Phew, what a season. Here’s a quick look back at Survivor: Game Changers:
In all seriousness, while this season hasn’t been the most entertaining or enjoyable or hard to guess.
Was Sarah’s win really in doubt since the merge? It couldn’t really have been beforehand because she was never in danger! She only attended two premerge tribals, there’s nothing inherently wrong with that and I for one don’t knock winners’ games for it. All in all Sarah played a very good game and when I add her to my winners rankings she’ll be in the top half for sure.
Enough about the winner though, this piece is all about how Survivor: Game Changers can really change the game for the better. Please keep in mind everything I say in here is entirely my opinion and I am not speaking for anyone else. If you disagree, let’s start a dialogue.
1: Idols and how they were hidden
Idols, though they were noticeably stacked all game thanks to a timely swap and Sia’s favourite gardener holding onto two most of the game, were exceptionally hidden this game. Having the idols hidden under a tribe insignia that could only be revealed with water is genius! I guarantee people heading out to future seasons will be splashing water on every panel of wood they find. Hiding an idol in a challenge was fantastic too.
The one that wasn’t so good was the one that came into play at the double tribal council. It was played perfectly at the tribal but something about how quickly it came around was… dodgy. Something about how quickly and easily Tai found it was unnerving. Plus it was a bit of a lame way to hide an idol.
This season was two steps forward and one step back, I hope the novelty of challenge idols becomes less of one and instead becomes the expected method. If it’s not at a challenge you can bet it’ll be hard to find. That is the standard of idol hiding that I hope is achieved soon.
2: Two tribes at one Tribal council
NEVER. EVER. EVER. EVER DO THIS AGAIN. NO.
This did not work in Aus Survivor. This did not work this season. This should never happen again. If you want to have two tribes vote someone out do the method from Palau, Heroes vs Villains and Nicaragua. Give one tribe a food reward and let them watch the losing tribe’s tribal council. Games can be won and lost off of a reward challenge this way but it’s not a game spiraling move like the joint tribal council was.
3: The Legacy Advantage
The legacy advantage might not be a keeper. In two seasons it’s not been the bogeyman black mark that it could have been, nor has it been the game flipper it could have been. Instead this has been hidden from the majority of the cast both times only to magically appear, the idea is fantastic but it needs to get in the tank for a while. The legacy advantage is really something I love but it needs some work. Perhaps not as an idol, perhaps it needs to be something akin to the vote blocker/stopper present in Aus. Give it some time and thought.
4: 20 person seasons
This season proved beyond a shadow of a doubt that 20 people is far too much. The whole season felt a little rushed because there were so many people. 20 people also gives rise to way too many duds and “Really?” casting decisions. Think of a 20 person season, especially a returnee season, it’s not too difficult to think of someone who you think “why are they on my tv?” or “Why did they come back?”
Double episodes tend to feel a bit like they’re running at a million miles an hour during postmerge and can lead to confusing situations like Michaela’s boot which left a lot of people up in arms, myself included. Hold onto the big 20 for season 40 Survivor, you owe it to everyone, including yourselves.
I love Cochran. Jeff loves Cochran. Ryan the podcast master, loves Cochran. You’d be hard pressed to find much more than a handful of people who dislike him. One small problem: His cameo at the reunion was more than Tony got.
He’s lovely but unless he plays again I don’t think he should get much more spotlight. Love ya buddy but I’m kinda over you.
Editing was a big point of contention this season. From the flawless edit for Sarah to the “Go fish” debacle, this was a sad time for all. Let’s speak firstly about Sarah’s edit and to do that we need to speak about “Edgic”
- Contraction of ‘Edit’ and ‘Logic’, describes a hobby about analysing the editing of a television reality show. “Wow, Sarah’s really looking good, she must be an Edgic front-runner”
Edgic is most often used in an attempt to determine the winner of a season before the end of the show. Edgic has its benefactors and its detractors but it serves a purpose in the viewing community of the show and pushes the show’s editing to new heights like we saw in Millenials vs Gen X.
I must stress that knowing about Edgic can and will ruin someone’s survivor experience so at this point I would like to say that if you do not want your survivor viewing experience changed forever you need to scroll down until you see the big black lines and not read anything until you see them.
Edgic works off of the basic principle that you want your winner to be someone people root for and not hated or at least if they aren’t very nice, they’re shown to be in control. Therefore the logic piggybacks off of how people come across in the edit. This takes part in several kinds of situations and I’m going to run a bit of a thought experiment. I want you to take a piece of paper or open a note file on your phone or just use your excellent memory and take down who you think is the winner of the season in the following situations.
It’s merge time and in Previously on Survivor we heard how Player A thinks he’s in control but Player B has put together an alliance. Player A speaks of his alliance as the tribes merge including Players B and C, however, Player C speaks directly afterwards and speaks of his own alliance including Player B but not Player A.
Who’s the winner of this season?
It’s the final 6 and two players are in a bit of trouble Player A has just walked in on players B and C talking about alternate final 4 arrangements that don’t include either Player A or Player D. While Player D is preparing some food, Player A comes over and starts talking about how they’re really worried that B and C won’t take them to the final 4. Player D hears them out and is more or less nonchalant about the whole thing. During the exchange a confessional starts playing where Player D admits that the end game is harder than they thought it would be and how they feel as though they can’t change what’s now going to happen in the game.
Who’s the winner?
It’s the premiere and our tribes are just getting to know each other, Player A trods on a stick that gets stuck in his foot as Player B has a confessional about how Player A is stupid. He is. More footage of of Player A getting hurt plays before Player B calls him a nickname. Player A then has a confessional ruminating on this nickname saying (this is paraphrased) “They can call me what they like, I don’t care, I’m going to win the million dollars.”
One of these players is the winner, who is it?
In Situation 1 the players were A: Aras Bakauskis, B: Tyson Apostol and C: Hayden Moss. The season was Season 27: Blood Vs Water and the winner was Tyson or Player B. This is a classic example of a winner getting the credit both directly and indirectly for a move. Firstly directly from “Last time on Survivor” and then again indirectly from Hayden laying out the alliance. This was a fun one because all three were winners in their own right, Aras having won S12: Panama – Exile Island and Hayden having won Big Brother S12 (That was a neat little coincidence I never realised until I put this article together)
In Situation 2 the players were A: Rob Mariano, B: Rupert Boneham, C: Jenna Lewis and D: Amber Brkich. The season was Season 8: All Stars and the winner was Amber or player D. This example shows that editors are willing to show that a winner doesn’t always have to be the one in direct control, sometimes they can be nonchalant. Amber talks about how it’s hard in the late game exhibiting humility and self awareness that will end up being the deciding factor later on, along with other factors I mention in my last piece.
In Situation 3 the players were A: Jud ‘Fabio’ Birza and B: Shannon Elkins. This is more of an example of setting two players up, one to win and one to fail. Fabio is being set up as a lovable goofball who has a smarter side that people don’t see. Fabio also gives the classic winner confessional. Here’s a hint: If someone says they’re going to win at the start of a season, they probably will. Whereas Shannon is being set up as a villain who puts his foot in his mouth, he calls Fabio 3 different insults in as many minutes and gives him the nickname.
What we can take from Edgic is that positive traits may not be the most obvious but they’re always there from the beginning, to the middle, til the end and hardcore edgic people will make charts and talk about edit types. I will be honest, they’re way too complex for a general understanding type but if an introduction to edgic happens they’ll be gone through in depth.
With all that said, Sarah’s edit in Game Changers had all the subtlety of being hit in the face by a snow shovel wielding child. Most all episodes had Sarah being portrayed so positively and in control the whole time it made it difficult to watch even for people who did not dabble in edgic as it became increasingly obvious and frustrating that Sarah was basically guaranteed the win, through her portrayal of control of every situation and her constant confessionals. Part of this is editing’s fault and part of this is that while Sarah does a great job of communicating, after all it is part of her job, she is not a very entertaining confessional giver.
In short, the edit wasn’t great and to explain why we’re now going to talk about how Survivor as a show is edited.
Survivor isn’t edited by 3 people who sit down and plan out the whole season in one go and put it all together, it’s edited an episode at a time with different teams working on different episodes. The most common practice is intervals of three so a team will edit episode 1, 4 and 7 etc. and another will edit episode 2, 5 and 8 etc. This means that editors don’t skew the storyline the producers want to push, all they get is the footage, notes on the game, who’s done what and anything else that’s noteworthy. The editors know who won and this is where trying to read an edit comes from, explained above. In Au, a similar system was in place as far as I know but the change in airing schedule put the editors so behind they were editing up until mere hours before airing, this is an example of treating your editors poorly and this most recent season seems to be the case as well so that will bring us to a mini point:
6a: Treat your editors well
Just do it, they work so much better when they get treated well and are given all of the information they need to tell a cohesive and interesting story.
While I may have been a little negative I do want to stress that experimentation is not a bad thing and the fact that Survivor is still willing to play with the formula 34 seasons in is what makes it the best thing on TV. This has just been a bit of food for thought and a bit of a wrap up for the season. I hope everyone has an excellent off season and please let me know who your favourite players from S35 are. I think we may have a doppelganger that we’ll want to do well
You can find me on twitter @therihasspoken and I’ll see you all next week.