April 14th, 2017 | 6 Comments | Posted in Survivor 34 - Game Changers

Jeff opens the discussion and it’s immediately apparent:

-Varner is making bold proclamations that he’s going home tonight
-Debbie is still drunk from Exile and is now worried why Varner is making such proclamations
-Probst asks Varner why he’s so convinced about his fate and he responds that while he thought he knew where he stood, it was soon revealed to him that he didn’t know squat.

(But we all know he’s just making this crap up, so let’s get to some real questions, please…)

But no, Varner is still speaking and now he’s calling out the “secret alliance” between Zeke and Ozzy, and how they’ll take out Tai, Sarah and Debbie – “boom, boom, and boom” – after they vote out Varner tonight.

But wait, why, or more importantly, how, could an alliance of two people take out three players? That part doesn’t make sense to me, but no one seems ballsy enough to call out Varner right now, so he just keeps on talking.

“So I’m proposing tonight, vote for Ozzy. There’s deception, here, Jeff, and there’s more.”

“Continue…” says Spartacus.

And then…the bombshell.

“Zeke, why haven’t you told anyone you’re transgender?”

Holy f**kbeans! And JFC of all things holy, and how f**ked up, and inappropriate, and not cool, and totally not for public consumption. And I could just keep going on and on…

Okay, let’s step outside the game for a second, shall we? I don’t want to go off on another tangent and start talking about how I agree or disagree with the whole transgender wave that’s been sweeping the nation for the past few years. I just don’t think it belongs here. But what I do know, is that it’s NO ONE’S place to go about revealing that about someone else, without their prior approval. Now, we don’t know when/where Zeke told Varner this – if it’s even true, btw – but for Varner to do it in this manner – when it’s obvious intention is to save Varner’s life in a game – is suddenly revealing much more about Varner than it ever would about Zeke. And even with Varner’s protestations about “I speak for the rights of transgender people in North Carolina every day,” then he should know just how f**ked up what he did was.

Now, there’s another side of this too. That the show, in its best interest, could have said: “Whoa, Jeff, that’s totally uncool and not appropriate for us to show our viewers.” And they could have, I don’t know, NOT SHOWN IT! But they did, so they are just as culpable as he is for giving us this scene. More so, but you know, ratings and all…

And most importantly, did anyone even know Zeke was transgender?! Where the hell did that come from? And for it to be kept quiet for one-and-a-half seasons? Holy crap. I almost feel like we haven’t heard the end of this, and judging by Andrea’s and Tai’s reactions, there’s still a lot to play out here. Andrea’s crying, Tai is livid, and Debbie wants a piece of Jeff. And all Ozzy can do is sit there, and hope this deflects from anyone voting for him (I presume).

Needless to say, this is one of the most f**ked up Tribals ever, and now I understand Probst’s tweet earlier. And I can’t wait to see how Varner digs himself out of this one… Moving on.

Varner’s trying to convince everyone that by Zeke not revealing he’s transgender, it’s showing the incredible level of deception he’s capable of. And I’ll be honest right now, I still don’t even know if I totally believe this whole ruse. Now, Probst is calling out Varner for his actions, and even Ozzy takes a swipe,

“You should be ashamed of yourself for what you just did.”

“I am.”

Sure. But for a million dollars, you’d try anything though. Even turning your back on the people you claim to support “daily.” F**k you, Jeff Varner, don’t ever follow me again on Twitter.

But he keeps apologizing to Zeke, who just sits there, like, “How the hell am I going to explain this to the guys at the gym…who I’ve been showering with.” I’m kidding, seriously, Zeke tells everyone that he’s been bonding with Varner lately, and the only reason he opened up to him is because he didn’t want to blindside him.

But right now, this is about Varner, and how big of a jerk he is, and all he keeps coming back with is, “I thought he was out and proud,” and even that explanation gets skewered by Sarah. More apologies…

Probst asks Tai about how he feels, and even when given the opportunity to just say, “Varner screwed up and will pay the price,” he says how he understands why Jeff did what he did.

Dude, Tai, sometimes you don’t have to support every frickin’ tree in the forest. Sometimes, you can say, “Chop that mother**ker down.” But no…not Tai. God, is the season over yet…?

Andrea, who had the biggest reaction to this whole mess, claims that even she can understand why Jeff did this – no, not you too, Maria! – and just feels awful for Zeke. After 18 days, she had no idea, and just can’t believe that it came out this way.

Probst spills the beans that Varner didn’t just out Zeke to these 6 people, he outed him to millions of people back home. And now Varner is starting to really feel bad (or is he?). To be honest, this whole thing could still be a big ploy to vote out Ozzy, and wouldn’t THAT be a kick in the pants. (But seriously, if they did that, I’m not sure I’d want to watch the show anymore.) At this point, I’m just watching a bunch of people tell lies, and I can’t even feel anything for anyone. No sympathy, no disgust, no nothing. There was once a time where Survivor had a knack for tapping into real emotions while players were playing a game for a million bucks. But right now, all I see is people making up lie after lie to cover up earlier lies.

JP finally asks Zeke how he feels about all this, and while he agrees that this was really sh**ty, he’s fine with his life, about how things are going, about how he’s played the game, and about how he’ll be moving forward. He wasn’t as “out and proud” as Varner thought, but whatevs, he’s Zeke the Metamorphosis, not Zeke the Tranny Survivor player.

So, when is Varner going to say, “Can we just vote?”

And if anyone but Varner goes home tonight. Many Survivor fans will stop watching the show… Hell, I’ll bet many of the more conservative viewers (yes, we see you far right!) just turned off their TVs and are heading to church right now.

Sarah is given another chance to speak, but she can barely put two words together through her blubbering. And I don’t mean that as a rip on Sarah, I just think it’s funny that she sounded like she was choking on boogers and phlegm. When she is able to speak, she says how disappointed she is with Varner, because of how much malice was intended in his revelation. And, once again, Varner disagrees and says there was no malice, but I’m left wondering why no one is standing up, calling out Jeff for being a d**khead and saying, “let’s vote this piece of s**t out right now!” Everyone’s playing footsie with this situation, and this is not a topic to be playing footsie with.

Look, when someone makes a mistake of that magnitude, they need to be called out. Right then. Right there. They need to be made to feel so small, that it makes such a deep impression on them it’ll last a lifetime. Otherwise, they’ll walk away – regardless of the outcome – and think, “Hey, that wasn’t so bad. I got away with it.” Therefore, when people screw up like this, or when X’XXX dumped the rice, or Brandon did the same, or s**thead Will attacked Shirin, those mother**kers need to be put on blast. Right then. Because at some point, it’s a reflection on you for how you deal with these situations.

But, I understand you’re playing for a million bucks, so maybe those rules don’t apply…

But, now it’s the Sarah Lacina Metamorphosis Show, so let’s all sit back and listen to how much she’s changed since meeting Zeke. Ahhh, screw it, time to refresh my drink…

Okay, so maybe I just contradicted myself and just ragged on someone who was emoting for real after I just said that doesn’t happen anymore, my bad.

“Can we just vote?” blurts out Fish…

And in what I can only refer to as, The Single Greatest Thing Jeff Probst Has Ever Done on Survivor,

…he tells the players, “There’s no question who’s going home tonight, right?”

And everyone agrees it’s Varner (and I bet Varner still thought he had a chance).

“We don’t need to vote,” says Jeff. And in one sentence, Jeff Probst just took back control of Tribal Council and Survivor. Grab those reins, Spartacus, and steer that chariot back to base camp! Just be careful of the snails and oysters at the craft service table, you never know what’ll happen if you eat both…

And as Varner’s torch is snuffed, a few things cross my mind:

-Ozzy just escaped another serious threat
-Varner just erased himself from EVER returning to Survivor
-I can’t wait for the Reunion Show, so we can see how the crowd reacts to him
-Sia is not invited, right?
-Will Varner run for office now, in North Carolina?
-Who’s on suicide watch?

And yes, I can joke about these things because he did this to himself, it’s a frickin’ TV show, and it looks like Zeke is going to be fine.

Next time on…Survivor!

Merge! Merge! Merge! And who’s the new dross in town?

In Varner’s final words, he reveals what an epic blunder that was, and how well he paid attention in all those acting classes about crying on command… Sorry, not buying it. You’ve played this game three times now, you were a successful television news anchor and entertainment reporter. You know what it means to think about what you say before saying it on air. You “thought” it was your only play? You just revealed far more about yourself than you’ll ever realize. Keep apologizing. But you disgust me.

Okay, after calming down a bit, I’m going to wrap things up quickly here, because I know we’re all trying to remember why we like Survivor. It used to be about this crazy adventure of a lifetime, with games, puzzles, athleticism, blindsides, raw human emotion, and alliances. But for the past few seasons, it’s become more about “reality TV” than ever before.

We know that’s the genre it’s filed under, but it was always more than that. I never thought of Survivor as a reality show. It was a competition show, like American Idol, Fear Factor, or Joe frickin’ Millionaire. It’s about winning the competition. But it was always able to do that while maintaining some integrity. Maybe the underlying religious backbone is what kept it above the fray? And whether it was Boston Rob’s hustling, Russell’s lies, or Richard’s dong, it always made sense.

The last few seasons, however, the show hasn’t made a lot of sense. Because the players have been convinced they’re on reality TV and should be playing up these huge “characters” they were cast to play. And that’s not necessarily on them, that’s on the show. It was revealed to me long ago that Survivor selects people to play characters, and that’s why we see “fish out of water” Cochran, “crazy” Debbie, or Dan Foley, “the douchebag.” And I could go on and on…there just doesn’t seem to be a lot of heroes anymore. It’s all drama and chaos.

But one guy who claimed to be above all that craziness was Varner. He seemed like a down home dude who was real enough to rise above the insanity. Too bad he wasn’t. And I really think the show needs to start looking for different people to play this game. Focus on the athleticism and intelligence of players, and less on the drama and combustibility of them. Does anyone still think Hannah should have ever been on the show?

I’ve been pointing my finger at the casting department of Survivor for a long time now, and I think it falls on them again. Stop casting drama! Survivor is not a soap opera, it’s a competition! Looks for people with strength, not weakness! America doesn’t need to see the “fat housewife,” or the “weak accountant,” or the “fish out of water who can’t swim.” We want players we can look up to. Who will embrace certain aspects of the game, and will give us the inspiration to apply, or keep tuning in.

Unfortunately, we’ve been served a heavy dose of fast food, because they think that’s what we like. We don’t…


Twitter: @BF_TheFish
AIM: or Bryan Fischer

6 thoughts on “SURVIVOR: GAME CHANGERS – 4/14/17

  1. Pingback: Update on Where Episode #7 is Filming, “Survivor” Recap, & More of Rachel’s Guys – Reality Steve

  2. Hey. This is RSANON. They screwed up my account and I could not access it last week, so I had to form a new one. Excellent review as always. I really like how you review the show as it is on so that you make your jokes and predictions and then, WHAM, get smacked along side the head like the rest of us.

    1) I am enjoying the physical challenges this season because they are involving so much – physical, brains, mazes, balancing, swimming, etc. It may seem like too much for some, but this is a big reason why I watch the show.

    2) I am sooooooo sick and tired of the weak players banning together to get out the strong players. What has become of this show? The strong SHOULD survive. And I do mean physically strong and those that can manipulate and be mentally strong. But not those that band together because they are the weakest players and then high-five themselves when they make it to the end. If Ozzy does not finally win, I am going to be pissed. I wanted to see an Ozzy, Malcolm, possibly Culpepper or Sierra final. I know Michaela is annoying and her mouth would never let her win, but she is strong and plays hard. Let’s get the people who really win your challenges for you, get you your food, play the damn game into the finals and stop with these whiny-a@@ed people ruining it for all of us fans.

    3) Varner – what a total a@@hole! He outs Zeke, says that this PROVES he is deceitful, and then tries to tell us that he thought everyone knew. WHAT?!? Call him on that BS. He even tweeted that now that the episode aired. If everyone knew, why would you think he was being deceitful? I agree with you though. I immediately thought – why would they show us that. I certainly hope that they got Zeke’s OK for that to make it on-air. Although the way you talk, I kind of question that. I also thought at the time – Varner will NEVER be asked to come back again. And I do not think he should be. I cannot believe how low some people will go for a game. But look where being a nice guy got Ken last season, I guess.

    Thanks for continuing to do this for us – your fans! I am sure it is a lot of work, but please know we appreciate it.

  3. Not much for small talk this week ( congrats on your Garcia bet ) . I have only been watching Survivor for the last 7 years or so ( I have DVD s of older seasons though) . I have always put Survivor on a pedestal as being the most real of the reality shows . I don’t believe that anymore . I don’t know if its a quest for ratings due to horrible casting or just a money grab but I smell a rat . I find it hard to believe METAMORPHOSIS was just magically the word puzzle for this episode . Every other word puzzle or phrase has been Survivor related . Except this time . Why even air any tribal if it was so shocking . Suddenly Trans Gender laws and issues populate the news and Survivor coincidentally has a Trans Gender contestant ? I am not buying it for a second . Zeke was one of my favorites from last season and from this season but honestly I lost some respect for him . Not because of his gender preference because frankly its none of my business and I don’t care if he was born a man , a woman or a mermaid . If he feels comfortable as a man well by all means let him live as such . Do what makes ya happy Zeke . I believe he let himself become a pawn in a Survivor ratings ploy and political statement . Note to Hollywood !!! I don’t give a damn about your political thoughts and I assume you don’t care about mine . Don’t force your opinions down my throat because you think being on TV , a movie screen or a stage singing makes yours more important than anyone elses . Survivor you decided that making a political statement was more important than the show you have gotten rich off of for 34 seasons . I will be forever pissed about it and very well might never watch any seasons after this .

  4. Well i have been burnt out on Survivor for a bit, and not following too closely. Now I will even less. I thought I read on Zeke’s first season that there were rumors he was trans.

    Yes Varner is a complete ass, but Survivor is worse.
    Just a stupid ratings ploy. If Zeke wanted to remain un-outed, then just do all the usual cuts and don’t show that part of tribal. If this is some sort of political statement, buy an ad.

  5. Thanks for your comments, folks, I’m sure there’s a lot more discussion that needs to take place — possibly in this week’s column — and I feel the last episode will go down as THE most flammable one in the entire history of Survivor. Anyone else think this may be the one that “jumped the shark” for our favorite show?

    RSANON! Sorry for the web headaches. I have nothing to do with the site in that regard, but I’m glad you found us again! Thank you for liking my process. Yes, I prefer to write as I go, because then I’m not thinking about the end as I write the beginning. True, I could do that, and then steer the column toward a certain outcome, thus making it seem I’m prescient or something, but it’s A FRIGGIN’ REALITY TV SHOW, who cares if we’re able to predict anything…right? Honestly, there have been times when I did watch before I began writing, but I really don’t like to do that. Now that I have DVR again, I’m doing it “old school.” 1. I totally agree with you about the challenges. THAT’s why I watch. I don’t care about the social part (so much), and I don’t care about the hunger, I wanna see people being competitive and adapting to each challenge. That’s why I always wanted Ozzy to win because he was so good at challenges, and that’s who I wanna see win. 2. Totally agree! (you get it…). 3. I’ve had some very dark feelings about Varner and this whole situation. As much as I hated what he did, I do blame CBS for airing it. I tweeted an interview that Jeff did with Katie Couric about it and he was so, “We all talked about it and Zeke was okay with it, so we aired it all.” What a load of crap! CBS uses this whole situation as a play for ratings and look what it got them – THE most talked about episode of Survivor ever! They can justify it all they want that “Zeke said it was okay,” and, “it’s a great opportunity to show how vulnerable trans people can be and how they can overcome,” and all that b.s., but IMHO, they should not have shown it. Just cut Tribal short and say that Varner was “eliminated due to a violation of game ethics” and move on. But no, they had to make it into the most political thing I’ve ever seen on Survivor. Force feeding us how we should think about the whole debate. And again, I don’t give a crap about how anyone wants to live their life, but don’t tell me how I should feel about it. Just play the friggin’ game… But thank you for all the nice things you’ve said, I hope we can all get back on track this week.

    Rick! Dude, you are passionate this week! I totally hear your inner voice yelling back at the TV. I’m pretty much on board with everything you said, specifically about using the word “metamorphosis.” That was too timely… And I’m not sure if I believe that Zeke just came up with his Tribal Council comment all on his own (but it’s possible). I mean, “Game Changers” could be construed as a metamorphosis, of sorts, but it was just too coincidental. And the fact the show has known the truth about Zeke since last season, during casting, just tells me they were planning on using this all along. Perhaps… So, Rick, I hear what you’re saying, but I think we all need to take a breath and see where things go. Most likely, the show will get back to what we fell in love with long ago. Everything on TV blows away, just waiting for the next windstorm to replace it… Thanks for your fire, though!

    doc! Reality Steve said the same thing to me about hearing about Zeke’s “secret” last season, but I never did. TBH, I wonder if I should feel bad about comparing his chest hair to a plescostomus — or Wilson from Castaway — but I still think that’s one of the funniest bits I ever wrote… 😉 And everything I’ve said in this comment agrees with yours. This was a big ratings play, and it worked. But they’ll never get how it alienates a significant part of their audience. But TV shows don’t care about that, because big ratings means big audiences, and they don’t really care about their “core fans,” they just want to sell ads… We’ll see how the show’s ratings go over the rest of the season. Perhaps the Finale/Reunion show will one of the highest rated episodes in recent years. And does anyone think that Zeke is not going to win it all now?
    Talk about a “story” that clinches it for someone. If I railed on the show last season for how unfair Adam’s story was, then this season’s champ has already been decided…
    Thanks for writin’ in, doc!

  6. Didn’t we see another player kicked out for violations in the first 5 seasons or thereabout? I’m with you, that would have been better and then Zeke could have spoken about it at the reunion, or not. However, to play Devil’s advocate, if Zeke plays on this, he will be unbeatable if he goes to F3. Everyone will be rooting for him. Does it make me evil to say that? Am I calculating? Have I morphed into the perfect, soulless survivor player???? Send help! And by help, I mean JP (I mean, yum) and some really good bourbon, please. I’ve jumped the shark with the show. Lets see if either of us recover!

    Love ya, Trish

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