Kaôh Rōng, Winners at War
|To celebrate the 40th season of Survivor, we’re counting down the 40 Most Influential Survivors to ever play the game. Because Survivor is a game, a tv show, and a rabid fandom, we’re taking all forms of influence into consideration for this list. Go here to view the criteria we are using to determine what qualifies for the list. Note: this list is presented in chronological order and there will be spoilers for various Survivor seasons.
Michele Fitzgerald is the 36th entry in this series.
At least Natalie White got to sleep peacefully knowing Russell Hantz was an asshole. Michele Fitzgerald’s win was controversial because the season didn’t really tell her story – though her presence is how edgic readers were able to deduce her victory. It also didn’t really tell the story of how Aubry lost, leading to a lot of initial confusion in the immediate aftermath of the finale. But that edit and the press that followed the season made one thing clear: Jeff Probst (and likely production at large) wasn’t thrilled with the results.
Michele’s win (and Aubry’s loss) is more often blamed on a bitter jury, so the show decided to change how the jury worked! The following season to air was too soon, but by Game Changers they found a new formula to stick to. Instead of each juror stepping up to ask a question and/or say their piece, it became more of an open forum. The idea seemed to be that this would give the more strategy-based jurors the chance to make more convincing arguments without anyone have to pull a Half-Murphy. However, the first season after this chance was implemented, the final four fire-making twist (which has nothing to do with Michele and I refuse to hear arguments to the contrary because they’re wrong and Cydney and Aubry did go to fire so what would it have changed?) became a thing. Not only does that twist suck, but it makes it difficult to evaluate the impact of the new jury format.
As mentioned earlier, according to edgic, Michele’s win was clear as day. It’s important to note that edgic is a little different than regular edit reading. The latter would be more of a “Wow Chelsea is barely in the show, she probably doesn’t win,” or “they said Jeremy is going home in the first minute of the episode, so I bet that’s not how it ends,” whereas edgic includes that while also having more technical things such as confessionals that only seem to serve to make an otherwise not critical player visible.
PRP was famously anti-edgic and the “Obvious Winner Michele” storyline it inspired, and we were also famously wrong about that. Sure, edgic had predicted people like Cochran or Mike Holloway winning, but any casual could see that. This was different. Being the only reason anyone saw a Michele win coming made the fandom get way more into it for a time. It seemed like every site but ours (because we’re both stubborn and lazy) started blogging about edgic. Turned out that was a little less valuable for evenly matched games like Dom and Wendell in Ghost Island.
As of this writing, there is still time for Michele to be a larger influence on future game play, but for now she’ll have to settle with causing a change in the format, affecting how many watch the show, and of course, the million dollar check.
Who else made the list?
You can see each entry on the list by clicking this link.
Emma is the token chick of the Purple Rock Podcast. She has watched the show continuously since the second episode.
Favorite seasons: Heroes vs. Villains, Micronesia, Cambodia, Cook Islands, China, Philippines
Favorite players: Courtney Yates, Parvati Shallow, Cirie Fields, Yul Kwon, John Cochran, Jeremy Collins