The Ghost’s of Survivor Past – What is Coming?

With Survivor Ghost Island only days away and the concept well and truly out there, it is only appropriate that we take a look at what Ghost’s from Survivor Past may rear their ugly heads one more time.

They have been broken down into four categories: Advantages, Twists and Turns, Immunity Idols and Fake Idols

Advantages

Dan Foley’s extra vote

When things are feeling suspect and an enemy stands up and says that they would like to cast an extra vote alarm bells should be ringing. Carolyn responded by playing her idol and sending Dan Foley to the jury. Production likes advantages and this is such a simple one to include.

Chance of return: Likely
Continue reading “The Ghost’s of Survivor Past – What is Coming?”

30 Game Moves Rated – Australian Survivor 2017

RATING GAME MOVES ON A 1-5 SCALE

(* 1=Not a good move, 2=Okay move, 3=Satisfactory move, 4=Good move, 5=Amazing move) 

Game Moves Samatau 5

Today we look at the moves made and their impact on the game. Below is a list of 30 moves made in the game rated on a 1-5 scale by the Patrons of our community.

Continue reading “30 Game Moves Rated – Australian Survivor 2017”

38 Australian Survivor 2017 Challenges ranked from best to worst.

Best Challenges of Australian Survivor 2017

Best Challenges

This year the patrons of our podcast voted on the best challenges of the season using a 1 to 5 scale. 1 indicating they disliked the challenge, 5 showing they loved the challenge. The score out of 5 represents the average vote for each challenge from first to last.

Can’t remember the challenge? Click the title of the challenge to rewatch it in all its glory!

Post this point you have been warned. 2017 Australian Survivor spoilers!

 

Edit (re-organised 11-16 as they were misplaced).

#1 Boulder Dash Reward Challenge (Ep. 3) (Rating 4.53/5)

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Both tribes will have nine members maneuver a large boulder through a series of gates and then on top of a bridge. Afterwards, two tribe members will then get on top of the boulder to get from one high platform to another. On the second platform, they will then throw rings onto pegs in order to release a ramp. The first tribe to get their boulder up the ramp and into the holes wins.
Reward: Chairs, a hammock, sheets, lanterns, candles, and a tarp.
Winner: Samatau

Continue reading “38 Australian Survivor 2017 Challenges ranked from best to worst.”

10 Ways to Improve Survivor New Zealand

Self proclaimed Survivor New Zealand expert Ryan Brink is here to run down what Survivor New Zealand can do better in Season 2.

Hear me out. This year I became more invested in Survivor New Zealand than any individual should. I watched every episode, read every blog, personally interviewed the players and even flew to Auckland to attend the finale. I loved it! Well most of it. For all it’s critics, the old school feel to the season had a strong appeal to me personally. I’d argue the drawn out edit and not the gameplay is what pushed people away. I became enamoured with watching 16 castaways battle it out on the sandy beaches of Nic-a-rag-u-a for 39 day.

The players were so well rounded, from challenge beast Tom, cunning gamer Shannon, Captain Mike Sparrow, the Godmother Barb with her offsider Officer Nate, hilarious Jak, not so shady Shay, the unluckiest player of the season Georgia and of course the best social player in recent memory, writing notes in his journal the whole way Avi.  After 20 long episodes  I got to know them more than a typical US season and I loved it! And of course meeting the incomparable host Matt Chisholm.

But for all those positives, there are also ways this game could be better. Here in know particular order are my thoughts on how Survivor New Zealand can be improved next season.

#1 No speaking before the game.

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Ever wondered why Tom was a huge target on Day 1? Unlike American and Australian Survivor, New Zealand castaways were free to chat and got to know each other before filming had even started. This is a production mistake and CANNOT happen again. You need to save that drama and tension for the island when the cameras are rolling, not back at Ponderosa/Jury Villa (my suggestion – Villarosa!).

#2 More Survivors to start the game.

It was great seeing 16 Kiwis embarked on the journey of a life time. But with 20 episodes we did not have enough sustainable action at tribal councils to last the entirety of the game, especially with Lou being medically evacuated.

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Starting with 18 or 20 gives you flexibility to end more episodes at tribal councils. Survivor is an outcome driven show. Fans want to see outcomes to the scheming they have witnessed, not another challenge.

#3 PLEASE! No day one vote out.

Won’t somebody please think of the children…? and Dee. These people have gone through months of casting and given up careers and other commitments to play the game. Respect them enough to allow 3 days in the game so they can live or die by the sword.

Dee (photocredit Scott McAulay)

#4 Redemption Island needs to be fixed or go.

This leads into the previous suggestions. Personally I am not against Redemption Island if done correctly. Redemption Island worked best in 2017 when we had three people on the island later in the season. Once the game has started, there should be a minimum of 2 people on Redemption Island at all times, to see the continuing storylines of those who are eliminated and ‘surviving’ on Redemption Island.

Buff in fire (photocredit Scott MCAulay)
http://www.scottmcaulay.com +64(27)6241733

Here is my two-cents worth, not that anyone is asking. Do not tell the players Redemption Island is back in play this season, neither confirm or deny. Have the first 3 people voted off on hypothetically Day 3, 5 & 7 and all sent to Redemption Island. On Day 8 tell the tribes through tree mail that today they will be entering the battle arena. As they stand on the mats waiting to begin, watch as the first 3 eliminated players walk back into the game. The shock that Redemption Island is in fact back will be great TV just for the reactions of the players left in the game. I’d also suggest ending Redemption Island at the merge. It did not work post merge last season and slowed the end game considerably as a viewer. Continue to accelerate the game play at the end, don’t slow it down.

Sidenote: Please make sure you have a camera there for more than 20 minutes a day to capture actual footage of what is going on there and the raw emotion of being voted out.

#5 Introducing a theme.

Who does not love a good theme? It does not have to be anything dramatic, just an easy slogan to divide the tribes on Day 1.

#6 Idols are up for grabs!

It does not have to be confusing. Place an idol on each beach. Introduce the idol through someone finding a clue or possibly during the second episodes reward. The gameplay has to increase dramatically if there is a threat of an idol in play. Just imagine last seasons episode when Georgia was sent home. How great would it have been if she spent the day looking for an idol and casting doubt into the minds of the other players.

#7 Challenges need to be improved.

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There were some great challenges on Survivor New Zealand. The night quiz challenge was especially unique and had a great old school feel. However there were some excruciatingly poor challenges as well. Remember the challenge where the players were spitting water into a used drink bottle, after going under a trough, that Jak and Nate could not fit under. Challenges do not have to break the bank to be great. Be creative, see what American and Australian Survivor have done and find something unique. Challenges that also involve multiple elements and do not always end in a puzzle every time would also be great. 🙂

#8 Online Content

I love the idea of Little Survivor, 2 or more people chatting about the greatest show in the world Survivor. But in practice it did not work. Matty McLean is great, but was not used correctly. He is a huge fan of the show, so let him show it and talk about it. It is amazing that TVNZ went to the effort to make a show for Superfans of Survivor. But you need to make it something Superfans would want to watch. Survivor is not the Bachelor!

On Facebook, players were interviewed for around 3 minutes on camera. The questions were not great. This is something that Matty McLean should do. It is also essential you film a Ponderosa/Jury Villa (Villarosa… i’ll make it a reality one day) after the merge. This kind of content is amazing and gives great insight into what is going through the minds of the eliminated players.

#9 Episode structure.

SUR1_E05_Another Survivor journey ends_Photo Credit Warner Bros

This is for TVNZ about the timing and pacing of the edit. If TVNZ want 2 episodes a week again, then the longer 90 minute episode needs to be the episode with a tribal council. The long 90 minute episode at times was like watching crabs race in the sand… wait that happened and was great… Fix it.

#10 A few more strategists. 

Survivor New Zealand GENERIC IMAGE

I loved the 2017 Survivor New Zealand cast. It is probably my favourite new player cast from 2017 from all Survivor seasons worldwide this year. However it lacked a killer punch. We needed another standout, who could fight against the honesty and loyalty of Sala and Avi. Join the dark side my friends!

Final Thoughts

I’m bias, because I loved the cast and the show this year. But we can all admit faults. Next year the game play will take a natural step forwards. With more prize money, now up to $250,000 and the show being seen this year by the new cast, 2018 Survivor New Zealand will be well worth watching.

In the end you may just decide to do it your way. 😉

What do you think, what would you change about Survivor New Zealand for the next season? Find all our interviews with the 2017 Survivor New Zealand cast here.

The Russell Hantz Phenomenon

(WARNING! THIS WILL SPOIL SEASONS 19, 20 AND 22 OF SURVIVOR, SEASONS 18 AND 19 OF BIG BROTHER US AND SEASONS 5, 7 AND 9 OF INK MASTER)

Ah Russell Hantz, two time finalist, three time player and zero time winner. No other player of Survivor has had the same amount of debate over their skill and only Aubry comes close to the same level of debate over whether or not they were robbed. No other player comes up so frequently in best player discussions and no other player gets shot down just as frequently in those same discussions.  In my reality tv viewings I’ve come across some more players in different games that also have also done a Hantz.

Hantz|hantz|

Noun

  1. Russell Hantz and the Hantz family. Russell Hantz is among the greatest Survivor players ever.

Verb

  1. To lose in the final of a reality competition twice typically only to return a third time and place disappointingly out of the final. Joey did a Hantz with this season.

 

Russell Hantz – Survivor 19, 20 and 22

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Walk tall and wear a neat hat

To start it off with the man who defines the term, Russell Hantz came into Samoa for season 19 with a game plan to be a lean mean winning machine. He dominated confessional counts, he burned socks, he won challenges and he even defeated top quality computer graphics programming right when it mattered. So naturally when it came to finale night he was a lock to take out the million right?

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Oops

Turns out a jury full of people you’ve terrorised all season aren’t too inclined to write your name down for a million dollars, no harm, no foul. Turns out production liked Russell so much he got to come back for another season right away, staying out in Samoa and playing for another shot at the million. It’s worth noting that Russell is coming off of the back of a tribal council he thinks he played pretty well and depending on the day you ask him, he thinks he won it all. So it’s no surprise when lining up on the mat in season 20 Russell is in awe but ready to play. Given the nature of the term we can forgo a fair portion of the season complete with “Players who respect the game” and skip right to the end. Russell is sitting in the final 3 with two former winners there’s no way they’ll give it to a former winner so that’s 2 for 2 for Russell right?

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Not the 2 for 2 you were hoping for

Over the course of season 20, a neat little rivalry came out over the course of the season. Boston Rob and Russell get caught up in a clash of egos that sets the scene for season 22: Redemption Island. Two titans of the game go head to head, surely this is going to be the best received season ever and the two men are going to take each other down to the wire against each others’ stacked tribes right?

 

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Right?
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Right?
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Wrong

Overall Russell’s arc on survivor is a tragic one but no-one can discredit the winning games of everyone he played against. No matter how much it may go against your personal Survivor philosophies.

 

Paul Abrahamian Big Brother 18 and 19

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Few can rival Blackbeard in the facial hair department

Big Brother in the US is more like survivor on live stream than the popularity contests of the Australian and UK versions. Contestants vote each other out as opposed to the audience doing so in other versions. This leads to some juries making controversial decisions. It also leads to some people getting punished for their gameplay in the end. Though there is precedent for the “bad guys” winning in Big Brother, their success is not guaranteed. (See: Dr Will, Dan Gheesling and Evel Dick, yes that’s actually what he was called, for just some of the “Bad guys”)

The big man with the black beard played Big Brother in seasons 18 and 19 two seasons back to back but due to the summer long filming of Big Brother Paul was more than aware of his loss going into his second time around. Paul came in with a plan and he executed it with ruthless accuracy, eliminating all but his most faithful followers and dominating every facet of the game he possibly could.

The unfortunate thing for Paul is that at the end of the game you have to face the jury and in a final two there is far less room to hide and in Big Brother where some parts of the audience watch you 24/7 there’s absolutely no room to hide from the audience. Paul was the villain of the season and everyone knew it.

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Towards the end this tipped Paul off to the public’s perception but by then it was far too late

Time will only tell if Paul ever comes back and wins but for now he’s the guy that totally hantzed Big Brother 19 and that’s a shame, maybe time will be kinder to him because no jury has.

 

Cleen Rock One – Ink Master Season 5, 7 and 9

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I have to admit that I have another love besides Survivor and that would be the show Ink Master. The show’s been running for 9 seasons and in that short time there have been quite a few returning contestants. As the title suggests the show is about professional tattoo artists competing in themed challenges in order to get to the finale and show off a master canvas that is a very intricate piece they’ve had a limited amount of time to work on. Each week contestants compete in a flash challenge that is typically in an odd medium or challenges them to be creative with an established one (favourites of mine include scrimshaw and making a custom grill for a hot rod) followed by an elimination tattoo designed to challenge the theme of the week like placement or detail with the best tattoo winning tattoo of the day and consequently being safe from elimination.

 

The show is slightly different in the case that it’s a very skill oriented competition, however, the judging panel consisting of tattoo artists Oliver Peck and Chris Nunez being joined by MC and rocker Dave Navarro still have their own subjective vote that can and has been subject to debate over whether it was the right decision. This has been going on since the very first season and continues to the most recent season. The finale dilemma is a discussion for another time but suffice it to say that the show is notorious for controversial decisions over its lifetime.

Cleen Rock One is regarded as one of the best players in Ink Master history off the back of his prolific tattoo of the day wins and two time finalist status. Unfortunately for Cleen, he’s yet to win, losing first in season 5 to Jason Clay Dunn for not meeting the design brief.

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Pictured: Not Photo-realism

Then in season 7 losing to Anthony Michaels. Cleen didn’t stop there though; he came back for his third time around in the most recent season with old adversary turned friend Aaron Is.

Golden Skull

 

This didn’t work out for them though, coming fifth thanks to a hands related mishap they fell short but at least Aaron improved on his previous finish so that’s a silver lining. To be frank though, Cleen is a well established businessman with a work ethic that is to be envied. He also has multiple tattoo shops and a loving family so really, he doesn’t need Ink Master success because he’s already found his own success.

Final analysis

Finally, it’s worth noting some similarities in all of these people’s performances as a possible learning opportunity for us all. This is not a dig at any of them, I’m honestly a fan of each and every person I’ve named in here and I’m bringing them up so all of us when we get onto our shows of choice have learned from everyone possible so we can win. I’ve identified the three C’s that sum up the attributes that most make up the gameplay of everyone in this article: Confidant, Charismatic and Cheeky.

Confident

Russell let me tell you how good I am

Every single person on here is notorious for their confident confessionals, controlling gameplay and unabashedly speaking their mind about each and every thing they get asked about. Russell was confident enough to sabotage his own tribe two seasons in a row, Paul was confident enough to pull off a supremely controlling game his second season around and Cleen Rock One is a gun artist and he makes sure you know it every time he’s on screen.

Charismatic

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It takes a certain kind of person to be so confident and in some peoples’ cases so evil in their gameplay and not get cut immediately. There’s an inherent charm in their confidence that makes them really fun to watch. Their larger than life attitude is always a highlight even if they can rub you the wrong way sometimes.

Cheeky

Paul being cheeky

This one comes part and parcel with the confidence, they have a mouth on them that can rival Courtney Yates when they want to and they appear to want to a lot. No-one will outdo the acid tongued queen of Survivor any time soon but these guys can certainly bring it up to her. Tearing holes in peoples’ tattoos and talking smack about all the competition is a skill these three have in spades.

What have we learned?

Through the analysis of all three of these players we’ve determined one really key piece of information: You can play your brains out and not get rewarded. Yes there are aspects of jury management that trip some players up and yes there are aspects of the games they played that mean they can get ousted through silly mistakes or past reputation but ultimately losing sucks but if you’ve got to why wouldn’t you go out playing your heart out.

That’s how I see it anyway, agree? Disagree? Let me know on twitter @therihasspoken or wherever you found this I’m probably the one that threw it at you. I’m going to be around all season long posting Wednesday morning Australia time. I’m looking forward to watching the season with you all and go Ryan!

Side note: We also learned that all of these guys are massively built and tattooed and could kick my butt in spades.

It’s also worth noting that Amanda Kimmel from Survivor 15,16 and 20 also fits into the description and has most certainly performed the Hantz but ultimately her character archetype doesn’t fit with the rest of the people in here and so in the interest of staying on theme she wasn’t analysed this time around.

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“Glad I wasn’t subject to this Australian’s tripe” – The Amanda Kimmel (Totally)

 

3 Reasons Why the Best Players in a Season Don’t Always Make it to the End

(WARNING! THIS WILL SPOIL BASICALLY EVERY SEASON OF SURVIVOR. YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED)

Survivor is a fickle, fickle game. In the world of outwitting, outplaying and outlasting each other, sometimes even if you’re playing the best game out there, you can still and typically will fall just short of the million dollar prize. There are some common threads between the circumstances surrounding the r.obbed g.ods and (g.oddesses) of Survivor history.

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I’m sure you can think of someone who coulda woulda shoulda got that million had they gotten to the end.
Not to discredit those who made it to the end

 

Tall Poppies

The term Tall Poppy Syndrome makes reference to the tendency of people of notable standing in society whether that be through affluence, position in the media or other fame, to be targeted for attempts to “Bring them down a level” by discrediting or disparaging them.  This comes into play in Survivor when someone who is perceived to be in control or a massive threat to win the game gets targeted, typically towards the end of the game when they tend to be more vulnerable as numbers dwindle.

A good example of this is Cirie Fields in Season 12: Exile Island, Cirie was orchestrating votes left right and centre from the very start, targeted at the first tribal council she managed to work her way into the majority and never let up, orchestrating a 3-2-1 vote using a plurality of votes to eliminate someone rather than an outright majority and eventually only going down due to a firemaking challenge, which for someone who was terrified of leaves, is pretty good.

This doesn’t always happen at the end though, power struggles happen all the time during the merge and even sometimes during the pre-merge. Players like Brad Culpepper in S26: Blood vs Water have been usurped very early on in the game and players like John Carroll in S4: Marquesas have fallen victim to their inability to count control over the game.

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Inability to count has lead to some fantastic moments like this one in Fiji though, expect more on these guys in future

Betrayal

Like Max Bialystock, some players are subject to betrayal over their time in the game of survivor and this can lead to some upset members of the jury as their winning game is taken out from under them. They can be playing under the radar or controlling everything all along but these players were strong contenders before they got ousted. Players like Yau Man who orchestrate a deal that will see them to the end and to the win before getting shafted when they believed they were the most safe. Proving that in Survivor, just like in life, when you think you’re safest is actually when you are your most vulnerable.

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And that’s how you lose survivor while you’re homeless

I’m hesitant to mention this as Ian did ask for Tom to do this but in S10: Palau, Ian Rosenberger and Tom Westman had a final 2 alliance to essentially “Let the best man win” somehow, against all odds these two managed to work their way to the end of the game with Katie Gallagher staving off all opposition. Tom and Ian were so inseparable that when Katie fell off during the final immunity challenge you could be forgiven to have thought that it was the end of it and someone would jump in and Katie would go home. That didn’t happen though, in an unprecedented and unmatched final immunity challenge lasting nearly 12 hours the two battled it out until Ian finally says “Vote me out.”

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Nearly 12 hours! Katie and Jeff were thoroughly entertained

So why am I writing about this in a section about betrayal? Well, two votes previous Ian had an opportunity to vote Tom out and the weight of this decision weighed heavily on him. Ian betrayed Tom in a way and Tom didn’t let him forget it, playing up his pain to the point that Ian was a broken man going into final immunity. Tom betrayed Ian just as Ian betrayed Tom, except Tom followed through and for that he was awarded the million dollars.

Hard Luck

Sometimes it isn’t other players gunning for you or your closest ally knifing you in the back, sometimes you just get dang unlucky and to see a couple of examples of that we need to look nowhere else than perennial fan favourite and Survivor’s unluckiest contestant Cirie Fields.

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Me again

Yes, not once but twice has Cirie fallen afoul of bad luck in Survivor.  Most recently in S34: Game Changers but also in S16: Micronesia.  To understand just how terrible S34 was for Cirie fans we first need to go back to S16 and the game that Cirie almost won.

Fans vs Favourites was going quite well for Cirie, in a controlling alliance wherever she went and in the final 3 having just convinced Erik to give up his immunity necklace and sitting pretty, it looks like Cirie is going to win finally after falling just short in Panama. Except the final 3 show up to what they think will be their reward feast only to discover that in fact, this season will be a final 2 and their final immunity challenge will be happening right there and then.

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At least it’s not leaves

Cirie unfortunately loses this challenge and gets voted out, her final words show just how devastated she is and this raw wound would only have salt rubbed in with the advent of S34: Game Changers.

Game changers was going great for Cirie, having evaded being the target through the pre-merge by simply being on the immune tribe right up until the merge where after avoiding tribal council for 19 days, Cirie came to play. Corralling Michaela and buttering up officer Sarah Cirie was on track to a win. Then final 6 happened and by virtue of not playing a hidden immunity idol or the legacy advantage Cirie gets eliminated without a single vote cast against her this season and it’s a sad reality that Cirie once again leaves in unfortunate circumstances.

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“Here I am again” and again and again and again

When they do

I would like to point out I said not always because every now and then the best players of the season face off in the final tribal council and the best example of that is S13: Cook Islands.

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Best final 2 ever

The combination of Ozzy and Yul the two best players on Cook Islands in Final Tribal council slugging it out was fantastic to see. The single best game Ozy ever played and he came within one vote of victory against one of the top 3 strategists the game has ever seen. Oh and Becky was there too.

 

Disagree? Agree? Hit me up on twitter @therihasspoken or catch me wherever you found this, it was probably posted by me! Feel Free to poke fun at my photo editing skills and I’ll see you around, provided I don’t dislocate another arm that is.

A Year Later: A Love Letter to Michele Fitzgerald

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By Ashley J. Towns – OPINION

Find me on Twitter

Let me preface this open letter by declaring my love for both Michele and Aubry. The debate about who is more deserving is at its end. We need to appreciate the brilliance of both these amazing Survivors.

Dear Reader,

This is not the kind of letter I thought that I would be writing for my debut on BehindSurvivor. I thought I would be analysing the edit or discussing the characters and their narratives; I’m a storyteller at heart, as contrived as that sounds. Instead, I’ve been inspired to open my heart and be raw and vulnerable through a stream of consciousness. You see, there is an issue I believe the Survivor community is facing at the moment. An identity crisis, if you will. We exist in a meta age of blindsides and voting blocs, a world in which Jeff Probst would have us believe the game is constantly evolving. However, the truth of it is that at its core Survivor is the same game now that it was at its inception. Sure, the strategic game is evolving – the game is alive, as Probst would say. But there’s an increasing disconnect between the way the which the game is presented to us and the way in which people win. Did Sarah Lacina play a better strategic game than Brad Culpepper and Troyzan Robertson in the recently concluded Survivor Game Changers? Yes. Is that why she won? Not entirely. It certainly didn’t hurt, but at the end of the day Sarah created bonds with the jury that were strong enough that they were able to forgive her for betraying them and reward her with a million dollars. That’s not a skill every player possesses, and it’s one that is often overlooked in modern Survivor.

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Congrats, girl!

More often than not, this skill is key to a woman winning the game. With Sarah’s recent victory a grand total of fourteen women have won the game of Survivor. Fifteen seasons out of thirty-four have concluded with a female victory. For some, fifteen is a solid number – it’s almost half! For others, it feels as though women have so much more they need to overcome than their male counterparts in order to get to the end and win so every female win is cause for celebration. Overall, however, it seems as though female winners are held in much lower regard than male winners, and the only reason I can think of for this is that more often than not women win based on social play instead of making big flashy moves.

Still, it’s deeply disturbing that so few women seem to get the recognition they deserve. Heck, Sandra has won the game TWO TIMES, something no other has been able to pull off, and yet both of her wins are still often pulled into question. So not only is it more difficult for a woman to win but also more difficult for her to earn respect for said win. Sandra only won both times due to a bitter jury. Parvati was playing a losing game and only lucked into a win thanks to a surprise final two. Kim only managed to control the game to such an impressive extent because she was playing with a dud cast. And these are things people say about the women who are generally considered to be good!

There is one woman in particular who seems to send fans into a deep rage-induced frenzy like no other before her. Thirteen months ago you would have thought I was referring to Natalie White, who shockingly won over Russell Hantz in a 7-2-0 vote way back in 2009. But no, sweet little southern belle Natalie White is no longer the most hated woman to win Survivor.

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Mah werd!

Sorry Ratalie, but you’ve been dethroned. Who could possibly have snatched her crown? A twenty-four year old bartender who was obsessed with Harry Potter. Ugh, what a nightmare!

So what is it that Michele did to earn so much hate?

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Haters gonna hate.

In my opinion she played a better social game than fan favourite Aubry Bracco, defeating her in a 5-2-0 vote. Remember, the social game is just a myth these days so what did Michele really even do to win? Was she even on the season? She only had fifty-seven confessionals, the third highest number of the season, yet she was deemed totally invisible!

I’ll be straight with you guys. In the lead up to the finale and the weeks following, I was a Michele detractor. However, with the benefit of hindsight and a re-watch I’ve come to realise just how much of a social goddess this girl is and I’ve come to really respect her as a winner. Michele made social bonds with the jury that were strong enough for them to reward her with a million dollars. Throughout the game she was the perpetual underdog, having to win her way to the final tribal council where she was able to sit in front of her friends and be emotionally vulnerable. She cried over how everyone underestimated her and how she proved to herself how strong she truly is.

Did Aubry play a stronger strategic game? Yes, without a doubt. However, she alienated the Jason, Scot and Julia alliance which made up the core of the jury and pushed in favour of their good friend Michele. Aubry readily admits she hid her strategic game to such an extent that she couldn’t even use her impressive resume to her advantage. Meanwhile, Michele was telling Tai off at tribal council, betraying her closest ally Julia in order to better her position in the game and on top of that she was winning immunities. She was truly a well rounded player, and it was a grave error not to take her out at final 6 like Tai suggested.

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Seriously, the girl just kicks some serious ass!

As an Aubry fan, I get it. Aubry’s win would have been intensely satisfying, especially since her story of growth was THE story of the season. As much as I love Michele, I would have preferred an Aubry win since I was rooting for her all the way back in episode 1 when everyone else was calling me crazy for doing so. But that’s not to say that I am dissatisfied with Michele’s win. In fact, there are a lot of winners whom I adore and yet if I had the choice I would have preferred someone else win their season. Sandra is one of the all time greats and if anyone should be a two time winner, I’m glad it’s her. In saying that, I kind of wish Parvati had won Heroes vs Villains.

What I’m trying to say is that more than one person can deserve to win. To say I would rather an Aubry win has nothing to do with Michele, because I believe Michele is a highly likeable and well deserved winner. It just happens that I was more invested in Aubry’s story. I feel as though not enough people can make the distinction between who they wanted to see win and who deserved to win. You may have wanted to see Mike win Survivor Worlds Apart, but that’s not to say Carolyn didn’t deserve to win just as much as he did.

It’s especially sad that the people who seem to possess this quality the most are those who love Michele. Michele fans attack anyone who even mentions Aubry, because Michele and only Michele (and maybe Cydney) deserved to win Survivor Kaoh Rong while Aubry is declared as overrated. One of the hardest parts of watching Kaoh Rong were the Michele fans who acted with a mob mentality, and it got to the point where they detracted from the experience as they attempted to stifle any voice who wasn’t in favour of Michele.

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Michele just wants us to all get along!

Michele did what we all wish we could do. She lived the adventure of a lifetime, kicked some serious ass and come home with the million. Why should she be made to feel guilty for her fans’ behaviour? Why should she be faulted for Aubry’s fundamental flaw in the game? Yes even acknowledging the bitterness of the jury, how can that be overcome?Michele deserves to be celebrated as an inspiration to all young women that they can do anything they set their mind to. She looked in the faces of her bullies and stood up to them. Everyone underestimated her and she proved them all wrong. She doesn’t need to be carried, bro, and to think as much is a bunch of malarky.

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Michele to her haters.

It’s been well documented that Michele started the game on the bottom of the Beauty tribe and worked her way into the Beauty Girls Alliance. Why was this left out of the edit? I have no idea, because it would have been the perfect opportunity to show her social skills in play. Unfortunately, Survivor struggles to portray social players which plays a large role in why fans react negatively to people who win by playing a social game – what did they even do?

Despite the reaction of Probst towards her win, and I sadly doubt that we’ll see a return from Michele. I do think it would be brilliant to see her return and prove to her haters that she can do it again.

Hopefully this hasn’t been too much of a mess, it’s a stream of consciousness but it should be at least somewhat coherent. I want to send my love out there to Michele and all the other under appreciated, under edited players who don’t look to make the big move, but the right move. The social winner who has played before her or will play in the future. The vitriol they receive from fans is not okay, and it’s something we as a community really need to work on. Just remember that these are real people and the things we say to and about them can be quite hurtful.

I love you Aubry and I love you Michele. Two amazing female Survivors. We don’t need to drag one down in order to raise the other up. I fully believe each of them deserved to win the game for different reasons, and hopefully one day they will both receive the respect they deserve. Sometimes multiple people deserve to win, but in the end there can only be one sole survivor.

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We have not forgotten your Cydney. 🙂 Move over Amanda, Cirie and Parvati; there’s a new trio of female superstars in town.