Is it going to screw up our SEO to talk about PRP at NYC KIA for HHH? IDK.
What follows is a late-to-the-party oral history of the time when a bunch of PRP regulars met up at a Survivor event in New York. Sure, it was for another podcast. But in fairness to them, PRP would never host a meetup because it involves planning and effort. Another thing that involves effort is editing together an oral history from several different accounts of the same event, which is why it took so long for this to actually get posted to our site. Anyway, it’s the offseason now, and we’re in full-on fan service mode. Enjoy this story, and use the comments to plan your next meetup. But please, do not murder each other at these meetups- it would be terrible for our site’s brand.
I was on the fence about actually going to the Live Know-It- Alls event this season. It’s fun every time I go to Survivor related events. The Survivor alumni are very kind and very open to engaging overly energetic and awkward fans like myself. But after going to the last couple of KIA events plus other meetups, I was worried that I’d run out of things to say to players and end up just going through the motions. Part of me wanted to get out before it stopped being fun. I was texting with my Trust Cluster that I watch Survivor with, and a couple of them wouldn’t even be in town when KIA was happening. Perhaps this was a sign that I should just skip the event this year.
But before I completely gave up on going, I sent a link to the tickets to Ms. Woozah, Violina23 and EmAndScoutinBK- all people I’ve met before and had a fabulous time with.
There was a previous conversation I had with Kemper Boyd where I promised to inform her as soon as I found out when the next KIA was happening. I figured it was some longshot thing. Maybe if shit lined up exactly right, Kemper could be able to plan out a trip from London to New York in the two months of notice she was getting.
Well, turns out shit did line up right. About an hour after I sent the link she mentions on Twitter how she just met Em in London and how she wants to come to NY and meet the PRP people in that area. What are the odds this all happens the same day? I inform her I sent a link for KIA tickets and I swear not even five minutes later she tells me that she bought three tickets.
EmAndScoutinBK came over to London as part of her bachelorette party, and I got the pleasure of having dinner with her and her friend (who happens to be an irregular commenter). We met up twice and got drunk enough on that first night that I purchased KIA live tickets on a bus home at midnight. Thus, the largescale PRP NY meet up was born.
I’m floored by this. I text the Trust Cluster that I 100% have to go to KIA now.
We plan out that we are going to meet for dinner before the show. There are like 10 of us meeting up, greatly exceeding my expectations.
I admit to having a lot of trepidation in attending the Purple Rock Podcast meetup at Survivor Know It Alls. For one thing I had never really had that strong a desire to attend a Know It Alls lest a wild Dan Foley show up. Additionally, this season is terrible. Oh, and the fact that I don’t really comment on the site and stick to the twitter. But I knew and adored BKEmandScout, and really had a mega friend crush on kemperboyd, so I decided to attend.
Unlike most people’s remembrances of the meetup, mine stretches over five glorious days where I saw someone I met on Purple Rock every single day.
On Tuesday night- after a 5-hour nap to stave off jetlag- I met up with Em and Blurry Denzel for dinner and the first round of shouting at each other about Survivor and social justice issues.
Meeting someone you’ve already developed a friendship with for the time is so strange. Being called Blurry Denzel to my face is something I still can’t fully comprehend.
I’m on a high when Em walks in the restaurant. We’ve met once prior to this but we interact like we’re lifelong friends. She also told me my job was to be “professionally handsome” which is both the best compliment I’ll hear for the rest of the year and, coming from Em, puts me on the same level as Ken.
Kemper arrives and I’m instantly giggling over the awesome accent. It’s not surprising, since she’s from London. It’s not like she is going to have an Alabama sound (though she should do that to fuck with people in the future). And the cherry on top-I got to meet both Em’s wonderful wife and Scout. I met fucking Scout! Real celebrity shit right there.
The next day at dinner before the show was even better. We invade this diner at around 5 pm, and we have a pretty swanky setup in the front. We’re rolling 10 deep. It’s Em, Kemper, Ms. Woozah, Alkanarra, Eric, Alycia Swift, Vaderdawsn, Violina23, her awesome husband and myself.
After saying hello and giving Kemper a hug, I told her that I was really excited to hear her talk (You know, because British people make everything sound more sophisticated). That’s not at all awkward or weird.
The KIA Meetup was in my eyes perfect; it began with a horrifically early dinner at a diner near the event, and from the moment our friend Erocklee brought out his list of ice breaker questions we were rolling on Survivor good times.
Being an over analyzer with a strong anxiety disorder, I refused to go in unprepared. We were meeting at the diner before the show and I was coming with ice breakers. Here are some of the truly thought-provoking questions that were asked that night (feel free to play at home):
- Favorite Season (Casual). Correct Answer: China
- Least Favorite Season (Also Casual)
- Most Overrated Season
- Favorite Guilty Pleasure Season
- Most Controversial Opinion
- Favorite Winner
- Favorite just shy of finals jury boot
- Best Player never to win who isn’t named Cirie
- Person We Never Wish To See Come Back
- Who is your Survivor Crush? (I choose Jaison!)
Many easy opinions were shared; HvV is my favourite season, Katie Collins is my all-time Survivor crush and as we all know Em loves her some Ken. I did however get to share my hot take that Amanda Kimmel is a top 10 Survivor player.
There is an obscene amount of Survivor knowledge amongst this group. Being that I was only a casual fan until I discovered the AV Club, I am truly not worthy of this group’s knowledge base. But they allowed me to stay, and left me with instructions to watch Pearl Islands.
We’re at this long table in the front of the diner, swapping stories, sharing what’s going on in our lives and naturally talking about Survivor. Simple moments like this are the ones that stuck with me. Just a really awesome community getting to spend time together.
But that wasn’t all- there was Survivor to get to.
We went and got in line for the theatre and get a primo spot in the middle of a middle row, I busted out the Cadbury Heroes and other British treats I brought with me. The episode was fine but honestly wasn’t really made for such a huge screen.
Watching Survivor on a movie theater screen is fucking weird. It was like the going to the next big Marvel premiere, only the legends of Survivor past are the big Hollywood stars. When Cirie Fields walks into the room, there were uproarious cheers and all eyes were on her. People stand in queue just to get a moment with her.
Rob gets on stage to introduce the episode and we get some video message from Jeff Probst. We’ve really reached the big time now.
Before the show aired, they played the welcome message that Jeff Probst recorded for us on the gigantic movie screen. The camera was at a decent zoom, so his dimples must have been a foot tall.
Things that looked good on a huge movie screen:
- Devon or JP’s abs (Honestly, I can’t remember which one. I was overwhelmed by 6-packs which were more like 6-feet packs)
- Desi (she was glistening, you guys)
- Giant Steaks. (I realize that this might have been terrifying to vegetarians.)
Things that did NOT look good on a huge movie screen:
- Various skin conditions that stem from being outdoors for several weeks with no bathing.
- Bugs & Spiders (Damnit, Survivor, I know you like your metaphors, but LAY. OFF.)
The episode starts and everyone in the theater is on the edge of the seats. There is cheering when something exciting happens, laughter when ridiculous shit occurs and some subdued mourning from the PRP row when someone we liked gets voted out. It all makes the show we watch feel important.
The crowd cheered when it became clear Chrissy wasn’t going home but the PRP row all groaned at the loss of Jessica (who the big screen had helped me realise is really pretty). We are a bunch who doesn’t enjoy women paying for the mistakes of men or women being seen as the easy target.
The KIA recording was fun. Seeing Rob and Stephen’s dynamic made it more accessible, but the highlight really was hearing Cirie talk about the game. She and Jessica Lewis were insightful and funny, and Cirie called Tom an idiot and refused to say JT’s name.
Em spent an age chatting with Jessica Lewis about lawyery things and she talked to us all about how much she loves the fan community, plus she loved my accent and took a video she didn’t (and hopefully won’t ever) post.
Jessica Lewis was ridiculously excited to be there. She took a few selfies with the crowd behind her. We are definitely visible in the background.
After the show, Violina wanted to go and meet Cirie before she had to head off back to New Jersey.
I was hesitant to try to approach any Survivors after the show, mostly because I made such a fool out of myself last time (particularly with Rob and Stephen). But when you have a chance to say hi to Cirie Fields, you say hi to Cirie Fields.
We ended up walking a few feet behind Cirie and her family to the bar. We are totally not stalkers.
I’m happy that Kemper came with me, because I was less prone to turning into a bumbling idiot.
Blurry Denzel and I accompanied her and for the first time in the night we used the line “Hi, this is Bea, she came all the way from England” to get her to stop on her way to the bathroom and chat with us. Let me tell you this, Cirie is awesome, she’s warm and she’s welcoming, she hugged us both and laughed when I told her Micronesia is the reason I’m such a huge fan. In that one interaction I understood why she is so good at Survivor.
Cirie is as awesome as she appears; very warm and appreciative of her fans. There is more to this story, but it is Kemper’s to tell.
We left Cirie and went to the toilet before we all said goodbye and moved on to the bar. Happy after my conversation with Cirie, and convinced only the people I knew were in the bathroom, I called out, “Why are there huge holes in between the doors and walls of your bathrooms?!” I said I felt like people could see me peeing, and then I heard a familiar voice say “Where is that accent from?” followed by a loud laugh.
Yes, Cirie had also entered the bathroom and was peeing in there. I became flustered and apologised (I don’t know why). I think I said it was still a valid question. (Editor’s note: It is.)
Violina, Ms Woozah and Samantha all laughed at me a lot though, so that was nice. Em, Blurry Denzel, Alycia Swift, and I then went on to the bar. Or more accurately we didn’t know where we were going and we kind of just followed Cirie and her party like a bunch of weirdo stalkers. Once at the bar Jarrad (Cirie’s son) wasn’t allowed in because he was carded.
The after party is so fun. A bunch of Survivor fans interacting with former players and podcasters you’ll normally hear on the RHAP network. Everyone is so warm and nice plus so engaging and willing to take many blurry pictures with you as you forget how to take a selfie. Also it’s at a bar with alcohol, so that’s a nice bonus, though it doesn’t get too rowdy.
We met Andrea by using the line about me coming so far. She was lovely- mainly she was really concerned that Devon stayed around so she can keep looking at him. As we were outside, Rob and Nicole Cesternino arrived and Nicole was gracious enough to grab Rob to chat with us.
A big highlight of the night for me was meeting some of the Survivor commentariat: Josh Wigler was a delight and Mike Bloom chatted with us about the sexual and racial dynamics that make Survivor interesting and troubling to watch. Dom Harvey and Sarah Channon chatted to me generally about being British fans and promised a London meetup at some point. And Lita Brillman chatted to me about So You Think You Can Dance.
There are just fun, animated conversations about Survivor and other topics. It’s full nerddom and it’s fully embraced and I love that atmosphere. Thanks to Rob for making such a fun event for fans to gather and shout out to Stephen, Andrea, Cirie and Jessica for being so awesome to chat with.
The KIA live show was fun, but hanging out with everyone was really amazing. Definitely worth driving in Manhattan. And that says a lot.
The amazing weekend continued on Thursday when Blurry Denzel and I went over to Em’s apartment to hang out with Scout, eat burgers to cure our hangovers and try and watch the perfect season of Survivor.
We began with the Pearl Islands premiere where we marveled at Sandra and how fucking awful Morgan were in the marooning and generally (holy sexual harassment when the penises came out during the first challenge); the Drewchebag episode of SJDS, where we marveled at Drew in general and saw the seeds of what made Natalie Anderson such a fun winner and Wentworth such a fun returnee; Banana Etiquette and the Merge episodes of HvV, where again we laughed with Sandra and Parvati and discussed whether Tyson’s move is truly a top 5 dumb move. We followed up with It’s a Turtle to see the fall of the 4 Horsemen and discuss why Cassandra is so hated (it’s the racist reason you think) then moved on the Russell Feathers, where you get to see a Survivor go from solid in her alliance to flipping completely because of 2 comments from Gervase. We then watched Erik Reichenbach commit the actual dumbest move in Survivor history and watch the greatest play from 4 truly brilliant women, who each played their part perfectly, and hear BD’s all-time favourite line “Mama always said you can’t always beat them with these (points at muscles), but you can always beat them with this (points at brain)”. We finished with Denise Stapley’s final tribal council performance and victory (we decided to minimise our viewing of [Redacted]) but all agreed that Lisa played a really good game and is underrated. An utterly perfect Survivor day with utterly perfect Survivor friends.
We also played Fuck Marry Kill with every Final 3. I expect your answers in the comments, I may even start a thread for each season (and yes for some seasons there is only one acceptable answer).
On Friday Blurry Denzel, Em, Erocklee, Ms Woozah and I went for dinner and cocktails, joined by Em’s lovely wife who was very kind to put up with our Survivor nerdery. We did Fuck, Marry, Kill some more and got so drunk I had a horrible hangover until about an hour before my flight home the following night.
I know this is the kind of sentimental schmaltzy nonsense we don’t usually do until you thank us all for being our awesome selves at the end of the finale podcast but Andy, John, Emma, Matt and Mark, thank you so much for this place. Thank you for somehow creating the kindest, friendliest community I’ve found for Survivor (and more) online. Thank you for hosting a place I could make friends I like so much I would travel across an ocean to see them. And especially thank you to EmnScoutinBK, famous handsome man Blurry Denzel, Ms Woozah, Violina23 (and her husband, and her friend Samantha), Ms Woozah, Alycia Swift, Alkanarra and Erocklee for all coming to hang out with me- some of them multiple times and one of them every day.
The whole week hanging with PRP members was awesome. Some of the coolest, good hearted people I’ve had the pleasure to be around. I’m so thankful for finding this community. This is the only place online where you will find me chatting and it’s 100% because of the people here. It’s not just for the Survivor but these weird, wonderful relationships being built. I’m here to make friends and awed that I may have been successful in my quest. I definitely hope that PRP meetups can become a biannual thing during KIA time. I would enjoy meeting every single one of you and I assure everyone that it’s a great time to be had. (Editor’s note: Even Saturday Night Palsy? Fuck that guy.)
I am coming back and I expect more of you to join me next time.
John is the co-host of the Purple Rock Survivor Podcast. He can get loud too, what the fuck!
Favorite seasons: Heroes vs. Villains, Cagayan, Pearl Islands, Tocantins, Cambodia