I’m a bitch, I’m a bitch,
Oh, the bitch is back
Stone cold sober as a matter of fact
Let’s get this clear, straight away…I am not sober.
Yes, ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, your friendly neighborhood Fish is back to amuse you, confuse you, and drink booze with you… Who’s got the first round?
Before we dig into Season 34, there are a few things I wanted to go over first. In case you’re new to the column, please be prepared for some R-rated banter. Some X-rated thoughts, some boozy references, a lot of Survivor knowledge, and perhaps a d**k joke or two. Hope you don’t mind. There are deep recesses in my brain that only get visited on Wednesday nights, so forgive me if I cross a line with you. But don’t sweat the small stuff, babe. I’m just going for a laugh…
Alrighty then… Time to move on to props. Gotta throw it out to Mr. Reality Steve who’s been supporting my habit for 7 seasons now. (Damn, it’s been a long time, thank god he’s not my dealer!). Without the generosity of Mr. Carbone, the Fish would be posting a column for a few housewives in Kansas City, Saskatoon, and Nashville, but thanks to his incredibly popular website, I can also reach folks in Montreal, Cornwall, and Turkey, apparently… So, thank you, Steve, for giving me this forum, and supporting my habit. Frickin’ enabler! 😉
Let’s move on to Season 34. First of all, I hate the theme Game Changers. That may apply to a few people in this cast, but did most of these players change the game? I say no. Tony did. And that’s about it. Did Sandra change the game? Or did she just play under the radar and play to the jury? Did J.T. change the game when he foolishly helped Russell? Ah, no… Did Sarah change the game when she got jobbed by Tony? Again, no.
But, I don’t wanna come down too hard on this season because I really think this is going to be an awesome one. We have a cast of 20 players, all of whom could possibly win. All except one, who shall remain nameless. However, I will give you hint. Her name rhymes with Bitchcaela… Oops, I guess that doesn’t rhyme.
Aside from her, everyone else could do some damage, so let’s take an early look at the competitors. Unlike past seasons, where I’ve ranked or predicted who I think is gonna win, I’ll simply categorize people in 3 ways:
Under the Radar Threats
Here we go…
Ozzy Lusth – challenge god, well-liked, is due…
Caleb Reynolds – after the evac, everyone expects more. Dude did come in 4th on BB…
Tony Vlachos – does anyone think he won’t try just as hard as before?
Malcolm Freberg – hungry for it. Can he reach his potential?
Brad Culpepper – just seems to compete harder than others
Under the Radar Threats:
Andrea Boehlke – Would be a FT goddess, if she can only reach it.
Aubry Bracco – we know she can think, but can she be liked?
Ciera Eastin – all the tools. Needs the right alliance.
Hali Ford – A thinker, a speaker, a player. No “No Collar” b.s. to hold her back this time.
Sarah Lacina – She’s owed a strong season. Me likey her chances.
Zeke Smith – dude knows how to scramble. I like his chances if he’s not cast out early.
Jeff Varner – Who doesn’t want Varner to make FT?
Sandra Diaz-Twine – Does anyone think she could win? No.
Cirie Fields – Too vanilla to win. Can I even use that flavor?
Troyzan Robertson – Seriously? Against these players? Maybe on One World, not here…
Sierra Dawn Thomas – Just too damn sweet to be brought to FT by anyone.
J.T. Thomas – Dude shot his wad on Tocantins. Proved it on Heroes vs. Villains.
Tai Trang – Uh, no. You can’t come back from that FT performance against these players
Debbie Wanner – Has “goat” written all over her.
Michaela Bradshaw – Must I even comment…?
So, if you’re looking for me to make any predictions on who I think is going to win, I gotta say I have no idea. All the moving parts of Survivor are a bit easier to predict when you have obvious slouches, but in this cast, there are no real slouches. Except Judge Smails, he’s a tremendous slouch.
BTW, in case you missed Reality Steve’s podcast near the end of last season, he brought up an interesting idea: What if Survivor had contestants vote for the winner at the Reunion show, instead of Final Tribal. That way they’d have the chance to watch the season unfold, reward a player for the way they played the whole season, and think about how they came across in the edit, rather than only based on the limited exposure they saw at Final Tribal?
Steve, being as big of a Survivor fan as most of us, just wondered What If. He thought I may be a good candidate to write about it, so he contacted me and asked if I would. I thought about it and you know what? First of all, it’ll never happen. We know that from the get go. But What If…? I looked at all the seasons, and here’s what I think.
There are a few seasons that might change. Might being the key word. See below for my brief comment on every season.
Borneo – it’d be sacrilege to even discuss changing the format on this season. It’s the archetype for the franchise. It is perfect in its form. Moving on…
Australian Outback – Here’s one where I think the jury got it wrong. Colby deserved to win. Period.
Africa – Ethan would have won, regardless.
Marquesas – The only way to discuss changing the format is by completely throwing out the finalists. One of the worst seasons ever…
Thailand – No way Brian doesn’t win.
The Amazon – I always thought Matthew played a stronger game than Jenna, but can’t say the jury would have changed their minds.
Pearl Islands – You telling me someone else woulda voted for Lillian?
All-Stars – You can’t change the results of Survivor’s first true Power Couple.
Vanuatu – Another candidate for worst finalists ever. I don’t even wanna think about this season anymore.
Palau – Tom should have been given 2 million for his domination of this season. Nothing would change.
Guatemala – I don’t think the results would’ve changed.
Panama – Aras was the man. Nothing would change.
Cook Islands – While Yul was a great winner, I always thought this was Ozzy’s season for how he dominated challenges.
Fiji – Earl in a landslide… Set in stone.
China – The first of the “weak dudes” winning. Not sure anyone would change their votes, but I always wanted Amanda to get naked win.
Micronesia – Can’t argue with Parvati’s win. Amanda played too timidly.
Gabon – How could Bob not win this season? Nothing would change.
Tocantins – A sweep is a sweep is a sweep…
Samoa – The one season where this could have made a difference. However, I would never justify voting for Russell because he never understood the most important part of the game – the social aspect… You can win without winning challenges, but you gotta be good with the people…
Heroes vs. Villains – I still don’t know why Parvati didn’t win this season. What else do you have to do? We should all be talking about Parv as the Queen of Survivor with 2 wins!
Nicaragua – Maybe if the cast had been reminded how dumb Fabio played, they would have changed their vote to Chase or Sash. Maybe…
Redemption Island – No way this would ever change. Rob ran this season like a boss.
South Pacific – In my opinion, Coach deserved this season. Maybe the players would have changed had they seen how he did it.
One World – Kim deserved to win. Another choice for worst season ever.
Philippines – Can we even entertain the idea that Skupin could have won? No, my attorney says I can’t even suggest it…
Caramoan – Another lame group of finalists, and another season I’d like to reshuffle the finalists and have any combination of Eddie, Brenda, Andrea, Reynold or Malcolm be competing at Final Tribal.
Blood vs. Water – Nostalgically, my first season recapping Survivor (a single tear hits the keyboard). However, this is another example of someone dominating the season. Tyson wins no matter what.
Cagayan – Tony follows up Tyson’s bulldozer of a season with one of his own. Nothing would change.
San Juan del Sur – Don’t think there’s enough gunpowder here to change the results. Natalie still wins.
Worlds Apart – Mike crushed this season (check my rankings) and what, someone else would’ve voted for s**thead Will?
Cambodia – How can you argue with a 10-0-0 sweep…?
Kaôh Rōng – There’s an argument here that Aubry could’ve stolen it from Michele. But then she wouldn’t be a “game changer!”
Millennials vs. Gen X – I still say Ken should have won. Would the players have changed that? Probably not. But I still think it’s b.s. Adam was brought on with that surefire backstory…
One thing is clear. Juries reward finalists who are social, not just strategic. So, good night, Russell. So, unless he’s grown up a little when he plays Survivor: Legends, he’ll never win.
In review, here are the seasons that could have changed, if players voted after watching their season:
Heroes vs. Villains
Millennials vs. Gen X