Stephen Fishbach's Survivor Blog: Good Naked, Bad Naked and a 'Classic Overplay'
The Survivor: Tocantins runner-up on asks of one castaway: "Why on earth would you count on people who are explicitly your enemies to be your friends?"
Stephen Fishbach was the runner-up on Survivor: Tocantins and has been blogging about Survivor strategy for PEOPLE since 2009. Follow him on Twitter @stephenfishbach.
"I will do what everybody feels most comfortable doing. I don’t care what that is." –Todd Herzog, Survivor: China winner
People on Survivor just want to feel safe.
Before you ever hit the beach, you’ve suffered months of preparation.
You’ve passed the grueling gauntlet of casting, where you are assessed against a dozen people who look vaguely like you.
You have trained – swum, sprinted and Crossfit WOD-ed until you had nothing left to snatch.
You have bid adieu to your work and said au revoir to your family.
So when contestants enter the game, they really want to stay there. They want safety and security.
That’s why people break down in the first few days. All the stress of leaving your life is exponentially compounded when you see how remorseless the game truly is.
Poor Nina. She thought she was being judged for her disability. She was actually being judged for her attitude.
Nina kept waiting for a handwritten invitation to the latest skinny dip. “I thought that the people on my tribe would try to make me feel like I belonged,” she said.
Why on Earth would you count on people who are explicitly your enemies to be your friends?
But you can also understand why she cracked.
And you can understand why Will flipped his vote.
Strategically, it made sense for Will to ally with Vince and Nina and vote out Jenn. He knew that Gorgeous Joe and the Girls were a tight threesome. They valued him more for his votes than his sandwiches.
But when Nina told Will that Vince was concerned about his health, he panicked. The question was not just this vote, but also who would go next.
That’s why Will voted out Vince. He eliminated the guy who was doubting him, and he kept around his friend who could be the next target.
Nina wins a special anti-Fishy for sabotaging her chance to take power.
But there are no Fishies this week. Gorgeous Joe and Jenn got lucky. Their plan to split the vote was a classic overplay, fretting over idols when they should have been counting numbers.
They should have known that Will was tight with Nina. Joe saw that they were spending all their time together, but he discounted it.
Here’s a tip for Survivor players: Alliances are mostly just hyped-up friendships. If two people spend their time together, odds are they’re also voting together. Jenn was only saved by Nina’s flub.
Vince went home – but the real losers here are the viewers. We missed out on the solid-gold hilarity that Vince brought to every interaction.
He was like Coach 1.0 in Tocantins – before he started playing the role of “Coach”: cocky and vulnerable and completely un-self-aware.
Vince. Gone too soon.
Good Naked and Bad Naked
In 1997, Seinfeld taught us the difference between “good naked” and “bad naked.” This week, Survivor fans learned that lesson again
Naked nymphs playing in the surf? Good.
Your naked history professor washing the pots and pans? Very, very bad.
What on Earth was Max thinking? The last person on Survivor you’d want to evoke is Richard Hatch, who is renowned for his devious, backstabbing game. Max himself noted last week that you should never give people a reason to target you.
“I’m using it a little bit strategically in order to get a little bit of alone time,” he said.
Max is a smart guy – but you never want to be alone on Survivor. We saw how well that worked for Aras in Blood vs. Water.
On Blue Collar, Mike fell into another classic trap and became frustrated with his lazy tribe.
Here’s another rule: Do what the rest of the tribe is doing, whether it’s playing basketball or keeping on their clothes.
Survivor: Worlds Apart airs Wednesdays (8 p.m. ET) on CBS.