Jeff Probst blogs about 'Survivor' finale: 'Nobody outplayed Russell'

Okay, now that the show is officially over I’m going to take off my hosting and producing hat and just give you my personal reaction to what went down last night.

I think Russell was the victim of a jury of bitter people. I am not taking anything away from Natalie, she clearly did a great job of reading the group dynamic of the jury and as a result she deserves the money.

Oftentimes on Survivor, the vote does come down to a choice where a determining factor is “how nice someone is” but that’s usually when all other criteria being considered is equal. That doesn’t hold up this season. This season was so lopsided in terms of one person (Russell) completely dominating the game that to not give him the money and the title is a bit silly.

If I were playing Survivor, no matter how much I despised someone, if they kicked my ass in the game I would give it to them. Period. Outwit. Outplay. Nobody outwitted or outplayed Russell. Not even close.
I was a bit surprised at Erik’s nod to Natalie during the final tribal council. I think he certainly helped Natalie and definitely hurt Russell. I also think that when Erik watches this season again in a few years he will regret not giving his vote to Russell. Erik is the kind of guy who I thought would respect a player like Russell. I think Erik was still smarting from the whole Galu disaster.

I do not believe the jury voted for Natalie, I believe the jury voted against Russell.

Russell was clearly upset last night and I think a lot of people understand why that would be.  He played a very risky and creative game and he wanted to be acknowledged. As for the audience, they spoke quite loudly when they awarded him the $100,000 from Sprint by an overwhelming 46% Russell to 10% Shambo… and 7% Natalie. Not even close. I put myself in that same group. Again, I’m speaking as a fan, not as a host or a producer.

But hey this is how it goes, it’s why Survivor is so fun to watch, you can never predict the outcome.  So…

A FEW QUESTIONS…
Q. Can you be considered the greatest player ever if you don’t win?
Hmmm. It’s a tough question for me. On one hand, it’s a no-brainer, absolutely not. Survivor is a social game and to win you have to vote people out in a way that compels them to return and vote for you to win the game. It’s extremely complicated and Russell did not achieve it, therefore he cannot be considered the greatest player to ever play. On the other hand, I can’t think of anybody who has ever played a game like Russell played. It was so dominating that I am still shaking my head that he didn’t win. The only guy I could even see having the talent and guts to do something equally dominating would be Boston Rob. So I am on the fence on this one. But this much I am certain of – Russell is without any question ONE of the greats. No doubt about it.

Q. Did Natalie play a better game than Russell? For me, that’s a bit easier to answer. I do not think that Natalie played a better game, but rather was the right person in the right position who made one very good strategic move and that was to stay out of Russell’s way, and as a result she ended up with the money. But to be fair — a very good counter argument is that Natalie used her strengths, avoided her weaknesses and by taking this active approach to the game, she put herself in position to win the money and it paid off. It’s a counter argument, but not one that I’m that fond of supporting.

Q. Was this a great season or a lame season? For me, this is another easy question. Survivor: Samoa will rank as one of my favorite seasons and for one reason:  Russell Hantz. He single handedly kept this show interesting week after week after week. But I know some will argue that because it was “The Russell Season” it lacked having more big characters and therefore does not rank as high. This is one that will be debated by Survivor fans for years to come.

LIFE GOES ON AND SO DOES SURVIVOR
I hope you’re all jazzed about Survivor:  Heroes Vs. Villains. I think you are going to really enjoy it!  We have an all-star cast returning. A lot of people you will expect and want to see and a couple of surprise choices that may leave you scratching your head, which we love, by the way.

LIVE FOR THE MOMENT
One last reminder — if you are looking for a show that offers adventure as well as a positive message about how to live your life to the fullest. Check out Live for the Moment Thursday, Jan. 28 at 8pm on CBS.

Happy Holidays Survivor fans – and Happy New Year.

[ewbrightcove “58433551001”, “58421081001”, “475”, “345”]

Also on EW:
‘Survivor: Samoa’ finale recap: The worst jury vote ever
‘Survivor: Samoa': And the winner is…

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  • Allobidallo

    This was a great season. Stinks sometimes when the jury is bitter. At least America had it right.

    • Matt

      Very disappointing that Russell didn’t win.

      Whilst Natalie won’t go down as the worst winner ever, it will certainly go down as Survivor’s worst jury decision.

      • Matt

        Survivor 21/23: Iceland (or Greenland):

        Hey Jeff,

        Despite the apparent reluctance of the producers to hold a season of Survivor in a cold climate location, this is a twist that must happen before the show wraps up.

        In order to give the show plenty of bikini shots and curb the suffering of the castaways somewhat, a snowy area with HOT SPRINGS should be used.

        The season can be done in March/April/May, when the location is still laden with snow.

      • Matt

        In addition to season 21 or 23 being in Iceland, and my suggestion of Heroes vs Villains for season 20 earlier this year, I believe season 22 should be:

        Survivor 22: Second Chance Edition

        Think about it: 22 = 2nd chance, it makes sense. There have been rumblings (true or false) regarding a Second Chance season, which seem to be getting stronger. I think it will happen in season 22.

        Here is the proposed cast (8 males and 8 females who provide a good mix of personalities):

        Males:
        Mike S (Australia)
        Silas (Africa)
        Robb (Thailand)
        Bob-Dawg (Panama)
        Cao-Boi (Cook Islands)
        Mikey B (Micronesia)
        Ace (Gabon)
        Ben (Samoa)

        Females:
        Gina (Marquesas)
        Dolly (Vanuatu)
        Angie (Palau)
        Misty (Panama)
        Michelle (Fiji)
        Tracy (Micronesia)
        Sydney (Tocantins)
        Betsy (Samoa)

        Thanks for reading,
        Matt

      • Jill

        Iceland probably wouldn’t be plausible because of the camera equipment. Cameras, batteries and lights don’t do well in low temperatures.

      • Kathryn

        You know who I’d love to see on a Second Chances season? Those folks that got voted off day one and those folks that got tossed from the game due to illness or injury. I really liked Good Russell this year and he certainly did not want to leave. Let’s give him another shot.

      • Survivor Blog

        Interesting ideas but I don’t think they’ll ever do a cold edition. Too expensive. I like the 2nd chances idea but if they just do the first out, it will be filled with elderly women, Check out more of my observations at my own Survivor blog: turnonmytv.blogspot.com

      • Sarah

        If we did have a second chance season, I’d like it to be people who got voted off in one of the first few tribal councils. Frequently they’re voted off because somebody has to be, and nobody really knows the others yet. We don’t know if they would have been any good at the game or not.

      • Sydney

        The right person won leave it at that! The jury has spoken. Bitter or not it doesnt matter. This is what makes Survivor such a great show. Can you outwit outlast outplay AND still get everyones votes. I sure don’t want the game to evolve into people screwing over each other on their own tribe at the begining of every season. The reason Russel found the Idols is Survivors fault he is no genius. The past few seasons they kept repeating hiding it in camp buy the sign in easy obvious places.Russel did have the moxie to look for it in front of they’re faces, thats all. I think it was great not to reward him for being evil. Please, thats what makes Survivor the best on TV we reward ~outwit outplay outlast not bad behavior like all the other reality shows. I chose Natalie and I’m not bitter I honestly thought she played well I think it’s a little sexist to think she didn’t deserve it sorry but just because shes a tiny girl doent mean she didnt earn that win. Congrats Natalie great game!

      • Suzy

        Russel spiced it up I hated him then got caught up in his charm THAT was surprising to me but I didnt vote for him because I think Natalie played the better. Under the radar means you never see it coming! :)

      • Shelly in NoHo

        I agree with Betsey from Samoa as a 2nd chance player, but I don’t want to see any more of cocky, arrogant Ben. He was way too full of himself.

      • xyn

        I believe that a second chance season would be good for those castaways who joined the jury first (or second for that matter), considering that they have played the game longer, but, unfortunately, not long enough. They should have another shot at it to see how well they get. But having said that, a season with people who were all voted out first would be spectacular, since it’s not possible for all of them to land themselves in that position yet again.

      • Laura

        I have been wanting a season in a cold environment forever. I agree. Please mix it up.

      • Sephia

        Oh please, with the Russell should have won. Yes, he played the game perfectly except for one little thing. He didn’t take into account that the people you screw over have to vote for you in the end.
        No matter how much you believe they should have voted for Russell, human nature is at play. And Survivor is a game about human nature. You are asking the panel to vote for the guy that lied to, manipulated, and sabotaged them at every opportunity. I mean he was down right diabolical and mean. In that you are right, Russell was the best. But, expecting the panel to put all that aside and give him the $1 million. Yeah right! Russell doing whatever he had to do to win the game was human nature. The panel giving him the finger instead of the money was too, lol.
        Natalie, in the end, played the better game. She let Russell shoot himself in the foot. Next time, Russell remember all aspects of the game. Do what you did this time, but make sure you work someone into being perceived as the bigger jerk. Then, they will vote for you instead. People, usually vote for the lesser of two jerks.

      • JK

        Russell played a great game for 38 days. The 39th killed him. He quit playing. He called everyone stupid and told how he got each one of them kicked off. And did all this all before getting one vote. Stupid! Stupid! Stupid! He quit playing day 39. He lost fair and square because he got stupid with ego on the last day

      • A

        I have also thought a lot about a second chance season with all the people who have been voted off first. I don’t think bringing the medical evacs back is a good idea if their body couldn’t take it the first time, what’s to say it will the second time?

      • Rebecca

        People who think Natalie deserved to win shouldn’t even watch Survivor. You don’t even know what it even means to be sole-suvivor. It could have been Jaison up there getting the million. The Jury voted AGAINST Russell. Russell should have won the title, period.

      • Matt

        Shelly, the fact that you have such a strong opinion of a player such as Ben mmeans that he is a polarising character who makes for interesting television. For this reason, he is more likely to be cast on a Second Chance season because this is what the producers look for. Characters like him make things happen and that is what ultimately draws in viewers.
        In Samoa, the pre-merge after Ben and Betsy were voted out lacked some spark, which only reappeared when Russell got down to serious business at the merge. Ben and Betsy were both very interesting and memorable characters (for different reasons).

      • DC

        They say that nobody remembers who came in second. In a few years, fans will still remember Russell Hantz, but few will remember Natalie.

      • Pat

        Russell should of won!!!! To bad America can not cast votes,like on American Idol, that count or play partly into some way towards the final vote. Bitter juries are just that BITTER and not a fair call.

      • Dr Zechariah Zenith

        I am sad that the season is over. I don’t mind Natalie winning. Does she deserve the money? Absolutely. Did she play the game better than Russell? Probably not, but at the end it doesn’t matter. Remember Colby and even Matthew from Amazon. Both did great but in the end will the jury let you win?

        Looking forward to the Heroes vs Villains.

        Can’t wait for future Survivor dynamics like:

        Brains vs Brawn
        or Nerds vs Jocks

        Adding a new dynamic to the game will surely inspire new gameplay.

        Note to producers: HIDE THE IMMUNITY IDOL really well. Since from now on. Everyone will look for it.

      • Adrian M

        better yet Zenith, just take the immunity idol out of the game.

    • wd

      i cant argue against their votes IF their rationale behind it made sense. yet none of the jury members could really step up to give a clear reason why Nat deserved it over Russ. Idiots. Btw, Russ shouldve brought Mick and Jaison! slam dunk win

      • Sean

        Disagree on Mick and Jaison. It’s already become painfully obvious that the jury was looking to vote for anyone BUT Russell. Remember, they didn’t vote FOR Nat, they voted AGAINST Russ. So if he brought Mick and Jaison, one of them would probably have won. And that would have sucked exponentially worse than Nat winning.

      • Henry

        Poor Natalie. Because she was up against a popular player in the finale fans will always try to take away from her accomplishments. We saw in almost every episode that Natalie spent her days comforting, massaging and listening to the people she voted off. We’ve seen lazy contestants and Natalie wasn’t lazy. She was a networker.

      • puppy dog

        Henry, I’m sure she’s crying all the way to the bank. She was a great player, and regardless of what Jeff thinks, she played Russhole, and beat him. KUDOS to the jury.

      • cj

        Sean is correct – it didn’t matter WHO Russell would have brought, they jury just did NOT want him to win. Bunch of babies.

      • A

        I think their reasoning was good. They gave it to Natalie because they liked her the best and they hated Russell. I think Russell would have had it if he just could have been a little nicer. If you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all.

      • Tom

        Agree he should’ve taken Mick and Jaison. No way Erik would’ve slobbered all over himself at either one of them thus NOT swaying the “grudgingly voting for Russell” voters.

    • Survivor Blog

      Bitter juries ruin seasons. Congrats to Natalie for accomplishing nothing. Read more of my thoughts at turnonmytv.blogspot.com

      • Henry

        You know who sounds bitter? The fans.

      • Lisa

        Henry, I agree. It’s ok to vote someone out at Tribal Council because you can’t stand them, but it isn’t ok to vote against someone to be the final winner because you can’t stand them? Russell played a brilliant game in so many ways, but he ended up not being the total package. That did him in. I also don’t think that it’s right to say that only the loud-mouthed obnoxious player has the right to win the game over someone with a more subtle strategy. I’m not saying I’m a Natalie fan. Far from it. But logically I find people’s reactions to this humorous.

      • Patrick

        The jury were full of losers, who were not smart enough to strategize themselves (thus why they on the jury) and I honestly don’t think they are smart enough to see why Russell deserved the win, that’s giving them too much credit. And yes Henry, fans are bitter, that’s usually what happens when something is mishandled. Poor Natalie? Yeah poor girl won a million dollars, feeling really bad for her! ha

      • Noel

        Exactly right…I am bitter! It sucks when a jury does not vote on who played the best game. It’s a GAME people! You got bested, so admit it! I think we wouldn’t have problems with such bitter jury members if actual fans of the show were picked to be on the show, not recruits.

      • Sheryl

        I totally agree that Russell should have won but for the 39th day when his ego and arrogance made him shoot himself in the foot and he should have kept his arrogance in check until after he won the money. You get more stupid flies with honey then with rubbing poop in their faces.

        That being said, if I was there,hands down I would have voted for him because once booted out and looking back, it was obvious he played the greatest game ever in my opinion.

      • Frank Marshall

        What I don’t get is that everyone goes into survivor KNOWING that it is a strategic game. They all leave their “morals” at the door when they start playing because they know that to win you have to lie and backstab. That’s the nature of a game with 1 winner and 18 contestants. And they go in eager to do it. So why why WHY do they vote for the “nice” player over the strategic player? Nobody on the jury went into the game thinking: I don’t care if I win or lose, I’m going to be an upright citizen who never lies, who never manipulates, who never turns on anyone! And yet when it comes time to vote they forget all about how they were planning on playing the game and can’t get beyond the fact that they were beaten by someone who did it better.

      • andre

        u’re right. i think the problem is when they are voted out (becoming jury or not), they STOP playing the game and forget about how the game should be played. these people DO NOT deserved to be the jury who decide who should win bc mentally they are not in the game anymore. u can argue that this is “the nature of the game – Survivor”. what i see is a major flaw in such a great game.

    • Rebecca

      Jeff, I agreed with you completely. Even though I wanted to take it away from Russell as soon as he started trashing Nat and Mick after Brett left, in the end it just fell flat having Natalie win. But my question to you is, in the preview show you said that you DID NOT want Russell to win the game because he was evil. Did you say this before you had seen much of the show, or did you put that out there to stir up interest in the season? Not expecting an answer, but just wondering. :)

      • Noel

        Rebecca, I’m wondering the same thing! I went back and watched the TV Guide Preview show and was surprised to see him say that!

    • Sue

      Natalie totally outwitted Russel! That is why SHE won.

      • jtr

        you’re retarded. She never outwitted Russell. She won by dumb luck.

      • SLB

        I agree. Kicking their *ss is one think. Treating people like sh*t is another. Natalie was a good player. Russell is NOT the best player ever. The best player plays strategically and socially. Russells social game s*cked. I guarantee he won’t make it to the top 5 on heroes vs. villians. After seeing him, no one is going to put up with his crap and attitude.

      • Jennifer E

        SLB, the next edition of Survivor has already been filmed. The “heroes” and “villains” have no idea who Russell is and what he’s capable of doing (yet!). I think he’s going to totally surprise them, especially the first time he finds a hidden immunity idol without getting a single clue!

      • Ms KSwiss

        NO SHE DIDN’T SHE RODE HIS COAT TAILS!!! FOR SOME PEOPLE WHO GAVE UP ON SURVIVOR FOR BORING SEASONS AND CASTS (OF COURSE NOT ME) EVIL RUSSELL MADE PEOPLE TUNE IN AGAIN. THANK GOD HE WON THE SPRINT FAN FAVE VOTE.

      • Petunia

        She DID outwit Russell, I agree – she got him to change his mind about voting her out. Come on!

      • Ann

        I totally agree! He was mean. Remember Yow (spelling is incorrect) he won with dignity and everyone liking him. Russell completely didn’t get the social aspect of the game.

      • Marcus

        Check out Natalie’s body language in the reunion show. Natalie clearly couldn’t stand Russell, yet for 39 days she looked like his best buddy in the world. She played Russell like a cheap violin.
        Russell’s mistake was not dumping her for Shambo. I’m sure Russell would have won a final 3 against Mike and Shambo.

    • Brandy

      Future contestents look at players from previous seasons and base their gameplay on what they see. This is why we see a lot of boring gameplay. No one wants to make moves when the jury will just be bitter at the end. In the future, players who are boring should be forced from the game for “medical lameness.”

      • David

        ROFL

    • LM

      I think its great that Natalie got the money! It means Russell did not “outwit” eeryone. He played the game well but he was too arrogent to see his potential mistake. Keep Jaison and out Natalie and the game is definitely his. Never underestimate the power of a woman! Congrats Natalie!

    • Dana

      Russell by far has been the best player on Survivor ever. He dominated in every single way imaginable. The only reason Natalie has a check for one million right now is because Russell chose to take her to the end and because she is not Russell. The jury members were far too bitter and took things way to personally, sometimes I think the contestants themselves forget that Survivor is a GAME. It is not real life. It was a shame to see them give it to Natalie whose only strategic move was doing exactly what Russell said to do time and time again. I also wonder why people find it so hard to believe that someone can be a good person in their everyday life even if they lied during a game that by nature requires deception. I myself am a person of integrity and have morals and values, but if I were on Survivor you better believe I’d lie my little butt off the whole way through.

      • Ms KSwiss

        Well Said, Dana.

      • Jeanie Attenhofer

        How can anyone say Russell was the best player ever. He did nothing around camp except run his big mouth CONSTANTILY on how wonderful he was with his missing tooth and grungy clothes.
        The ONLY reward challenge he won was the last one. All he did was by luck alone find hidden immunity idols that were hiding in plain sight.
        What really hacked me off was from the very beginning his lies about being a survivor of Hurricane Katrina. This was terrible. I had to rescue my mother from New Orleans. She was 91 years old and thank God not at the Superdome. She lost many friends and for Russell to be such a lying snake in the grass is a travesty. I honestly do not believe he is a oil millionaire at all, more like an offshore worker because if he lied about loosing everything in g Katrina then he would lie about anything.
        And on the red carpet interview, when he was almost in tears, I don’t know if anyone noticed, but he had a silver child’s pacifier around his neck. How childish, he is no man at all. Very spoiled indeed and is such a pig.

      • djm

        The reason Natalie has the check is because the JURY decided to give it to her – which if you have ever watched the show is how it goes. Not only was Russell a jerk in camp, he’s a jerk in life. You yourself said it – IT’S A GAME – he should have been man enough to shake Natalie’s hand and walk away with dignity instead of being a big cry baby (sorry, even if the tears weren’t falling his reaction was nothing more than a temper tantrum). Get over it people – RUSSELL is a LOSER and NATALIE WON fair and square. And if I were on that jury I wouldn’t give my final vote another thought – they did what they did and now it’s over.

      • LL

        I agree that Russell played the best game, Dana. Clearly however he did not do enough to sway the jury to get over their personal dislikes of him and vote solely on gameplay. He built up too much ill will for them to get over it and see how brilliant he played everything else. That’s too bad because he was THE MAN this season.

      • Jess

        Jeanie, did you even watch the 2nd half of the season?! didn’t you see him manipulate the Galu tribe, find the hidden immunity idols and convince the 3 other Foa Foa members to follow him like trained dogs? How can you say he did nothing?!

        As for his silver pacifier, how do you know it isn’t a gift from his children and he was wearing it because he was proud of them? Or maybe it was in memory of another child, maybe even one close to him. Before you try and make ridiculous and irrelevant arguments you should at least show some sensitivity to things you know nothing about.

      • Rosie

        Dana, why was is not good game stategy for Natalie to let Russell play the game he did which was the bully, arrogant, egotiscal player, do as I say or I’ll vote you out? She has said that her and Russell discussed everything, but editing wasn’t about to show that because they wanted us to believe Russell was “the best player ever”, which he wasn’t. Time and time again Russell showed how big of a mouth he had by telling everyone everything and then having to vote them out because of his screws up. So glad Natalie won, Russell didn’t deserve and the jury realized that.

      • PJ

        Thanks, Jeanie, for pointing out how despicable Russell was for pretending to be a Katrina victim. How dare he lie about a human and national tragedy. The jury may not have known about this horrific lie when they voted, but they probably sensed it (I believe he was called a snake more than once).

      • sonny

        Lying is one thing, and acceptable tto a great extent by most who are players on survivor. it is the brow-beating, bullying, stealing(burning someone else’s socks), not helping around camp, character assasinations tto their face, etc. You must be on another planet to think that a jury would vote for this self-proclaimed,”best strategic player” in tthe end. He got just what he deserved. Karma is a bitch sometimes (may the best man win- to a jury of 4 women). He should think about what he is going to say, before he says it. His overblown ego won’t allow him to do that, therefore he loses. Remember Russhole, time wounds all heels.

      • Tuzo

        Thank you, Dana, for setting everyone straight. :)
        .
        You have to admire Russell for coming into the game with a predefined strategy and executing on that strategy. After watching ever season, it’s amazing to me how many people seem to come in to the game without any kind of explicit strategy (I would guess 80%). Another thing that Russell did was to change the way the game is played. Looking for the hidden idols with no clues seems so obvious now: but *no one had ever done it before*! Based on Russell, I’m sure the producers will have some new scheme with the idols. Either hide them better or perhaps back at exile “island” (although I think most agree that exile island’s time has past). So from that perspective he is literally a game changer.

    • Tom

      What a joke. What did she do? Really she was never in the game. It’s like someone sitting on the bench and then getting the most valuable player award. So she now has celebrity status and money. But she didn’t earn it.

      • Jeanie Attenhofer

        Jess, I watched EVERY minute and I do not consider manipulating people as doing things. I mean he did NO work at all around camp, just strolled the beach and looked for idols.
        As for his pacifier, his children are 9 years old of pete’s sake. And unless you know him personally, you certainly have no right to criticize me for my lack of sensitivity to this man.
        Show sensitivity to Russell? Don’t make me laugh! Russell surely did not show any sensitivity to anyone on the show. From burning Jaison’s socks,throwing away water & trying to leave the chicken coop door open. They could have all gotten sick from the lack of clean water.This was not Club Med.
        And he certainly did not show any sensitivity to the people of New Orleans by claiming to loose everything in Katrina. Telling fibs as a joke is one thing, but Katrina is no laughing matter.And unless you’ve walked in their shoes, you’d know what I mean. I don’t know where you live, but just thank your lucky stars it was not in N.O.
        He sucked up to poor stupid Shambo, had her winking at him, and then called her names and degraded every woman on the show. He is a M.S.PIG. And how his chippy wife stays with him is beyond me. And I still do not believe he is a millionaire oil man and the truth of that will come out one of these days.

      • frogger

        What did she do? She managed to not get voted off, and she won the million dollars. Natalie might not have played the aggressive game that Russell did, but she did make many strategic moves that people seem to conveniently forget in their whining about how their favorite player didn’t win. Natalie was the one that got Erik voted off. She was smart enough to know that if she alligned herself with someone like Russell he would get the backlash for blindsiding everybody and not her. They both admitted that they strategized together about who would go next. She won fair and square.

      • AW

        Do you really think she aligned herself with Russell because she was smart? I know she claims she did as part of her strategy but really, when you watch the entire show, it’s because she had no other real plan. She didn’t align herself with Russell because she knew everyone would hate him and she would therefore be able to win. Their alliance was pure luck for her and her attempt (and the jury’s weak attempt to justify their unreasonable vote) to make it seem like she was being clever all along is just so fake.

        Besides, didn’t everyone hear see her lack of fight when Russell told her she would be voted out if Brett won that second last immunity challenge? She basically just said she didn’t like that idea but then did NOTHING besides nod and then look a sad. Come on! She didn’t even have a good comeback, a good argument or even ATTEMPT to fight back. Again, she’s just plain lucky that Russell made the bad choice to vote off Jaison instead.

      • Jeanie Attenhofer

        PJ I didn’t see your notes until just now. I would not have minded R.H. running off his big mouth, but the Katrina thing really chapped my hide. I know to play the game you do have to be sneaky, but that was cruel. They say every dog has his day, and his will come.
        He won $100,000 and if he truly was a millionaire this should have been enough for him. His ego is entirely too big. His big brother, Shawn says he is like that in real life, but he does not let him bully him. I’d send him off-shore.
        I’ve been doing some research and there is a Hantz Marine Towing Co. in Dayton, TX. Googled that and there were many blogs, etc. One guy drove down the road to where it is, and its in a trailer park area. And then he did a property search and R.H. owns NO property in Liberty Co. TX. or any counties near by and the company is actually owned by his father and big brother.
        And I also cannot believe Russell is only 36.
        I actually think this episode was quote boring. I like people like Rupert, who in previous years played hard, won immunity and kept his honor. There was really no one on this season that was that outstanding. And call the jury bitter, but actually quiet Jaison hit the nail on the head with his comments to the 3 that went to the end. And I think had R.H. kept Jaison, Jaison would have won the million. I kept hoping that Jaison would find out that Russell burned his socks and then the fur would have flown. And R.H. would have gotten his just rewards.

    • Wally

      I love Russell and wanted him to win. He however made two horrible mistakes that cost him the game. The first and biggest was that he told Mick that he was rich and owned an oil company. This is what did him in. He should have stuck with the story that he was a fireman.

      The other issue was that he should have kept Shambo and voted out Natalie. Shambo was hated by her old tribe they would have never given her the win.

      Yes he played a good game but he did not play the perfect game

    • JW

      Because of the game Russell played, there are very few combinations of final players that would have allowed Russell to win. If Brett had been in the final, he would have won, if any of the other Galu, except Shambo, had been there, they would have won. The only situation that might have worked is if Jaison had been there instead of Natalie. Russell almost certainly could not have won under almost any circumstance…not the greatest player.

      • Jeanie Attenhofer

        JW, You are soo right. Other than bragging about himself all the time & finding the hidden idols and winning one immunity, he did nothing outstanding, PHYSICALLY or mentally with regards to puzzles and the like.
        And poor Shambo really fell for his bull, hook, line and sinker. And she did nothing either other than break the snorkel and let the chicken loose and this was supposed to be a Marine? HG
        I think Brett would have won hands down had he not been voted off.
        With regards to Nat. She did help them win when they were doing that flag thing when she was in the sling. I think this season was poorly cast.

    • Rosalie

      Russell is a sore looser! He is a shame to the game. He says he respects the game to much and therefore he should have won. I don’t think he ever watched a single episode of Survivor his whole life. If he did, he would have known that Survivor is an UNPREDICTABLE game. If he respected the game, he would respect the juries vote. That simple, but he is a crying baby and is saying that the jury was weak and he could have done anything with them. Obviously he was week at controlling people or else he would have controlled the way the jury voted. I would have voted for Natalie as well. Her one stratigic move also got Shambo to switch sides with FOA FOA because she saw that Galu had voted Erick out. Russell, try to be a man and set a good example for your daughters. Please shut up and take the runner up position with honor. Russell is a disgrace to the game(good entertainer, but not a smart player, average at best).

      • Ron

        This season was one of the only time that I ever watched each and every episode of Survivor. Why? Simply to see if Russell could continue to dominate the dynamics of the game week after week … and he did expertly. I think that the jury voted against Russell rather than for Natalie. Russell’s major faux pas was the way that he orchestrated Jaison’s departure. Jaison, bitter and unforgiving, then reminded the jury that ‘Hey, these guys are rich … and Russelll’s company grossed seven-figure earnings, etc. …’ Jury interpretation: “Stick it to this guy. Let’s give it to the one person among the final three who would be least deserving.”

      • sonny

        Rosalie, I agree with all you said. He is a sore loser who disrespects the very game he insists he values. You should have seen him on the early show with Natalie on friday morning. It looked like he slept in his same clothes as the night before, and was hungover to boot. He sounded drunk when he interupted natalie, to say something like,” I’m the quarterback, and you weren’t even good enough to be a cheerleader” Not verbatim but very acurate paraphrase.

      • Jeanie Attenhofer

        Rosalie & Sonny, I agree with you two totally. And look at the clothes he wore the night of the finals. He is purely tacky. I agree he sounded drunk. He should take his lickin’s like a man and just SHUT UP. There are REAL former millionaires who are now homeless with the way the economy is today. They have lost there homes and jobs and would give anything for $100,000. Heck I know I’d love it and take it with a smile on my face.

    • sc

      To make a good episode of Survivor — a lot of it depends on the dynamic of the casting —

      Males:
      1. (Evil) 25% –The manipulator/puppetmaster/troll type — Richard Hatch, Evil Russell, Boston Rob, Tyson, Randy, johnny Fairpay, Todd of China et. al.

      2. (Good) The Classical Gypsy Type — the type Coach thinks he is (he is a hybrid of both types) — the great intuitive gypsy wanderer artist/scholar type/the misunderstood loner who understands women & produces great art — — Ozzy could be the closest of this type that has been cast to date. Russell S. looks like this type as do some others that have been cast. Tyson looks like this type but he is really in the first group.
      Think of Flamenco Dancing & Flamenco Guitar & Don Juan & you have this type.
      As crazy as it sounds, I know intuitively that this type is associated with masks
      Female:
      1. 25% (Evil) The bitchy/witchy type — Jeri, Corrine of Gabon, Pavarti — I don’t think there needs to be any more explanation.

      2. 25% (Good) rarely cast on Survivor — strong women who can spot the puppetmaster type right off the bat — it is hard to describe this type — they are often educators or dance instructors — Evil Russell had typed Marissa as this type & needed her gone immediately — she probably is. Betsy of Samoa is a strong women but she is not of this type.
      Natalie of Micronesia looks like this type but she is really of the first type.
      Sierra of Tocantins could be the closest to this type to date. I think Crystal is this type although she is overly muscular & athletic.
      Eliza could be this type.
      These two female types are really different sides of the same type. As crazy as it sounds, I know intuitively that this type is associated with mirrors.

      Who should not be cast on Survivor — the bland model doll types — whatsername on every season that get eliminated early or become coattail riders. Some that come to mind Kelly of Samoa, Sydney of Tocantins, Amanda of China, Ashley of this season — window dressing — Natalie, as much as I like, her is the most memorable doll type that you have cast to this point — please stop casting them — you have found the perfect doll in Natalie.

      If Survivor were cast on this basis some memorable people who are other types would not be cast such as Bob of Gabon, Yau Man of Fiji, Stephen of Tocantins, Amy, Betsy of Samoa (if she stuck around longer.

      I think Lynn Spillman has an excellent eye but she is better at casting men than women — she needs to cast stronger women regardless of type (more Marissas, Liz-es, Betsys & fewer dolls). Sugar was a strong women, but her playing for the camera kind of got annoying after awhile.
      There would be fewer coattail riders & more female winners.
      Other All-Star Themes:
      Survivor Underdogs: the most memorable underdogs to date: Pei-Gei of China, Suzie & Matty of Gabon, Shambo, etc.
      Surivor 2nd Chances:
      Either the the first two people of every season reacast or take the bottom 5 of every season & put them online for vote — I would like to see Betsy & Marissa of Samoa again & that old white African lady from Gabon again. Jeff is right — Marissa on paper is tailor-made for Survivor.

      • Tara

        If they do 2nd chances I think they should bring back Ghandia, the crazy lady from Thailand. She didn’t last, but she was the only memorable person from that season.

        They should also bring back Sonya from season 1 since she was the first person ever voted off.

    • Rosie

      Worst season of survivor ever. Editing was done to make Russell look like the best player ever, but he wasn’t. They also picked a cast that was a little lackluster so Russell would stand out. I was soooo happy to see Natalie win. It may have seemed like she wasn’t playing, but she was and way to go..she played Russell. Russell’s true colors still shine as a sore loser and arrogant jerk.

      • Missy

        Russell have every right to be a sore loser because he should’nt have lost and especially not to Natalie. That dumbass galu tribe had every chance to get rid of Russell but they turned into cowards when he played that idol that sent kelly packing. Once that happened galu acted like they forgot how to spell Russell’s name.

      • sonny

        Just maybe, the players left in survivor, decided to keep Russhole around, BECAUSE THEY KNEW HE COULD NEVER GET ENOUGH VOTES TO WIN. Remember, these people were around him 24/7. It is hard to overcome an overblown egocentric blowhard of a personality. everyone there KNEW that. It was just all of the KOOLAID drinking lemmings being fed by the SURVIVOR MACHINE, being brainwashed into thinking that this is what good gamesmanship is!

    • johnbaranska

      The game is called suvivor not miss congeniality.Jeff is spot on.I’m have nothing but shame for jury

    • hannah

      The jury is always bitter. Which is why I think there is a problem with them voting who gets the money.

    • sonny

      Regardless of what Jeff thinks, the jury got the verdict Right. It was only because of the producers and editors of Survivor decided to give Russhole so much facetime, that viewers barely even knew tthe names of any other players. I also find i interesting that jeff’s new show is about being positive, ” Live for the moment” Russhole personality is anyhing but positive.

    • Nikki

      It REALLY sucks that Russell was 1 season too late to make it onto the Villains vs Heroes season. That would’ve been a great addition.

      • puppy dog

        What are you talking about Nikki? He is on Villians vs Heroes. He never even left the island after Samoa was finished, he just went right into the next season.

    • Allobidallo

      To defend my comment a little, I didn’t say “Russel deserved to win” I was happy for Natalie getting the win. But I think they voted for her as an anti-Russel vote, not for her gameplay. That’s all I’m saying.

    • Survivor Fan

      If it’s “just a game” and NOT okay for the jury to be bitter, why is it okay for Russell to be so bitter in defeat–months after the show wrapped. He called Natalie a bitch in one interview and has been dissing everybody. Is this what he is like in Real Life? Jeff made his comments as a ‘fan’ not as a contestant. I would like to see a season where Jeff Probst has to live with the tribes under the same conditions! For some balanced articles, go to RealityNewsOnline.com and read “Why Russell Lost” & “Outwitting Yourself: Dumb Girls Rule. Russell made many mistakes and is responsible for his own loss.

    • Karen

      This jury vote should have been disqualified!It’s unimaginable that this is a contest and no criteria have to be met other than
      to show up!! Natalie got 1 million for showing up!Jeff quit defending her lack of game play–she did what everyone on foa-foa did kept their mouths shut and listened to Russel. If you think that she won meerly by not upsetting the jury–well apparently everyone on the jury played that same game except for Shambo and Erik (the latter forgets that he was acting arrogant and that’s why his own team–the jury–voted him off. Apparently Jeff you still have to save face for the poor decision of the execs to throw out the jury decision based on failure to judge on the “criteria” of OUTPLAY,OUTWIT AND OUTLAST–it could have been a Survivor 1st–just like when they introduced the “hidden immunity idol”. No point in having a jury after this one–infact, no point in watching anymore–thanks for nothing

    • puppy dog

      This was the sickest, worst, most ridiculous season of Survivor ever. There was nothing entertaining about this season. As an avid fan from day one, on season one, I am exiting stage left. This has turned into a “Jerry Springer” exposition. How any fan can even want to ever watch again, is beyond me. Last season was the beginning of the end, and this season IS the end for me. It’s also the end for our Survivor Club of 634 members. When a show goes in the toilet, we quit watching. The only thing even slightly redeeming about this show, was that Russhole DIDN’T win. Survivor won’t last, unless the producers go back to the original format.

    • bobotnaman

      totally totally agree with you jeff. natalie should’ve given him the sole survivor title. he clearly, CLEARLY deserves it, more than anyone in this season. and she could get away with the money, how much was it again? 10k? 100k?

    • CAROLYN

      I AGREE THAT RUSSELL PLAYED THE GAME BETTER. ONLY WHY HE DIDN’T WIN HE BECAUSE HE IS A MILLIONAIRE. NATALIE IF YOU SEE THIS YOU DON’T DESERVE THAT MONEY

    • Kristina

      I think that other than Russell, this was one of the weakest (read: least strategic) casts ever. He couldn’t have walked all over everyone like he did in any other season. So, since this cast had a different feel than any other, it only makes sense that they voted differently. Would Russell have won if he made it to the finals with a “typical” cast? Probably. But I doubt he’d get there. So this ending fits.

    • Eric

      “Yes, he played the game perfectly except for one little thing. He didn’t take into account that the people you screw over have to vote for you in the end.” AGREED SEPHIA!! Damn right Russel was an amazing player, but the people are part of it. OF COURSE THEY’RE GOING TO HOLD GRUDGES!! It’s niave to think otherwise. Russel read the game well, BUT just like everyone says when you get cocky/overconfident you get voted out. That’s exactly what happend to Russel, he insulted people on day 39 and let his over-confidence shine through. Stating he WOULD win the game and it bit him in the behind. Natalie read the situtation better. Her subtlety served her well.

    • Rick

      I 100% agree. Russell was robbed. The jury was a bunch of stubborn, bitter babies. He is one of the best ever. All Natalie did was kill a rat. This always has been, and always will be, Russell’s season, and the season with the worst jury vote ever, as Dalton Ross said.

    • Fred

      Easily the single most stupid, terrible jury vote ever. Yes, it beats All-Stars for that honor. Russell flipped John and Shambo, found 3 idols, blindsided Kelly, and orchestrated all the eliminations. What did Nat do? Umm, she followed Russell’s orders, she killed a rat. Wow. Big woop. Natalie did nothing whatsoever to deserve this win. Riding coattails doesn’t take skill. Russell was robbed big time, and he should have won.

  • CJ

    Great season Probst! I’m sick of bitter juries. You were beat and beat hard. No one else even came close to Russell in game play.

    • lbj

      “For me, this is another easy question. Survivor: Samoa will rank as one of my favorite seasons and for one reason: Russell Hantz. ” — that says it all, really. I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again, this season would have been lame and the vast majority of people would have checked out long ago, Probst. That’s because every other character had no personality. Incredibly boring lot….other than Russell.

      • notluvin

        How do you know no one else had a personality? The show focused on that little troll Russell the entire season there wasn’t time for them to show anyone else. He was just as arrogant and hateful in real life as he was on the show. Talk about a sore loser!!!

      • Henry

        I’ve been interviewing the contestants all season. There was more the series could have done with Brett and Erik in particular. But, the series still accurately captured their essences. There were some low key, cerebral people this season and some folks that were uncomfortable to be around. The charismatic heroes who would have complimented Russell best (Marisa and Betsy) got voted out first and second.

      • puppy dog

        But Henry, that’s the way every season is. There are interesting, and not so interesting people. The problem is, the fans didn’t get to decide who they thought was interesting, and fun, because the editors did it for us. I think they did it badly. I didn’t enjoy watching Russhole for even one minute. After his first little stint with the camera, I was done with him.

      • geoff

        I thought Jaison, Mick and Natalie were incredibly boring and we saw a lot of them!

    • nonnie

      Bitter juries IS one of the possible hurdles to overcome in Survivor. To be the sole survivor you have to overcome EVERY challenge, including the jury. The challenges are disparate and ALL must be overcome.

      • Sydney

        I totally agree with nonnie. The right person won. :)

      • davey

        Agree completely. Thanks for putting into words what I’ve been trying to say for 2 days now :)

      • sonny

        Exactly, this jury was no different from any of the other juries. they weren’t any more or any less “bitter” than the others. The Jury got it right, they ALWAYS get it right.

    • AK

      Maybe this season, but Russell comment that he is the greatest player ever is delusional. Richard Hatch did everything he did and still won. That alone puts Russell at #2 (at best) in my book. People like Boston Rob, JT and maybe even Parvati or Cirie also bump him down. A vicious player needs either a good personality or a convincing final tribal council to counterbalance their previous actions, and he had neither.

      • NC

        We’ll see if you are correct… Russell H, Boston Rob, JT, Parvati and Cirie are all going to be on TV starting in February.

        If you don’t feel like doing a frame-by-frame of the preview, here is the cast list:

        Heros- Rupert Boneham, James “J.T.” Thomas, Tom Westman, Colby Donaldson, James Clement, Stephenie LaGrossa, Amanda Kimmel, Jessica ‘Sugar’ Kiper, Cirie Fields and Candice Woodcock

        Villans- Jerri Manthey, Parvati Shallow, Sandra Diaz-Twine, Courtney Yates, Danielle DiLorenzo, Rob “Boston Rob” Mariano, Randy Bailey, Tyson Apostol, Ben “Coach” Wade and Russell Hantz

      • JenR

        The only reason Hatch was successful was because it was the first season and no one knew how to play the game yet. In a way, he invented parts of the game.

      • Sean

        Bear in mind, Boston Rob also lost to a bitter jury. In that case, I believe Amber was at least a co-conspirator and contributed strategically. I can’t say the same of Natalie. But Boston Rob shows that even if you do exhibit a better personality than Russ, it ultimately comes down to how small and petty the jury is going to be.

      • Annie

        @NC…thanks for doing the work. But Sandra? a VILLAIN?! How could she possibly ever be considered a villain?

      • CE

        Hatch won because doofus doctor guy told them each to “pick a number” — don’t forget, Hatch only won by one vote and that vote came because of a random game. You can’t praise his gameplay for that.

        I think Russell took his “I just expect them to do what I would do” theory to the wrong place with the jury, thinking that they’d respect gameplay over social niceties, but they didn’t.

        Also, I think it’s not just a vote against Russell that the jurors were making, but a vote against Shambo. She liked him, therefore they didn’t. Petty bunch.

      • Missy

        Richard won because it was the first season and that big mouth Susan did exactly like Erik and made sure the jury would not let Kelly win because she kept winning immunity when they wanted to vote her out.

      • sonny

        Remember back to a time where the best player ever, was someone who won the immunity challenges over and over, and over, and over! Russhole= 1 Immunity challenge TOTAL! Best ever? Not even close!

      • geoff

        NC Danielle a villain? I have just watched that series and she was in no way a villain.

  • julie

    I think Russell shot himself in the foot at the final tribal counlcil. He was too arrogant, and didn’t know when to shut up. He lost the game, Natalie didn’t win.

    • leo

      He had a brilliant 90% but lost in the last 10% because he raised his hands in victory before he believed the goal was in the net. Natalie saw the in she had – saw his arrogance going over like a lead baloon and doing nothing to win votes, so she was smart enough to take the humble route and give them all props for getting her through it and to this spot.

    • shdrew

      ITA!

  • tad

    Totally disagree with you Jeff. To be considered the best player you have to take all the dynamics of the game into consideration and Russell did not do that. Yes he was the most popular because everyone wants to see someone being and &%$hole to someone else, but when it comes right down to it those are the individuals who end up losing let it be in a game like survivor or real life. Everyone knows someone at work who acts just like Russell but do they end up recommending that individual for a promotion at work, nope because you still have to take into account how that person is going to interact with the rest of the team. Will there be resentment or will the person become even more unbearable and you will lose more quality people because they destroy the moral and team. This was the best thing that could have ever happened to Russell. Maybe now he has his own wakeup call. If not he is going to be very lonely with just himself and the master of manipulation, SATAN!

    • dave

      survivor is not the work place buddy its a GAME Russell unlike every one else steped into a different persona and put his talent to a harsher use required for the GAME and funny that, russell works for himself so i guess that scratchs out another one of your arguements
      either way in the end Russell will be remembered and natalie, brett and mick go back to obscurity

      • Bebe

        dave, the work place IS a game, if you haven’t noticed. And even people who are self-employed still have to please their clients and other parties with whom they do business. Bottom line: EVERYONE needs interpersonal skills as well as technical skills.

      • Poboy

        Bull. Everyone has a choice how they play the game. Any game. Even the game of life. Russell will be remembered as a crybaby, a douchebag and a bully. Good for him.

      • realtyFan

        I think it’s pretty clear from his post game interviews, that he DID NOT step into a different persona – it was all his true persona – arrogance, bullying, taunting, no social skills whatsoever!

      • RusselWasScrewed.com

        Survivor isn’t a team like your work analogy. Everyone knows from day one that it’s an individual competition with one winner.

      • Island Principessa

        The workplace actually is a good Survivor game analogy, because at work, just as in Survivor, it is BOTH a team competition AND an individual one…

      • Megan

        The workplace analogy sounds logical until you consider the fact that the person who is the most successful, i.e. the boss, is typically strategic, arrogant and self-confident. I mean, just look at Donald Trump! Sure, employees should generally be teamplayers but the guy who gets the promotion doesn’t need validation from his co-workers. He basically just needs his boss to recognize that he’s better than everyone else. All those arguments about needing to be socially acceptable don’t actually make sense because seriously, since when do co-workers decide who gets promoted??!

      • Island Principessa

        Where I work Megan, every day! Our Fortune 500 upper management take company morale very seriously, and before they promote anyone, they look at his or her reviews not only from those he/she reports to, but also from the people on the rungs of the ladder below the candidate. If the people working for the candidate are universally unhappy, the promotion won’t happen. In my office, you have to keep the folks above you AND below you happy if you want to get anywhere…

      • Brandy

        Ti Island Principessa, that is how my old job ran promotions all the time. Not now with this new job. All pay raises are on hold. Instead of raises being based on Merritt and work, they are done equally across the board. It makes people like me mad. So I just slow down and deal with what I can, one thing at a time.

      • Island Principessa

        Oh Brandy, I can’t stand that! Where is the incentive to go the extra mile? Makes no sense…

      • AW

        Really, Island? I’ve actually never heard that happening before. Our work place promotions are based on merit, which I think is more fair because if you’re the one who’s working hard, then you deserve to be the one getting promoted. The type of promotion strategy you’ve described, which is similar to the Survivor voting method, sounds terrible unfair because (again, like Survivor) that means the most popular person would get promoted instead of the person who is best at their job or works the hardest or gets the most results. It would just end up being a popularity contest

      • Island Principessa

        AW, I didn’t mean that merit was excluded. Plus, they only do this for managerial promotions, if you don’t have anyone reporting to you then it’s merit based only. But for managers, where leadership skills and how people respond to you affect the corporate bottom line, they absolutely do this every time! And it must be working because even this past year, our company is doing quite well…

    • Hutchy

      GROANS, oh god, not the workplace thing again. Some people are just bitter about their peon status in life and at their job, and so are projecting this onto a GAME SHOW (as if on Jeopardy, Trebek would inform someone that they didn’t win because they just werent that nice, despite answering all the questions correctly). Russell is a selk made millionaire, so somehow I find myself thinking that the “jerks always finish last at work” argument might not hold water.

      • dave

        agreed

      • lest21

        Hutchy, IS Russell REALLY a millionaire?? REALLY?? Any thoughts that he may have lied about that as well? Methinks he works with his family’s TOWING service. Just research it, you will see his TRAILER and all!!

      • Clt

        I think he lied like the lunch lady that season. I agree with lest21.

      • sonny

        Correct, how many millionaires do you know who need to go to the Dentist for a few teeth? Also, if you look up the address of this multimillion dollar company, it is in a trailer, in a trailer park outside of Houston!Do you people believe everything you are told by this sociopath?

      • RussellGotScrewed.com

        Sonny, who cares about his missing tooth? Maybe he doesn’t mind it and considers far more important things to do with his money. My fiance has bad teeth and a lot of money from owning his own business… My father is an extremely successful realtor and he has bad teeth… It DOES happen!

    • ingridjiba

      well Tad…While Russells game was stellar, he failed to keep himself likeable which is a part of the game.Yours and jaisons work place annalogy is flawed. ITS A
      GAME. jaison was going along writting names down right along with russell it was not untill he was voted out that he was suddenly morally suprior. Same goes for Erick. They are the worst type they don’t stand up agianst what they beleive is wrong till it benifits them. hold that to their moaral standards. you cant have it both ways. outwitt outplay outlast but do it nicely is not the name of the game.

    • shdrew

      “Everyone knows someone at work who acts just like Russell but do they end up recommending that individual for a promotion at work, nope because you still have to take into account how that person is going to interact with the rest of the team. Will there be resentment or will the person become even more unbearable and you will lose more quality people because they destroy the moral and team.”

      Dave, can I come work where you work? Because where I work, the *#%holes and jerks just keep getting promoted right on up the chain while the people who are pleasant and hard-working stay right where they are.

      • shdrew

        Oops sorry, I meant Tad.

      • AW

        lolol i totally agree! Okay so maybe we all hate that jerk whose shooting off his mouth and pissing everyone off. But if he’s also the guy who’s actually smart and gets results, then he’s the one getting promoted. I might hate him for it, but hey, the term “nice guys finish last” exists for a reason.

    • Rebecca

      It’s a GAME!!! Come on, seriously. As if in real life any of us would beat someone to death with a candlestick in the conservatory…. give me a break. Russell deserved to win.

      • Indy

        Right on!!

      • Poboy

        How can he deserve to win? The rules of Survivor state that contestants need a majority of jury votes in order to win.

        Russell did not get that majority–he COULD NOT get the majority. And the only reason he got as far as he did, is because EVERYONE knew he would lose. In other words, he was a safe bet.
        The editors lied to us– Russell was just a small (but loud) part of a team. He wasn’t calling the shots, the others were, and using him as a shield. For me, that was an excellent strategy– the result being that Nathalie won, not Russell.

      • Rebecca

        Poboy,
        So you’re calling Jeff a liar? He was there. If it was just “editing” then you must believe Jeff is in on it too.

        Just because Russell didn’t win, doesn’t mean he didn’t deserve to win. Example: You’re the best worker in line for a promotion but the hot girl with the big boobs got it because the boss likes her. Does she deserve the promotion just because she got it? I guess in your world she does.

      • Marsha

        Poboy,
        Actually, they tried to vote off Russell once, but he used the immunity idol and those votes didn’t count. So yes, they saw him as a threat. I agree, to outwit you still need a majority of the votes, but we also need to agree that the jury was bitter.

      • Annie

        It’s a game, but it’s a game specifically involving social interaction as a key component. Comparing it to Clue or Jeopardy is ridiculous. Survivor IS a social game, and that’s where Russell failed. We’ve seen strategically savvy contestants win in the past because they knew how to backstab and still promote it as brilliant gameplay to the jury. (“I like you as a person in real life, I just needed to do xyz to further myself in the game.”) THAT’S what makes a successful player. Russell’s arrogance and overconfidence is what did him in. He’s not a great player, because a great player would know how to win over a jury. That’s the single most crucial part of the game!

      • sonny

        he producers gave Russhole every possible advantage, I mean, how many endurance or strength immunities were there? one! One of the reasons Jeff probst thinks Russhole should have won, is that he isn’t quite sure just how sociopathic this misfit is? He was worried about Ben, but Russhole is more of a Charlie Manson type than Ben could ever be. I don’t think there are many of you Russhole lover’s who would like to have him as a friend, you know someone that comes over your house for a beer? think about it!

    • Clt

      I agree with you mostly except that maybe it’s a wake up call. According to him, he’s not like this in “real life” which I don’t believe. That game seems to magnify what a person is. He had a lot of the audience cheering him on so he probably doesn’t need to change. I was disgusted that he didn’t take Brett when he claimed “I want to go against the best”. He wouldn’t have taken Natalie if that were true. I’m so glad the jury voted the way they did. Maybe his 1 million bitter fans can all send him $1! LOL

    • Missy

      If a person is acting with bad morals at the workplace the boss would fire them but he would still pay them what they worked for. Russell worked hard to win survivor. Anyone who thinks otherwise hate Russell just like that bitter galu group. I just hate he was put on a season with a bunch of poor sports.

  • Jan

    Absolutely disappointing end to an absolutely GREAT season of Survivor.

    • puppy dog

      I think it was a wonderful end to a snoozfest. The only good part of the whole show was the finale.

  • Lori

    I understand the jury’s choice and I’ll tell you why – when I went online to vote for the best player of the season, I ended up not voting at all. Russell was the best player, but I just couldn’t vote for him to have that money. I can vote for liars & game players (like Todd or Boston Rob) but Russell took it one step too far for me. I LOVED watching him on the show, but he crossed a line somehow from “gameplay” to being ugly and mean and I just couldn’t vote for him. I guess I wouldn’t have been able to if I were on the jury either. “Dumb ass girls” and emptying canteens were unnecessary to further himself and revealed a man who I couldn’t vote to win.

    • Alice

      But here’s the thing that gets me….it’s not your money. I would totally agree with you that if it were MY money, I wouldn’t want to hand it over to someone I couldn’t stand. But we’re talking about other people’s money (specifically Corporations who are just as “evil” as Russell and would also go to great lengths and do terrible things to make a buck). Your life is absolutely the same regardless of the outcome. This is why the argument that they don’t want to “give” him the money is baffling to me. If there were no money involved, don’t you think the jury would have voted for him with clenched teeth?

      • nonnie

        Agree with Lori. Don’t disagree with Alice, exept that the “bitter” jury (which had been through a very harsh version of the game and a very humbling ponderosa) for whatever reason voted the way the voted. Votes are two edged swords, they are your vote (which you have to own) and they achieve something (which you have to live with). russell has said that the jury members told them they were sorry for their votes, but this is irrelevant as are the reaction of the viewers. Russell had to play the ball where it landed (hi tiger!). I think eric had a lot of wisdom.

      • Sharon

        Oh dear God, please don’t tell me that you just sad all corporations are evil? That mindset is what is killing our economy. What a sweeping unfair and damaging statement.

      • Sharon

        Oh, please tell me that you did not just say all corporations are evil? What a ridiculous and untrue statement! That mentality is what is killing our economy today. If you are employed I hope your “evil” employer sees your post,

      • Alice

        To Sharon: I was being ironic. I don’t think Corporations are evil and I don’t think Russell is evil. But the same people who thought Russell was evil, should think the Corporations who fund the $1 Million are evil as well. Like Russell, large corporations due what they need to do in order to stay in business. With the economy in the tank this year, many are cutting benefits, salaries, doing large layoffs. The people being impacted think, like the jury, that the company is being greedy and selfish…..my point wasn’t to stir the pot about Corporate greed…..it was to point out that the money rewarded on Survivor isn’t exactly coming from Robin Hood. It’s not laced with morality dust. It was made because a lot of people watch tv. And Russell made CBS a lot of money because of his performance on Survivor. He kept us interested and engaged in the season. I have no doubt, CBS would say he earned that money…..

      • Lori

        I get what you’re saying. I think for me it’s the entitlement attitude Russell has. In his interview with Dalton he continues to be arrogant and completely disrespectful toward every other person. Russell, YOU aren’t Mike Tyson either … you’re Russell and you got beat by a dumb-ass girl. It’s one thing to play hard and even dirty … it’s another to mistreat other people.

      • Alice

        To Lori: I hear what your saying. On the show, I always just laughed at the things Russell said. In his loss, I’ve cringed at some of the interviews he’s given. But I also think he’s tremendously angry and disappointed because he truly thought he should and would win. So while I would love it if he would tone down some of the hate (especially directed at Natalie), I think many people can understand how it feels to lose at something where you feel it’s not just disappointing, but unfair. It’s a very frustrating place to be. But again, I hear what you’re saying and also can understand Russell (if not totally agree with him). But his reaction post-loss is not and should not be a justification for why he shouldn’t have won.

      • sonny

        NO, no way would the jury vote him ” sole survivor ” , even if no money were involved.

    • Kathryn

      Totally agree! Loved the drama that Russell’s blindsides and idol finding brought to the last few tribals, and could even understand why he looked like he was fighting tears at not winning, but I could never have voted for him. His tribemates were freezing and starving in an endless downpour, and he poured out their water and burned their socks. There’s no way his behavior can be that different at home and why does everyone assume he is being honest about being a millionaire and a decent human being when he has been honest about so little else?

      If Russell had won, how many future seasons would we have had to watch Russell wanna-bes? I don’t want to see how low people can go for money. I suspect it is pretty darn low!

      I agree with Jeff that the jury voted against Russell more than for Natalie, but do we want our kids to learn that his kind of ends-justifies-the-means actions will win in the end?

      Yeah, it’s just a game – so’s Monopoly but do you steal your opponent’s money when they’re not looking just because you can?

      • Dave

        Russel did not cheat he played within the rules, he saw the best way for himself to make it through the game, how could that be a bad lesson, it’s not just a game, it’s a spectical for the masses, Russel knew it, and was playing a character based on himself because he could, survivor is reality role playing.

      • Krusty

        Exactly. PLUS, did anyone know that Russell did the sabotage? NO they didn’t. THe jury is not privy to that until AFTER the vote when the watched the show with the rest of us. THey were bitter at being beat pure and simple and voted against Russell by voting for Natalie. Mick was a non-entity–he truly did NOTHING. Natalie at least hung on to the coattails so she was the remaining choice.

    • Wendy

      I agree w/ you Lori. Russell may have made this season interesting and he played like noone has before but the minute he burned those socks I couldn’t stand behind him no matter what he did the rest of the game.There should be rules about destroying other peoples property!

    • Clt

      I agree with you Lori. I wouldn’t enrich him 1 million of my money (if I had it) or anyone elses. Burning socks and pouring out water? Please.

    • Mark

      As far as I know, it is not written down that the jury must give the money to the person who played the best. It just isn’t. So, the game is effectively a two part contest: (i) get yourself to the finale, and (ii) have enough support from the jury (in ANY way) to get their votes. Russell excelled at the first and was the worst at the second. Natalie achieved the first and excelled at the second. She deserved to win. Case closed.

    • Ann

      I totally agree, calling them dumb ass girls, dumping water, burning socks was out of line. Boston Rob said he was pulling all the strings when he talked to the camera, but he never was so mean.

      • RC

        Didn’t Rupert Steal in his season? The first episode, he stole from the other team? I seem to remember that but would have to watch that episode–when he did it, everyone loved him though.

  • Shannon

    Eh, I have to disagree with Jeff. If Survivor’s $1 million prize was awarded by the viewers, he’d be totally correct. It isn’t, so he isn’t.

    Also, Natalie’s orchestration of Eric’s ouster ranks as *the* strategic move of the game according to this viewer. That turned the tide in Foa Foa’s favor.

    • kaje

      I agree with the Erik thing. Without that Russ would have slowly lost the other Foa Foas. Easy.

      • puppy dog

        I so agree, kaje, and just think how much better the show might have been after Foa Foa was gone. We might actually have seen some real characters.

    • Shelly

      Exactly THAT move Natalie did getting rid of Erik started it all and Galu then turned against themselves. I am shocked that even Jeff, the host of this game for 20 seasons, can not see how well Natalie played this game. Russell finds 2 easily hidden idols without clues and everyone thinks he’s played the game?? How delusional are you people. With his arrogance, manipulations, putdowns, how can THAT be called game play?? Like Mick said Russell never collected firewood and from what I saw he just laid on the hammock doing nothing around camp. That does NOT make him a great player. I don’t think the jury was “bitter”. Natalie was the reason Erik was voted out and Erik voted for Natalie to win. Who got it wrong was America in giving that arrogant blowhard the $100,000. Just proves how ignorant the majority of America is. Natalie PLAYED the game, Russell caused his own demise by being so cocky!! Social game is a VERY big part of playing Survivor, so Russell did NOT have ALL it took to be THE sole survivor. PERIOD.

      • Clt

        Erik swayed a few votes with his speech also which I was glad to see.

    • Hutchy

      Incorrect. Russell finding the immunity idol the 2nd time, resulting in Kelly’s ouster, was the move that saved the game for Foa Foa. It reduced Galu’s number and rattled them to such a degree that honestly, they never recovered. Without that, Erik’s ouster was just window dressing.

    • Alice

      Again….not really. At that point, it was still 7 to 4 and the the Galu members were voting out Russell at the next tribal. He played the idol to make it 6 to 4 and then got Shambo to switch to make it 5 to 5. Then he got Jon to vote against Laura. The vote for Erik was important, but didn’t advance the Foa Foa nearly as much as the next three moves which Russell made.

      • Jason

        Totally nailed it Alice. Erik was important (in that it’s the only thing Natalie actually helped happen) but they were still smart at that point and up 7-4. Russell’s moves kept them all alive.

      • oopsydaisy

        Totally agreed! But, what could you say when people’s feelings were hurt and emotions were running high? No one outwitted or outplayed Russell, except Natalie who outlasted him. Yes, Nat is the sole survivor and deserves that million dollar. But, Russell will always forever be remembered as the “greatest strategist” of all time.

      • Dan

        If Erik hadn’t been voted out when he was, most likely Foa Foa would’ve lost a member and they’d be down 8-3. Russell would’ve had a much harder time manipulating the ouster of Kelly, Laura and John. Even with a HII and with Shambo’s vote, he could have only gotten rid of one or maybe two Galu members and it would still be 7-3 or 6-3 in Galu’s favor. So Natalie’s orchestration of eliminating Erik was the game changer. It may not have been a million-dollar move, but it got her the jury votes.

      • A Travesty

        Are people really arguing that Natalie was a stronger strategic player, and made the best moves throughout the entire game to get herself into the final 3? Really?

        I agree that Erik’s ouster was huge, but that was accomplished by all of the Foa Foa, including Mick and Natalie. They needed to do it to survive, and if you really want to blame someone for Erik’s leaving, it should be Laura, who took advantage of her teammates unwillingness to see that he was the leader of the boy’s group at Galu, and voted him out. Foa Foa played up an already existing fracture within Galu — 4 guys and 4 girls (with Shambo). Laura should take the credit/blame for that one, and Russell should be given credit for the rest of the moves. ALL OF THEM!

      • Alice

        To Dan: Okay….I’ve played out the scenario without Erik getting voted out and the tricky thing is this: Galu kept wanting to vote out Russell and he kept finding hidden immunity idols. So we just don’t know how that may have played out if Erik hadn’t gone home. If Galu didn’t switch to Erik, they may have voted for Russell (or done some plan trying to divide votes to flush out an idol). But Shambo was on the Foa Foa side at this point so with 5 to 7, they weren’t going to be able to divide votes enough. Anyway….the point is, we don’t know what would have happened if Erik hadn’t been voted out, but it may have ended up exactly the same way. Russell ended up taking home a HII that he could have played in this bizarro world we’re discussing, then another one goes back into the game, and he could have found that one again. Things to think about…..

  • kaje

    It was Russell’s game to loose and he lost it in voting out Jaison and acting up at final tribal. I was very shocked with Erik’s vote and he totally swayed the jury. I’m not angry with the game Natalie played. There can only be one schemer and to try and compete with Russ would have back fired. All in all good season.

  • Greg

    Great season. Can’t wait for next one. Thanks for all the blogs Jeff! I really enjoy reading them. Happy Holidays!

  • Lori

    BTW – I am VERY jazzed about the next Survivor! I hope you’ll blog again! Thank you for another great season!

  • LINDA OBRAL

    I tried out for survivor in the summer of 2008, In Ohio I really would love to be one the show

  • Linda

    I agree with you Jeff. I was so disappointed when Russell didn’t win. He played the best game so far in the history of Survivor. Would I ever do business in the real world with Russell probully not….but he is certainly a great game player. Survivor is still a game right?

    • puppy dog

      This is for Amy, below, since the system won’t let me post a relpy to your statement where it should be. If you really think he played the jury, you are shortsighted. Being played means you were the one who lost in the end. That would be RUSSHOLE, not the jury.

      • D

        STFU, you are stupid

  • Amy

    Um Hello,This is a GAME,not a nomination for a moral prize, This jury was a bunch of straight up HATERS that got PLAYED and couldn’t handle that fact!!

    • Ronda Haynes

      I totally agree with what Amy said. The HATERS couldn’t handle it and they didn’t give the money to Ratalie they just made sure Russell didn’t get it. Too bad Russell didn’t get to wear an itsy bitsy teeney weeney bikini!

    • Em

      Which Natalie KNEW and therefore deserved to WIN. It’s as simple as that.

      • Alice

        Come on…..Natalie only knew that she wanted to get to the end and put the vote in God’s hands. She even said it was “beyond her control” and “in God’s hands.” That doesn’t sound like someone who played with any kind of strategy (social or otherwise). She just wanted to ride the wave as far as she could and then pray on it. She ended up getting tagged as a “social” player because she’s a friendly gal and wasn’t mean. But to act like she maneuvered through the game due to her relationships with the jury is insane. She maneuvered through the game because Russell dragged her along.

      • Lisa

        THANK YOU Alice!! Finally, someone who sees through all that fake crap Natalie and the jury kept trying to throw at us! Seriously, if you’ve actually watched this season and remember everything that was said and happened, who can honestly say they believe that Natalie did anything because she had a strategy?! She didn’t align herself with Russell because that was part of her plan or something. She didn’t play nice with everyone because she knew this would help her win. She basically just floated through the game blindly and mindlessly obeying everything Russell told her. NOT because she knew she would get voted off otherwise. NOT because she was so smart that she knew Russell would take the fall for all the backstabbing. But because she seriously had no other plan or strategy.

    • Sean

      Ironically, in their anti-Russ vote, I think the jury actually did the most damage to themselves. Russ clearly doesn’t NEED the money, and as for the title of Sole Survivor, he pretty much has it from the majority of the viewing public. So he still comes out on top.

      The jury, on the other hand, goes down as the most petulant, petty, short-sighted, and bitter in Survivor history (next to All-Stars). Congrats, Erik, Kelly, Dave, Monica, Laura, Brett, and Jaison! You now leave the game having thrown away a chance to redeem yourselves and actually acknowledge a great gameplayer. At least Shambo and John can end their Survivor tenures on a high note, having gotten over their personal baggage to truly vote for the best player. They have my respect for that, especially John, who got used by Russ more than anyone else and still had the clarity of vision to vote for him.

      • Alice

        To Sean: I found it very interesting that there were really only four players on the jury who we saw Russell lie to – John, Shambo, Jaison and Brett. The lie to Brett didn’t even seem close to convincing and I don’t think Brett was convinced (I think Brett was also telling a lie). Both John and Shambo immediately put it behind them and focused on the gameplay. So that leaves Jaison who had just been eliminated and was feeling the anger toward Russell for the ousting. All of the other members of the jury (the former Galu) had no reason to despise Russell for being sneaky. Of course he was being sneaky! He’s trying to win $1 Million. But every move he made toward Galu, I felt, was above-the-board. He didn’t lie to them, he didn’t cheat, he just had them voted off and played more aggressively than they did. It’s amazing that they were so mad about it since they actually voted him off first (and it was his idol that saved him).

      • Sean

        Erik and Dave are the most baffling for me. Once he was voted out by his own tribe, Erik seemed to relish seeing Galu implode at council. It seemed he had the biggest grudge against Galu, and Russell was actually enacting the perfect revenge scenario for him by taking out the people who blindsided him. So why the hatred?

        With Dave, he actually mouthed “Wow” at the idol reveal and was blown away (on multiple occasions) with Russell’s gameplay, not to mention his comment about Russ being born to play the game.

        Kelly was ousted due to the idol, but she was never targeted with any real malice.

        Jaison was only in the game as long as he was because of Russ, and for all the integrity and honesty that Jaison espoused, he seemed more than willing to throw Mick under the bus without flinching.

        And yet all these people had grudges against Russell. It is indeed very odd. Not sure if it’s been brought up elsewhere, but I have to seriously wonder about the jury tampering that was going on at Ponderosa this season. As you point out, Alice, a good number of the jury had no reason to despise Russell with such personal venom. I really wonder if Monica and Laura spent their time at Ponderosa poisoning that well because they seemed to be the ones with the most contempt for Russell.

      • Alice

        I agree, Sean. If you watch Dalton interview Monica after she was voted out, the threat of jury tampering at Ponderosa is there. She makes it clear that it’s not allowed and that it’s supposed to be an independent vote, but she also says that it’s possible if you’re careful.

      • Alice

        Also, it would make sense that Monica and Laura poisoned the jury if you consider the outcome. Both John and Shambo were alienated by their tribes come the finale. John was voted out in a coup by Monica and Shambo, well, she was clearly not going to be swayed by the viper sisters. Erik really was surprising in the finale. I guess they could have cut his reactions from just about any scene, but it’s always been my understanding from Jeff’s interviews that the producers don’t do a lot of “snatching” of footage from unrelated incidents.

  • Jessica Rose

    I’ve heard some talk about allowing the fans to determine the winner of Survivor. I think that would be interesting-maybe combine the vote of the jury somehow with the fan base…

    • NickF227

      They do that in the Phillipine version of Survivor, and it absolutely blows, the pretty alpha male always gets the vote.

      Case in point, this season of American Idol. Not that many people vote for the Sprint stuff cuz it doesnt matter, but if it did, Mick probably would’ve won.

    • CeeCee

      That would be an awful idea! The fans only know as much about the players and their game plays as the producers want us too…it would totally be a manipulated vote for whoever the producers thought would increase thier Nielson numbers. Frankly, I feel like they were trying to shove Russell as the greatest thing since slice bread, but my family wasn’t buying it. Sadly from the whining on the boards, way too many, got snookered by the hype.

      • Clt

        I think the selling of Russell was heavy handed too.

      • Jason

        You would have hated this season if he hadn’t been featured as much as he was.

    • Jaimes

      Worst. Idea. Ever.

      • Ashlyn

        Completely agree! One of the best aspects of Survivor is that you have to vote people out to get to the end and then convince the same people to give you a million bucks. The viewers voting for the winner would be AWFUL.

    • NC

      That gives a lot of power to the editors. All of the survivors have a camera dedicated to them and all of them do interviews on a regular basis but the editors decided to give probably at least 60% of all the non-challenge airtime to Russell.

    • CV

      Jeez I hope not. Remember the American Idol debacle? Fan voting brings many personal prejudices with it. Natalie would’ve won the entire South because she prays.

  • MissBumptious

    Hey, Jeff…Sorry, but Survivor has become an extremely misogynistic game that is nearly impossible for a woman to win. Am I wrong? Especially this year, and again, am I wrong? Natalie was put on a team with a card-carrying womanhater who successfully became powerful in people’s minds and punted the first two women who didn’t drink his Kool-Aid.
    I’m getting sick of all the criticism of Natalie, as if she had a single other way to play other than the one she did. Yes, she got lucky as hell, but post another blog where you present a SINGLE scenario in which she could’ve won the million by acting differently. One. Believable. Scenario. You can’t, since there isn’t one. But I’d be interested in any efforts.

    • PirateVeronica

      I could not have said that better myself. Thank you for saying this. And Natalie danced even made mention of that at the final council, that strong women get kicked off first. I think that really resonated with Laura, Monica and Kelly.

      It really has become an even more sexist show as the game continues. They want women who look nice on tv and therefor they don’t cast the cutthroat women who would kick some ass. And the women who are cast, even if they are strong, are always described as being weak and are always in the risk groups for being voted off even if they aren’t actually week (like Liz). Seriously Survivor, cast some kick ass women.

      • jake

        woman losing dosent make a show sexist my only guess is you just use being a woman as a cop-out for losing
        equal rights, equal survivor fights

      • Hutchy

        Ever seen Fans vs. Favorites? Which was what, 3 seasons ago maybe? Pretty much shoots your entire theory right down the drain. Nice effort though.

      • JenR

        Hutchy is right. The women dominated that season.

      • Caitie F

        I am a woman and I think that claiming sexist is just idiotic.Some seasons, women dominate. Some seasons, the men so. Anyone can win the challenges – the log challenge this year was based on the contestants weight, so anyone could have won.

      • MY LORD

        I don’t think anyone is criticizing Nat….they are more bashing the jury.

      • Sara

        I’ve always thought that the best strategy for women on Survivor is to band together and make an alliance. That’s what happened in FvF and it worked! Otherwise, it seems, they’re just waiting til the men decide it’s their time to be voted off.

    • Dave

      First half of the survivor series have been won by women, second natalie could have taken control last minute with Brett,Jaison and Mick to oust Russel or even sooner. that would have earned her the money, but she sat back let Russel do all the schemeing knowing he was taking her to the end. I agree with russel when he said her gameplay was pathetic, she could have done better, way better.

      • NickF227

        But they wouldn’t have, thats the point. Mick and Jaison were scared, and probably the most useless end gamers ever.

      • cdfahey

        How much better could Natalie done she won the game!

      • Poboy

        You’re assuming Natalie wasn’t in control the entire time — i.e., she knew Russell would never get any votes, he made the perfect bull to ride to the end.

        I don’t believe the jury were bitter, I believe they all hated Russell and never have any intention of voting for him. Which is the only reason he stayed in the game as long as he did.

        Think about it. If he truly had ever been a threat to win–as much of a threat as the editors wanted us to believe he was– don’t you think SOMEONE would have made an effort to get him out?

        But no one ever did. Because there was never any need.

      • Kay

        Poboy, you’re wrong! They DID try to get Russell out. The episode where he played the idol and Kelly had to go instead. Galu all said that Russell was the most dangerous player, and they were right. At least dangerous to them.

    • i’m a lady

      that’s b.s. the show is cast of men and women equally, and events are unfolding as they occur. your comments assume there is some grand anti-woman conspiracy by the producers.

      • Frankie

        And while I’m on that subject, nothing irritates me more than people who get in front of the jury only to jaw on and on about how “hard” and how much they “grew” as a person. I respect Russell’s un-sugar-coated “I came here to win” much more.

    • Frankie

      I think she would’ve won regardless, cuz I think Jeff’s right in that they didn’t vote FOR her but AGAINST Russell. That being the case, Miss B, I think people, maybe Jeff included, I dunno, would respect her win if she had shown any semblance of an actual strategy. She basically said, “this game is hard,” and “I did whatever Russell told me to.”

      • Henry

        C’mon. Call Russell the greatest player of all time. Say he should have won. But that doesn’t require turning a blind eye to Natalie’s game. Natalie has articulated her specific strategy and how she implemented it very well in interviews. She consciously manipulated Russell in a way no one else knew how to do so he never backstabbed her. They made decisions together but while he was trying to make the jury feel stupid she was trying to make them feel liked and respected. She knew it would allow her to beat him and it did.

      • Frankie

        Yeah, in interviews. After the fact. Never once, IN FRONT OF THAT JURY (or in show confessionals, for that matter), did she articulate that as her specific strategy. When Russell said they all followed behind the snake and did whatever the snake wanted, she did not position herself as the quiet power behind the snake. She had no self-aware “strategy” whatsoever, and pulling one out of a hat in hindsight, after seeing exactly where the jury’s heads were at, is a complete and total LOAD.

      • Island Principessa

        Frankie, while Natalie may not have articulated her strategy to the jury (perhaps being starved and sleep deprived clouded her thinking just a bit!!), clearly she WAS stroking Russell’s ego–we saw that every show. Because Russell is egomaniacal, her instinctive strategy worked brilliantly. Russell’s gameplay was too one dimensional and lacked subtlety. He played incredibly well to get to the final 2 or 3, but not well enough to win the million…

    • Alice

      Natalie could have won by not allowing the first vote for Marisa. If the women on Foa Foa had stayed together, they could have potentially beaten the men on the tribe (it sure wouldn’t have made them lose any more than they did). At the merge, the women of Foa Foa would have then been able to join forces with the women on Galu and Natalie would have been one of the stronger women. Unfortunately, the women allow themselves to be picked off one at a time in the beginning and then it’s men running the show. So yeah, the show (as it plays out) is typically pretty sexist, but that’s only because women on the show defer to the men in the beginning to make the voting decisions for the group.

      • Poboy

        Um, Natalie DID win. Huh?

      • Sean

        I agree totally, Alice, that most of the sexism in the show is due to so many women just deferring to the guys. I also find way too many resort to the “flirt” strategy rather than any real strategy.

        Again, I bring up the idea of an all-woman season of Survivor. I’d love to see a season where the male-female dynamic is taken out, forcing more women to really step up and run the game strategically.

      • Alice

        The other thing to note about the sexism discussion is that women are far more likely to dismiss other women they don’t “like” than men are. I will use Galu as the perfect example. The women of Galu exiled Shambo and made it extremely easy for Shambo to switch sides. Danger Dave is a similar “character” to Shambo. He’s just weird. But the men didn’t exile him because he didn’t fit the traditional “boy’s club” role. They needed and used Dave to keep a majority and control. As a gender, women need to learn to look past their differences – particularly in a game like Survivor where women are traditionally expected to be weak.

      • Sean

        Again I agree, Alice. The women seem to vote based more on emotion while the men generally vote more strategically. Reminds me of the season where the women’s alliance completely tore itself apart over something as trivial as Twila swearing on her kids. They let that get to them to such an extent that it allowed the one remaining guy, Chris, to sneak through and win it all.

      • Alice

        To Sean: The caveat to all of this is that it may not be the women’s fault, but more a generalized sociological problem. There have been a slew of women who come on Survivor, guns blazing, and are immediately taken out for being “loud mouths.” And even on the TV, they seem totally unbearable. But I think that has more to do with general feelings about we have as a society about women asserting power. We have to be far more conniving with our power or it runs a thin line with “bitchiness” to many people. To be assertive is often to be abrasive if your a woman. Men are able to be assertive with more ease in a group setting.

      • Kyle

        I think the reason why the women defer to the men is because generally speaking, the men are usually physically stronger than the women, and the weakest woman gets picked off first or second in pretty much every season where there isnt an immediate gender split. Pretty much every player knows that in Survivor, its essential to get to the merge with numbers, so often voting out the weak is the only option, which is why i think women dont stick together early on. If you think of any succesful female alliance, they usually stemmed from a heavily/completely female initial tribe, with the exception of Micronesia and Parvati’s alliance.

      • Alice

        To Kyle: I agree with your assessment, but in this season, women being weaker would have had zero impact on the numbers at the merge. Hindsight being 20/20, the women on Foa Foa could have stuck together and voted out the strong men. As it turned out, the tribe got rid of the “weak” women and still lost almost every challenge. So much for voting out the weak.

    • oopsydaisy

      Sorry, cannot agree with you. So many women won the title and the money. Natalie’s winning just proved that your theory was wrong.

    • JB

      Its because there are a lot more weak women, like Natalie, than strong women, like Parvati. The cute little girls generally think their best shot is to manipulate the cute guys, or team up with the other cute girls–how pathetic. This is why we dont see women trying to manipulate people’s minds, and instead trying to manipulate hormones. And for all you “real life” metaphores, its why women earn less. You can “pretty” your way near the top, but the boss is never going to give you his job, in the end the woman is the tool digging her own grave. Unfortunately the jury was made up of 90% women. Nice to see the rocket scientist used his brain.

    • gina

      The real problem with women on this show is the casting. How often are there small petite unathletic men cast? Hardly ever. Yet, they cast the majority of women based on their looks, not their skills. Take a look at the cast for Heroes vs Villains coming up, 10 strong personality, mostly all athletic males, and then a few strong personality athletic females and then filled in with bikini fodder, they seriously couldn’t come up with 10 strong women?

      • Sean

        Very true, Gina. The one significant exception I can think of is Todd in China. He was a pretty small guy that I don’t remember contributing much to the physical game. But he came in with a solid strategy and desire to actually PLAY the game, and he won.

        In the case of Amanda, I think they’ve shown they can cast women who are young and attractive AND strong competitors who don’t just coast on looks. I just wish they’d do that more often.

    • AW

      You’re right, there’s no other believeable way for Natalie to have won. That’s because she simply is not the type of person who deserves to win. Someone who goes on Survivor (and we’re talking SURVIVOR, not some other reality TV show) just to be nice and liked, has no logical or justifiable reason to win $1 million. THAT is why there’s no way for her to win no matter how hard you think about it. Not because she’s female, or put into an unfortunate tribe or any other reason.

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