With the new season of Survivor Fans vs. Favorites coming to CBS in a few weeks ( Feb. 13th! ) I am really excited! I can’t comment on anything about this season until its over in May, but I should be posting a few things here and there about my comic books, travels, and other aspects of my life.
After seeing a lot of articles about how bad all the returning castaways are as players I was thrilled to find this assessment on Rob has a Podcast ( Link! to the full article ). Anyways, check out Rob’s Podcast if you’re a fan of reality TV and if you want more information on the upcoming season of Survivor you can see more videos and stuff over at CBS.com! I will be back blogging more Survivor stuff in May!
From, Rob has a Podcast:
Andy: To prep for Survivor: Caramoan, I’ve been re-watching the original “Fans vs. Favorites,” and it’s been refreshing to be reminded just how strong a player Erik was in his first go-around. In Micronesia, Erik’s the Fan with the most working knowledge and overall perspective about the game; seven episodes in, he’s proven to be as reliable a narrator as none other than Jonathan Penner (who departed far earlier in Micronesia than I remembered; funny how selective and revisionists our memories can be). He was also a post-merge challenge beast, winning three individual immunities; had he not given up the necklace at F5, Erik could easily have Fabio-ed his way all the way to the finale.
It’s unfortunate that all we really remember about Erik is that the fearsome foursome of Cirie, Parvati, Amanda, and Natalie (three hall-of-famers and one of this season’s snubs) convinced him to give up individual immunity, because he was a much stronger player than the cruel Cliffs Notes summation would lead us to believe. Which is to say that I’m bullish on Erik’s chances this season: On a tribe that will be full to overflowing with certifiable insanity (hello, Phillip and Brandon) and duplicitous antagonism (hi there, Corinne and Brenda), Erik — unless the last five years have been horribly unkind — will be, earnest, sincere, and loyal, and thus will stand out as a desirable alliance-mate to the more levelheaded long-range thinkers in the bunch (I’m looking at you, Malcolm and Cochran). Do I think Erik is going to win? No. But I’ll be shocked if he doesn’t make the merge, where he’ll likely be eliminated the first time he doesn’t win individual immunity. My hope, more than anything — given how likable he was the first time around — is that when this season ends, Erik will have redeemed his Survivor reputation and we’ll remember him as a solid all-around player.
Glenn: I really like Erik’s chances this year. He might be in the second or third best position on Day 1. He’s very likeable, disarmingly self-deprecating, and powerfully athletic. He’s a good player, but no one thinks of him as one. Aside for Dawn, I think Erik will have the easiest time forging alliances in this group. I could see Malcolm, Cochran, Andrea, and Brenda courting him.
He’s an honest vote, a trustworthy ally, and fun to be around at camp. He’ll contribute during challenges. What’s not to like?
I’ve always thought Erik was better than he’s been given credit for. His infamous “dumb move” actually made sense. It was a calculated move geared toward improving his chances to win the game. It bit him in the ass, but it was still an interesting move, and in a parallel universe somewhere, maybe it paid off big.
Josh: I’m very happy to cosign Andy and Glenn’s assessment of Erik. If you cut the immunity hand-off out of his story, you’ll see one of the most genuine, enthusiastic, likable and physically capable competitors to ever hit the Survivor beach. I strongly believe that Erik isn’t the idiot that he’s typically labeled as; he fell victim to one of the most brilliantly executed heists in the history of the game. You probably would’ve, too. There’s much more to the erstwhile ice cream scooper than his fantastically entertaining downfall, and one assumes that a few years of salt getting into that particular wound has left him with a desire to prove there’s a better, more level-headed player lurking within that shaggy-haired noggin of his. Erik, as Glenn said, is easily one of the most desirable allies on the Favorites tribe. Barring unforeseen disaster, he’ll make the merge… and if he makes the merge, I see him as a very serious candidate to win the whole game.
Mike: I’m not as high on Erik as you guys. In THIS group, he isn’t that bad but well before his idiotic decision, we knew that Erik was a Dumb Player: In Airai, he chose to empower Joel in his quest to destroy Mikey instead of trying to repair the tribe’s fracture. In challenges, he threw sand all over the Favorites during their very first encounter and later he flipped Amanda on her “friggin’ head.” That would have been reason enough for the Favorites to seek revenge, but then Erik stopped trying to compete against Ozzy and started acting like his puppy. It led to one of Cirie’s marvelous confessionals: “Erik and Ozzy are like ‘The Lion King.’ The father, when he was teaching the cub and you can just see, like, stars. Whenever he says Ozzy’s name, like stardust comes out of his mouth. It’s like ‘Aaahzzy!’ I think that if Ozzy were to propose marriage to Erik right now; done deal!”
Erik’s obedience earned him a reprieve and he wound up being the Fan with the best shot at winning. We soon saw that James was right, though, that there was indeed something wrong with that kid when he gave up the immunity necklace.
The first time, Erik’s goal was simply to beat Ozzy in challenges and he seemed happy just to have met Probst. He wasn’t ready to play Survivor at all. Now, being a former fan himself, Erik has a natural connection to the other tribe. Will he be smart enough to use it? We should know early on if he is still edited as the Dumb Player or not.
Sarah: I expected to be going against the tide with my fondness and high hopes for Erik, and I’m delighted to find that I’m actually with the majority. I agree with what everybody else said about him being a better player than his reputation implies. Nevertheless, Mike has a good point too that, for all Erik’s Survivor knowledge, he was hardly playing a great game up until that fatal immunity giveaway. If he had kept his necklace and Fabio’ed his way to a win, most of us would have resented him for it. (I’ve always felt that part of Erik’s risk-taking was because he didn’t want to win that way.)
The point I want to stress is that it was four and a half years between Erik’s seasons going by filming dates. He’s bound to have lost some of his infamous naiveté, and being the most senior of the returnees, he shouldn’t be star-struck this time (perhaps not even by Probst). Erik was well-liked in his original season, a fierce challenge-competitor (Mike forgot to mention how he attempted to drown Yau-Man) and of course, hugely knowledgeable about the game. If he’s kept all those qualities and added some wisdom of experience to them, he could theoretically be the player to beat.
That’s why I wanted to pick Erik for the win when the cast was first announced, but I admit to being underwhelmed by the pre-season info on him. One of the things that sent up a red flag came straight from his bio: “Reason for Being on SURVIVOR: To show everyone that I am really not dumb.” It might just be a joke, but I wasn’t getting a great vibe from his video either. Either his heart isn’t really in it, or he’s going to be that rare returnee who comes back to play a less aggressive game, in which case he might find himself supporting somebody else’s million dollar play.