Andy Baker

Andy Baker

Andy Baker is a long-time, but definitely not long-winded, Survivor blogger. Andy's time writing about Survivor included two seasons at RHAP, followed by his debut here at the True Dork Times in 2013 for Survivor: Blood vs. Water. After occasional hiatuses, Andy last wrote here during Survivor: Millennials vs. Gen X.

 

He is currently retired from Survivor blogging.

 

Follow Andy on twitter: @SurvivorGenius


  • S33 logo Survivor 33: Millennials vs. Gen X (click to expand/collapse)
    Ep.14: Entertaining mediocrity

    Episode 14: Entertaining mediocrity

    Published: December 17, 2016

     

    Andy Baker questions whether Survivor's Trust Cluster era isn't simply another name for taking out the outstanding players before they have the chance to stand out, and offers his final words on Millennials vs. Gen X.


    Pre-Episode 14: Jury jeopardy

    Published: December 12, 2016

     

    Jeff Pitman, Andy Baker, and Pat Ferrucci join the Survivor Blogoverse prediction game, facing off against their compatriots at Inside Survivor, Reality Blurred, and the RHAP blogs in trying to forecast the jury votes of Millennials vs. Gen X.


    Episode 13: Perception distortion

    Published: December 11, 2016

     

    Andy Baker takes a look at how the players look... to themselves, to the other remaining players, and to the jury, as a way of assessing their chances of winning Millennials vs. Gen X.


    Episode 12: The prettiest piles of dirt

    Published: December 3, 2016

     

    Andy Baker returns to assess three weeks of progress toward the endgame of Millennials vs. Gen X, and how they've affected the flawed but beautiful games of the prospective winners.


    Episode 8: Hot takes

    Published: November 10, 2016

     

    Andy Baker makes a quick pass through the events, twists, alliances, winners, and losers of the merge in Episode 8 of Survivor: Millennials vs. Gen X.


    Episode 7: Baker's dozen

    Published: November 6, 2016

     

    As the merge approaches, Andy Baker reassesses and ranks the chances of winning for the 13 players left after Episode 7 of Survivor: Millennials vs. Gen X.


    Episode 6: The small stuff

    Published: October 30, 2016

     

    Andy Baker turns his attention to the tiny inclusions, omissions, and juxtapositions that served to further the storytelling in Episode 6 of Survivor: Millennials vs. Gen X.


    Episode 5: What production wants, production gets

    Published: October 23, 2016

     

    Andy Baker explores the degree to which casting decisions and who goes where in a swap can influence the game's outcome. Usually in the way production prefers.


    Episode 4: Changing gears

    Published: October 15, 2016

     

    Andy Baker feels newly liberated, pondering idols, bad newbie strategy, more idols, and more bad newbie strategy. And praise for Jeff Probst!


    Episode 3: Babel fish

    Published: October 9, 2016

     

    Andy Baker, being a Gen Xer, already has fishing gear, and catches a babel fish to translate Survivor from 'confessional' to 'casual' in one easy step. Or 13 of them, at least.


    Episode 2: Courting controversy

    Published: October 1, 2016

     

    Andy Baker pulls on his tinfoil buff a few weeks earlier than usual to argue that events in Episode 2 weren't entirely organic, particularly the convenient Tribal seating setting up a blindside, and a serendipitous idol find.


    Episode 1: The end is the beginning is the end

    Published: September 24, 2016

     

    Andy Baker zooms in on the Survivor: Millennials vs. Gen X premiere-opening sequence, and argues that it serves as a cheat sheet to the major players of the endgame. Like them or not.


    Pre-season: This boot order is crazy! (You won't believe #5!)

    Published: September 19, 2016

     

    Andy Baker counts down the likely finishes of the Survivor: Millennials vs. Gen X cast, from #20 (the first boot) to #1 (the winner). And really, you won't believe #5. Probably.

  • S32 logo Survivor 32: Kaoh Rong (click to expand/collapse)
    Merge time

    Also not S32: DWSC 2015, Part II

    Published: April 3, 2016

     

    Andy Baker concludes his in-depth recounting of the 2015 Durham Warriors Survival Challenge.


    Not Kaoh Rong: DWSC 2015, Part I

    Published: February 7, 2016

     

    Andy looks back in-depth at the pre-merge portion of the 2015 Durham Warriors Survival Challenge.

  • S31 logo Survivor 31: Cambodia - Second Chance (click to expand/collapse)
    Sweet Sorrow

    Episode 14: Sweet Sorrow

    Published: December 20, 2015

     

    Andy takes a final, misty-eyed gaze back at Second Chance, evaluating the Final Six, and recounting his real-life interactions with the cast at the afterparty.


    Episode 13: Shoulda Woulda Coulda

    Published: December 13, 2015

     

    Andy adopts an empathetic approach, in looking back and treasuring the gameplay of departed Second Chance contestants, while also looking ahead at which of the remaining six could take home the Sole Survivor title.


    Episode 12: Do Not Read This Column

    Published: December 5, 2015

     

    Andy seizes on a single scene in Episode 12, and portends the end of Second Chance. Don't go if you don't want to (possibly) know.


    Episodes 10-11: Benefit of the Doubt

    Published: December 1, 2015

     

    Andy digests the doings of the double episode, and gives the best possible spin to the players and the remainders of their Second Chances.


    Episode 9: Easy-Bake Oven

    Published: November 24, 2015

     

    Andy presents 13 rapidly risen reactions to Episode 9 of Survivor: Cambodia - Second Chance.


    Episode 8: Reality in Real Time

    Published: November 15, 2015

     

    Andy gives his stream-of-consciousness reactions to the twists and turns (and tuk-tuks) of Episode 8 of Survivor: Cambodia - Second Chance.


    Episode 7: Everybody Talks

    Published: November 7, 2015

     

    The merge is a predictive episode, and Andy dissects the quotes the contestants were shown saying, to divine their Second Chance portents.


    Episode 6: Baker's Dozen

    Published: November 1, 2015

     

    With 13 players remaining in Cambodia, Andy takes the opportunity to reassess their (second) chances of winning.


    Episode 4: Varner's Downfall

    Published: October 17, 2015

     

    Andy delivers a succinct synopsis, lamenting the loss of one Jeffrey Varner and his mid-life quest... in an atypical format.


    Episode 3: Every(one)

    Published: October 12, 2015

     

    Andy examines the relationship (and conflict) between individuality and acting for the common good, and how that balance plays out in Survivor. And re-examines every(one)'s chances of winning.


    Episode 2: The Contrarian Returns

    Published: October 4, 2015

     

    In which Andy yanks the column's reins from Captain Obvious and hands them instead to The Contrarian, who is less verbose but more highly opinionated. Hilarity ensues.


    Episode 1: Narrative Acceleration

    Published: September 27, 2015

     

    Andy applauds the rapid deployment of multiple redemptive, "Second Chance" storylines in the premiere episode of Survivor: Cambodia - Second Chance, and posits where they're headed.


    Pregame: What's the Big Idea(s)?

    Published: September 7, 2015

     

    Andy takes a critical eye to the cast and possible themes ahead in Survivor: Cambodia - Second Chance.

  • S30 logo Survivor 30: Worlds Apart (click to expand/collapse)
    S31 ballot time

    Episode 13: One Blowhard's Ballot

    Published: May 15, 2015

     

    Andy casts a final, skeptical glance at Survivor: Worlds Apart, then turns his attention to his preferred set of 20 contestants for Survivor: Second Chance. Hope is renewed.


    Episode 7: Merge Feast

    Published: April 5, 2015

     

    Andy returns from the land of casuals, revisits his pre-season predictions, and assesses how the Worlds Apart game appears to be shaping up in the post-merge environment.


    Pre-season: 30 Thoughts on Season 30

    Published: February 22, 2015

     

    Andy presents an extra 17 bullet points to cover all his excitement about the cast and season potential for Survivor: Worlds Apart. Then predicts how the contestants will fare.

  • S29 logo Survivor 29: San Juan del Sur (click to expand/collapse)
    Final three

    Ep.14: All's well that ends well

    Published: December 24, 2014

     

    Andy closes the book on San Juan del Sur, and finds himself satisfied with the ending, in light of Natalie's top-tier winning performance.


    Ep.13: Ignoring the Edit

    Published: December 14, 2014

     

    In which Andy implores Survivor fans to set aside the concept of the winner's edit, and look with fresh eyes at who might actually win San Juan del Sur. And predicts who that will be.


    Ep.11-12: Reaching Conclusions

    Published: December 8, 2014

     

    Andy evaluates the double episode's big move(s?), then reaches conclusions about how this will impact the remaining two episodes of San Juan del Sur.


    Ep.10: The Power of Positivity

    Published: November 28, 2014

     

    Andy comes to praise Survivor, not to bury it. Or at least to praise Reed and Natalie's gameplay in this week's episode. And even Baylor and Jaclyn getting cookies!


    Ep.9: Producing a Blindside

    Published: November 23, 2014

     

    Andy dons his patented tinfoil buff, alleging many of the remaining players on San Juan del Sur, rather than spontaneously gaining game knowledge, appear to have been subtly coached by the questions producers ask during confessionals.


    Ep.8: Brain Dump

    Published: November 18, 2014

     

    A brief look at the strategic implications of Josh Canfield's ouster from Survivor: San Juan del Sur, including how the loss of Josh's strategic smarts affects the remainder of the season going forward.


    Ep.7: Irrational Assertions

    Published: November 9, 2014

     

    You won't believe this week's Dozen, in which Andy says that Julie's quit was "great" and that "San Juan del Sur is a Top 5 season." Really! You can't be sure unless you read it.


    Ep.6: Fun Sized!

    Published: November 2, 2014

     

    Is it a trick or a treat? Andy finds the inner candy identity of the remaining (and just-departed) San Juan del Sur contestants, and asks whether they will have a sweet future in the merge and beyond.


    Ep.5: Donut Holes

    Published: October 26, 2014

     

    After welcoming a newborn, Andy finds the time to put together a Dozen in slightly smaller portions, as he analyzes the new directions the freshly swapped San Juan del Sur tribes are taking.


    Ep.4: Emerging from the Shadows

    Published: October 19, 2014

     

    Andy eschews skewering Drew, and instead turns his attention to the contestants who seem to be coming to the forefront as potential long-term players, in this week's Dozen.


    Ep.3: Half Baked

    Published: October 12, 2014

     

    You'll never guess which recently booted Survivor contestant Andy likes (not for the reason you think). Andy takes stock of Rocker, Probst, production, and the potential contenders for the win in the aftermath, in this week's Dozen.


    Ep.2: Method or Madness?

    Published: October 5, 2014

     

    Andy returns to the Baker's Dozen Classic format, and analyzes the strategic performances of key contestants, through the first two episodes. Key question: Are Josh's methods commendable, or mad?


    Ep.1: Flipping the Script

    Published: September 27, 2014

     

    Andy revisits his cast assessments in light of the contestants' performances in the first episode, and finds himself reversing his expectations for several couples.


    Pre-season: Late to the Party

    Published: September 21, 2014

     

    An in-depth pre-season evaluation of the relative chances of survival of the new contestants of Survivor: San Juan del Sur. In which Andy swears he'll focus on "positivity and optimism." We're pretty sure you can trust him.


    Not SJdS: Put Up or Shut Up

    Published: August 31, 2014

     

    Andy describes how (much) he outwitted, outplayed, and outlasted his opponents at the 2014 edition of the Durham Warriors Survival Challenge, a four-day, Survivor-style competition in Maine.

  • S28 logo Survivor 28: Cagayan (click to expand/collapse)
    Emptying the cupboards

    Ep.14: Emptying the cupboards

    Published: May 25, 2014

     

    Andy takes a final, post-finale look at the season, players and winner of Survivor: Cagayan.


    Ep.13: The power of perception

    Published: May 18, 2014

     

    Heading into the finale, Andy examines how the remaining players perceive themselves, how they are perceived by their competitors and the audience, and how that shapes their chances of winning Survivor: Cagayan.


    Ep.12: The persona predicament

    Published: May 10, 2014

     

    Andy examines how the personas the remaining contestants bring to Survivor: Cagayan affect their gameplay, and their ability to win. Along with bonus taking Probst to task for interfering in the game, and forward-looking prognostications.


    p class="subhead">Ep.11: Pulling no punches

    Published: May 3, 2014

     

    Andy delivers a bare-bones (bare-knuckled?) Baker's Dozen that takes casting to task, both praises and laments Tony's targeting of Jefra, suggests auction fixes, and praises the agedeness of the Cagayan Final Six.


    Ep.10: Idol gossip

    Published: April 26, 2014

     

    In a special, Special Idol-related column, Andy casts a disapproving eye on the origins of, search for, and likely impact of the Special Idol on the remaining strategic options in Survivor: Cagayan.


    Ep.9: The rambler

    Published: April 19, 2014

     

    In a return to the traditional Baker's Dozen format, Andy examines LJ's mistakes, makes a long-awaited in-depth evaluation of Tony's game, and assesses the strength of the remaining players.


    Ep.8: Running diary

    Published: April 12, 2014

     

    Ever wondered what goes through the head of a Survivor superfan on the day a Survivor episode airs? Obviously you should have. If through some fault of your own you haven't, you're going to find out, anyway. In this case, Cagayan's Episode 8, featuring Sonic-mode Woo.


    Ep.7: The merge menu - A la carte

    Published: April 5, 2014

     

    Andy dispenses with his usual 13-bullet-point format to offer a series of independent observations on Survivor: Cagayan's merge episode. Including: Kass's move was not so bad, Trish's move was not so great, LJ/Tony, Tasha, and Sarah's faults and strengths, and... Final Two?


    Ep.6: Quitters can kiss my ***

    Published: March 30, 2014

     

    Andy examines the ramifications of Lindsey Ogle's quit, commends Alexis Maxwell's (largely hidden) strategic game, and picks favorites among the remaining players of Survivor: Cagayan.


    Ep.5: Avenue to the endgame

    Published: March 24, 2014

     

    Andy analyzes how the new, post-swap tribes (and the contestants' responses to their changed environments) affect each contestant's chances of winning the game, with a baker's dozen of them remaining.


    Ep.4: Pre-swap report card

    Published: March 17, 2014

     

    Andy takes a (spoiler-free, ad-free) look at which contestants are currently the best-situated heading into the upcoming tribal swap, based on their performances in the first four episodes. And everyone gets a letter grade! (Spoiler alert: The people already booted don't do well.)


    Ep.3: The beauty of a bivouac

    Published: March 9, 2014

     

    Andy argues that this is the perfect point for an early season pause, in which the Survivor: Cagayan contestants should take a moment to re-evaluate their prospects in the game and chances of reaching the end. Just in case they don't, Andy does it for them.


    Ep.1-2: Capital offenses

    Published: March 3, 2014

     

    In which Andy takes various members of the Survivor: Cagayan cast to task for their egregious strategic stumbles in the premiere episode. By "various" we mean mostly David and Garrett, and yeah, the rest of the Brains tribe, and... okay, yeah, fine: almost all of them.


    Pre-season: A dangerous thing

    Published: February 17, 2014

     

    Andy takes a second pre-season look at the Survivor: Cagayan cast and twists, now including the information included in the Jeff Probst Cast Assessment video, and in the TV Guide Network preview show. Includes Andy's updated cast longevity projections.


    Pre-season: Premature articulation

    Published: February 7, 2014

     

    Andy takes an initial pre-season look at Survivor: Cagayan, including projecting how the recently announced cast will fare under the three-tribe Brains/Brawn/Beauty format.


    Caramoan Ep.5 re-print: Burnett's bedlam

    Originally published: March 13, 2013, at RHAP

     

    (Archival edition). A re-published form of Andy Baker's analysis of Brandon Hantz's exit from Survivor: Caramoan.

  • S27 logo Survivor 27: Blood vs. Water (click to expand/collapse)
    All good things

    Ep.14: All good things

    Published: December 22, 2013

     

    Andy offers praise for Tyson's winning game in Survivor: Blood vs. Water, and for the season as a whole, and begins to ponder where Tyson's win and the season fit in the show's overall rankings. Plus some final thoughts on the non-winners.


    Ep.13: Like, love, loathe

    Published: December 13, 2013

     

    With the Blood vs. Water finale just two days away, Andy revisits the moments he liked, loved, and loathed in the penultimate episode, and offers his final predictions for the finale.


    Ep.12: Eating crow

    Published: December 8, 2013

     

    Andy owns up to perhaps being somewhat inaccurate in his Captain Obvious proclamations, then examines where else his analysis may have missed the mark, as Blood vs. Water prepares to air its second-to-last episode.


    Ep.11: Captain Obvious

    Published: November 28, 2013

     

    In an overstuffed Thanksgiving Baker's Dozen, Andy dispenses observations on Ciera's choice, Tyson's game, the power of the jurors, and individual challenges that favor specific body types. Obviously.


    Ep.10: Survivor SATs

    Published: November 24, 2013

     

    Don't worry, this Survivor aptitude test is multiple choice, and there's no penalty for making wrong answers. Except, obviously, for your own eternal shame. Grab your No. 2 pencil, and let's get to filling bubbles.


    Ep.9: Ten commandments

    Published: November 18, 2013

     

    Andy takes a more prescriptive tone, and offers up ten (more or less) key rules that future Survivor players ought to take to heart, or at least follow, even if they don't want to.


    Ep.8: Dear Andy

    Published: November 11, 2013

     

    In which the Baker's Dozen takes the form of an advice column, fielding compelling questions from people who may or may not be competing on Survivor: Blood vs. Water.


    Ep.7: Things we've learned

    Published: November 4, 2013

     

    With the merge looming, Andy assigns his mid-term grades to Blood vs. Water, including assessments of Kat, Hayden (and Kat and Hayden), and Laura B., then puts an eye to where the merge may take everyone.


    Ep.6: Themeless

    Published: October 28, 2013

     

    In which Andy eschews theme-based commentary, and instead offers his hot takes on steroids, swaps, Kat, Vytas, Probst, and of course, Brad Culpepper.


    Ep.5: True lies

    Published: October 22, 2013

     

    Andy explores the intersection between truth and falsehood in Episode 5 of Blood vs. Water, from whether back rubs are just back rubs, to the bluntness of the edit, to subtle production manipulation of the show.


    Ep.4: Your H.Q. for B.O.

    Published: October 15, 2013

     

    Andy offers his highly informed Baseless Opinions on a number of Blood vs. Water Episode 4 topics, from praising Caleb's Accidental Genius move at Tribal, to debating whether Brad or Monica Culpepper is the better player.


    Ep.3: The BD is back!

    Published: October 6, 2013

     

    Andy takes his column to a new, less-traveled place: The True Dork Times. A Redemption Island of sort. And he bridges the gap between the Bedlam of Caramoan and Ep.3 of Blood vs. Water. Goodbye Brandon Hantz, hello Brad Culpepper.

ADVERTISEMENT