I was going to get a best boy credit…

  • sharculese

    Dunno when Im gonna get to watch this episode because other roommate found out I had an SNES in my closet and now were just playing Donkey Kong Country.

    (I am bettwr at DKC than he is.)

    • EmAndScoutInBK

      I have an SNES! It’s my favorite of all systems. Because Chronotrigger.

      • sharculese

        I only got a chance to check this now and it feels shitty to brag about this at this time, but I checked my save files and confirmed I can 100& Chrono Trigger in under 15 hours.

        • EmAndScoutInBK

          I will take any excuse not to think about this episode. Impressive! I don’t remember how long it took me last time, but I’ve definitely marathoned it through the night before. I love that game

          • sharculese

            How do you feel about Chrono Cross?

          • EmAndScoutInBK

            Believe it or not, I’ve never actually played. I know, terrible – but my gamer BF and I broke up on account of his going to college … or so I told myself at the time.

    • gouis

      Do you have DKC2?!?!?!

      • sharculese

        I hate having to respond to this now, but yes, I do.

        • gouis

          Why hate? What we need now more than anything is more DKC.

          Also DKC2 is the best.

    • Just now saw this and am mad jealous. Also, I have been thinking about either looking to see if my parents got rid of my Super Nintendo or buying DKC 1 and 2 on the Wii Virtual Console.

    • Something Quirky

      I was playing Pong on Tuesday. Actual Pong with the little dials.

  • Taako From Teevhii

    Clearly Debbie doesn’t watch Survivor and know about when whole tribes sit in on the other tribe and just eat pizza.

    • NearlyNina

      Haha I know right? I was like what are you talking about!?! But then what is she ever talking about?

    • Ms. Sweaterfan

      Or the classic combo of beef stew and root beer

  • the sky is falling

    Tai saying he didn’t understands the convos at tribal makes me twice as baffled that he didn’t play his idol.

    • the sky is falling

      It’s almost as if Tai is not very good at this game

      • Taako From Teevhii

        Not being very good at this game can you far in this game though

        • Cinnamon Owl

          It’s, like, the best way to not look like a threat.

  • Taako From Teevhii

    I’m wondering if other people are going to show up around here or if everyone’s spoiled and not commenting.

    • Alycia Swift

      I’m here. I’m not spoiled. Just had computer problems. Also just got home.

    • the sky is falling

      Ignoring modern technology pays off! I’ve been ignoring survivor Twitter.

      • Taako From Teevhii

        I’m only superficially engaged with r/Survivor and Survivor twitter. Aside from that and PRP, I don’t do any Survivor media/tech at all. That said, I think I caught a lucky break in avoiding spoilers this week.

        • the sky is falling

          Oh so it was just this week that was spoiled?

          • Taako From Teevhii

            Oh, I hope so. I didn’t consider that whole season boot lists were floating around.

          • Max_Jets

            It sounds like there might be whole season boot lists but…I’m not gonna try to find out if that’s true.

          • Taako From Teevhii

            I stayed off of Survivor twitter until a few months ago, and I hope I don’t have to go back.

          • Max_Jets

            I follow a few Survivors that I trust, but I might have to avoid looking at their replies for a while.

          • the sky is falling

            Honestly of any season, i wouldn’t be terribly disappointed to be spoiled on this one

    • Max_Jets

      I just saw the PRP tweet about it. Are that many people spoiled? I don’t know how I’ve avoided being spoiled on everything because I feel like I’m constantly looking at Survivor content on the internet, but unspoiled I am!

      • Yeap, you are the only person I know (besides my best friend) who is unspoiled.

        • Max_Jets

          Just on this week (for most people) though, right?

          • AFAIK, yes

          • PurpleTally

            Just for this week. It’s somewhat difficult to avoid certain events from tonight’s episode, and then I just happened to see a boot spoiler on Twitter last week.

      • jersey_luck

        This one of the rare times that the story was spoiled for the episode.

      • I was unspoiled, which I suppose is easier when you’re in a different country and timezone. Some mental preparation for how awful this was might not have gone astray though.

  • Alycia Swift

    That pizza looks gross.

    • Taako From Teevhii

      Survivor pizza always does.

    • EmAndScoutInBK

      As a resident of Brooklyn who would crave nothing but pizza if I were on an island, yeah it does.

    • Hornacek

      On TEOS Rob talks about how disgusting Survivor pizza is, especially his own experience eating it in Amazon.

  • the sky is falling

    Ozzy is good at doing stuff

  • Taako From Teevhii

    God Nuku, you couldn’t win a challenge like that when Sandra was still around?

  • Taako From Teevhii

    Everyone is in a painful hunger, and Culpepper just munches on some coconut

  • the sky is falling

    Nice clip of Culpepper for the winner montage 😭😭😭

    • Taako From Teevhii

      OWBC, ya know how it goes

  • PurpleTally

    I genuinely cannot figure out how Sierra’s nail polish still looks so good.

    • gouis

      Maybe it’s tattooed on like her eyebrows.

    • MsFjordstone

      It’s probably gel, which is pretty much indestructible.

  • Max_Jets

    TWO Aubry confessionals, Cirie screentime. WHAT AN EP

  • Taako From Teevhii

    People, fold your damn slices like civilized Americans, please.

  • the sky is falling

    Every damn time I see Sarah, “is she funny or something?”

    • jersey_luck

      The answer is no, in fact she is surprisingly dull.

    • Cinnamon Owl

      Her best moment was last episode, when she described Sandra as grooming them.

  • Taako From Teevhii

    Varner is getting a lot of screen time so far, and it’s worrying me.

  • Max_Jets

    I can’t believe I want stupid fucking Ozzy to stick around.

  • Alycia Swift

    Ok. Anyone recognize what play that music on that commercial is (whatever Lola wants)? I do.

    • the sky is falling

      Google play?

      • Alycia Swift

        That made me crack up. Damn Yankees.

  • Taako From Teevhii

    Somehow that word puzzle is worse than “Participation Trophy”

    • Alycia Swift

      Yes. How was that part of the theme, or Survivor. It was just a random word. It would have fit better when cast members actually had a metamorphis (David, Hannah).

  • Alycia Swift

    Wasnt this challenge done in Millenials v. GenX? David kept kicking the ball.

    • Taako From Teevhii

      Different challenge, they didn’t do this type of word puzzle in MvGX

  • the sky is falling

    Ok, Hali has reached peak ‘island hot status’

    • Max_Jets

      I remember the days when we had male eye candy too.

      • the sky is falling

        I guess if you have a dad-bod fetish you are good

        • Max_Jets

          I mean, Varner IS at the top of the list for me now.

      • PurpleTally

        That’s why they brought in Cochran.

        • Max_Jets

          I can’t wait for Tom Westman’s guest appearance.

      • Taako From Teevhii

        One shot of Troy at the wrong angle, and you’ll be wishing you hadn’t said that.

    • Assistant Dragon Slayer

      Surely not the most pertinent topic now, but–IMO people who turn truly island hot (male and female) start the game with a few pounds to spare (by the insane standards of being on a TV show where you’re in a bathing suit much of the time). So more like, say, Katie Collins and Christina Cha. Hali started the game too thin to become island hot. That said, the disheveled and a bit feral look really works for her.

      • the sky is falling

        Yes, this topic looks crude now. tBF, I posted it before ‘the incident’

        • Assistant Dragon Slayer

          No worries. It’s clear you were commenting in real time.

  • the sky is falling

    damn, I thought the 13 letter word was garbageseason

  • Taako From Teevhii

    No cut to commercial after the IC? What’s going on?

    • the sky is falling

      Game changer!

  • Max_Jets

    Oh fuck

    • EmAndScoutInBK

      I know. I know.

      • Max_Jets

        I have the worst chills right now

  • PurpleTally

    I am going to watch the rest of this episode through my fingers.

    • Taako From Teevhii

      I fear that this is going to end up being Shirin/Will times 10

      • EmAndScoutInBK

        I have a lot of fears about this show

        • Taako From Teevhii

          Starting tribal with 20 minutes to go isn’t a good sign.

      • Alycia Swift

        It is different. Everyone, even delayed, stood up and told Jeff he was over the line. That did not happen in Shirin/Will that we saw, although some cast members claim they did something that was not shown.

      • Purplerockmatt

        Tai’s and Andrea’s and Debbie’s immediate reaction helped save this. Because Zeke was frozen in fear as to what the reaction would be

        • Max_Jets

          I almost thought Andrea was going to talk about how she actually knew Zeke. Why couldn’t Varner just out the Survivor Brooklyn alliance instead?

          • This….which is really odd with how Andrea was trying to play around that at TC. I just assumed that she knew about Zeke being trans.

          • Purplerockmatt

            She may have, but it didn’t fit with the story they were telling or she wanted to keep their prior relationship secret

          • That was my thinking. It just felt weird.

          • Purple Rock Emma

            I was wondering about that. Her instant tears (rather than shock -> processing -> tears) made me think she might have known, but also just because they played Survivor: Brooklyn together doesn’t mean they shared their life stories. But it doesn’t really matter anyway.

          • Crappy

            Zeke in his blog hinted that he told very few people in NY about his history. I doubt he told people he played survivor with, in a Park for few hours.

  • EmAndScoutInBK

    I hate this so much.

  • Taako From Teevhii

    So no one in production told Varner, “Maybe you could come up with a different way of raising hell. One that’s not so horrific.”

    • the sky is falling

      Are you guessing, outs him?

      • the sky is falling

        Because I don’t see an upside to that

    • indescribable hat

      Right? He was giving some kind of confessionals about it beforehand, and if he made it clear to them what he was planning they should have intervened. There are other times the show has erred on the side of just letting things play out and not protecting contestants from egregious shit done by other contestants, but I kind of thought they’d moved away from that. Although I suppose we don’t know about the times they get it right.

    • Crappy

      I am afraid, it is very plausible they subtly encouraged him to do this. I have no qualms in believing that production and network loves any kind of drama.

    • Hornacek

      If they do this then the show gets accused with interfering with players and their strategies – they have to let players make their own decisions and live with the consequences. As terrible as the results were, the only person that could have stopped Varner in this situation was Varner.

  • the sky is falling

    Ouch

  • Taako From Teevhii

    So unnecessary. Varner had them won. He didn’t need to do it at all.

    • Alycia Swift

      Good for Andrea and Tai and Debbie.

      • Alycia Swift

        And Ozzy.

        Sarah was quiet.

        • Alycia Swift

          Then Sarah was not.

  • Alycia Swift

    Oh crap!

  • the sky is falling

    Is zeke a man becoming woman or woman becoming man?

  • the sky is falling

    One point: survivor production decided to tell millions of people, not Varner, cbs is not blameLess here.

    • Taako From Teevhii

      That Probst said that means that, in his eyes as it was happening, there was no way to cut around that. There might have been one minute of footage. But that they are showing means that Zeke gave them the green light; I doubt they pressured him into saying yes. I’m glad he’s comfortable with it, and I agree that I hope this leads to a greater good.

      • the sky is falling

        I just doubt that cbs didn’t see ratings numbers and PR through the roof for airing it

        • purplerockandy

          I’m not sure this pulls the ratings you think it will. Or the PR is PR they want.

        • Cinnamon Owl

          I can’t see how outing Zeke this week means that next week people who don’t normally watch Survivor check it out.

        • Hornacek

          The fact that CBS didn’t promote the hell out of this reveal in commercials is a point against this theory.

      • Max_Jets

        I think the way Probst handled it made it impossible to cut around. If they had made it a regular vote, they could have skipped most of tribal and just had look like a boring predictable boot. They could have given more screen time to the other tribe if they needed to fill the hour.

        • I don’t for a second believe that they couldn’t have restarted Tribal if they’d wanted to.

          • Yeah, because you would then have to explain why the majority alliance was crying and in hysterics over a predictable boot.

          • Max_Jets

            THEY’RE JUST REALLY SENSITIVE PEOPLE

          • Saturday Night Palsy

            And then what? Probst questions seven shell-shocked individuals? How would that have gone? “So Andrea, is tonights vote an easy one?” “…What? Yeah, sure… Whatever…” There was no coming back from that.

          • Violina23

            I agree with SNP. Plus, I find it hard to believe that this doesn’t have a small ripple effect on the rest of the game. I’m not sure if this will impact how they see Zeke as a player/game threat.

          • indescribable hat

            They could have just used footage from earlier in tribal. The lack of voting/vote-reading is the hardest thing to edit around. I guess there’s some conflict between the right way to handle it in the moment on the island, where the tribe is largely responding appropriately and you want to let them land on Varner for it and acknowledge that this is not a normal situation, and the right way to handle it for TV, which seems like it would have been making sure they could hide this and letting Zeke decide at a later date.

          • Yeah, I think if it was my job, and production decided they couldn’t show this, I’d have been able to find a workaround. Survivor editors are great at finding footage that tells the story they want to tell. I’d have found the most incriminating footage of Varner that I could – something he’d said that could conceivably have been a reason for his tribemates to get upset with him – and if necessary shot confessionals later that could be used to pad out the explanation (we know for sure Survivor shows some scenes out of order). It might have made for a very unsatisfying episode, but it could have been done.

            The fact that it wasn’t, I really hope, shows that Zeke came to peace with the idea of this airing.

        • Taako From Teevhii

          Skipping the vote was the right thing to do. And I truly hope this leads to more awareness and an overall net positive outcome.

          Although, the editors have recolored buffs and played with footage before (see Debbie two episodes ago). Could they have grabbed tribal and voting footage from previous tribals? Have Jeff reshoot reading votes with an empty tribal set off camera? Even that seems wrong because it ignores the severity of what happened. I just don’t like this at all. I really hope that this is indicative of Zeke’s approval and not Survivor going “oh well, gotta include it now.”

        • purplerockandy

          We also don’t know how much this will inform the rest of Zeke’s time on the season. Maybe he talks about it now. Maybe this forms an unbreakable bond with Sarah. Maybe it’s in his final speech in front of the jury.

          • indescribable hat

            That’s a good point. I guess we’ll find out.

          • This does, I think, explain why Probst made so much of a thing of Michaela coming back at the MvGenX reunion, and didn’t mention Zeke. It wasn’t because he went out early; it’s because something really really uncomfortable happened and they still weren’t sure of how they were going to deal with it.

          • purplerockandy

            Another thing: if the show edits around this then Jeff Varner goes out as a sympathetic figure – the poor guy who just missed out on the jury again. We’d be clamouring for him to get another shot. Some people might even vilify Zeke for being the person to do this to him.

            And then everyone else would try to play along in their exits. Meanwhile, the truth would be out there among the fan community. And some of us would be wondering why CBS went out of their way to hide this, and if they were ashamed of having a transgender person on their show.

          • Assistant Dragon Slayer

            Hmm. I wonder if anything he or Probst said at the MvGX reunion takes on a different meaning now. I did notice even at the time his facial expression change completely once the S34 preview started.

      • indescribable hat

        I hope this is the case.

  • PurpleTally

    I am pleasantly surprised by Sarah’s response to this.

    • Alycia Swift

      Me too though as a cop, its hard to believe she hasn’t had exposure.

      • Yeah, even in the Midwest, I still know plenty of LGBT+ people.

        • Assistant Dragon Slayer

          Yeah, when Sarah said she didn’t know any LGBTQ people because she’s from the Midwest, I was like “oh, honey…”

      • NearlyNina

        I mean exposure through your job, particularly when that job is being a cop, isn’t the same thing as exposure through friends and just normal every day human interaction.

  • Taako From Teevhii

    I appreciate that Probst skipped the voting to show that the rules of the game don’t supersede the rules of life. I don’t think I’ve ever seen Probst get that mad/disgusted at Tribal before.

    • the sky is falling

      The only other time I remember him being that earnest was the Phillip/Tarzan race discussion

      • Alycia Swift

        Will/Shirin too.

      • DrVanNostrand

        I believe that was Phillip and a guy named Steve. Unless I just erased Phillip being on One World from my memory… which is something I would consider doing.

        • the sky is falling

          Oh, dammit Steve!

        • sharculese

          Yeah, it was Steve Wright.

    • NearlyNina

      “I appreciate that Probst skipped the voting to show that the rules of the game don’t supersede the rules of life.” I absolutely love the way you put that!

    • guiltysquirrel

      Probst’s comment to Varner that he just outed Zeke to millions of people really made me furious because it was like he was deciding this would air regardless of Zeke’s wishes. Really, Probst?! This isn’t live TV – YOU have the power to not out Zeke to millions of people. Maybe in the end Zeke decided he was okay with coming out on the show, but it just seemed Probst had already made the decision for him. Yes, what Varner did was an inexcusable asshole move, but Probst with all his straight white alpha male privilege reprimanding Varner…ugh it just rubbed me the wrong way.

      • Assistant Dragon Slayer

        Tribal lasts for hours and there’s tons of unused footage. I can’t imagine that what was shown on TV was done without Zeke’s consent. I’m sure they asked Zeke on the spot whether it was OK, and if he had said no they would have cobbled something together and going through the formality of a vote. A unanimous vote for Varner would have needed little explanation anyway.

      • Hornacek

        How is the show supposed to cut around this reveal and make an episode that makes sense? You’d have the tribe coming into tribal with 5 minutes left in the show, one or two statements by Varner, then smash-cut to Varner getting his torch snuffed and walking out of tribal, with everyone crying. The viewers would be saying “What the hell was that?”
        And then Varner’s final words could not be aired.

        There was no way for the show not to include this. Unless just before they leave for tribal there is a card on the screen saying “THE TRIBE UNANIMOUSLY DECIDED TO VOTE VARER OUT FOR REASONS” and then end credits.

        • Something Quirky

          If they had aired this without Zeke’s consent, it would be beyond fucked up. Just because Zeke reacted this way, doesn’t mean that someone else would have, and it could have been someone in a situation where their outing was dangerous, and there would be a duty of care not to air it.

          • Hornacek

            From interviews with Jeff and Zeke today, Zeke always knew that it was a possibility that he could be outed on the show. He didn’t hide it from Production – he told them after his initial interview. Unfortunately, if you have any kind of secret and you go onto a reality show, you are taking the chance that someone will find out this secret (either on the show or online) and tell everyone. Sad but true.

        • Adam B.

          They could have faked a voting sequence and filmed Probst reading the votes in front of an empty audience.

          • Hornacek

            And every scene where this is discussed (if any) in the remaining episodes would have to be cut out too.

            Then word would eventually get out, and we would all be lambasting the show for editing out the fact that they had a transgender player who got outed and they covered it up.

            No, they had to show this.

          • Amanda LaPergola

            They could have dubbed Varner to make it look like he was saying “I have to go now; my planet needs me,” and then smashed cut to a block of text explaining that Varner died on the way back to his home planet.

            At least that would have not made us all cry.

  • gouis

    I don’t think there has been a bigger 180 on a contestant than what just happened with Varner. He can feel as bad as he wants but that was horrific.

    Also clearly in the top 5 of uncomfortable TCs. But BD will have to finalize the rankings.

    • EmAndScoutInBK

      I’d say it’s number one for me, but you’re right – we gotta leave this for Blurry Denzel.

    • Hornacek

      Talk about ruining your legacy. JT’s gotta be feeling good in comparison.

  • Purplerockmatt

    Episode is over now

    • Alycia Swift

      The last time I felt this horrible after an episode was Will/Shirin.

      • the sky is falling

        But wasn’t he already outed on Reddit? Don’t get me wrong I was a huge mistake, but not breaking news?

        • Taako From Teevhii

          I think that got contained within the reddit community. It by and large was not public information.

          And it still doesn’t wash away the grossness of what Varner did or how I (won’t speak for others) feel about it.

        • Purplerockmatt

          He was, which was also kinda disgusting, but much less visible

    • gouis

      Sweet release.

  • gouis

    I would also like to know what the spoilers were. Was it just who or was it more?

    • Purplerockmatt

      I had seen that Varner outs Zeke, but not the boot (but the boot was pretty easy to figure out based off that and was more explicitly stated elsewhere)

      • PurpleTally

        Zeke also released statements/had an interview about being trans* that was released this morning, which confirmed the rumors.

        • Purplerockmatt

          That explains why twitter talked so much about it. Planned and targeted release

      • gouis

        Wow I can’t even imagine. Going in I had no clue so it was a complete shock.

        • Purplerockmatt

          Even knowing it was fucking awful

    • indescribable hat

      I’ve been carefully staying unspoiled all week, but honestly this seems like a pretty good time not to prioritize the entertainment value of this TV show. Treating such a real-life serious thing that happened out there as spoilable seems a little gross.

  • Taako From Teevhii

    I’m worried about the number of threats Varner is about to get because people are bad and gross and may not know that Zeke and Varner already made up. I feel gross/anxious about it

    To counteract that, I’m going to imagine a Hantz-esque transphobic monster doing the same thing, trying to play an idol to save himself, and Probst telling him to get the fuck out. In those words.

  • Joseph Finn

    Jesus. Just…Jesus.

  • Taako From Teevhii

    Zeke’s having a good humor about it now though:

    https://twitter.com/zekerchief/status/852325549733142528

    • Purplerockmatt

      He said he and Varner have made up but god I can’t imagine what seeing this again would do

      • gouis

        He can say they “made up” which actually means he really wants nothing to do with Varner but is the better man. He can play nice at Survivor events and still not want to ever really talk to him again.

  • torchoflaw

    Well, that just killed my mood for the rest of the night…

    • indescribable hat

      I woke up in the middle of the night, as I sometimes do, and I was like, well, at least I can catch up on Survivor! Ugh.

  • gouis

    Unless Zeke leads an alliance of Andrea, Cirie and Michaela to victory at FTC this is going to go down as the worst returnee season by far.

    • indescribable hat

      It’s certainly got a little All Stars thing going on, doesn’t it?

  • the sky is falling

    Don’t throw rocks at me cause I’m just trying to understand, but I don’t quite get why it’s a big deal. doesn’t zeke eventually make folks aware that he is trans? Is it just a matter of him not deciding when to do it?

    • Here’s a good perspective from someone who had no idea about Zeke’s gender identity:
      https://mic.com/articles/174040/zeke-smith-on-survivor-former-cast-member-hannah-shapiro-reacts-to-jeff-varner-s-attack#.KKKFNbrIL

      • the sky is falling

        Ok, thanks. I have a cold black heart, but that makes sense, I get it now

      • Figaro

        Not to take away any focus from Hannah’s insightful article, but I just gotta say that the photo of her and Zeke skiing is super cute! I want to be their friend!

    • Purplerockmatt

      So there are a number of responses to this but lets take it one at a time:
      1) just because you tell the people in your life doesn’t mean you want literally everyone who watches this show to know. especially in a world where violence against LGBT people exists.
      2) it is your right when and where to reveal this to people. And Also of course who to reveal it to. You don’t have to reveal it to everyone.
      3) The way Jeff did this he made being trans synonomous with being sneaky and deceptive, which is something that has followed and plagued trans people forever. And used as a reason to commit violence and discriminate against them frequently. It is the oldest attack in the book against them and really disgusting.
      There are probably more, but I am honestly kinda tired and not an expert anyway

      • I believe there is a perceived tension between gay men and transgender (FTM) men due to this very issue of “deception”.

        • Purplerockmatt

          Yeah I was gonna bring that up too, but this is one area where my expertise is lacking

          • Yeah, me too. But I think it does color this whole situation.

          • Taako From Teevhii

            I think that tension (where it exists) is so contextualized that it wouldn’t affect how Varner approached that decision. But then again, I can’t conceptualize how he approached that decision.

    • EmAndScoutInBK

      Matt said it well. I said this elsewhere, but I’ve been outed – it makes you paranoid, it’s scary, and it takes away your agency. It’s a horrible experience. He was just outed on national tv – he never gets to decide ever again whether or not he’s out, if he wants to be out. Varner made that decision for him.

    • Ike1

      Trans people are the victims of disproportionate amounts of violence. Lots of hate crimes are committed against them.

      • Ms. Sweaterfan

        You could see it in Zeke’s face – that wasn’t fear for his Survivor game, it was 30 (or however many) years of life experience screaming at him he might be in real physical/existential danger. That was what was so devastating to watch for me.

  • jersey_luck

    So after this serious episode lets talk about different things: We have a two hour episode next week, which includes the merge. The game will take its shape for the rest of the season.

    • Cinnamon Owl

      My early thought on this episode was that big piles of pizza that’s been sitting out in the tropical heat for a couple of hours isn’t an appealing reward. Both for acute gastrointestinal distress and general culinary reasons.

    • Hornacek

      We already know that next week’s title comes from a FFSDT quote, which doesn’t fill me with glee. However, the title of this week’s episode (not counting the ending) came from a Debbie quote and had almost nothing to do with anything, So here’s hoping FFSDT has next to nothing to do with the next episode.

  • Even though I knew it was coming, my heart is legitimately broken.

  • Taako From Teevhii

    Also, this

    To learn how to be a better ally to trans people, click the link below. *Spoiler alert* Don't out people. https://t.co/5uBmPMwNgx— Zeke Smith (@zekerchief) April 13, 2017

    //platform.twitter.com/widgets.js

    • DrVanNostrand

      Everyone on the planet should just retweet that @Jeff Varner

      • Kemper Boyd

        Nah, this situation was really fucked up but let’s not go bully the guy, it’s not the high road.

  • EmAndScoutInBK

    Nowadays, I don’t dress femininely. If you have gaydar (not everyone does), you probably know I’m gay. But I didn’t always dress like that. For example, when I worked at a large corporate firm. Where I was outed.

    I was also outed twice, in high school. Both times, it was by people I considered friends. The first time, it was limited to one person, and it was under horrible circumstances. The second time, it blew my cover around the entire school. Being outed is awful. It takes away your agency. It makes you paranoid. And it’s scary. That’s why this episode made me cry. Because I wasn’t outed on national television, and it still messed me up.

    I commend Zeke for his grace in this situation. I probably would have just sat there crying. Like I did while I was watching the episode.

    What Varner did can never be undone. He made a decision for Zeke for the rest of his life. I can’t even put into words how wrong it is.

    • gouis

      Thanks for sharing, sorry you had to go through that.

      And you’re right, Zeke was so composed it was crazy.

      • EmAndScoutInBK

        Thank you. I’m super impressed with Zeke. When someone hits one of my buttons regarding some of these things, composure is basically impossible for me. I know because it happen recently in my office. Long story, but somebody said something completely inappropriate, and I started sobbing when I tried to address it

        EDIT: And I’m not a big cryer, I swear!

        • Violina23

          I cry when I’m furious. It’s the worst. People assume you are weak. I totally understand.

          • Purple Rock Emma

            Ugh, same. Amy Poehler has a great quote about how to handle that sort of thing, “I’m crying because I’m upset about how wrong you are!”

          • Something Quirky

            When I was younger I was a frustration crier. Not too often, but someone would mistake it for me just wanting to get what I wanted, and that was even more frustrating. It was frustration at not being able to articulate myself properly for the situation, or figure something out. I understand babies better now.

          • I am still a frustration crier. It’s really embarrassing.

        • NearlyNina

          I was super impressed with Zeke’s ability to be articulate, understanding, political, etc in the aftermath of all this. I think, initially, he froze, and was not so much calm as he was hyper-aware. I tend to get like this when something really affects me, but I am in no way capable of moving from that state to being able to coherently and artfully argue. I’m straight and cis, but I’ve experienced other similar personal/political attacks and damn that shit can fuck you over good.

    • the sky is falling

      Thank you for this, as a 42 year old straight white man, it’s hard for me to understand. I get it.

      • EmAndScoutInBK

        Thank you for understanding

    • Purplerockmatt

      Well shit now you are making me cry

      • EmAndScoutInBK

        Big internet hug!!

        • Purplerockmatt

          Right back at you.

    • Taako From Teevhii

      That is terrible, and it tears me up that it happened to you or to anyone at all. I’ve been lucky that I’ve never been outed, but that fear lives in me when I’m around my extended family or coworkers who don’t know. It’s hard and scary enough to make the decision to come out, but to be forcibly outed… I honestly can’t imagine. Outside of violence or abuse, being forcibly outed is one of the most terrible things that can happen to LGBTQ people because, you’re right, it robs us of our agency as individuals. And when we spend so much of our lives trying to show that we are just humans like everyone else, being outed like that degrades us into just being Gay or just being Trans, like Zeke said. What absolutely boggles my mind is that Varner should have known all this, and yet…

      • EmAndScoutInBK

        I’m happy you’ve never had to go through it, and I hope you never do. That aspect of Varner boggles my mind, too. How could he not know? How could he not understand?

        • Taako From Teevhii

          I somewhat want to chalk it up to starvation and mental fatigue, but I honestly can’t excuse it.

          • Hornacek

            He had just eaten at least 1 pizza, so probably not due to starvation.

        • NearlyNina

          Some of it definitely comes down to privilege. My friends group will often talk about oppression as being a path to understanding and how often people with little or just less shit they’ve had to go through will just not GET IT. Varner may be gay, and he may have trans friends, and he may fight for trans rights, but that doesn’t mean he fully gets it.

          As much as there is a lot of mutual understanding and common goals between different groups, at the same time so much harm is done by supposed allies who just don’t quite get that what they’re doing is fucked up until they’ve already done (and often not even then). There so much conflict within feminism for this reason, for example, or between sex workers and other currently more acceptable groups.

          A part of me wants to think that maybe he didn’t quite get the difference between coming out as gay vs coming out as trans (which could very well be the case), but even if that were the case, there’s no logic there. You don’t accuse gay people of being deceptive for withholding their sexual orientation.

          It was just so completely fucked up.

          • EmAndScoutInBK

            You’re completely right in that it’s not the same thing, but at least, there is SOME commonality – the loss of agency, the paranoia, some of the fear… he should have least understood that.

          • Prom King

            Very, very well-said.

        • Baulderstone

          The horrible point is that Varner did understand what a horrible thing he was doing. He didn’t just out him. He outed him, and then said that it was proof he was deceptive. That shows Varner knew the kind of prejudice that can arise in this situation and was hoping to use it against Zeke as a weapon. That’s what makes it so disgusting.

          It he didn’t believe it could be harmful to Zeke, he wouldn’t have said it in that context.

    • Violina23

      <3 <3 <3 I'm so sorry Em.

      • EmAndScoutInBK

        Thank you. It’s been a long time – I’m okay now. It’s just a button. It hits a button.

        • Violina23

          Although I don’t (and won’t ever) experience that kind of outing (so I hesitated to say anything lest I sound like I’m creating an equivalency), I’ve had some experience with humiliation and emotional trauma from jr high/high school. As much as we come to accept the past (at least in our heads), the heart doesn’t forget. I still have some difficulties making new friends and trusting people, and it’s easy for small things to trigger all those memories and pain just like it was yesterday.

          *hugs*

          • EmAndScoutInBK

            I’m sorry you went through what you’ve gone through. You’re so right about the heart not forgetting – it’s like it goes into override mode.

            Big internet hugs!!

    • ExtraLargePelican

      1) The idea of being outed in high school still terrifies me. And I’m 33. And out. So sorry about that, it sounds horrible.

      2) I have not watched the last 15 minutes of this episode. Can’t take it. Glad to hear Zeke was great.

      3) If we’re sharing horrible outing stories, here’s mine:
      Two month into my first job after college, a coworker who didn’t know I was gay went into my work laptop immediately after I walked away from my desk, before the screen saver lock activated. He sent passionate but credible love emails on my behalf to five (I think) male colleagues, some of whom knew I was gay. One of these was my boss, who did not know. He also deleted the sent mail history, so I wouldn’t be able to see what he had sent. My boss questioned me about the email, but I have no idea what he’s talking about, and he doesn’t reveal anything. People start to look at me weird. About two weeks later, people compare notes and figure out what actually happened, and news also spreads that I’m legit gay. I’m still in the dark on everything. But suddenly everybody acts awkward around me. A month later, someone explains to me what happened.

      • EmAndScoutInBK

        Oh dear gd, that is horrible. I am so, so, so sorry. What your coworker did is beyond horrific. I just want to go back in time and hug you then. And also now.

      • purplerockandy

        Liking for you sharing, not for the horrible story.

    • Purple Rock Emma

      <3

    • Streets_Ahead

      I don’t know exactly what happened to you or what you felt at the thim or during this episode but there are certainly parts of it I also relate too. So I just want you to know there is another person who sympathies and wants you to feel happy.

      • EmAndScoutInBK

        Right back at you – much love to you

    • Diego Armando

      I’m sorry that happened to you.

  • That was brutal. No jokes tonight.

    I feel awful for Zeke, but I also feel proud of/for Zeke. He’s under no obligation whatsoever to be a representative for the trans community, but he’s a pretty awesome representative for himself.

  • PurpleTally

    I knew that was coming, but the way that it happened was even worse than I was anticipating and the response was much better than I was anticipating. I’m really just sort of a jumble right now.

    I think I’m going to go have a drink and try to process it while I work on stuff for my lesson tomorrow.

  • tocantins

    Wow, I feel that I have a much different view than anyone here. I’m almost scared to say it, but I thought this episode was one of the all-time greats. I guess I had this “reality TV” talk before (probably when defending Thailand), but it doesn’t get more real than that. And the ending was really emotional, and (to me at least) even beautiful.

    Another controversial opinion: maybe I don’t understand this as well as I should, since I’m not LGBT myself, but my view is that when he signed up for a reality show, Zeke must have known (and he admitted that himself) that he could possibly be outed. That doesn’t make what Varner did alright, of course. (That is not at all my point here.) But he couldn’t ask justly CBS to edit out this part, for example, since he was liable to it happening when he signed on the show.

    • Purple Tentacle

      Agreed. It really irritated me how sanctimonious Jeff (Probst) was about how Varner outing Zeke on national television. Uh….CBS outed him on national television. Varner outed him in tribal council.

      Varner was my favorite player and it sucked to see him make such an awful misstep as a player and a human. I think he deserves to feel ashamed but not get crucified for it.

      • the sky is falling

        Yes, no one should let CBS off the hook for this.

        • Purple Tentacle

          I don’t know if I exactly blame CBS for airing it, I just can’t stand the hypocrisy of Jeff tsk tsking Varner when he and CBS must have been salivating the moment it happened. Fuck those guys. Talk about wanting to have it both ways.

          • the sky is falling

            Exactly, I don’t believe for a second that those asshole execs weren’t seeing a social media win

          • NearlyNina

            Ok yeah, defs agree with that.

      • NearlyNina

        I absolutely believe that there were CBS execs incredibly happy about the “drama” of this episode. That being said, however, what were they supposed to do? They can’t not show tribal council. There’s no way that fans of the show wouldn’t have thought something was up, and no way that it wouldn’t have gotten out. The only thing to do was to control the narrative.

    • EmAndScoutInBK

      No.

      To expand after my simple no: I think you probably don’t understand why this hurts so much. Zeke had every right to expect not to be outed and to control his own narrative. He had every right to expect that respect.

      • tocantins

        Yes. After reading about it a lot here and elsewhere and thinking about it, I changed my mind and I agree with you. Zeke had a right to play and try to win Survivor as Zeke, without having to discuss or deal with things outside the game; the same as anyone else. He was there to play Survivor, like all the other players, not to discuss his life history.

    • tocantins

      One thing that I did learn tonight, that goes against my opinion above, is that I never had realized before how fundamentally different it is coming out as a gay and as a transgender: when a gay comes out, he is revealing what he *is*, while when a transgender comes out, he is revealing what he *is not* (or rather was). I know that this is probably absurdly obvious to everyone here, but it wasn’t to me before reading this conversation and the links herein.

      • Taako From Teevhii

        Hey just a note, try to avoid using gay and transgender as nouns. I’m not trying to accuse you of anything, just a tip in case you didn’t know.

        And the trans experience is vastly different from the gay experience just because trans people have it so, so much more worse that we do. Gay people are more widely accepted than trans people, and all the stigmas and challenges our community faced years ago (e.g. “can’t be in the bathroom with my child” gay panic and just getting validation of their inherent identity. Not to mention hate crimes, abuse, and violence) are the large challenges a lot of trans people are facing today.

        • tocantins

          Ok, I’ll keep that in mind, about the nouns. (As a clarification, English is not my first language.)

          • Yep, I thought that might be the case. Thank you for trying to wrap your head around this whole issue given your upbringing. It’s appreciated.

          • Taako From Teevhii

            No worries, there are native English speakers who don’t always get it right.

        • Yep, I…wasn’t going to say anything (might be a language issue), but agreed. Like, please don’t call me “a gay.”

          • Taako From Teevhii

            When I’ve had to correct people, I usually tell them that you wouldn’t refer to someone as “a black.” Same principle.

          • Which I literally typed out and deleted because…at this point in the world, I just don’t say anything about anything anymore except I LOVE EVERYONE. And then I just keep drinking.

          • Saturday Night Palsy

            To love and drinking!

          • Taako From Teevhii

            I don’t drink, but with this past year … yeah, I’m almost at that point.

          • indescribable hat

            Even “a Jew,” which is not grammatically bizarre, sounds hostile if it’s not coming from a fellow Jew. What do we have against nouns? Unclear, but it’s definitely a popular way to refer to people you’re being horrible to.

      • hardcöre umlaut

        Just a heads up- I am not trying to attack you but you seem to want to learn and grow on this issue. It is not good to refer to people as “a gay” or “a transgender.” This is because people are more than just their sexuality or gender identity. They are people first and foremost. Just like how Zeke said he didn’t want to be known as “the TRANS Survivor player,” he wanted to be known as “a survivor player.” It’s the same reason you wouldn’t want to refer to someone as “a black” or “a disabled.”

        I also think that your reasoning for the difference between a person coming out as gay and/or trans being different is flawed. A huge reason why outing a trans person is so serious is that being trans is still a VERY dangerous thing. Trans people are murdered simply for being trans, for being “deceptive” with their gender identity (Varner’s reasoning tonight). Gay people face have made strides but still face violence, but not on the level that the trans community does. Additionally, don’t forget that people can be trans AND gay (Zeke is a trans gay man, for instance).

        Another reason why coming out as trans is different than coming out as gay is that trans people are much less well understood by the general population. It is REALLY hard for cisgender (that is, not trans) people to understand gender dysphoria (the feeling you get when your gender identity doesn’t match the body you were born with), and there’s really no way to adequately explain it to people who haven’t felt it. Trans people are also a much smaller percentage of the population than gay, lesbian, or bisexual people, so fewer people have met a trans person. These are the reasons why outing a trans person is INCREDIBLY dangerous and NEVER acceptable.

    • Max_Jets

      About your first point, it’s always a tricky line. I think Brandon’s South Pacific exit is the gold standard for a dark, emotional episode but I generally have mixed feelings. Brandon’s Caramoan exit, this episode, the Shirin/Will episode. All of those episodes are compelling and well done and part of what makes Survivor great is watching real people interact, but I usually feel like I’m watching something I shouldn’t be. I have no mixed feelings about a certain All Stars episode though – it’s terrible.

    • Prom King

      Upvoting because I agree 100% with your first paragraph. (And I’m glad you’ve revisited your thoughts in the second, good on you.)

  • Mike Hirsch

    See what happens when you vote Sandra out, Survivor?

    • Max_Jets

      Sandra would have shut that plan the fuck down.

    • the sky is falling

      And Tony

      • the sky is falling

        And Malcolm

  • PurpleTally
    • EmAndScoutInBK

      No. “Believed everyone already knew.” You knew the entire world didn’t know. You took that away from Zeke. You took his choice on coming out away for the rest of his life – you knew you were doing that.

      • Alycia Swift

        Yep. And being from TV himself, and being on the show before, he also knew that cameras were there and would capture it and it was more than likely it would make the show.

        • DrVanNostrand

          More than likely? A goddamn certainty!

          • Alycia Swift

            As an attorney, most of my language involves “that depends” or “more than likely”…

          • EmAndScoutInBK

            “My understanding is…”
            “Upon information and belief…”
            “As the facts develop, they will likely show…”

          • Alycia Swift

            “nothing is guaranteed”
            To the best of my knowledge …
            “May” and not shall or will or definately

            I’ve forgotten how to write in absolutes even if I believe in the absolute.

          • Purplerockmatt

            I believe you may come to see…

          • Alycia Swift

            I’ve never said that one or written that one. But it would never work with our clients.

            But you learn something new every day.

          • Purplerockmatt

            It works for me when I am in front of arb panels. Like hey this is what I am going to present and you will draw these conclusions from it

          • Taako From Teevhii

            Teacher talk: “What I’m hearing you say is…”

      • Purple Rock Emma

        The hardest thing to wrap my head around is that Varner wasn’t out during Australia.

        • Hornacek

          I didn’t find out until many years when he was on RHAP and it was just mentioned casually in an offhand comment.

        • EmAndScoutInBK

          I know. I cannot fathom how he doesn’t, on some level, understand the gravity BEFOREHAND.

    • gouis

      Pass

    • DrVanNostrand

      I’m going to agree with Em. He’s sort of getting there on the apology, but he needs to drop the fake shit. I hate to agree with Sarah about anything, but it was a cowardly and malicious act. He knew exactly what he was doing, and owning up to that has to be part of any real apology.

      • Purple Tentacle

        Fuck Sarah. Accepting other people as they are isn’t something to pat yourself on the back for. It’s fucking bare minimum. Fuck her for making that moment about her own “growth”

        • Part of me was like “She’s growing” and then I remember her political beliefs.

          • But maybe it’s even more notable because of that.

            I’m totally supportive of the “fuck Sarah for making it about herself” opinion, but I think a lot of conservatives need that a-ha moment, and it’s a lot to process. Also she’s on reality TV so she’s a camerawhore lbr.

          • I wish that this would have been a change for her, but seeing who she supported in the presidential election, it seems like it wasn’t.

          • I mean, a lot of my family and friends are huge Trump supporters (yes, even now) and they…well, “accept” is a strong word, but I don’t get holy water thrown on me.

            Now, do I respect them? I keep that opinion to myself, because I’m polite.

          • Fair enough.

          • There is still a surprising amount of hypocrisy in the world. It’s like that tweet about the woman who never thought leopards would eat HER face. Except in my parents’ case, they’re crying because leopards ate MY face.

            But that’s why I’m cool with seeing them 4 times a year. Oh well!

          • Purple Rock Emma

            Man, that’s about how often I see my parents and we share political beliefs.

          • indescribable hat

            Oh my god, thank you for making me google that tweet.

          • Diego Armando

            The best thing to combat intolerance is interaction. It becomes harder to demonize groups of people when you can actually put faces to them. I hope she does legitimately grow and do better as a person.

          • Alycia Swift

            I think you said it better than I with a “lot of conservatives need that a-ha moment.”

          • I am Oprah. I LOVE BREAD

        • DrVanNostrand

          Agreed on that. The whole time she was talking, I just wanted her to stop. It’s not about you, Sarah. (But at least she called out Varner at the beginning about how it really was malicious)

          • the sky is falling

            regardless of any political beliefs, Sarah sucks as a tv personality

          • sharculese

            When she talked about being the midwest and therefore not knowing queer people, my immediate reaction was “so is Andrea.”

          • That’s a good point, but I think at this point, she has been in New York for so long, she almost counts as a New Yorker…kinda like Fishbach.

          • DrVanNostrand

            So am I. In fact, the first time she opened her mouth in Cagayan, I said to myself, “I bet she’s from Wisconsin or Illinois” It was Iowa, I think.

          • It is Iowa.

          • Kemper Boyd

            You know who is from Iowa? Denise Stapley.

          • Hornacek

            Also James T. Kirk.

          • Diego Armando

            And my dad.

          • indescribable hat

            And Riley Finn.

          • Kemper Boyd

            is he as cool as Denise?

          • Diego Armando

            I like to think so.

        • Alycia Swift

          I have to disagree. While I don’t agree with her political beliefs, maybe before getting to know Zeke and before the show, she would not have done the “bare minimum.”

          • Purple Tentacle

            So she went from being a net negative on society to being, at best, a neutral one? I don’t know. I don’t care. The last thing I cared about in that moment was how Sarah was processing everything.

          • Alycia Swift

            A neutral one may become less neutral and better as time goes on. And I thought her statements were better than Ozzy’s who just at first looked like he did not care at all.

          • Purple Tentacle

            Ozzy always seems bored out of his mind. I remember Penner’s remark from their season that he carries himself like a prince and I think of it every time he’s on screen.

          • Purplerockmatt

            I got the same feeling from Ozzy that he only piled on once he saw that was the way to save himself

          • sharculese

            Yeah, Ozzy did not give one fuck about Zeke. He has like one line in that exchange and it’s “Not cool, Jeff,” delivered with zero affect. He was happy the heat was off him, that was all.

          • Purple Tentacle

            As someone with a flat affect myself, is it possible that’s just how he is? Have we seen him excited by anything?

          • Amanda killing a shark in Micronesia.

          • sharculese

            I hate to bring this shitty bit of humor into a serious conversation, but honestly, I think the most excited we’ve ever seen him was when he got to bid $420 on the ice cream machine in Cook Islands.

          • Prom King

            No, he said plenty, just not as much as everyone else. And it was powerful, as was what everyone else on that tribe said when reacting to Varner. Even Probst of all people.

          • Crappy

            This is absurd. Ozzy was perfectly fine in saying what he did. To cast aspersions about his behavior or reaction based on nothing but “feelings” is poor form. Not every one reacts in the same manner. Ozzy as hateful as it maybe to many internet survivor fans definitely comes across as someone who finds it difficult to emote, so I am not surprised that he was not as angry or upset as Tai or Andrea.

          • indescribable hat

            Bare minimum, at least social pressure was pulling the right way this episode. And now I’m defending this season by comparing it to Thailand. Welp.

          • Saturday Night Palsy

            At that point I forgot Ozzy was even there.

          • Mike Hirsch

            Yeah, Ozzy just looks like he wants nothing to do with this season.

          • DrVanNostrand

            I got the sense that Ozzy was just letting the grownups talk, because serious issues like this are too big for his tiny, narcissist brain.

          • purplerockandy

            I’m not sure it’s helping, but I would like to point out that this thread has featured people attacking Sarah for saying too much, and thus making it about her, and Ozzy for not saying enough.

            This was a really tough situation and not everyone is going to handle that in the best way. But all of them handled it with humanity. Compare this to how the All-Stars processed what happened to Sue Hawk and I think we can be more forgiving.

            Also, we’re reacting after watching an edited version on TV, some of us having had hours to process this possibility. These people had to experience it live, then have an interviewer ask them about it. I’m willing to cut them a break.

          • DrVanNostrand

            I just really can’t stand Ozzy, but you’re right.

          • DrVanNostrand

            To be less glib, I think Ozzy is only getting shit because he’s Ozzy, which is unfair. Sarah’s response just made me uncomfortable. But I think those were her genuine feelings, Probst prompted her to share them, and she did. It wasn’t the greatest, but it was real response, and a positive one.

          • EmAndScoutInBK

            I will not attack Sarah or Ozzy for their reactions in the moment. I will, however, attack Sarah for voting for Trump.

          • tocantins

            For me it seemed more like he was just spacing out, then he suddenly woke up and thought, “Shit, I have to say something, otherwise people will think that I’m a bad person to Zeke.”

          • tocantins

            If only everyone that is a net negative to society would do as she did. It gave me hope that this episode might change things for the better.

            I live in a place that is very conservative: when we were young, my father often stated (genuinely) that me and my brother would be disowned if we turned out to be gay. And I can state that for these people to have a change of heart, and acknowledged that people can be different and respect that, is not easy. (My father has been slowly progressing on his views.)

          • indescribable hat

            On one hand I very much agree and was cringing while she spoke, but on the other it’s kind of a hazard of this happening at TC. I think there’s a higher awareness bar for not making it about you when Jeff and the entire format are asking you to share your feelings now and you’re all Survivor-emotional anyway.

        • Crappy

          I think this is criticism just for the sake of it. That TC most defo went for hours and Sarah’s part was probably only 5-10 mins of it. Her making a comment about what she learnt with this experience is not a big deal. Show explicitly included it because like it or not, a large part of the show’s audience is conservative people not living on the coasts. As said it may sound, it does help that kind of audience to grasp the situation better when someone like Sarah relates her reaction to it.

          • Kemper Boyd

            I fully agree. Andrea is a New York tv presenter no matter where she came from, Ozzy is a half Mexican surfer bro, Tai is a fucking refugee and Debbie is insane. The only useful surrogate for the less politically liberal public is Sarah. Her response was probably the most valuable to show them. Yeah to us it seems a little like she’s making it about her but it’s taking a very alien subject matter for many people and showing the reaction of one of those types of people.

          • Purple Tentacle

            Sorry, before this election cycle, i was always an apologist for these people. Now i don’t give a fuck. They need to stop making excuses for themselves and catch up to everyone else. I don’t care if they spend 5 minutes or a year congratulating themselves for respecting someone else, they should have already been there.

          • Crappy

            I am not based in US so would accept upfront that my opinion on this carries much less weight than yours. But as a general point, most people only become tolerant of people from different walks from life when they come in contact with them. This is the very reason why people are on average more liberal in big cities than in small towns.

          • Purple Tentacle

            I lived in a relatively small town in Wisconsin for a few years and there were gay and trans people there, so I always bristle a bit when people claim “Oh, I’m from the midwest.” Granted, I didn’t live in an out and out rural area, but it had a substantially smaller population than Cedar Rapids, Iowa where Sarah lives.

            I also don’t really think you need to know someone to be tolerant or accepting of their sexuality / gender identity / whatever. We have the internet, we have TV, we have brains. I myself have never had a trans friend and I don’t know any trans people outside of a passing acquaintance, but if I do ever find myself in a friendship with a transgender person, I’m not going to give myself props for being so open hearted. That just strikes me as pretty gross.

            Also, I don’t know what it’s like where you are, but here there’s really heated debates we have to hear on the regular about THE DUMBEST SHIT regarding LGBT rights. My tolerance for people who are anti any aspect of LGBT is long gone. I’m someone who generally tries to understand where conservatives are coming from, but being anti LGBT rights is just a flat out nope for me and has been for a while. I don’t want to hear some backwards idiot talking about their personal growth for realizing something most of us came to terms with in middle school.

            I know I’m being harsh here, but I feel like I’ve been having LGBT rights debate for two decades now and I’m just beyond exhausted with it. I can’t imagine how actual LGBT people feel.

    • Violina23

      I genuinely don’t believe that Varner has a bad heart, and I believe he is/was truly sorry, but that doesn’t make it any less terrible. It cannot be undone. He exposed Zeke in a way that wasn’t his to expose. And I know that I can never truly understand what that feels like.

      But that being said, I call BS on thinking “everyone knew” because if everyone knew, then it didn’t need to be announced as an example of DECEPTION. The honest fact is he was grasping at straws and not thinking about the consequences of what he said. It was an impulsive and cruel blow. And that cannot be undone.

      In the end, he doesn’t need my forgiveness, he needs Zeke’s.

      • tocantins

        I think that his argument (not saying it was correct or anything like that) would have been that Zeke was “outed” outside the show (and as far as Varner knew possibly even in confessionals), but not to the rest of the tribe, fearing that this would make him someone that people would be unwilling to take to the end. (Maybe a bad comparison would be Adam and his mom.)

        Also, correct me if I’m wrong, but Varner didn’t get to watch Zeke’s first season, right? So he didn’t know that Zeke didn’t say anything about he being transgender then. I think it is possible that he assumed Zeke was already outed on his first season.

        (Disclaimer: I am NOT arguing that Varner was not wrong in doing what he did.)

        • Violina23

          So you’re saying maybe he thinks it was like Tony lying about his job — everyone at home knew, just not the people at tribal?

          Even if that’s the case, then he is just bringing up PERSONAL information that has NO impact on the game, and trying to use it as a weapon to get him voted out. That’s almost worse, IMO.

          Like I said, my gut is that Varner is not a monstrous human being who set out to hurt Zeke. But I’m not even a part of the LGBTQ community and this is going to stay with me for a LONG time.

  • My stomach hurts.

  • Kingoftonga

    Well, Probst took a really shitty action and managed to handle it more compassionately than I expected him to, but that’s the best I can say about this episode. I did appreciate the other players’ immediate, visceral disgust. This wasn’t fun to watch, it isn’t why I watch Survivor, and I felt the same kind of sick voyeurism reserved for the lowest lowpoints of the series, like the Will/Shirin thing or Dawn/Brenda at the finale. I wonder if it should have been aired at all.

    Sometimes I think that CBS wants to have their cake and eat it too, by bragging about their “groundbreaking” television while pretending to handle it responsibly (I felt the same way about Adam and his mom last season, although that was at least mitigated by the fact that his mom wanted him to be there and so presumably signed off on Adam talking about her)

    • I think if you take out the whole “CBS outed Zeke” angle, then this was one of Probst’s best tribals because you can tell that he was stunned it happened, but he was able to handle it and just send Varner packing. However, I do not think it was a beautiful tribal council even with the show of love from everybody.

      • It made me very uncomfortable to have everyone discussing what Varner had done, and how they felt about it, while Zeke just sat there in silence. It felt like a continuation of what Varner had just done…Zeke’s voice and his power to control that conversation was taken away from him, and however well-meaning everyone else was in that situation, it still felt like they were compounding the issue.

        All I wanted was for everyone to shut up, and let Zeke tell them how he wanted the situation to progress from there.

        • Max_Jets

          I imagine Zeke wasn’t ready to say anything yet, but I of course have no idea.

        • This is a really great point. But, you can tell that Zeke was just shell shocked.

          • Saturday Night Palsy

            I like that phrase. “Shell shocked”.

        • Prom King

          I like how Probst gave Zeke time and space to compose himself. I think going to Zeke – who was still processing – right after Varner dropped his poison would have been exploitative. He got to speak when he wanted to speak.

        • Hornacek

          It seemed pretty obvious that Jeff realized that Zeke was shell shocked and not ready to say anything, so he wisely went to the other players to talk about what happened. Only then did he go back to Zeke.

          • MsFjordstone

            If you haven’t read Zeke’s Hollywood Reporter piece yet, you should do so — there’s a lot of good insight there about what was going on for Zeke, and (tacitly) between Zeke and Probst, during tribal.

          • Hornacek

            Agreed. I read it yesterday and was very impressed. Also recommend Probst’s interview with Dalton Ross on EW.com. I especially liked when he said how amazed he was when Zeke finally started talking and was so eloquent and managed to incorporate “metamorphosis” into it and he says “I have no idea how he was able to do that”.

          • MsFjordstone

            Thanks, running off to read that right now… Zeke is a pretty amazing human being, and yes, he really had some astonishing presence of mind to throw “metamorphosis” in there like that. I totally love him, and not just because he’s on my fantasy team!

        • MsFjordstone

          Zeke’s Hollywood Reporter piece (which you very likely have read by now) makes it clear that he was stunned for a time after Varner’s pronouncement, and that he feels that Probst basically took the wheel until he could right himself. He gives Probst a lot of credit for being able to read the room, read his distress, and handle it with grace and aplomb. I thought Probst did a good job when I watched on Wednesday night, but after reading Zeke’s piece I was even more impressed with him (and the stuff we didn’t see).

    • Prom King

      For me it was very different than Will/Shirin and Dawn/Brenda, two of my least favorite episodes. The difference being that everyone stood up for Zeke and Varner went home. Something horrible turned into something amazing, at least to me.

      • Hornacek

        While the Dawn/Brenda situation was nowhere near as bad as this situation, the show went out of its way to portray Brenda as the victim and Dawn as the villain, when all Dawn did was vote out someone she was aligned with, when we have seen that happen dozens of times before. And then on the reunion Jeff encouraged Dawn more than once to apologize to Brenda when it should have been her apologizing to Dawn.

        That season really turned me off of Brenda, who I thought “Why was she so popular? She must have been great on her first season but I don’t remember much about it.” Then I participated in the recent Nicaragua rewatch here and I realized “Oh, she wasn’t great at all her first time.”

        • Prom King

          I agree with your perspective on Brenda/Dawn. Disgusting situation on many levels, aided and abetted by cast and Probst. Gross. I had so much sympathy for Brenda regarding the reward challenge, just as I had sympathy for Varner for maybe not making the merge… but then their subsequent actions just turned a sad situation into horrific displays of ugliness.

          I do still like the Brenda of her first season though! Just as I like the Varner of his second season and the James Clement of his first season, etc etc. I compartmentalize in life all of the time, so why not Survivor too.

          • Hornacek

            Like I said, I had convinced myself that Brenda was a sympathetic and strategic player in Nicaragua. Then the recent rewatch. I kept waiting for something great to happen with her. It never did.

  • DrVanNostrand

    When Varner did that, I literally cringed and covered my eyes like a 10 year old watching a horror movie.

  • the sky is falling

    I’m not sure how they could have edited around it, but fuck CBS.

    • sharculese

      No, they did as good a job of this fuckshow as they could have. This is not Rice Wars level terrible.

    • Hornacek

      Unless the show cuts out the entire tribal, or hired actors to enact a fake tribal that didn’t mention Zeke being outed at all, I don’t see how CBS gets around not showing this.

  • Hornacek

    Random thoughts:

    “Previously on Survivor … Brad was working his way to the top.” Yes, an alliance of 3 on a tribe of 7 is “the top”.

    Thai was confused at tribal? Stop the presses!

    Last week: Zeke lied to Varner, and Varner believed him. This week: Zeke tells Varner that he’s safe, and Varner believes him again. Is Varner gullible or is Zeke that convincing?

    “Wow I’m so happy to be working on Survivor! What am I going to be doing? Setting up challenges? Interviewing the players? Hiding idol clues?” “Uh, no. Make up a pizza logo for the show and print it on 10 pizza boxes.” “Yay?”

    Is this why we saw so many players crying in last week’s preview? Because they lost pizza?

    Why is Brad’s tribe acting so broken after losing? They just won the previous immunity challenge. They’re acting like they’re on a massive losing streak.

    Survivor Group Therapy.

    Is it just me or are we getting confessionals from a lot of different people tonight?

    Ozzy could be going home tonight … oh the immunity challenge is in the water. Probably not.

    Why would you attach the balls before you know what the word is?

    Brad’s tribe wins thanks to puzzle master Hali Ford!

    This means Cirie’s first tribal will be the merged tribe.

    No commercial after the challenge?

    If other players are talking bad about you and the editors show you lounging in a hammock, things may not be going well for you.

    “Ozzy is a strategic threat.” Um, sure.

    Wow.

    I didn’t feel like writing anything during tribal. That was unexpected and ugly and shocking and … hopeful?

    • DrVanNostrand

      That Brad is as good at math as he ever was!

      • Hornacek

        Someone else posted it weeks ago, but I hope Brad gets an idol, plays it, negating a lot of votes so Jeff will say “Culpepper … does not count”.

        • Dezbot

          You know Probst was loving it when Culpepper and Ozzy were competing head-to-head in that balls challenge.

    • Assistant Dragon Slayer

      “Why would you attach the balls before you know what the word is?”

      They were on a platform in the water. The balls would have rolled around if they set them down.

      • Hornacek

        There were 7 people on that platform. They could have stood side-by-side, each holding 2 balls. Not ideal, but better than attaching every ball and then have someone climb up and down the ladder to continuously remove and reattach the balls.

  • the sky is falling

    Aubry was lookin good this episode, she will go deep at least

  • Can we go ahead and just say that this was probably Tai’s best TC moment? He understood the complicated issues between Zeke and Varner and comforted Varner for a little bit once it happened, but he was the one that just blew up on Varner about it.

    • Yup, Tai is great at the bits of tribal council that require no ability whatsoever to play the game of Survivor, but some understanding of how to behave like a decent person.

      • Also, Tai is the only person who is not directly involved to really understand the personal implications of being outed.

        • Purple Tentacle

          …..isn’t Varner gay as well?

          • But, he was directly involved in this situation with Zeke.

          • Purple Tentacle

            Ah fair enough.

    • Mike Hirsch

      It may have been Tai’s best moment, period.

      • Absolutely.

      • Hornacek

        When Tai gets voted out, is this the moment that John and Andy will mention on the podcast?

        • Mike Hirsch

          I’d say it’s down to that and not giving Scott his half of the idol? But if he had, then he would have gone home so, yeah, no, this.

          • Hornacek

            So, not his very first episode with him saying “I love all living things” and then minutes later tearing trees out of the ground?

    • tocantins

      Tai has always been an awesome human being. He is just not good at all at Survivor.

    • Maritimer

      Did Tai swear at Varner? Totally deservedly but have we ever heard Tai swear before?

      • Purplerockmatt

        I don’t think I have, but he more than anyone reacting knew what Varner did

      • I definitely saw some mouth blur action from Tai, which I think is a first.

      • According to Dalton Ross’s recap, Tai says ““You f—ing just outed him! Nobody have the right to out anybody!”

      • He not only swore, he was legitimately yelling at him. And Tai seems like the type of person that could count on one hand the times he’s yelled at someone in his life.

        • Maritimer

          I agree, because Tai is just such a good person, when he swears/yells at people, it means something. Like, somebody else doing a terrible thing. As opposed to people like me who just swear like a sailor

  • PurpleTally

    I really do need to finish my lesson plan stuff for tomorrow, but I feel like I need to add:
    Not necessarily here, but it seems like people are sympathetic to Varner in this situation. He is not the victim. He will have to live with what he did for the rest of his life. This was not him accidentally outing Zeke. We have a confessional showing that he was planning on doing this. He not only directly and maliciously outed Zeke, but he did it to show that he was being “deceptive.” That is an incredibly negative stigma that the trans* community deals with every single day. A person’s gender identity is their gender identity. They are not LYING or DECEIVING anyone no matter how they present themselves to the world.
    Varner, as a gay man, knows this. He purposefully called out Zeke using one of the single most damaging stereotypes that trans* individuals have to deal with. Plain and simple, Jeff Varner outed someone for a chance at winning a million dollars. That is purely unacceptable.

    • the sky is falling

      Is there any way not to air it and just avoid? Would that have been better?

      • PurpleTally

        The way that it happened, I don’t think so without extensive refilming and all sorts of sketchy editing nonsense. I’d like to think that they would have done that if Zeke wasn’t okay with this airing, though.

        • Probst just tweeted that Zeke has been a great partner through all of this, so that makes me think that once he was done on Game Changers, Production probably approached him about how to handle his two season arc.

          • Diego Armando

            I imagine they had to get approval from him. The show had no way to edit around this given the unconventional vote out.

          • tocantins

            I don’t know if you meant they *legally* had to get approval from him, but I’m certain that they have a very extensive pre-game contract that already specifies things like that.

          • I imagine they would have tried to get approval, purely because of how bad it would look if Zeke subsequently said they broadcast it against his wishes.

          • Violina23

            I think CBS probably had the rights to do whatever the fuck they wanted, but I think they are smart enough to realize that if they didn’t handle this respectfully, it was going to be hard to come back from.

            The producers of this show are NOT idiots.

          • Streets_Ahead

            Also if it came out that they edited around someone being trans gender how would that come off? Knowing what we know now it would come off as protecting but if it leaked out and looked like they were trying to hid they had trans gendered person on the show? They were in a bad spot but from their collaboration with Zeke and Glaad I think they did well still not an episode I plan to rewatch any time soon if ever.

          • Hornacek

            I feel bad for anyone that has to rewatch this episode, either for a podcast or just a season-rewatch.

          • Adam B.

            Just wait for the reunion show.

          • Hornacek

            This may be one time where I’d be for keeping the pre-jury members off the stage for the reunion (sorry Tony and Malcolm).

          • Dezbot

            They can just have a flaming bag of dog doo on the chair where Varner would’ve sat.

    • tocantins

      I think that people that are sympathetic towards Varner (or at least me), are so because we feel that he is genuinely sorry and hurtful about what he did. That doesn’t make it any less wrong, of course. But it bodes well for his character.

      • Hornacek

        The worst thing One of the worst things (there are plenty of “worst” things in this situation) is that Varner is the last person I would expect to do this. If it had been Troy(zan) then I would have been just as disgusted, but based on what I know about him as a player, it wouldn’t have surprised me if he did that.

    • I’m going to be a little silly in here because I have gallows humor and it’s a coping mechanism for a lot of severe life trauma, but let me state outright: I ACTIVELY DISAPPROVE OF WHAT JEFF VARNER DID. I am nauseous and horrified. He can apologize until he’s blue in the face and I won’t ever approve.

      Zeke is a fucking saint. I wouldn’t have been able to look at him.

    • EmAndScoutInBK

      FYI: Varner literally called himself a victim.

      • PurpleTally

        Ugh. Screw that guy.

  • sharculese

    Guys, if you either want to skip the podcast this week or just record an hour of the two of you sighing and saying “I don’t know man, I just don’t know,” I think we’ll all understand.

    • No, I need them this week more than ever SHARC.

      • I’m here for you, boo.

    • Taako From Teevhii

      Of all weeks, this might be the one to get a moratorium on all the straight white cis-men recording their Survivor podcasts. Don’t have high hopes. So my best hope is that John and Andy can address this how it should be addressed and do no more and no less.

      • We know our boys will handle it well. I need them. I don’t have therapy for a week.

      • Oh, I have thoughts. But it’ll likely be a short episode this week.

        • gouis

          Just talk about Brad’s winners edit for 45 minutes.

          • Taako From Teevhii

            Spend some time talking about why Survivor pizza is the worst reward.

          • gouis

            I think Stephen is on record saying that it’s completely vile.

          • Taako From Teevhii

            It certainly looks that way.

          • I can think of something else in this episode that was more vile.

          • gouis

            Troyzan’s penis wasn’t in this one so I’m lost.

          • You’re incorrect. Troy’s penis is omnipresent.

          • gouis

            You’re right, I can see it from here.

          • At this point, I want proof. Disgusting proof.

          • turgid_legume

            He’s getting a big wiener’s edit.

          • Hornacek

            Rob says this more than once in the Amazon TEOS chapter.

          • Something Quirky

            The great pizza vs coffee debate.

        • sharculese

          I don’t know what the logistics of this would involve on such short notice, but if you could have one of the queer commenters here on the show it would be good.

      • sharculese

        Unless Henry is literally the worst baby in the world, we at least get The Stolen Century tomorrow.

        • Taako From Teevhii

          What are your thoughts about what the new game mechanic might be? I’ve heard PbtA gameplay, but I think it’s going to involve everyone managing two or more characters given who this plot will entail.

          • Purplerockmatt

            Actually my D&D campaign with my friends has an interesting similar plan we are working on for our next big campaign. Basically we all control multiple characters and choose one to go on a mission, and switch off.

          • Saturday Night Palsy

            Hell, yes. D&D!

          • Taako From Teevhii

            *gets too excited and whips out inhaler*

            SNP, why don’t you listen to TAZ? Granted, it’s 50 hours of content, but I feel like it’s up your alley. Also, I’m down for a collective PRP TAZ re-listen when someone says go. I’d say that PRP D&D campaign sounds interesting but I know it’d be impossible to schedule.

          • sharculese

            I was gonna propose a re-listen once the balance arc finishes. Five episodes a week, set up so newbies can talk about it while those of use who know the whole story have our own corner.

          • Taako From Teevhii

            Oooh, good idea. I like this a lot.

          • Saturday Night Palsy

            You’re talking about The Adventure Zone, right. I only just heard about it a few weeks ago. And if there is a campaign I call rogue!

          • Taako From Teevhii

            I am, though I like Sharc’s proposal of doing a re-listen in a bit. We’re entering what should be the last arc of a 70-some odd episode campaign, so a re-listen once it’s all over would be cool. Though I know some people burn through the dang thing in a week.

          • I was always the rogue/thief when I did D&D. I found the fact that they’re generally weak and prone to run from battles to be very relatable.

          • Hornacek
          • Purplerockmatt

            I can barely schedule my own D&D campaign

          • Taako From Teevhii

            *plays my “gets to mention fantasy baseball” card*

            It was a miracle I could schedule a single 2-hour draft. Granted, that involved twelve people, but yeah, I doubt a campaign would get off the ground (cool if it could though)

          • Taako From Teevhii

            @disqus_3Sm0bOf1sj:disqus You done changed the name!

          • Blurry Denzel

            I did. I loved seeing it so much in the credits that I had to keep it. Also, it gave me an excuse to have Aubry in my avatar.

          • sharculese

            Yeah, SNP. Do what Taako says. Join us. It’s D&D combined with people goofing off. What’s not to like?

          • Saturday Night Palsy

            I feel like disqus is causing my phone to only show half of this conversation. What are you guys doing/watching/listening to?

          • sharculese

            The Adventure Zone. It’s a comedy podcast where 3 brothers and their dad play D&D but don’t pass up opportunities to have fun with it. 5E, rules-lite. It starts with them just playing the starter quest but then turns into something crazy and special as they go on.

          • Taako From Teevhii

            “rules-lite.” Borders on “rules-non-existent.”

            But it doesn’t take away from what is a great podcast and a terrific narrative. I remember listening to the first one, and it was such a drag, but you and Matt told me to get through just one more. It seriously picks up around Episode 2 or 3.

          • Diego Armando

            I just finished the Mad Max storyline.

          • sharculese

            This isn’t immediately obvious and I doubt anyone would know if Griffin didn’t bring it up in the meta-episode they did, but Petals to the Metal was actually inspired by a scene from The Fast & the Furious, not Mad Max.

          • Diego Armando

            I have never seen any of those movies.

          • sharculese

            I haven’t either. At some point they do a meta episode where they talk about everything they’ve done so far, and Griffin reveals that, despite what everyone assumed, he wasn’t thinking about Mad Max, he was watching one of the F&F movies, saw a scene where someone jumped between two moving cars, and wanted to make the boys do that.

          • Taako From Teevhii

            You’re listening! That’s awesome! Unfortunately you’re right in the middle. If we go through with a campaign re-listen, you’re stuck!

          • Diego Armando

            I can pause until you get to the midpoint.

          • Taako From Teevhii

            That’s gonna be a while. This last arc will probably take two months at least, and then Sharc is proposing 5 hours/episodes a week during a re-listen. We’d catch up to you around August/September.

          • sharculese

            Yeah, I agree just power ahead. It’ gonna be at least another month before the pre-finale arc is over, and then who knows how long the finale will take.

          • Taako From Teevhii

            That’s a cool roleplaying device. A lot of the time people get stuck on developing a single character, but that allows for more variety. I’m connecting that to Overwatch in my mind, but obviously there are other games with the same mechanic.

            My thought here is that everyone needs to juggle two, not choose one. Unless Griffin is managing the Director, Barry, Davenport, Ango, Kerri, Killian, AND Noelle. He does a lot, but I don’t see that happening.

          • Purple Rock Emma

            Fucking nerd.

          • Hornacek
          • Purplerockmatt

            no the problem in my life right now is that only one of those applies

          • sharculese

            Honestly, I don’t have enough knowledge of pen and paper systems to have any idea. I can explain the plot of Chrono Cross, though. That took work and multiple playthroughs to do.

      • indescribable hat

        OK I’m jumping on them before listening to KIA, but RHAP’s handling of anything like this always seems so focus-grouped and insincere. Rob C is very politic and good at skating through the middle and making everyone feel OK about him, and it makes him good at Survivor and good at having a really popular podcast, but I am not interested his mealy-mouthed bloodless condemnation or whatever the fuck right now. John and Andy I at least have faith will sound genuinely rattled.

        • Hornacek

          Yes, let’s judge them before listening to what they say.

          • indescribable hat

            Yeah, yeah. I’m mean and cranky and unreasonable, I know. I’ve cooled down a little.

          • sharculese

            Fwiw I’m listening now and they’re not tapdancing at all. Both of them are like this is fucked and stupid and wrong. Rob makes a good point at the beginning where he tells people not to dogpile on Varner on Twitter because “he doesn’t get to be the victim tonight.”

          • EmAndScoutInBK

            I was pleasantly surprised.

          • Purple Rock Emma

            That was the highlight of the podcast for me; I was very impressed.

          • Hornacek

            It was really a somber tone – no “Yes, that’s right” intro, no listener questions, only a few funny remarks when they were talking about other scenes from the episode not related to this. Rob did not sugarcoat anything.

          • purplerockandy

            It’s true. We could really fuck it up.

      • purplerockandy

        I understand this perspective, but I also don’t know if it sends the right message if a bunch of straight white cis men decide to sit this conversation out either.

    • Kemper Boyd

      I’d accept a special podcast where you just talk about previous seasons of Survivor and the happiest moments. Because yeah, I might not listen. I didn’t listen to KIA and I doubt I’ll listen to any of the rest of RHAP this week.

      • sharculese

        I’m listening to it now, out of morbid curiosity, and by some crazy coincidence, the guest this week is Hannah! So, at this point, I think we can put aside any suspicions that Rob wasn’t spoiled on this season.

        • Kemper Boyd

          yeah, I think he needs to own up to it and then not release guest names until post KIA.

          • Hornacek

            Pretty sure he doesn’t usually release guest names until during KIA.

        • purplerockandy

          This week, a LOT of people were spoiled. Even if they didn’t want to be.

          • sharculese

            That’s fair. I was among them, so I should have thought about that.

        • Hornacek

          Last week’s guest was Denise. And he had Johnny Fairplay on before Sandra got voted out, where if he had been spoiled for the season he probably would have had him on when Sandra got voted off. So the fact that almost everyone got spoiled this week should not be used as proof that Rob’s been spoiled for the entire season.

    • Hornacek

      This is the first week in … well, I’m not sure if it’s ever happened before … where I am not looking forward to listening to any podcasts about this episode. I will because I’m a completist, but it’s gonna feel like homework instead of fun.

  • Also, my best friend who watches Survivor but couldn’t tonight is excited about this episode. I told him that he probably shouldn’t watch and he said “I’m sure that means Cirie or Ozzy goes home. Or both, if there was a crazy double elimination”. I don’t know how to respond to this.

    • Alycia Swift

      Tell her not to eat anything where she could be sick afterwards. Tell her to get tissues if she cries easily.

    • sharculese

      As I mentioned in the predictions thread, my roommate has a little girl at her church who loves Survivor and especially Zeke. It’s an extremely progressive church, so I don’t think her parents are gonna have any problem explaining trans* people to her, but it’s still gonna be a rough thing for her to watch.

      • Alycia Swift

        Will they explain before she watches or after?

        • sharculese

          I assume here parents aren’t the kind of people who seek out Survivor spoilers on the internet. Most likely the 3 of them watched it live, not knowing what was coming.

      • PurpleTally

        Yeah, not sure how this conversation will go tomorrow with my student(s) who watch the show.

        • Alycia Swift

          Let us know. I am curious.

          • PurpleTally

            Will do. Will just have to wait until after school, because PRP is now blocked on school wifi.

          • DrVanNostrand

            No doubt that’s entirely your fault. Your network administrator is like, “What is the Purple Rock Podcast, and why is it eating up all of our bandwidth?”

          • PurpleTally

            Oh, it’s 100% my fault. It worked yesterday, and I was on it for most of the morning because I wasn’t teaching, and my CT was being observed, so I had to stay out of the way. And then today it was blocked.

          • Can you still access Disqus?

          • PurpleTally

            Yeah. And I can get to it on my phone.

        • Taako From Teevhii

          At least it sounds like you work in a school where you can have conversations like that and affirm any sort of LGBTQ identities. The district I grew up in recently had a humongous outcry from parents over the school providing locker room accommodations for a trans student (which in my opinion weren’t progressive enough; not how a lot of parents felt). In our school board elections a few weeks ago, a slate of contenders challenged the incumbents with a single-issue platform of overturning the accommodations. Luckily the incumbents won back their seats (6% margin, but a win is better than a loss). But from what I heard, students were talking and teachers either wouldn’t or couldn’t comment.

          Anyway tldnr, I think it’s great that there are classrooms where some discussion can be had because those can get effectively censored.

          • PurpleTally

            Yeah. It won’t be a full class discussion, but I teach in a pretty progressive area. We have multiple students with same sex parents. It’s just that the episode was really heavy, and that’s not really conducive to the minute long conversations I have about it with certain students every week.

          • sharculese

            I’m actually wondering if roommate’s church girl is one of your students, it’s the right part of town and she’s the right age. I’d throw out the first letter of a name but I’m not sure how she spells it.

          • PurpleTally

            She’s too young to be one of my students. I teach 9 and 10 year olds. But it may be the same school.

          • sharculese

            I don’t know that she’s actually seven. That was a number I threw out It was one conversation like 6 months ago. She might be nine or ten.

  • the sky is falling

    has anyone checked on Tony? Haven’t seen him in a while.

    • Violina23

      Does Tony have something to do with what went down?

    • Max_Jets

      He’s probably on season 35 or something.

  • Diego Armando

    Wow. I knew something was up when we went into that Tribal with 18 minutes left. I don’t know what to say. That was horrifically uncomfortable and unpleasant, but somehow everyone managed to turn that into something constructive. Zeke handled that as well as he possibly could.

    I am not transgendered, but I have Asperger’s Syndrome and tend to be very reticent on disclosing that information. Although I am on the advisory board of a local non-profit that provides social training and counseling to people on the Autism Spectrum and have given discussed my life in presentations, the disclosure is always on my terms. I am sorry that Zeke had to bear that and wish for the best for him.

    • Yep, I was so confused when they went to tribal so early. And then…oy.

      You know, there was a Varner confessional at around 8:30 where he was talking about the breadth of Zeke’s deception, and I kind of giggled/groaned because of the rumors I had heard about Zeke being transgender after his initial season, and I was like “oh jeez this is bad editing for anyone who is aware of these rumors.”

      And then, you know, by 8:55 I was in the foetal position crying, so.

      • sharculese

        Some people were spoiled and it got discussed in the comments for the podcast last week, so I was steeling myself with it, then I realized we were getting a 20 minute tribal and thought “oh, no, this is where it’s happening.”

        • Yep, I’ve been pretty good about avoiding spoilers. I’ve been watching a couple hours late recently, and last week I was able to see right away about the boot list and spoilers being thrown around on Twitter post-episode, so I’ve been steadfast about not poking around.

          Maybe…maybe I’ll change that tactic. LOL.

        • Taako From Teevhii

          Oh, I remember that. I think I was hoping that it just wouldn’t happen, and I held onto that for as long as I could.

      • Dezbot

        I had no idea what Varner was talking about in that confessional, other than Zeke was working with Varner in addition to Ozzy. I was completely shocked when he outed Zeke. That Zeke was able to stay so composed is a testament to his strong character.

  • Diego Armando

    Congratulations on your victory, Brad Culpepper.

    • Kingoftonga

      At least it sounded like he’ll be taking Cirie and Aubry with him deep into the game? Shared tears build alliances, apparently.

      • DrVanNostrand

        Somehow he’s best friends with everyone on that tribe now… except Michaela. Michaela needs a merge.

        • Hornacek

          It was funny how everyone was sharing their feelings and crying, and when Brad was talking about Monica, they cut to Michaela looking bored, flicking sand with a small stick.

          • purplerockandy

            I LOL’d.

          • Cinnamon Owl

            Someone called her their spirit animal for that moment, and it resonated with me.

            I really really hope she makes it long enough to put her challenge beast on display. That was a big part of her appeal last time that just isn’t visible with this mix of players.

          • Hornacek

            Didn’t you see her digging in the sand?

            https://i.imgtc.com/3PVA5Lc.gif

          • itsafuckingSTICK

            I know! It has a face on it; don’t worry.

      • Diego Armando

        It’s the least our winner can do.

    • tocantins

      The question is: was this Monica confessional more or less winner’s edit than Jeremy’s “Val is pregnant and I’m here for her” one?

      • Kingoftonga

        How much time do you think we’ll spend talking to Monica in the finale? I’m guessing it’ll be more time than half the cast gets.

        • Prom King

          Ugh I hope not. She’s not great tv.

          • Hornacek

            But she’s a neat lady!

      • Alycia Swift

        Its going to be weird for her if he does win, because Survivor was her thing. She originally did the show to get out from under his shadow.

      • Streets_Ahead

        We’ll see. Monica’s compass could steer him to second place just like her. Or this could be a path to victory. But he’s clearly going far.

    • gouis

      Yeah the underreported story here is that extreme Brad winner’s edit. They even had Aubry talking about how great he is.

      • Also, the fact that Aubry and Cirie still have no real storylines of their own is not a good thing, folks

        • gouis

          It’s a REAL problem

          • Dutch

            Don’t give up hope – Michelle certainly had no winner’s edit.

        • Cirie in particular. Although I feel it’s necessary to point out that #ChallengeBeastCirie continues- she stayed immune all the way to the merge.

          • purplerockandy

            She’s basically the new Joe.

        • DrVanNostrand

          I’ve lost hope for Aubry, and it makes me sad.

        • Prom King

          Cirie had a sliver of a story, mainly about trying and failing to gain trust with people, and her relationship with Ozzy. Big part of first episode. I’m not saying she’s been featured since then, but she’s no Aubry as far as the edit has been.

    • Crappy

      If he wins, the edit will rival likes of BRob, Mike as a coronation edit. May be he is getting the fall angel edit where everyone in the end realises how liked he is and how well he played, leading to FFGCSDT win.

      • Diego Armando

        I hope FFGCSDT is not the Ambuh.

        • Hornacek

          Will she be at the reunion with a “I HEART BRAD” shirt?

          • Diego Armando

            I can only hope.

        • Crappy

          Just have a feeling that her or Sarah are gonna be the Jenna Lewis or Amber with Troyzan being the Rupert to Brad’s BRob.

  • Anthony DePaul

    Personally, I have to admit that I don’t have the personal experience or authority to comment on how tonight’s episode has been handled. I truly admire those on here who have articulated their perspective from a place I know I will never fully understand.

    I hope that everyone can digest the episode’s events in their own way. I can say participating in such a wonderful group as this (for the most part, lol) is a help for sure.

    Hope all have the best night that they can.

    • Saturday Night Palsy

      Setting course right now for “stunned inebriation”.

  • On a scale of 1–10, how uncomfortable do we think Rob C is going to be on this week’s RHAP?

    • Infinity…..is he doing live KIAs right now?

    • EmAndScoutInBK

      I feel like it’s going to be apologist.

      • DrVanNostrand

        God I hope not. But probably.

      • sharculese

        He was good with the Will/Shirin stuff. His position was, “I don’t understand, but I want to understand,” and then he convened a panel of women to talk about it. So… hopes?

        • hardcöre umlaut

          He only did that after getting raked over the coals for having a bunch of men discussing sexism against women.

          • Don’t worry, that won’t happen with Purple Ro…uh oh.

          • hardcöre umlaut

            I think y’all would handle it better (there’s a reason why I immediately came here after the ep instead of r/survivor, RHAP, or listening to KIA, even after months of not checking in) but there’s something to be said for recognizing your shortcomings and signal-boosting more underrepresented perspectives.

          • Hornacek

            In his defense, when Rob and a male guest are discussing anything from a woman’s perspective on RHAP, he will often say “This is coming from two guys that don’t know anything about women.”

            Or maybe my memories of this are from the Seinfeld Post Show Recaps with Rob and Akiva.

          • hardcöre umlaut

            I understand that, and let me say that I really like both Rob and RHAP. But I have emailed him in the past about his lack of female and POC perspective (not only on KIA but also things like the BB live feeders, where some of those guys openly say misogynistic things) and his response was basically “I agree that this is a problem and have been looking to put more female talent on my podcasts but I can’t find any good candidates” which is complete BS in my opinion.

          • Hornacek

            Are you talking about Survivor players or people in general? I can’t speak about the second but he has had plenty of podcasts with non-Survivor female guests that talk about their area of expertise. And he is always trying to get Kim Spradlin and Sophie on for recaps (they’ve both sat in for KIA too).

            If he tries to get POC/women on the show but they don’t want to do it or they don’t have anything to say, what else is he supposed to do?

          • Dezbot

            He can call me. I’m available!

          • hardcöre umlaut

            I love his shows with female Survivors and I listen to those far more often than with male Survivors. Mostly because the women he gets are more interesting than the men.

            I was referring to hosts. Of his current podcasts (KIA, Wiggle Room, Why ___ Lost Survivor, RHAPpy Hour/BB, TAR, News AF, and Celebrity Apprentice), there are 10 male hosts (although I only counted Rob once, and it would be 16 if I counted Rob for each one of his hosting gigs) and 3 female co-hosts. Not a good percentage.

            If he tries to get POC/women on the show but they don’t want to, he should look for other people to diversify the perspectives represented on his podcasts. Cast a wider net. “There’s no one good enough” is never true.

          • Hornacek

            I only listen to his Survivor eps so I can’t speak about the TAR, BB, News AF, and CA eps. But he has many female guests and there are women doing some of his other podcasts. I can’t remember her name but one of the finalists in his “So You Think You Can Podcast” competition co-hosted the Hunted podcast with Rob and Curt Clark, and I think he said that she’s doing another RHAP podcast too.

            It feels like you’re picking and choosing statistics in order to prove the opinion you already have about Rob.

          • hardcöre umlaut

            “This is coming from two guys that don’t know anything about women.” isn’t good enough. If you want to discuss women’s issues, invite a woman.

          • Hornacek

            In the instances I was talking about, Rob and Akiva were discussing Seinfeld episodes and talking about the stories that involved women. That show is not a “woman’s issues” show, so saying that Rob *has* to bring in a woman for those recaps is a faulty premise.

            Rob has invited women on the show many times – I previously mentioned Kim and Sophie, but since then I remembered Natalie Anderson, who has been a recap guest more than once. Denise has done recaps more than once. Besides Survivors, Angie Caunce is on every season to discuss her character types and is often a voicemail guest every season. There are others who I can’t think of, but they’re there.

            I remember hearing Rob say on a podcast that he would love to have more women guests on the show, but it’s hard to find women Survivors that watch the show, want to talk about it, and know what they’re talking about.

    • Ms. Sweaterfan

      Yeah I’m not really looking forward to the RHAP coverage this week at all. Not a venue that handles serious or emotional topics well :/ At the very least I hope Rob was spoiled so he could line up guests who are able to speak with some knowledge and bring the appropriate gravitas.

      • Does anyone know who the guests are?

        • Max_Jets

          Hannah is doing the recap, Antonio Mazzaro is doing voicemails. I don’t know much about Antonio Mazzaro, but Hannah seems like a good choice.

          • Purple Rock Emma

            From following Antonio on Twitter, he seems pretty passionately progressive, so I’m sure he’ll at least try to be sensitive.

          • At least with the recap, it is someone who knows Zeke.

      • Alycia Swift

        Well Dave Bloomberg’s why someone lost should be interesting.

    • Alycia Swift

      I think most of the podcasters are going to be 10 on the uncomfortable scale.

    • Alycia Swift

      And its a good thing that this was not the live Know it All week.

    • gouis

      Rob is uncomfortable discussing the weather. Infinity.

    • cazkaye

      Listening to it at the moment. Nothing but condemnation for what Varner did and love for Zeke.

      • Hornacek

        This is good to hear. There seem to be a few people ready to condemn Rob’s coverage of this episode before they heard a word of it.

  • EmAndScoutInBK

    Now that I’ve stopped crying and had a few minutes to digest (WHY IS IT THE WEEK I CAN’T HAVE PIZZA OR CINNAMON ROLLS), I want to, once again, point out how amazing this community is. There is no other online community in the world where I would have felt safe enough to immediately jump in with my comment about being outed. Actually, since work has gone to hell, it’s one of the only safe places at all where I feel like it’s guaranteed understanding environment. Everyone here is amazing, and I love you all. Thank you for being you.

    • gouis

      <3

      • EmAndScoutInBK

        Much love

      • EmAndScoutInBK

        Love you, too, bae!

        • Streets_Ahead

          Careful she might just show up.

          • Hornacek

            Only if it’s your birthday.

    • Alkanarra
      • gouis

        I too question my sexuality due to Ken.

      • Mike Hirsch

        Alkanarra’s reply wins. But really, with this reply, we all win.

      • Saturday Night Palsy

        Not even gonna hashtag tonight.

        • I was bracing myself for you, so I appreciate your restraint.

          • Saturday Night Palsy

            I didn’t come here to joke tonight.

          • Purplerockmatt

            Normally I would say something about Rodney at this point, but no, not tonight

      • EmAndScoutInBK
        • Alkanarra

          That’a girl! Even in our darkest hour, the Buffy references must continue.

          • EmAndScoutInBK

            I am eternally grateful for that Ken gif

      • Streets_Ahead

        I know the abs are the star but the pent back and forth between the abs. Pretty good.

    • DrVanNostrand

      That’s why I like this place, too. And I’m so glad you’re part of it.

      • EmAndScoutInBK

        Right back at you – thanks for being wonderful

    • Violina23

      We are lucky to have you. And I owe you a Passover Brownie recipe…. 🙂 *hugs*

      • hardcöre umlaut

        Oh gosh I ate one of those last night and it tasted like cardboard made of matzoh meal- I would be very interested in a better recipe! Mostly I stick to matzoh toffee for dessert during Passover!

        • indescribable hat

          You could sub potato starch for cornstarch in this extremely delicious gluten free recipe: http://www.marthastewart.com/903048/fudgy-pecan-brownies

          I have all this weird resentment toward Passover since being diagnosed with celiac, but I also have recipes/ability to adapt recipes like never before!

          • Violina23

            That looks good! I think my recipe is more cakey than fudgey, but they are very tasty 🙂

        • Violina23

          I will post the recipe the next time I’m at my laptop! I’m general, all prepackaged Passover “baked good” desserts are terrible, and I don’t like coconut, so macaroons don’t cut it.

          My niece and nephew literally squealed when I brought a batch to the seder

          • Violina23

            Here is the recipe:

            I usually leave out the nuts, and don’t
            always put in the potato starch if I forget to get it ahead of time.

            1/2 pound margarine or butter
            4 oz. bittersweet chocolate (melt & cool)

            1c nuts (optional)
            1c cake meal

            1/2 tsp salt
            4 eggs

            2c sugar
            2 tsp. potato starch (optional)

            Beat
            eggs, sugar and salt together – until creamy. Add melted chocolate and
            margarine. Gradually blend in cake meal – Add nuts (sprinkle on top).
            Grease Pan (9×13). Heat in oven at 350 degrees. Bake 25-30
            minutes (test). Cut while warm and let set in pan to cool.

          • Something Quirky

            Can I ask an important question?

            What is cake meal?

            (I am copying this, thank you!)

          • Violina23

            C = cup
            Cake meal is essentially ground up matzah to a consistency similar to flour. It is sold with Passover stuff, usually nearby the matzah meal (which is the same thing, just not as finely ground up)

          • Something Quirky

            I was too slow on the edit! I worked c out and felt silly =P

            Thank you! I was looking at the Passover section in the supermarket last night, so I shall return with purpose.

      • EmAndScoutInBK

        Right back at you, love. Excited for those brownies

    • Mike Hirsch

      Yeah, we’re alright, aren’t we?

      You’re the awesome one here!

      • EmAndScoutInBK

        I stand by my earlier tweets of you are AWESOME.

    • Ms_Woozah

      I wish I could give you the biggest hug right now. <3 You're the best and this community is the best. I'm just stunned and sad.

      • EmAndScoutInBK

        Big internet hugs. You are awesome and part of what makes this community wonderful.

    • Aunt Sassy

      Long time lurker, first time poster. Just want to echo the support offered by so many below and thank you for sharing your experience. Tonight’s episode was devastating, and if there’s any silver lining it’s that it highlighted the amazing difference a supportive community of friends can make. Also, since I’m here I’d like to agree that Ken is hot and needs to be on every season (but not speak).

      • Welcome! And I could not agree with you more.

      • DrVanNostrand

        You almost lost me at putting Ken on every season. Then you got me back by saying he wouldn’t be allowed to speak.

      • EmAndScoutInBK

        Thank you. And welcome! I’m glad you’re here. You and I are going to get along, clearly.

      • Alycia Swift

        I agree except I like his voice. And his singing.

        • Figaro

          Ken sings too?! Ugh… why does he have to be so dreamy.

      • Kemper Boyd

        This is an excellent first comment. Welcome to the community.

      • Diego Armando

        Welcome and thank you for your words of encouragement. Feel free to drop in as you like.

      • Hornacek

        If there is a silver lining to come out of this situation, maybe it’s that for some of the casual viewers, this is the first time that someone they “know” and like is revealed to be transgender. And maybe some of them are now saying “I liked Zeke before I knew he was trans, and I still like him now, so maybe it doesn’t matter if someone is trans?”

        • Cinnamon Owl

          And “Which bathroom do I think he should enter?” Because NC was saying that he had to use the women’s room, and I think most people with this added context could take a logical “Oooooooh. Yeah, that would be odd. And why do we care again?”

    • Diego Armando

      Thank you for being a part of our group.

      • EmAndScoutInBK

        Thank you for being a part of why I love it here so much.

    • StormofCuteness

      We on the West Coast get here so frickin’ late, but know I absolutely adore you.

      • EmAndScoutInBK

        I adore you right back – and I’m still up. Adrenaline is still pumping

    • indescribable hat

      I love this place so much I came here on election night. What a weird and amazing Survivor podcast website.

      • EmAndScoutInBK

        This community was ESSENTIAL for me after the election. Seriously. It got me through it.

    • Something Quirky

      My face has been stuck in the same expression for the last twenty minutes, but reading this made me smile. You are such a treasured part of this community, and hearing that you trust us all enough to feel safe talking about painful memories is wonderful. You’re wonderful <3
      (Seriously, you make great comments about all sorts of things!)

      • EmAndScoutInBK

        Thank you – this comment made me all kinds of fuzzy inside. This community never fails to make me feel great after something awful

        • Something Quirky

          Aww 🙂

  • Taako From Teevhii

    This season might’ve been able to bounce back from this dark place with Sandra/Tony/Malcolm domination but oh, I’ve made myself sad again.

    • tocantins

      If you want to enjoy the rest of this season, I really really hope you like Brad Culpepper.

      • hardcöre umlaut

        I actually have always loved both Culpeppers but I know most Survivor fans would consider me crazy for that. I have been excited for them since the debut of Brad’s winner edit in the antiquing episode, but would be sad if he is really the first Culpepper to win. Monica doesn’t play Survivor for the Culpepper family, after all, Monica plays Survivor FOR MONICA and having her husband win when she couldn’t would sting a lot.

        • DrVanNostrand

          The whole help meat thing just drives me bonkers. It’s where religiosity crosses the line into outright creepiness. Other than that, they’re both fine.

          • Taako From Teevhii

            What in the hell is “help meat?” I’m fascinated.

          • DrVanNostrand

            It’s a religious thing, mostly among evangelical Christians, where the wife is a help meat. I think they consider it a respected position in a family, but to me it always sounded like a wife exists to serve the family and achieve glory through them, while they go out accomplish stuff in the world. Unless they’re daughters, of course, in which case their destiny is also to become a help meat.

            Edit: The gender essentialism of it all, and the overall place of women in the hierarchy is what makes it so creepy to me. It’s not that it’s OK to be a help meat, but rather that that is the ‘natural’ place for women.

          • wonderand

            Apparently THIS is what gets me to comment. It’s “helpmeet,” not “help meat.” She’s not helping with meat, she’s helping to meet the needs of the husband/family. It’s completely sexist and garbage, but it’s not as gross as “meat.” (You’re right about the idea, more or less–the husband has the ideas and sets the agenda and functions in society, and the wife stays behind and does the legwork to make that all happen. Subserviently. Without expressing ideas or opinions or her own, because why would she have them?)

          • DrVanNostrand

            Thank you for that. I’ve never seen it written, only heard it. I thought it fit in with concept pretty well as meat, since the whole idea is basically that women are helpful pieces of meat. However, I appreciate the correction.

          • Taako From Teevhii

            I have a tangential question for California PRPers: Can you please explain why it’s called a swapmeet?

          • DrVanNostrand

            That’s not just for Californians. My brother used to go to swapmeets in CA, TX, WI, and FL. I don’t know where the name comes from.

          • Taako From Teevhii

            Interesting, I’ve only heard it in West Coast contexts. I suppose the Midwestern “flea market” doesn’t make much more sense.

          • Purple Rock Emma

            I hear flea market way more than swap meet. I always thought of a swap meet as more of a quaint small town thing or something.

          • Taako From Teevhii

            That’s very interesting because I first heard of and primarily hear about swapmeets through family in LA

          • Hornacek
          • StormofCuteness

            Erm, you meet to swap things? I mean, I really do think that’s where it originally came from. People still do swap things, but of course, there’s far more buying these days.

          • wonderand

            (Mostly just trying to help(meet) anyone who’s trying to Google it; I appreciate your explanations! I might actually take back my statement that “it’s not as gross as ‘meat.'” It’s pretty darn gross. English and its homophones are weird; this subculture of conservative Christianity–which I grew up in, I should say–is still weirder yet.)

          • purplerockandy

            OH THANK CHRIST it wasn’t meat.

          • Taako From Teevhii

            Oh, okay, got it. Very familiar with the concept, totally unfamiliar with the term.

        • tocantins

          I don’t know if you already saw it, but what really got me to like Brad was his funny 115 post. It is funny how he got such a bad reputation his first time, yet he was always a really nice guy.

        • Alycia Swift

          I said that same thought somewhere else. You said it better.

      • Maritimer

        I mean, Brad, Cirie, Aubry, Sierra, and Troy is a mostly not terrible alliance, right?

        • DrVanNostrand

          Wasn’t there a song about how 2 out of 5 ain’t bad?

      • indescribable hat

        My opinion on Brad has been oscillating wildly this season. First he acts genuine and I start thinking he’s a neat dude, and then Jeff calls him Culpepper and I descend into incoherent rage WHAT DID HE DO TO EARN THAT?

        • Maritimer

          Played football.

          I am trying really hard not to hate Brad merely because he’s one of Probst’s alpha bros but its hard sometimes

          • indescribable hat

            Precisely.

      • Hornacek

        I’m hoping the merged tribe goes to a new beach and Brad gets to decorate the new camp.

  • Taako From Teevhii

    I don’t want to check in on r/Survivor, but I also have this deadly curiosity…

    • In the immortal words of Sharon Needles when Chad Michaels threatened to wear his most hideous wig on the runway, “….gurl, no. Put her away.”

      • Taako From Teevhii

        This was my gut, but when I see a truck fire

        https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/569a08f082eb64aea3d3fbe89c6ddd7e7666cf1371a40f104e20edc3343f7eca.gif

        *btw, I’ve driven past the remains of a truck fire. Still fascinating.

        I’m going to poke my head in and nope out at the first sign of trouble.

        • sharculese

          I DROVE PAST THE REMAINS OF A TRUCK FIRE ON SATURDAY!

          It was blocking my access to the office.

          • Saturday Night Palsy

            “And the screams from the driver were drowning out my stereo.”

          • sharculese

            It was done being on fire by the time I got there.

          • Saturday Night Palsy

            So, probably done screaming by then as well.

          • Taako From Teevhii

            Was the ground still blackened? I could see the outline of the carriage, it was crazy.

            Also, this was a good week for Right Thursday. That should be a good pick me up. Also, Better Call Saul is back, Veep is back-adjacent, and Fargo is a week away. Pick me ups all around.

          • sharculese

            No the truck was there. And it wasn’t a truck so much as a sick 1970’s Winnebago. It had obviously been really really on fire for a minute, though.

        • Taako From Teevhii

          Whelp, I’m back after one minute. The majority of the top 10 non-stickied posts were commending Probst and Sarah and the other Nukus. There were some pleas for people to not attack Varner. And while I agree that people shouldn’t attack Varner, one post supporting Zeke and nothing about being a trans ally or why this was such a big deal. I can skip that sub for now.

    • I haven’t went there, but the mods usually keep it clean.

      However, they did not stop the article about Zeke’s transition from being shared six months ago, so…

    • Ms. Sweaterfan

      Just everyone stay away from Survivor Facebook (in general but especially this week)

      • Hornacek

        You could probably post this for every episode this season.

  • Ethan Kyle

    This is why i posted a warning a few days ago when I learned of it

  • Ethan Kyle

    Now for the … well awkward part
    I’m not going to defend what Varner did here I think its terrible .. But Jeff and Zeke by all accounts have spoken it over, Jeff has constantly apologized and Zeke has forgiven him, so I don’t think its our place to lord it over Varner and beat him up over it.

    • Ethan Kyle

      Plus I just don’t believe its anoyone else other than Zeke’s place to condemn him for this and if Zeke has forgiven him (which according to all the information I can gather they have talked it over and are at least ok with each other) its not our place to grind salt in the wound

      • StormofCuteness

        Someone posted an article Zeke wrote for the Hollywood Reporter, and I think you’ll find it useful for understanding how he actually feels now.

        • Ethan Kyle

          I’ve read it, as I said I believe it is between him and varner to work out

          • StormofCuteness

            I think all of us have the right to voice our own feelings about what occurred and our perspective on it. That’s one of the joys of having a community like this one. I don’t think anyone here has said anything worse about what Jeff did than Zeke did in his article. It’s clear from that article that while he feels it’s better for him to find forgiveness, he’s still not at all okay with what Varner did. Neither am I.

          • Ethan Kyle

            I’m talking about harassing or dragging Varner directly, as long as it’s not that I don’t particularly care what people say

  • Ms. Sweaterfan

    I don’t know much about Sarah as a person, but for a second I was really thinking/hoping she was about to come out as a lesbian. But I guess what she said was okay too.
    Also, everything I find online says she’s from Cedar Rapids, Iowa, but I grew up in that area and that ain’t no Iowa accent. What gives??

    • DrVanNostrand

      I just said below I thought she sounded like she was from Wisconsin or Illinois. I kind of assumed Iowa was similar, but most of the actual Iowans I know have little accent at all, so what do I know?

      • Ms. Sweaterfan

        I was thinking Chicagoland or maybe Michigan? I’ve heard the Iowa accent described as “newscaster accent’ which basically is supposed to mean unaccented English but obviously everything is an accent, so ???
        Also it’s hard for me to judge because that’s the way I talk so it seems unaccented to me 🙂

        • sharculese

          It sounded very Greater Chicago Area to me.

          • DrVanNostrand

            Also very similar to a mild Wisconsin accent. Really intense Wisconsin accents can be hyper-regional, but a mild one is basically indistinguishable from Chicago/Illinois.

          • Assistant Dragon Slayer

            That’s my first guess. She basically talks like Dan Ackroyd in The Blues Brothers. Wisconsin would be my second guess.

        • Taako From Teevhii

          I wouldn’t put her within 50 miles of Cook County. Downstate Illinois maybe, but I’m with @disqus_uZu6brM5ff:disqus, Wisconsin was my guess

          • It’s her vowels that seem odd.

          • Taako From Teevhii

            Certainly, but there’s a slow rhythm/cadence that’s unlike most Chicagoans

          • Saturday Night Palsy

            And her consonants. And her.

          • DrVanNostrand

            It is hard to place with too much specificity, but it is unmistakably Midwestern. I believe Andrea is a fellow Wisconsinite, but like me, not much Wisconsin accent, which is a good thing because I kind of can’t stand that accent.

          • I think Andrea trained herself out of it to prepare herself for her entertainment career if she had one.

          • Ms. Sweaterfan

            She sounds a bit like my cousins from the Ann Arbor area, too I guess. Maybe she’s moved around a lot.

          • Taako From Teevhii

            If we’re talking about worst accents, I’m nominating the Southern Garble (think S-Town). Nothing against people how have it, but I’ve adopted it a bit during my time in Nashville, and it causes me a lot of grief at times.

          • DrVanNostrand

            What is S-Town? When I think of Southern Garble, I think of East Texas, not the big cities, but over by the Louisiana border. Insanity.

          • Saturday Night Palsy

            I grew up in San Antonio and have a hard time understanding that East Texas accent.

          • DrVanNostrand

            I went to 5 years of elementary and middle school in Devine, about 30 minutes SW of SA, and I went to college in Austin, which is the only reason I know anything about Texas. I’m not surprised you’re from San Antonio, because most of the people I knew at UT from there were awesome.

          • Saturday Night Palsy

            Sadly that’s because most of the “good ones” from SA leave SA.

          • Taako From Teevhii

            Boy, you’re taking me back to the fall of ’14 when no one I knew was aware of Serial. S-Town is a podcast (also by This American Life), though it’s based largely in Alabama. However like the Southern Accent, I think the Southern Garble comes in many flavors and dialects.

          • DrVanNostrand

            Now I know what you’re talking about. I’ve heard of the podcast, but haven’t listened yet. I just had it in my head you were talking about a specific city.

          • Alycia Swift

            I think of JT. There were times where I thought he needed subtitles.

          • Taako From Teevhii

            Oh, JT gets nowhere near full Southern Garble potential.

          • Assistant Dragon Slayer

            Darrah even more than JT.

    • Maybe she’s from Minnesota/Wisconsin originally?

      • DrVanNostrand

        Also mixed family possibilities. People can pick up accents from their parents.

    • Yeah, I know nothing about her, and for a moment I thought she was about to come out too.

    • NearlyNina

      OMG so did I! Or that maybe someone she knew was trans or something.

    • tocantins

      The way the producers focused the camera on her and put on a tense music really gave the impression she was going to make a big revelation. I also thought for a moment she was going to come out.

  • Alkanarra

    Damn you, Survivor, it’s times like these we need Courtney more than ever! Put our girl back in the ring.

    https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/839f4880e433d3e309c59c2ed9a8ceff8f496a19914b35b4eb16b922f497d88e.png

    • DrVanNostrand

      She’s a goddamn treasure!

  • Adam B.

    Only Hatch’s assault of Sue in All Stars approaches this for reprehensible behavior on the show. I would like to believe that if Zeke didn’t want that all aired, they’d have found a way not to, but I have my doubts.

    What a vile act. Both the outing itself, plus the claim that it made him untrustworthy.

    • gouis

      The terrible thing about Hatch is that I feel like it was kind of glossed over for a while? If that happened now he’d be in jail (again)

      • Max_Jets

        I don’t know if you are referring specifically to the TV show but I think it was basically ignored in the episode, but then it was addressed horribly by multiple opinionated contestants in the episode where Sue quits.

        • gouis

          Yeah at the time and in retrospect. It’s kind of like “enh those were the times” when it was clearly sexual assault.

          • Kemper Boyd

            again Ted and Ghandia. That was horrible and these days I think there is a chance they’d find a way to kick him off the show.

          • Diego Armando

            You’re saying it was wrong of them to vote out Ghandia and give Ted a car later? God that season was the fucking worst.

    • DrVanNostrand

      The latter part was the part that killed me the most. That is such a damaging stereotype that still damages the trans community to this day. It’s particularly present in things like the NC bathroom bill, and other ‘bathroom bills’ around the country. It would be like someone in the 80’s trying to imply Varner was a child molester on national TV because he was hiding the fact that he was gay. Absolutely unacceptable.

      • Yeah and that’s something that should be mentioned here as well: Varner basically played two seasons where he wasn’t out on television. He, of all people, should know when somebody is out or not while playing Survivor and how that could basically destroy someone’s game.

        I wonder what are the ramifications of this tribal council on Zeke’s game for the rest of the season.

        • DrVanNostrand

          He wasn’t out in Australia? Was he out in his confessionals? Or does he just set off the gaydar so obviously that I just assumed it from the start?

          • IIRC, he never stated in confessionals that he was gay. That is why I was shocked when I heard that he brought up the fact that he was on the tribe with three gay guys last week.

          • DrVanNostrand

            But by Cambodia, he was very much openly gay. It was common knowledge, even if it wasn’t explicitly stated on the show.

          • Right, but that is probably the “trap”,for lack of a better word, that he fell into with Zeke. You can’t assume that everybody knows that piece of information just because you know it.

          • Maritimer

            100% not out in Australia. I found out sometime in Cambodia I’m pretty sure, I can’t remember if it was on TV or the Internet (my gaydar is terrible)

          • I think someone in the Survivor Press mentioned how diverse the Cambodia cast was in regards to race,age, gender and sexuality. He was the only one who fit.

          • Hornacek

            Varner was on some RHAP episodes before Second Chances was even an idea and it was mentioned that he was gay but it was said offhandedly, as if everyone already knew, but it was the first time I heard about it.

          • sharculese

            He just sets off gaydar that obviously. I think

        • I was going to bring this up on the podcast this week. Varner stayed closeted during the most-watched season in Survivor history. Whatever his reasons were, he had reasons.

          So if Zeke hadn’t outed himself to the group, Varner could have, should have, and maybe even did assume Zeke had his reasons. And he chose to ignore Zeke’s reasons and make the decision for him.

          Regardless of whether he’s forgiven, that’s deplorable.

          • DrVanNostrand

            Just like Zeke has his own reasons for keeping his trans identity to himself, he also has his own reasons for forgiving Varner and putting this behind him. It doesn’t obligate us to forget about it, or stop holding Varner’s feet to the fire. At the very least, I think people need to keep pointing out that it was a malicious attack, and that it was based on ugly anti-trans stereotypes.

          • Let’s be real: He probably saw the makeup of Kucha and stepped back into his closet to ensure that he would stay in the game longer.

    • Kemper Boyd

      You are forgetting Ted and Ghandia, Ted and Ghandia would never be handled the way it was now and when you rewatch it’s so so hard to watch.

      • Adam B.

        I wasn’t forgetting it. I thought the facts there were more ambiguous, but I talked about that season for the podcast and find it deeply disturbing.

        • Kemper Boyd

          I find the facts far less ambiguous. Ted’s reaction and Ghadia’s level of being upset make it clear that he was grinding on her and he knew he was. But the reaction from the other Survivors and Jeff were of amusement and were accusatory basically saying she was crazy for reacting the way she did. That shit was very very troubling.

          • Adam B.

            I certainly remember Ghandia not being taken seriously by Probst or her fellow competitors.

          • indescribable hat

            Helen being like yeah I can see that her distress is sincere but ehhhh made me feel so gross about liking this game.

          • Kemper Boyd

            But women be crazy right? I do think if it happened today production would react very differently.

          • Hornacek

            From my memory, Ted was asleep when he grinded on Ghandia, dreaming that he was at home with his wife. I don’t remember anyone on the show saying that he knew it was Ghandia when he did that. Her anger after it happened was about someone telling her that he was saying “It never happened”.

          • indescribable hat

            With the caveat that I do not understand how sleep works for humans who fall asleep deeply and easily, that struck me as a shady fucking excuse. You’re a few days into Survivor sleeping on sand in a cave, and you’re so thoroughly asleep that you believe you’re at home?

          • Hornacek

            There are recorded cases of this type of thing happening. Not in a cave on Survivor but in real life.

          • Kemper Boyd

            He claimed it was in his sleep… if it happened.

          • Hornacek

            What is more likely – a married man (150-200% happily) goes onto Survivor and deliberately tries to grind up against a woman while she’s sleeping, or a married man goes onto Survivor and while asleep dreams that he’s at home with his wife and grinds up against another player who he thinks is his wife?

            I’m hoping that Survivor’s interview process would weed out the prospective rapists.

          • Kemper Boyd

            honestly, the first seems more realistic to me.

          • Hornacek

            Disagree. There’s medical cases that show that this type of action happens with sleeping people.

          • Kemper Boyd

            They are rarer than cases of men touching women because they want to.

          • Hornacek

            There are medically documented cases of people walking in their sleep out of their houses back to a house they used to live in and trying to get into the house. Are these people faking and just trying to rob homes?

            Again, there are medically documented cases of men having sex in their sleep without realizing it. Just because you may not like the answers doesn’t mean it’s doesn’t exist.

          • disqus_R9cNRvxsfG

            As I say, there are medically documented cases but they are much rarer than cases of men who touch women without consent, given that nearly 50% of women experience some form of sexual violence in their lifetimes.

          • Hornacek

            I am not trying to belittle any woman that has experienced sexual violence (and I never thought I would be defending anyone from Survivor Thailand) but I remember nothing else from that season that indicates that Ted did that deliberately to Ghandia.

            Again, is it more likely that someone would go through the process of getting on the show and then sexually assaulting someone in their sleep when they know that there are cameras recording everything they do?

          • disqus_R9cNRvxsfG

            It was in the dead of night and not everyone is smart.

          • Hornacek

            There is nothing else shown to indicate that what he said happened is what happened. Even Ghandia never says that he wasn’t asleep when he did it.

          • Something Quirky

            I don’t know that many of us have much faith in the Survivor interview process, what with Skupin and Hantzses and such.

            (Not saying you’re wrong; just pointing out they’re not entirely reliable.)

          • Hornacek

            Not trying to make light of the situation, but considering how many people have been interviewed, how many players get on the show that don’t show these crazy/illegal tendencies – that’s gotta be close to a 95% success rate. I think anything should aspire to that high a success rate of weeding out the “bad people”.

    • Adam B.

      One of the AV Club commenters raised an amazing question: when Jeff said earlier in the episode that he knew something about Zeke yada yada, presumably he talked to a producer (or a producer could have sought him out) to say what it was … and why didn’t the producer tell him, “No. Don’t go there. You cannot do that.”

      • I caught that as well. You could craft some argument about how telling Varner not to go there would be production interference, but producers interfere in subtle and unsubtle ways all the time.

        This was another thing I was going to save for the podcast, but fuck it: I think Survivor/CBS wanted Zeke out. And I’m not saying they had some master plan to out him in a horrible way; I think their ideal was that Zeke himself would discuss it. But he didn’t.

        And I also don’t buy the argument that the episode had to show Zeke being outed. They had to show that only because Probst didn’t allow them to vote. If they’d voted as they normally do, they still could’ve given us a (much shorter) tribal council where Varner was unanimously voted out.

        That wouldn’t necessarily have reflected the reality of what happened in the game, but editing on this show often does not give the whole story.

        • Alkanarra

          From what I’ve heard, they’ll redo scenes for the camera if necessary. Apparently they didn’t have actual footage of Tony overhearing Troy and Sandra, so they had to re-enact it later. Which makes sense because despite the impressive military crawl getaway of his, Tony had a fucking camera crew following him, how in the world would Sandra and Troy not know someone was there?

          So yeah, they could have used the pre-outing footage, had a vote for show, and that’s it. For the vote-off you focus the camera on someone more stoic like Ozzy so people don’t see Andrea crying. Hell, just splice in footage from past votes for the reaction shots; they’re wearing the same damn clothes! Unless it becomes a more important narrative element later, they absolutely could have edited around this.

        • Adam B.

          Or just use footage from a different TC to fake the act of voting, have Jeff “read the votes” on an empty set, then use the torch-snuffing footage you have.

          I do think Survivor was hoping for An Important Cultural Moment and didn’t care if it was forced in an ugly way.

        • I also convinced myself they could have cut it if they’d really wanted to (apart from the lack of a vote). So then I started wondering what other game repercussions there might be, that they needed to keep it. Worst case scenario, Zeke decides to quit.

        • pufflehuff

          Should have read this thread earlier before I posted but I completely agree that this is the moment where production really failed – they watched Varner’s glee at his plan to out Zeke and then just waited for it to happen.

          I think Probst handled the situation relatively well in the moment but I also think that they could have edited the TC around it or at least in the moment said something like – Zeke, ultimately you might not want to have this be aired/part of the show (it’s not like he could properly decide then) and given everybody time where they voted so that it could be edited around.

      • Something Quirky

        I was wondering that, too. Because they would have had to have been wondering if it was something relatively innocuous, or if it was this, assuming they all knew about this.

  • hardcöre umlaut

    I was speechless during tribal when I am usually a Chatty Cathy during Survivor. My boyfriend literally yelled a Jeff Varner through the tv when he is usually a rational person who understands they can’t hear you.

    This was so painful to watch. I am glad that everyone else reacted with such empathy and support for Zeke, but I hate that this happened this way. The worst part of every teachable moment is that someone had to suffer, someone had to be the bigger person, in order for others to learn.

    I wish Zeke had been given the agency to come out when he decided he wanted to. If this hadn’t happened, maybe he would’ve talked about being trans in a confessional or at the reunion, who knows? Maybe he wouldn’t have. But now he doesn’t get to make that choice. That’s what saddens me the most.

    • Ms. Sweaterfan

      My husband did that too, haha. I didn’t even realize he was paying attention and then all of a sudden he yelled “Jeff, no! What are you doing?”

      And I agree that everyone else’s responses to Varner and support for Zeke helped the scene not be quite so miserable. I was also glad that Probst made sure to give Zeke the last word.

  • I have to say this. Jeff’s secret scene really bugged the shit out of me last week. First when he made sure to point out to everyone possibly uncomfortable with gay people to say “I’m not flamboyant” (to which I say….gurl please, and noted as such in the thread with a classic Lucille Bluth gif), and then when he went to great pains to say outright something like (not verbatim) he doesn’t want to JUST be within the gay community, he wants to be as much of a part of the straight community and have straight friends too and other such useless nonsense.

    Like…whether that’s true or not…don’t just SAY it. Don’t even IMPLY it. It’s galling. I was galled. Like, I know he’s 50, and it was very different for him to gain acceptance than it is for me at 37, or for people who are now in their 20s, but Jesus, this is not the best way to be an ally or a role model.

    There is no NEED to affirm your own masculinity by foregrounding your “straight-actingness” or your acceptance by and of the straight community. Instead, just say nothing. If you have it, kudos to you, but saying it aloud is gross and unnecessary, and frankly this is all kind of adding up to me at this point.

    • EmAndScoutInBK

      What is this scene? Because it’s sounding all kinds of “no” to me

      • Taako From Teevhii

        Posted it on Thursday. Maybe ignore the comment.

        http://disq.us/p/1ho09vs

        • Also I’m aware of my own hypocrisy by attacking his flamboyance to knock him down a peg. But (a) I’m not on TV and (b) I am a terrible person. So there.

          • Taako From Teevhii

            I generally stay away from masc/fem discussions because it gets so thorny. Except for masc4masc bullshit, that deserves to be mocked.

          • It’s just bullshit in general. Some people are shocked if they find out I’m gay, others say they knew it all along. Jeff thinks he’s “not flamboyant,” I find him to be extremely queeny. It’s all self-perception at base and that’s where you get into trouble, by constructing a persona as “masc” or “fem” or whatever for yourself when it’s overwhelmingly irrelevant, as all self-constructed personae are.

            The world will take you how it wants to take you, so all of this judgment (external and internal) is absolute malarkey and a big waste of time.

          • For what it’s worth, I think you’re great, Funny Internet Stranger Typing Words Next to a Sesame Street Character.

          • Honestly, I’m very close to living my dream with that description. Getting paid for it would seal the deal.

          • purplerockandy

            We are very against anyone ever getting paid for anything they do around here.

            Don’t you dare try to unionize.

          • It’s in the bylaws. Right after “it can be two things” and a typing cat gif.

          • Purplerockmatt

            Actually the bylaws have “it can be two things” written twice, which is why the typing cat gif comes next

          • Kemper Boyd

            Varner is pretty queeny as you say, maybe it’s that I know a lot gay men all who present their sexuality in different ways but he is pretty camp to me.

      • It was in the podcast thread, I think, last week. I’m probably overreacting to it, but I found it icky in every way. I was an effeminate kid, I wasted a lot of my life “butching up.” People should be allowed to act however they are and befriend whoever they want without supposed allies puffing up their own self-professed status as some masc straight-approved paragon of male gayhood. All that does is make people who already feel shitty about themselves feel worse.

        • wonderand

          Not overreacting, and I do think it’s part of the same mentality as thinking that outing Zeke would be cool. If you’re the absolutely right kind of gay (heteronormative in every way except actually being hetero), everyone else should be falling in line–you can hear a disdain for Tai in the scene, and it feels like something about Zeke got cut.

          And this week’s pre-tribal voiceover had, to me, that triumphant sense of “as someone who Knows Trans People, *I* can tell, and I know how to use it to get points with my cis friends.” I’m glad he was shown wrong.

          • Yes, exactly, it’s that same kind of poisonous mentality that is just horrible to be around in the gay community – if you’re not a young, fit, straight-acting white male, I’m not even sure you count. Not to mention how that group treats queer women or transgender people.

            This is where intersectionality comes into play, and how even non-privileged people can reap privilege. Just look at who all the “acceptable” LGBT persons are in the current administration: white males (also middle/upper class; also willing to sell out the entire rest of the community who is less privileged than they are).

            Varner fits perfectly into that equation, and what’s probably most frustrating is that it appears he doesn’t even see it. He refused to check his privilege in his secret scene and this tendency exploded enormously in his face one episode later.

          • wonderand

            Yuppppp. One of the many great things about being a queer lady is just having zero need for men as a group, particularly those dudes; the less great thing is that I don’t recognize myself in the face of Big (L)G(BT), and they’re not really working for me at all sometimes. But there’s more of us than them and we’re pretty good at looking out for each other sometimes?

        • EmAndScoutInBK

          I just watched it and you are NOT overreacting. I bristled so hard at that shit. I just erased some profanity. I can’t stand it when gay people talk about how much they prefer to be with straight people and how they don’t flaunt it. I hate it when gay people act as though “passing” makes you better in some way. STOP IT. JUST STOP.

          I’m a soft butch, so I don’t pass, so it bothers the [expletive deleted] out of me when other lgbt folks treat being as “normal” AKA straight as possible as the desired goal. You are hurting us.

          • Taako From Teevhii

            I remember when I posted that clip in the podcast post, I was 50/50 on whether I wanted to get into why part of what Varner was saying was problematic. I decided not too because “that’s probably not a discussion we need to be getting into.” Little did I know

          • Of all places, you thought *here* was somewhere you didn’t want to get into that conversation?

          • Taako From Teevhii

            It wasn’t because of what I thought everyone here would say. It was more that Varner hadn’t addressed his sexuality on TV yet, so the confessional kinda had a positive vibe. Plus “All-gay final three” is a good lede, though it’s just a pipe dream now.

          • DrVanNostrand

            He thought someone would call him a cuck!

        • EmAndScoutInBK

          I AM SO ANGRY ALL OVER AGAIN, GD. I REALLY DON’T LIKE VARNER ANYMORE.

          • Please don’t get angry again over this.

            I truly will have a hard time forgiving him for this, but I’m pretty sure his good intentions have outweighed his bad actions over time. It’s just…he clearly still has a lot to learn. As do we all, in various ways.

        • That is not uncommon for older gay men though, I don’t think; Bret didn’t talk about that explicitly last season, but his whole persona seemed very similar to the one you’re describing.

          I agree it’s damaging, but I think it’s also a product of its generation and the societal attitudes that those men were encountering at the time.

    • DrVanNostrand

      I couldn’t agree with you more Hurley. Policing people’s masculinity and femininity is disgusting. And straight people aren’t free from that nonsense either.

      • You’d think that people with so much bullshit in their own lives would be too exhausted and/or self-aware to constantly pass judgment on every other person they bump into. AND YET

    • Kemper Boyd

      Is this a problem with his age? He wasn’t fully out for a very long time in his life and he’s from an area where there is a huge amount of bigotry. I’m not saying this as a defence but maybe an explanation. Years of internalised bigotry because of his sexuality and his Christianity can’t have been easy.

      • Yes, that’s kind of what I meant when I said he’s 50 years old vs. someone 10-20 years younger. This type of behavior was probably necessary for survival, literally, when he was growing up. But in 2017, as someone with substantial privilege and, just as importantly, a platform, words and attitudes need to be expressed more carefully, or, as I said, the other option: not at all. (CC @rhetoricalley:disqus)

        • Kemper Boyd

          You are dead on man.

    • gouis

      It’s the age combined with the place. I’ve lived in it for many years (leaving next week yay!), but the South is extremely toxic (even in sanctuary cities like Atlanta) and poisons people’s minds.

    • pufflehuff

      I haven’t watched the scene (and really have no desire to now) but YES to all of this as I hate the ‘we’re the normal gays’ narrative that often gets advanced in marriage equality debates, for example. I wish that ‘normal’ wasn’t something that people said about other people.

  • These Words

    A very special episode

  • hardcöre umlaut

    I hope Varner donates his prize money to an org like NCTE, or perhaps a local org in NC fighting against HB2. It would be great if CBS also donated. They have no obligation to but it would be a good gesture to show that airing this wasn’t just about ratings.

    • Alycia Swift

      I was actually a little surprised there was not some sort of public service announcement at the end.

      • I mean they have done that in two of the last three seasons with organ donation and Stand Up 2 Cancer. It just seemed like a natural fit, unless they are waiting for either Zeke’s boot episode or the finale (whichever one is Zeke’s last episode).

        • Figaro

          It would be nice, but at the same time if they didn’t do it now I kinda hope they don’t do it (either at Zeke’s boot or the final) because then it does what Zeke specifically said he didn’t want to do which is frame him as a trans Survivor player rather than just a Survivor player. I’d rather they just focus on his game and don’t bring it up again unless he chooses to.

    • DrVanNostrand

      That new HB2 ‘compromise’ in NC makes me so mad. Fucking spineless Democratic governor.

  • NearlyNina

    I honestly don’t know how I managed to remain unspoiled this entire time. I didn’t even pick up on how much time was left of the episode before tribal either, and usually I always keep an eye on that. That was really intense! I honestly, was really confused when Varner just came out with it like that. I definitely had a moment of being not quite sure about what was going on. Did I mishear? Did Varner misspeak? Wait is Zeke actually trans? Not knowing what was going to happen made it seem so out of the blue that it was almost unbelievable.

    I really need to find a different happy show! Survivor is generally my everything-will-be-better-once-I-watch-Survivor time, but damn this season is really not good for happytimes! Just when I was thinking that I didn’t really care too much about any one else left, they pull this out.

    I honestly cant believe Varner did that. I’m disappointed on so many levels. I liked Varner and I really wanted him to make the merge. I was rooting for him! And then he went and pulled this crap. I do think that he feels bad for what he did, and there’s a small part of me that kind of wants to feel sorry for him, but like yeah no, wtf dude!

    At least some good came from it as Zeke was able to be super, super awesome after he recovered from the shock.

    I did find it really interesting that this happened on a tribe with 3 gay guys on it. If nothing else, it was nice that it allowed there to be a wider variety of perspective and there wasn’t really a point where it felt like any of them were necessarily being portrayed as speaking for or being representative of entire communities as is often the case.

    • I suspect the fact that there were gay guys together on a tribe is why it happened – Varner is a part of the LGBTQ community, and I don’t think he was lying when he said he had transgender friends. He picked up on things that, clearly, nobody else throughout a season and a half of Zeke’s Survivor career had noticed. But I don’t think that happens if they’re not on a tribe together and living in close proximity.

  • HBO CEO of Tits

    Ugh. Don’t want to talk about this one at all.

    • Understandable.

  • Blurry Denzel

    If there is a silver lining in this horrific, vile act, it was the reaction of Zeke and the other tribemates. It warms my heart through the tears to see there is still good out there.

    • Purplerockmatt

      What was the reaction at Andrea’s show like?

      • Blurry Denzel

        The room was really quiet after the episode. I think the reaction was stunned horror about what happened. I do think Andrea, Brian, Brice, Natalie and Dalton had a solid dialogue about it all. It was a very tense situation though.

        • Purplerockmatt

          interesting. also love the name change

    • Holy shit, you actually made a new account. That got a legitimate laugh when I saw it.

      • Blurry Denzel

        It legitimately was the highlight of my entire day. Black Dynamite was a name I used in fantasy baseball because I really enjoyed the movie. It was a quick pick when I decided to do Pick 4 before Koah Rong. I never expected to become a regular part of this community. I don’t do things like that. This is the only place online I actually share my thoughts on any subject. The amazing people here made me feel comfortable to speak on Survivor or any subject. So to be so engrained that we were able to create a nickname for me, it means something. Discovering this place is really one of the best things to happen. Blurry Denzel is a great name but in a weird way it’s also a symbol of the love i received here and the love I have for this place.

        • StormofCuteness

          Not going to lie, this choked me up, and I’m so grateful to have been able to be part of this on any level.

        • Purple Rock Emma

          Awww, Denzel.

        • purplerockandy
        • Assistant Dragon Slayer

          “This is the only place online I actually share my thoughts on any subject. The amazing people here made me feel comfortable to speak on Survivor or any subject.”

          Same here.

        • Kemper Boyd

          dude, I feel you. I love this place. The people are awesome.

        • Ms_Woozah

          Well, that damn near brought a tear to my eye.

        • EmAndScoutInBK

          You are wonderful, and I am grateful to have you here.

  • sharculese

    Just rewatched it with my roommate and it only occurred to me that Andrea has now been involved of both of Survivor’s terrible non-vote/votes.

    • Crappy

      It is also starting to look like this will be another poor or sub par season Andrea will be on.

    • gouis

      Why the F would you rewatch that?

      • sharculese

        She was at frisbee and I told her she needed to see this garbage fire. And as soon as the episode started I regretted my decision.

  • Ethan Kyle

    On a much … less bad note how amazing was this ep for Brad

    • The whole season is starting to feel like a coronation. Which means he’ll lose to SDT at FTC.

      • DrVanNostrand

        No, this season deserves Troy.

  • Ms. Sweaterfan

    On a lighter note, I wanted to point out that in the main pic on this article, if you look closely you can really see that FFSDT is a bit taller than the rest of her tribe 😋

  • Ethan Kyle

    Then again like Sarah I come from a very conservative religious background (to the point where my, Live and let live philosophy is considred hardcore liberal), so I shouldn’t really comment on the situation beyond, from my interactions with Varner he seems to legitimately regret what he’s done, so to quote Zeke’s People interview:
    “Forgiveness is not forgetting or ignoring what ahs been done, Forgiveness is hoping the person learned their lesson and can become better”

    • DrVanNostrand

      I think that’s a great quote from Zeke, and I’m glad Zeke has made peace and is moving on. However, learning and growing and becoming better requires a little more honesty and self-reflection than Varner is showing now. He’s minimizing and ignoring the ugliest parts of what he did, and I think it’s worth pointing that out, both to him and to people at large.

      • Ethan Kyle

        Really, what i’ve seen of varner’s responses certainly hasn’t been that, do you have any examples if you don’t mind?

        • DrVanNostrand

          I would point to the Twitter post Purple Tally showed below. He’s still clinging to the line that he never thought he was actually outing Zeke to anyone important. And he has never addressed the fact that his whole attack was based on one of the ugliest anti-trans stereotypes, which is that their very existence is deceptive, and that they’re inherently untrustworthy. I hope with time he can come to terms with the magnitude of how awful he was, but he hasn’t done so yet.

          • Ethan Kyle

            Again I ccan only comment from my perspective and dealings with Varner over the past week, and I haven’t seen any of this, but I think we can all agree that it will be a difficult road for both Zeke and Varner ahead and that Zeke needs our support and Varner needs to be helped to grow from this experience

          • DrVanNostrand

            I agree. In order to really grow from this experience, Varner needs to accept the real nature of what he did, and ditch the self-serving rationalizations.

          • EmAndScoutInBK

            Varner has consistently referenced the edit, said it wasn’t a malicious act (it was), and even called himself a victim in the Gordon Holmes exit interview. Varner doesn’t need to be helped – he needs to help himself by admitting the reality of what he did.

  • cazkaye

    I was spoiled on who was going home this week but not why. Beforehand I had my comment of ‘can we not watch survivor and just air pre-jury trip footage?’ ready to go. Then I saw the episode. I have no words.

  • Sylvisual
    • The dude has a way with words. Love it.

      • Figaro

        Yeah, that was super well written. Zeke could be a great writer if that was something he was interested in pursuing

    • Taako From Teevhii

      No offense to Adam B, but I’m calling on this to be the featured comment because this something every Survivor viewer should read. Maybe every person given some context.

    • PurpleTally

      Zeke is just an all around A+ human.

      Also, damn his prep to be on Survivor was intense. And I thought I was making strides by finally being able to drink water.

      • Water is the worst. Like, who invented this crap.

        • PurpleTally

          Thank you! People always say “How can you not like water? It doesn’t taste like anything.”
          Right, which is why it’s the fucking worst.

          • I love it when people immediately destroy their own argument in the same breath. It saves me the trouble.

          • DrVanNostrand

            Water is the Michele of beverages.

          • Taako From Teevhii

            C’mon, water is at the very least an Adam. It’s not always awful.

          • cazkaye

            Am I the only one that likes Michele? I feel like she would be the best to do tequila shots with and with a million dollars she’s buying (this is definitely how I would vote as a jury member fyi)

          • DrVanNostrand

            Yes

          • cazkaye

            Why? In my opinion there are definitely worse winners out there but everyone seems to be so against her in particular. I get the whole Aubrey thing, I would have voted for her to win but still it’s not like Michele was exceptionally bad.

          • DrVanNostrand

            She was exceptionally bland.

          • cazkaye

            I don’t disagree, she isn’t exactly riveting television. Still don’t really think she deserves all the shit she gets.

          • DrVanNostrand

            I’m sure she’s a lovely person. It’s part of why she got so many votes at FTC.

          • cazkaye

            Yeah agree hence my comment of wanting to do shots with her (boston rob and sandra are also at the top of my survivor winners I want to drink with list) and in my opinion that’s a super under valued skill in survivor.

            Also want to make myself super clear (since it’s super hard to do on a comment section) that this is a friendly discussion and no hate to anyone.

          • Don’t worry, we’re not judging you for your opinion on Michele.

            At least not publicly.

          • Kemper Boyd

            at least not today.

          • PurpleTally

            I don’t mind her. She’s not the most exciting winner ever, but I watched the season knowing she won, and it didn’t bother me as much.

          • cazkaye

            That’s my thoughts as well. I have no strong feeling towards her one way or the other. She’s a fine winner and seems like a fun person.

          • Max_Jets

            I think it’s a combination of her not being good in confessionals, getting a poor edit, being up against Aubry, having unfavorable jurors vote for her, not doing as much as a lot of winners, and all of the people obnoxiously saying that Michele was DEFINITELY winning no question about it. I like Michele too though.

          • cazkaye

            Yeah I think you summed it up well there.

          • purplerockandy

            We also enjoy piling on as a community-building exercise.

          • Kemper Boyd

            I actually could have dealt with all of that had it not been for the edgic shit. That is what ruined it. She’d have been a low level winner but it was being told she was 100% winning every fucking week that pushed me over the edge. And she was my winner pick.

          • Assistant Dragon Slayer

            I listened to all of her 2+ hour season review with Rob C. It was almost worthless from the perspective of gaining new insight on the season, but it convinced me that all that talk about how likable she is was not a bunch of malarkey. It also made me think that we vastly underrate how beneficial it is to your game to just be an oasis of sanity and good cheer.

          • cazkaye

            I actually found her podcast interesting from a social game point of view. Things like her saying that she would go off an let people have the time be pissed off at her and then come back and smooth it over I found interesting. And I agree I think we have Michele to thank for changing the way we think about the social game of survivor.

          • Kemper Boyd

            I don’t know if it changed anything but it was certainly a reminder. Parvarti vs Amanda was an argument of social game vs physical game with a strategic resume that was very similar. Bob vs Susie vs Sugar was again all about social game (not that he knew). Natalie White is probably the quintessential social winner, I don’t care about Russell being so awful, she clearly built a strong social game on purpose.

          • Super duper fan

            I could be wrong, but didn’t she in FTC said something personal about each of the jurors (this wasn’t shown in the season i believe)?

          • Kemper Boyd

            Which she?

          • Super duper fan

            Natalie W.

          • Kemper Boyd

            I think so… she is probably the best example of a social winner but she gets overlooked because of Russell. Natalie set herself up socially at the merge tribe, she purposefully rode Russell’s hatefulness and she made sure every member of the jury liked and respected her.

          • Super duper fan

            If not for how she conivinced Galus to vote out Erik, they might not be able to overcome the numbers disadvantage. I don’t find her win especially impressive, but I definetely I would probably rate her win higher than Vecepia’s, Jenna’s, Amber’s and Michele’s (which I won’t do cause I hate ranking winners)(says someone who rank Natalie W with other winners).

          • Kemper Boyd

            I fully agree with you. I if you forced me to do a ranking would have her above Adam, I think his win is intensely unimpressive beyond his personal story. But Nat W is the top of the bottom tier.

          • Super duper fan

            I disagree about Adam’s win being unimpressive, but it’s a discussion for another day (and I don’t say that I necessarily would put him above Natalie W, but I don’t say that I necessarily would put him below).

          • EmAndScoutInBK

            I think Vecepia is probably better than all of those people, and everyone else is a little better than Michele and otherwise equal. I’m the odd Jenna defender, and there is a reason for this that I can’t share publicly, but I have reasons for thinking that she was put into a narrative that didn’t fit.

          • Super duper fan

            Like I said some time ago, I think that every winner should be given at least some kudos for getting to the end, and making most of the jury to vote for them, no matter if we find the ending/winner satisfiying or not (I find only Bob on the verge of breaking my rule). I definetely see why someone would find Vecepia the best from this five, she’s probably 2nd in my ranking of them. While I’m not the biggest Jenna fan myself, I definetely think that the show painted her in more negative light than she deserved. Every winner in a way is under the whim of the edit-they can’t control what things they will show of them, they can not show any bad things and only show positives, or cause of the narrative they try to tell they avoid the best things they did, and show thes less complemantary ones.

          • EmAndScoutInBK

            100% – I’m a firm believer of every winner of Survivor deserved to win. (I also agree that Bob sucked at Survivor. But so did most of the people playing that season)

          • Crappy

            That’s a complete revisionist thinking IMO, borne out of need to conform and give the winner any credit people can think of. The type of social game Natalie white played is nothing out of ordinary. Even if she wanted to hide behind Russell as a strategic move, it is not a really good one since she would have had to possess Nostradamus like qualities to predict that Russell was going to help her tribe overcome a 8-4 disadvantage. (Dave Ball even confirmed in his AMA that she played little role in Erik’s merge boot). In any other season, despite her being well liked by the other tribe, she would have been pagoned alongside her tribe mates by Galu.
            In the end I do give her credit of fighting her case in TC and taking advantage of Galu’s dislike of Russell (something Mick could not even do). But that’s about it.

            I think someone one like Michele actively did much more to win the game and beat a much harder opponent at the end too. Internet fans may not want to give any consideration to prowess in physical challenges but ability to win clutch immunities in survivor is absolutely crucial and should be commended.

          • Super duper fan

            Correct me if I’m wrong, but didn’t Dave tell in that AMA that he was the one responsible for that move? I apologise if I’m mistaken, but if what I’m saying is true then it could be as much a revisionist history for him as it is for Natalie. And besides maybe John and Erik, they all Galu was REALLY salty that they were duped by WHOLE Foa Foa, and from the Jury Speaks videos, they were giving the vibes that THEY were the ones deserving to win, and not final 3, so they coukd build the narrative that they were masterminds. This, to your point, shows that her social game wasn’t as perfect as we make it out to be, but probably mostly due that they blew their 8-4 lead, and they tried to make themselves as the victims, and were never gonna to admit to their own mistake (the closest comparison I can think of right now is Sugar-yes, she managed to get out the Onion alliance (even though she used bad strategy), but they never were gonna give her the credit cause she was the bad one for them). As I said in the comment you replied, I don’t rate her win very highly, but she still has to get credit where credit is due.

          • Crappy

            Oh you won’t get any arguments from me when it comes to the majority of Galu jury members and the dreaded “B” word. I also found Dave Ball’s AMA very meh, he seemed intent on passing on the message that survivor edit can never be really authentic or tell the real story behind the scenes.
            I don’t have any problem giving survivor winners credit, heck I might be the only person on here giving Michele some. But I do think there is an attempt to make Natalie white out to be a better player than she was. Plus I have this personal pet peeve when it comes to people using circular logic of a person winning due to good social game and the proof of good social game being their victory.
            I am not gonna dwell more into this since it is a very tired topic. Just wanted to give my subjective opinion of Natalie white’s game. Participate in somewhat normal survivor discussion this week!

          • Assistant Dragon Slayer

            If you watch Samoa knowing who won and lost, as I did, it’s clear that Natalie was actively executing a strategy (more so than Michele, actually).

          • Kemper Boyd

            I find her very engaging on the podcast. I don’t believe she knows exactly how she won so she can only tell you how the game felt from her point of view. But I totally get how she could get all those votes, she seems to have the warmth and ability to engage people socially the way Parvarti does, just without the strategic chops.

          • Super duper fan

            When I listened to her premiere podcast with Rob I found her absolutely charming, and a person who I’d like to hang out. Besides what cazkaye said below, I agree that it wasn’t adding anything to how the season played out, or he strategy, but ended up after the podcast mostly with positive things about her.

          • Hornacek

            Michele’s recap was entertaining in that I lost track of how many times she tried to rewrite history in how often she was in control of the game, and how when the show portrayed A, she was actually doing B. If I drank and I made a drinking game of taking a shot every time she rewrote history during that episode, I would have had alcohol poisoning by the end of the first hour.

          • PurpleTally

            Yes, for example, I can stand water better when I am drunk.

          • Mike Hirsch

            Water isn’t always shouting at you though.

          • Kemper Boyd

            So water is the Bob of beverages?

          • Mike Hirsch

            Yes, this is far more accurate.

          • indescribable hat

            I’ve thawed on water, but when I was younger I used to complain that drinking water feels like washing your throat.

      • Taako From Teevhii

        Actually, I’m wondering if I drink too much water to be on Survivor. Like, a half-gallon daily. Is that a lot? Would I get easily dehydrated on Survivor? Or is that not a problem since Caleb?

    • DrVanNostrand

      That was fantastic.

    • StormofCuteness

      Wow, as if I didn’t already love Zeke and mourn what was done to him here. He says it all so beautifully and heartbreakingly.

    • Roswulf

      This should be the featured comment- as much as I adore reading y’all, the definitive statement on what happened on tonight’s episode comes from the truly awesome Zeke.

    • TheForRealDeal

      I’m glad the joy of the Survivor adventure is still alive for Zeke. It clearly became something much different for Varner since 2001.

    • Crappy

      Must read blog IMO.

    • It’s clear from reading that that Zeke has not remotely forgiven Varner, although he’s willing to go along with that fiction for narrative purposes. He takes plenty of opportunities throughout that piece, via word choice and phrasing, to twist the knife.

      Which…a) he’s a great writer, and I applaud his literary technique, and b) good for him if that’s what he wanted to do. The fact that he’s the wronged party in this situation doesn’t oblige him to behave like a saint after the fact in order to ‘justify’ his victimhood, and given that Zeke’s entire reasoning for not wanting to out himself was that he wanted people to see him as himself, rather than a representative in any way…I am glad to see clever, witty, thoughtful yet slightly petty Zeke holding his ground, flaws and all.

      • Roswulf

        I think Zeke’s vision of forgiveness as expressed in his essay is very true, and very powerful, and not remotely petty.

        Forgiveness is about hope. And he has hope for Jeff Varner. But that doesn’t mean they are friends or that the hurt goes away.

    • Maritimer

      I’m glad you shared this, because we needed to hear from Zeke and this week I’m not sure how comfortable I am going to read other Survivor media like I normally do. As was discussed elsewhere here I’m not sure how well certain parts of the Survivor internet are going to address this episode

    • pufflehuff

      Thanks for sharing this…still reeling from that Tribal, so it was great to hear from Zeke.

      • Kemper Boyd

        Yep, necessary to hear from him. I don’t want the narrative we hear to be about Varner’s apologies.

        • Ms. Sweaterfan

          It’s really unfortunate that with the way post-episode press is handled we will only be able to hear from Varner about his thoughts on the situation and aftermath right now. I don’t want to write him off completely as a person with thoughts and feelings to express, but I also don’t really need to hear from him either.

  • Diego Armando

    I was also eating pizza during that reward.

  • StormofCuteness

    It was even worse than I had anticipated, and I almost threw up from how upsetting it was on every level. Plus, then I cried because, well, all of it, but also seeing how Sarah has grown gave me hope that perhaps this will help so many people who watch the show who have no clue about what is and isn’t okay about how to treat transgender people.

    I want to believe that Zeke is okay with this, at this point, and I must say, he has been a terrific player for so many reasons and none of them have to do with his gayness or his gender.

    • Diego Armando

      He has factored into the best and worst scenes involving the LGBTQ issues in Survivor history. Go Zeke.

  • Feinberg is going IN. Saying Varner is “not a good Survivor player and hasn’t been a good Survivor player on three occasions now” and calling him a “useless Survivor contestant.” :-O

    http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/fien-print/survivor-game-changers-what-happened-exile-stays-exile-transgender-993524

    • DrVanNostrand

      He *was* great TV… until tonight.

    • Kemper Boyd

      This is completely true. He is the only 3 time pre-jury player. And I think the only other 2 time pre-jury player is Frannie.
      Varner is not good at Survivor, what shows this is that he was blindsided by Sandra going. Dude even Sandra knew Sandra was going. The fact he could possibly think that this kind of “deception” by Zeke would bother people in the game is proof he’s bad at Survivor.

      • gouis

        Agreed

      • Ms. Sweaterfan

        Yeah exactly – he said (if I recall correctly) that he’d been strategizing about his impending elimination for 2.5 days. I don’t know when exactly in that timeline he came up with the idea of outing Zeke as a strategic move, but I’m alarmed and disturbed that he apparently never second guessed the decision. Also, as much as he denied that it was malicious, I can’t help but suspect that at least on some level he was trying to hurt Zeke. He had to know what it would feel like. I’m sure Varner hasn’t been out his whole life.

        • Kemper Boyd

          The stupid thing is what he said before the outing was a really good push. If he could have just really dug in on “Ozzy is a physical threat, the merge is coming, we cannot beat him and how loyal is he?” In fact if he had really gone into detail about Zeke throwing Andrea and Sarah under the bus he might have been able to get Sarah, Debbie and Tai together to win that vote, he’s just not good enough. Sandra here would have got that vote on Ozzy, you know she would have, she would have scooped up Debbie and Tai and gone after Sarah.

        • Assistant Dragon Slayer

          That’s something Stephen stressed on KIA: Even setting aside the morality of what Varner did (to the extent you can), what was the play here? What the hell did Varner think was going to happen?

          • Hornacek

            “Hey, Varner’s right! Zeke didn’t tell us that he’s trans! Let’s vote out Ozzy!”

            (gives head a shake) Nope, still doesn’t make sense.

      • Purple Rock Emma

        Technically Caleb is a two-time pre-jury player, but at least the first time he was medevac’d.

  • Taako From Teevhii

    Well this is either good news or bad news, but we’re getting two hours of Survivor next week. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, this better be the best goddamn post-merge ever. Legacy Advantage, double votes, and three idols all at once please.

    • DrVanNostrand

      There’s a Legacy Advantage? Who has it? When did that happen? I’m not sure I believe this.

      • Taako From Teevhii

        Yes. Cirie, after figuring out SDT had it and convincing her to hand over her immunity. It happened offscreen, as did everything Cirie’s done this season.

        If we all believe this, we can will it into being.

        • Saturday Night Palsy

          But… How do we will something out of being?

        • hardcöre umlaut

          Omg, before I got to your last sentence, I legit believed this, because Cirie is that good and that underedited this season 🙁

          • indescribable hat

            I thought it was a spoiler for a second and then I wished it was.

    • Hornacek

      The season started late (thanks, Hunted!) so we were going to have at least a couple of weeks where we got a 2-hour episode in order to finish before the end of May.

      • Super duper fan

        After next episode, there should be one more double-boot episode (probably Will/Sunday-type) and a 6 person finale cause it will be on 24th May.

      • Taako From Teevhii

        Well it’s better than there being a quit or a medevac that shortens the schedule

  • Prom King

    Excellent episode. Even before tribal, so emotional with the Culpepper tribe breaking down and being empathetic with each other (minus Michaela, too busy flicking sand to get wrapped up in other people’s emotions, lol). I haven’t read comments yet so I hope the awesomeness of that scene hasn’t been overlooked due to the beyond-intense tribal council.

    I watch Survivor for characters and narratives first, and for strategy and challenges second. So this episode is one of the strongest ever for me. I watched that tribal council at least four times, probably more, replaying various people’s expressions and comments and nonverbal displays of support. It was incredible.

    Zeke was obviously amazing. They way he handled himself was so, so impressive. And despite being a Survivor gamebot, he was able to link together his personal experience and the shared experience of playing this game in an emotional and real way. I loved his funny “I shouldn’t be a role model to anyone comment” followed by recognizing his visibility can be a really inspiring thing. For some reason I am now remembering Zeke and Bret picking on David (“are you going to cry now”) in his first season. He sure has grown since then and it wasn’t even that long ago. He just showed so much grace this episode.

    Title tie-in was incredible, as was the connection between this scene and the earlier one of people breaking down.

    Emotional reactions from Tai and Andrea got me emotional too. Debbie was a voice of reason! And the first person to verbally call out Varner for his comment.

    8:45 Ozzy speaks up only once everyone else has already buried him. He doesn’t fucking care about Zeke.

    – No way. The camera specifically focuses on Ozzy’s reaction after Varner outs Zeke. His disgust was palpable. I actually thought Ozzy was pretty majestic this episode, something I’d never thought I’d say.

    I feel bad for Varner. He made a terrible, terrible mistake – and tried to deny his own obvious malice – on national tv. This experience will make Zeke even stronger and now a role model. Conversely, Varner just turned himself into a scumbag and he’ll have to live with that for the rest of his life. I hope he has a good support system and I loved seeing Tai try to comfort him. But honestly I just don’t want to even think about Varner any more. An embarrassment. Maybe in time I will come tor remember him more for his glorious arc in Cambodia, but for now… ugh.

    Of all people, Sarah moved me the most this episode. She had a lot of competition. But her words were so powerful. Powerful episode!

    • Head Architect Sylvia

      Well I’m glad you enjoyed the episode, but that was definitely one of my least favourite episodes ever. It’s great/powerful to see Jeff Probst and the rest of Nuku being so supportive but that hour of television just left me feeling exhausted and, not depressed, because I hate seeing that word used loosely, but deeply saddened. Wednesday is my favourite day of the week, because of Survivor, but that honestly made me feel so uncomfortable. What a vile thing to do. And, as it’s already been said, so hypocritical coming from Varner who was closeted during AO. I’m glad he was instantly remorseful but, yuck. It makes things a lot worse coming from someone who 100% should know better.

      Good resolution and great responses by Probst and rest of the cast. Good character development for Sarah/Andrea/Tai etc. but for me those positives definitely do not balance out what Varner said and my emotional response to it. That was way too heavy for my favourite hour of usually light entertainment. I simultaneously feel really tense and incredibly exhausted. I don’t like feeling this way after an episode of Survivor.

      I am honestly glad you could walk away thinking that was a great episode and the positives outshone the negatives for you, though. I wish it was the same for me! I REALLY hope next week’s episode is going to be full of comedy/great moments because I’ll need it.

      • StormofCuteness

        I’m so glad you wrote this. I am somewhat bereft right now. I can’t seem to shake it. Maybe I’ve become too dependent on Survivor night to cheer me out of all the insane political stuff going on every day? This just messed me up.

        • Head Architect Sylvia

          Haha yes, I think it is much more difficult to digest for fans that follow the show religiously and look forward to it so much each week. Especially when something like this comes from a beloved character like Varner. We feel like we practically know him.

          Even the less enjoyable episodes (I’d say last weeks episode, for example) are fun because we can hop on here and chat and engage with everyone in a pretty light manner and make fun of editing choices/guest returning players, whatever. But this episode was just stressful/uncomfortable and as a result it’s not even remotely fun to talk about.

          But yeah, I can’t seem to shake it either. It has honestly ruined my day a bit. Which sounds silly – but yeah, maybe that does mean we are too dependent on Survivor. It’s 4:40pm here and I’m glad I don’t have to sleep yet because I’d be really restless with all this on my mind. I have to go out later tonight for an event and I’m not looking forward to it at all.

          • Max_Jets

            I might have to rewatch the episode where Cydney flips on Jason and Scot later this week to satisfy my need for Survivor fun.

        • Ms. Sweaterfan

          I’m still in a funk over it, too. It’s been a long time since an episode of Survivor was this upsetting and this much of a downer. Usually Survivor is an escape from heavier emotions, but now I’m feeling emotions and I know that popping in my headphones and listening to Know It Alls is just going to make it worse :/
          Participating in this community makes it better definitely, but it still doesn’t change what went down. It’s especially painful that it was such a (formerly) beloved character as Varner who had such a dramatic downfall that I would daresay destroyed his Survivor legacy. For example, I can’t imagine he would be invited to do another RHAP recap ever again. Or if he is, I wouldn’t have much fun listening to it.

          • Hornacek

            It’s crazy that just 2 weeks ago we were saying that JT may have ruined his legacy this season, and then last week we said that not only did Sandra not ruin her legacy but probably bolstered it. I would have thought that was all we were going to get this season as far as “ruining your legacy”. Nope.

          • StormofCuteness

            I feel you. Today the Washington Post even had a headline about it, and I really do worry about if the larger discussion will do more harm than good. I want to hope for the best, but…

          • indescribable hat

            The wider media coverage is kind of harsh about Survivor and Survivor fans in general, oh my goodness. There’s a lot of Outing Someone on TV: A Bridge Too Far Even For These Jerks?

      • Prom King

        I get where you are coming from. I do like intense, emotional episodes, but too many of them (and when things aren’t handled well) and all of a sudden I am watching Caramoan, one of my least favorite seasons.

        I can do with maybe a couple of these episodes in a season – but when they do happen, and when they are done well and with empathy, they can lift a great season into one that is in my top tier. For example, Palau.

        • Head Architect Sylvia

          Fair enough! Each to their own. I am glad that it did at least end with a positive resolution. Yeah, I definitely would not be able to deal with another scene like this, so I hope we’re done with them for the rest of the season.

          If you are comparing this intense and emotional moment to Stephanie’s arc in Palau or Ian’s final episode then I don’t really see it though. Ian and Stephanie were the heroes in those situations, and Zeke isn’t really the hero here. The focus is on Varner and it’s all very, very negative and uncomfortable. A completely different mood and audience reaction in this example.

          • Prom King

            I very much do see Zeke as the hero here. The last words on the matter were his, and those words were incredible. He said things that were completely personal and real and inspiring – to a very big audience. His pain, honesty, relatability, the immediate support he received, and the strength and power of his voice at the end are an important thing for people to see and hear (and not to get too political – but they are particularly important these days, in my opinion). All of that wouldn’t have happened without the ugliness that brought it about. I wish it had never happened and yet good came of it.

            Yeah I was definitely comparing the episode to those episodes (Stephenie alone, rather than Stephenie’s arc – which I don’t think is as heroic as many think, and Ian’s end) – at least in terms of emotion. Intense, emotional, ultimately positive episodes where a person faces the world and their true selves and wins in their own way. I love those kinds of stories.

          • Head Architect Sylvia

            Hmm. I think Zeke was very mature and calm here, and everything he said was very admirable and very real. His reaction was great. I suppose he’s the hero but I feel like he’s still completely overshadowed by Varner as the villain. I watch Ian and he’s at the centre of attention and it’s all very positive and his true self wins, as you say. When I finished that scene I thought “good on him” or something along those lines, and felt happy.

            In this example, Zeke may have been considered the hero, but I felt like there wasn’t really a hero because most of the focus was on Varner and his gaff. It dominated the scene. The scene ended on a positive note but I absolutely did not think – good on Zeke, how heroic. Maybe as an afterthought.. but all of the focus was on Varner and how terribly he behaved. In my eyes there is a huge difference between the examples because this scene is characterised by the highly negative elements… whereas Ian’s final scene is characterised by the highly positive elements. I will never remember this scene as “Oh that was when Zeke bravely stood up to Varner after being outed on national television”.

            Sorry, that’s the last I’ll say about it – I’m not trying to be argumentative. I completely understand your perspective and why you perceived this scene positively, and it’s very logical and makes a lot of sense. I personally just had a completely different reaction and can’t really see the comparisons to those Palau scenes.

    • Ms. Sweaterfan

      I actually agree with you on Ozzy, somewhat. It would have been nice if we could have seen him contribute something to the conversation, but his face was definitely expressing disgust with Varner the whole time. I also think that in some ways as the straight/cis guy on the tribe it was good that he didn’t chime in right away and end up dominating the conversation. My hope is that at the beginning of the next episode we can see a quick scene where the whole tribe (including Ozzy) express their support for Zeke and make sure he’s okay going forward. Ideally they will also tell him that whether or not he wants to tell the rest of the players at the merge is his decision and they won’t breathe a word about it unless they get the OK from him first.
      And then I would like the show to honor Zeke’s wish to just be Zeke instead of being “the trans Survivor”

      • I am already picturing a group hug. I also hope that if he does or doesn’t tell new Mana, it’s on him.

      • Prom King

        I agree with what you’d like to see 100%. It would be great if that happens.

        Fortunately for Zeke, I think any true fan of the show – like him – sees him as far more than the trans contestant. Particularly because of his first season. The more I think about, the more I think that CBS/Probst/Zeke did a really good job as establishing him as Survivor gamer first, awkward/endearing un-Millennial Millennial second, and everything else third.

  • Ethan Kyle

    Plus while it doesn’t excuse Varners actions we really should be looking at production under a shady light as well.
    1. By doing a verbal vote instead of a normal vote you make it from something that can easily be buried to protect Zeke’s privacy (Varner being the obvious boot and Survivor having a LONG history of burying things that could be embarasing)
    2, How muuch of a role did they play in this decision in the first place, after all, I don’t think anyone would be surprised if production thought they could get away with it.
    Again not excusing the action at all

    • Ethan Kyle

      Part of the reason I say this is because the contract they sign for CBS basically means they have no say in what happens, Zeke could have told them not to air it and they wouldn’t have to listen (See Coby’s video)

      • StormofCuteness

        I think that article you read from the Hollywood Reporter makes it clear that Zeke blames Varner and is not making this about production. So, it seems odd to get upset with what Zeke isn’t upset with. I always try to err on the side of what the victim deems important.

        • Yes, he actually praised Probst for not immediately going to him for a reaction.

        • EmAndScoutInBK

          I watched a clip of Zeke where he said he was given “unprecedented autonomy” over his narrative and how his story was told (specifically, with this episode). It sounds like they were respectful under the circumstances. In addition, Zeke said part of why he got into Survivor was because of the authenticity of it and commitment to storytelling.

          Even if they could have edited the tribal council, we don’t know how this informs the rest of the season. No matter what, a chunk is going to be missing when something like this happens. On top of that, imagine when, inevitably, had they managed to edit it all out (which I’m not sure they could do – and we can’t know yet, because the rest hasn’t aired), a contestant talks about it, and it gets out that they did that. It feels like a lose/lose.

          The blame, for me, begins and ends with Varner. He said it, he said it at tribal council, and he had to know they would air it. He made that choice.

          • StormofCuteness

            I agree! I’m glad to hear more details of Zeke’s involvement, and I hope more people are made aware of it.

    • Maritimer

      This still bothers me as much as anything else, although it appears Zeke is okay with it. CBS/Probst/whoever left themselves with no way to edit the episode to not do this. If they had voted, they could have easily obscured it as a simple Pagonging boot and not outed Zeke
      No, not excusing Varner at all but also not letting CBS off the hook

    • tocantins

      As a show production perspective, I can totally understand why Jeff skipped the vote. After that emotional and heavy tribal council, having an entire voting session where everyone already knew the outcome would be absurdly anti-climatic.

  • purplerockandy

    On an entirely different note, apologies to all the awesome commenters that didn’t make it into our Legion-style credits sequence. My highly-scientific way of putting that together was scrolling through the most recent comments in the back end and adding people until I ran out of room. Then rushing off to start my lunch break.

    I’m already kicking myself for missing some of you (but only some of you… you know who you are).

    • Saturday Night Palsy

      I was just surprised it didn’t say “Asshole: Saturday Night Palsy”.

      • That’s only because Andy made it and not me.

        • Purplerockmatt

          If it was me it would have been “Rodney’s Best Friend: Saturday Night Palsy”

          • Assistant Dragon Slayer

            Oh shit, mine would have been “Brenda Defender/Moron”, right?

          • Purplerockmatt

            No comment

      • purplerockandy

        I did consider something like that. But then I’d have to come up with special stuff for everyone and it was already a thing and I wanted to go get my lunch, you know?

    • Kemper Boyd

      I’m confused, what is this and how did I miss it? Also am I on there? My new job has kept me a little isolated this last 2 weeks.

      • gouis
      • purplerockandy
        • gouis

          Bro did you not see my post right before yours? Bro.

        • Kemper Boyd

          tempted to make that image my avatar but I know everyone hates change and making my avatar anything but a black circle with few incomprehensible lines (which is a line drawing of my face) will cause people to riot.

          • gouis

            I would be for you changing your away from what is essentially a black square.

          • Kemper Boyd

            it’s a black and white line drawing of my face.

          • gouis

            Well it’s approximately 2mm square on the screen so that gets lost

          • Assistant Dragon Slayer

            Oh! I thought it was the cover of that Spinal Tap album.

          • Kemper Boyd

            as I wrote to Sharc it’s been my avatar since they were much bigger and it was obvious what it was. Think @sylvisual:disqus would do me a solid and design me something?

          • Sylvisual

            You want to go from black square to green and purple square. Got it!

          • sharculese

            We’ve had two regulars change both name and avatar over the course of this season. I think you’ll be fine.

          • gouis

            Wait who besides BD

          • Super duper fan

            Mike Hirsh?

          • Super duper fan

            Oh, or Taako From Teevhii.

          • sharculese

            Yup.

          • gouis

            Oh yeah. That’s v. confusing TBH

          • sharculese

            He did a thing where over a couple of days his avatar slowly morphed, but it was so quick I’m sure a lot of people missed it.

          • Kemper Boyd

            I only knew because that dude was sending me messages about fantasy baseball.

          • Taako From Teevhii

            Did someone say fantasy baseball?

          • Kemper Boyd

            How am I looking?

          • Taako From Teevhii

            In second place, losing 5-7 in your current matchup. Pretty good in the early going

          • Taako From Teevhii

            This is actually my third avatar/username on PRP. I tried to space this change over the course of a week, but since it happened in the pre-season, I think a lot of people missed it, or like Kemper’s saying, it was indistinguishable in the tiny box.

          • Kemper Boyd

            I’ve had this avatar online for like 8 years, the problem is when it started being my avatar they were much bigger squares so it was discernible.

          • Kemper Boyd

            FINE GUYS, I HATE CHANGE.

          • gouis

            Oh maybe take the original and alter the contrast so the white lines are more visible?

          • Kemper Boyd

            I will give it a go when I get home from work. Frankly, I should just find something else, maybe one of my photos. Maybe I’ll give you guys a choice and you can choose. I’ll stay the black blob in the kinjaverse.

          • gouis

            YES PRP VOTE

          • Super duper fan

            YAY FOR DEMOCRACY

          • gouis

            I mean, sometimes?

          • Super duper fan

            Sometimes.

          • Kemper Boyd

            cool. I’ll post it up here later. I’ve got a few option, some even have my actual human body in them. Maybe even one of my beautiful face.

          • gouis

            LET’S ALL VOTE ON KEMPS BODY EVERYONE

          • Kemper Boyd

            Mate, I may still need to lose a little more weight (stupid late twenties spread) but to quote Playing House, body be banging.

          • gouis

            “PurpleRock, After Dark”

          • Kemper Boyd

            Once again that is the podcast where me @purplerockjohn:disqus and @disqus_FeYRrg1QKY:disqus discuss Naked Attraction.

          • purplerockandy

            Frankly, I’m shocked that none of y’all made your PRP avatars into your Disqus avatars. I actually had a top 3 most likely in my head as it was happening.

          • Kemper Boyd

            Didn’t Assistant Dragon Slayer? Top less hero?

          • Assistant Dragon Slayer

            I’m only using it in the fantasy baseball league. As much as I love that avatar I think they should be reserved for the real Purple Rock staffers.

          • gouis

            I’m glad we all agreed about that without discussion.

          • Assistant Dragon Slayer

            Knowing what some of us look like IRL (not you, Gouis, or you, @disqus_R9cNRvxsfG:disqus), it’s kind of amazing how accurate those avatars are, in a not-particularly-accurate way, if that makes sense.

          • gouis

            Wait, who else are you stalking

          • Assistant Dragon Slayer

            Ha. Before this season I set up a separate Twitter account for Survivor stuff, and some of the contributors to the season-preview project who I follow have real photos (plus there’s the blurry Denzel photo).

          • Kemper Boyd

            Mine looks remarkably like me. I assume you are always topless.

          • Assistant Dragon Slayer

            I live in California and I work from home.

          • EmAndScoutInBK

            Me too – I’m just shocked I didn’t even think of it

          • Purple Rock Emma

            I feel like we’d let it slide for Blurry Denzel though.

          • Purple Rock Emma

            I’m smiling just *thinking* about that avatar.

          • Assistant Dragon Slayer

            BD is obviously no. 1. Who are the other two?

          • EmAndScoutInBK

            How did that not occur to me?!?!

          • sharculese

            I have a brand to maintain.

        • 1 I’m not on there.
          2. You started off sort-of alphabetising and then stopped, you monster.

          • purplerockandy

            Alphabetized the contributors because that’s how they’re listed on the site as users. Then I just grabbed names. Then I ate a sub.

        • StormofCuteness

          I didn’t think it was possible that I’d be in this, and then I was so I think you did a fantastic job. *self-serving*

    • Dezbot

      Dammit, I really need to post more here.

  • Assistant Dragon Slayer

    Just finished watching. I’m still processing it and definitely not ready to talk about it (and as a straight cis male I don’t want to jump to the head of the line to weigh in anyway). So for now a few comments on the periphery.

    1. It’s the least of his problems, but–Varner didn’t make the jury. HA HA!
    2. Kudos to everybody who made liberal use of the spoiler tag in the comments to last week’s liveblog. And also to those of us who had seen rumors last season (that we now know were accurate) but quickly agreed not to say a single word on PRP about it and managed to sit on that information for almost a full year (John, me, Barbara, and sharculese that I know of, and probably a lot of others). This community is really great.
    3. I think it’s absolutely remarkable that, in the moment, both Zeke and Tai, while saying in no uncertain terms that what Varner did was inexcusable, were also able to express a little bit of compassion for the guy. I’m not saying he deserves compassion, but I’ve really come to despise the ritual social-media hatestorms.
    4. This is very easy for me to say, I know that, and there’s still a long way to go, but–Survivor is a prime-time show on the stodgiest and most old-fashioned of the legacy broadcast TV networks. The progress in this area in my adult lifetime has been just extraordinary.
    5. When Mana was boo-hooing about not winning that garbage pizza, I LOLed at the shot of Michaela poking at the sand and clenching every muscle in her face in an effort to remain expressionless.

    • Kemper Boyd

      1. Until this week I’d have been sad, now it seems fair.
      5. This was probably the only funny thing this episode. Brad is crying about how hard it is and everyone is joining in and Michaela is like “huh, whatevs”.

    • I appreciate the kind thoughts, but I did post on here around the time that it got outed on Reddit that something kinda big got revealed on the Survivor subreddit homepage. The people who did see it (which was not that many because it was a weekend) rightfully took me to task about it and I never brought it up again (yet another reason why this community is easily the best Survivor community around). This is the reason why I started to obliquely refer to Reddit for the rest of MvGX. This is also the reason why I have started to not feel so comfy with my title of gossip queen.

      So, it is only karmically appropriate that I drew Zeke for Survivor Roulette. But, me knowing his gender identity had no weight on how I thought he would do in Game Changers simply because he had so many true red flags that I mentioned in my Worst Case Scenario.

      • Super duper fan

        I also knew his gender identity, but it wasn’t at all what caused me to think that he could be the first boot (I didn’t even thought about that what happened this episode could’ve been EVER a scenario).

        • indescribable hat

          We all knew his gender identity, right? We’ve all known he was a man for as long as we’ve known he existed, it’s his the-fact-that-he’s-trans that wasn’t public.

          • Correct.

          • Super duper fan

            Yes, I was talking about it (but probably there were some people who didn’t know this).

          • Kemper Boyd

            I like you a lot.

          • indescribable hat

            Aw, thanks babe.

          • I realize that “gender identity” is the wrong phrase. I guess I was trying to find a synonym for transgender on very little coffee, which was a bad mistake. I apologize for the error.

          • indescribable hat

            As you can see, I too struggled to find the right noun. Zeke uses “gender history” in his Hollywood Reporter column.

      • gouis

        It’s big of you to admit that pointing us to that post was a mistake. I felt a little guilty after looking but I think we did a good job around here of not mentioning it going forward.

        • Yeah, I mean as soon as I clicked “Post” on that particular post, I felt icky. I just thought that it was like the Bret situation where we hadn’t gotten any actual airtime devoted to him being gay (although we had a bunch of secret scenes at that point) but it was coming up soon. It was still wrong and it is no question the worst thing I have ever posted on here.

          • gouis

            It’s OK, you didn’t post it initially. Many people here would have seen it on Reddit eventually

          • I mean I like gossip, but I am not digging up every player’s college (or high school-hey, Will!) yearbook to see what they were like back then, because it is not pertinent to Survivor unless someone decides to make it pertinent. And even then, that decision is questionable.

          • Assistant Dragon Slayer

            Yeah, there’s a very embarrassing rumor about a former player that that I regret casually repeating a couple times here on PRP.

            PS I think you’re being too hard on yourself.

          • Hornacek

            “This just in: @disqus_GpYJ355BVM:disqus likes gossip!”

            “Also: Water is wet!”

    • Violina23

      I had no idea (since I don’t read Reddit) and I didn’t try to find out. I appreciated your warning.

      • Assistant Dragon Slayer

        TBH, I had forgotten all about the rumor until I caught wind of something big happening in this episode, and at the time I thought it was unlikely to be true.

  • Kemper Boyd

    Apologies if this is expressed below:
    The only positive thing here for me was the reaction of his tribe the moment it was revealed. The fact that you had the 4 in front turn to Varner and yell at him.
    Sarah making it about her was a little uncomfortable but overall it was positive to see that every person there thought this was as heinous a thing to do as we all did.
    It’s strange to see Debbie as one of the voices of reason and morality. I think we all agree when she said “that’s not the game, that’s real life”.
    it should have been Zeke’s choice, I’ve felt icky since I found out due to reddit.

    • pufflehuff

      I appreciated that Sarah’s reaction was shown – it seemed like she was genuinely processing what was happening and that her perspective could be a useful one to have on a show watched across a mostly transphobic country. And she was at least also very supportive of Zeke and not trying to make it about her journey.

      But yeah the whole thing was incredibly uncomfortable so it was great to see people step away from the game in a way that doesn’t always happen.

      • Kemper Boyd

        I think Sarah’s importance is as the Middle American surrogate for viewers. If her reaction turns one or two opinions then it was worth it.

        • gouis

          Just about to say this. She was a proxy for the typical CBS watcher.

          • Kemper Boyd

            I said below that the other tribe members cannot fulfil this role being a Mexican, a refugee and NY tv presenter and a crazy lady respectively.

        • Ms. Sweaterfan

          Excellent point! I would guess that Probst probably asked each of them for their reactions and we just got to see more of Sarah’s for this reason. Yes it was kind of more about her than Zeke, but it’s something that a lot of average CBS viewers probably need to hear.

        • Assistant Dragon Slayer

          Yes. Someone downthread last night took Sarah to task for making it about herself and for only going from a net garbage opinion to a decent-human opinion. I understand the sentiment, but any progress is still progress, and I suspect Sarah’s opinion resonates more with a certain cohort of viewer.

        • purplerockandy

          I also think it’s a mistake to criticize someone who isn’t versed in the right language and is expressing support for not speaking the way we want her to. That sort of thing tends to create the impression that they shouldn’t even bother, for fear of offending people.

          • pufflehuff

            Yes. While I absolutely agree that supporting Zeke in this situation is pretty basic and doesn’t deserve a medal (and I understand why people in threads have expressed frustration at the presentation of some of this moment through Sarah) I also think everybody apart from Varner at that Council gets a pass because it seemed like they were all trying to be allies in the best way that they could.

      • Head Architect Sylvia

        Likewise, I hated the whole episode but I thought Sarah’s reaction was very genuine – she’s not someone that cries very easily and she was genuinely very upset about the whole thing. She MAY have talked about herself a lot but I think she was just doing that in an attempt to prove a point about Zeke being a wonderful person. And also I appreciated the fact that we got to learn more about her as a person and her personal growth just from being around Zeke. I think it was all very real and unfiltered as she was trying to process something that had just happened and was having trouble conveying her emotions properly.

        I am no Sarah fan but I have seen a surprising amount of people (not here) stating that she twisted the situation so it was about her and I don’t think that’s fair at all. Felt to me like a very honest, emotional reaction and she perhaps didn’t quite know what to say because it was a bit out of her comfort zone but she felt strongly enough about it that she had to say something.

        • pufflehuff

          I’m not a huge fan of Sarah either (or Ozzy or Debbie for that matter) but I appreciated how they all handled the situation. It was good that Zeke was given space to find his thoughts and articulate his feelings and that others there stood up against oppression that didn’t affect them directly.

          • I said this about Tai last night, but this may also be Debbie’s best moment on the show. While the others attacked Varner, you can see Debbie turn to Zeke and say something like “I’m with you”. Also, Debbie Wanner: Unlikely Voice of Reason.

          • Head Architect Sylvia

            That was a nice moment. I think the best thing about the scene was that everyone else on the tribe knew immediately how to react appropriately and none of them had to wait for team affirmation.

          • Roswulf

            Yeah, I hate Debbie to an admittedly excessive degree, but she dealt with this situation very well. Signaled to Zeke that she was supportive, expressed her entirely just anger towards Varner, and recognized that this story wasn’t about her.

            Well done Debbie.

          • Hornacek

            “Damn, Debbie.”

      • Violina23

        I took her reaction as genuine. Tribal councils are often hours long and edited down for TV so who knows what the other players said. But being that she admittedly didn’t know many LGBTQ people in real life, she reacted in the most genuine way she probably could, and I thought it was touching.

  • Crappy

    Everything that can be said about this sorry episode has already been said on here. I will just say that watching Zeke’s face immediately after Varner’s outburst was the worst I have felt watching survivor ever. I literally paused and considered not watching the rest of the thing play out.

  • Super duper fan

    Wow, that was one of the most uncomfotable times I felt watching Survivor. The only comparable ones for me were Ted/Ghandia incident, Sue’s quit and Will’Shirin incident. I literraly turned my head away from the screem when it happened.

    I’m not at all obliged to talk about this topic cause I never came across it so far in my life. I think that the whole conversation here about this issue has been fantastic. The only thing I’d like to say is that in my opinion we should leave the forgivness part to Zeke. I don’t say that this act wasn’t absolutely deplorable, but only that even though that WE may not forgive what he did, the important thing is that is ZEKE forgives him.

    On the lighter note, we will get to the merge next week, plus it will be double-episode. Cambodia and Millennials vs. Gen X set the bar really high in terms of them, so I that they will at least be kinda close to that. And I think (or at the very least hope), that this kind of ugliness won’t appear later in the season.

  • Mike Hirsch

    Things can sometimes look better in the light of day but not this. Seriously, shame on Varner.
    Thank GOD that played out with his dismissal because it would have been exponentially more horrific if that had somehow worked in his favor.
    So, yeah: thank you Zeke, Tai, Andrea, Ozzy, Sarah, and Debbie for putting the game aside for a moment and being good people in that moment. I will do the same and proclaim you all temporarily undead to me for the crime of voting out Sandra.

    • Ms. Sweaterfan

      Reflecting on it a bit more after a night of sleep, I also wonder if Probst’s decision to dispense with voting and skip straight to the elimination was a sort of subtle way of suggesting that Varner’s move was disqualifying? On Survivor everything is up in the air until the votes are read and your torch gets smuffed, but this time he chose not to even risk the chance of an idol play, or a botched split vote, etc. It felt a bit like Probst stepping in as his producer role and making the decision that Varner had to go. And I’m actually on board with that. This was Brandon Hantz level danger to another contestant and as a fan I’d prefer that Survivor kept the players as safe as possible (I wish they’d responded this way to Hatch/Sue for instance).

      • I also wonder if they thought that there was a sliver of a chance that Varner survived, then he might self-harm himself back at camp.

        • Ms. Sweaterfan

          He was really devastated by the end. Just not a situation where you want to send the two of them back to camp together alone. Varner probably would have quit anyway if he hadn’t been voted out, now that I think of it.

          • I think he basically quit at the end anyway when he sad “I’m ready to go, Jeff”.

          • I actually found myself wondering if Zeke might quit some time down the line now. I’m erring towards thinking he wouldn’t, because he loves the game too much, but at the same time this has massively changed his season. I can’t imagine having to deal with something like that happening out there, away from all your loved ones.

          • Violina23

            No way Zeke quits. It does complicate his game for better or for worse… Players may be torn between being afraid to look like a jerk for voting him out, and being afraid to take him to the end as a sympathy threat. It’s a delicate line right now.

      • Violina23

        I’m curious how Jeff will “announce” Varner’s departure time the other tribe the next day…. Plus if the news will “spread” or if Zeke will, at this point, choose to volunteer the information to the remaining players.

        • Hornacek

          After what just happened, if after tribal Zeke says “I don’t want to tell the other tribe about being transgender”, do any of his current tribemates want to be the one seen telling someone else after the merge?

      • Figaro

        I don’t know how the ‘narrative’ is playing out in America, but over here (in NZ where Survivor doesn’t even air on primetime tv anymore) it’s being reported that “Probst evicted a contestant” which obviously wasn’t exactly what happened but it’s interesting that it’s being perceived that way.

      • Baulderstone

        Probst certainly stepped on the scale, and rightly so. I doubt anyone was still planning to vote Zeke out, but if they were, Probst was denying them the chance to do it from the safety of the voting booth and making them do it to his face.

        I think it was the right move. He made sure Varner was gone, he kept some pretence of the tribe deicing to boot him, and he did it in a way that made it a clear condemnation of Varner’s actions. I’m never shy about criticizing Probst, but I have nothing but respect for the way he managed things in that Tribal Council.

    • EmAndScoutInBK

      Only temporarily undead though for voting out Sandra. Because I’m still not over that.

      • Mike Hirsch

        Yes. They will be re-dead to me at some point during the next episode.

  • pufflehuff

    I echo all the appreciation for this community – that was a f*cked up episode of television, so I’m really glad I started commenting here this season and had somewhere to process thoughts where people are thoughtful and generous.

    I think production seriously failed by letting that situation get to Tribal Council. Varner gave that confessional where he discussed his pre-meditated plan to out Zeke: sure it was veiled in awful innuendo but production must have known what he was planning and that’s the point when production should have intervened. I get that they don’t want to interfere with gameplay but, come on, outing somebody on television is much more important than a stupid game and as all confessionals are interviews, they could have found a way to get Varner to examine what he was about to do. If protecting Zeke’s right to make his own decisions about coming out is their priority, then that should have been the ethical moment for production to intervene.

    Given that it’s happened – and hopefully that Zeke had some choice in what was ultimately shown, as people have argued – I suppose the positive of the situation is that Varner’s actions were so routinely condemned and I respected how everybody apart from Varner handled that Tribal. It was incredibly inspiring to see the poise and grace with which Zeke handled the situation and I loved the ‘I don’t need any cheerleaders’ moment because seriously, just shut up, Varner. I also appreciated how Zeke + Tai showed understanding of Varner’s terrible decision while never excusing it. Tai might be awful at most parts of Survivor, but he regained my respect in this Tribal.

    And there was a complexity to this moment that was only possible because three queer characters were on the same season: I really didn’t expect the three gay guys on the same tribe narrative to play out in this way, but I guess if this had to happen (and I really wish production hadn’t let it happen) then there’s some value in it being a moment to show the prejudice that exists within LGBTQI+ communities. This is the dark side of the Bret/Zeke conversation last season because some of this can be intergenerational and the queer communities I’ve been part of (as a queer cis man) have definitely had generational splits around transphobia (though clearly this is not just about age, see Tai’s reaction.)

    Anyway, so much respect for Zeke. His article in The Hollywood Reporter is on point and I’m impressed by the way he puts aside the personal situation and says that the problem he’s still struggling with is Varner’s willingness to deploy a dangerous stereotype on a global platform. Hopefully this episode + Zeke’s article can do some work to smash that stereotype.

    • Hornacek

      Do we really want Production to step in and tell a player “The strategy you’re using, you can’t do that.”? The fans joke/complain about the show interfering, but as terrible as this situation was, it’s not the show’s place to tell players what strategy they can and can’t use, unless it violates existing rules (like conspiring to share the money).

      The more I think about this, there’s no right or wrong answer here. If the show does nothing then they let this disgraceful attack happen. If they step in and stop it before it happens, they interfere with the game.

      • pufflehuff

        I get your point but I think that Zeke’s life is more important than the game. I’m 100% okay with them stopping Varner at the point of that confessional, either saying ‘outing somebody on TV is completely unethical’ or leading him to that point – tbh they would have been helping him too.

        • Ms. Sweaterfan

          Also if it wasn’t specifically against the rules at the time, I would be willing to bet it is now. I imagine it being something like a contestant saying in a confessional “I’m going to go punch so and so in the face and see if that will cause enough chaos that the vote changes” and the producers would, rightfully, say “uh, no definitely don’t do that.”
          And if production isn’t sensitive enough to prevent someone from outing a fellow player to protect that contestant’s well being, then at least they would be motivated to stop it because it could really mess with the edit if the outed player doesn’t want to give them permission to air the aftermath.

          • pufflehuff

            Yes – I think the violence example is useful, because they would definitely intervene then, even at the expense of drama – no way that somebody can share such an intention in a confessional without production intervening.

            Even with whatever good may come with the moment ultimately being shown, it’s really tough to continue to support CBS by watching this when they pull something like this.

          • EmAndScoutInBK

            I don’t even think they need to make it against the rules now. What player in their right mind would emulate this?! (I mean, there’s always someone, I guess).

      • Adam B.

        Yes, I want Production to step in and say “that is reprehensible. Do not do that.”

        • Hornacek

          And eventually you get to a point where you can’t do anything strategic without clearing it with Production first.

          • Adam B.

            I can’t think of a single other strategic plan in 34 seasons which would have required such an intervention before now. The slope is neither slippery nor a slope at all.

          • Hornacek

            It’s nowhere near the same, but the only thing I can think of that’s even close (Dalton Ross mentioned this in his column) was Penner revealing to the tribe at FTC that Lisa was a sitcom star in the 80s. Again, nowhere near the same, but it’s one player revealing a secret about another player that they kept hidden. And at that point, Penner was on the jury so there was no real strategic plan except Penner either wanted “a moment” or he wanted to make sure Lisa didn’t win.

            I don’t want players attacking other players like Varner did to Zeke, but I also don’t want Production stepping in and telling them what strategy they can and do. Jeff has said many times that if it doesn’t violate the rules, it’s allowed. Unfortunately, what Varner did doesn’t violate the existing rules. If the show wants to change the rules so revealing this sort of personal information is not allowed then they should do that.

          • Adam B.

            At least in the Welchel example — or Gary Hogeboom, for that matter — the viewing public was aware of the hidden identity issue (though the competitors were not), and there were no real world implications from the revelation.

            I absolutely understand where you’re coming from, because a power for producers to shape gameplay leads us back to Stacey Stillman Land. But this one’s just so egregious that an exception should make sense.

          • Hornacek

            You’re right – in those 2 examples the public already knew, and the secret was not so bad that the viewers probably wanted it to come out to see what would happen when it did.

            If we could 100% say that if the show stepped in and stopped a player from revealing this kind of information that it would only be for this one thing and never happen again for anything else, then yes, I could agree, the show should do that. But as we know, once the show makes a change to how they run the game, more often than not they keep doing it. And taking it further. Once you do something once and get away with it with no ramifications, it’s that much easier to do it again.

    • EmAndScoutInBK

      Varner is now saying that he didn’t tell production ahead of time. So there’s that?

      • pufflehuff

        That’s confusing to me as I don’t know how production don’t hear that confessional he gives and know that something is up.

        tbh I’m trying not to listen to Varner’s story – I just slipped and read the parade article and it made me pretty mad because it’s like he gets that he has to say that ‘this should be all about zeke’ but also can’t help getting defensive and making it about him.

        • EmAndScoutInBK

          Oh, I know. I don’t know if you read my other comments, but I am furious at the shit he is saying in exit press. I won’t get into it because it will only further anger you, but I am livid.

          • pufflehuff

            Yeah, I did see some of that conversation and not surprised you’re livid.

        • Max_Jets

          I don’t really know how production works on this show. Does every person on the production team know that Zeke is transgender, including random cameramen? Would the quote we hear in the episode even stick out to them if they didn’t know that and would they think to mention it to Probst? I’m not saying they didn’t know what was happening, but perhaps they didn’t?

          • pufflehuff

            That’s a good point – I imagine they have some producers who are pulling together the pre-Tribal confessionals to get a sense of whatever the story is before they go into Tribal. But I don’t know and you’re right, maybe they really didn’t know what was going to happen. I hope so.

  • I really don’t know what to say about this. My dad watched last night and texted me to say that this was “possibly the best tribal council ever” (in terms of shock value, maybe), so I was expecting a double idol play or rock draw or something… not like that. At first I thought this was some sort of plan between Varner and Zeke, not because I doubted Zeke’s experience, but because I had a really hard time believing that Varner could actually be this malicious. As it became more and more apparent that this was entirely real, I didn’t really know how to respond, and I still don’t.
    Goodbye, Varner. I never thought I’d say this, but I’m glad to see you go.

  • daft

    From the comments by Jeff Probst about the event and the direct aftermath. I doesn’t look like any serious consideration was given to reshooting tribal, the general idea seems to have been ‘it happened’, the production machine rolls on, and support psychologists do their best to help the participants deal with the fall out. Hopefully, there’s further disclosures from the production crew as to why they ultimately chose that route. Yes, that kind of intrusion and prurience is the bread and butter of other reality shows, but I’d hoped Survivor was well above that, and it raises a whole raft of disturbing ethical issues. In the subsequent eight months after the incident Zeke may have accepted his unwanted advocacy role, but it ultimately wasn’t Varner’s actions that will affect his life moving forward, it’s the production crew and CBS, no matter what public good Zeke’s personal sacrifice ultimately engenders. No matter how heinous Varner’s actions were in the heat of the moment, his life too will become fixed by the event. Yes, if you go on a reality show, you open yourself up to all kinds wanted/unwanted roles and associations, we all know too the contestants are just as complicit in using the publicity machine for their own ends, as well, but commerce shouldn’t trump the ethicacy of two lives.

    • Assistant Dragon Slayer

      Zeke doesn’t hold any ill will toward production or CBS in his Hollywood Reporter article. Maybe I’m naive, but I think that unlike United Airlines, CBS knows that just because there’s some language in some contract somewhere saying they can do something, doesn’t mean they should do it (whether because it wouldn’t be the right thing to do or they foresee a PR nightmare). If anything, the “there’s no need to vote” bit seems a little staged to me. My guess is that at some point toward the end of TC Probst asked Zeke how he wanted to handle it. If he had not consented they would have gone through the motions of an actual vote (although I don’t put it past Probst to pressure Zeke to consent if he was wavering). Surely they had enough unrelated footage to cobble together a short TC, and a unanimous vote against Varner wouldn’t have been weird anyway.

    • Alycia Swift

      I also wonder if purposefully reshooting tribal could have got them in legal trouble i.e. Quiz Show. There is no way, even if the contestants agreed, that it would have stayed secret. Piss off or fire one production assistant or even the caterer, and it would have gotten out.

      • sharculese

        Iirc Survivor is considered legally distinct from game shows and isn’t bound by those laws. Pretty sure it’s something they actively sought after the Stacey Stillman incident.

      • Ms. Sweaterfan

        Yeah completely reshooting TC seems way over the line (and how could they have even done it with emotions running so high). I also think that making them vote and then cutting the scene way down and not explaining why everyone was so emotional would have been really bad, because the audience would know something serious happened and then it would just be spoiled on Reddit or wherever anyway. It really sucks for Zeke that Varner created this situation that forced everyone’s hand, but I don’t see how CBS could have edited around it. Mayyyybe if Zeke really didn’t want it to air, they could have left the entire TC on the cutting room floor and then forced Varner to quit and aired only a Varner/Probst quitting discussion without showing any of the rest of the tribe. But that’s still pretty dishonest.

    • Hornacek

      Zeke has said that he always knew that he might be outed on the show.

  • PurpleTally

    My student about the episode (she’s 9):
    That was so mean. It made me sad. I kind of feel bad for Jeff because people are going to be mad at him for the rest of his life, but he shouldn’t have done it.

    • Diego Armando

      She is a smart cookie.

  • Hornacek

    I am “glad” that I managed to avoid spoilers this week so I did not see this coming (as much as one could have enjoyed watching this happen). I had no idea that Zeke was trans; I have to admit that I was so shocked by Varner saying it that my first reaction was that he was making it up and that’s why Zeke looked so shocked.

    Like many Survivor viewers (and Sarah), before this episode I would have said “I’ve never met or known any transgender people”. But now that I’ve watched Zeke for 1.5 seasons and now know that he’s trans, I still like him as much as I did before I knew. Which means that I “knew” a trans person (as much as you can “know” someone you only know from TV) and whether or not he’s trans doesn’t change how much I like him as a player or a person. And this means that I could “know” a trans person in real life without knowing it, and it doesn’t matter – if I already like them now then I would like them after finding out they were trans.

    I’m just rambling here, not sure what I”m trying to say. I just felt like I had to say something.

    • Violina23

      I know what you mean. I’ve never met a transgender person, at least one that I knew was transgender. But I feel like I “know’ Zeke even though I know I don’t really. I couldn’t stop thinking about it all night and today. I don’t know what I would have said if I was there.

      • Assistant Dragon Slayer

        If there’s any silver lining, it’s really great the way the rest of Nuku immediately and completely turned on Varner. Can you imagine, say, any group of five from the Nicaragua cast acting that way? Remember how nobody in the World’s Apart cast defended Shirin because they didn’t want to endanger their own standing in the game (except Mike, who had nothing to lose anyway)?

        • Roswulf

          Admittedly, Varner was already on the outside. Turning on Varner was moral justification reinforcing what was already going to happen.

          This was absolutely good behavior from the Nuku bystanders. But the test is when gameplay and morality run at cross-purposes.

          • Kemper Boyd

            Agree. That is the Shirin and Will thing, it’s the Ted and Ghandia thing. It’s harder to stick up for someone who is on the bottom or stand up to an ally.

          • Assistant Dragon Slayer

            The three of you have a point, but a truly amoral gamebot would have been fine with getting rid of either Varner or Zeke (Varner wasn’t wrong about Zeke playing both sides with Andrea and Sarah).

          • Kemper Boyd

            Varner wasn’t wrong about Ozzy either. But it’s also a really easy vote to go after the guy who just did something awful who happens to be without allies.

        • it’s almost like people are quick to defend members of their own alliance, but cool with letting the people on the bottom get piled on…

    • All discrimination works by ‘othering’, but there’s a problem as well in that people will make exceptions for those ‘others’ that they know personally, without expanding that to the wider community. Take immigration and Brexit, for example, in the UK – the people who want all immigrants out of the country don’t actually mean Raj who runs the local shop, or Anya the nurse who comes round to take their blood pressure, etc etc. It’s all the imaginary immigrants who they don’t know that are the problem. I don’t know what we do about it (nor, I think, do I really know what I’m trying to say here either).

      I went to infant school (aged 4–6) and then high school with a guy who transitioned from female to male in between that period. The first time I bumped in to him I used the name I’d formerly known him by, and was corrected, and that was that. No explanations required; it was just a thing that had happened. I suppose I should be grateful we all lived in the UK, and there was never any question of bullshit about which school toilets to use or whatever. As kids we just all got on with it.

    • Ms. Sweaterfan

      I like this sentiment. I still obviously don’t like that Zeke was forcibly outed, but I think that television has been responsible for making some good headway in introducing otherwise isolated people to the realities of other ways of living your life. For that reason, I hope that Zeke’s story inspires other trans and gender non-binary people to try out for Survivor, to the extent that it just becomes an expected part of casting rather than “I wonder if they’ll ever cast a trans person?” (which I believe is something I actually said on here a few seasons ago…)

      • Hornacek

        “I wonder if they’ll ever cast a trans person?”

        That’s something I didn’t think about until you said. Now if anyone asks that you can tell them “They already did. And we didn’t know it until he came back a second time.”

  • Kemper Boyd

    Off topic: Did any of you guys see the Funny115 about Katie Collins? Mario nailed the reason I like her so much (apart from the level of island hot she achieved, toenails aside), it’s that she is possibly the most ordinary person who has ever been cast on the show.

    • Assistant Dragon Slayer

      I don’t know if Mario discussed this specifically, but that’s the thing about BvW seasons–half the cast or close to it is composed of people who wouldn’t have been cast in a regular season. You really have to be a strong archetype to get cast. The other thing that has this on my mind recently is last week’s Snakes Rats and Goats podcast. If you don’t know, their schtick is that the two hosts coerce a different non-Survivor-watching friend into watching each episode to get the take of a complete newbie. Last week’s guest said something like “I don’t remember her name, but she’s super beautiful in kind of a cartoony way.” It turns out he was referring to Hali, but it occurred to me that that description applies equally well to Andrea and Michaela (and although not really my type, Aubry and FFSDT as well).

      • Kemper Boyd

        Yeah he goes through how it’s obvious she was only cast because Tina is awesome and they wanted her. But that is kind of the magic of Katie Collins, she’s way more average than the other BvW loved ones.

      • sharculese

        He basically addresses it in the form of a joke about how the only reason you can imagine Katie agreeing to be on Survivor was she lost a bet with her mom.

        As to that second part, I would have immediately been like “you mean the one who looks like a princess from an 80s anime? Yeah, that’s Hali.”

        • gouis

          Man I just do not get Hali People.

          • sharculese

            I’m not a Hali Person, but she absolutely does look like she should be sitting in a metal throne in a big poofy dress while generic looking dudes pilot giant robots for her.

          • Roswulf

            She is after all the rightful princess of Merica.

          • Super duper fan

            This may be a weird thing to say here, but since we’re talking about how Hali looks like: She looks exactly like Adam but without the beard and with longer hair.

  • Roswulf

    I have very little to say about the A plot of this episode. Varner is bad, Zeke is the best, everyone else was irrelevant (but surprisingly non-evil). It stood alone, an ugly moment that reshaped a man’s life that never should have been part of this show.

    But…there was also that B-Plot. I’ve been arguing against the “Brad winner’s edit” theory. Obviously his edit has been large and positive, but I was convinced that there were other equally relevant climaxes to the Brad story. In this episode, we had two of the most likable and eloquent stars left on the season used as props to make Brad look good. So…Brad is winning this season, isn’t he?

    Goddamn it. Can’t Zeke win? Why can’t we live in the world where Zeke wins?

    • gouis

      Because it’s 2017

      • Roswulf

        But this filmed in 2016, right? Doesn’t that give us hope?

        Oh. I guess it doesn’t.

        • gouis

          Nope. I mean at this point in 2018 we’re going to get like a Will vs. Brandon Hantz finale.

    • Assistant Dragon Slayer

      I really hesitate to pull on this thread while we’re still processing what happened last night, but I think Zeke is safe for a while, but eventually it turns into a Kelly Bruno situation (even if there’s no NaOnka in this cast to actually say on camera what they’re thinking).

      • Kemper Boyd

        I think he was already seen as somewhat of a strategic threat.

      • Roswulf

        I think it builds his bond with his current tribal alliance…but ultimately his tribal alliance looks like it is not going to carry the day. And this sequence makes it even more clear that you don’t want Zeke to be the last Survivor from his underdog faction. He’s really, really, REALLY not a goat.

        • Maritimer

          I agree, I expect that alliance 5 of five they certainly showed us for a reason wins the day, with Hali and maybe Tai tagging along and a Pagonging or near Pagonging ensues

        • Ms. Sweaterfan

          I agree I think the remaining tribe members will bond like crazy and going directly into the merge will only cement the relationship more, but I also don’t think that group will ultimately be in control of the game. They may be forced to splinter simply because of numbers. I think they will most likely have an instinct to protect Zeke for at least another vote or two, but eventually he will probably end up being a target. Have we ever seen him form much of a relationshipo with the golden man of the hour Brad so far this season?

    • Super duper fan

      I don’t know, week by week I think it’s more likely that Sarah wins. We hear side of the story quite a lot this season, and the only times we didn’t hear from her was when she was in Tavau, but that was more cause she was in a winning team. The only other ones besides Brad and Sarah that I could see winning is Zeke, Hali, Ozzy, with Michaela and Cirie as dark horses.

      • gouis

        OWFFGCLAHSDT

        • Super duper fan

          Sandra was voted out remember?

          • gouis

            STOP REMINDING US

      • Roswulf

        I think the edit has tried to establish that Sarah is IMPORTANT, but hasn’t spent much time on her internal life or making her sympathetic. I don’t place much emphasis on her Tribal speech this episode- that makes the cut 100% even if she’s med evaced the next day.

        By contract the season REALLY wants us to love Brad. And when it comes to boring folks, the show mostly wants us to love winners.

        • Super duper fan

          Brad is still the main contender, don’t get me wrong, but I still need at least 2 good episodes from him to fully buy into that.

          • gouis

            He’s had like 6?

          • Kemper Boyd

            I’m not a edgicer but I’m really feeling the Brad is winning edit. It’s very similar to Jeremy. It’d be great if there was a fake out but then last time there was a fake out everyone got really angry Michele won.

          • Super duper fan

            *cough*Adam*cough*

          • Kemper Boyd

            Yep. True as well. Guys, Adam is a sucky winner.

          • Super duper fan
          • Kemper Boyd

            SUCKY. WINNER.

          • Super duper fan

            KEMPER. IS. WRONG AGAIN.

          • Kemper Boyd

            Explain to me how Adam’s win is more impressive than Michele’s.

          • gouis

            Both can be bad

          • Kemper Boyd

            I believe they both are, but I want an explanation that says Adam isn’t a sucky winner. Prove he’s better than Michele (who I don’t think was terrible, just sucky).

          • In the post-game stuff Adam has claimed to have had secret alliances with Taylor, Bret and Jay, and have been super-tight with Jessica. Bret and Jessica have both backed that up.

            He’s talked about how the thing with telling Taylor about his advantage (which he acknowledges was a mistake) was as part of a much wider strategic discussion with secret ally Taylor, and that while Taylor did turn on him in an attempt to save his own game, that actually worked in his favour –everyone else thought Taylor hated Adam (reducing his threat level), but Adam himself was always confident he’d have Taylor’s vote, because he’d kept his word not to tell anyone about the food stealing.

            Will gave an interesting podcast where he talked about getting blindsided – one of the only times Adam lied in the game was when he told Will he was safe. Will said that because Adam had never lied to him before, he didn’t know his tells, so he believed him.

            The cast has seemed pretty unanimous in praising his game. I think production’s efforts to change the edit up a bit hurt him, because a lot of his more strategic play got cut to help hide who the winner was.

          • Super duper fan

            You’re so much better at this than I.

          • Kemper Boyd

            This is why Reya can be right and you can still be wrong 🙂

          • Super duper fan
          • Assistant Dragon Slayer

            (I think you all know I’m an old anyway…). What is this a reference to? A Google image search is no help.

          • Super duper fan

            It’s a cut from a cutscene from a game called “Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney-Spirit of Justice”.

          • Assistant Dragon Slayer

            Oh good. I was afraid it was something from, say, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles that would be completely obvious to anybody under 40. Is it a cutscene where she’s side-eying somebody? is that the context?

          • Super duper fan

            It’s from out of the context.

          • Alycia Swift

            Ooh I need that as my avatar. Never heard of it before.

          • Super duper fan

            It’s a visual novel, where there isn’t much gameplay and you mainly read the text, so the main focus is on the story. This game is actually the 6th entry in the series, in which you play as a defense attorney and try to defend your clients (most of the time it’s murder cases). While the story can be really emotional, it has a lot of humor, with bunch of cazy characters. There is also Ace Attorney Investigation serises which is a spin-off set in the same unvese (the 2nd game wasn’t localized outside of Japan, but there is a fan translation of it), a crossover with Professor Layton series, and another spin-off which is set arond 300-200 years before the main series (it also wasn’t localized). It’s a niche series, since most of the game is focused on reading, and peole don’t like to read, but even little gameplay in there can be fun.

            I don’t know why i wrote all of this, but I’m a big fan of the series, so I wanted to say something about it. And I would LOVE to see that picture as your avatar (it’s from out of context, just like someone takes a picture of you before you sneeze, but it looks like you’re laughing).

          • Super duper fan

            And you don’t make any sense.

          • Kemper Boyd

            Yes I do. Do your own arguing bruh

          • Super duper fan

            I’m writing it, patience.

          • Kemper Boyd

            Where do you think you are? Patience! LOL

          • Super duper fan

            You’re right. I’m sorry. I’ll be thinking of what I write from now on.

          • Kemper Boyd

            See here is an answer. I still don’t buy it completely. I think anyone would have won against Hannah and Ken, which is kind of unfair.

          • Isn’t that part of playing a good game? Getting to the end with people you know you can beat?

            Like Michele, all reports are that Adam actually played a really good social game offscreen. He’s certainly very well liked by his cast, and has given good explanations for the strategy behind his moves in subsequent interviews.

          • Super duper fan

            He won unanonimously.

          • Kemper Boyd

            so? that’s not an answer. Kim didn’t win unanimously and she’s known as the greatest winner.

          • Something Quirky

            I went to the wikia to remind myself of the non-Kim votes (2 votes for Sabrina? I do not remember that. It didn’t say who voted who.) and found this:

            Colton Cumbie’s intense fury over Bill Posley actually stemmed when Bill threw Colton’s Hidden Immunity Idol into the ocean. This is a direct violation to the Survivor Rulebook, because the idols are considered as personal items, thus cannot be stolen. Leif Manson told Colton the incident, while production returned Colton’s idol to him.

            It doesn’t excuse anything, of course. But I don’t remember knowing that happened.

          • Kemper Boyd

            Her votes came from Leif and Troy an fyi

          • Something Quirky

            Of course they did.

            (I do like Sabrina and Chelsea, and have always hoped Chelsea would come back.)

          • Something Quirky

            (But obviously neither of them are Kim.)

            (But ugh, of course there’s always more to hate about Troy, even though knowing that information at the time added to my dislike of him.)

          • Super duper fan

            I’m really bad at argumenting, especially if I didn’t think about it at least 2-3 hours, but the best I can say is that: The only times where he voted incorrectly were Mari vote and Bret vote (and rock draw depending if you include it or not), besides them he always was in a majority alliance and was only targeted from Final 5 (excluding Michelle vote). He didn’t need immunity to get to the end. He along with Hannah controlled who was going home from Zeke boot onwards, plus (regarding your point about him being in finals with Ken and Hannah) he was always allied with them, so he didn’t just ended up with them there by accident like Bob in Gabon. And as I said he won unanimously, which only 4 other people managed to do (and I think he would only lose against Jay and David, but it’s hard to say always after a season airs).

            I would need to think about it a day to sort out all of my arguments, but it’s a gist of it. And if you still don’t think Adam is a good winner, that’s fine, I was only half-joking with my previous responses. And it doesn’t help that I love Adam probably as much as Blurry Denzel loves Hannah, and as you love Katie.

          • Kemper Boyd

            Yes but Katie is not good at Survivor.

          • Super duper fan

            I was only giving an example, so I think the proper comparison is Andy’s love for Boston Rob, in that I minimize the things that he’s bad at, and exaggerates the things he’s good at.

          • Super duper fan

            I need AT LEAST 14 episodes to buy into the winner edit.

          • Kemper Boyd

            do you wait until the montage to really call the winner’s edit?

          • Super duper fan

            Hey, it’s working 100% of the time.

          • Purple Rock Emma

            What’d you do in Cambodia? Jeremy didn’t get a montage.

          • Super duper fan

            I checked the screen after the voting, and it said that he is the winner, duh.

          • Roswulf

            I think there is an argument for waiting one- there’s a not entirely insane case that Brad could be getting a “titan falling at the merge” edit. I hope it is, because Brad bores me.

            I feel like if he survives this week without a dramatic change in his portrayal, he’s making the Finals. And if he makes it to Final Tribal, he wins.

        • Bundi

          Well this episode got me, I am looking forward to seeing him, Aubrey, and Cirie working together. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t want him to win at all, but hopefully this means that Aubrey and Cirie will be sticking around for a while and will be getting more screen time. The downside is that when they decide they want to get rid of him, he can easily win out the ICs…

        • Maritimer

          I’m starting to wonder if we are getting merge-boot Sarah again actually. The set up with Troy, Troy seems into this 5 person alliance with Brad (Top 5 baby), she gets pissed, tries to make things happen, goes home. When player’s arcs start to mirror their old season’s arc, I always feel its a set up for a repeat though (I’m desperately ignoring the Troy=Tony part of this analogy)

      • Alycia Swift

        I agree. Brad is getting the hero edit. Sarah is getting the pre-merge occasionally there edit boring confessional saying she has to do things in the future.

        Very similar edit to Aubry (the Brad edit in some ways, David in others)/Michele.

        And there may be enough women left who want a woman to win or do not get along well with Brad or are cut by Brad (i.e. Hali and/or Debbie).

      • tocantins

        I’ll say more about it in my power rankings, but right now I feel that 7 times out of 10 Brad wins this season. After him, I would give the season 15% of the time to Ozzy, then Sarah, Hali, and Sierra would get ~5% each. (Probably voting Brad out at F3 or F4 Rob C-style.) I don’t give anyone but Debbie 0%, but I really can’t see how Michela or Cirie are ever winning this game, given the edit they have got so far.

        • Super duper fan

          Definetely, I just was saying about other possibilities.

    • Assistant Dragon Slayer

      Reshaped two men’s lives, I expect.

      Incidentally, Rob and Stephen said something quite astute on KIA (and just generally, I thought they handled the discussion about as well as could be expected): Hopefully there isn’t a social-media Two Minutes Hate against Varner. Not because Varner doesn’t deserve it but because 1) social-media frenzies are just generally terrible, and 2) it would make Varner a victim, and he absolutely must not be allowed to become a victim.

    • VoicOff

      Brad is 100% winning this thing

  • chamberpop

    What are the odds Varner outs Zeke to everyone at ponderosa?

    • sharculese

      Zero. He knows he fucked up. He’s not making it worse.

    • Assistant Dragon Slayer

      Apologies if it’s too soon, but–remember how when Erik was voted out in Micronesia, James jumped up and yelled “I’m not the stupidest Survivor ever anymore!!”? Somewhere in New Jersey and Alabama, I think that last night two men jumped up off their couches and yelled “my stock didn’t fall the furthest!!”

    • Kemper Boyd

      The only thing I can think is he would tell Sandra to explain his devastation. But maybe they just took him to somewhere for his mental wellbeing.

  • Something Quirky

    I knew something was up when SBSs facebook had an article about this episode.
    (SBS has never broadcast Survivor, and was colloquially known as Soccer Before Sex, and has an offshoot channel called Viceland. They also do a bunch of World News. And have shows like Community, South Park, Atlanta, B99, etc.)
    I scrolled quickly enough to miss most of the headline. And then one of the msn articles (yes, I still use hotmail) was also about it, but didn’t give specifics. I assumed crazy horrible production twist. I was left wishing for crazy horrible production twist.

    Also, as of today, the government is requiring ISPs to collect and save our metadata for two years, so I now have a VPN and watched the episode on CBS.com. I was tempted to turn AdBlock off, but nah.

  • Something Quirky

    There needs to be a gif of Ozzy stroking his chin and pondering after the word was revealed as Metamorphosis.

  • So, I read the Gordon Holmes and Josh Wigler exit press with Varner and it was really uncomfortable. He has said in both interviews that Zeke and his friends basically spent all night attacking him after he thought that he was forgiven. I think Varner didn’t realize that Zeke probably didn’t realize that Varner had this in his arsenal to use against him until he saw that confessional. But, he seems to be blaming the edit in the Wigler interview, which is not the right tactic at all.

    • I can’t bring myself to read any of his exit interviews.

    • Ms. Sweaterfan

      I wonder what Varner is basing his belief that he was forgiven on? Was it the fact that during the tribal Varner said “I’m sorry” about a million times until at the very end Zeke finally said “it’s okay”? I would sincerely hope that Varner has approached him to apologize more fully and talk it out since then, but maybe not? If not, then yikes…

      • I believe both of them have mentioned multiple pre-season conversations.

      • Roswulf

        “I looked to Varner, now the one hunched and quivering, and contemplated the backlash he would face. When he said what he said, he changed both of our lives forever. When he pulled me in for a hug, I felt compelled to reciprocate, both as a sign that I was willing to forgive him and that the shots he had fired missed.

        But, if we’re being perfectly honest with one another, I’ve struggled with that forgiveness in the months following. I can’t foresee us sipping martinis together in Fire Island. While I can reconcile the personal slight of him outing me, I continue to be troubled by his willingness to deploy such a dangerous stereotype on a global platform.

        But forgiveness does not require friendship. Forgiveness does not require forgetting or excusing his actions. Forgiveness requires hope. Hope that he understands the injury he caused and does not inflict it upon others. Hope that whatever torments his soul will
        plague him no more. I have hope for Jeff Varner. I just choose to hope from afar, thank you very much.”

      • EmAndScoutInBK

        It bothers me to no end that Zeke was in the position of comforting Varner at the end. I was a philosophy major in college, and I once wrote a paper about the problem of apology – it shifts the burden to the victim because it asks for forgiveness. I was, of course, writing this in a different context (I was writing about why reparations were appropriate).

        • gouis

          So you’re saying Canadians are manipulative scumbags?

          • EmAndScoutInBK

            Wait, I feel like I’ve missed something. Did they pay or not pay reparations? It’s been a long time, but I think I was arguing, at the time, for the US to pay reparations because then, we aren’t shifting the burden to forgiveness

          • gouis

            I was just talking about how they say “sorry” so much…

          • EmAndScoutInBK
          • purplerockandy

            The. Worst.

          • Hornacek

            Sorry about that.

        • Ms. Sweaterfan

          I agree completely and this is a really important point to consider (and not just in this context).

          On a similar but much less extreme note, I had a friend in college who would pull shenanigans like this – she would do something mean, someone would get mad at her, and then she would go on about how hurt she was that the other person was mad. It made everything all about her and really undermined everyone else’s feelings. This is completely what Varner is pulling now and I’m not a fan. It’s toxic.

          • EmAndScoutInBK

            I couldn’t agree more. It drives me crazy when people try to become the victim because they are struggling with the consequences of how they hurt someone.

          • Violina23

            I have family that does it. Or my favorite “I’m sorry you’re upset, but here are the X reasons why it was really all your fault and you deserved it”

    • Roswulf

      There’s a lot more of Dan Foley in Jeff Varner than I would have thought a week ago.

      The one thing I did gain from this interview is a better understanding of the context for Zeke’s words about Varner and forgiveness, which very much anticipated Varner taking this road. Jesus, Zeke is awesome. The one good thing about last night’s episode is that it made Zeke a virtual lock for a third time on Survivor, and I like watching Zeke play Survivor an awful lot.

      • He might be a lock for the Heroes Tribe.

        • pufflehuff

          This is tough – in real life, I think Zeke is very inspiring and I sort of read the Tribal Council as a moment where Survivor stopped being a game really and became unfortunately very real.

          But in Survivor, I think Zeke is a good villain – I definitely have him as a Slytherin and he clearly has fun with this role, especially this season. I hope that for the rest of this season – and if he does come back again – the show doesn’t push him into a narrative as a representational hero. Not saying that this is what you were trying to do here, just that I like the idea that this could happen and Zeke can continue to play a cutthroat game and enjoy being a villain within the context of this silly gameshow.

          • My fear is that Production will force him into that narrative role despite his wishes. I think he would be a natural fit for the Villains tribe as well, but I can see Production being like “we can’t make Zeke a villain now”.

          • Roswulf

            I’m OK with that. If there is one knock on HvV, it’s that the Heroes tribe could have used a few more people like Zeke to keep things interesting.

          • The problem was that the Micronesia and Rupert pre-game alliance basically had the Heroes tribe on lock even with someone like Zeke.

          • Prom King

            I too love Zeke as a villain, although his sort of Survivor villainy is so different than the kind of villainy that Varner tried to ascribe to him.

        • Alycia Swift

          Here’s where an anti-hero tribe is needed. Zeke has elements of both. His first season, I would have considered him a villain – if that season actually had one. (Taylor was a court jester moron, not an outright villain).

      • Zeke is fantastic, and as much as I’ll want to see him again regardless of how he finishes this season, I’m curious as to how much he’d want to play again. Obviously he loves Survivor, and the fact that he made it through this tribal without quitting shows how strong he is, I don’t think anyone would blame him if he separates himself from Survivor after this season. Plus, if he does come back again, he probably becomes the “trans Survivor contestant” that he didn’t want to be.

    • Maritimer

      There is one right thing to say here if you are Varner: “I fucked up. I understand and accept that I fucked up. I have apologized and continue to apologize to Zeke and anyone else I may have hurt.” That’s it. Full stop. You don’t qualify it, you don’t blame someone else. Otherwise, you aren’t actually apologizing
      If Zeke didn’t know that this was premeditated and thought it was a spur of the moment thing, I feel even worse for him this morning than I already did, because it probably hurt that much more watching last night

      • Ms. Sweaterfan

        If Varner had a PR person, I would imagine that he would have just released that statement and then respectfully declined to do any exit press in person. Not sure if CBS requires it of you, but this is a case where we really don’t need to hear more from him right now.

        • Maritimer

          Yeah, any competent PR person would tell you to do that. Plus probably donate some money to a group which supports transgendered people. Other people here would know better than me, but I think the exit press is contractually obligated

        • Roswulf

          I’m pretty confident it is required, but that wouldn’t have stopped Varner from being terse and on-message.

          But Varner remains Varner. He can’t shut up about the self-centered narratives he creates. And as charming as that can be- see the pre-season material fro Second Chances- it is absolutely monstrous in this context. He says all the right things…but doesn’t stop himself from saying the wrong things too.

          Fuck Jeff Varner.

        • Ms_Woozah

          Lot of people need competent PR help this week.

    • EmAndScoutInBK

      I read the interviews, and I’m still angry. He’s talking out of both sides of his mouth. “What I did was horrible, there’s no excuse, it’s assault – but it was the edit, I’m getting attacked by Zeke’s friends, I thought he was Russell Hantz, my trans friends know me!”

      • Mike Hirsch

        His “that’s not who I am” thing…to a certain extent, it is who you are, Jeff, because you did it. You were capable of doing it, so you have that in you. It may not be all of who you are, but it is very much a part of you, so goddammit, own it.

    • gouis

      He didn’t realize Zeke was mostly just done with him and wanted to end things as easily as possible. It’s not up to Zeke to make Varner feel better about himself. What a baby.

    • Prom King

      He just wants to get past this and I get that. I still have a sliver of sympathy for him and there was certainly some mean commentary from Zeke since the episode. But what Varner needs to understand is that this is bigger than his hurt feelings and bigger than Zeke still being mad and shaming him. And Zeke and his friends and supporters can still be angry and say mean things – it is their feelings after all, and the episode literally just aired! There may have been forgiveness on the episode from Zeke (which Zeke has walked back from since then), but as you note, the episode also contained a confessional from Varner which was pretty damning and made an ugly incident even uglier. It may take a while for Varner to truly get it, especially if this mistake devastated him. A person often can’t see the big picture if they are emotional and suffering. I probably won’t be reading exit press in this case because I’d prefer to focus on Zeke’s feelings rather than Varner’s.

      • Alycia Swift

        Zeke may not have seen or known about that particular confessional until it aired and that confessional made it seem pre-planned and malicious.

        • Prom King

          Yep, that’s why I made that point.

    • Ms_Woozah

      I heard somewhere that Varner had suicidal thoughts after this and I sympathize and get that he feels horrible. I do. But at the same time he needs to realize that watching this all over again is going to reopen wounds for Zeke and his community. It’s going to take a lot more time, and Varner can’t expect to be welcomed with open arms for a long time, if ever.

      • EmAndScoutInBK

        I was starting to feel… something.. when you wrote that, and then I read where that came from – the Gordon Holmes exit interview. In that same answer, he says they are both victims. NOPE. Frankly, I don’t know what’s honest with him. I believe he feels badly – but I don’t know if he feels badly because of how people reacted or because of what he did. If it was really about what he did, he wouldn’t have done it.

        I’m kind of in a place where it doesn’t matter what he says. There’s nothing he can say.

      • EmAndScoutInBK

        Also, he still won’t own it as a malicious act. That really frustrates me.

        • Ms_Woozah

          Agreed. He says it’s an assault but also it’s not malicious? Does he realize how contradictory that is?

    • Assistant Dragon Slayer

      I just listened to Varner’s interview with Rob C. (which, ugh, super-painful), and at the very least he walks those two specific points back (meaning first, that whatever process Zeke has to go through now that the episode has actually aired is the process he has to go through, and second, that the edit was in no way to blame).

  • Taako From Teevhii

    Rewatched tribal and read Wigler’s Varner exit interview. Not feeling great, so let’s talk about Archer.

    “I don’t want the money, that’s why I exchanged it for good and services, i.e. the core concept of economics.”

    “Isn’t that sugar? … No wait, it’s scarcity. Of sugar.”

    • sharculese

      Again, I don’t feel like I was paying close enough attention this week (and we weren’t DVRing it, for some reason). I know reviews pre-season were saying that Cheryl was the funniest thing about that season, and that’s true, but it’s still not that funny.

      The thing is, I don’t care. I’m down for the total film noir homage route they’re taking. Archer’s tried to tell a longform story before* but it’s never quite managed to do it because the urge to be joke-a-minute pushed back against this. I like giving this story time to breathe.

      *I’m spoiler tagging this, but even if you haven’t listened to TAZ yet you can read it without getting spoiled.

      On a related note, ten minutes into The Stolen Century I was thinking “oh, Griffin, you silly boy, you can’t get these goofballs through this in two episodes.” And then I laughed so hard when around the twenty minute mark Griffin had that realized it was gonna take longer than he thought.

      • Assistant Dragon Slayer

        IIRC the AV Club reviewer got a screener for the first four episodes, and said that it takes a couple of episodes for the show to finish world-building, then it’s back to joke-a-minute.

        • Taako From Teevhii

          Really? I thought the AVC season review made a weird point of saying that there weren’t a lot of jokes overall.

          • Assistant Dragon Slayer

            It can be two things: Funnier once its established the premise of the season and also not reaching the joke/minute ratio of past seasons.

      • Taako From Teevhii

        I kinda don’t need to be a joke a minute, kinda for the same reason you said, but I also get the same kick out of callbacks and recurring gags. By the way, I’m loving *rimshot* “Stop it!”

        I haven’t heard TAZ yet (and with a 1:37 runtime, it might have to wait until the weekend or later), but yeah considering that they couldn’t get through Suffering Game on their expected schedule, I don’t know how Griffin thought something as meaty as the Stolen Century would happen in short order.

        • sharculese

          Spoiler tagged but again not really a spoiler.

          it’s a testament to the power of this team as storytellers though. I’m 30 minutes in and twice already Griffin has thanked them for making character choices that improve then narrative he had planned.

  • Ms_Woozah

    Did anyone see Cirie’s confessional about Sandra’s vote out? That was a delight. “She must have mastered the Jedi mind trick to have lasted as long as she did.”

  • Taako From Teevhii

    I’d normally post a bunch of bonus clips in the fantasy post, but I’m going to do that here:

    • Taako From Teevhii

      Here’s the clip of Cirie @Ms_Woozah:disqus just mentioned.

      • Max_Jets

        She’s so delightful. I keep replaying the first couple seconds.

      • VoicOff

        She is a ray of sunshine.
        This season badly needs more Cirie

    • Taako From Teevhii

      Here’s Brad discussing Ozzy, which sounds like it has interesting implications for the merge

    • Taako From Teevhii

      Here’s Zeke discussing what his mindset going into Tribal

      • sharculese

        This doesn’t feel like it came the day after. The way he talks about it sounds like Andrea and Sarah confronted Zeke about what Varner told them before tribal, in a scene we didn’t see because they wanted to maintain the illusion the Varner’s plan would work, and then production pulled him aside for a last minute confessional before they left to vote.

        • Taako From Teevhii

          Yeah, I realized that this likely happened before tribal. I edited the comment to reflect that.

          • sharculese

            It does clear up that, even had he not chosen to do something morally reprehensible, Varner was still probably going home. If Andrea and Sarah were willing to confront Zeke directly and talk things out it’s unlikely they were willing to go along with flipping.

  • this bear is tops blooby

    Posted this over at the AV Club already:

    Oh Varner, you done fucked up, you done fucked up.

    The only thing I can fathom is that in his sleep deprived and physically starved state on the island he somehow thought what he was going to do would make sense, but then the aftermath slowly crept into him where he realized he done fucked up.

    But with that ugly moment, they were able to get a really powerful message from it, and you know what, it proved to be really inspiring and emotionally honest.

  • Kemper Boyd
    • StormofCuteness

      Erm, this doesn’t look right on my phone. 🤔

      • Kemper Boyd

        I can imagine. I tried to embed a code and it worked very poorly.

    • indescribable hat

      Big, big fan of those penguin doors.

      • Kemper Boyd

        pigeons…

        • indescribable hat

          Oh boy. Well, I like them even if I don’t understand them!

    • purplerockandy
      • Kemper Boyd

        this is your prefered option.

        • purplerockandy

          I have no preference. You do you.

          • Kemper Boyd

            this is democracy bruv.

          • purplerockandy

            I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, democracy simply does not work.

          • Am American. Can confirm.

      • Kemper Boyd

        Maybe I’ll put “contributor Kemper Boyd” over whatever wins.

    • Blurry Denzel

      I like the first picture. That’s my vote.

      • Super duper fan

        In case you didn’t notice, there is a poll below all the photos and you can vote there (it probably doesn’t change much, I just say it to let you know).

        • Max_Jets

          I missed this…

          • Super duper fan

            Don’t worry, at first I also didn’t notice, it’s hard to spot.

          • Kemper Boyd

            stupid embed link didn’t work and I was doing it from my phone

    • Max_Jets

      I am also team pigeon doors.

    • VoicOff

      As you are told in graphic design courses, abstract stuff doesn’t work on magazine covers and avatars.
      You need something impactfull. You need pigeons.

      (I any form you like)

      • Purple Rock Emma

        Can I quote “You need something impactful. You need pigeons,” on my Twitter? It delights me to no end.

        • VoicOff

          Sure. It would be my pleasure

  • Ms. Sweaterfan

    For anyone else who might be taking a break from RHAP coverage of Survivor this week but who maybe needs some lighter content to fill the void until PRP comes out tomorrow, I highly recommend the RHAP coverage of Amazing Race episode 2. Seriously you don’t even need to watch the episode to appreciate it (spoiler: it involves in depth coverage of one contestant’s testicle related crisis)
    http://robhasawebsite.com/amazing-race-29-episode-2-recap/

    • Super duper fan

      I loved it. The season is really good good so far, everyone is really likable (besides HIM…you know who I’m talking about).

  • the sky is falling

    My inherent cynicism is showing, but a day later, I still put the blame on CBS.
    Unless I missed below that Zeke asked them to air it, they could have extended the tribal council to have footage they could use, or simply made an announcement that Varner was voted out unanimously, there were ways to edit around it.

    But wow, even Hantz is like, dang, Varner.
    Additional perspective from Corrinne below
    https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/08924932dc1fbe80001b8b11a391d33db02ddb1a3ee519543b16871994a45912.png

    https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/3c2f7d03bac480ccb420512cabc1c80e324c0851cc11c16f1b0c31ec388aaa0c.png https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/0103f53645b534ff10e9900f14bbf88b0b01485a131c7d6714fad2ac8fd8e7ff.png https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/d1ba5652e04b65e3630bbb9e62907ab98d65af4dfd50f32ec7c0cc9431f3e2a4.png

    • Roswulf

      God, Russell is an ass.

    • EmAndScoutInBK

      Russell is the gddamn worst in every situation.

      I watched a clip of Zeke on The Talk (what is that show? Have literally never seen it before), and one thing he did say was that he was “given an unprecedented amount of autonomy” over the narrative and how his story was told. That, to me, is encouraging, especially since autonomy over his story is exactly what Varner took from him

      • Purple Rock Emma

        It’s basically CBS’s answer to The View.

        • EmAndScoutInBK

          I kid you not, when it first came on, my reaction was, is this The View with different people? Have they just replaced everyone? No, wait, it’s called The Talk.

          • I will always have time for Sara Gilbert, though. If this is what she wants to do with her life (and I believe she’s also a producer), I root for its success. Darlene Conner is one of my all-time favorite television characters.

          • StormofCuteness

            Plus they were so awesome on the show about her wedding and marriage from brief glimpses I’ve caught.

          • EmAndScoutInBK

            Agree! Darlene Conner is amazing forever

        • Except worse.

      • I know that GLAAD has said that they helped as well.

        • Something Quirky

          Yeah they have an article on their website about it.

    • Maritimer

      1) As stated, Russell fucking sucks.
      2) I know they reshoot things. I’m convinced they reshot the scene where Jerri finds Rob passed out in the woods in HvV. I’m not sure how they reshoot this though. I wouldn’t put Varner back in. They could have edited around it though I imagine. (not defending CBS here, I think they done fucked up here too, I just don’t think reshooting was an option)

      • the sky is falling

        Worst part of the whole scenario is that Varner sucked the fun right outta that episode, I watch the show for hijinks of fun and scheming.
        I give that episode an F, would not watch again.

        • Maritimer

          Certainly would not/could not rewatch the episode either

          • the sky is falling

            Also, as awful as Russell and his response is. even he understood it was a despicable move. or perhaps he just saw it as bad strategy.

          • Maritimer

            I will grudgingly give him credit that he understood it was a despicable move. His reaction indicates he didn’t care about Zeke though, just that someone else made him look less bad

          • VoicOff

            Nothing can make him look less bad. Two wrong don’t make one of them goood

          • Maritimer

            No, that’s true. To be clear, I’m saying that’s what he sees, not what I see

        • Ms. Sweaterfan

          I’ve said before that I’m a serial re-watcher. I’ve rewatched every episode multiple times, including the likes of Ted/Ghandia, Hatch/Sue, Brandon Hantz, etc. But I don’t have any interest in ever watching this TC again.

          • sharculese

            Like I said below, I rewatched it. Would. Not. Advise.

  • Alycia Swift

    I listened to Jeff Varner’s RHAP exit interview. That was very hard to listen to.

    • EmAndScoutInBK

      I am finding his exit press so, so frustrating. I can’t believe he called himself a victim in the Gordon Holmes interview. It’s all frustrating, along with the video from #Survivor500 where he calls this his favorite moment in Survivor history. ARE YOU KIDDING ME

  • Ms. Sweaterfan

    A friend of mine (who happens to be gender non-conforming) shared this article on Facebook:
    http://www.advocate.com/media/2017/4/13/lgbt-twitter-outraged-gay-man-outed-trans-survivor-contestant

    Nothing new in the coverage really except that throughout the entire article they refer to Survivor contestant “Jeff Garner”

  • the sky is falling

    I guess the silver lining is that Varner isn’t on the jury. now THAT woulda been awkward.

    • EmAndScoutInBK

      THANK. FUCKING. GD.

      • the sky is falling

        This season is gunning for the Shirin and b Hantz season for most uncomfortable moments.

        • Something Quirky

          Remember when we had a few seasons of relatively normal Tribal councils and Survivor play in a row?
          No Brenda/Dawn, no J’Tia, no horrific bullying.

          (My bar for relatively normal in this context is “not shocking in a people being bad people way”.)

          • Kemper Boyd

            I mean the stuff with Kyle Jason and Alecia wasn’t great to watch. I don’t think we’ll ever get through more than 4 seasons without something on a normal level of awful happening, not on this awful level of awful.

  • the sky is falling

    final thought for this week. survivor owes us Debbie as next boot. preferably a scenario where she uses extra vote and still goes home.

    • PurpleTally

      Yeah, but everything is shit, so it’ll probably be Cirie. I take back all the nice things I’ve said about this season. (Unless Cirie wins, in which case, best season ever.)

  • VoicOff

    I so wish production could have swept it all under a rug…
    Congrats Varner. Your legacy is now “that asshole who outed a trans person”
    You will never be invited back

    Zeke is now “trans survivor”

    That episode is “the moment the season started to completly suck”

    • Prom King

      He’s only “trans survivor” if people make him “trans survivor”… I find him memorable for many other reasons and I think and hope the same goes for others.

      • VoicOff

        I hope you understand that it’s not necesarly my point of view, just that such a fuck up will be really memorable for all the wrong reasons.
        And in a society where we are not done getting out of the idea that “cis is the default”, it’s hard to shake off this etiquette

        • Prom King

          Oh don’t worry, I know that that is not your point of view. I’d like to think that that wouldn’t be the point of view of any of the regulars here because I have a really high opinion of this group.

          Maybe I’m just a glass half-full kind of guy, but I really do think that the show has done a great job in establishing who Zeke is, all of him, throughout two seasons, and that people will eventually see this as only a facet of him rather than his sum total.

          • Something Quirky

            And, to be blunt, it helps that he looks how he does. So it’s much easier for people who aren’t necessarily as accepting to just think of him as Zeke because that’s all they’ve seen him as.
            (Oh god I hope the reunion doesn’t push to try to do anything to change that. I wish I had confidence in Probst remembering that he’s never going to be a Dr Phil type.)

          • Prom King

            True.

          • VoicOff

            He is just a dude. Men’s appearances are less policed than women, so a shortish dude with wide hips and big eyes is not looked the same way a very tall woman with narrow hips and broad shoulders is.

            Also facial hair is a very powerfull visual clue so if a trans dude is far enough on hormones treatment his passing should be decent enough

        • the sky is falling

          It’s just weird that Big Brother had a trans person and it wasn’t even an issue. Survivor messed this up.

          • I was going to bring up Audrey and how once she announced it on the first night (because the media found out in the preseason), then it wasn’t a big deal. Everyone treated her well and she was kicked out because of the game.

    • the sky is falling

      This season started to completely suck when Tony was voted out

  • Side Character

    Ugh. That was just…well, uncomfortable would be an understatement. This may be the single biggest turnaround on a Survivor player ever. It’s so hard to take in because, you know, we liked Jeff Varner here. I liked Jeff Varner. And now this is how everyone will remember him.
    I don’t check any other places for Survivor-related stuff (I worry about what I might see if I go elsewhere, as some have already experienced). As many have said before, I’m thankful you all are here and are so supportive of each other. Even when shit like this comes up, this is never an unsafe place to be. Thank you for that.

    • Kemper Boyd

      Yep, I was rooting for him to make the jury but now I’d be happy to never see from him again. There is being a villain in the game and there is doing something actually morally wrong and he did something awful and now can’t seem to apologise for it without caveats.
      Russell Hantz is an odious piece of crap but I never had to watch him do something like this.

  • Something Quirky

    I know I’m on the purple rock record as not being his biggest fan, so there’s bias, but ugh that tweet from Coach is inappropriate.

    • sharculese

      I’m not on Twitter. What did he do?

      • Something Quirky

        The tweet that was quoted in one of the articles here was basically that he said Survivor shapes who you are as a person, and everyone else says it’s just a game, but now we see. (That he was right, and people should listen to him being the implication I got).

        • sharculese

          I mean, I don’t doubt that Coach is pliable clay that a producer can manipulate without problems. Rachel Golberg would have a field day with him.

          What Coach doesn’t understand is that not everyone is as dumb as he is.

          • You watch UnREAL too? Sharc…you are a mystery wrapped in an enigma. You’re a burrito.

          • sharculese

            I went to art school, and then I majored in theater, and then when I lived in DC gay men were a huge chunk of my social circle. I absorbed a lot of stuff by osmosis. I’m never gonna go down the James Franco route of weird gross appropriation, but shit that is good is just good.

            Roommate and I are currently binging unREAL on Hulu (I was the one who got her into it). 2 episodes into season 2 because we have different schedules and also can only watch it when other roommate isn’t around. What I find funny is that 4/5 of the commercials are ‘hey, these are lady products for ladies’ and then the last fifth is like ‘trucks and razors, because maybe some dude is being forced to watch this with his girlfriend.’

          • the sky is falling

            Unreal is a delicious takedown of Bachelor franchise, I’d watch a Survivor version

          • Alycia Swift

            Well there’s Total Drama island. It’s a cartoon though.

          • I live in DC and it’s definitely a good town to be a gay guy in. Too bad I’m terrified of all humans.

          • the sky is falling

            Really? Me too, the DC part at least

          • I never lie. Okay, I sometimes lie, but not then.

          • the sky is falling

            And by your name, you are a LOST fan. I have a swan station tattoo, too bad I’m a straight man

          • Ha, I actually am not a “Lost” watcher. It’s…an absolute long story about having to pick a handle for some long-forgotten message board, and I was wearing a Hurley t-shirt, and the rest is history.

            The only time I watched “Lost” was when I lived with 4 Irishmen and a Greek guy in Dublin. They were obsessed with “Lost” and “Friends.” I didn’t understand what the hell was going on. Well, in “Lost.” “Friends” I was able to keep straight.

          • the sky is falling

            Your loss

          • “My ‘Lost’ Loss.” A play in 3 acts.

          • So six of you 20-somethings were living together? Can I ask you a few questions?

            1. Did anyone tell you life was gonna be this way?
            2. Was your job a joke?
            3. Were you broke?
            4. Your love life: D.O.A?

          • It’s a moo point.

          • Really? Me too, the terrified of all humans part at least.

  • daft

    I’ve got to say in retrospect that I’d rather the producers avoided showing ‘the incident’. Obviously it has generated serious, worthy online discussion about transgender politics, but I don’t see that it should be at the expense of an individual’s private life, whether or not they subsequently agree to embrace it. Anyway, I’ve really enjoyed the last five seasons, how the players have pushed the methodologies forward, but the incident does give me cause for concern as to whether it might be indicative of a show in viewership decline, and a potential relaxing of standards by the producers chasing sensation. It’s a show that’s generally avoided the more prurient aspects of reality TV formatting, I’d hate to see it fall into that trap too. I’d always had cause for concern when degrading ‘eating challenges’ were shown and the several seasons that followed Russell Hantz introduction, when producers considered it de rigueur to include a divisive individual to encourage *false* drama. There might be a few contestants that quibble with their representations here and there, but generally speaking most have been treated fairly, such incidents give cause to reflect upon the basic voyeuristic nature of enterprise. I’d choose not to watch if I felt that duty of care was to lapse moving forward.

    • the sky is falling

      Tldr version, big words, excellent analysis. survivor be tryin too hard.

    • Taako From Teevhii

      Survivor routinely has the top ratings in its time slot. The producers don’t need to do anything to pull in viewers and are not doing so.

      Eating challenges have been a part of Survivor since forever.

      Divisive individuals have been a part of Survivor since forever. It’s part of the process for casting a reality show. This isn’t Jeff Probst’s Best Friend Race.

      • I get his larger point, though. I was disappointed when the show cast John Rocker, because it felt like Survivor trying to go low to attract a different type of audience.

        Recent seasons have given me hope that the show won’t go down that path. I think the show’s production staff and fans generally enjoyed Cambodia, which had one of the most diverse and representative casts in recent memory (particularly heartening that such a diverse cast got selected by fans). And I think last season featured pleasant people just playing a game and treating it as such, rather than manufacturing drama.

  • the sky is falling

    This seasons amazing racers would make an excellent survivor cast

    • Assistant Dragon Slayer

      I don’t know if that’s literally true, but I get what you’re saying. I know the purists don’t like format of this season, but it’s almost as if TAR casting has been hindered by the Blood vs Water problem all along, and this season they’ve finally been freed from that.

      Seth & Olive seem like the complete package, and I sure wouldn’t mind them winning, but I’m kinda hoping Becca & Floyd are the next Amy & Maya.

      • the sky is falling

        I like the nerd team. amazing race always seems to have a positive vibe. I feel like amazing race got very lucky, this concept could have gone very badly

        • I’m watching right now and the veteran is starting to get a little…obnoxious in that CBS way.

          • StormofCuteness

            Yeah, Redmond did not come off well. I was freaking out because my two favorite teams were the last to come in. I was so sad it was an elimination round.

          • Kemper Boyd

            I was sad, it shows one of the strategy issues in picking a partner, if you are strong and pick too strongly you become a target from early.

          • Kemper Boyd

            Redmond turned into an enormous douche this leg. I’m on Team Fun and the weirdos who’ve come first twice in a row.

          • StormofCuteness

            My two favorite teams as well. Redbeard seems to have a huge set of skills!

          • disqus_R9cNRvxsfG

            Both of them do. Liz looked bad in the rowing but she’s clearly versatile too. Redbeard is awesome.

          • Ms. Sweaterfan

            Redmond got weirdly aggro this episode and I didn’t like it.
            I still <3 Team Fun and was sooooo relieved when they found their passports!

  • daft

    And finally. I hate for this discussion to be hijacked, the community here seems to have responded in an adult fashion, so I apologize in advance to any LGBT identified individuals if they think this is trivializing the incident by broaching the subject. I *hope* there’s a point in exposing a deeper layer of ‘unease’ amongst general society, I duly admit I don’t have all the facts to hand. Anyway, would there have been the same reaction if the audience hadn’t had been so shocked at the revelation? I get the feeling that if a transgender individual not so *successful* in their reassigned gender appearance had been outed, it might have been trivialized and not led to the kind of progressive discussions generated. On some deeper prejudicial level, Zeke has been embraced because of his *success* in meeting our societal expectations of manhood, rather than simply embraced from the bravery he’s shown. And yes, success is duly qualified above because I have enough knowledge of sexual politics to know that its not the goal of all transgender individuals to ‘pass’ as the other, merely to find their own unique identity. Anyway, I’ll duly admit to that kind of thought process about Zeke at the time i.e. ‘Stop picking on the bloke!’ I merely find it curious that those are were my (our) first thoughts…

    • the sky is falling

      Please keep posting, I quite enjoy your analysis. A+

    • Taako From Teevhii

      Forcibly outing people is bad all around in every flavor, which we’ve talked about extensively in this post. So yes, I believe there would still be a strong reaction, and there should be. Asking “Why aren’t you talking about being transgender?” to someone who’s post-transition, in transition, has a gender non-conforming presentation, literally any and every scenario under the sun is gross and bad and shouldn’t be done.

      “I get the feeling that if a transgender individual not so *successful* in their reassigned gender appearance had been outed, it might have been trivialized and not led to the kind of progressive discussions generated.”
      I cannot state emphatically enough that there is no way to trivialize a forcible outing. The appearance of the victim does not temper the brutality of the assault and never will. And to measure an atrocious act like that by the discussion it generates is … I don’t have a better word, it’s gross.

      I do hope there’s some miscommunication going on here because this entire comment has me disturbed and uncomfortable. I’ll be glad if I’m misunderstanding what you’re trying to say, unless your point is that people are so shallow that they’d excuse this assault if it happened to “someone who looked trans anyway.” That is much, much worse.

      • daft

        Well, I Taako I think the communique was hamstrung by its with various caveats, as well as knowing its probably too early for such a breakdown, and the general the sensitivity of what is being discussed. As I’ve mentioned elsewhere, I don’t agree it should have been broadcast in the first place, individuals lives are far too important. Given that it’s in the public domain now, I’m trying to understand the deeper complexity of the non-LGBT response to the event. Clearly Zeke identifies as male, and sort to seek out that identity, as stated, he wasn’t too impressed about that defining his Survivor story or experience. But, if he had applied during that gender transitional period, and it was obvious that was the case, I’d suggest there *might* have been a slightly different reaction from the general viewing audience. I get the feeling that in some quarters, it mightn’t have been seen as a point of identification and support, but the opposite (a trivialized concerned about the *other*). That’s not to say people would have thought the exposure was any less wrong. I get the uncomfortable feeling that the shock value of the exposure here masks some general misunderstanding/prejudice by the non-LGBT community i.e. we should support those on a journey to their proper gender identity. Sarah was obviously trying to grapple with this during tribal council. I get the feeling as an illustrative example of the transgender experience, it reinforces that rather skewed notion. The shock valve of the exposure in some senses closes down the deeper complexity of the issue, that it’s not about supporting individuals towards their chose defined gender roles, but the elimination of those roles as a basic requisite stereotype of society and personal identity. So yeah, I’m not trying to purposely undermine the strides in understanding made during this unfortunate event, but just adding a note of caution that everything might not be as it appears at face value. That further public conversations might need to be had. 🙂

  • Ethan Kyle

    http://www.sheknows.com/entertainment/articles/1133434/survivor-game-changers-jeff-varner-interview
    I hate to keep playing … some weird case of Devils Advocate here but when Jeff talks about the edit I believe this article’s answer is what he means

    • sharculese

      On KIA they were speculating about what the hell Varner would say in exit press. They concluded it would be “I dont know what I was thinking,” and Rob pointed out that thats sort of a theme with Varner.

  • Something Quirky

    I just read the Dalton Ross recap. He clearly loves Jeff, but I think he does deserve the praise in this instance.
    I was also wondering if anyone would bring up Zeke’s mocking of David’s anxiety. I’m not saying it’s comparable to this or anything, just in a general sense of how TCs can get, and how people on Survivor can be. I was surprised he didn’t bring up Dan and Will’s bullying of Shirin.

    • sharculese

      Ive seen people bring up the David incident. Not that they were comparable to begin with, but for the record, David says Zeke and Bret’s frustration with him was totally justifiable because he was acting like a dick in parts of that tribal that didnt make the edit.

      • Something Quirky

        One day they should show us a bonus episode that’s all Tribal Council.

        Though I guess that could be off-putting for casual viewers who might think that TC is basically all that we see.

    • pufflehuff

      I understand the need to provide analogies (that’s part of what a Survivor discussion website is for) but I think in this instance, the ‘comparisons are odious’ line is useful. There hasn’t been an outing on Survivor before and production better make sure there isn’t again.

      I do think that red lines have been crossed by contestants before (and I wish production had intervened then, too) but I think the Zeke/David Tribal is not a great one to bring up. I know that you weren’t bringing it up to compare them but I think that whatever kind of person Zeke is – and he certainly said he wasn’t a role model in TC – there’s just never, never any justification for outing anybody, no matter whatever else they might have done.

      • Something Quirky

        Of course not. As I said, I was curious about it being mentioned in the scheme of how people behave in Survivor, not as anything against Zeke.

        Dalton also covered the should production have intervened question, but is firmly in the no camp.