Damnbueno got his nickname in 8th grade Spanish class when his friend shouted out "You're pretty damn good at Spanish." The teacher insisted he say it in Spanish, so the friend said "Esto es damn bueno en Espanol." The nickname stuck. These days, when he's not forgetting his 8th grade Spanish, Damnbueno is indulging his obsession with all things Survivor. Reach him in the comments section here at True Dork Times.
His column, "Screaming at the Screen" debuted here at the True Dork Times in 2022, when he first wrote about Survivor 42.
Episode 13: A finale this|close to a classic
Survivor 44 Episode 13 recap/ analysis
By Damnbueno | Published: May 25, 2023
Damnbueno wraps up his Survivor 44 commentary with a run through the finale and aftershow, with particular focus on a Final Tribal Council that he feels ranks among the all-time best, with each finalist presenting a strong case for the million.
Episode 12: A race to a great finish
Survivor 44 Episode 12 recap/ analysis
By Damnbueno | Published: May 18, 2023
With the endgame in clear sight, Damnbueno talks about the moves that should or shouldn't have been made in Episode 12 of Survivor 44 (as well as those that actually were).
Episode 11: Mergatory report card update
Survivor 44 Episode 11 recap/ analysis
By Damnbueno | Published: May 11, 2023
Prior to his recap, Damnbueno runs through an assessment of each member of the Final 7's chances of winning, then dives into the surprise wins and big moves of Episode 11. Is Final 7 too early to make a flashy move?
Episode 10: Oh frontrunner, where art thou?
Survivor 44 Episode 10 recap/ analysis
By Damnbueno | Published: May 5, 2023
As Damnbueno sees a winner contender fall in Episode 10 of Survivor 44, he ponders the optimal path to the end in new era Survivor, and the lack of a clear picture of who's really 'running the game.'
Episode 9: Final nine is divine ... I hope
Survivor 44 Episode 9 recap/ analysis
By Damnbueno | Published: April 27, 2023
Damnbueno takes a look at the struggle for power in Episode 9 of Survivor 44, with three tribes trying to seize the reins, as the game finally gets under way in earnest. With the requisite mid-Tribal whispering, of course.
Episode 8: Coping with new era Survivor
Survivor 44 Episode 8 recap/ analysis
By Damnbueno | Published: April 20, 2023
After a brief deep dive into core strategic approaches that are still valid in the new era, Damnbueno plunges into Episode 8 of Survivor 44, which actually had a fair amount of strategic gameplay, and featured the entire merge tribe finally voting and being at risk.
Episode 7: Mergatory report card
Survivor 44 Episode 7 recap/ analysis
By Damnbueno | Published: April 13, 2023
Before going through the rock-draw-driven events of Episode 7 of Survivor 44, Damnbueno hands out his mid-season grades for the gameplay of the remaining competitors, then jumps back into the key-finding and split-squadding action.
Episode 6: Textbook self-destruction
Survivor 44 Episode 6 recap/ analysis
By Damnbueno | Published: April 6, 2023
Episode 6 of Survivor 44 marks the sort-of-merge, and Damnbueno is excited as the game (sort-of) kicks into high gear with the individual phase of the game. But first, a review of the wide gray area between a quit and a medevac.
Episode 5: To sit or not to sit?
Survivor 44 Episode 5 recap/ analysis
By Damnbueno | Published: March 30, 2023
Damnbueno looks at the maneuvering and idol shenanigans in Episode 5 of Survivor 44, most of which - while entertaining - ultimately became moot as another player left the game for medical reasons.
Episode 4: When living in a crazy world, learn how to speak crazy
Survivor 44 Episode 4 recap/ analysis
By Damnbueno | Published: March 23, 2023
Damnbueno has the run-down on Episode 4 of Survivor 44, featuring a doubling of active idols, even more fake idols, a sort-of swap, and both literal and strategic bellyflops.
Episode 3: To play is to overplay ... sometimes
Survivor 44 Episode 3 recap/ analysis
By Damnbueno | Published: March 16, 2023
Damnbueno takes you on a tour through Episode 3 of 44, from the fake idol finds, to coming-and-going injuries, to playing too hard, to competing too little, to hesitating about making a decision. Plus gargoyles!
Episode 2: Survivor minds over Matt-ers
Survivor 44 Episode 2 recap/ analysis
By Damnbueno | Published: March 9, 2023
After a brief tour through the history of Survivor Matts, Damnbueno dives into Episode 2 of 44, including all the idol hunts, Matt-related events, and surprise reconfigurations of voting alliances at Tribal.
Episode 1: Island of No Secrets
Survivor 44 Episode 1 recap/ analysis
By Damnbueno | Published: March 2, 2023
Damnbueno is back for 44 with a first-look run-through of the two-hour premiere, from the injuries to the oversharing to the too-many-to-count (and mostly public) advantages and Shots and idols played at the first Tribal Council. Can't any of you people keep a secret?
Episode 13: Stats (some meaningless) for a finale
Survivor 43 Episode 13 recap/ analysis
By Damnbueno | Published: December 15, 2022
Well, Survivor 43 is certainly over. Damnbueno rolls out his reactions to the action as it unfolds, and his immediate attempts to understand the ending. (It's mostly jaw-dropped Jeanine face.)
Episode 12: This is why I LOVE Survivor!
Survivor 43 Episode 12 recap/ analysis
By Damnbueno | Published: December 8, 2022
Survivor 43's second-to-last episode features plans on top of plans on top of plans, and Damnbueno is excited about every last second of it, particularly including Jesse's glorious double idol-flushing (neither his own) pièce de résistance.
Episode 11: The agony of the follow-up
Survivor 43 Episode 11 recap/ analysis
By Damnbueno | Published: December 1, 2022
Damnbueno runs through Episode 11, which follows his favorite episode of the season, and celebrates Survivor 43 ditching Do or Die in favor of a clean Final Seven vote, but then notes the show backslides into a possible Advantagegeddon redux in the process.
Episode 10: To the observant go the spoils
Survivor 43 Episode 10 recap/ analysis
By Damnbueno | Published: November 24, 2022
A classic strategic catch-22 ensnares one player, while another gets the editors' full endorsement for an "anatomy of a blindside" explainer, all in Episode 10 of Survivor 43. For Damnbueno, was this a great episode, or the greatest episode of the season?
Episode 9: Split-squad drama
Survivor 43 Episode 9 recap/ analysis
By Damnbueno | Published: November 17, 2022
With one challenge and two Tribals, Episode 9 of Survivor 43 managed to pack in a surprising amount of conflict and big moves, with two key votes breaking up the majority Seven. Damnbueno recaps the big wins and blindsides.
Episode 8: A brief history of Survivor producer meddling
Survivor 43 Episode 8 recap/ analysis
By Damnbueno | Published: November 10, 2022
In a two-part column, Damnbueno kicks off with a reaction to Knowledge is Power being thrust back into the game a second time, followed by his reactions to Episode 8, where idol-related antics continued. (But KiP was somehow forgotten?)
Episode 7: Survivor Blabbermouths
Survivor 43 Episode 7 recap/ analysis
By Damnbueno | Published: November 3, 2022
If there was a recurring activity in Episode 7 of Survivor 43, it was talking: Jeff Probst talking and talking through an extra-long challenge, Gabler doing the same in the final stage, James telling everyone in sight about his Knowledge is Power advantage. So Damnbueno is here to talk some more about that, and suggest the missing theme for the season.
Episode 6: Stay humble, or die
Survivor 43 Episode 6 recap/ analysis
By Damnbueno | Published: October 27, 2022
Survivor 43 sort of hits its merge episode, and Damnbueno highlights the dangers of playing the game with overconfidence, especially in a minefield of random draws and lack of information equilibrium.
Episode 5: Being annoying for fun and profit
Survivor 43 Episode 5 recap/ analysis
By Damnbueno | Published: October 20, 2022
After a brief journey through Survivor history, Damnbueno looks at the flubs, acting, self-dunks, and strategic miscues of Episode 5 of Survivor 43, with an excited eye to how all the tensions and rivalries could combust when the tribes are brought together next week.
Episode 4: Introducing the Coco tribe
Survivor 43 Episode 4 recap/ analysis
By Damnbueno | Published: October 13, 2022
A return to the classic reward-immunity-Tribal structure for Episode 4 of Survivor 43, and with it both a camp raid and (finally) a trip to Tribal Council for the Coco tribe, which Damnbueno says reveals a lot about the six players we've barely met until now.
Episode 3: Quick thinking pays off
Survivor 43 Episode 3 recap/ analysis
By Damnbueno | Published: October 6, 2022
Episode 3 of Survivor 43 was light on strategy and heavy on idols and advantages, but also personalities and relationships. Damnbueno takes in all the actions and reactions and asks whether the Vesi tribe members made the correct decisions.
Episode 2: We're on strategy watch
Survivor 43 Episode 2 recap/ analysis
By Damnbueno | Published: September 29, 2022
Idol hunting and snooping began in earnest (and paid off ... or did it?), pairs abound throughout the game, and one tribe had to maneuver around one, possibly two missing votes. Damnbueno is back with a more strategy-focused look at Episode 2 of Survivor 43.
Survivor 43 Episode 1 recap/ analysis
By Damnbueno | Published: September 22, 2022
Damnbueno gives his quick reactions to a double-length premiere. He applauds the show's return to a form lacking some of 41/42's most objectionable twists, and tries to parse which of the group of 18 new contestants are the best prepared, and are making good game choices so far.
Seasons past: Why subtlety prevails over 'big moves' in Survivor: Part 2
Survivor Multi-season analysis
By Damnbueno | Published: September 12, 2022
Damnbueno's series on the power of subtlety concludes with a look at a few more winners, plus some non-winners who fell just short, all with a continued emphasis that quiet, non-flashy manipulation of the other players will get a contestant further in the game than someone blowing up the game with 'Big Moves.'
Seasons past: Why subtlety prevails over 'big moves' in Survivor: Part 1
Survivor Multi-season analysis
By Damnbueno | Published: September 6, 2022
In another inter-season series, Damnbueno pushes back on the modern Survivor refrain that "you have to make Big Moves to win," and highlights six specific examples in which eventual season winners instead subtly manipulated their castmates into making moves that ultimately improved their position in the game. Even in the "new era" game!
Seasons past: Race in Survivor: Part 2
Survivor Multi-season analysis
By Damnbueno | Published: August 22, 2022
Damnbueno concludes his look at the history of race (and racism) in Survivor with a deeper dive into individual case studies of players whose seasons included incidents or accusations of racism. Plus an attempt to list why every Black player was voted out.
Seasons past: Race in Survivor: Part 1
Survivor Multi-season analysis
By Damnbueno | Published: August 15, 2022
In which Damnbueno takes a look at the reasons why discussions about race became such a prominent component of Survivors 41 and 42, the show's history of (scant) minority representation, and what the increased diversity of recent seasons means (and doesn't mean) for the show moving forward.
Episode 13: (Mis)perception is everything
By Damnbueno | Published: May 26, 2022
The Survivor 42 season finale featured challenge beasts falling short, straight-shooters misfiring, and overlooked or "weak" players coming up big at the end. Damnbueno recaps the action as it unfolds, and offers his thoughts on the season as a whole.
Episode 12: "Caterpillar to a Butterfly"
By Damnbueno | Published: May 19, 2022
Damnbueno fires off his reactions to the twists, turns, challenges, and that Big Move of Episode 12 of Survivor 42, then pulls together all the threads of the season to weave a pre-finale prediction of juror preferences, and who might emerge at the end as Monarch.
Episode 11: Keep your mouth shut
By Damnbueno | Published: May 12, 2022
As the final seven vote actually happens (phew!) in Episode 11, Damnbueno recaps and reacts to the events of the episode, proposes a rule for future players that would have helped the one who left the episode in high-spirited fashion, and assesses the remaining players' chances of winning.
Episode 10: "Tell a Good Lie, Not a Stupid Lie"
By Damnbueno | Published: May 5, 2022
Damnbueno looks back at Episode 10 of Survivor 42, featuring the fall of a prominent strategist, the challenge sweep by a more subtle one, and the continuing omniscient omnipresence of Omar.
Episode 9: "Game of Chicken"
By Damnbueno | Published: April 28, 2022
Damnbueno takes a look at the flurry of activity in Episode 9 of Survivor 42, from the extremely short-lived guys alliance, to the split immunity challenge, to the twin Tribal Councils and the heavy topics discussed and moves made at the second one.
Episode 8: "You Better Be Wearing a Seatbelt"
By Damnbueno | Published: April 21, 2022
After a deep dive into merge boots, Damnbueno takes on Episode 8 of Survivor 42, from sit-outs to advantages to negotiated sit-outs to buoys (lots of buoys) to Omar's wizardry and the curious game of Chanelle.
Episodes 6-7: "You Can't Hide on Survivor/The Devil You Do or the Devil You Don't"
By Damnbueno | Published: April 14, 2022
It's the merge (eventually, wait for it ... ah, there, finally), and Damnbueno has a lot to discuss, from everyone telling everyone everything, all of the time, to Probst's blatant lying and that damn hourglass. Again. But also the ascent of some subtle power players.
Episode 5: "I'm Survivor Rich"
By Damnbueno | Published: April 7, 2022
There's still a lot of oversharing in Episode 5 of Survivor 42, but at last it pays off for the Beware Idols. Damnbueno runs through that development, the ins and outs of the now-merging tribes, and the surprising tactics at the Tribal Council vote.
Episode 4: "Vibe of the Tribe"
By Damnbueno | Published: March 31, 2022
Things are getting fishy in Episode 4 of Survivor 42, and Damnbueno is here to peel back the scales, from Daniel's continuing foibles, to the excessive Jonathaning throughout the episode, to the remarkable ability of Ika to keep booting young superfans, while keeping around their two most obvious boots.
Episode 3: "Go for the Gusto"
By Damnbueno | Published: March 24, 2022
For Episode 3 of Survivor 42, Damnbueno has a lot of content to get through, from "lost" idols to more oversharing, from new weird phrases to an old twist finally delivering the result it was intended to, and from seemingly oblivious challenge beasting to rock-dodging disasters.
Episode 2: "Good and Guilty"
By Damnbueno | Published: March 17, 2022
Damnbueno takes us through his rapid reactions to Episode 2, including thoughts on who's playing too much, who's over-sharing, and who's hitting that just-right "medium" play pace to set themselves up for the win.
Episode 1: "Feels Like a Rollercoaster"
By Damnbueno | Published: March 10, 2022
In which Damnbueno gives rapid-response, off-the-cuff reactions to the season premiere of Survivor 42: The challenges, the contestants, the new twists, everything. Get your commenting fingers ready ... go!