These are what we call the 'YMMV items.' Things that some people find in this work. We call them 'your mileage might vary' because not everyone sees these things in the same way. This starts discussions in the trope lists, a thing we don't want. Please use the discussion page if you'd like to discuss any of these items.
Alternative Character Interpretation: Everyone. It's been stated time and time again that what the camera shows is not indicative of what each castaway is really like, so opinions on each character are going to vary wildly.
The show itself. Is it a semi-voyeuristic slice of life about people stranded in the wild, a social experiment that tests peoples morality, an adventure show that just happened to evolve into a game, a cutthroat strategy game that just happens to take place outdoors, or some combination of the above?
Anvilicious: The editing style of choice for the show, especially during the more recent seasons. When the show wants you to feel something about a player or a situation, they hammer their point down HARD. Sometimes it's subverted, such as the subtly sweet relationship between Rodger and Elisabeth during Australian Outback or the friendship between Tom and Ian during Palau, but examples like those are more the exception that proves the rule.
Sexism in the Survivor fanbase, and in Survivor at large, is a very complicated web. You have the producers and Probst, who generally seem to favor bombastic male characters, such as Russell, Ozzy, and Brad Culpepper, at the expense of women who also play well, such as Sophie, Natalie, and Sandra Diaz-Twine. The editing is also quite unbalanced in the favor of men, with Russell in Samoa getting 109 confessionals and Natalie, the winner, getting only 15 in the course of the game.
A decent chunk of the fanbase will generally fall along those lines, crediting "strong, aggressive, physical games", which are generally male, and discrediting under-the-radar players, generally female, and accusing them of doing nothing and not deserving the win. On any list ranking winners the only females you'll usually see higher up are Parvati, Kim, and Sandra (the latter of which only because she won twice), whereas the bottom is littered with UTR female winners such as Natalie, Vecepia, Amber, Jenna, even Danni and Tina.
Even then, however, we have another part of the fanbase that works the opposite way, seeing as the hardcore Survivor fanbase is generally women and the LGBT population. Oftentimes they will target dominant male players that are genuinely inoffensive, such as Tom Westman. In the occasion that a man will outplay a popular woman, the man will generally get a lot of ire, yet it is seen as empowering if it is the other way around. The biggest offense of this faction was the reaction to Chris in Vanuatu, after he beat six women as the sole male contestant remaining. He ended up receiving the fury of not only the near entire fanbase, but Jeff as well (since he was dating Julie Berry at the time) and has only in recent years experienced any sort of love from the fans. This was largely due to the fact that the women's leader was Ami Cusack, a very popular, very powerful bisexual woman.
Rupert Boneham was one of the first, who either comes around as one of the few people who play the game with integrity and not wanting to anger everyone, or a doof who needs to learn that he can't just drift through the game on people's shoulders. Either way, he won a million dollars for America's Favourite Survivor, so the viewers obviously like him.
Russell Hantz, who in Samoa comes across as either a brilliant player (to viewers who have only been exposed to the strategic side of the game) or a terrible sport who needs to learn that people don't just win by playing his way (to viewers who know that Survivor is as much a social game as a strategic game, and pissing off jurors is no way to win). This base has mostly repaired itself since then, as while his antics might have been tolerable in Samoa they wore thin by Heroes Vs Villains (especially thanks to overexposure), so most people enjoyed seeing him finally get ejected in Redemption Island.
The Final Three. Jeff Probst likes that rule better because normally people would intentionally bring someone with them to the final two who was The Load and dislikable so they could say almost anything to the jury or just play the lesser of two evils card, and that way they'd have to at least take a competitor or Worthy Opponent. However plenty of the fans hate it partly because someone bringing The Load to the final two was more traditional. Not to mention; only twice have all three contestants actually received at least one vote in the final three. (China, where the votes were 4-2-1; in the Philippines, it was 6-1-1.) The other times, it was really in between two contestants anyways. There's also a slight chance that, with a Jury of nine and final three that there can be a three way tie but the Jury's often united enough to give someone a majority.
Huge flame wars on fan sites have erupted over whether or not Lex was a hypocrite for not voting for Rob to win All Stars (since according to those who argue against Lex, his game play was Not So Different from Rob's), and severing his friendship with Rob over a game.
There's a relatively large group of die hard fans who only love the original seven seasons of the show and lambaste everything that came afterward. While most of these people are respectful towards those who like the more recent seasons, there's a lot of name calling that goes on between them and Trolls who like the newer seasons and accuse this group of wearing nostalgia filters.
Brandon's meltdown in episode 5 of Caramoan seems to have split the fanbase between those that considered how the entire event was treated to be the Moral Event Horizon for Probst and the show in general (for casting someone they knew had issues and/or exploiting them for ratings), those that found it entertaining overall, and those that found it uncomfortable but not to the point of ruining the show.
Cochran. Either you think he's an loveable dork or an annoying little weasel. There's very little middle ground.
Brad Culpepper from Blood vs Water in general, and the all-male alliance on Tadhana. Namely, whether it is sexism for the majority of males to align against women, or if it is the fault of the producers for leaving gender-uneven tribes of 9 and Brad is only taking advantage of numbers.
There was a scene in One World where a pig shows up from out of nowhere in the tribe's camp. Everyone starts to try and chase it while comical music plays, and... then cut to the immunity challenge. The pig isn't brought up after the challenge, and the only reason we know they didn't catch it is that there are a few shots of the same pig after the challenge. Fan theory is that the editors threw in that scene as Foreshadowing of Michael Skupin coming back for season 25.
Then there was this moment in Heroes Versus Villains. Courtney is wandering through the jungle and ... comes across Russell and Coach on a giant see-saw. Russell and Coach on a giant see-saw. If it was any other two contestants it wouldn't have been that big a deal, but - those two? True to the trope, it comes out of nowhere and is never explained.
Broken Base: Between the fans who like the new seasons for the complicated strategy and twists, and the fans who miss the character development and higher production values of the earlier seasons.
Complacent Gaming Syndrome: Most players seem to have settled on the following strategy: When you hit the beach, you start making alliances of about three to five other people. Then you start sticking your hand in holes, digging up areas under suspicious looking logs or rocks, or looking in suspicious trees to find the idol. Then you start voting out people who are weak or sick, sometimes voting out physically stronger players because they're not as loyal. Around merge, especially if it's the last tribe-tribal council, you target the people who carried your tribe in the tribal phase and then target the other team's stronger players to reduce them to just one person. Then the person in charge of the alliance starts picking off the loads or the people in second or third, while the people at the bottom (or loads) start plotting to get the people on top voted out.
Extra emphasis on "complacent" in recent years (meaning Samoa to One World at least), as the prevailing strategy in several seasons has been "don't upset the apple cart". You have entire casts content to let the status quo be, allowing alliance ringleaders to waltz to the finals unopposed; such as Russell in Samoa, Rob in Redemption Island, and Colton until his medical evacuation in One World. This last one was especially frustrating, because Colton was a petty racist bully and almost nobody was shown to even speak up in defense of his targets.
Complaining about Shows You Don't Watch: Survivor gets a lot of crap thrown its way by people who resent it for ushering in the rise of Reality TV. But most of these people who complain about it have never watched the Survivor in the first place, or even care that it's production values, entertainment value (and according to some, value as a sociological experiment) and viewer interactivity (via analyzing strategy, trying to spoil the winner ahead of time, etc) is orders of magnitude above the likes of Jersey Shore or any of the umpteenth dating reality shows you can find.
As you might have noticed from other tropes listed here, production plays favorites when it comes to screen time, due to their ability to effectively carry the season. More often than not, they fail.
Ben "Coach" Wade. Before Tocantins began, Jeff Probst claimed that he would be the most popular contestant since Rupert. He then became the focus of the entire season, often getting more screentime than the entire rest of the cast combined. To say there was a backlash would be putting it mildly.
Russell Hantz, if only for the fact that the viewers had to put up with him for three nearly-consecutive seasons: Samoa/The Russell Hantz Show and Heroes Vs Villains/Heroes vs. Russell; viewers then got a one-season break before he returned again for Redemption Island (but not for long, thankfully).
While Boston Rob was never too unpopular in All-Stars and Heroes vs. Villains, he hit this point after a large amount of shilling from the producers. Returning with other previous players in reunion seasons is one thing - coming back again for a showdown with Russell is another.
Philip on Redemption Island became this due to overexposure. He becomes this again for the same reason in Caramoan.
Ozzy on South Pacific. He was given a disproportionate amount of time in the reunion show, even including a question from a child in the audience basically asking how he was so awesome, at the expense of the other players including that season's winner. This for someone who was voted out three times, alternated between non-existent and disastrous strategy (his "Get himself voted out" gambit arguably cost his tribe the game, as it's intended target Christine had repeatedly expressed to them her hatred of Coach and would likely have been more loyal to him than eventual turncoat Cochran), frequently frustrated his alliance-mates with his fixation on Semhar and Elyse, and only got as far as he did because of the Redemption Island twist and his strength at the individual challenges.
Dork Age: People often say that a season where somebody deemed undeserving wins, or with a cast full of people who are The Quiet One or where everyone's just really mean-hearted, boring, etc. Seasons 3-5 are sometimes considered the Dork Age (although Africa was moreso considered one by the editors because it was so hot out the players laid around all day and didn't do much interesting); but some have been claiming the show's been in a Dork Age since 2009 due to the trends of, among other things, having a Creator's Pet who the editors make a one-man Spotlight-Stealing Squad and casts full of players that are too conservative/cowardly to act at best and Too Dumb to Live at worst, if they aren't just Living Props for the Creator's Pet. Philippines has bucked this trend.
Dude, Not Funny!: Oftentimes; seeing people fall down, getting thrown around, etc is pretty funny...until they're really hurt and sometimes have a game breaking injury.
A special case goes to Kat in One World. Throughout the game, she's pretty naive and justifies it with "I'm only twenty two!". A lot of the fanbase (and even the fellow players) don't entirely buy these. However, her accusations of "I'm only twenty two!" become a little more weighty when you consider that she needed to have open heart surgery in about one or two years.
Several examples; read the article. It's actually a common strategy to take the worst player (meaning, in most cases, the most unlikable person out there) and protect them on the grounds that if it's you vs. them in the Finals, it's an easy win. This is called a "Goat". The concept is subverted in Samoa, when Russell Hantz's goat actually ends up pulverising him in the Final Vote, which repeats itself in Heroes vs. Villains when Russell's intended goat wins over both him and Parvati (Parvati actually didn't want Sandra to be in the FTC because she actually knew that Sandra have friends in the jury)
There's a difference between flying under the radar and staying out of harm's way (like how Sandra managed to win both her seasons), and simply riding coattails (like Natalie in Redemption Island or Becky in Cook Islands). Getting to the finals by stealth is rewarded. Getting there by being a total non-factor isn't.
More people who kept houdini-ing their way out of elimination include:
Eliza. Almost every tribal council she was in, she was in trouble. Yet despite this she made her way to the final four, thanks in part to her alliance screwing up. Interestingly, Chris became an Elimination Houdini too (and the eventual winner) for that exact same reason: he should have been a goner when he became the last man remaining on the tribe and even sadly accepted that he was going home after he failed to win immunity, but thanks to Ami and Leann suddenly deciding that Eliza, who had always faithfully voted with them, was so annoying that she needed to go before obvious target Chris, he was able to split up the women's alliance with help from Twila and Scout.
Danni managed to escape because Stephenie's alliance decided she wasn't a threat and even thought it'd be a better idea to vote out the more easily-beaten-in-an-endurance competition Lydia over her.
Jonny Fairplay. Outnumbered 3-1 at the final four tribal council, had Sandra telling others not to trust him from early on, and everybody was fair game. He managed to talk Lillian and Sandra into voting out Darrah because she could win the final immunity challenge and that was probably their chance.
Chet. Just about every tribal council he was in, people were saying that he was weak. Survived about three tribal councils with people trying to get him out for weakness before finally being voted out, after more fit people like Mary, Mikey B, and Joel were eliminated.
Rocky, disliked by his tribe but was kept around because they needed to win challenges, picking him over the more easily-swayed Anthony. Finally with the merge around the corner, Ravu decides they had enough and sent him out.
Sarita managed to avoid elimination because Stephenie and Krista were less loyal to the Zapateras despite both being physically stronger.
Susie who was being voted for as a challenge liability several times; but due to her loyalties and lucky immunity win made the final three and even finished in second.
Sierra, managed to avoid elimination numerous times and was initially targeted for weakness. (having been on Antibiotics prior to the show due to Strep throat)
Cochran in South Pacific, who was constantly on the chopping block early in the game and extended his stay after the merge by flipping on his alliance.
Ozzy in the same season, who was talented and/or lucky enough to survive Redemption Island and return twice.
Gervase managed to charm his tribe mates enough to not get voted out of Pagong in the early stages of Borneo despite being bar none the laziest one there and causing Pagong to lose at least two challenges due to various weaknessess of his (such as his fear of bugs in the "Bugging Out" challenge and his inability to swim during "In From The Deep").
Jonathan Penner in Philippines, who survived two tribal councils in a row where the entire tribe was targeting him, giving him the time he needed to sweet talk himself back into the game.
Also from Philippines and especially in Caramoan comes Malcolm Freberg, who was targeted by Lisa a grand total of three times, all but one failed. In Caramoan, he's one of the biggest physical threats and forms his own alliance (which is outnumbered by the main alliance however he does manage to take out the leader of said alliance) and avoids eviction on two separate occasions by using an idol. Though to be fair, the guy is really good at this game.
Eddie from Caramoan. Every Tribal Council, he's prepared to go home, casts his vote for someone random, and has somehow survived many votes where he should have gone home. He even has a completely stunned look on his face when he's still there.
Ensemble Dark Horse
Every so often, characters who only make it a short way or fall short of winning tend to become fan favourites. This usually results in them being called back for an All-Star season:
Sonja, the first person ever voted out of Survivor, and Colleen Haskell, who was the first "sweet girl" on the show from Borneo.
Elisabeth Filarski, Colleen's Expy from The Australian Outback, though less so after she Took a Level in Jerkass as a co-host on The View.
"Boston" Rob Mariano, from Marquesas was the first utilised example of this trope. Despite only coming 10th in his original season, he was asked back again for All-Stars where his game essentially made him the face of Survivor - he was even invited back for Heroes vs. Villains, being voted out again just before the jury stages, and even had an entire season created for him to win.
Andrew Savage from Pearl Islands, the leader of the increasingly desperate Morgan tribe who continually lost challenges while keeping a positive face and a winning attitude, voted out thanks to the outcasts twist. The even greater example of this trope in Pearl Islands is obviously Rupert Boneham, who was one of the most unique and outlandish individuals to play the game at that point. His popularity earn him a spot on both All-Stars and Heroes vs. Villains, placing better on those seasons than he did on this one, as well as his own million dollars on America's Tribal Council.
Eliza Orlins from Vanuatu, perhaps one of the most notable examples of the Plucky Girl on the show - she went to every Tribal Council in danger, and always managed to escape by the skin of her teeth, and became the poster child for resilience. At least, until...
Stephenie LaGrossa from Palau basically became the face of Survivor in 2005, despite only coming 7th in her season. Stephenie was the sole survivor of her tribe's utter annihilation (which would forever henceforth be called "Ulonging" after her tribe) at the hands of Koror, and would be known for years on end as "America's Sweetheart". She was even invited back in Guatemala, where she was the runner-up.
Cirie Fields from Panama was the epitome of the woman on the couch, a fan of the show who was, at the start, scared of leaves. Come the end of the show, she's become the face of strategy on Survivor, returned for Micronesia and Heroes vs. Villains, and basically revolutionised the way people strategise on Survivor.
Yau-Man Chan from Fiji, the elderly Asian-American computer engineer who was deceptively good in challenges and was one of the nicest and child-friendly contestants that had been on Survivor, which earned him a return to Micronesia.
Jane Bright from Nicaragua, the Cool Old Lady who was one of the only people in the history of Survivor to go into the show having practiced making fire, and only went on the show to become the Ensemble Darkhorse - she succeeded, and became America's Favourite Contestant that year. Brenda Lowe and Marty Piombo, both strong competitive players taken out at the beginning of the merge are also examples. Brenda continued to be one in Caramoan, dispite getting barely any screen time for the first half of the game, she almost one fan favorite.
Stephanie on Redemption Island, one of Russell Hantz's "dumb ass girls". She was one of his best lambs, and captured more screen time than most of the other tribe, despite being voted out before the merge.
Although he has not yet been brought back, Bobby "Bob Dawg" Mason from Panama has a sizable online fandom thanks to his performances in challenges, his unique personality, and his razor sharp quips and put downs.
Despite winning, Probst considered Denise from Philippines to be one since he didn't expect her to be popular. Nonetheless, fans were won over by her underdog story and no-nonsense attitude.
Malcolm Freberg from Philippines and Caramoan has also become one due to his looks, his laidback personality and the fact that he's a true triple threat who also happens to be a super fan of the game.
Allie Pohevitz has a pretty large fan base despite being voted out second in Caramoan, due to being a super fan of the game (and one of the few who actually applied) as well as not being afraid to speak her mind.
Epileptic Trees: Some of the theories in this thread (which documents the history of online Survivor spoilers) can get pretty creative and outlandish, especially the Follow The Star theory by a Survivor Sucks poster called "Tapewatcher" which claimed that Ethan would win Africa because the editing symbolized him as Jesus.
Evil Is Sexy: Female examples are Parvati, Jerri, Ami, Danielle, Courtney, Abi-Maria, and Corinne. Male examples are Brian, "Boston" Rob, and Tyson.
Beauty Equals Goodness: On the other hand, the "Good" characters can boast Ozzy, Colby, J.T., Stephenie, Sierra, Brenda and Amanda.
Probably the most interesting theme of Survivor is how differently everyone views the show. To some, it's So Bad, It's Good. To other viewers, it may be absolutely terrible or So Cool It's Awesome, and there's rarely any middle ground opinions about the "quality" of the show. The Fan Dumb for Survivor claim that the show used to be good, but dropped off in quality somewhere between Australian Outback and All Stars.
Some viewers (mostly viewers whose introduction to Survivor was Samoa or Tocantins) actually agree with Russell, and ignore that it's also a social game, or ignore the "Outlast" bit of the show's slogan, meaning you can't win Survivor if the jury doesn't want you to win.
This shows a good example of Fan Dumb. The author, an acclaimed Survivor columnist and possibly the foremost expert on the show Mario Lanza, also mentions that the Boston Rob cult can be pretty vicious too. The keyword is mentioning how the fans reacted, since the author does admit he has his own biases.
Despite Fiji being a scrappy season for most, the unofficial car deal between Yauman and Dreamz sparked off one of the most volatile post-season discussions in the show's history. To recap, if Dreamz won the final immunity challenge, he had to give Yauman the immunity necklace in exchange for an SUV Yauman won during a reward challenge. The anger towards Dreamz for not following through on his side of the deal is understandable. The Fan Dumb comes in with the viewers threatening to boycott the show, because Dreamz was allowed to take the car with zero repercussions. This is in spite of Jeff Proust explaining that the deal can't be enforced by the game's producers, so if Dreamz does not follow through, they can't do a thing about it. Even more jarring, some of these fans even attacked Earl for not voting off Cassandra to keep Yau-Man in the game, since it's the honorable thing to do. Yes, after a dozen or so seasons of backstabbing and politics, now fans demand honor above. This is in spite of the jury admitting that they would have voted Yau-Man over Earl 6-3 if they both reached the top three. (And you just know people would be saying Too Dumb to Live if Dreamz had given up Immunity)..
Survivor Sucks, a board for fans of Survivor is often full of Fan Dumb and can lead to some... quite vicious threads.
On the other hand, Sucks is more or less the most popular online community for Survivor fans. While there are a lot of idiots and trolls on the boards, there are also a lot of reasonable and very well spoken posters; amongst the Flame-Wars and comments made in poor-taste, there are actually a lot of people with genuine insight, as well as the "Edgic" around one forum, which has often been used to predict winners. (Editing + Logic)
After Dawn and Cochran blindsided Brenda, causing a very emotional exit, many fans took to attacking Dawn on Twitter and other websites due to Dawn's close relationship with Brenda along with Brenda sacrificing her visit for the others in the same episode. Dawn even ended up deactivating her Twitter so her kids wouldn't have to see the negative things being said about their mother. Never mind that many times, a player screwed over a close ally to make a move and not gotten any huge reaction from it- not to mention most that did get a reaction were not attacked as personally as Dawn was.
Foe Yay: Some contestants can be a little-too-obsessed with a fellow castaway they claim they don't like.
Russell Hantz was fixated on Boston Rob during Heroes Vs Villains, while everyone else in turn became fixated on Russell.
Kelly Wiglesworth and Sue Hawk from Borneo is a pretty sad example, given that they seemed to be good friends at one point.
"Funny Aneurysm" Moment: In Fiji, Boo's Blunders are hilarious until the final episode when he tears his ACL. Nobody was laughing then.
The Survivor Sucks message board had a running joke they would play on newbies about Borneo's B.B. Andersen having been dead for years. It became a lot less funny on October 29th 2013, when B.B. died for real.
Genius Bonus: In South Pacific, Christine angrily calls Coach "King Farouk" after she's voted out. Anyone familiar with the history of this kingnote An Egyptian pharaoh that was popular at first, but the internal rivalries of his administration and his alienation of the military - along with his increasing excesses and eccentricities - eventually caused his downfall could catch this as Foreshadowing on behalf of the editors that Coach was going to lose.
In one episode of Marquesas, Zoe compares the raft that her tribe is making for the upcoming reward challenge to Kon-Tiki, the famous raft used by Thor Heyerdahl in the 1940's to demonstrate that indigenous people from South America may have settled in Polynesia at one point. Heyerdahl first envisioned this hypothesis (which would later be largely discredited) while living in the Marquesas Islands.
Germans Love David Hasselhoff: In a complete 180 to the opinions of America, B.B. was perhaps one of the most popular characters on Survivor in Australia when it aired at the time, and the general consensus was that the Pagong tribe, apart from B.B., were lazy.
Harsher in Hindsight: Before Thailand, Jeff had said that the cast of that season looked to be the best that the show had so far. Thailand to this day remains to be Jeff's least favorite season.
Before the car challenge that Cindy won in Guatemala , Lydia says she is going to try to win it for her teenage son. Less than a year later, her only son would die in a car crash.
In Richard's last confessional, he says that "a million dollars could really change someone's life." It changed his, but for the worst; the tax snafu whose origin is still debated by fans put him in prison for years and is still something that haunts his image til this day.
Hilarious in Hindsight: Amber mentioned in her audition tape for Australia that the host visited her in a dream and told her she would win. Which she did...the second time she played.
In an early episode of Pearl Islands, after arguing with Sandra, Jonny Fairplay declared in a confessional that "I got a million that says she won't be the final one!" Guess who ended being the first (and so far only) two-time winner?
In the "Meet the Cast" videos for Samoa, Jeff mentions that Russell apparently doesn't realize it's a social game - guess what comes back and bites him in the ass HARD?
Some contestants are prone to this. A standout example is JT and Stephen from Tocantins.
Bisexual Ami from Vanuatu generated more than a little Les Yay with some of her female tribemates.
Parvati Shallow (from Cook Islands, Micronesia and Heroes vs. Villains), is prone to this, as she uses her good looks to manipulate everyone around her. During Heroes vs. Villains, Danielle's Fatal Flaw was defensively revealing her alliance with Parvati to Russell.
There's a running joke among hard core Survivor fans that Colby and Jeff Probst are gay lovers. It didn't help to diffuse the rumor when Colby said during the Heroes vs Villains pre-show special, and I quote, "Probst, snuffing the torch. Man, I'd like to snuff that guy's torch." Seriously, he said this with a straight face... because he meant that he'd like to dismiss Probst from the game. Sometimes the fanssee what they want to see.
And then there's the running joke amongst some fans where they try guessing which of the men Probst will crush on every new season, as he seems to hold favoritism towards the "manliest men" each season.
If you want a short list: Boston Rob, Colby, Ozzy, Brad Culpepper, Malcolm.
On the "Greatest and Most Outrageous Moments" DVD for Borneo, there's an extended scene of something orignally shown during Jenna Lewis' boot episode. The scene featured Gervase, Sean and Rudy discussing Richard's fishing ability and whether it was worth the value of him not doing any other work around camp. The conversation then turns to Dr Sean discussing Rich being a "fat naked fag", and how he would buy a calandar of other FNF's scuba diving and rock climbing. Ironically, Rudy said that such a calandar would sell "To the queers, anyway".
Tyson and Aras inexplicably cuddling by the campfire in episode two of Blood Vs Water certainly excited many fangirls. It even led to 'Arson'
Hypocritical Fandom: If a male lies, cheats, backstabs, and manipulates his way into the final two or three and wins, the fandom praises his gameplay. If a woman does the same, she's considered dislikable and is the "Worst winner yet".
Heck, one person even said this about responses to Amber from the U.S. "All Stars" season, who was considered one of those "Worst winners yet".
"If that was Amber doing all the strategizing, lying, backstabbing, deal-making, and manipulating, would you still say she's one of the worst winners ever?"
Iron Woobie: Stephenie LaGrossa is seen as this first in Palau when she was alone on the Ulong tribe, and then again after Heroes vs. Villains - some unconfirmed rumours state that she was eliminated because she was still hurting from having her shoulder dislocated in the first challenge in the game. (Would explain why she was voted out over that Candice girl nobody really knew.)
It's the Same, so It Sucks: Some of the criticisms of the show for returning to previous filming locations (Panama, Samoa). Even some of the producers have thought this, but in between the weathernote Samoa got hit by a tsunami barely a week after Heroes vs Villains finished filming and political unrestnote The Fijian Coup de'tat even happened as the season was being wrapped up. Plus, Jordan was considered as a location for the show once but canned due to 9/11., finding a new location for the show is easier said than done, especially since they have to have worthy housing for three hundred people. They even stated that some locations are out due to problems with the area, such as Africa wherein everyone was sick and too hot to do anything, Guatemala where the temperature would regularly be over one hundred degrees F, or Marquesas where the insects inflicted quite a bit of discomfort amongst the contestants and staff. Therefore, reusing locations is a bit of a necessary evil, and even plenty of the staff would love to go to new locations too.
It's also been speculated that they always have to film it on an island away from civilization or in the event of a mainland one like Gabon, China, or Amazon, in a very secluded area due to speculations of people trying to fly or drive into the filming area(s) and spoil or disrupt the game. It's speculated that's why they won't film it in Australia again, or try Alaska.
Jerkass Woobie: Many, with Brandon Hantz being a notable example. The guy's a hotheaded jerk, no doubt, but it's clear that he has a lot of psychological issues.
Love It or Hate It: The very early seasons (Borneo, The Australian Outback, and Africa). Some people love them for their emphasis on the wildness survival aspect, adventure, and superior character development(compared to the later seasons, everyone on the early seasons got a fair share of the camera time), while others hate them for their lack of sophisticated game play, pagongings, and the more neutral, impartial attitude of Jeff Probst compared to later seasons.
The later seasons also apply (Post-Season 12). While some people love the sophisticated plotting compared to the earlier seasons and the various additions to the show (most notably the Hidden Immunity Idol), other viewers find the heavy emphasis on strategy at the expense of everything else(including things like character development), as well as host Jeff Probst's interventionist approach to player politics, to have ruined the show from it's "former glory".
Love to Hate: Richard Hatch and "Boston" Rob; both play hard and talk big but ultimately treat the game with as much seriousness as reality TV deserves (that is, little to none). Sandra could be added to this list, too - she's abrasive, but her "cut the crap" attitude can be very refreshing.
Magnificent Bastard: Richard Hatch from Borneo, Tina Wesson from The Australian Outback, Brian Heidik from Thailand, Chris Daugherty from Vanuatu, Yul Kwon from Cook Islands, Todd Herzog from China, Parvati Shallow from Micronesia, Kim Spradlin from One World, and John Cochran from Caramoan. Sandra Diaz-Twine was less outright manipulative, but she was able to win twice (Pearl Islands and Heroes Vs. Villains).
Honorable mention goes to "Boston" Rob Mariano, who dominated All-Stars and came within one vote of winning the million dollars, but still got away with far more than any second-placer can even dream of, starting with marrying the winner. (He would eventually win himself in Redemption Island, but fans attribute that more to the simple-mindedness of Rob's allies than Rob's own abilities.)
Other honorable mentions go to Rob Cesternino from The Amazon, Jonny Fairplay from Pearl Islands, Cirie Fields from Panama and even more so in Micronesia, Jessica "Sugar" Kiper and Kenny Hoang from Gabon, Stephen Fischbach from Tocantins, Russell Hantz in Samoa and Heroes vs Villains, Benjamin "Coach" Wade his third time around in South Pacific, Jonathan Penner in Philipinnes, and Malcolm Freberg from Philippines and Caramoan.
I'M LIVID! : An offhand comment by Amanda Kimmel leads to one of the funniest parodies of Survivor ever.
"I'm a 150-200% happy with the wife that I have!"
"It's just a fucking stick!"
After having the cameras turned towards Russell for the entire season before suddenly showing this "Brett" person in Samoa; It became a bit of a meme around some boards to refer to Brett as "CG-I Brett", or jokingly say that he was an extra actor hired to be artificially put into the season near the end, as well as photoshopping Brett into other shots of past seasons. (It's a Running Gag on the new 115)
"I will always wave my finger in your face!"
"Who is this jackass?!"
Rudy gave us "Me and Richard got to be pretty good friends,(but) not in a homosexual way, that's for sure", "I DUNNO", and ""I have a lot of friends," among others.
The posters on the Survivor Sucks message board have a running joke that they play on n00bs, pretending that B.B from the first season has been dead for several years. As of 2013, he's still around and kicking. He even participated in a Survivor Ozinterview on January 29th, 2013. He died for real on October 29th 2013
Moe: Colleen Haskell from Borneo, Amber Brkich and Elisabeth Filarski from Australian Outback, Kim Powers from Africa, Eliza Orlins from Vanuatu and Micronesia, Michelle Yi from Fiji, Courtney Yates from China and Heroes vs Villains, Sugar Kiper from Gabon and Heroes vs Villains.
Mis-blamed: In South Pacific, Coach questions his alliance with Brandon Hantz after finding out he's related to Russell Hantz, because he remembers how Russell said he was also a man of god and then voted him out in Heroes vs. Villains...however, Russell Hantz was one of the people who didn't vote for Coach at his Final Tribal Council, along with Jerri. In fact; Russell and Jerri actually voted with him.
Nausea Fuel: People do get hurt in Survivor. Heck, it's an inherent risk, especially in the more recent season in which they have fighting challenges. However, one particular moment following a rather vicious looking challenge in Fans vs. Favourites had many viewers looking away from the TV screaming, "EW EW EW EW EW!!!" or feeling like they were about to lose their lunch. Jonathan Penner received a puncture wound to the knee and had to be evacuated from the game due to an infection that could potentially have taken out his leg. They actually showed the medic irrigating the puncture wound on TV to show how bad it was.
Needs More Love: Some seasons, most notably Thailand, are very underrated. Also some winners.
Fiji, despite being a failed experiment actually had quite a few very brilliant moves, and is generally one of the more goofy seasons (for the most part). In addition, you'll rarely find a more entertaining cast, more unusual storylines, and such drama, especially in the Dreamz/Yau-Man deal.
The show itself is never going to live down Russell...especially since they keep finding ways directly and indirectly work him into almost every season.
Marquesas has this in two parts: the first is that the location had so much discomfort from the bugs that it will never be used again. The second is that because Paschal was so unfairly screwed over by the Purple Rock, contestants in future season have betrayed alliance-mates so they don't end up forcing a tie and risk drawing the infamous rock themselves.
The accusations by Borneo contestant Stacey Stillman that the producer's persuaded Sean and Dirk into voting her off so they could save the more colorful Rudy, and Dirk's eventual admittance in court that this was true, has cast a shadow over the show for years and made many viewers question whether any other game influencing Executive Meddling has taken place.
Older Than They Think: Actually not American from the beginning - the concept originated in Sweden as Expedition Robinson back in 1997. It was picked up by CBS in 2000, and the rest is history.
Certain twists meanwhile. Tribal switches had happened before Africa, and the concept of Redemption Island was actually used in previous versions of Survivor, often called "Island of the Dead" or "island of purgatory".
Old Guard Versus New Blood: As the strategy of Survivor has become more complex over the years, less emphasis has been placed on certain aspects that brought older fans into the show in the first place (such as the adventure element, which has sadly been more or less ignored in recent years) . As more and more twists became commonplace on the show (the hidden immunity idol, for example), there was also less time for character development. Old Guard fans complained about all the time being spent on strategy and twists, which lead to generic and dull seasons such as fan unfavorite Fiji and Redemption Island. These complaints consequently lead to the producers casting Spotlight-Stealing Squad contestants like Coach, Rob, and Russell, and editing the show in the over the top style that we see in the most recent seasons. Of course, Old Guard fans still haven't gotten what they wanted, and they complain that the lack of adventure and character development in these newer seasons is even worse than they were in Cook Islands or Fiji, while on the other side of the equation, the New Blood fans complain about the older seasons for being boring and lacking in strategy.
Plot Tumor: The Hidden Immunity Idol. In some seasons, the influence of the idol becomes so important that it's hard to imagine the boot order occurring even remotely like it actually did if the idol wasn't in place. It must be slightly jarring for modern viewers to imagine that once upon a time, there were no idols.
"Arson" was one for the fan pairing of Aras and Tyson.
Rescued from the Scrappy Heap: Coach in Heroes vs Villians. He was less obnoxious and he became good at the challenges (and we were less exposed to his... "eccentricities" thanks to Russell). Compare him in Tocantins to South Pacific. Likewise, Jerri became very well liked by fans throughout Heroes vs Villains, especially when you compare how she was booed off the stage in her previous appearance in the reunion show and how the crowd cheered and applauded her in this recent one. Her smile could've just lighted up the whole studio.
Boston Rob's gotten a variation; he was never anybody's Scrappy, but he's certainly been rescued from the villain heap. He came into Heroes vs. Villains as the arch-manipulator untrustworthy bad guy, but was arguably more heroic than most of the hero tribe, especially when put with other non-villain Villains such as Sandra and Courtney. Not to mention having actual villains such as Randy, Tyson, and Russell around to contrast with suddenly made Rob look like a pretty nice, easygoing guy (marriage and fatherhood probably helped too). By Redemption Island, his tribe immediately expressed relief that they got the "good" veteran.
Clarence Black from the Africa season. After being ostracized by his tribe for most of the game because he ate a can of beans from said tribe's food rations while the others were away searching for a water source , he later on shapes up, works hard at camp and in the challenges, and eventually earns back their respect.
Jenna Morasca wasn't all that popular in her original season due to being viewed as being rather bitchy. In All-Stars however, many had sympathized with her heart-breaking story and her new found kindness had led to viewers seeing her in a different light. Her former relationship with Africa winner Ethan Zohn rescued her from the scrappy heap as well.
Rewatch Bonus: There's actually quite a lot - the "Funny 115" site actually points out how easy it is to miss these, but if you rewatch a season, you can spot a lot of foreshadowing.
The Hidden Immunity Idols. In their earlier seasons, they were not easy to find, thus making it a true treasure hunt. Ever since Samoa, the idols are now hidden in the near vicinity of the camp, in very easy to find places. This has lead to players finding them easily (at least those savvy enough to look for them) and being able to use several of them throughout the season, with Russell Hantz being the most well known example at how he'd find and use so many of them. Fans have grown tired of this ease to find the idols, as they feel it can interfere with the strategic portions of the game if the players are more focused on running around the island to find the idols than on anything else. This is not helped by rumors that the camera crew outright points out the idol locations to certain players, an allegation supported by several players themselves.
Having returning players tends to give them an unfair advantage in both experience and the fact that the new players are a little starstruck; In Redemption Island and South Pacific Rob's tribe wound up following him like a cult and Ozzy's and Coach's tribes weren't much better (though to be fair, Russell was put at an equally large disadvantage; his tribe throwing a challenge to get him out). It also leads to them hogging all the screen time.
Redemption Island, from the season of the same name and South Pacific, has several problems associated with it: It cheapened the Tribal Council vote by allowing another path to winning, with the possibility to eliminate the entire "vote people out and then convince them to give you a million dollars" concept that is at the core of the show's drama. It made players play more conservatively instead of shaking things up; as there's less of an incentive to pursue a controversial vote if the victim could come back. Reward challenges were replaced by RI eliminations, cutting off a source of creating drama for the tribe and giving it to those already halfway gone. Finally, it ultimately meant nothing since there was little effect on the boot order (Matt was ousted so quick both times it's like he never came back; Ozzy came back so quickly from his first time it's like he never left, and Ozzy's second time was almost like Matt's except he stalled one vote by winning immunity).
So far Blood vs Water seems to be averting a lot of the dreariness Redemption Island had in its other two seasons; mixed with the family twist, it brings out much more interesting dynamics. The players have a stake in who is playing; when their loved one is there, they can lash out at the other tribe or cheer on their loved one in RI. It creates natural drama between the tribes and there is a whole new element of being accountable for one's actions since there is a forum where both tribes and contestants in RI must hash things out with. That's before getting to the new twists that have already been shown off as things that affected the season: Loved ones can switch out with their partner and play in RI, and the eliminated castmember could switch tribes (which Rupert did, and lost the first duel.) In addition, the player who wins the duel gives a clue to a HII to whoever they want, something Candice has both used to aid her husband and weaponized against the Culpeppers. There are a whole slew of new dynamics in RI during Blood vs Water that actually make it a worthwhile mechanic.
Thailand was seen as a hit and miss, thanks to a winner that could have been seen coming a mile away, boring and unimaginative challenges, and generally not having as many high points as other seasons.
Fiji also was hit with this and They Changed It, Now It Sucks; because only one person on the show actually applied. Everyone else was recruited. One other reason for this was the general Jerk Ass-ness of the cast combined with a dull predictable pre-merge game consisting of Ravu losing every single tribe with only tribal switches to make things interesting. The producers also admit that it's a failed experiment. (A "heaven" tribe and a "hell" tribe. Needless to say every challenge was more or less a Curb-Stomp Battle.)
Redemption Island with the unnecessary return of infamous spotlight members Boston Rob and Russell. While Russell was voted off third, it became clear that only one of the tribes had the power to carry the season, and once they were Pagonged, with absolutely no opposition to Boston Rob, it was clear that Boston Rob had zero chance of losing. Add in the amount of shilling worked into every single episode, as well as a Finale that can be completely summed up as "isn't Rob awesome?", and you got what's universally considered the worst season of Survivor. People were actually applauding not that Rob finally won, but that the season ended, with plenty of long-time fans having shut off the season mid-way. Even those who sat through the previous "worst seasons ever".
The constant use of returning castaways is threatening to cause additional rot. In the eight seasons between Heroes vs. Villains and the upcoming Blood vs. Water, six of them have used returning castaways to one degree or another, potentially limiting the number of fresh applicants who want to be part of the show.
Seinfeld Is Unfunny
Some of the earlier seasons, mainly Borneo, The Australian Outback, and Africa, can be a little hard to watch nowadays because many people had played the strategy game so well that some of the early players seem like utter fools in comparison. Even predesignated roles - Jerri proudly wears the title of Survivor's original Villain, but seeing her in Australian Outback in probably 10 years later can make her look like just a rude girl in comparison. (She admits as much in the premiere of Heroes Vs Villains, and she wasn't that villainous thereafter. See also Rescued from the Scrappy Heap where Jerri was applauded; whereas she was booed off the stage previously in the All-Stars reunion)
However, the earlier seasons had a different mindset than what was used today. Richard Hatch was HATED by the audience not just for being arrogant, but for daring to play the game as we know it at all, because at the time most people (including most of the earlier contestants) expected votes to be based on merit instead of politics and considered alliances and shrewd gameplay to be unethical.
The challenges also fall into this category. They were far less elaborate in the earlier seasons than they were in the more recent seasons, unless they were one of the Final Exam Boss type challenges.
Plays that were at the time novel and brilliant are now seen as commonplace - alliances (first appeared in Borneo), finding idols without clues, (Guatemala), Splitting votes to flush out the idol aka "Plan Voodoo" (First envisioned in Cook Islands, first implemented in Redemption Island), throwing challenges following a tribal switch (Africa), bait-and-switch voting (Fiji), idoling (Fiji again), and fake idols (Fijiagain) are all a part of the game so much that their use in later seasons has a lesser impact.
Certain twists, too. Tribal switches, hidden immunity idols, etc are so commonplace.
From a recent discussion on a fan board, some people have said that "Borneo" was the worst season of Survivor specifically because it was so boring and predictable with the players making no strategy to speak of.
Borneo is arguably a case of Values Dissonance. It's not that the players on the first season weren't aware of strategy, they were, but they felt that it took away from the spirit and fun of the show. To paraphrase Greg Buis, alliances were thought of as boring and a dick move(as opposed to just voting your conscious and maybe the best player would naturally come forth from that). Many fans on Survivor Sucks like to rank the seasons, and when they do, a lot of them don't include Borneo in their rankings for this very reason(that it is incompatible with later seasons). And for what Borneo lacks in strategy, it makes up for in character development. Compare it to any other season, recent seasons especially, and you will notice a greater depth in the confessionals and story arcs. No one is a "Brett" in the first season.
Part of why "Australian Survivor" didn't do so well was that it looked almost like a knock-off of the first season of Survivor. Not as much character development and most of the early episodes looked a bit like filming a camping trip.
Not to mention, some poorly-designed challenges. The first immunity challenge had to be redone because they had to light fires and the fires all went out. In another challenge, the team who won thought the other team lost due to poor luck and gave them the reward.
James gave vibes of this in Heroes vs. Villains. He was a lot more aggressive in his gameplay, and all he earned from that was a potential boot before the jury (at least that's what would've happened if his injury didn't keep him from playing).
Strawman Has A Point
There are a couple nice moves performed by players who may even be idiots at worst, there are several parts where even their haters admit that was actually a good move. Examples include:
Russell deducing Immunity Idol locations with only one (or no) clues, and organizing the eliminations of Tyson and Boston Rob.
Fairplay getting into the final three with two weaker players.
Phillip seeing through Ralph's "lie" about having the hidden Immunity Idol;
NaOnka plays the game a tad too personally. However, at one point, she gets involved in a blindside, so to get a numbers advantage, she pulls aside her Sitcom Arch-Nemesis, Fabio, and gets him on board with it. In fact, when she even tells Fabio what she's involved in, he agrees that it was a good idea.
Abi-Maria acts like she's just taking the money and leaving from the Survivor auction... however when an advantage is offered, she immediately offers up all her money to get the advantage and try to break their alliance.
Super Couple: "Boston Rob" and Amber; from Marquesas and Australian Outback respectively but they courted while playing All-Stars. The fame from this parlayed into two stints on The Amazing Race (one regular, one in their All-Star season) and their own reality show.
Rob and Amber's utter domination of All-Stars resulted in future castaways becoming extremely leery of similar hook-ups in later seasons. If it even appears that a young male and a young female are starting to bond, one of the two will almost certainly get voted out at the next opportunity.
Surprise Difficulty: A lot of people who really know the game from watching it for years (like those in Micronesia) often wind up running into this when they actually play. Mario Lanza and others have pointed out that playing the game is much different than actually watching it on TV. When you watch it on TV, for one hour a week, you see the confessionals, the tribal councils, etc, and are often nice and clean, well-rested, and well-fed while watching it. When you're actually out on the battlefield, you do not see the Tribal Councils, the confessionals, or the moves made by the other side, and are always hungry and sleep-deprived. If you think about it, some plans that involved guessing at what people on the other tribe were thinking may have seen stupid to the viewers because weknew what happened on the other side, (while they didn't).
It was discussed at the end of Micronesia, also stating why fans vs favorite seasons don't always work out in favor of the fans. The fans have only known it from online-role-playing games, watching the show, discussing it, etc. The favourites meanwhile know what it's like to actually be in the game when you're hungry and sleep-deprived, and aren't within reach of a nice dinner or a comfortable bed whenever you are hungry or tired. That and the fans were a little too star-struck and were more likely to fall into traps and be easily-manipulated... or start knocking potential allies out trying to impress and find their way into nearly-unbreakable alliances.
They Changed It Now It Sucks
If you watch all of the seasons back to back, there is an unmistakable shift in tone that occurs during the more recent seasons starting with Vanuatu, emphasizing strategy and shocking twists over everything else. Whether or not this "sucks" is up to you.
The Final Three format gets hit with this a lot. Probst actually says he prefers the final three because people would bring someone to the finals for perverse incentives, whereas others argue that this is part of the game, Others also point out that it's still in between two people in the end, since there were only two seasons (China and Philippines) that all three members in the final three received at least one vote. It was likely inspired by Exile Islands; where people were planning on taking Courtney to the finals simply because everyone hated her, and arguably when Terry, the only person who really fought to stay in the game through one of the most memorable immunity runs since Colby's, was kicked at the Final 3.
Not to mention, before the final three was even considered, there were seasons where the final vote was basically a "Blowout" because the winner was basically decided at the final immunity challenge; making the final tribal council nothing but Padding. The producers have even said they might go back to a final two at some point, nothing is set in stone.
The iconic Ancient Voices theme that used to play at the end of every episode has in recent seasons been replaced by a rather more generic and bland score.
Jacquie in Gabon. At the time, it looked like there was a near-unbreakable alliance with Charlie, Marcus, and Corinne. However; she wound up screwed by a twist.
Kristina Kell and a lot of the Zapatera on Redemption Island. Other than Rob and Phillip, most of the Ometepe players were just made into dull Living Props, whereas on the Zapatera side, we have some legitimately interesting people and a couple players who the host says is badass, as well as one of the most Dangerously Genre Savvy players in the series.
Kelly B, Yve, Tyrone, and Jill. It's pretty obvious that all four are physically capable (Jill even wins the first individual immunity of the game); but they wind up evicted in a very awkward part of the game: Right before the merge. Probst doesn't even acknowledge them that much (Kelly excluded); and there have even been speculations that Jill didn't even attend the reunion.
Sugar, Randy, Tom, and Stephenie in Heroes vs. Villains.
Richard, Rudy, Tina, Jenna, Jerri, and Sue in All-stars.
Russell Swan had what was one of the most memorable heartwarming moments in the series. Sadly he doesn't even make it mid-way. And again, there's Philippines which is a whole other story.
Wanda and Jonathan of Palau were evicted in episode one. We really didn't get to know them.
Bobby Mason from the Panama season, if you believe his theory that certain contestants who are voted out early are either ignored or edited negatively in order not to upset viewers who would otherwise be outraged at a "good" contestant leaving early.
Rick from South Pacific, oh so much. Before appearing on the show, he had applied 14 times, and his confessionals posted online showed what an interesting character he was. However, he got almost no screen time, and was completely ignored during the reunion show despite placing 5th.
Kourtney in One World was shown early on as being the Only Sane Woman of the Salani tribe, only to be medevac'd on day three.
A lot of the Gota tribe on Caramoan had some serious potential, such as Matt the BM Xer, Julia (who is not nearly as vanilla in real life), Allie (an actual superfan), and Laura, who gained a massive fanbase. However, none of these make the merge and the pre-merge time is sucked up by generally useless Jerkass Shamar.
They Wasted A Perfectly Good Twist: One World was obviously set up to get the two tribes mingling and think of themselves more as one group than two. Unfortunately, an act of sabotage by the men right at the beginning, before they knew they'd be sharing a camp, still cemented the usual "us vs. them" mentality. (Whose fault it was really doesn't matter today.)
Redemption Island is often seen as this simply because it turned out to mostly be a chance to focus both seasons' footage almost exclusively on the Creator's Pet that returned.
Cook Islands and Panama, which started with a four tribe game, only to be bumped down to two within the first couple episodes. To be fair, these were four tribes of five (and four) and things would have quickly snowballed for a tribe that was down one or more, requiring half the contestants to sit out.
In fact, most "tribe segregation" twists only last a few episodes. Production intentionally does a tribe swap rather quickly to avoid potential Unfortunate Implications.
Uncanny Valley: In the Heroes Vs Villains reunion show, CBS made a "prototype" survivor out of parts of all 19 winners at that point. The result was rather hideous....
Jane's eyes seemed to bug out a lot when they told her she was being voted out in Nicaragua.
Unfortunate Implications: On Cook Islands, the original tribes were segregated according to race. Cook Islands was a response to the criticism that the ethnicity of Survivor contestants became racially homogeneous overtime. Jeff Probst even admitted that when Entertainment Weekly brought up how "the cast has never been whiter" when describing the Guatemala contestants, that tipped the producers off. The producers also promised to balance the ethnic variety with its cast in future seasons. In Cook Islands itself, the ethnic segregation hardly affected the game in any fashion, given how the tribes mixed up so quickly. The more noticeable Unfortunate Implications came from two things. One, the Survivor producers more or less recanted their promise to make the game more racially balanced (stating the difficulty of doing that, compared to the ease of finding a mostly white cast and some token minorities), and two, during the Cook Islands and especially Fiji seasons, some fans complained about the lack of white contestants when their numbers dwindled with deadpan seriousness, obviously not seeing the irony of their complaints.
Some people have said some... unfortunate things. Best not to repeat them. They often get called out on this in the jury, sometimes.
Russell Swan being assigned to and invoked as The Leader of the Matsing tribe during Philippines. Also, two of the three African-American players (including Swan himself) were assigned to that tribe. It wouldn't be a problem, but Matsing in Filipino means Monkey.
Vindicated by History: Back in 2000, Richard Hatch's win was considered very surprising due to his arrogance and "unethical" game play (Survivor turning into a cutthroat game of numbers and social politics due to him came as a complete surprise to almost everyone including the producers despite it being common sense today). Nowadays, he is arguably the most famous and respected contestant ever and is the standard to which all contestants on the show are judged. His previously "evil" tactics have become Survivor 101.
And from the same season, Joel Klug. He was voted out of Pagong mainly because he thought this whole "alliance" thing might be a good idea to advance himself and his friends further in the game, and was promptly voted out for being arrogant to even bring up the idea and not just going with the flow and voting out whoever you feel like. Many viewers today may feel sorry for him for ending up on a tribe like Pagong, and wonder how he would fare on a season with modern players.
Stephen Fishbach from Tocantins. Post show, he's been very active in explaining his side of the story, and despite not winning, many praised his strategies (a few of the jurors even admitted that they'd have switched their votes if they'd known that he was as strong of a strategist as he was). J.T.'s blunder in Heroes vs. Villains certainly helped with this, too.
Wangst: Too many examples to list, but applies to several characters each season.
What An Idiot
Guaranteed to happen at least once in glorious fashion during each season:
Jason Siska in Micronesia. In a 15-day period, he managed to mistake a stick for the hidden immunity idol, give up immunity for a bowl of candy for the tribe, and finally get blindsided while holding a hidden immunity idol - despite coming within one vote of being eliminated at the previous Tribal Council.
JT in Heroes Vs Villains gave away an immunity idol. To Russell. Whom he's never met before. Who is on the opposite tribe. The one labeled "Villains". Because of a faulty assumption that Russell is on the wrong end of an Amazon Brigade. To be fair, they had taped the season before Samoa had a chance to air, thus none of the castaways knew of Russell's playing style, but they could've figured he was on the Villains tribe for a reason.
Candice went along with the villains despite that one of them (Sandra) was telling her to not do so, especially since they had no intentions of taking her along.
Brandon on Africa prevented his former tribe from taking control during the merge by switching his initial vote for major threat and Cloud Cuckoo Lander Lex to total non threat and defector Kelly out of a petty dislike for his former Samburu tribemate Frank. This insured that not only would his tribe be Pagonged, but he would eventually be voted out himself for being seen as untrustworthy and undependable.
The Galu tribe fall victim to this after the merge, thanks to three factors - a) Natalie managing to convince the tribe to vote for Erik, b) Russell blindsiding Kelly with an immunity idol, and c) Shambo turning on her tribe out of a seething hatred for Laura. This ensures Galu's eventual downfall when Foa Foa take the majority.
Russell didn't seem to consider that the jury consisted of the entire remnants of the Heroes tribe... as well as two members of Sandra's alliance. Despite Parvati, a past winner, and Danielle, the Only Sane Woman to counter most of Russell's ridiculous ideas, blatantly telling Russell that Sandra would win if she made the finals, he chose to ignore her and took her under the impression she had no chance of winning in his eyes. Sure enough, the jury votes for the one person who survived Russell, which none of them could do. And what does he get? A Humiliation Conga (with his own entry!).
Dr. Sean's Alphabet Strategy... at first glance. It's been pointed out that Dr. Sean's strategy of voting alphabetically actually put the members of the Pagong tribe on his targets first; meaning he didn't have to form an alliance. It only became as much of a "What an Idiot" move in hindsight because at the time, alliances were considered unfair and dirty-handed.
Matt on Redemption Island got blindsided by Rob and the Ometepe Five. He then returns from Redemption Island and gets himself blindsided by the same people out of sheer naivete.
Grant on Redemption Island never seemed to consider that Rob might actually want to take the people who everyone else in their alliance hated (Natalie and Phillip) because he wanted to win.
The women in Vanuatu had a 6-4 majority with the men at the merge, yet allowed Chris to slip through them and throw out what would have been the easiest victory in the series.
In Micronesia, the fans basically decided to eliminate some of their stronger players first; which isn't that good of an idea.
Christine in South Pacific made no effort at all to be friendly with Coach, going as far as to call him a "temporary player." She then made it almost blatantly clear to the rest of her tribe that she was hunting for idols, and yet made no effort at all to ally herself with anyone except maybe Stacey. note having an idol doesn't make a difference if you're in a 2-6 minority. And yet she's surprised that Coach and his alliance voted her out!
Coach in South Pacific voted out three potential goats (Cochran, Edna, Rick) who had more or less been riding on his and Sophie's coattails because he had wanted to honour his original F3 alliance of himself, Albert, and Sophie. This resulted in Sophie being seen as the lesser of three evils.
In One World, Colton wanted Bill out so badly that he led his entire tribe to give up their immunity and go to Tribal Council in place of the women. Keep in mind, in order to do this, the decision had to be unanimous, meaning both of the tribe's likely targets - Bill and Leif - agreed to it.
Later in One World Jay ends up inadverdently organizing his own elimination. There's six women and four guys, Kim and the girls are ready to pick off the guys one by one, but they're not sure who to start with. But Jay still thinks the girls are on his side (despite earlier suspecting the girls are going to betray him) and when Troy (who the girls are planning on voting for) tells Jay he's going to play his idol, making for a perfect opportunity to blindside one of the girls, Jay tattles on him to the girls. The girls then go with there next choice for elimination: Jay himself.
As mentioned in Complacent Gaming Syndrome, for some reason, people seem to be afraid to upset the status quo and don't seem to have any interest in actually winning. If you want to win, the person "in charge" of your alliance has got to go or else they'll win the game. Many people seem to be assuming that such a leader will sociopathically push their way through the game like Russell did, and that they can present themselves as a lesser threat.
Any winner who most fans deemed as "undeserving" solely for not being both physically and/or strategically dominating and aggressive compared to their runners-up. Notable cases are Tina Wesson from Australia, Amber Brkich from All-Stars, Natalie White from Samoa, and Sophie Clarke from South Pacific.
Sophie is an interesting case of this because she was both a strategic and a physically capable player. She was just more quiet about it.
Needing two hours and a set of matches to win the fire-making tiebreaker in the final four TC probably didn't do her any favors, either.
Or any runner-up. There were some people who thought Sugar deserved second because she played more of a strategic game than Susie; who merely did as she was told but won immunity when she needed it.
Some people who defend the "Undeserving" winners point out that there is in fact a third "O" in the slogan. "Outwit, Outplay, Outlast." A lot of people forget about that last bit - this is a game of Survival at all. If you're in the finals, you certainly did something right.
It's also most likely not a coincidence that almost all the players listed above are female. There have been male winners who get "undeserving/not strategic enough/just got lucky" accusations, like Bob from Gabon and Jud/Fabio from Nicaragua, but the criticism they receive is still noticeably less vicious than for the "undeserving" female winners.
Many fans were also skeptical on casting previous winners in reunion seasons because they already won the title and the million bucks.
Outside of returnees, the casting department has also gotten a poor reputation for promoting a series of arrogant, deluded, and entitled players (Coach, Russell, NaOnka, Phillip, Colton...) in order to incite conflict with their tribemates. The most agreed upon example of this is re-casting Brandon Hantz in Caramoan. The producers more than likely knew he was unstable, and many of the fanbase agree that he was probably casted in order to get the huge meltdown they got in episode 5 and were extremely upset with the show for doing so. In the same season, re-casting Phillip Sheppard was looked down upon by many. In Blood vs Water, Colton was brought back despite not only being arrogant, but decidedly racist and classist, and... quit on Day 7. On top of that, Probst claims that he faked his appendicitis on his One World trip, which really makes one question why the hell they would ever want that guy back, considering Jeff has made a big stink of not inviting back anything that even remotely looks like a quitter.
Some contestants can be this at times, especially when they're in the minority or the victims of mean-spirited players. Sometimes, people actually are pretty woobie-ish, especially people who are having mental breakdowns or are being physically evacuated. A lot of people wanted to just reach through the screen and hug some of the players who were evacuated.
The first example of this is from the first season, when Jenna was the only person that didn't get a video from her family.
Debb Eaton from Australia was definitely a fish out of water, but where she most certainly qualifies is post show. After being voted out first, she was constantly mocked by inmates at the prison where she worked at, not only that but the media tore her apart after she got home. By the time Australia's reunion show rolled around she was still upset about it.
Janu. The best part of her experience on the show? When she was on Exile Island - away from the rest of her tribe. And in the challenge before, everyone (Sans Stephanie) was laughing at her and teasing her, and it was not meant in jest. Who knows what was going on that wasn't shown?
From One World, Christina. The entire tribe yells at her in the first three days. Then when the tribes are switched around, everyone else is mean to her. Tarzan even says to her face that he would not be friends with her. Anyone not want to give her a hug?
Kat also from One World. At first she appears to be a chipper Genki Girl and is well-liked by her tribe. But during her boot episode, she reveals that she's about to go under an expensive operation which COULD kill her. At 22 no less! During her final Tribal Council, you just want to hug her.
Francesca Hogi, the only person in the history of Suvivor to be voted out first twice, in Redemption Island and Caramoan. What makes matters worse is that both times it was at the hands of Phillip, her rival from both seasons.
Brenda, also in the same season. Pushed into the background for half of the season due to not really being connected with the game, she finally wakes up and takes part in some serious strategy, being a big factor in the Andrea blindside. However, in the next episode, she wins the family visit reward challenge with her dad, and picks Dawn and her husband to go with her. Then she's given a Sadistic Choice: either she and Dawn keep their visits, or Brenda can give up both of their visits in exchange for the other four players to receive a visit with two of their loved ones. She gives up their visits, upsetting the extremely emotional Dawn, and she was thanked by her tribe. Unfortunately, Cochran realized what a threat she was, and when she didn't win immunity, teamed up with Dawn and Sherri to vote her off instead, and is sent home that same episode. Seeing her cry during her Elimination Statement was just heartbreaking.
Erik too, also from Caramoan. His body couldn't take the game anymore and he was tragically medically evacuated at the exact same place he finished in the last time. If you don't think he's an idiot for giving away immunity in Micronesia, he's this for that as well. And just like Brenda, he was a Living Prop for most of the season.
Todd Herzog ofall people becomes this on an episode of Dr. Phil when it's revealed after he won Survivor, he ended up with a drinking problem so severe it hurts for him to stand, he has constant seizures which put him in the ER, and he constantly vomits. He was 22 when he started drinking and is only 28 and very close to death. Watching him shake violently and stuttering when he struggles to speak is heart wrenching.
Nobody Loves the Bassist: On multiple counts. You can search for images of any band member, and still struggle to find pictures of the bassist- even the longest running bassist in the band. And they have had more changes in that position than any other.