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Improving Survivor


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#721

Yogurt Baron

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Posted Mar 22, 2012 @ 6:28 PM

(Becoming a goat) has seemed to become the new strategy (although one could argue it started in S4 with Brian taking his goat, it wasn't quite as obvious to the audience), don't necessarily play to win, but play to get yourself $100,000 in second place, and the producers appear to be encouraging that strategy by the casting (although it backfired a bit when Nanoinka quit and Brandon pretty much gave up too).


I don't agree, really. I can't think of anybody whose strategy it's been to come second or third by being a goat. A lot of the people who viewers see as goats see themselves as masterminds/superstars: Russell, Coach, Russell, etc. You could argue that Phillip Sheppard played for second place against Rob...but I would argue that the whole point of keeping Rob around was that they all thought, "Oh, nobody would ever give the million to someone who's played four times!" Phil is the closest we've come to "goat as a strategy for coming in second", and even he was playing to win.

And a lot of the time, love them or hate them, modern Survivor "goats" are actually the power players who determine the boot order and decide who they'll take to the end. If Russell had decided to boot Sandra instead of Danielle or Jerri, well, then, Danielle or Jerri would have a million dollars right now. That makes him a jerk who nobody on the jury liked, but wasn't Sandra's "goat" in the way that Clay was Brian's. Sandra had nothing to do with Russell staying in the game; just the opposite, he kept her in it. If you run the game, you're not a "goat". I agree that they're casting way too many Power Goats these days---every post-Gabon season has been dominated by one, although one (Rob) bizarrely won, one (Original Coach) didn't get to FTC, and two (Naonka, Colton) quit early.

If anything, I think we need more Clay-style goats. Excluding All-Stars, we had three goats in a row - Clay, Matt, Lill, and arguably Twila - and since then, the only Clay-style "good players keep this person around to beat them" have been Dreamz and maybe FvF Amanda (who wouldn't want to do FTC with her?)
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#722

SamB

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Posted Mar 24, 2012 @ 8:26 AM

There's one person who I would say did play the goat strategy, and that's Katie from Palau - she may even state as much during the finale or the reunion. Either way, it's clear she realised pretty far out that nobody liked her, and therefore her best bet was to get herself to second place.
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#723

TMO

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Posted Mar 25, 2012 @ 7:22 AM

There's one person who I would say did play the goat strategy, and that's Katie from Palau - she may even state as much during the finale or the reunion. Either way, it's clear she realised pretty far out that nobody liked her, and therefore her best bet was to get herself to second place.


She realized that at the FTC but she tried to get rid of Tom at two different points. The "this was my strategy and it worked" argument was the only thing she could use at that point because she failed both times. I never got the impression that she deliberately looked to antagonize people like Philip did, who I believe is the only person that intentionally acted in order to place 2nd. It seemed more like she just thought she was funny and people liked her personality when really only the closest members of her alliance did and everyone else found her intolerable.

At the end of Exile Islands Shane expressed that he felt he was being taken to the end because he was going to be easier to beat than Aras or Cirie, but he also said he felt like he had a winning strategy with bringing Courtney. I wonder had Neigh-Onka never quit if she would have came to the conclusion that she couldn't win so she should play for an easy 2nd place. Dreamz didn't realize that he couldn't win and neither did Russell until the very end of the HvV FTC. Those are the two cases of people seeing the FTC that truly had no shot at winning and neither seemed to realize that. Even someone like Twila, who some considered to be "Chris' goat," would have won the game had the outcome of the F3IC been different.

I've never gotten the impression that anyone intended to play for 2nd outside of Philip. More often than not the people being seen as "intentional goats" are the ones that don't seem to understand how their attitude or gameplay is being perceived.
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#724

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Posted Mar 26, 2012 @ 9:42 AM

Actually, it may be more that the producers are casting the goat role. The person they cast may think they've got a shot at winning, but the producers know otherwise and pretty much know they're casting a goat. That's what's annoying, that the producers appear to be actively casting this role with the reward of $100,000 (or $85,000) to the person in the goat role. Course, they won't call it that, they say they're casting for drama or to make the show "exciting" and "fun", but its a goat.
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#725

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Posted Mar 30, 2012 @ 12:47 PM

I think it's time to retire the hidden immunity idol for a while.

If someone in the majority gets an idol, game play becomes even more sclerotic than before.

If someone in the minority gets an idol, just do a split vote or wait to take the idol holder out last.

If people are so stupid that they need an idol to understand that 5 > 4 -- which the Manano misfits probably are -- then I don't care if the majority lets itself get voted out.

It's just not enough to hope that someday we'll get Edgardo Part II or even Tyson Part II. Parvati's Great Idol Giveaway -- I forget who first used that on TWop -- was fun, but a 5-5 showdown would have been fun too.
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#726

Bix Bender

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Posted Mar 30, 2012 @ 2:31 PM

How about this for a new twist:

At the start of the game, every castaway is assigned a "partner", perhaps by choice, perhaps at random. The game progresses as usual, but if your "partner" happens to win, you receive a cash prize of, say, $250,000 no matter where you yourself placed.

This would add an element of strategy - not only do you want to keep yourself alive in the game, but someone else (whom you might not necessarily be predisposed to working with). Is it worth siding with the group against your partner, or do you risk alienating yourself by trying to protect him/her? This would make the jury a bit more interesting as well.
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#727

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Posted Mar 30, 2012 @ 5:13 PM

I was thinking it might be nice to play a three tribe game with no swaps before the merge. Would create a lot of post-merge options.
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#728

Yogurt Baron

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Posted Apr 11, 2012 @ 2:15 AM

Moving this over from the "questions" thread: like Bob Sambob, I'm a game purist, and I believe that Survivor should be 16 players, merge at 10, jury at 9, final 2, and that there should be a special clause every fourth season where if you make the merge but not the jury, you forfeit your prize money and are never allowed to appear on TV again and also fans can be invited to the finale to throw rotten fruit and vegetables at you. (Bob may have only made some of these points.)

But in terms of enhancing unpredictability, I think it would be a really cool experiment to do one of the following three things:
1. Randomly selected jury. It could be the third-through-ninth place finishers; it could be the 3rd, 5th, 7th, 9th, etc.; it could be the first seven boots. And the players don't know who the jury will be. Or, maybe more interesting, the players do know who the jury will be, and have to plan accordingly. If you're Chris Daughtery, do you think, "Sarge is my pal - better get him out now so he'll be on the jury!"? But a lot of the bullying that goes on in the game these days goes on because, well, Colton knows if he treats Bill like shit today and sends him home tomorrow, there are no consequences.

2. Jurors (in a classic 16-player-7-jury-F2 season) vote on the spot as they're voted out. "Rank the remaining players," and then whichever of the F2 ranks highest on their card gets their vote.

3. Checkpoint voting. Every TC, in addition to voting someone out, the players still in the game cast a vote for which of their opponents they want to see win the million. Someone who lasts long gets more votes. Whoever makes F2 and has received the most votes over the course of the whole game wins. Now, this would probably ruin the game---everybody in RI thinking, "Nobody else will vote for Phil! I'll throw my vote to him this time!", and then, boom, Phil gets 100% of the votes and $1,000,000.

I don't want to see these things happen, per se, but wouldn't they be unpredictable? I feel like there hasn't been a meaningful change in the game since the implementation of the HII (in my head, Redemption Island never happened).

I like all the other ideas I'm seeing here, too!
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#729

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Posted Apr 11, 2012 @ 3:48 AM

I find the claim that Colton would have stopped bullying people once jurors were being seated HIGHLY dubious. I think a lot of the bullying that goes on today is because Russell proved you could monopolize airtime (even over a bunch of other really strong personalities, like Sandra and Parvati) and win 100,000 by being a gigantic bully.

Edited by enlightenedbum, Apr 11, 2012 @ 3:49 AM.

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#730

rit56

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Posted Apr 18, 2012 @ 8:56 PM

This may be my last season. It's tired and predictable. All the girls will now vote off the men and the last few episodes will be pathetically boring full of emotions and female bonding.

Hey producers next season double the contestants, 12 men, 12 women. Separate teams. Two separate shows a half hour each. They compete until there is one woman and one man left. They compete for the champion. Two or 3 challenges with challenges favoring the woman, then the man and the final one a tossup.
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#731

Constantinople

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Posted Apr 19, 2012 @ 5:14 PM

If a tribe agrees to give up tribal immunity, every one on that tribe is immediately kicked off the show.
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#732

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Posted Apr 20, 2012 @ 6:36 AM

My suggestion for improvement is to fly in a new camera-person, immediately. I've never seen anything like the mistakes made this season. A week ago, at TC, Jeff said, "Chelsea!" and the camera zoomed to Kim and stayed on her the entire time he was talking to Chelsea. Then this week, the show opened with a night vision argument between Troy and, er, somebody. I'm not sure who exactly because, while we could hear angry girl voices, the camera was always on someone whose mouth was closed. The challenges are a little better but not much.
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#733

Unconditional

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Posted Apr 20, 2012 @ 10:19 AM

My suggestion for improvement is to fly in a new camera-person, immediately.


It's no guarantee that the problem exists there though. I too have noticed some errors but you have to consider that there's a production manager on location that's radioing to cameramen what they want footage of and is telling them what and when to get it. In the argument that you're referring to they could have simply been wanting a reaction shot to what was being said off-camera. It was poorly done either way.

If a tribe agrees to give up tribal immunity, every one on that tribe is immediately kicked off the show.


If it isn't expressed in the rules of the game that you cannot elect to go to TC if you win immunity then I actually think that could support some interesting strategy. We're familiar with the speech of "if you have this you can't go home so maybe it is binding that if your tribe wins immunity that you're not allowed to vote someone off and it was just bypassed because of the special living circumstances on account of "One World." If not, it has the potential to be a really be really interesting. The downside is that it could also be really sloppy. I think if an entire tribe is confident enough to elect to go to TC if they win immunity then they should be allowed to go. That just ensures that at least one person would be blindsided because if they knew they were in danger they would never agree to go.
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#734

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Posted Apr 30, 2012 @ 1:28 PM

I wish they would bring back the swimming challenges.

I went back and watched a few of the previous seasons and was shocked by how many swimming challenges there were. Now it just seems like that every challenge is an obstacle course type challenge that ends with a team trying to solve a puzzle.
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#735

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Posted May 1, 2012 @ 4:41 PM

Unfortunately they can't just choose to bring back the swimming challenges if they continue to film in Samoa and Nicaragua. I would like them to go back to Micronesia but I read that production slipped up and left behind a lot of waste and that didn't sit well obviously.

I also miss swimming challenges and think most people probably share that same sentiment. It really adds a whole other dimension to the required athleticism to help your tribe (or yourself) and keep them strong in numbers. The inclusion of swimming challenges is what can separate true athletic individuals like Ozzy, Colby, Terry, and Boston Rob from just any random collection of mactors that only have to deal with challenges on land.
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#736

rit56

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Posted May 3, 2012 @ 8:23 AM

By far this is the worst Survivor ever. Boring, predictable and the remaining contestants are all horrid.... Not surprising the number of viewers is falling. Two awful seasons in a row. The "Jesus" season with that jerk Coach and now this one. CBS best change whomever is casting this show.
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#737

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Posted May 3, 2012 @ 1:27 PM

Different strokes for different folks, I guess. I actually really enjoyed "South Pacific" and I think this cast has plenty of good characters, too. And even with pagongings, I think the gameplay of a few of these dominators has been fascinating to watch.
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#738

Yogurt Baron

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Posted May 3, 2012 @ 4:21 PM

Agreed with Bob, I'm loving this season. I'd call this the best season since HVV, and the best season of all new players since...gosh, China, at least. I love the Samoa cast, and Tocantins had its moments, but they were the Hantz/Coach shows. After the Colton boot, the editing has been reasonably even-handed. But it'll lose ground, for me, if Kim just waltzes to the million. If we see some big moves next week and in the finale, this could be a very good season overall.
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#739

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Posted May 3, 2012 @ 4:40 PM

I think it was the worst pre-merge season ever, and a top five post-merge. Most likable cast since maybe Fiji? Which had its share of assholes, but Yau/Earl/Michelle made up for it.
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#740

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Posted May 3, 2012 @ 5:54 PM

I agree that this was one of the most disastrous pre-merge seasons. It might be the worst ever in that department, though Nicaragua, Samoa, and FvF all can give it a strong run. I don't think the post-merge play qualifies as anything spectacular from a production standpoint. There has been no excitement or suspense and that's because a couple of people have really controlled the game for the last 20 days. And while that is exciting, it's not going to draw in new viewers because it really only excites (some) people that have stuck with the series since the first season that really appreciate great gameplay.

I hope if production takes one thing out of this season it will be that you don't need gimmicks OR returning players to produce a winner. The gimmick this season was a dud and rightfully short-lived, I hope the reception to that in conjunction with moving away from Redemption Island means that we're moving back towards "traditional" Survivor where we have 8v8, gender-blended tribes. I think returning to that format, with possibly including Exile Island, is the largest improvement that the show could make. Bringing back Reward Challenges has added another level of gameplay back into the game, much like many of us knew it would when we were protesting their removal in favor of RI duels.
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#741

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Posted May 3, 2012 @ 10:47 PM

I was wondering about goat-proofing the game. How about increasing the prize money for a smaller margin of victory? I suggested upping the dough to $2 million for a unanimous win in the past, but I'm going the other way. Would you want to bring in a Tarzan or an Agent Phillip to Day 39 if it meant there would be no shot at, say, $2 million? I know . . . total straw-grasp on my part.

I am sticking with my notion of hiding an immunity necklace inside the tribal idol. I don't think anybody would even think of looking there without at least two clues.

I did like last night's endurance challenge . . . but if they repeat it, how about blindfolding the players and having Probst not do any running commentary? He would announce the elapsed time every five minutes and crank the players forward. If Probst doesn't announce who hits the water, it might make things more interesting. I'd suggest gagging the contestants, but that could be considered overkill.
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#742

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Posted May 5, 2012 @ 7:01 AM

I was wondering about goat-proofing the game.


This is exactly what I was going to mention!

I am just tired of weak players making it to the end as goats. Of course, last season one would argue that there were two leaders and a a sort of goat in Albert. But then again, really Sophie sort of used Coach as her goat, too.

This year season, it is more and more looking like it will be a contest of the goats with Alicia, Tarzan, and Christina at this point even though Alicia does not consider herself a goat.

It is just a little annoying when strong, threatening players are put into a position of winning immunity challenges every week or even the final immunity with the option of being voted-out because they are too strong.

I'm just tired of the goats getting a free pass due to their goatness--like that guy Phillip! It's like being a goat is now a legitimate strategy to make it to the end at least if not win.
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#743

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Posted May 5, 2012 @ 5:41 PM

I was wondering about goat-proofing the game. How about increasing the prize money for a smaller margin of victory? I suggested upping the dough to $2 million for a unanimous win in the past, but I'm going the other way. Would you want to bring in a Tarzan or an Agent Phillip to Day 39 if it meant there would be no shot at, say, $2 million? I know . . . total straw-grasp on my part.


Interesting! I think it might make things worse, though. If you were Jenna Morasca and you had to choose between taking Rob C. and losing or taking Matt and winning $50, which would you choose? You'd probably choose Option C: boot Rob earlier and try to make FTC with Heidi, where you could win the million. The best-case scenario (but still problematic) would be that it would reward players like Rob C., Yau-Man, and Cirie, who are very good at certain parts of the game, but deficient in the major part of convincing others they aren't a threat to win at FTC. Helen Glover didn't think Heidik was a threat. All these people on this season think they can beat Kim. On the other hand, Earl and Yau were fairly equally awesome, but Earl sold Dreamz and Cassandra that he was more beatable than Yau even though he wasn't, and that's where Earl earned his million. If Earl had been coerced into taking Yau in order to have a shot at the prize, well, then, the less-complete player would have won.

I really think the whole "goat" thing is in the eye of the beholder, and that viewers are too quick to say anyone they don't like is a "goat". If you're contributing to the alliance, making decisions, keeping secrets, playing the game, then you might be a less-likable player, but you're not a goat. For my money, Alicia edges out Sabrina to be the second-best player left out there right now; she's a cretin, but not a goat.

If we're defining "goat" as "useless idiot who makes Day 39 through no work of his or her own, and is just carried to the end by a mastermind"...the closest we've ever come to that is Clay in Thailand, and he was such an underrated player that Brian only beat him by one vote. No one really thinks of themself as a goat, and who's a goat and who isn't depends on the viewer. I think Bob Sambob and I agree, for example, that there was a goat at FTC in South Pacific. But the person I think was Coach's goat, Bob thinks was the mastermind. So even if we did stipulate "no goats, take the harder person to beat", there'll never be agreement on who that is. (Remember last week's paranoia about how Kat was a bigger threat than Sabrina?)
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#744

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Posted May 5, 2012 @ 11:17 PM

I'll say this first: Agreed. Too hard to define the goat. The editors decide who the goat is through their editing process. But every last person out there believes they know what they are doing. On the island, you only have your own eyes and your own thoughts -- the game is only unfolding the way you see it. Every last player that looks useless on TV but still makes it in front of the jury STILL had a strategy; like, say, Natalie Tenerelli. You don't think that in her head, she was saying, "I made it to the end, didn't I, so I must have been doing something right. There's no way the jury will give it to Rob, so I'll just bide my time ..." or something like that. We think Natalie was a goat because the editors made us think that. But I guarantee Natalie thought what she was doing was a plan of attack, of some sort.

Now ...

If we're defining "goat" as "useless idiot who makes Day 39 through no work of his or her own, and is just carried to the end by a mastermind"...the closest we've ever come to that is Clay in Thailand, and he was such an underrated player that Brian only beat him by one vote.

Yes, Brian only beat Clay by one vote. But that's only because he KNEW he only needed four to win. Why waste time buttering up all seven, when you can take that extra time and put it into the four you need? Brian only needed ONE Sook Jai, so all the effort he could have put into Ken, Penny, Erin and Jake, he just put it all into Jake. Yogurt, not an attack ... I know you actually think the same thing as me here.

And finally ...

I think Bob Sambob and I agree, for example, that there was a goat at FTC in South Pacific. But the person I think was Coach's goat, Bob thinks was the mastermind. So even if we did stipulate "no goats, take the harder person to beat", there'll never be agreement on who that is.

I say yet again ... listen to the Sophie podcast with Dom & Colin. Please. I beg you. I'll buy you a cookie. Please.

Edited by Bob Sambob, May 5, 2012 @ 11:20 PM.

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#745

Yogurt Baron

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Posted May 5, 2012 @ 11:38 PM

Yes, Brian only beat Clay by one vote. But that's only because he KNEW he only needed four to win. Why waste time buttering up all seven, when you can take that extra time and put it into the four you need? Brian only needed ONE Sook Jai, so all the effort he could have put into Ken, Penny, Erin and Jake, he just put it all into Jake. Yogurt, not an attack ... I know you actually think the same thing as me here.


Oh, absolutely. My point was more that there's no such thing as a "goat", because even the definitive "goat" was trying to win and got three out of seven people to vote for him. Arguably, if Clay were that bad of a player, it wouldn't have mattered how much effort Brian did or didn't put in. I just can't think of one player who meets the criteria of a)., having made FTC; b)., being an absolute lock to lose, both in their own mind and in others'; c)., having made it deep into the game exclusively for that purpose. Maybe Amazon Matt. But a player who's doing his best to win, who thinks he's winning, who's helping to determine the boot order, isn't a "goat". They may be a bad player. They may be an ideal FTC opponent.

And isn't taking an ideal FTC opponent to the end kind of the point of the game? It's why Rich didn't want to go to final against Rudy. You go with someone you can beat. Back to Fiji: Earl won 9-0-0. Was Cassandra, who was Earl's partner the whole game, a "goat" because she wasn't as likable as Earl? Absolutely not. Was "Dreamz" a goat? Well, kind of; nobody likes Dreamz. But I don't believe Earl took them because they were so terrible; he took them because Yau was so great. There's a difference between optimizing your chances to win and between taking goats.

I say yet again ... listen to the Sophie podcast with Dom & Colin. Please. I beg you. I'll buy you a cookie. Please.


You gave me another link and everything. Okay, here I go. Listening to the podcast. I trust my cookie's in the mail.
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#746

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Posted May 6, 2012 @ 1:27 AM

It's like being a goat is now a legitimate strategy to make it to the end at least if not win.


It really isn't. Philip is the only player that ever purposefully was antagonistic towards other players in hopes of being carried along farther. Clay played a perfectly legitimate social game and he deserved the votes that he got because he was smart about getting them and making sure they would come his way. Coach is the same way. He's the one that made the most-important personal relationships that allowed Upolu to move through the game and make it to the FTC. Matt from Amazon didn't win either though he was not deliberately mean and was the exact opposite. Even Russell had a strategy both seasons, despite being despicable, but it just wasn't as good as the ones used by the people that beat him.

Was "Dreamz" a goat? Well, kind of; nobody likes Dreamz. But I don't believe Earl took them because they were so terrible; he took them because Yau was so great.


Earl really took them for both of those reasons. He had the opportunity with Boo and even with Stacy to switch things up if he really wanted to but he knew that Dreamz had already turned on people and pissed them off long before the car incident, and OG-moto didn't care for Cassaundra and thought she was worthless (Edgardo, Stacy, Lisi, and Alex in particular). Yau was obviously far more popular than either and he was better than both, but Earl made the decision to go with Earl/Cassaundra several rounds before the FTC because they were the ones that turned on an entire tribe after all. I think Earl actually won the game right after the Edgardo boot on account of Dreamz' betrayal. It would only help things that Dreamz screwed Yau and then was the perfect scapegoat to get rid of an even MORE popular Yau than he was before.
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#747

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Posted May 6, 2012 @ 2:13 AM

I just can't think of one player who meets the criteria of a)., having made FTC; b)., being an absolute lock to lose, both in their own mind and in others'; c)., having made it deep into the game exclusively for that purpose.

OK, gotcha. The closest example I can think of is Katie in Palau. I mean, Tom and Ian's gentlemen's agreement was to stick together until Final 3 and whoever won the F3 challenge got to vote the other out and take Katie to FTC. That speaks VOLUMES. But even there, she fails to qualify because of the "b" part of your criteria -- she absolutely believed she was playing a good game and had a legitimate shot, even though we at home knew she didn't.

The other maybe is Mama Kim in Africa, who knew that she would lose to either Lex or Ethan, so she picked Ethan because she wanted the nicer guy to win. But she fails the "c" part of your criteria -- the Boron boys absolutely would have voted her out at Final Four if not for the production fuck-up in the Fallen Comrades challenge.

Jan is pretty close, too, because she was sure she was going the night they turned on Helen and she seemed OK with it. Plus, she gave up FAST in the F3 challenge. However, I do think she would beaten Brian. Don't ask me why, because I don't have an answer ... I just do. And I think I would have vomited on the spot. But, alas, she fails "a" -- no final tribal for her.

Edited by Bob Sambob, May 6, 2012 @ 2:20 AM.

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#748

Yogurt Baron

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Posted May 6, 2012 @ 2:42 AM

That's the other thing that gets my goat (heh) about the goats-are-more-common-now debate. The goatiest players we've been able to come up with include Clay and Jan from Thailand, Matt from Amazon, Kim from Africa, Dreamz from Fiji, Katie from Palau, and Phil from RI. That is, of the game's seven biggest goats, all but one have been from ten or more seasons ago. So for me, if anything, there are fewer goats now than ever before.

Something else to consider: a lot of us (including me) bemoan the casting and wonder why they can't just cast good players, but if they cast 20 good players, the nature of the game is such that we'd never find out how good the early boots were. In fact, they'd seem like bad players, just by virtue of going home early. Thought experiment: let's say the next season had a cast of 23, and they were exact doubles of all 23 winners, except that they're all first-time players and that they don't know each other. Who would get voted out first? Since they'd all be strong social players, it'd be someone weak in challenges: Sandra or Bob or Chris, let's say. And then we'd remember that person as just some loser who did badly in a challenge and went home first.
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#749

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Posted May 6, 2012 @ 4:17 AM

Russell was a huuuuge goat. Twice.
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#750

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Posted May 6, 2012 @ 8:28 AM

To me this season has at least 2 goats if not three still remaining.

Do Alicia, Christina, or Tarzan really have a chance to win? If things go according to plan, then if Kim take any combination of those 3, then she wins.

I guess is good tv, but for me is boring.

I do want to say, I think there are good points about the perception of goat being due to editing. And it is definitely true, there is so much we viewers do not see or know until after a season is completed.

I also think it has to due with casting to a certain degree. I would imagine, the producers hope to choose more of an entertaining cast than necessarily competitive just like with a lot of other reality shows.

Edited by musica, May 6, 2012 @ 9:09 AM.

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