Survivor One World Episode 11

Dumbest Episode of the Season

This season has had a number of strategic errors made by various players. At the top of the list would be the men giving up an immunity in order to go to Tribal Council. Despite the impossibly ridiculous lack of common sense it took to make that move, I think that this week’s episode had the most strategic errors of the entire season.

The episode started off with Kim vowing to get rid of Troyzan no matter what it took, something that made me nervous from a editing perspective, especially with all the previews I had been seeing all week. Usually when someone states that their goal for that episode is to do …. it means that goal will probably get screwed around with and they will have to figure out something else to do. For Kim it did not work out this way, but good job by the editors to put this doubt in my mind (and really all season has been unpredictable despite the guys getting Pagonged).

The reward challenge this week was one that they have nearly every season in which players answer a series of questions, with each question that they get correct they can attempt to eliminate another player from the challenge. It takes 3 hits to eliminate someone from a challenge. This is one of the great Survivor challenges, because it often reveals the pecking order of those in the majority. Most notably in Survivor: Marquesas this challenge completely flipped the game as the bottom 5 realized that they were at the bottom and decided to work against those at the top.

It was obvious that the production team wanted to give Troyzan every opportunity to stay in this game by throwing out this challenge (one that I feel is usually played with 9 or 7 people left and not 8). They didn’t make it an immunity challenge either, likely because there is no way Troyzan would have won it.

Troyzan was the first one out, but the girls did a good job of mixing things up and didn’t show their hand hardly at all during the challenge. When Kim won she got to pick 2 people to come with her on the reward. She chooses Alicia and Chelsea leaving a heartbroken Kat behind (can she get a more Fabio-esque edit?) with a majority 4 others (production really wanted Troyzan around).

This is where Troyzan really picked up on his strategy this week. Although it was his boot episode he really played it nicely and better than anyone else did this week (which is refreshing when the season has been so dominated by Kim). He starts pecking away at Kat telling her that she is just a follower and that Kim doesn’t want her in the finals and this pecking really does seem to work. Sabrina tries to calm her, but Kat is really upset over what happened. Sabrina also uses this time to see who is with them and who is willing to work against them by asking Troyzan what his plan was. Christina takes the bait and says she likes the plan. This really was a good move on Sabrina’s part, probably the best we’ve seen her make all season. I was impressed with it.

Can Anyone Figure Out these Reward Challenges?

Why is it so hard to pick the right people on reward challenges? Yes I get that it would be hard to decide who to pick only portions of your alliance, but don’t promise people things that you don’t follow through on! If I was out there, I would almost choose to throw any reward challenge in hopes that I wouldn’t have to pick. Either that, or I would just make a point to take whoever got 2nd just to play the “fair” card. Seriously, Ian screwed it up in Palau and it basically cost him the game, Chase screwed it up in Nicaragua and it partially cost him the game, and now Kim makes a move off of emotions rather than strategy.

By Kim deciding she wants to take her friend she left an angry alliance member with the bottom 3 on the totem pole, with only Sabrina to try to keep things from going wild. She played things okay by coming back, but really it was a pig showing up at their camp that ended up helping her maintain control of her alliance. Survivor really is a lot of luck, because if that pig didn’t show up and take everyone’s mind off of the game, then anything could have happened (though I doubt it).

The immunity challenge was one of the ones where they oil themselves up and slide down it in order to throw rings around a baseboard. This was probably the most boring version of this challenge I’ve ever seen. It was elimination based and there was almost nothing to look at visually. Troyzan got eliminated in the first round by Tarzan, something that had almost no build up to it at all, a strange anti-climactic turn for something I assumed would seal Troyzan’s fate. Kim won her first immunity, showing that she really is a triple threat in this game (social, strategy, physical).

The threat of a hidden immunity idol has nearly become the most powerful tool in the entire game. Anyone who is ever close to the bottom and being voted out should always pretend like they have an idol. Doing this brought Troyzan 1 vote from saving himself, which is just unbelievable.

The girls are freaked out at the prospect of this idol and decide to split the votes, a risky but almost necessary move. They decide to let Christina receive the votes and Sabrina decides to join the dumb-strategy club by telling her that she is the one who will get the split vote. Normally this would be a HUGE mistake to make, but Christina seems pretty okay with it and even tells Troyzan that they are splitting the votes with her!!!! At the beginning of this season I almost picked this girl to be the winner, instead she joins the ranks of the worst players of all time. Not only does she do this, but she also decides to flip her vote to Chelsea (to try and work with Troyzan I guess) leaving Troyzan to find one more person to vote for Christina and save himself.

When it comes down to it, he cannot get Kat to flip and he gets voted out 4-3-1 something that was a lot closer than it ever should have been and leaving Tarzan as the last man standing.

The Rise of Kat

We got a strange edit for Kat this week that ended with Troyzan coming up to her after being voted out and telling her “DO IT”. Is this the rise of Kat? I have always thought that she was in a good spot alliance-wise and her desire to not be a follower certainly puts her ahead of past players like Natalie Tenerelli or Cowboy Rick. Is this what will empower her to make a big move? Will she make it to the end and get the sympathetic male vote? Next week’s preview seems to show Kat gaining even more momentum.

Kim made her first mistake of the game, but it was ultimately something that did not seem to cost her too much. It will be very interesting to see how the women go after each other and just how ugly it will get.

If I was Tarzan I would throw myself out there for anyone who wanted to use me, playing up the fact that I am not a threat in any aspect of the game whatsoever. The girls should not take him to the end though, for fear of the men wanting another man to win.

It was a really good episode and continues a really good season. Each remaining player has their own arc and that makes it really fun to follow, as well as unpredictable.

Survivor: One World Ep. 10

This week on Survivor was an interesting one, as we saw little of the actual bootee and instead had all the focus on one person taking on the rest of the entire tribe. It was Troyzan vs. everyone this week from start to finish. Troyzan definitely played up the victim’s role and complained the entire episode about being on the outside. Eventually, thanks to an advantage in the challenge, he went on to win an immunity, forcing the girls to vote out Leif, despite Troyzan’s effort to gather those at the bottom to against Kim.

Did Troyzan shoot himself in the foot?

Strategically there were many flaws and missed opportunities this week. The first being the aforementioned self-victimizing that Troyzan did the whole episode. Troyzan definitely did not benefit himself in any way by whining and subsequently gloating when he won the challenge. Doing this he definitely, as Survivor blogger Superjude stated in his blog, made himself a replica of Terry from Survivor: Panama. Like Troyzan, Terry was the final member of his alliance left to fight for immunity each week. Terry did end up winning every immunity except for that fateful last one, making him finish in 3rd place. Also like Troyzan, Terry carried this attitude with him the entire time so that when the other alliance (Bruce, Aras, Cirie, Shane, Courtney, Danielle) had to eat itself, they simply ignored him and worked around his plans.

Troyzan was right in his attempt to get the bottom 4 to flip. Most times in Survivor, being the one to flip is not the best move to make. Case in point, John Cochran from last season or the fact that the nobody who has ever won has ever really flipped against their alliance (think about it, it’s true). Where Troyzan went wrong is forgetting that Survivor is grounded in personal relationships, not merely chess pieces to move across a board. So when you act cocky and shove it in everyone’s face that you will win immunity every single time, you are not doing anything to gain anyone’s favor.

I think that if I was Tarzan or Christina or Alicia I would have tried to bond together, because it probably would have been a good move. But you can’t forget that those 3 have probably all been guaranteed a spot in the final 3 and have been guaranteed that spot for a long time (like Alicia who in staying with the girl’s alliance is sticking with a group she has been with since day 1!). It is not that crazy to think that Kim or Sabrina will want to take at least 1 of those 3 to the finals with them, so this new alliance really seems more like a shot in the dark for them, that mad scrambling angry Troyzan is doing to save himself more than them. This is why it is so important in Survivor to maintain relationships with people that are not in your alliance at the chance that you need to work some magic and get other people to work with you. All this being said, they still should have flipped (it would have been like Marquesas repeat).

Making everyone feel so confident in their group is one of the reasons why Kim is playing such a great game (something I will attribute to Kim, since Chelsea doesn’t really seem smart enough to pull this off). If she wins this season, she may have played the best winning season by a female ever. I mean, who is better than her? I could see arguments for Parvati, Sophie, or Tina, but every other female winner played under the radar. Sandra is definitely in everyone’s top 5, but that is more for overall accomplishments than individual season prowess. Kim is nailing it this season and I love watching her. While Chelsea and Sabrina argue and yell, Kim sits their with her mouth silent, before making a well thought out statement that keeps everyone under control. It reminds me of Yul playing the diplomat in Cook Islands or Brian just sitting back having everyone bring information to him to listen to.

Can Kim actually pull it off?

While her gameplay continues to improve, I see her shot of winning going down and down. One reason for this is her edit seems to be a little too perfect. She is all strategy all the time, something that is very similar to what we saw in Sash in Nicaragua who was then blanked in the final tribal vote. Is Kat going to be the Fabio winner, defeating Kim (Sash) and Chelsea (Chase)?

Another reason I am worried about her winning, is I am not convinced everyone knows that she is pulling all the strings. I have listened to and read several interviews of all the jury boots and none seemed to acknowledge that they knew she was the glue that kept everyone together. Not Jonas, Michael, Jay, or Leif. They all seemed somewhat hesitant when talking about it and reluctant to admit that she was doing it. I also remember a shot of Kim saying that she thought the jury would recognize that she was the one who played better, but maybe this was foreshadowing what would end up making her lose. I don’t know what to make of all of this, but it should be interesting to see whether things happen straight forward or they try to shake things up.

The Survivor auction returns

The auction was back this week for the first time since Tocantins (I think?). Troyzan partially played the auction brilliantly and partially idiotic. It is great to see someone thinking strategically during a part of the game that isn’t as obviously strategic. Knowing that he was at the bottom and that usually they offer some sort of advantage in the challenge, he was wise to save his money to buy that advantage. It really was a great play on his part, especially since so many people take their mind off of the game during parts like that. But his starting bid was only $300?! If Christina had any idea what she doing he would have totally screwed himself over by bidding $200 less than the maximum. Did he think that nobody else would want an advantage? So Troy, I give you credit, but also not.

How will the remaining players do?

Christina is destined to be the first woman out, there is really no doubt in my mind anymore. Alicia is an interesting one, because I really do think she has a mind for strategy , so she could go at any time. I think Kat is top 5 for sure, probably even top 4. Sabrina will get anywhere from 7th to 1st depending on how soon and if they make a move to get her out. Chelsea is also interesting, because she butts head with a lot of different people, but we have seen so much of her and she really does seem likeable. It is hard to get a read on what everyone thinks (Leif in a post-boot interview said he didn’t like her). Tarzan really could go at anytime as well. I think Troyzan’s time is limited. He has to win or he’s done and there is no way he will win every immunity and there is also no way he will convince anyone to join him.

I am really enjoying this season. There are some solid people playing the game and although it seems as if it is going to be predictable (the order being Troyzan, Christina, Alicia, Tarzan, Sabrina, Kat, Chelsea, Kim) it leaves a seed just big enough in your mind to make you wonder and that makes it a good season.

Survivor Nerdery

Comparing the Remaining Players of Survivor: One World to Seasons Past

This week, in preparation for tomorrow’s episode, I will compare the remaining 9 Survivor’s to players from past seasons.

Chelsea:

Rafe Judkins –Survivor: Guatemala

Rafe was a very well liked person in Guatemala. He was at the head of his alliance just like Chelsea, and also just like Chelsea, he could sometimes be a very solid strategic player. However, also like Chelsea, he would base his decisions off of emotion (getting rid of Jamie, Lydia, letting Danni off her promise). This would ultimately cost him the game and I could see Chelsea doing the same.

Honorable Mentions: Jenna Morasca, Danielle Dilorenzo, Colby Donaldson

Kim:

Earl Cole-Survivor: Fiji

Earl is an underrated winner in my opinion, due to the fact that everyone hates Fiji. After rewatching it last year, I noticed just how dominate Earl was the entire game. He was always at the head of his alliance and had people like Michelle who would constantly feed him information. Hopefully Kim can take 2 scapegoats to the end just as he did, otherwise she might end up like the honorable mention below.

Honorable Mention: Stephen Fishbach

Sabrina:

JT Thomas or Taj George-Survivor: Tocantins

If Kim is Earl than Sabrina would be Yau Man, the extremely likeable, somewhat less strategic partner, but instead I chose two people from Tocantins for her. Sabrina can either be JT or Taj, depending on the decisions she makes. If she stays as likeable throughout and goes on an immunity run, she is JT to Kim’s Fishbach and wins a million bucks. However, if she becomes comfortable in her spot, look for her to be gotten rid of just as Taj was, replaced by the far less threatening Erin Lobdell.

Honorable Mention: Yau Man

Tarzan:

Phillip Sheppard-Survivor: Redemption Island

This one really was too simple. Go out there, drive everyone crazy, show everyone you have no strategic capabilities, by doing this work your way into the main group and a spot in the final 3 where you go onto lose in a landslide.

Leif:

Butch Lockley-Survivor: The Amazon

Butch started off in the Amazon in a pretty good spot in the men’s alliance, much like Leif did with the outcasts. After a tribal swap, they both maintained their alliances. At the merge however, they both showed cluelessness to far more savvy players, but were seen as non-threatening so remained in the game. Butch would do this until 4th place and Leif could potentially do it to the final 5. Hopefully Leif doesn’t burn the shelter down…

Honorable Mentions: Rick, Jan

Troyzan:

Lex Van den Bergh-Survivor: Africa/All Stars

Troyzan, much like Lex, can be manipulated based on emotionally not liking somebody. Troyzan freaked out when Kim fabricated that Mike was targeting him, which reminded me of Lex targeting Kelly in Africa because he assumed she had voted for him. Troyzan looks to freak out and become a potential bitter juror during this upcoming episode, something that can only bring back memories of Lex and the Amber incident in All-Stars.

Honorable Mentions: Gary Hageboom

Christina:

Eliza Orlins-Survivor: Vanuatu/Micronesia

Christina is someone that everyone seems to hate, yet she seems like a perfectly capable and likeable person. Eliza was also someone always getting on people’s nerves, yet has always seemed like a good person. If Christina can pull an Eliza and get people to work with her despite their dislike, she is golden, if not, goodbye.

Honorable Mentions: Lill, Sugar

Alicia:

Corrine Kaplin-Survivor: Gabon

Both are foul-mouthed and seem to revel in taking on this “bitchy” character. Both also seem perfectly capable of handling the strategic aspects of the game. Corrine was in a really good spot until the “onion alliance” lost numbers and from what we heard from Jay last week, Alicia is playing both sides. Time will tell just how similar they are.

Honorable Mentions: Alicia Calaway

Kat:

Fabio Birza-Survivor: Nicaragua

This one was also a no-brainer. Kat has had shots and statements that seem to be directly mimicking ones from Fabio in Nicaragua. She does seem to be more involved in the game than Fabio ever was, but we will have to see if her cluelessness can bring her victory just as it once did Fabio.

Agree? Disagree? Let me know who you think each player is like…

Survivor: One World Episode 9

This week we saw another victim to the all girls alliance in Survivor: One World. Jay was the next target of Kim and her minions, something he almost caused himself to do. Since I am assuming most of you reading this have actually watched the show, there will be little recapping and more discussion of the pros and cons of each person’s strategy.

In Defense of Jay

Last week Jay was against the idea of getting rid of Mike for fear of a girl’s alliance, but this week he changed his mind completely even arguing against Troyzan’s paranoia, telling him to trust the girls. A lot of criticism has been made toward Jay’s decision to try to stick with the new Salani alliance (Jay, Troyzan, Kat, Kim, Chelsea, Sabrina), but in trying to see things from his perspective, I have come to almost agree with what he did. Now, he definitely should not have trusted the girls as much as he did, but really what other choice did he have?

When the tribes were switched Jay was smart to start making moves and asserted himself as a major part of the Salani tribe. Now if Colton had not been removed and either Christina or Alicia had been voted out, the guys would have had the advantage going into the merge, making him (or maybe Colton) who would be in Kim’s position. Aside from that, it would have given him more time to establish the new tribe and new alliance as something more permanent, rather than something to just last until the merge.

Instead, Jay is forced into a merge where the guys and girls are even 6-6. He has to make the choice to either trust his new tribemates (who have the numbers advantage and are more logically sound) or join an all guys alliance that would feature incompetent players such as Tarzan and Leif, having to convince Michael to work with people he didn’t like, and probably having to be second in command to Jonas as he would be necessary in trying to get Christina to flip to his side. Those are just too many variables to trust in to try and get a guys alliance together.

In that first merged tribal council, the girls pushed for Jonas to be voted out and the guys went along with it, assuming there was a guy/girl alternating deal. Should the guys have pushed for Christina to go instead? Probably more than they did, but what other option was there? When the girls tell them they are going to get rid of Jonas anyway, the best the men can do is force a tie, risking their own place in the game. Maybe a tie vote against someone like Alicia may have caused Christina to flip in a tie situation, but again this would require a bringing together of the illogical incompetent ones. In light of this I don’t blame Jay in trying to prove his allegiance to the girls by sticking with them through each tribal council.

This week Jay pushed for Alicia to go and when Troyzan tells him his new plan to play his idol and gun for Kim he immediately goes to Kim and throws Troyzan under the bus. Maybe it would have been more beneficial for him to join Troyzan and try to get Christina and Tarzan to go along with him (he already seemed to have Leif with him) and get 5 votes for Kim to be out, but I think to him throwing Troyzan under the bus would prove to Kim that he was with them no matter what. His logic of getting Troyzan to play his idol, while getting rid of someone else was sound, if only he wasn’t that someone else.

Looking back on it, Jay may have had some other options, but certainly none that looked as sweet as that promise of a final 3 with Kim and Chelsea. The variables of the other side did not seem worth the risk, but apparently neither was trusting Kim and Chelsea.

The best edit for a girl ever?

Aside from this defense of Jay, I have been cheering on Kim from day 1 (check out my predictions here) and unless she gets blindsided the next couple of weeks, I definitely think she will be considered among the ranks of one of the best female players of all time.   It is refreshing to see an edit of female dominance, since there have been very few in Survivor history. Even Sophie last season wasn’t given as great of an edit as she probably deserved as a intelligent female player. Other women who have gotten as good of an edit would probably be Ami from Vanuatu, Stephanie in Guatemala, the Black Widow Alliance in Micronesia (Parvati, Cirie, Natalie, Amanda), and maybe Brenda for a bit in Nicaragua, all of which went on to lose (except Parv). It will be interesting to see if they continue to give this much credit to a female player who really is not that interesting other than for strategy and being a nice person. I will continue to cheer her on and to giver her props for everything she is doing.

One huge credit she gets, is that she seems to be controlling every single person in this game. When she began to worry about Troyzan having an idol she simply decided to split the votes between everyone having 5 vote for Troy and 3 for Jay. When I first saw her say that, I thought to myself, ‘she’s going to screw herself over’, because in order to do this, she would have to get not only the girls on board, but Tarzan and Leif, who I was sure that if they told them to do so would simply turn on them and tell either Troyzan or Jay, thus screwing over Kim’s plan. But, lo and behold, her plan worked. She didn’t end up getting Leif, but Tarzan followed along with the plan, helping to get Jay out.

This lead me to 2 questions, just what is Leif and Tarzan’s strategy? And what kind of deal is Kim making with them to get them to vote with her? If Kim is making these sorts of deals with them, she really is brilliant. They have nowhere else to go, and she is ensuring that they will stick with her rather than some other hail mary play that somebody else comes to them with. If I were Leif or Tarzan, I would continue to try and be a vote for sale in order to get myself along further in the game, this almost always seems to work at least for a while, (with Dolly in Vanuatu and Christy in the Amazon being the exception). I would try to stir something up and make myself and invaluable part of someone’s vote, otherwise their demise will be soon.

That is all for this week, later this week I am going to make a list comparing each remaining player to others in previous Survivor seasons.

Survivor One World: Ranking the final 10

We are down to the final 10 in Survivor: One World, which until recently was often the time of the merge, where Survivor really began. This season has definitely been a solid one, with equal parts strategy and craziness, the perfect combination for any Survivor season, but we will have to wait to see how this season plays out before giving it a final ranking.

Today I will rank the final 10 players in their likeliness to win. This ranking will not be in the order of who is playing the smartest, but who has the best chance of winning.

10. Tarzan-We are at the point where I am pretty sure there is no way Tarzan can win this game. Sure, he will likely make it to the final 3, but if people think you are a joke, there is no way they will hand you a million bucks, admitting that you outplayed them. As much as everyone hated being played by Boston Rob in Redemption Island, they hated losing to Phillip even more and there is no way they would ever hand him a victory. Not only is Tarzan a joke, but he gets on everyone’s nerves and talks condescendingly toward others. That combination=jury goat.

9. Jay-Jay is actually a really smart player. Going in I did not expect to say those words, but I think that next to Kim, Jay has his head in this game. He flips when he needs to flip, keeps his mouth shut when he needs to, and leads when he has to, however, Jay is in a terrible position, which is mostly not his fault. He didn’t want to go to Tribal when the guys gave up immunity, which caused the guys to be down in numbers and now he is facing a 6-4 deficit. Plus he is a HUGE immunity threat, which could make him the next target to go. Unless he wins immunity every time or he can pull off something drastic, he is gone the next couple weeks.

8. Leif-Leif has absolutely no idea how to play Survivor, which might actually help him a couple more weeks. Plus, I could see the girls going after themselves before getting rid of Leif. I just don’t see him being allowed to make it to the finals. He will be voted out once all the bigger threats take each other down.

7. Alicia-Alicia thinks she’s in a better position than she actually is. Though all this could change if she continues to insult people and is seen as a potential jury goat. She seems a little too conniving to be allowed to make it that far though. I think people will be smart and not take her along for the ride.

6. Christina-The girl everyone hates is probably in the most unique position of anyone. Will she continue to be passed along in the voting queue, will she make a move, or will she be taken out 6th? All of these are possibilities considering everyone hates her for little to no reason. Is she so hated that she would lose any final 3? Or could she possibly sneak by as a come-from-behind winner? I could see the editors painting her as someone overcoming adversity and beating those who made fun of her all along, but it hasn’t started yet.

5. Kat-Could she be our Fabio? The “dumb” one who sneaks by, wins some immunities and wins for a lack of backstabbing. However, there are quite a few differences between the two. Fabio was always on the outside of the alliances being made, whereas Kat seems to be in the top 4 of the female alliance. She has been at the center of several important conversations and surprisingly never seems too far out of the loop. I don’t see her overcoming the Sabrina/Chelsea/Kim big 3, but if any of them go after each other she could sneak in.

4. Sabrina-She is in a great spot, but as the out-in-front leader of the girls tribe she is also  the out-in-front pick to either win over them or be backstabbed by them. Out of the three  I could see her being taken down first. If any of them are smart, they will not let their final 3 consist of the other 2.

3. Troyzan-Maybe Troyzan is a little too high for this list, but he is toward the top of the most capable men out there and is not as high of a target as Jay. Plus he could potentially use his idol to make his way to the finals.

2. Chelsea-Though Chelsea seems to be attempting to completely destroy the girls’ shot of winning this game, I still see her as a favorite to win. Eventually Kim and Sabrina could both be taken down by the others, leaving Chelsea standing as quite the likeable winner. She is a little too hotheaded and doesn’t quite think things through, but if she ends up in a final 3 without Kim and Sabrina she has a good shot at taking it.

1. Kim-Kim is tearing this game a part. There are others who are playing well, but Kim is a step ahead of everyone out there. Not only is she playing a multi-layered strategic game, but everyone seems to have her best interests at mind. During the immunity challenge both Kat and Sabrina were cheering her on. Everyone loves her and thus far she has made no mistakes. Her game and edit almost seem too perfect. Has anyone had this flawless of an edit this far into the game? Earl comes into mind, which is a great sign for her. The only way she goes in the next couple weeks is by an idol and the only way she doesn’t win, is if she takes Sabrina to the finals, or the others realize she is the power player. The only thing is, I can’t see a girls alliance successfully existing without her at the center pushing and pulling each of the chess pieces in her hand.

Survivor: One World Predictions

Season 24 of  Survivor premieres tonight and this season I plan to blog my way through it. I hope to make these blogs more than just a recap (like most television sites tend to) and talk strategy, because that is what makes it my favorite show.

This season I am less excited than I have been probably ever been for a Survivor premiere. I still have lots of love for this show of which I have seen every season (some multiple times) and last season wasn’t too bad and the twist is actually the most inventive the producers might have ever come up with, but despite these factors, I still am not as excited as I typically would be for a Survivor premiere. I kind of count this as a good sign, because the last few seasons have been disappointing compared to the expectations I brought in to them. The last two seasons I have been really excited about the cast going in, but was extremely let down (thanks to you Redemption Island and returning player twist). I hope that the low expectations will lead to me being pleasantly surprised instead of let down.

The big twist of this season is that they are living in One World (One World? Seriously? This sounds like a piece-of-crap whale show at Marine World. This may be the worst season name ever). All the contestants will be residing on the same beach where presumably they will sleep, eat, and live together. I think that this is absolutely fascinating and cannot wait to see how a possible divide in tribe loyalties will affect those playing. After a couple of seasons where tribe loyalty was so strong that only bullying could cause a split, it will be refreshing to hopefully see people who are willing to jump from alliance to alliance rather than sticking to cult-like loyalty.

In Survivor history, there have been a couple of other situations like this, the most similar being in Thailand, where they brought the tribes together around merge time, but never officially merged them. This lead to Shi-Ann making deals with the other tribe only to be voted off because they weren’t actually merged. Other than that though, there was no real major difference made to the game. In Palau and Fiji they all started off on one beach only to be split later. This made things interesting, because it allowed for people to talk and make early deals (like Tom, Ian, and Stephanie in Palau, a decision that almost saved Stepanie). I think the producers shouldn’t have told them which tribes they were on, brought them to one beach, and left them there like in the aforementioned seasons. This would have caused a lot more deal making to be made and would have made things a lot more interesting when Jeff came to tell them to split into men and women. Now, they run the risk of the two tribes just spending all their time away from each other with two camps, fires, and sets of food. Let’s hope it doesn’t end up this way.

One moment in Survivor history that I am surprised I haven’t heard anybody mention in comparison to this season is the way exile worked in Tocantins. When a tribe would win a reward challenge, they got the opportunity to send someone to exile island. In return the selected player got to choose someone from the winning tribe to come along with them. On exile, they would spend an evening and even possibly an idol clue. This lead to something completely original to Survivor, the “Exile Alliance” between Stephen, Taj, Brendan, and Sierra (Two from each tribe). Come merge time this alliance seemed to be in completely shattered and both HII’s were never used, but it was a very creative idea (and when you think about it, it was kinda what JT was trying to do in Heroes vs. Villains only to the worst possible outcome). Who knows, but maybe if Coach, Tyson, and Debbie hadn’t been so insistent on getting rid of “the dragon” (Brendan), maybe Stephen and Taj would have called them out on the “Exile Alliance” and used this to their advantage. This is the sort of prospects we get from this new season and it makes me excited to see how it will actually turn out.

I like the Men vs. Women twist, as Amazon and Vanuatu are two of my favorite seasons, both starting with this same twist.  Rob Cesternino basically founded the flip-flopping strategy in a situation like this, so it gives me hope, though there do not seem to be too many people who are Rob C. like in the cast. Which leads me to the cast… they seem so boring. Hardly anyone sticks out to me and honestly I don’t think half have what it takes to win or to even be interesting. A lot of people have gone through the cast and criticized nearly every single person, but someone’s got to win this thing! The last two years I picked Andrea and Sophie to win (5th and 1st place), but this year no one sticks out as a real favorite. I will still do my best (arbitrarily) to rank these people solely based on their preseason interviews.

18. Greg-The first boot is gonna be someone who doesn’t fit in, can’t compete, and people think is weird.

17. Alicia-My prediction: She does really well or really bad. I wanna say she does well, but there have just been too many Palomas and Carolinas that go early.

16. Nina-I don’t think she will fit in enough with the young ones.

15. Michael-This is the time that seems prime for a tribe swap. I think he would be a big target post-swap.

14. Monica-Just too high class to last long in this game.

13. Sabrina-She’s my Sherea pick, will compete and have solid enough relationships, but will come out on the wrong side of the numbers.

12. Troy-He really could place anywhere on here. Seems fairly athletic, but really weird, who knows.

11. Chelsea-Eh, why not here?

10. Matt-He is my Marty and Jim pick. Both villainous players who know strategy and the game of Survivor. Both played their hands too early and went as early jury members.

9. Kat-I actually really liked Jaime Dugan and think she is underrated, Kat says she is similar to her, I think Kat kinda sucks, but we’ll see.

8. Jay-He is my Benry pick, athletic enough to survive, dumb enough to not be at the core of the decision making. He will last until he tries to make a move of some kind.

7. Kourtney-She doesn’t seem fit for the game of Survivor. That being said, she will be a perfect tag-a-long until the numbers run out, then… SEE YA!

6. Leif-I think Leif will do well. I think the guys will lose the first challenge and won’t want to vote him out, then go on a streak to keep him around. There is no way they let him past 6 though.

5. Colton-They have never had a gay man on an all male tribe, so it will be interesting to see how he does out there. I think he will be a prominent partaker in cross-tribal alliances, this could hurt him or help him.

4. Jonas-I like Jonas. In the preview Jeff says that there are several villains, quickly afterwards it cuts to Jonas, which is quite different than the read people have been getting from him. I hope he does well.

3. Bill-At best Bill could be a Rob C.  a-like smiling his way to the final 3, at worst someone just trying to promote his comedy.

2. Christina-Either she will get on the wrong side of an alliance or she will work both sides marvelously, her social game seems to be what could kill her.

1. Kim-Kim is my pick to win. She just seems to be a solid person. In this game you need to be smart, athletic, personable, and aware, she seems to best fulfill all these qualities. She doesn’t seem to be on to make herself famous, nor does she seem to have the capacity to go off on somebody, but she has her head on her. Let’s go Kim!

I will post something after the episode airs and each week I will pick who I think is in the best spot to win. Happy Survivor viewing!

Why the Television Show Survivor is Among the Best Games Ever Created

This is something I wrote for my creative writing class and is for all people, hoping to explain my love for the show Survivor.

CBS’s television show Survivor helped to bring an array of cheesy reality shows onto viewers television sets, much of which people would consider to be the downfall of television as we know it. Shows would be created, where people battled in order to win love from a stranger, or where people competed to win plastic surgery, or to see who could lose the most weight, as well as shows following around faux celebrities, cake shops, and balloon makers. All of which contribute to the mind numbing of American teens and the ever increasing American obesity rate. Survivor however, remains unique and interesting after 11 years and 22 seasons. The reason being that in Survivor, we have one of the most fascinating games ever created. Today, I will give my reasons as to why I believe Survivor to be one of the best games ever created by stating its history, contents, unique attributes, and strategies that have helped players succeed.

The show was first created by British producer Charlie Parsons in 1992 and was first picked up by Swedish television in 1997. After 3 years on the Swedish airwaves, the show was brought to America, with Mark Burnett producing. The show took off due to its intriguing premise, 16 people living on an island with no outside interaction or help, forced to survive both the elements and each other, with a person being voted off every 3 days. This process continues until 1 person remained that person earning the title Sole Survivor and a million dollar prize.

When the game starts the 16-20 individuals are split into two even teams. For the first three weeks or so, the two teams compete in challenges, the winning team gaining “immunity” while the loser is forced to go to “tribal council” and vote off one member. Once there remains 10-12 players, the teams combine into one in what is called the “merge”. From then on, each challenge is an individual one, where players hope to earn “individual immunity”.

During the show’s first season, most castaways (as the competitors are often called) focused on surviving the elements, rather than surviving getting voted off. This meant that you wanted to keep people to were able to get food, build shelter, and worked hard around the camp, while being physically capable of helping your “tribe” win a challenge. At first, players were eliminated for being either weak or annoying. However, at the time of the merge, this all changed. One player, Richard Hatch, decided to come together with 3 other players and vote as a block each time they voted for someone to exit the game, making it more likely that whoever they voted for would be voted out. This would become known as an alliance, and would end up becoming an integral part of the game. This alliance, which featured weak and abrasive former Navy Seal Rudy, voted off tribe leader and hard worker Gretchen, much to the surprise of many. This would set the precedent for the rest of the season (and the show/game as a whole) and Richard’s four would come to be the final four left in the game.

Probably the most important part of the game, is how to win when it gets down to the final 2 players. Rather than having the final 2 compete in some sort of challenge, to decide the winner, the winner is decided by a jury made up of 7 to 9 of the last players to be voted out. The jury asks questions to the 2 or 3 remaining players and judges who they believe to be the winner. This way each player is held accountable for every move they made the entire game. Often times, the best way to get to the end is to deceive and to backstab alliances, but in the end, you must face the very people that you have deceived and backstabbed. Some players, such as Rob Mariano in All-Stars, were not awarded the final prize solely based on the fact that he lied to people so much. Yet, Thailand player Brian Heidik did the exact same thing and still received the title, because his jurors saw him as the best. Others, like Todd Herzog from China and Chris Daugherty from Vanuatu buttered up their jurors, making them feel important and smooth talking their way to victory. It is almost ironic that in a game that nearly requires the making and breaking of friendships, the final decision goes to the people who were screwed over. It would be like deciding the Super Bowl by asking all the other teams in the NFL who was better. In Survivor the losers do get vengeance, and that is something that players must keep in mind while forming their strategies.

Having the jury makes Survivor completely subjective every single season. There is never one way to win, because players must always be adjusting to the people they are around. The game’s tagline is “Outwit, Outplay, Outlast” which serves as a guide, but in the end, it really is all up to the jury and whatever qualities they feel like the winner should have. In Australia, Colby Donaldson dominated the challenges, winning nearly every single one, yet lost in the finals, while in Palau, Tom Westman did the same thing and was awarded the title. In Africa, Ethan won for being a nice guy, but in Marquesas Neleh lost for being too nice. In order to win the game, you must adapt to your situation at each moment, because even the game adds new twists every season. While the core stays in tact, twists such as tribal swaps, where the teams are switched up, or the hidden immunity idol, a device that if played correctly makes a player immune from a vote, have forced people to have elastic strategies.

Survivor lasts 39 days. For these 39 days, there are no breaks. It is 24/7. Thus, what become everyday tasks like gathering wood or cooking food, are integral parts of the game. Every action that is made for 39 days, is by default strategic. Every conversation has a potential impact on the game. This often causes real friendships to be formed, despite the fact that there is always a knowledge that you are trying to beat that other person. In Amazon, player Rob Cesternino had a solid alliance with three other players, whom he considered to be his friends. With only 7 players remaining in the game, he basically had a spot in the final 4, if they stuck to voting out the other 3. But, when friend and alliance mate Alex admitted to him that when it came down to the final 4, he would join the other 2 and vote out Rob, Rob rethought his strategy. While Alex thought that since they were friends, it wouldn’t really matter what place they all got, Rob wanted to win it all. That night Rob joined the other 3 not in his alliance and voted out Alex that night, completely blindsiding him. It is the challenge to separate real life from the game that makes it so complicated, yet so interesting.

All kinds of strategies have been employed to get further in the game. What works in one season, may not work in the other. A list of some strategies:

-The physical player: this player is often athletic and hopes to immunity and protect himself from being voted out each week. E. Colby Donaldson Australia, Ozzy Lusth Cook Islands

-The schemer: this player will lie, cheat, and steal to advance himself. He will often tell you one thing while planning to do another. Ex. Rob Cesternino Amazon, Jonny Fairplay Pearl Islands

-The leader: this player gathers a group of people around him/her and sticks with those people while telling them how to vote each week. Ex. Ami Cusack Vanuatu, Lex Van de Berge Africa

-The “anyone but me” strategy: this player is willing to vote for anyone, no matter how close they are to that person just to make it one more week. Ex. Sandra Diaz Twine Pearl Islands, Heroes vs. Villains

-The coattail rider: this player will often stick to a leader and just follow their lead all the way to the end, hoping that jurors will be too angry at the leader to vote for them to win Ex. Natalie Tenerelli Redemption Island, Fabio Birza Nicaragua

-The scapegoat: this player sets themselves apart as “crazy” making themselves a viable option to take to the finals as nobody will want to vote for them to win Ex. Phillip Sheppard Redemption Island

There have been many other strategies that have been put into place, and what makes Survivor so great is that each one can be great or terrible depending on who is there.

The game of Survivor is among the most intense, well thought out games to ever exist and although it hides in the middle of primetime TV on Wednesday nights, it is first and foremost a game, that is well worth the watch.