Ultimate Survivor Tribal Council Bracket – Theatrics Division Round Two

Man alive, this division had a wild first round. First you’ve got the biggest blow out in the bracket, with Erik giving away immunity garnering 95% of the vote. Then you have the biggest upset in the entire bracket with 14-seed “Thanks Obama” beating out 3-seed Micronesia Final Tribal. And if that weren’t enough, the Theatrics Division also had the tightest vote in any poll I’ve ever seen us have. The percentages were at 50/50 for Judd’s ADD vs. Denise shutting down Abi-Maria almost the entire way through. There was literally one vote separating the two. One vote. Will that be enough to push it into the next round? Only one way to find out. Let’s check out the new match ups.

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Voting criteria:

  • You decide what makes a Tribal worthy of your vote. Was it your favourite? The best? Most memorable? Most dramatic? It’s up to you. We’ve organized them by theme, but you’re under no obligation to pick the most theatric tribal to represent the Theatrics bracket.
  • Tribal Council is defined as everything that happened in episode from when the tribe gets to Tribal Council through to the Final Words of the eliminated contestant. Things that didn’t make the air were out of bounds for consideration when putting the list together.
  • For Final Tribal Councils, the reveal of the winner is out of bounds (except for the first Final Tribal). This takes place at a different time and place and is aired on a different episode.

Voting ends on Tuesday, March 22nd.

1. Erik Gives Away Immunity vs 8. Eliza Plays the “Fucking Stick”


Erik gives away immunity – Micronesia, episode 13 “If It Smells Like a Rat, Give It Cheese”

Poor, sweet Erik Reichenbach. He never stood a chance. After spending days planting the seeds at camp, the surviving members of the Black Widow Brigade laid into Erik in front of the jury. The thing is, nothing he did was really that terrible, just your average scheming. But Amanda and Natalie call him out for betraying them, saying no one can trust him again. The final nail in the coffin was when Cirie answered Jeff’s question about redemption. Of course he can redeem himself, Jeff! If only he had something valuable to sacrifice…


Eliza plays the “fucking stick” – Micronesia, episode 9 “I’m in Such a Hot Pickle!”

Eliza discovering that the idol Jason left for her was a mere stick with a rudimentary face carved on it may be the most theatrical moment that’s happened in Survivor history. Unfortunately, the actual tribal council where it gets played doesn’t have quite as much fire – although the fucking stick makes excellent kindling. There are still some solid moments though! It’s tempting to use Jason’s reaction as the image to represent this tribal. Ozzy almost seems likable when he jokes about how long it took for him to craft his masterpiece, bemoaning the stick’s fate when it’s thrown in the fire. And Eliza throwing him under the bus showed that you can have an impact even when your torch is about to be snuffed. Spite is a powerful thing.

1. Erik gives away his idol vs. 8. Eliza plays the fucking stick

  • 1. Erik gives away his idol (79% Votes)
  • 8. Eliza plays the fucking stick (21% Votes)

Total Voters: 299

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4. Cochran Flips vs 5. Bad Sportsmanships Have Aaaay Deeee Deeee


Cochran flips – Caramoan, episode 8 “Double Agent”

Two tribes with even numbers, a six-six split. One tribe has two people with individual immunity, plus a hidden idol on their side. Going to rocks is risky, sure. But the odds are on their side, and Redemption Island – not Ponderosa – awaits. However, at its core Survivor is a social game, and that’s what the Savaii tribe did not take the time to consider. After ostracizing John Cochran for weeks, he somehow didn’t feel compelled to risk his game to save a guy who had been a dick to him. Weird. When Brandon Hantz is telling you to treat people better, you should probably reevaluate some things.


Bad Sportsmanships Have Aaaay Deeee Deeee – Guatemala, episode 6 “Big Balls, Big Mouth, Big Trouble”

I’m not sure I can even try to top Matt’s comprehensive write-up on this tribal council. Instead, here is a bullet point list of the highlights:

  • Judd thinks “sportsmanships” is something you are, rather than a quality you possess
  • Jeff explains to Judd that playing hard and having good sportsmanship are mutually exclusive concepts.
  • Judd must think ADD is something besides Attention Deficit Disorder, considering how insulted he was by the assertion that he has the condition.
  • Margaret’s subtle shade: “Judd also struggles with recall” when he misremembers her as being the one who said he has ADD.
  • Judd asks everyone if he listens, and interrupts all of them while they answer.
  • Judd interrupts Jeff Probst.
  • Jamie McYells-a-lot places a calming hand on Judd’s shoulder.

4. Cochran flips vs. 5. Bad sportsmanships have Aaaaay Deeee Deeee

  • 5. Bad sportsmanships have Aaaaay Deeee Deeee (63% Votes)
  • 4. Cochran flips (37% Votes)

Total Voters: 291

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2. Randy Plays Bob’s Fake Idol vs 7. Billy Garcia Confesses His Love


Randy Plays Bob’s Fake Idol – Gabon, episode 9 “Nothing Tastes Better than Five Hundred Dollars”

Before Randy became a beloved figure of RHAP, he was just that mean old crank on Survivor: Gabon. He made people so unhappy that they wanted to do more than vote him out; they wanted to put on a damn show. Sugar tells Bob she will help him go farther in the game if he’ll give Randy is (very impressive) fake idol and say it’s real. Bob was, in theory, in Randy’s alliance, so there was no reason to doubt him. Delighted, Randy decides to be even more of an asshole to guarantee that everyone will vote for him. They were going to vote for him anyway, but sure. Now Sugar and Crystal will be even more satisfied with what goes down. Just in case he was considering not playing the “idol”, Crystal shouts her voting confessional. Once Randy stands up, Sugar can barely hold it together. Jeff announces the idol is fake and Randy and Corinne can only watch as the inevitable votes roll in.


Billy Garcia Confesses His Love – Cook Islands, episode 2 “Dire Strengths and Dead Weight”

Has there ever been a more devastating confusion between the words “we” and “I”? After Billy tells Jeff he knows Ozzy etc. definitely threw the challenge to vote him out, he shares that there is a silver lining. You see, he fell in love. Like many men before him, Billy has interpreted a kind gesture from an attractive woman as a declaration of love. Jeff cannot believe what he’s hearing, reacting in spectacular gif-worthy fashion.

Say what now?
Say what now?

Cecelia and Cristina can’t hold in their laughter, but Billy maintains it’s true, stating that he and Candice just had an instant rapport. You know, in the dozen words spoken between them. The fact that Candice goes on to make-out with Douchechill McGee later in the season is just icing on the cake.

2. Randy plays Bob's fake idol vs. 7. Billy Garcia confesses his love

  • 2. Randy plays Bob's fake idol (58% Votes)
  • 7. Billy Garcia confesses his love (42% Votes)

Total Voters: 296

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14. Thanks Obama vs 11. Beauty is a Handicap


Thanks Obama – Philippines, episode 8 “Dead Man Walking”

This tribal council was submitted because of Jeff Kent’s infamous last words. But it is so much more than that. We start with Penner not so subtly thirsting for RC when she sits at the jury. Soon the seeds of discord between Lisa and Abi-Maria are sown, as they argue about whether Malcolm or Skupin is the fifth person in the Tandang alliance. Lisa addresses that Malcolm is a threat and it’s important to flush the idol. To which Malcolm responds by taking out his idol (phrasing?) and declaring that he will be playing it and will not be going home. One of those statements is true. Somewhat baffled, Jeff Probst asks if anyone else wants to share that they have an idol. Abi-Maria does! Penner can’t believe what he’s seeing and is clearly loving all the drama. Jeff Kent is floored. As the vote approaches, Penner clarifies if he and Skupin can consider themselves as with the Kalabaw crew. Kent seems noncommittal in his approach, but Denise of course gives a definite yes because Denise is a smart person. Lisa fights back by saying that she’s loyal to whomever she’s given her word to (Skupin) and that Tandang will be good if they go to Plan B. After Pete expresses fear about being a target, Kent pipes up that in addition to Pete, Malcolm, Lisa, Abi-Maria, and himself all feel in danger. “This is pretty fun, Jeff!” he claims. His mood will shortly sour. Probst declares that he can’t think of a more complicated or entertaining tribal, to which Kent exclaims, “Nice!” But yeah, I guess blaming income taxes on the president and giving me traumatic flashbacks to the Rally Monkey by referring to being a game seven World Series loser is pretty good too.


Beauty is a Handicap – The Amazon, episode 12 “Sour Grapes”

Yeah, we know Jenna and the future Mrs. Cole Hamels didn’t use the word “handicap” when talking about how difficult it is to be beautiful. But that’s what they meant; we all know that’s what they meant. Rob Cesternino makes a now signature self-deprecating joke to both lighten the mood and highlight how ridiculous Jenna and Heidi were being, right before casting a vote that keeps the two of them in the game.

Read more about this moment in our 30 from 30 series.

14. Thanks Obama vs. 11. Beauty is a handicap

  • 14. Thanks Obama (64% Votes)
  • 11. Beauty is a handicap (36% Votes)

Total Voters: 289

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The Rest of the Bracket

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Blindsides Bracket

Strategic Bracket

Historic Bracket

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Emma is the token chick of the Purple Rock Podcast. She has watched the show continuously since the second episode and is pretty sure she's never seen the pilot.

Favorite seasons: Heroes vs. Villains, Micronesia, Cambodia, Cook Islands, China, Philippines

Favorite players: Courtney Yates, Parvati Shallow, John Cochran, Cirie Fields, Yul Kwon, Kim Spradlin
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  • I still cannot believe how low-seeded “Thanks Obama” is. It’s truly one of the WTF Tribal Councils in the history of the show.

    • andythesaint

      I think when we were seeding, we’d forgotten some of the action. We remembered Penner’s random vote leading to Kent’s removal, and obviously Kent’s comments. But I think we forgot the idol stuff.

      Also, I moved some options around to get better match-ups both in the first and second rounds, so that might’ve affected its seeding. Which has created a nice little Cinderella story.

      • Yeah…other than this being 14, I think you have seeded the rest of the brackets really well. I love how you also paired some of the first rounds nicely against each other (Jenn idoling out Kelly vs Russell idoling out Kelly stands out for me).

      • Is this moment the Middle Tennessee of this bracket?

  • Hornacek

    If “It’s a fucking stick” doesn’t win then there is no God.

    • Mike Hirsch

      But, really, the best part of that episode all comes before tribal.

      • andythesaint

        Frankly, we almost didn’t even include the tribal because “FUCKING STICK” isn’t part of it. Eliza meekly plays it, Ozzy has a good laugh, Jason looks embarrassed, then Eliza blows up Ozzy’s spot on the way out. It’s probably the weakest of the Micronesia TCs we included (in no small part because Eliza isn’t on the jury to react to the proceedings).

        • Mike Hirsch

          If Eliza could have also been on the jury at that point, simultaneously, that would have been an amazing tribal.

          • Hornacek

            They should have spliced in a shot of her on the jury reacting.

      • Hornacek

        Yes, yes, it’s all a rich tapestry.

  • Alycia Swift

    Wow so far I’ve been on the wrong side of these.

  • itsafuckingSTICK

    It’s a fucking stick!

  • Side Character

    With the Micronesia matchup, you can’t go wrong with either. Arguably the dumbest move ever (I’d say it is the dumbest) vs. the fucking stick. What more could you want?

    While Savaii had it coming for how they treated him, Cochran’s flip does not do it for me as much as JUDD! I hated Judd when I first watched Guatemala (his personality was too grating for the young me), but in retrospect, he is a lot funnier now–still awful, but a lot funnier now.

    Oh Billy, that love was never meant to be. I cringed when I first heard about him being in love. It’s much funnier now, but I still don’t like watching it. It’s why I voted for Randy’s demise. You can’t beat this: FORGET YOU! GO HOME! GOODBYE!

    Thanks Jeff Kent: you helped popularize a meme. Good for you.

    Unrelated to the matchup: as much as Jenna and Heidi were being ridiculous about their implied ‘handicap’, I still liked Jenna’s response to Christy at the final tribal, explaining her reasoning behind the comment. It surprised me the first time I saw it, and it still kind of impresses me. If they showed more of that side of Jenna, people probably would not hate on her as much.