Ryan Kaiser

Ryan KaiserRyan Kaiser has been a lifelong fan of Survivor since the show first aired during his days in elementary school, and he plans to one day put his money where his mouth is by competing in the greatest game on Earth.  Until that day comes, however, he'll stick to running his mouth here and on Twitter.


His column, "Kaiser Island," previously appeared at Survivor Talk w/ D&D, covering seasons 33-35. He first appeared here at the True Dork Times in 2018, in the pre-season coverage of season 36, Survivor: Ghost Island.


Follow him on twitter: @Ryan__Kaiser

  • S39 logo Survivor 39: Island of the Idols (click to expand/collapse)
    Kaiser Island

    Episode 3: A couple steps too far

    Published: October 11, 2019


    Cracks, cuts and covert operations were abundant in the Lairo tribe this week, and Ryan is here to praise some, bury others, and curiously cheer still others? In-dean.

    Episode 2: Parvati 2.0

    Published: October 4, 2019


    Ryan revisits another episode of Island of the Idols where the women did everything: start fires, find idols, win idols, yell at their tribes, fall off ladders, arrange coups, and of course, get voted out. And always twirling, twirling, twirling towards freedom.

    Episode 1: What is this place?

    Published: September 27, 2019


    Come, stare in slack-jawed wonder as Ryan Kaiser replays for you the events of the season premiere of Island of the Idols. Events you have seen before, but will still amaze you in their level of Janet stanning and Idol (mostly Sandra) worship.

    Pre-season: Big heads: The TDT Island of the Idols contestant draft

    Published: September 23, 2019


    The True Dork Times writers congregate and try to pick the winner of Survivor: Island of the Idols based on almost zero evidence. But that's no reason to avoid making what are probably ludicrously inaccurate hot takes.

    Pre-season: Island of the Idols cast assessment

    Published: September 16, 2019


    With barely a week and a half left until the premiere, Ryan is eager to get rolling with Island of the Idols, and, armed mostly with their CBS bios, has put together a brisk run-down of which new castaways among the cast may soon have their own giant wooden head statues.

  • S38 logo Survivor 38: Edge of Extinction (click to expand/collapse)
    Kaiser Island

    Episode 14: Defeat everybody else

    Published: May 18, 2019


    Well, it finally happened. Edge of Extinction is finally extinct. So it's time to put a tiny Wardog cap on the season, as Ryan revisits Chris's 5-day march to victory, and the ultimate irrelevance of the 13 episodes that preceded it.

    Episode 13: Not living on the Edge tonight

    Published: May 10, 2019


    Ryan revisits an episode that mostly just recycled the usual idol antics, as the finale clock ticked down, and imagines a time better spent: With lots of Reem. Lots and lots of Reem. (Also some Aurora and Lauren, but mostly Reem.)

    Episode 12: Thanks for the honeymoon

    Published: May 3, 2019


    Ryan recaps a tear-drenched episode of Survivor: Edge of Extinction: From the tear at the bottom of Ron's advantage menu, to the contestants' tears of enduring Probst's talk-show questioning with their loved ones, to the salty splashes on the loved ones in the challenge, to Ryan's own tears at the Reem vs. Wardog showdown at the Edge being cut for time.

    Episode 11: It gets harder as you get deeper

    Published: April 26, 2019


    It's a somber time, as Ryan reflects on the errant swims, the missed rings, the mud baths, the rice wars, and cheeseries that led to the Wardog's slipping to Extinction. Although at least there was a lot of Reem and Kelley to soften the blow.

    Episode 10: Holy ____, Wardog

    Published: April 19, 2019


    Ryan Kaiser has survived a mountain of pizza and dodged falling balls to bring you this grim report of two returnees felled in a single episode, all thanks to ... dammit, Wardog.

    Episode 9: My spidey sense says it's me

    Published: April 12, 2019


    Amidst the turbulent waters of Tribal Council, one calm, half-idol-wielding chap provides the landing lap for people jumping ship. No, it's not Wardog. Ryan navigates the all-Tribal episode, and recaps its high points and low blows, like hiding the person who has (allegedly) been running the show.

    Episode 8: Civil war

    Published: April 5, 2019


    Ryan takes stock (stake? steak?) of the state of the game after the Kama kollapse, and revels in the no-longer-purple reveals of Aurora and Julia as power players, and Wardog as a number-crunching, ____-logic-playing, actual puppetmaster.

    Episode 7: Let's f***ing do it

    Published: March 29, 2019


    Ryan revisits the highs and lows and expletives and exits of the Extinction reveal and return, and the lows and whoas and oh nos of the rest of the Edge of Extinction merge episode.

    Episodes 5-6: Everything's a gamble

    Published: March 23, 2019


    As the pre-merge fast-forwards through its final two hours, Ryan pauses to mourn Aubry's blindside, appreciate the Extinction chaos, remark on Lesu's losing and Joe's winning ways, and take a worried peek ahead at the big Extinction reveal and return.

    Episode 4: The Cleveland Browns of tribes

    Published: March 15, 2019


    Everything is different and yet pretty much the same, as Ryan surveys the aftermath of the tribe swap: Some madness, some sadness, and some acceptance that maybe The Wardog is running this asylum, after all.

    Episode 3: She's lost her rocker

    Published: March 8, 2019


    If you were hoping Ryan wouldn't be able to get through his Episode 3 recap of Edge of Extinction without addressing the giant chicken in the room, you're in cluck. (Not sorry. Totally Wentworth it.)

    Episode 2: I would vote me out

    Published: March 1, 2019


    Revisit the revelry (also the recriminations?) of Episode 2 with Ryan, who loved Reem on Redemption, er, Extinction, and mostly tolerated the rest of the episode's idol talk and returnee-hating.

    Episode 1: This old lady can kill it

    Published: February 23, 2019


    With a (mostly) new cast and a new twist, there's a lot for Ryan to recap, from the Joes to the cobras to the reeming. But don't worry, Reem could extend her life on this show. Who will join the Debbie-Natalie pantheon this season? Could it be... clothes?

    Pre-season: The TDT EoE contestant draft

    Published: February 17, 2019


    As the new season nears the True Dork Times writers gather to draft fantasy teams of three players. Whose prediction skills will drive their team to extinction? Whose prognostication will give them an edge and a victory?

    Pre-season: Edge of Extinction cast assessment

    Published: February 4, 2019


    Ryan runs through his first impressions of the Edge of Extinction cast, then comes up with an approximate bootlist. Which, in the context of a poorly explained brand-new twist, may not end up meaning much. But it's here!

  • S37 logo Survivor 37: David vs. Goliath (click to expand/collapse)
    Kaiser Island - S37

    Episode 14: Make as many fireworks as possible

    Published: December 22, 2018


    Ryan bids a fond farewell to a great season, and makes as many fireworks as possible, as one should. Chief among them: His choice for Player of the Season, which is of course 100% correct. Deal with it.

    Pre-Episode 14: Jury Jeopardy - David vs. Goliath

    Published: December 17, 2018


    With six players remaining, three True Dork Times writers (Pat Ferrucci, Ryan Kaiser, and Jeff Pitman) unite to forecast the outcome of the Survivor: David vs. Goliath jury's vote on the final three. Who will win the million? And more importantly, will we out-predict Survivor scribes from other sites?

    Episode 13: Treat 'em really well, and then slit their throats

    Published: December 15, 2018


    Ryan negotiates his way through the twists and turns of a convoluted but ultimately shocking final boot before the David vs. Goliath finale. Chock full of tricks, frenemies, revenge, God, and of course... balls.

    Episode 12: I'm excited, and I'm nervous, and I'm sad

    Published: December 7, 2018


    Ryan ponders the relative merits of going Big (Move) AND going home, crapshoot (lack of) movement to win reward, not moving at all to win immunity, and hiding your movements so as not to become a target, as seen in Episode 12 of David vs. Goliath.

    Episodes 10-11: Drunk with power

    Published: December 1, 2018


    Ryan looks back on two hours of David vs. Goliath that delivered in so many ways: yoga, tips, dunks, drunks, Godfathers, drunk Godfathers, eggs, and dings. Or possibly bings, depending on your perceptions.

    Episode 9: Do you like surprises?

    Published: November 25, 2018


    Ryan recounts his shock and awe at the advantage avalanche the Davids pulled off in blindsiding Dan, but also his love of burger atmosphere and perchance, a hint of a new honorary Wanner?

    Episode 8: That Christian, he's wily

    Published: November 16, 2018


    Ryan navigates the twists and turns of an episode that was all about Christian, but really only as a distraction in order to pull off an epic idol-aided blindside. With as many sandbags, pizzas, Culpeppers, and Dan pleases as you can handle.

    Episode 7: What everyone RSVPed for

    Published: November 9, 2018


    Three tribes become the singular (but double-named) Kalokalo tribe, and Ryan Kaiser is here for the merge shenanigans, mostly involving various Goliaths strong-arming each other, but also double (triple?) agents, art, and seagulls.

    Episode 6: She deserves an Emmy

    Published: November 2, 2018


    Ryan searches for meaning in a post-Natalie David vs. Goliath world, and finds some seeds of post-merge hope (even if it's not a strategy): A more villainous Angelina, a descent into madness on Vuku, a potential successor to James, and an entire tribe of Debbie-worthy balance beaming.

    Episode 5: Always in trouble

    Published: October 26, 2018


    It is a dark and tumultuous time as Ryan endures a heavy, wrenching blow: The loss of Queen Natalie, long may she reign. Also some cyclone wrecks the camps, or something, idols are found, challenges won, jackets argued over, yada yada.

    Episode 4: Gerrymandered against the Davids

    Published: October 19, 2018


    Ryan reviews a movement-packed episode, as Bi leaves, tribes swap, something called Jabeni appears, Natalie ascends to her throne, Carl finds a strange new power, Tiva loses immunity, Alec flips, and Natalia is blindsided. Phew! But at least she takes it in stride.

    Episode 3: Get off my island

    Published: October 12, 2018


    Ryan relishes every hair-flipping moment of the title bout in this episode: No, not Mason-Dixon vs. Gabby, or Bi vs. her knee, but Goliath vs. Goliath, a.k.a. Natalie vs. Jeremy.

    Episode 2: Why would you wanna take out the old lady?

    Published: October 5, 2018


    Ryan surveys the damage of two storms that swept through Episode 2 of David vs. Goliath: Elizabeth's high-powered flipping of the votes on David to save Lyrsa, and Natalie's cyclonic path to deepest reaches of his heart.

    Episode 1: We will keep fighting

    Published: September 29, 2018


    Ryan basks in the extended space of the David vs. Goliath premiere, exulting in the extra time to meet and greet the new contestants, from the John of many names, to the Davids of many sad backstories, to sad back story of Pat, to the force of nature that is Natalie.

    Pre-season: The TDT DvG contestant draft

    Published: September 22, 2018


    The True Dork Times writers (Ben Martell, Pat Ferrucci, Ryan Kaiser, and Jeff Pitman) come together to draft fantasy teams of David vs. Goliath contestants, in an attempt to win eternal* glory by having the team containing the winner. (*Offer expires roughly one month after the season ends.)

    Pre-season: David vs. Goliath cast assessment

    Published: September 16, 2018


    With just over a week until the premiere, Ryan kicks off our Survivor 37 coverage with his impressions of the new contestants of Survivor: David vs. Goliath, some of whom actually have some pre-season content beyond their written bios!

  • S36 logo Survivor 36: Ghost Island (click to expand/collapse)
    Kaiser Island

    Episode 14: There's only one winner

    Published: May 26, 2018


    Ryan looks back at the highlights of Ghost Island's finale and season, from the challenges to the champion(s) to the curses. He also crowns several winners of various prizes, even though the show (quite dramatically) had just one.

    Pre-Episode 14: Jury Jeopardy - S36

    Published: May 21, 2018


    The True Dork Times writers assemble once more to project the jury votes, while doing battle with scribes from other Survivor sites: InsideSurvivor, A Tribe of One, Purple Rock Podcast, and the RHAP bloggers. Who can boast the most votes noted for Ghost Island?

    Episode 13: Going kamikaze

    Published: May 17, 2018


    Ryan revisits all the big moves of Episode 13, and somehow still has time to mourn Kellyn, have visitations from Ghost Angela, pirate Sebastian, and crazy Donathan, while still spending half the episode with the obvious winner.

    Episode 12: Go big or go home, girl

    Published: May 11, 2018


    Ryan reminds us that as the oozing Malolo orange lava of the Ghost Island pre-merge petrifies into Lavita black rock, only Aunt Patty can shake things up and make them interesting again.

    Episode 11: Luck of the draw

    Published: May 4, 2018


    Like Probst, Ryan has very few questions about this largely snooze-inducing episode, but stay (Naviti) strong, there are real fakes, slaps, and sleeping to be had as he recaps the double Michelle Yi-ing.

    Episode 10: The goats are coming together

    Published: April 29, 2018


    Formerly live from Boston, Ryan retraces all the curses reversed, Doms hmmmed, Tribals lit, helicopter highs, and (surprisingly few) Malolo lows of Ghost Island, Episode 10.

    Episode 9: Seize the moment

    Published: April 19, 2018


    It's Episode 9 of Ghost Island: Peel your eyeballs away from the tacos and margaritas and towards Ryan's tale of guts, slugs, tongues, gags, and Game Changing power plays that would impress even Survivor's new marine biology expert. Stick around, something or somebody might get played.

    Episode 8: This is a showdown

    Published: April 11, 2018


    Survivor rolls out a rollicking merge episode that brings together 13 people who are content to make the episode entirely about Chris and Domenick. How does Ryan work in three Survivors who aren't actually in the episode? Through the magic of recapping.

    Episode 7: Nasty son of a bitch

    Published: April 7, 2018


    As Ghost Island's pre-merge ends in Episode 7, Ryan tries his best to cope with the sudden loss of Bradley's bitching. Luckily, items have been maturing over the last decade to ease various people's pain. Sadly, none are the Immunity Willard.

    Episode 6: Dealt some bad hands

    Published: March 29, 2018


    After six episodes of searching, Ryan finally finds his Wanner wannabe, and it was good. Better, at least, than the luck of the Malolos, the fortunes of various blindfolded women, and the ghosts of Ghost Island, who were forced to find new... accommodations.

    Episode 5: Soak in the strength

    Published: March 23, 2018


    Ryan describes both his deep appreciation for and simultaneously being crushed by Ghost Island Episode 5, an episode that dispensed with twists and gimmicks to focus on the characters and their various motivations for playing.

    Episode 4: The leader never wins

    Published: March 16, 2018


    Ryan winds his way through the many impediments of Episode 4 of Ghost Island, from wandering wolves to spooked Kellyns to PB & J that is mostly neither PB nor J, but bread. Oh, and cursed immunity balls.

    Episode 3: A broken family

    Published: March 9, 2018


    Ryan recounts the twisting of the two happy Ghost Island families into two newly dysfunctional families, one of which has someone extremely averse to dirt. But help and/or Laffy Taffy are on the way, more or less. Or lies. Yes, lies are on the way.

    Episodes 1-2: Walking truly into the unknown

    Published: March 3, 2018


    Ryan recaps the highs and lows, the sighs and 'fros, of Survivor: Ghost Island's first two episodes. Who were the players of the week? Who was terrible, but great TV? Who were the true ghosts?

    Pre-season: TDT Ghost Island contestant draft

    Published: February 22, 2018


    The True Dork Times writers (Andy Baker, Ben Martell, Dan Otsuki, Pat Ferrucci, Ryan Kaiser, and Jeff Pitman) assemble to draft fantasy teams of Ghost Island contestants, in an attempt to seize eternal* glory by having the team containing the winner. Unless one of the two undrafted players (Team Ghost) win, in which case everyone loses. (*Or until Fall of 2018, whichever comes first.)

    Pre-season: Ghost Island cast assessment

    Published: February 14, 2018


    Ryan Kaiser evaluates the new contestants of Survivor: Ghost Island and assesses their chances of success. Who will be first out? Who will win? Who will come in somewhere in between?