And we have a winner for Survivor Nicaragua

That’s it.
Another season of Survivor is over. This one was a strange one I must admit. I can’t say I disliked it, but it’s definitely not one of my favorites. I guess we can blame it for some very bad twists: Old Vs Young could have worked if there had been more physically fit old people (of the likes of Terry Deitz or Tom Westman) but not with this cast. The Medallion of Power!? The production ditched it halfway through, it sucked that much. The reshuffling of the tribes? More often than not I like it when they do that, but this time it was an obvious sign that the production was scrambling so that the older tribe doesn’t self-destruct, and it didn’t really work out well, as some of the most interesting dynamics in both tribes got wiped out (Marty knows what I’m talking about). But despite all of that and the fact that the most interesting players got voted out too early (yes, that’s you again Marty as well as Brenda), the second half of the season was very interesting and the finish was great. OK, I’m saying this because Fabio won, I assume I would have been really pissed today if it had been Chase. I mean, it’s really been a long time since I have been totally satisfied with the winner, I guess the last time was J.T. in the Tocantins, and even then, I was actually rooting for Stephen Fishbach.

Some last words about the contestants:

  • Alina Wilson: I didn’t really understand at first why everybody seemed to dislike her, and then we had this final episode and her performance during the final vote. What was that? Was she looking for a winner or for a man to sleep with, because it sounded to me that she was looking for the latter. What does “dirt squirrel” mean again?
  • Ben “Benry” Henry: He was a good player, but not good enough. Seriously I don’t think he had the single chance to go to the end.
  • Brenda Lowe: Yeah, at first, I was like: ok, she’s the hot girl that’s gonna be flirtatious and is going to ride coattails this way. Hell no! She sure has the looks, but she also has the brain and the personality. She was by far the best player this season, and I hope her spot for the next All-Stars edition has already be reserved. Two negative things though: why didn’t she try to save her ass when she knew she was going to get voted out, in the reunion she said she was hoping for Sash’s idol until the very end. That was a terrible move. The other thing: why did she vote for Chase in the final vote?
  • Chase Rice: I don’t really have anything to say about Chase that hasn’t already been said. Nice guy. Dumb. Very dumb. I would have been sick to my stomach had he won.
  • Dan Lembo: What a character. One of the most useless competitor (in challenges and I assume around camp) to make it that far I guess, but that proves you how much your personality matters in this game. He never was targeted until the very end for the simple reason that everybody liked him and he was fun to be around. I still wonder how he passed the medical tests beforehand though. And I’m not too sure why he got so mad when he got voted out and at tribal. Did he really hope to make it to the end?
  • Holly Hoffman: I admit I really disliked her for a long time this season, but she really turned around and became a great player. Had she make it to the end, she would have won for sure.
  • James “Jimmy T” Tarantino: I’m trying to find something good to say about him. I’m sure that he’s a good guy. However, sometimes Survivor will bring out the worst in you, and that’s what happened to him. He was one of the most insufferable contestants ever. I wish him the best in his life but I hope I never see him again on a TV screen.
  • Jane Bright: She was also one of my favorites, although I knew she wouldn’t win because Marty was right about her winning by a landslide had she made it to the final three, and everybody else knew it. On the one hand, I don’t really understand why she took things so personally, when she was voted out, but on the other hand, being betrayed the way she was, I think I would have been as pissed as her if not more.
  • Jill Behm: Blah. Quite a good strategist, but her personality? Not the least interesting.
  • Jimmy Johnson: I loved that Jimmy Johnson was on the show, although I understand how having a celebrity as big as him will have a strange influence of the tribe dynamics. I wish he had stayed longer, though.
  • Jud “Fabio” Birza: I’m going to quote the first words I ever said about him: “I rarely met such an idiot. But even more unique, I’ve never met such an endearing and fun idiot.” Except that he was not an idiot, far from it. I loved how little by little we, the audience, started to figure this out, but not the other contestants (well, some did, Benry and Marty for example). I loved how everybody was lying to him the whole time thinking that he was buying it, but they actually were the fools as he never believed those lies and they were the ones that were deceived. I also loved the way he started setting things up for the final tribal council in the previous tribal councils, forcing Sash and Chase to admit their lies for example, so that they lose the jury’s support and so that he has an easier time convincing it to vote for him, I don’t think we’ve seen that before. I also loved his attitude this whole time, and the fact that he wants to “undermine the government” (seriously, I want to be able to see what he does next, as his projects seemed pretty interesting). OK, I’m gonna stop here with him, y’all going to think that I have a man crush on him. Seriously, if my little brother was like him I’d be more than happy (note: I’m not unhappy with my little brother, I don’t have a little brother). Congratulations Fabio, you deserve everything: the title of sole Survivor, the money and everything else it’ll bring you.
  • Kelly Bruno: I’m sad she left so early, she was an interesting person.
  • Purple Kelly Shinn: She was pretty… Well, mostly her body… and as long as she kept her mouth shut (which she did)… Also: QUITTER!!!!!
  • Marty Piombo: He could have been almost obnoxious at times (his pretentious attitude, his stupid feud with Jane) but he’s a true fan of the game, he knows it in and out, and really loves it, and I respect him for that. He too deserves a spot in the next All-Stars edition.


  • NaOnka Mixon: Seriously, what can I say about her that hasn’t been said? She was one of the kind. I would have hated her had I met her, well, I hated her just watching her on TV, but rarely I’ve found somebody I hate so funny at the same time. Also: QUITTER!!!!!
  • Matthew “Sash” Lenahan: Sash had solid game all along, a dangerous one, but one that paid out many times, except that Sash was almost affected with the “Russell syndrome” (although he’s by no means similar to the guy) he forgot that getting to the end was not enough to win this game, you also need to not piss the jury off. For that you need to make emotional connections with them, during the game (how many friends has he actually made? Brenda? Not even sure), but also during the final tribal council, which he totally butchered. If you compare him to other winners that had similar strategies, I’m thinking Todd Herzog here, they didn’t apologize for their behavior, but they didn’t belittle the people that they had already backstabbed a few days earlier. It’s one thing to be a puppet master (and Sash was) but you need to actually care about your puppet if you don’t want them to rebel against you in the end.
  • Shannon Elkins: Homophobic Redneck (oh and I learned a few hours ago that he also made an anti-Semitic comment on Facebook or Twitter)
  • Tyrone Davis: I liked Tyrone, I really wish he had gone far. He totally got screwed by the reshuffling of the tribes, but he could have survived it if he had amped up his social game on the spot as he admitted during the reunion.
  • Wendy DeSmidt-Kohlhoff: I’m sure she’s a lovely woman, but hearing her talking for just a few seconds on TV is tiring. I can’t imagine how she must have been out there.
  • Yve Rojas: I’m not too sure about her. On the one hand she seems interesting, on the other hand she seems like many of those American women, who are so perfectionist that they always want to prove to the world that they’re worth it and who are actually really losing perspective on what really matters and who end up being constantly stressed, unhappy and frustrated. Some sort of inferiority complex turned obsessive compulsive behavior about being the best. Chill out a bit, Yve, you’ll see it’s good for you.

And with that we’re wrapping Survivor Nicaragua. I really hope I’ll see Fabio, Brenda, Marty and Sash again (on TV, on the web, anywhere), the other ones I won’t necessarily miss much (well, it depends) and I’ll be back very soon to talk about Survivor 22 Redemption Island!

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Frenchman, addicted to Survivor (yes, there is such a thing) to the point of having a blog dedicated to the show where I like to analyze and speculate about what we see every week.

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