Season 6 – Amazon

We liked this season a lot more than I thought we would. The premise certainly lends itself to some terribleness, so I was pleasantly surprised when the most outspoken chauvinists were promptly ejected, made extra-great by the ladies just completely trouncing the men in the first part. Add to that Dave’s angry rebuttal of lying, Alex’s not backing down from Roger’s homophobia, and most people’s support of Christy and this season felt pretty warm and fuzzy for something set up with a battle of the sexes premise.

We watched this a while ago so my memories aren’t ultra-fresh and honestly the season isn’t super-memorable, but these things definitely stood out:

  • Rob…the guy was no hero, but I did enjoy watching him. Partially because he really wanted to be a cool calm strategist in the vein of (later) Spencer and Cochran and that mostly worked out unless any other guy did literally anything that impressed any of the girls and then suddenly Rob’s only mission was to get the person voted out.
  • JoAnne was upbeat and was an amazing singer, but I have no idea why you would sign up for Survivor if you’re terrified of the idea of touching something called an idol.
  • Christy was one of my favorite players and I was glad when the swapped tribe was so welcoming to her. That said, her loss was 100% her doing. I think this was the first case of someone not learning a lesson that also dooms some other favorite players of mine down the road, which is, “If two alliances come to you asking you to join them, you had better tell at LEAST one of them that you’re on board.”
  • Jenna seemed fine, but she is maybe the least memorable winner of the 30 or so seasons I’ve watched.

Season 5 – Thailand

We skipped this one, on the advice of the internet. We sometimes disagree with Purple Rock because they generally index on, “Did the players do smart interesting things?” and we care slightly more about, “Were there really cool and likeable people on this season and did they do ok?” So when Purple Rock says a season is bad because everyone is an unlikely wreck, that’s a hard pass for us.

Season 4 – Marquesas

Season 4 was probably actually the 10th or so season we watched. We were all amped up to watch Heroes vs Villains and so went back and watched some of the more poorly ranked seasons we had skipped if they had someone that was showing up in that all star season. Good thing we did, because it’s Rob’s origin story.

This is definitely a very early season, I think most highlighted by Gabriel, who is very frustrated that people keep trying to play this weird game on his, “Can we all survive together on this awesome adventure?” personal vacation. Imagine someone in an Among Us lobby getting pissed about all the murdering and meetings when they’re just here to learn about spaceship maintenance.

The winner this season made me really glad and there was some very interesting social commentary with Sean and Vecepia being mostly allied, but trying not to be default grouped together because they were the only black folks. For me the memorable story there was Paschal at tribal badgering them about whether they were in a real alliance while at the same time making it clear that everyone else was in a different alliance. You can’t strand two people outside and then ah-ha! at them when they try to protect each other. Buddy.

Kathy was the other memorable character for me. Hard-working and nice, but not without flaws. I’m glad she comes back on a later season or two.

It’s sort of funny to me that this isn’t a great season, but is required viewing to see where Rob comes from, even though Rob honestly doesn’t do a ton in this season. He comes off as just sort of an arrogant sexist dude-bro, but in a way that sets up all the growth he does over the other seasons he appears on. I feel like he has a Han Solo arc and Marquesas is his Greedo scene, except that after he shoots Greedo he’s arrested and you sort of forget about him for a while.

Survivor Intro

Laura and I watched the very first season of Survivor when it came out and we loved it. Then we watched the second and it was pretty good. Then we watched the third and after about five episodes decided that we didn’t want to just watch real humans dying of thirst. And then we mostly forgot about it. Fast forward to November of 2020. 8 months into quarantine and high on the exultation of having momentarily warded off a complete slide into fascism, we notice that Netflix has a couple seasons of Survivor. We decided to give Cagayan a try and now in March of 2021 we’ve watched almost 30 seasons. I’m starting a little late, but I want to jot down some of my per-season thoughts.

I’m going to make these in chronological order of seasons, although that isn’t how we watched them. We started with the assumption that we only wanted to watch the best, so we decided to just watch the top 10 seasons rated by Purple Rock. But after Fans vs Favorites we wanted to know more about Yau-Man and in doing so discovered that we have different criteria than Purple Rock, so now we’re watching most of them in chronological order.

I think I can recount my reactions pretty well, even though some of these were 5 months ago. I’m not going to bother with 1-3 though since those memories are decades old. Here’s what survived:

  • Season 1 – What a cool show! I like that the older guy survives by being good at fishing!
  • Season 2 – Someone kills a boar and then falls in a fire. And Colby is pretty great, I’m glad he gets his own reality show later.
  • Season 3 – Watching people slowly die of thirst isn’t much fun.

So with that out of the way, let’s talk about ones I’ve watched recently!