Logan Saunders offers his initial thoughts on the cast of Survivor: Ghost Island ahead of the premiere.
SURVIVOR 36: ADVANTAGE ISLAND: THE EMPTY SURVIVOR BLOGGERS ROUNDTABLE
This roundtable is more like a desk this season. Look at all of these extra chairs. I could probably put my feet up on one of these chairs and start drumming with my pencil on the roundtable as no other bloggers appear to be in sight. Ah. This is nice.
It is time to analyze these twenty new players for Survivor: Advantage Island based on little to no information where I will probably be proven wrong by the end of episode one.
MICHAEL YERGER – REAL ESTATE AGENT
Michael. The eighteen-year-old real estate agent who has moved from Tennessee to LA and is pretending to be 24.
In one of his interviews, he says he couldn’t be more different from fellow eighteen year old Will Wahl. I agree. He doesn’t seem nervous or anxious. He is like Tom Hanks in Big as he pretends to be older than he really is. Will anyone buy the fact he is twenty-four years old? Judging by the way he responded in a couple of interviews I saw online, yes, I think he can pull it off.
The only hint of him being a teenager in his bio is that he lists an award he got in the eagle scouts as his biggest accomplishment.
I really want him to get into a showmance. Can you imagine the other person’s reaction at the end of the game when they find out they were seduced by an eighteen-year-old? If he is able to pull that off, a beer is on me–oh wait. Um, there’ll have to be a raincheck on the beer.
I noticed in Michael’s interviews that he has a very high ‘you know’ ratio and referred to the other contestants as adults. It will be interesting to see if he views these ‘adults’ as genuine teammates or alliance members, or if he’ll be a relatively good yes man.
He seems surprisingly composed for his age and appears to be a bit independent. Considering this season starts out with a tribe of ten rather than a tribe of six, I see his odds decreasing because the sheer number of adults may make him be a bit more hesitant than if there were just five other people at camp.
I don’t see him making enough waves to be a first boot, but I don’t see him winning either because I don’t think he will be able to manipulate people well enough when his back is against the wall–simply because he may not understand what people will want to hear who are at a different period in their life than he is.
Granted there isn’t a HUGE age gap between him and the other nineteen players this season given this is one of the youngest casts ever, but there is a big difference between being eighteen and being twenty-two or twenty-three in terms of life experience.
He should get by early because of his calm composure. I don’t expect erratic behavior from him.
Prediction: 13th with minimal airtime based upon his JP and Jeremiah-esque ‘you know’ ratio alone. Seems like an impressive guy for his youth, though.
DESIREE AFUYE – STUDENT
If I recall correctly, the only former homeless contestant we have had on Survivor is Dreamz. Dreamz had one of the most compelling storylines in thirty-five seasons of Survivor. Over a decade later and production has decided to go this route again.
Desiree seems more focused and disciplined than Dreamz, but that isn’t saying much. She says she is a ‘vibe’ person and can be very emotional and sassy. In fact, her three luxury items she will be bringing are sass, heat, and fire.
She lives in a house with seven other women.
I think Desiree will be an aggressive player in this game. She will likely make moves that will frustrate other players. This means she goes home very early or goes very deep. I want to see Desiree stick around long enough to anger the gamebots online.
Prediction: 3rd place
P.S. The fact she is bringing the heat and fire means she should do well with the F4 twist this season.
CHRIS NOBLE – MALE MODEL
His main plan is to have a Mr. and Mrs. Smith alliance in this game. How does that even work on Survivor?
He also talked about how the tribes will be divided amongst athletes and nature specialists (including “hardcore birders) and will be part of the fitness tribe. Furthermore, Chris believes he will be a big target from day one because he is fit and grew up in the fishing capital of the world and is a dreamer who lives in the City of Dreams.
He has the touching story of playing for his mom who was diagnosed with MS awhile back, but I think he might possess the least amount of Survivor savvy in this group. He even suggested that he’ll have spies working for him. This is Advantage Island, not Espionage Island.
CHELSEA TOWNSEND- EMT/PRO CHEERLEADER
I keep wanting to call her Misty for some reason. Chelsea is not one to get rattled. I think she will naturally fit well into any group. She seems very grounded and clearly loves a team environment.
I just think she will be the perfect target post-merge, and I don’t if she is hungry enough or self-aware enough to do what it takes to defend herself. Much like Michael, she lacks that necessary charisma to get you to the end.
JAMES LIM – Business Analyst
A player with the highest IQ ever? After 36 seasons? It’s time for Limsanity!
A guy who originally applied for The Amazing Race and was switched over to Survivor, James has been binging on Survivor over the past six months. He has ignored the #BigMovez facade that has been promoted over the past few years and seems to have a genuine understanding for Survivor.
I think when pushed into a corner he will know how to deceive others. James seems like a guy who is very easy to communicate with and is very precise with what he says that it’s difficult not to trust him. You’ll feel like you always know where he stands.
The Amazing Race requires a tight-knit team of two–James will obviously want a close ally to work with throughout the game. As long as his desire to play and compete is always there, I see James doing very well. He has a very accomplished physical and intellectual background.
LAUREL JOHNSON – Business Consultant
She is athletic, smart, and loves Survivor. However, she has never been camping. Her boyfriend asked her to camp with him, and she refused.
The bubbly Laurel we see in pre-game interviews on day one could change VERY fast. With rations being cut by half and nothing but the outdoors this season, Laurel is going to suffer early.
She may become a quick liability.
SEBASTIAN NOEL – FISHING GUIDE
If Ozzy and Sommer Ray had a child, oh my word, Sebastian is who would emerge.
Production is going to love him. The audience is going to love him. The fact this season is being filmed in Fiji rather than Kenya or Gabon means the location will love him.
We’ve all seen this archetype before. He will make it to the merge, win a couple of individual challenges, then go home when the game becomes cutthroat.
JENNA BOWMAN – ACCOUNT EXECUTIVE
She says David from Millennials vs. Gen X is her least favorite player ever. I know some people don’t like him, but how in the world would he rank at the very bottom of somebody’s list?!
Jenna was the most nervous of all twenty in her interview. She kept rubbing her nose or scratching her hair and used the word ‘literally’ when it is not literally meant to be used. Who is she? Liz & Marie from The Amazing Race 19? She uses it both in verbal and written interviews.
She wants alliances with the dudes rather than the ladies. Jenna also thinks Game Changers had strong strategic players, and even fired back at one of the interviewers on location a bit.
If the interviews trigger a reaction from her, I can’t imagine what she’ll be like when she is hungry, tired, and thirsty. She may be tough to get along with at camp, but maybe she’ll get over her early struggles.
WENDELL HOLLAND – FURNITURE DESIGNER
Probst says he captures EVERYTHING in a Survivor contestant and predicts he will win. Wendell is going to be a lively player. He is a great talker in interviews and is eager to adapt to any situation. He worked in a firm and in furniture designing. This guy sure has some diverse skills.
I think Wendell will be engaged with the game and has no intention of laying back.
STEPHANIE GONZALEZ – GRAPHIC SALES
A Puerto Rican who raised a home of fourteen horses for four years. She performs surgeries on horses. She loves to shoot guns and go fishing. Gonzalez sure must like the outdoors. Her and Sebastian would be such a quick alliance if they both make merge.
Gonzalez comes off as very independent to me. You would think she was a loner given the horse background et al, but she claims to like being around people. We’ll see how much she likes being around people who try to do things outdoors where she might have more expertise knowledge to share.
I worry Gonzalez might be too much in the nature aspect of the game and not as much into figuring out the overall strategy. She might be a player who is relatively easy to eliminate without too much fight. Her #onemillionwin may not come to fruition.
STEPHANIE JOHNSON – YOGA INSTRUCTOR
Ah, the only Stephanie who gets to preserve her first name on this season. She is going to stick out so much in this group. One of the biggest free spirits pre-season. Women like her who are super bubbly but above the overall age demographic tend to go home very very very early on Survivor.
She wears lipstick in ironman competitions and trains alongside an 87-year-old! She has been watching since the very first episode and is crazy over this game.
Erin from ET Canada thinks she’ll win, but I couldn’t disagree more.
She is too much of an outlier in this group. If you are a woman above the age demographic of your tribe, you have to match their personalities rather than draw attention to your own.
She’ll make for a fun first boot. Stephanie is awesome.
BRENDAN SHAPIRO – PHYS ED TEACHER
A family man and a PE teacher who has been applying since 2001? Well, this guy should be a big character this season.
A lot of school teachers apply for Survivor and try really hard to be on it. Brendan is one of the few that succeeds in his dream. It’ll be almost impossible for Brendan to avoid a fatherly/leadership role on this season. I will be stunned if he goes pre-merge unless it’s due to an idol being played.
In all of his interviews, he didn’t say anything strange that stuck out as a red flag. Whenever he gets taken down, I presume it’ll be a big turning point in the season.
KELLYN BECHTOLD – HEALTH INSURANCE CONSULTANT
Multiple people said Skittles is what they want most on the island this season (have they infused new Skittles packages with cocaine or something?) and Kellyn says one Skittle per day would help her get through any feelings of starvation this season.
She references her Zodiac sign as determining part of her personality which means she should be an interesting one. Kellyn re-emphasizes her stories of being different from the people around her, and how “empathy is her superpower with evil intentions!”
And she had a heck of a year as she got married, divorced, AND got her Masters! Whoa!
She does not have a big bicep but has a big mind. Given this season is pushing more of the physical angle this season, Advantage Island may not be the ideal season for a big mind to reign.
Probst thinks she’ll be an early boot, and I can’t help but agree.
DOMENICK ABBATE – CONSTRUCTION SUPERVISOR
He is an Italian-American who quit pot then lost seventy pounds. That is not one of my cousins, but rather Domenick from this season.
Just like Guile from Street Fighter, he lost the weight when he decided to stop hanging out with Mary Jane and go home to become a family man.
Domenick could be a firecracker. He has definitive and non-flexible lines as to what he will and won’t cross, isn’t big on any form of small talk, and has a fire in him that has come from nearly a full year of CrossFit.
He wants to put in play a puppet dictatorship where he hides behind the shadows. I don’t think it’ll work, but I’d love to see him try.
I think he has enough savvy to make it to merge but gets outwitted once the game picks up.
LIBBY VINCEK – SOCIAL MEDIA STRATEGIST
Little ol’ Libby may have been the most talkative out of any of the players in this cast during their interviews. On paper, she is definitely the biggest recruit of this season. We know recruits can win Survivor with relative ease in the past, but Libby isn’t going to be one of them.
I think she is the first person to say that religion has been preparing her for Survivor her whole life. Thirty-six seasons and I can’t recall anyone saying that.
She says she can lie with a smile, but I think people will pick up on deception from her.
Repeatedly in interviews she states she has been working out with weights and doing pull-ups prior to Survivor as if that is more preparation than most. Considering specific physical and mental preparation that most players have done in the past, I think Libby will be in for a big surprise.
She won’t be quite Mika from The Amazing Race 15 surprised in terms of discovering what goes on in this game, but it’ll be pretty dang close.
Out of all twenty players, she would be second-to-last in terms of who I expect to win this season.
DONATHAN HURLEY – CARETAKER
Oh, Donathan. Do I rank you last just for that nickname alone? Social media says I should.
In all seriousness, this guy is perhaps the biggest team player to ever be cast for Survivor. He will be a fun selfish with minor things, but not a Jericho-esque devious selfish person where it scares you.
Taking care of family, dance, cheerleading, and super complimentary makes Donathan a joy to be around. He is like Kenneth from 30 Rock. They found a real-life version of him. It’s amazing.
On paper, Donathan should be impossible to beat in a jury battle unless he is completely dragged from day one. There will be too much conflict and too much guilt for anyone to eliminate Donathan early, but everyone will be bright enough to knock him out before day 39.
MORGAN RICKE – ANIMAL CARE TRAINER
Morgan had the shortest cluster of interviews of any person this season. What angers me the most is that she played for a volleyball team called the Gamecocks. C’mon, the immature person in me would’ve loved it if you opened up an interview with that fact! Why you gotta be like that, Morgan?
She has an intense outdoor job and believes nerds will inherit the earth. Morgan is determined to align with the nerdy males this season, and there doesn’t seem to be too much of a shortage of them.
Morgan is very quiet–perhaps too quiet. I think people will look at her as being sneaky and untrustworthy even if she isn’t doing anything in particular. It’s tough to gauge where she’ll end up, and I think that might be the problem right there. I can’t get a read on her.
BRADLEY KLEIHEGE- LAW STUDENT
I have never seen somebody with that last name in my life. What is the background on it? Does anyone know? German? Eastern European?
Bradley says Spencer took his spot and is a two-time spot-stealer. If Bradley thinks Spencer is the player most similar to him, he might be in trouble early.
Bradley is going to rub people the wrong way early. He is quiet and very cagey. During his interview with Probst, he told him that he’ll be playing Survivor twice. Dude, it’s not even day one yet.
He also talked about how he works in divorce court as a lawyer because he loves conflict. That worries me because Survivor is a long and boring game in person and if you get bored because nothing is happening. . .well, Bradley might intentionally pick fights just for his own amusement.
Bradley is going home early. A very well-spoken guy who identifies with Spencer and loves conflict is a guy who on paper should be an early boot.
ANGELA PERKINS – ARMY VETERAN
Unlike Stephanie Johnson, Angela isn’t bubbly. She is closer to the Lauren type we saw last season. Military. Focused. Disciplined. Hard-working. Get off your ass or she’ll beat your ass type of person.
Angela is the oldest contestant in this cast at a whopping 42. Is she the youngest person ever to be the oldest on her season? She has to be, right?
Angela is lucky to be on a tribe with Stephanie Johnson. Because Angela will look sane in contrast to her much like how Chrissy looked sane in contrast to Katrina last season.
Survivor has been pushing for a middle-aged woman to win with folks like Chrissy, Lauren, and Mama C in recent seasons.
This time they’re putting their money on Angela. She’ll either go home early or get shut out in the jury votes, though. I think she’ll piss some people off as this is a largely undisciplined cast.
JACOB DERWIN – MUSIC TEACHER/JOURNALIST SURVIVOR BLOGGER
A self-described punchable pudgeball who bears too many similarities to Seth Rogen. The way he stammered and tripped over his own speech and the vocabulary he used reminded me a lot of Stephen Fishbach. He has a surprisingly big personality for a guy who blogs about Survivor–almost as big as mine.
Jacob’s biggest fear is being first out; I think this is a good group for him, so I don’t see that happening.
Jacob may think through this game with too much logic but not enough emotion. He clearly has a very strong desire to prove himself and do well at this game. If anyone is going to overplay their hand other than Chris, it’s going to be Jacob.
He should be a solid narrator from start to finish this season–and I do expect him to get to the finish.
Much like Fishbach, I also expect him to come up short at the end.