The People’s Survivor Blog: The one with no morals, values, dignity, or courage

Each week, I’ll be analyzing how well the second chances of various Survivors are going. I’ll be paying particularly close attention to their spectacular failures, and giving out an award I made up. 

The People's Survivor Blog (not Stephen Fishbach's)

John is a nerd on the internet who has never been on Survivor, but has been podcasting about Survivor since 2013. This season, in The People’s Survivor blog, he will blog about his experiences as a Survivor viewer. Follow John on Twitter @purplerockpod.

“Then if it goes to another tie, we’re gonna have to…draw…rocks? The jury? We fight for it?” – Woo Hwang, Survivor: Cagayan

As I read Stephen Fishbach’s Survivor blog every week, I often find myself thinking, “Why doesn’t Stephen insert his picture in a way that makes it look like the Survivors are always thinking about him?”

Fishbach Survivor blog photo before after
Before: Humble writer. After: Arrogant podcaster.

But as a Survivor viewer, I often find myself thinking, “Why don’t we get more scenes of what camp life is like?” Luckily, we got a little glimpse of that in episode two. First, we got to see Bayon:

Cambodia- Bayon tribe laughing Fishbach Joe Kass Savage Kimmi

Wow, seems like it’s going pretty well over there. People are getting along, laughing and lounging. They’ve got just about everything you could want for a peaceful first six days: hammocks, fire, and an indestructible branch.

Cambodia- Fishbach chopping wood

So it seems like we’re off to a good start over at Bayon. Good for them! And I assume life is just as wonderful back at Takeo camp, right? Let’s take a look at the situation there:

dumpster fire
So…less good, then?

Life’s simple pleasures horrors

Ok, time to turn our attention to this week’s greatest failures, and their case for the coveted Dead Fishy award:

Nominee #1: Terry Deitz supporters

If I ever go on Survivor, please set the bar for me exactly where you’d clearly set it for Terry before this season. “You guys! John just talked to another human being without stabbing him in the neck with a pencil! Yay!”

The perceptions of Terry have reached the point where I expect to go back and watch Panama and see a shirtless Terry just grunting “PROBST! Where challenge?!” for every post-merge episode. I get that he’s not a social savant, but it’s not like he’s incapable of interacting with others. When he flies airplanes, he’s presumably not jumping on the intercom to say, “Sit down and shut up, fuckfaces! I don’t give a shit what your boarding pass says, we’re going to Houston!”

Nominee #2: Abi-Maria

Spencer: Oh look, it’s Peih-Gee! Hey, Peih-Gee, how’s your morning going so far?

Peih-Gee: It’s great, thanks for asking! I’m just washing my hair in the ocean in a way that will make me look like I should be in a shampoo commercial. I hope you guys are having a great day, too!

Cambodia- Peih Gee amazing hair
“Pantene, holla at ya girl!”

Abi-Maria: So what the fuck, Peih-Gee? Why are you being like this? I WILL CUT YOU!

Nominee #3: Jeff Varner

I mean, it is called the Dead Fishy. How can I not acknowledge this?

Cambodia- Varner dead fish vs Will dead fish

(Note: Varner will never win a Dead Fishy. He could chase after his tribemates with a sharpened machete while yelling “Who wants a piece of Jeffy V?!” and I’d just pass it off as a brilliant team-building moment, even as the producers were firing tranq darts at him to subdue him.)

Nominee #4: Kass McQuillen

Cambodia- Kass crying

No! You stop that! You stop feeling emotions and smiling! You are here to break the spirits of others and drink their delicious tears, not produce your own. Really disappointed in you, Kass. Tears are for winner’s edi- Oh. My. God. Nevermind. Carry on, Kass!

Nominee #5: Shirin Oskooi

Ha! It will never be Shirin. Bring me your hatred, r/Survivor!

Actual nominee #5: Monica Padilla

Just a disastrous episode for her this week. Let’s take a look back at the highlights and lowlights:

Footage not found

Champion of Failure

A lot of worthy candidates this week. But who will take home the trophy?

dead fishy trophy

New week, same winner. Enjoy it, Abi-Maria. You’re giving us exactly what we expected, even if I’d hoped you’d give it to someone else.

John
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John

John is the co-host of the Purple Rock Survivor Podcast. He is still not sure if it was just a f*%king stick.

Favorite seasons: Heroes vs. Villains, Cagayan, Pearl Islands, Tocantins
John
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  • sharculese

    More than Terry I’m shocked at how people are so quick to praise Kass for not being an absolute disaster. As much of a garbage pile as Luzon was, Kass was basically sensible for the whole pre-merge, it was only post-merge that she started making crazy people decisions. On a tribe that isn’t going to council and shows no signs of going to council, it shocks me not in the least that she’s basically sane.

    Edit: this is not meant as a knock on her. I think Kass is a really smart person who has maybe some issues with self-awareness and control. I honestly can’t believe people are setting the bar this low for her.

    • Kemper Boyd

      I think Kass is a really smart person and I think she has great self-awareness, I think she knew exactly what she was doing in Cagayan, I don’t 100% know why she did it but I think she was doing it all on purpose. Her ability to get people to the point of nervous breakdown at her whilst she sat calmly asking “I’m not attacking you, why are you so mad?” was borderline psychopathic genius. If I don’t get that from her again I’ll be very upset, unless she wins, then I might hail her as the best second chance player ever beating Parvati.

      • Purplerockmatt

        we have joked about this in staff conversations, but a Kass winner’s edit would be amazing to see

        • Kemper Boyd

          Honestly I think she is capable but had a lot of fun being Khaos Kass, I don’t think she’d have been 3rd had she played a non choasy game in Cagayan.

          • purplerockpodcast

            I do kinda believe her assertion that if she’d made it to the end in Cagayan she would’ve thrown out something like, “Go ahead, be the jury that voted for Woo” at final tribal council. And it would have been amazing. (Note: I’m still glad she didn’t get the chance, at least in Cagayan. If she does it in Cambodia, I’m on board.)

          • Purplerockmatt

            i want video tape from the alternate universe where final tribal is woo v kass there just to see kass slowly win over most of the jury as she trolls woo and woo acts dumb.

          • Other Scott

            Is there any really point doing my usual job of defending Woo here? I mean if your argument for Kass winning is that she would have convinced a group of people that hated her that she is a nice, likable, fun troll then I have some nice oceanfront property in Saskatchewan to sell you.

          • Roswulf

            To be fair, I don’t think being nice or likable has anything to do with the scenario.

            The theory that a majority of the jury would have been convinced by a “look at what a hillarious smug asshole I am” performance is not compelling to me. But she totally would have won over Spencer, and it would be fantastic television!

          • andythesaint

            We don’t think she would’ve won over the jury. We think it would have been hilarious to see her try.

          • purplerockpodcast

            I didn’t say anything about Kass winning. I only said it would’ve been fun to watch. I don’t imagine there was a scenario left past the final 7 or so where Kass could’ve won that season.

          • Purplerockmatt

            oh i don’t think kass actually wins, but i do think she gives a few of those people serious hard thought about voting for her after they would have entered tribal having no intention of doing that

      • sharculese

        See the thing is, if that stuff was intentional it’s brilliant, although I don’t think brilliant gameplay, but based on everything I’ve heard from Kass and everything we saw on Cagayan, I don’t think it is; I think in most of those situations she buys the line she’s selling even if it’s not true. I think she’s got a gift for framing things in the light most favorable to the person she’s advocating for that probably makes her a great attorney, but I also think she has a bad habit of using that skill on herself in a way that does her no favors.

        One big thing that stuck out to me when I was listening to Evolution of Strategy was the discussion of Kass’s statement to her husband that if a man played the aggressive game she did he would be lauded. And I remember nodding at the time and thinking it made sense, and in fact it’s probably true, but when I heard it again my first thought was, “wait, but did Kass play an aggressive game?” And I’m not sure it’s true. She flipped in a critical spot, after being courted, and then mostly sat around and got indignant about how TONY was playing such an aggressive game.

        And that’s sort of the continuous thing with Kass. The narrative she gives you makes basic sense, until you start to ask if it conforms with the facts. And I don’t think she’s lying, I think she honestly believes herself.

        I’ll note that I also think Tony lacks a baseline level of self-awareness, so that’s not a barrier to winning Survivor, but in Kass’s case, partially for age and gender related reasons that are absolutely unfair, it’s a serious detriment to her game.

        • andythesaint

          It could be argued that Tony’s lack of self-awareness helped him. He definitely was never paralyzed by introspection.

    • purplerockpodcast

      She gave her reasoning for flipping at the merge, and it was very sensible: she felt she was on the bottom of her original alliance. I think she was hoping she’d have a better chance with some of the people she hadn’t really interacted with yet.

      • sharculese

        Which is bad on her alliance, because I don’t think she really was at the bottom of it. But even then, some of the justifications for it she’s given have been a little weird. She told Andy and Emma that it was because she was so much older than everyone else on that tribe, but she’s only four years older than Tasha. That’s what I’m talking about, with Kass the logic always makes sense, it’s the specifics that are wobbly.

        • purplerockpodcast

          There’s no way of knowing for sure if she was on the bottom. The important thing is that she felt that way. Just as Andy pointed out this week with Abi-Maria- it doesn’t matter if she was actually being picked on or if she was the one attacking others. The point is that she thought she deserved sympathy, and Terry was the first one to give it to her.

          • sharculese

            I don’t disagree. I said as much in the live blog comments. Her alliance did a very bad job of addressing her anxieties, and it’s their fault she was primed to flip. That can be true while at the same it’s true that her post hoc justification for feeling like she was on the bottom merits skepticism.

      • Crappy

        I love Kass as her character but her campaign to revise that decision as some kind of strategic play and people buying that whole notion is ridiculous.
        Survivor in general, is always going to portray any decision in a simple form without any layered complexity so as to appeal to mainstream audiences. That decision was shown as an emotional one rather than a strategic one. Did they dumb it down to that? yes. But that does not meant they edited the whole thing to be something else than it was. Break it down to the basics and it was still a emotional decision with very bad strategy behind it.

        To start with, on a whole flipping to remove yourself from bottom of an alliance to a better position is a valid strategy in play since RobC executed it in Amazon (in Marquesas it was more of a case of a group of people coming together to overthrow an alliance rather than a singular person doing it to better his position). Now the mistake people make while judging any flip is that they forget that you must better your position as a result. Even RobC while trying to justify Cochran’s move in south pacific overlooked this fact at first. When JC flipped, he had not even taken stock of the social dynamics in other tribe’s 6 strong alliance. So moving from bottom to another alliance’s bottom while alienating half the members of a jury, was a bad move. When RobC himself flipped to overthrow Alex’s alliance, he knew that he had Mathew, Butch and Christie and that he would be the leader in that alliance.
        Coming to this specific situation, first Kass’s position in her own alliance. Just because she is not part of any sub alliance, does not mean that she is at the bottom. Even at that point, she was not perceived as a threat so there was zero chance of anyone in her alliance blindsiding her. There was more of a chance that either of Spence or Tasha would have actually tried to take out one another, vying for Kass in the process. Spencer’s sub alliance with Sarah and Jeremiah has been confirmed. Kass at that point
        – did not have enough info about being her on the bottom.
        – was not in line to be a boot target for that tribal council or some others in advance.
        In that sense, at least Cochran’s decision had some logic behind it since he knew he was at the bottom and that he would be at some kind of risk of going home due to rocks. Even if we buy that Kass is at the bottom , her move was a pre-preemptive strike way in advance, with very bad consequences for her end game.
        So even if Kass wanted to flip, this was not the moment to do it. It is better off develop more social bounds with the other group and do it in future rather than at such a criticial point where her move was bound to alienate half the jury, turning her into a goat.
        Heck, she herself babbled on about being a free agent after the flip. She was lucky that she was in a season with Tony otherwise what happened to Cochran, probably would have taken place here as well.

        • tocantins

          I think it is important to remember that if not for the bizarre and unexpected Woo blunder, she would have quite possibly won that season. I know that people said in the reunion that they wouldn’t vote for her, but that is cheap talk, and in a season that Tony won, I doubt Kass wouldn’t be able to convince them to vote for her.

          • Crappy

            Kass had zero chance of winning against Woo. She had in game fueds with Sarah, Morgan and Trish. None would have voted for her. Tasha is still bitter about her actions, so again zero chance of voting for her. That’s 4 votes gone already. Leaving Spencer, Tony, LJ, Jeremiah and Jefra. I don’t see Tony voting for her instead of Woo and as per Spencer he would not have voted for her as well. According to him and Tony, only LJ was the one in Ponderosa who could have voted for her.

          • tocantins

            Yeah, I don’t know, it has been a while that I’ve seen that season, and maybe I’m remembering what I want to remember. My point is that bitterness for bitterness, most of these people were quite bitter at Tony as well, LJ was bitter at Ponderosa, Sarah and Jeffra gave him a hard time at FTC. But it was a cast that simply weren’t comfortable voting for Woo to win. And Kass probably would have given a killer FTC speech (we will never know).

            I am not saying she was sure to win against Woo, but I would have given her at least 1:2 odds, and in Survivor a strategy that gives you 33% chance of winning the game is a very good strategy—especially given her other choices.

          • Crappy

            I think Woo lost any chance of the win when he failed to get rid of Tony given the chance right at the end. He lost the respect of jury for that move. Think if Tony goes to the end with Trish, there is a chance then that jury does not award him the prize then.

            Also tribal council performances are overrated in terms of swinging the votes. Off the top of my head only in case of Chris/Twila, Todd/Amanda, Natalie white/Mitt and Sophie/Coach have a bad or good performance swung the vote in a certain direction.

          • andythesaint

            Amber may have won Shii-Ann’s vote at Final TC, but she seemed pretty pro-Amber before she left.

    • sharculese

      For the record, a lot of the things I’m giving Kass hell for are because these are things that I see in myself, so I’m more acutely aware of them than I would be of other game flaws. I don’t think Kass is a great player, but I’m deeply sympathetic to the reasons she isn’t.

    • Roswulf

      I’m also skeptical of any judgement about who is a disaster and who isn’t before a tribe has lost any challenges. Barring Abi syndrome, it’s not hard to play in inoffensive game while lounging about in a hammock and watching the other team vote people off.

      And specifically regarding Kass, in Cagayan I don’t recall her going out of her way to antagonize people outside of the votes. The Chaos Kass label comes from her strategic choices at Tribal, not her personality at rest.

      • purplerockpodcast

        *Kass flipping off Trish dot gif*

      • sharculese

        what about blowing up Tony’s final 3 promise?

  • Other Scott

    It’s not that Terry did anything fantastic, it’s that no one else made the basic Survivor play of comforting the crying person. I mean, the surprise is not that Terry social game is non-caveman like, it’s that Terry out-social-gamed every other single person on Ta Keo.

    Why doesn’t he deserve props for that? If it was Varner, we’d be hailing him as the greatest.