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!

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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
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1,315 thoughts on “Survivor Game Changers Episode 7 Liveblog: “What Happened on Exile, Stays on Exile”

  1. 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.)

      1. 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.

        1. 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

          1. 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.

    1. 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.

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

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

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

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

      1. 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.

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

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

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

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

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

    1. 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!

          1. 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.

      1. 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.

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

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

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

    1. 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).

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

    1. 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.

      1. 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.

      2. 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

        1. 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?

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

          2. 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.

          3. 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.

  6. 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.”

    1. 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.

    2. 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.

    3. 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.

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

    1. 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.

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

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

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

      2. 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.

          1. 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.

          2. 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.

          3. 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.

          4. 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.

        1. 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.”

        2. 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.

          1. 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.

          2. 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.

          3. 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.

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

      1. 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.

  8. 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.

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

      1. 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.

    2. “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!

    3. 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.

      1. 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.

      2. 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.

        1. 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.

          1. 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.

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

          1. 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.

          2. 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.

  9. 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.

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

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

        1. 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.

    1. 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)

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

    2. 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.

  10. 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.

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

      1. 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.

    1. 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.

  11. 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.

  12. 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?

      1. 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!

    1. 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

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

          1. 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.

    2. 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.

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

      1. 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.

  13. 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.

    1. 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.

    2. 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.

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

  14. 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.

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

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

      1. 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!

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

          1. 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!”

          2. 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.

        2. 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.

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

    3. 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…

      1. 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?

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

        2. 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.

          1. 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.

        3. 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.

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

        1. 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.


          1. 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!!

    4. 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.

      1. 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.

    5. 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.

  15. 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.

  16. 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.

  17. 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.

    1. 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.

        1. 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.

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

      1. 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.

    2. 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.

      1. 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.

    3. 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.

      1. 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.

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

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

          2. 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.

          3. 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.

      2. 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.

    4. 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.

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

    1. 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.

      1. 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.

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

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

          3. “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.

          4. 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.

          5. 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

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

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

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

    2. 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.

      1. 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”

          1. 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.

          2. 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.

          3. 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!

          4. 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.

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

        1. 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)

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

          2. 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.

        2. 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.”

          1. 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.

          2. 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.

          3. 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.

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

          5. 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.

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

          7. 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.

          8. 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.

          9. 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.

          10. 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.

          11. 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.

          12. 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.

          13. 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.

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

          15. 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.”

          16. 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.)

          17. 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.

        3. 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.

          1. 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.

          2. 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.

          3. 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.

          4. 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.

    3. 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.

      1. 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.)

        1. 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.

  18. 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)

    1. 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.

      1. 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.

        1. 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.

        2. 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.

          1. 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.

          2. Agreed. I read it yesterday and was very impressed. Also recommend Probst’s interview with Dalton Ross on 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”.

          3. 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!

        3. 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).

    2. 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.

      1. 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.”

        1. 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.

          1. 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.

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

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

    2. 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.

  20. 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.


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

      1. 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”.

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

    1. “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.

      1. 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.

  21. 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.

    1. 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.

        1. 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.

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

      1. 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.

        1. 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

  22. 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.

      1. 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.

        1. 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.

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

          2. 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.

          3. 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.

          4. 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.

          5. 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.

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

          7. 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).

    1. 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.

      1. 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.

    2. 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.

  23. 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.

    1. 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.

        1. 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.

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

        1. 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.

          1. 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.

          2. *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.

          3. 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.

          4. 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!

          5. 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.

          6. 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.

          7. *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)

          8. 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.

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

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

          11. 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.

          12. “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.

          13. 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.

          14. 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.

          15. 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!

          16. 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.

          17. 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.

          18. 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.

          19. 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.

      2. 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.

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

          2. 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.”

          3. 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.

      3. 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.

    2. 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.

      1. 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.

        1. 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.

    3. 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.

  24. 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.

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

    2. 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.

        1. 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.

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

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

          2. 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?”

          3. 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.

        1. 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.

          1. 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.

          2. 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.

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

          4. 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.

  25. 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.

    1. 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.

      1. 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.”

        1. 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.

        2. 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.

      2. 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.

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

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

        1. 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.

          1. 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.

    2. 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?

      1. 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.

      2. 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.

      3. 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.

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

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

        2. 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.

    4. 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.

        1. 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.

  26. 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.

      1. 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?

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

          1. 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.

          2. 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.

          3. 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.

          4. 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?

          5. 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.

          6. 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.

          7. “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.

          8. 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.

    1. 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.

        1. 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.

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

      1. 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.

  27. 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.

      1. 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!

        1. 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

          1. 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)

            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.

          2. 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)

          3. 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.

    1. 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.

    2. 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).

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

          1. No, probably just another fan of critically acclaimed sitcoms that wait a decade for a 2nd season.

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

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

      4. 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?”

        1. 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?”

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

    4. 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!)

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

  28. 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.

      1. 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.

        1. 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.

          1. 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.

          2. 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?)

          3. 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.

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

          5. 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.

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

          7. 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.

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

          9. 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.

          10. (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.)

        2. 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.

      2. 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?

        1. 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


          It was blocking my access to the office.

          1. 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.

          2. 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.

        2. 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.

  29. 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.

    1. 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

      1. 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.

          1. 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.

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

  30. 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??

    1. 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?

      1. 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 🙂

          1. 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.

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

        1. 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

          1. 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.

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

          3. 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.

          4. 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.

          5. 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.

          6. 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.

          7. 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.

    2. 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.

  31. 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.

    1. 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)

      1. 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.

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

          1. 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.

          2. 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.

    2. 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.

      1. 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.

        1. 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?

          1. 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.

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

          3. 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.

          4. 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)

          5. 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.

        2. 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.

          1. 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.

    3. 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.

      1. 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.

        1. 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.

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

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

          3. 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”.

          4. 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?

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

          6. 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.

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

          8. 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.

          9. 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.

          10. 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?

          11. 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.

          12. 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.)

          13. 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”.

    4. 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.”

      1. 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.

        1. 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.

        2. 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.

        3. 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.

        4. 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.

      2. 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.

  32. 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.

    1. 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.

  33. 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.

        1. 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.

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

          2. 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.

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

            Don’t you dare try to unionize.

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

          5. 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.

      1. 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.

        1. 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.

          1. 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.

          2. 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?

        2. 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.

          1. 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

          2. 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.

          1. 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.

        3. 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.

    1. 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.

      1. 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

    2. 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.

      1. 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)

    3. 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.

    4. 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.

  34. 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.

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

      1. 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).

        1. 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.

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

  35. 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.

    1. 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.

  36. 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.

      1. 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.

      1. 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.

        1. 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.

        2. “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.

  37. 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.

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

      1. 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.