The People’s Survivor Blog: The one with a literal line in the sand

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

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

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.

“Boo challenges. Yay feast!” – Courtney Yates, Survivor: China

Normally this blog is all about failure in Survivor. But this week I wanted to take a brief pause to recognize success. So for just this one week, I want to give someone an award for doing exceptionally well; sort of the opposite of a Dead Fishy. I’m not sure what I would even call such an award.

Regardless, I need to point out the solid work done by the Survivor editors this week, who gave me enough material to write a novel this week. For your valiant efforts in exposing us to as much failure as possible in the course of 42 minutes of air time, I award you the Opposite of a Dead Fishy. (I’ll keep working on a better name for it.)

Two roads diverged in a wood, and I rammed head-on into the detour sign

Nominee #1: Kelly Wiglesworth

There are light edits, there are purple edits, and then there are edits when a guy who isn’t even on this season gets more air time than you do.

Cambodia- Tocantins flashback Stephen Fishbach JT
“The biggest problem with Heroes vs. Villains is that Russell didn’t write a love note to YOU, buddy.”

Thanks to a flashback to Tocantins, J.T. was on this episode longer than Kelly Wiglesworth. If you’re keeping track at home, here’s a handy list of things that have had more air time than Wigles this season:

  1. A baby monkey
  2. A spider securing its prey in silk
  3. At least two frogs
  4. Muffins

You better start shilling real hard for Outback Steakhouse if you want to get on the show this season, Wigles. Otherwise you’re going to get outshined by bacon margaritas, too. I’m sorry, I meant #baconmargaritas.

Nominee #2: Subtlety

If only we had some kind of hint as to whether Savage and Jeremy are aligned. I mean, sure, they gave each other a high-five during the actual challenge last week. But is there anything else?

Cambodia- Savage and Jeremy smiling and hugging

No. Lay it on thick, Survivor. Make it clear to me! Do Savage and Jeremy like each other?

Cambodia- Savage Jeremy high five merge

I still feel like I’m having trouble picking up what you’re laying down this season, Survivor producers. Can you give me ten different confessionals talking about how this is everyone’s second chance? Oh, you can give me twelve? Even better!

Hang on, I think there’s still an ounce of subtlety left. Can you have someone draw an actual, literal line in the sand when talking about a figurative line in the sand?

Cambodia- Kass and Tasha draw literal line in the sand
“Here’s the line. And here’s a picture of you standing on a number 5 and me standing on a number 7. Because we’re at odds. Get it?”

Perfect! Thank you.

Nominee #3: Kass McQuillen

It’s merge time, and Kass lifts a cup to toast “the thirteen best losers ever”. Clearly she’s never seen the Philadelphia 76ers.

But more importantly, there are thirteen players left and three are from Cagayan. That could be a valuable voting bloc! Time for Kass to try to pull Tasha over to her side. How did that go?

Cambodia- Ciera eye roll at tribal council

Next, Kass tries to pull in Spencer: “It’ll be a women’s alliance. Plus you. You can be our Erik! Here, practice handing me an immunity necklace.”

“Not convinced? Are you sure?”

Swing and a miss again. But hey, maybe Kass can just make amends and try to fly under the radar.

Cambodia- Spencer big eyes at tribal council
Spencer making that face you make when grandpa is about to tell you his thoughts on “the blacks” or “the gays”.

Or, you know, not.

Nominee #4: Keith Nale

Cambodia- Keith golfing in the background

Really needs to focus on using his hips to get good distance on the ball. As it is now, he’s probably costing himself 10-20 yards every swing until he corrects that form.

Nominee #5: Kelley Wentworth

Cambodia- Kelley Wentworth Kass Abi

Having a strategy conversation? With another woman?! Have you never seen Survivor? The attractive women are supposed to let the big, strong, smart men decide on strategy- or at the very least make sure they get credit for it. The only way for a woman to win is by being a flirty, sexy, flirting sexpot. Like Parvati. Or Sandra. Or Tina.

Nominee #6: Stephen Fishbach

It’s time once again to check in on one of my favorite narrative arcs of the season: Stephen Fishbach’s whirlwind tour of ineptitude! You may recall that last week Stephen had thrown out Joe’s name as a possible target if his tribe lost, and the response was essentially, “Get the fuck out of my face with that talk, nerd!” The merge this week gave Fishbach a chance to hit the reset button and hope that his original tribe would be willing to let Bayons be Bayons (I’m so, so sorry for that pun).

How will he form bonds in this new group? By inviting them to Stephen Fishbach’s Def Poetry Slam! Historically, poets have always done well on Survivor– like Semhar, who you may remember (but probably don’t) as the first boot from South Pacific. Fishbach recites a poem from memory, and the camera cuts to the reactions of various other players stuck in the shelter with him- reactions ranging from boredom to disbelief to wishing for a medical evacuation.

Cambodia- Stephen Fishbach poem poetry snaps
Snap your fingers if you’d rather have a colonoscopy than listen to more poetry!

Here’s the one acceptable poem you can ever recite if you’re on Survivor. I’m giving this one to all of you, free of charge.

A Survivor Poem

by John

Some buffs are red, some buffs are blue,

I’m going to go get some firewood or water or something.


Ok, enough of that artsy bullshit. It’s challenge time!

Cambodia- Stephen Fishbach crying

No! Stop! Pull yourself together, Fishbach. You can do this! All you have to do is balance a ball on a stick. You don’t need impressive muscles or insane stamina or anything. Just go out there and give it your best. Survivors ready? Go!

Cambodia- Fishbach immediately fails at challenge

I…wait, really? Already? Damn. Say what you will about Crystal Cox sucking at challenges, but at least she could run fast.

Nominee #7: Ciera Eastin

Cambodia- Ciera votes mom edit2

Ok, this is just going too far, Ciera. Is nothing sacred to you?!

Nominee #8: Spencer Bledsoe

“Joe’s a guy that I wouldn’t mind sticking with and swinging with and perhaps I could even make a move with down the road.” Keep it in your pants, Spencer. Don’t let the shiny pretty object distract you from your mission.

Cambodia- Spencer and Joe draw on the sand
“If you like it, you should put a ring on it.”

Nominee #9: Andrew Savage

Savage was screwed over by these schemers and liars at the last tribal council- which you may remember as the one where he lied to Spencer as part of a scheme to blindside him. But now it’s time to merge, so Savage can triumphantly say, “Fuck these people, and fuck their lies!*”

*Note: Only their lies. Not his. His are still cool.

Champion of failure

dead fishy trophy

Early on, I figured this award would really only become competitive in the weeks when Abi-Maria wasn’t featured in the episode. But apparently when that happens, someone else becomes the Michael Jordan of spectacular failure. And that someone else is Stephen Fishbach, who picks up another Dead Fishy this week for finding a new floor in challenge aptitude and making even his staunchest supporters (like the one writing this blog) cringe with his impromptu poetry recitals.