The Survivor Goat

“I’m the Greatest of all Taaaaaaaaim.” – Survivor legend

In order to criticize the worst player(s) in Survivor history, we must understand what attributes qualify the best. What are the prevalent qualities discussed when evaluating how great a player is? Once we know that, we can work backward and prove that someone is truly the fucking worst.

The Greatest of All Time (GOATs)

These 10 players consistently come up when the topic of “best player” is discussed: Parvati, Boston RobRussell👑SandraCirieAmandaRob CesterninoKim SpradlinJonny Fairplay, and Tony. Certainly not everybody agrees on every one of these names, but that’s because everyone has their own criteria that they value. We looked at the recurring themes that arise in the Survivor Hall of Fame induction announcements, where Gordon Holmes compiled statements from show producers, other Survivor players, and fans about why each player is remarkable.

GOAT Themes

  • The ability to find idols
  • …and to have a good enough read on the game to play (or not play) them well
  • Being aggressive and taking risks
  • Having a great social game
  • Coming very close to winning multiple times (or, y’know, actually doing it 👑)
  • Challenge strength
  • Shifting alliances, flipping on your closest allies, and being stone cold about it
  • Entertainment value

Many legends and goats will be discussed in this article. We will distinguish GOATs from winners from challenge beasts using this color scheme.

Idols, Idols, Idols

Some of the most well-respected BigMovez™ in Survivor history surround idol plays.

All but two players in these charts have finished in the top 4 on Survivor, correlating finding many idols with high placement and good gameplay. Russell tops both charts, having found a combined five idols in two seasons and making it to Day 39 on both those seasons.

You can tell legends apart from schlubs by analyzing the caliber of player they took out with an idol.

*These four players did not oust the person they voted for.

Rearranged based on caliber of boot.

Note: Parvati, Malcolm, and Tai are the only three people in Survivor history to play two idols in the same tribal council.

To have (a) played an idol (b) successfully (c) to take out a legend is the stuff of winners and Hall of Famers. Naturally, Tom is both.

Playing an idol on someone else is the hallmark risky, aggressive Survivor move. Russell‘s and Parvati‘s GOAT status is upheld by this metric: they both took out a winner when playing an idol for someone else. Parvati played two idols for other people when she took out JT, swinging the numbers to her side for the rest of the game. It is often cited as one of the best moves in Survivor history.

You can find all the idols in the world, but unless you can read the game correctly and know when to play or NOT play them, idols are useless.

Note: This chart excludes super idols since measuring length of time an idol is held values a player’s choice to play, or not play, an idol. Super idols eliminate the need to make such a choice.
Only shows idols played correctly or before a winner let it expire/played it by default on the last day it could be played.

Note: You can see why Malcolm is colored especially in this post and in the eyes of fans. He is in every single chart so far but isn’t yet in the Hall of Fame. I’m sure that’ll soon change; his resume is solid.

A lot of people on the first “Longest Held Idol” chart got voted out with their idols unplayed, or they played the idol without negating any votes. Others survived through the idol’s expiration day seemingly without needing to play it, but went on to lose when they potentially could have used the idol to impress the jury or bring better people to the end with them. So the middle chart is a better measure of who reads their position in the game well.

Kim’s idol non-play is well-respected because she was aggressive enough to find an idol, and her biggest use for it was keeping it out of enemy hands for more than half the game. She never needed to play it and had a correct read on how the jury perceived her.

Longevity…win, lose, or draw.

This is a social game first and foremost. The best players are repeatedly able to overcome all odds to last a long time. These are the longest-lasting returning players averaged across all their seasons and, since legendary reputations can derail a returning player’s game, averaged across their two best seasons:

Goats
Note: Cirie reached day 36 her first and fourth times playing, finishing 4th place and 6th place, respectively.

Parvati is far and away the most noteworthy aspect of the left chart. She is the only three-time player to be in the top six, and she’s towards the top at #2. Not only that, but she got to Day 39 in both of her return appearances despite a huge target on her back from Day 1.

Ten out of the 16 players in the right chart are in the Hall of Fame. (Note: Colby is not one of them.) (Note #2: Coach is.). This speaks volumes about who’s considered legendary. Five players ever have made it to day 39 twice, and despite the fact that four of them have lost on Day 39, two of whom lost twice on Day 39, all are GOATs for having earned their way to the end multiple times and setting records.

goat consolation

Cirie has never even made it to Day 39, yet many consider her to be the best player ever. She overcame long odds to get far three out of four times playing, and two of those times she wasn’t even voted out (she lost a tiebreaker fire challenge in Panama and was the only non-immune player at a tribal in Game Changers). She’s made a few flashy moves, namely coaxing an immunity necklace away from someone to then promptly vote him out.

Taking You to School
Literally eating out of the palm of Cirie‘s hands.
Figuratively eating out of the palm of Cirie‘s hands.

So being considered a GOAT is not always about winning OR about getting to Day 39. It’s about being consistently good at controlling your own fate…so good, in fact, that whenever you are eliminated, it’s indubitably because of something outside your control.

Challenge Dominance

Praise for a GOAT’s physicality comes hand-in-hand with the rest of their hype. As our very own @PurpleRockJohn once so eloquently wrote, “Challenge prowess is what helped Ozzy win three seasons. You don’t need to look any further than the first two seasons to realize how important challenge wins are: Kelly and Colby were dominant challenge beasts, and the juries rewarded them. If you can’t compete in challenges, why are you even here?”[13 Seventeen years later, this thinking is alive and well, as Brad Culpepper‘s record-tying challenge domination in season 34 was similarly crowned.

To assess challenge dominance, we charted the percent of time players finished in the top 2 and in the bottom 25% of standings, as well as the average percentile of their standings per season. Included are the 10 GOATs, some winners, some chart-toppers from above, and the most dominant single-season challenge performers of all time.


Note: challenges that are “winner take all” are only scored for the winner since all other players are simply last place. An example of such a challenge is house of cards where the first person to stack to a certain height wins. There’s no linear progress pointing to a second place, third place, etc. since everyone’s stacks are precarious and constantly collapsing.

 

It turns out, it’s exceptionally rare to consistently do well at challenges while also being good at the game in other, measurable ways, e.g., winning, playing idols effectively, or lasting long in more than one season. In the top 11, there are only two winners and one GOAT.

The GOATs who are showered with compliments about challenge prowess often aren’t even exemplary at challenges. Jeff Probst referenced what a strong physical competitor Amanda is when inducting her into the Hall of Fame. However, her standings have always been middle-of-the-pack to poor throughout most of the merge, and she picked up her wins only in the end-game after numbers dwindled. Parvati‘s challenge performance in her winning season puts her at the bottom of this chart, sandwiched between “Superman in a fat suit” and Sandra.

But people love the idea of the best players being physical, being “triple threats.” So people latch on to anecdotal data, those few challenge wins that were impressive. For example, the totem pole challenge is practically a rite of passage for the fiercest competitors — Ozzy has won it a gazillion times. Tyson and Malcolm have both won it. And everyone remembers Parvati‘s dominance in it.

S13 Ozzy defeats Parvati, 2006
S18 Tyson defeats Coach, JT, 2009
S20 Parvati defeats Amanda, JT, Rupert, Russell, Sandra, then steps down for her ally Danielle, 2010
S23 Ozzy defeats a Hantz, 2011
S30 Malcolm defeats Mike, 2015

It was stunning to see Parvati casually and comfortably hanging on as her competitors suffered and fell. And so it goes that great players pick up somewhat inaccurate reputations as challenge rock stars as if it’s an important contribution to their status as legends.

FLIPPERS

Flipping back and forth between alliances is a beloved strategy for which GOATs are praised. Tony, Jonny Fairplay, and Rob Cesternino are all commended for fluidly moving between alliances throughout the game.

Boston Rob’s reputation for flipping is colored as, “stabbing people in the back.” Tai Trang isn’t even called a flipper, but rather, “flip-floppy” and unstrategically so.

Flipped Backstabbed one game-long ally (Big Tom) instead of another game-long ally (Ambah, Jenna, Rupert).
Bad strategy: oust an idol and camp saboteur in one fell swoop, get the sole credit blame for the move flip.
Note: this was actually Aubry’s move since Tai needed Aubry to step in and say ‘No’ to Scot, as shown here. Oh and also because she would have gone home if Tai didn’t flip.

JT is a “good old boy”, Cirie “stone cold,” Aubry a gamer — yet all fall in the upper echelons of flipping records:

*JT’s S20 voting history shown here is pre-merge.
**JT voted for Erinn in the tribal council that Coach was voted out. However, he was a part of the decision to send Coach home, and also flipped on his alliance by voting for Erinn, which he did so that he could save face with Coach.

 

It’s the epitome of competitiveness to flip and take out your own ally, and it makes for damn good tv.

Are you not entertained?

Entertainment value is a common theme throughout our GOATs’ Hall of Fame induction pages. Being a good story-teller or delightful to watch on TV in many cases probably translates to charisma or gangster status when playing the game.

Some of our GOATs are possibly more memorable for their larger than life personalities than for some of their more direct gameplay.

Nothing but a gangsta party.

This is “social game” seeping out of the television into our living rooms. We especially take pleasure in our GOATs dragging villains, and often enough, so does the jury.

The Worst Player in Survivor History

In Survivor, bad players who are dragged to the end are called “goats.” So the worst goat (or is it best goat?) is someone who exhibits the opposite of everything that GOATs (the other kind) excel at. One person clearly stands out as the GOAT goat.

Tai Trang does not know how to play this game.

Remember when he was all, “Let’s vote out Michele!” “Let’s vote out Sarah!”

His read on the game is so bad that Aubry had to save him from himself, as usual. Such a drag as an ally.

In a word: untrustworthy. Why work with this guy? Who would choose such a fate?

He couldn’t strategize to save his life. He just does whatever the last person tells him to do.

Cirie manipulated those immunities off him like he’s the new Erik Reichenbach.

He’s one of the oldest people out there, so naturally, he sucks at challenges.

My god, he is so boring. Like a water hyacinth plant, I float away whenever he’s on screen.

And on top of it all, he’s just a shit human who walks all over people.

Cirie: “[Tai] was consoling [Aubry] more than anybody else, which was kind of weird to me. He works people.”
Pictured: Tai telling Brad how to play Brad’s idols.

GOAT v. goat…

goats dragging GOAT
Goats dragging Goat
ALL THE GOATS

Know the difference.

 

References

0. Summary about each GOAT (Greatest of All Time) taken from the Survivor Hall of Fame:

  • Parvati Shallow – crafty, charming, dominates endurance challenges, arguably the best runner-up ever, made it to the end with a huge target on her back from Day 1, great intuition, played two idols for other people which changed the direction of the game and gave her side numbers.[1][2]
  • Boston Rob – fell victim to a bitter jury, great at challenges, entertaining, strategist, charmer.[3]
  • Russell Hantz – smartest idol-finder, used idols to give himself power, got robbed by a bitter jury, outplayed legends like Boston Rob, established chaos to take advantage of his disoriented tribe.[4]
  • 👑Sandra Diaz-Twine – only player to win twice, very subtle game, managed to divert attention away from herself when she was the target, will vote out anybody “as long as it ain’t me.”[5]
  • Cirie Fields – ability to make you forget she’s your opponent, great strategic and social game, stone cold killer.[6]
  • Amanda Kimmel – skilled in creating powerful alliances, great strategic, social, and physical player, one of the most consistently strong finishers in the show’s history, improved each time she played, not afraid to make big moves to keep herself in the game.[7]
  • Rob Cesternino – adaptive, effective at switching alliances to keep himself in the game, ability to tell a funny story at any time about any other player.[8]
  • Kim Spradlin – dominated the game physically, strategically, and socially; strong alliances; impeccable timing, eg, not playing her hidden immunity idol.[9]
  • Jonny Fairplay – worked back and forth between alliances, first villain to make a huge move, opened the door for future A-holes to get ahead.[10]
  • Tony Vlachos – aggressive, took risks, controlled others, repeatedly voted against his own alliance then got them to fall back in line, and from our very own Purple Rock Podcast ballot: he maintained idol and advantage supremacy with the nose of a Hantzian bloodhound.[11][12]
  1. http://my.xfinity.com/blogs/tv/2010/12/13/survivor-hall-of-fame-inductee-parvati-shallow/
  2. http://my.xfinity.com/blogs/tv/2014/12/17/survivor-hall-of-fame-2014-inductee-heroes-vs-villains-episode-10-tribal-council/
  3. http://my.xfinity.com/blogs/tv/2010/12/14/survivor-hall-of-fame-inductee-boston-rob-mariano/
  4. http://my.xfinity.com/blogs/tv/2010/12/15/survivor-hall-of-fame-inductee-russell-hantz/
  5. http://my.xfinity.com/blogs/tv/2010/12/17/survivor-hall-of-fame-inductee-sandra-diaz-twine/
  6. http://my.xfinity.com/blogs/tv/2011/12/12/survivor-hall-of-fame-inductee-cirie-fields/
  7. http://my.xfinity.com/blogs/tv/2012/12/10/survivor-hall-of-fame-2012-inductee-amanda-kimmel/
  8. http://my.xfinity.com/blogs/tv/2012/12/12/survivor-hall-of-fame-2012-inductee-rob-cesternino/
  9. http://my.xfinity.com/blogs/tv/2013/12/11/survivor-hall-of-fame-2013-inductee-kim-spradlin/
  10. http://my.xfinity.com/blogs/tv/2013/12/13/survivor-hall-of-fame-2013-inductee-jonny-fairplay/
  11. http://xfn-blogs.xfinity.com/tv/2016/12/12/survivor-hall-fame-2016-inductee-tony-vlachos/
  12. http://www.purplerockpodcast.com/purple-rock-podcast-2016-survivor-hall-fame-nominees/
  13. http://www.purplerockpodcast.com/the-peoples-survivor-blog-get-your-giant-clam-out-of-my-face/
Shirin

Shirin

Shirin played Survivor a couple times. She is known for having many names.

Favorite seasons: Pearl Islands, Heroes vs. Villains, Cagayan
Shirin

Latest posts by Shirin (see all)

  • gouis

    Point well made. However whether it’s his doing or from external factors (racism) I don’t think Tai ever has a shot at winning Survivor.

    • Max_Jets

      I don’t know that I agree with that, considering he was pretty close this time. I also find it completely believable that he would get all 5 votes the jurors said they would give him and he might even pick another up. Yes, the language barrier would be a problem, but a lot of the jurors are aware of that too. He might have had a shot in Kaoh Rong in a final 3 combination with two of Aubry/Cydney/Joe as well.

      • Other Scott

        I don’t think it’s believable that Ozzy would vote for Tai.

        That said I think Tai is very good at every portion of the game except jury management, which it is hard to gauge how much of that is his fault. It’s a comparison I’ve never thought about before but he’s a bit like Russell in that he has all the tools but actually getting a jury to vote for him is always going to be very challenging.

        He had a much better shot in Game Changers than Kaoh Rong though.

        • Yeah, I think people on the Game Changers jury were much more willing to accept his style of play. I still don’t know if he could’ve won, but changing the format of final tribal would likely help his case since he could have people arguing in his favor and explaining/cheerleading his game to the rest of the jury.

          Agreed that Ozzy’s vote seems dubious, although I believe someone said in Ozzy’s final juror video he said he’d vote for Tai (I may be remembering that incorrectly, though).

          • Other Scott

            I think the other problem he had in Kaoh Rong was that there really wasn’t a good rationale to vote for Tai *instead of* Aubry. Any anti-Aubry argument that you could come up with also applied to Tai on an even greater scale.

          • Agreed. There wasn’t enough to differentiate him in the minds of the jury.

          • Figaro

            I think it was that in Tai’s ponderosa, Ozzy is bummed that Tai got voted out and mentions that he was close to Tai due to their shared love of the outdoor ‘survival’ aspect of the game. He doesn’t specifically say that he would have voted for him at final, but it’s not a huge leap to make.

        • Max_Jets

          I don’t know why there’s such a weird dismissal from everyone of the possibility that Ozzy would vote for Tai, but here is his video after Aubry gets voted outed.

          For international viewers, he starts by talking about how he would have a hard time deciding between Sarah and Brad to win. Then he says, “If you have someone like Culpepper, Troyzan, and Tai in the end, I will probably be arguing for Tai’s case for him to win.” He then talks about how it’s unfortunate for Tai that is not able to articulate his case as well as others, but that he played a good game.

          • indescribable hat

            I think we forget that Ozzy’s kind of a stoner hippie dude who sometimes has a hard time fitting in because his challenge focus gets on our nerves. Yeah he’s a challenge beast, but he’s not a jock.

          • Peter Parker

            Ozzy’s take on Tai is also how I feel. The dude takes a lot of unfair heat because he gets tongue tied and has a hard time explaining his thought process. Almost the same way he saw himself Brad because of challenges he saw himself in Tai in many ways.Though Ozzy’s english is perfectly cromulent he still has that Surfer/Stoner California style of speaking that people often misread as Detached Airhead Bro,so he can probably relate to people prejudging you simply based on your manner of speech.

          • If I am not mistaken, Ozzy is also not a native-born U.S. citizen, so they have that in common.

    • Maritimer

      I’m going to make a bit off an odd comparison here, but I think Tai and Dawn have the same FTC issue(s). First, they seem like naturally nice people who its easy to get close too, so the betrayal feels bigger and second, people don’t like getting beaten by people who express so much emotion about beating them

      • gouis

        I don’t think that’s an odd comparison at all.

  • Alycia Swift

    That picture in the totem pole challenge says Malcolm defeats Mike. Its actually Joe. I realize it may be a joke.

    • (It’s a joke.)

  • PurpleTally

    Shirin is *fire emoji* with these posts. Damn, girl.
    These charts are so beautiful. They brought a tear to my eye…and didn’t crash Chrome like the gifs did last time.

  • Technically Parvati gave her idols to Jerri and Sandra, and they then played them. Although if handoffs are cool, then maybe JT should get partial credit for idoling out JT? Also, getting booted while holding an idol (or two) might be a good sign of someone with a poor read.

    • gouis

      Saying that Jerri and Sandra played those idols is pedantic to the level of absurdity.

      • Clearly Parvati read them correctly and had them on board, so I’m making a pedantic objection, yes. But it was a riskier play than it needed to be. There’s a (very, very low) possibility that they could’ve just said “Hey, thanks!” and held them. Tai did that with Jason’s not-quite-super idol. Far less peril to hand them to Probst directly and announce the person you’re playing them for. As people do now. The Evolution of Idoling.

        • gouis

          Naw

          • What if you hand someone… let’s say JT… an idol to play for himself at a Tribal where you’re pretty sure he received the most votes. He gets up, but decides to make a big move and play it for someone else. It voids zero votes, and he’s voted out. Do you get credit for playing your idol?

          • In terms of public perception? Yes, because you made the right read and gave it to JT. It’s not your fault he’s an idiot.

            (I love that you used JT for this example, by the way.)

        • Shirin

          I created a database indexed on each idol, and I added fields for last owner before tribal, who revealed it at tribal, and who handed it to Probst. This post goes off of who revealed the idols at tribal, particularly bc that’s the spirit of what went down in the idol plays referenced here.

          • StormofCuteness

            As if I wasn’t fangirling enough just reading this post, you have to make it even better with your awesomely detailed databases. *Swoon*

        • Maritimer

          Was playing an idol for someone else a thing then? Who was the first person to take an idol to Probst and say they were playing it for someone else? Nat A?

          • Blurry Denzel

            Tony and LJ did it for each other in Cagayan.

          • Good point, it was early days for transferring idols. I believe Russell Hantz was the first to hand it to someone else at Tribal, that same season (saying “No, not this way,” then giving his to Parvati at the Tyson boot). Before then, Todd and Sugar had transferred idols in camp.

          • Maritimer

            This is what I’m thinking though: until it happened, I’m not sure players knew handing it to Probst and saying they would play it for someone else was allowed, so when scoring it seems unfair to punish them for the handoff

          • Yeah, that’s probably true. My initial thinking on this (circa S23) was probably partially influenced by a desire to screw Russell out of the credit for the Tyson boot.

          • Maritimer

            That’s a fair reason

        • Kemper Boyd

          Isn’t that a Natalie Anderson evolution of standing there and handing it to Probst and saying “I’m playing it for Jac”?

          • Ralph (!) played his for Mike Chiesl in S22, Ozzy played his for Whitney in South Pacific. Then Malcolm reversed the trend in Caramoan, until Tony/LJ re-started it in Cagayan.

          • Kemper Boyd

            Yeah but Natalie Anderson’s is just so good. I refuse to remember the ones before.

      • indescribable hat

        That’s how it would be scored for fantasy though, right?

        • It is. But that’s only because when we were originally discussing how to score those situations for fantasy purposes, that was the only truly objective way for us to score it. Otherwise you get into questions of intent/ownership, etc., and that is too much of a judgment call.

    • Kemper Boyd

      I think if it’s handed off at Tribal it’s the person who took it out at tribal, even if I argued the oppostire when Sierra played Tai’s idol because I wanted the fantasy points.

  • I know this is pedantic, but is Taj’s idol really Taj’s? Yes, she found it, but she then gives it to Stephen for safekeeping. My perception is that it is then Stephen’s.

    • Blurry Denzel

      My perception was the same that it belonged to Stephen as he was the one in possession of it. I wonder if what you say matters when you give someone the idol. Like if there was a difference because Taj explicitly said safekeeping. I think that would be hard to judge and I say she gave it to Stephen but maybe that is not what it is.

      • I don’t think she says safekeeping. IIRC (it has been a couple of weeks since I have seen the episode), it is because Taj doesn’t have pockets while Stephen does. Yet, Taj never recovers the idol. In fact, in order to make the fake idol, she digs up the idol from Stephen’s bag, makes the fake idol, and then places it back in Stephen’s bag instead of just putting it in her bag.

        • Blurry Denzel

          Okay, I don’t remember the exact details. A Tocantins rewatch may be a good option for me. With that description I would definitely say it’s Stephen’s idol.

          • PurpleTally

            A Tocantins rewatch is always a great option.

          • I am at the merge and thoroughly enjoying it.

          • Blurry Denzel

            For sure. It’s a top 10 season for me. Especially after how depressing this season came across I could use something super light and funny like Tocantins (though my pick for PRP rewatch is still Palau.)

          • Diego Armando

            Both are top 5 contenders for me.

        • indescribable hat

          Oh, Taj. She’s having fun out there but she just is not hungry.

    • Stephen Fishbach

      No it was mine. I clarified with producers (and there was a confessional in the show). IT WAS MINE, ALL MINE.

      • Super duper fan

        OMG, wild Stephen Fishback has appeared.

      • Diego Armando

        I did not remember that, but good to know. Also HOLY CRAP STEPHEN JUST APPEARED HERE, OMG!!!!!!!?!!!!!

        • indescribable hat

          The cool kids follow Shirin.

        • I think we can say that this is a time where I used my witch powers for good.

      • I don’t remember seeing that on the show. And on this Survivor podcast I listen to sometimes, they like to refer to this speculation about events that occurred off-screen as “fan fiction”.

        • I believe the confessional that he is talking about is one where he is wearing the idol in the confessional.

          • Shhh, you’ll ruin my trolling with your facts!

          • I’m sorry…I am just so excited because I am really liking Tocantins.

          • It’s such a great season. Strategically, it isn’t all that fascinating. But I love that cast so much.

      • Sad Lil

        Tell Josh to stop doing those horrid impressions of me! I do not sound like that!

  • Now, Shirin… I must ask this… What about yourself?

  • Taako From Teevhii

    This might be the first PRP post with a references section, and I am here for it. I hope this solidifies this community’s place as the home to the elitist intellectuals of the Survivor community. Dishonest, anti-Chrisitian, leftist, elitist intellectuals to be precise.

    • I’m gonna buy us an ivory tower to sit in and judge others from.

      • Taako From Teevhii

        Oh, you don’t have one already? *turns away from ivory window judgingly*

        • Of course I do! The ivoriest! I meant that I’d buy a collective ivory tower for the group. I would never allow you all into mine.

          • the sky is falling

            Noobs.
            My Ivory Spy Shack is clearly superior.

    • Kemper Boyd

      take note @purplerockjohn:disqus , I would buy a t-shirt that said “Dishonest, anti-Christian leftisit, elitist intellectual community” with a PRP lol on it. I’d ask you to take my money quickly for it too.

      • I should have Mark work up a new banner for the site with that unofficial site slogan on it.

    • I agree with 3/4s of the sentiment.

    • sharculese

      Hey, so I’ve had the flu for a week and a half and don’t know if/where you talked about TAZ and Drag Race, so I’m dropping my thoughts here:

      TAZ: This. This is what I love about The Stolen Century.

      THB got to do dumb stuff but it also got woven into the larger story, and like I predicted, we’re getting more and more about how these characters became the people they are at the start of TAZ proper. Also, when Magnus told Lup “Remember when you stopped us from doing something bad? Well now I’m stopping you from doing something bad.” I teared up a little.

      Drag Race:

      Welcome to the Shea Coulee show. Like I said a couple weeks ago, I’ve long ago accepted that Shea is winning. She’s a perfectly fine winner, even if her eyes looked like garbage the first few weeks. I see a final 3 of Shea, Trinity, and Peppermint. Sasha hasn’t done anything wrong, but her grad school take on drag just doesn’t seem to be doing anything for the judges.

      • Taako From Teevhii

        I haven’t, so nowhere, cuz without you around, I’d just be talking to myself (feel better tho bc the flu sucks in a major way).

        TAZ: I really liked this last episode. Lost Century feels like the inverse Suffering Game in that the beginning was tedious and boring af but it’s closing out really well. Parts of the Magnus/Voidfish interactions seemed railroaded (but due to Griffin in any way, but Trav knows where this story needs to go), but I loved all of it anyway.

        Drag Race: I disagree on your F3. Ru has the biggest hard on for whatever she thinks is innovative/boundary-pushing drag, and that sure as fuck ain’t Pepper. Plus, Pepper needs to win Miss Congeniality, and Sasha needs a good reason to appear on AS3.

        And speaking of that, there are rumblings that AS3 could be filming this summer/fall, which feels way to soon to me. If this pace keeps up, we’ll be alternating between regular and All-Star seasons in a couple years.

        • sharculese

          TAZ: This is why I was saying we had to just give this time to breathe. It’s why I had faith in this storyline.

          As for the voidfish stuff, I think it’s a bit of a chicken/egg thing. Like, I think Griffin teed it up to happen, but I also think he’s been DM’ing these characters long enough to know how Magnus would respond to that situation.

          Drag Race: Eh, cause there’s never been a situation where a queen gets to final 3 and all you can think is “sure, you’ve never done anything worth going home for, so I guess you’re still here.” *cough* Courtney Act *cough*. Like I’ve said, I’ve come around on Sasha, I just don’t think the judges are picking up what she’s putting down. I guess we’ll see.

          Oh and as to the last thing: No. It’s too soon.

  • Other Scott

    I don’t really understand the flip/ flip back chart

    • I also didn’t understand it. So here’s the explanation:

      A flip is your initial flip on an alliance. A flip back is if you flip again to go back to your original alliance (assuming they still exist).

      Tony would be the king of the flip back, since his original alliance stayed intact and he was consistently able to return to it despite using the other side to chop numbers from his own alliance.

      • Purplerockmatt

        I am not sure why Sarah has four flips in a row then, rather than 2 flips and flip backs, but eh whatever

        • Shirin

          My fuzzy science of flipping applied to Sarah:
          1) She was with Ozzy, Andrea, Zeke, and Cirie all game, and flipped on them to join up with the grossies™, voting out Ozzy.
          (During this time, Zeke betrays Andrea and Cirie and is left without allies, and also a new alliance is formed between Cirie, Michaela, Aubry, and Andrea.)
          2) Sarah scoops up Zeke on a one-on-one basis but also flips to the new Cirie et al alliance (which excludes Zeke) to vote out Debbie.
          3) Then Sarah sticks with said new alliance to vote out Zeke, but she’s still flipping on Zeke by voting him out because of her separate thing going on with him.
          4) Then she scoops Sierra back up on a one-on-one basis ala Zeke, but then flips on her and votes her out. You could consider this not a flip at all because she neither *really* flipped back to Sierra nor did she flip away from her new Cirie-Michaela et al alliance.
          (Her Andrea vote was whatever. Even though Andrea felt betrayed by Sarah, it appeared as if Sarah never really trusted Andrea and wasn’t really with her the way she really appeared to want to work with Zeke, eg by trying hard to prevent his boot.)
          5) She flipped on Michaela when Cirie misplayed her advantage, clearly working with Tai in that vote (whisper whisper).
          6) She immediately voted for Tai in the next tribal, though that was advantagegeddon and he didn’t go home.

      • the sky is falling

        What a missed opportunity to dunk on Dan Foley in the flipper section.

  • Batleon

    These charts… *cheers*

    Now can we compile this data to determine the Greatest Survivor Season of All Time (GSSOAT)? A brief perusal of this suggests the instincts about Heroes vs. Villains are well founded. Though there would have to be some way to give non-All Stars seasons more weight because All Stars seasons are naturally more likely to have GOAT players…

    I’m only half kidding about the above.

    • Kemper Boyd

      The Villains Tribe only contains two players who didn’t make a FTC. And had 4 players who have made 2 FTCs. HvV is the best season of all time.

      • Batleon

        It was truly sublime. I still can’t believe how loaded that cast was. And they delivered.

        • Kemper Boyd

          Even Double D went to FTC!

        • I’ve been a Survivor fan for 16 years. I’ve frequented this website for a couple of weeks and I just got an upvote from a former contestant (and one that I liked to boot) and I feel a bit giddy.

          Clearly this place is dangerous for me.

          • purplerockandy

            It’s all over already. Resign yourself to that.

    • Max_Jets

      I do like to think this reappraisal of Tai’s games validates my feelings that Kaoh Rong is one of the greatest seasons, with all of the final 4 being good to great players.

      • Batleon

        I don’t know that I would go that far about Kaoh Rong, but I agree that the more I read and think about it the better I think Tai was. He had good instincts, he found idols, he was willing to make big moves. He had some serious execution errors, but he seemed to learn from that and play better as each of his two seasons progressed.

  • Hornacek

    In the “Most Idols Found, Single Season” and “Days Two Idols Held Simultaneously” charts, Shirin missed Val and her 2 idols.

    • I think you need to add a couple of million idols to the total and you will be right.

      • Hornacek

        I’m just glad that Shirin liked my comment.

        • It was a good comment because “I have NOTHING!”

        • Sad Lil

          What about me liking it?

          • Hornacek

            Lil, I thought you’d be too busy at yoga class to like my comment. Thanks for taking the time to do that.

  • Roswulf

    *Stands up and applauds*

    I’m almost embarrassed by how long the misdirect worked on me when reading this. Nothing scatters my focus like reams of well curated data.

    I do think there’s a conversation to be had about how much our conclusion should be “Tai is really goddamned good at Survivor” versus “Tai is a really unusual Survivor player.” Tai shares with “GOAT Candidates Russell and Fairplay the fact that he seemingly couldn’t win at FTC against a slice of damp Wonderbread. Yet whereas they get there by being awful, he gets there through a much more circuitous route. But I’m similarly unconvinced he can easily overcome that roadblock.

    What this HAS convinced me of is that I want Tai to come back for Round 3 after some time away. The precedent that Tai makes things happen that improve a game of Survivor is really strong, and he does it in a package that STILL won’t automatically draw pre-merge fire.

    • Super duper fan

      I think Fairplay would beat Lil at the end. I can’t even deny the possibility of him beating Sandra, but I don’t know how some jurors felt towards him compared to her (but I’m glad it shoke up this way).

      • Sad Lil

        HOW DARE YOU

        *blocked*

        • Super duper fan

          I didn’t say that Jon would beat you in a legitimate way. In a legitimate way, you would beat him 10-0.

          • Wow, so she would have gotten even more votes than there were jurors? That’s the type of legitimate victory that is common in dictatorships around the world.

          • Super duper fan
          • Super duper fan

            But yes, Jon would crawl up to his gradma’s lap, after he was dunked by the mother effing Lil!

    • Alkanarra

      Nothing cuts to my heart like copious amounts of data nicely presented in colorized tables. I was sitting there studying each one like a National Treasures clue so I caught the Tai thing pretty quickly, but damn was it a fun ride.

  • Kemper Boyd

    The description of who Amanda booted with her idol is wrong, the correct description is “single white female”.

  • Mike Hirsch

    Love this post. Also I just want to add that the gif of Big Tom looking back after being voted out reminds me of The Office when David Brent is fired and on his way out reacts like that, as if someone said something when no one did.

  • EmAndScoutInBK
  • Diego Armando

    That was a long build up, but I liked the punch line.

  • Diego Armando

    Poor Tai, I think until his emotional beat down in the finale, he played the best game he could and the best non-Sarah game of the finalists. It is a shame that he never seems to get any sort of credit.

    • What’s interesting is that I think he actually did get credit this time- there seemed to be several jury members that were ready to vote for him. Cirie says in her juror video that she’d vote for either Sarah or Tai in final tribal council. And I believe Aubry and Andrea would have voted for him as well.

      • Diego Armando

        As I said, if it was Brad, Troy, Tai, I think Tai deserved a win. I am glad he would have gotten a few votes.

  • the sky is falling

    I refuse to accept this data filled, well reasoned, fact based, probably correct, argument. That’s how we do in 2017.

    I still say Tai is the Mr. Magoo of Survivor.

    • Roswulf

      I don’t think that’s true at all. Magoo’s whole schtick is that he’s oblivious. Tai is extremely aware of what’s going on around him- from figuring out where idols are to being one of the first contestants to correctly call the winning threat.

      He’s just not great at getting others to take his observations seriously.

      He’s not Mr. Magoo, he’s Cassandra.

      • the sky is falling

        Curses, and Keith Nale was right there.

        • Roswulf

          The last year MAY have destroyed my ability to detect sarcasm…

          • the sky is falling

            Could be worse, I’ve read the article twice and I’m still not 100% certain what it’s about. The plot twist at the end threw me off.

  • Sad Lil

    If Jon Dalton is a legend then I’m Miss America!

    • Super duper fan

      Wow, congratulations on your win Lil! Was Savvy horrible? I bet she was horrible, being bitter to losing to the one who truly deserved it!

      • Sad Lil

        I will not dignify this with a response.

        • forever1267

          *insert Alanis Morissette song here*

  • StormofCuteness

    This thread has both Shirin and Fishbach! What took me so long to read it?

    Exciting times, PRP!

    • Not even going to acknowledge Sad Lil’s presence? Quite a snub there.

      • Sad Lil

        YEAH!

      • StormofCuteness

        Now I know why she’s sad. 😂

  • Violina23

    Shirin: you have sought to overwhelm us with sheer data. As a fellow woman in technology, I salute you.

  • corndogshuffle

    I’ll give a more in depth (and probably more relevant) comment when I’m far less drunk than this, but Kim Spradlin is clearly the greatest of all time.

  • forever1267

    In that .GIF next to Lil and (ugh) Johnny Fairplay, with I think Cirie (?) checking someone’s pixilated junk for redness, who is that, and what season was this? I have no memory of that moment.

    • Maritimer

      Cirie checking Shane’s junk in Panama. He had redness, wanted her to look because she’s a nurse, and she diagnosed it as chafing.

      • forever1267

        Thank you!

  • forever1267

    Someone deserves a raise for all of this research. Amazing work!