Ryan 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
Columns by Survivor season:
Episode 13: Just be yourself
Survivor 44 Episode 13 recap/ analysis
By Ryan Kaiser | Published: May 28, 2023
Ryan goes through his reactions to the Survivor 44 finale, from joy for Yam Yam's victory to dismay at Carolyn's zero jury votes, to everything in between. Plus an announcement of an ending, for now.
Episode 12: All your craziness is not craziness anymore
Survivor 44 Episode 12 recap/ analysis
By Ryan Kaiser | Published: May 21, 2023
The Survivor 44 finale is now just days away, and the final three is guaranteed to have at least one Tika. Ryan breaks down the final five's chances of winning, and ponders the desolate wasteland of a future Survivor season that does not have Carolyn in it.
Episode 11: One with the lobster
Survivor 44 Episode 11 recap/ analysis
By Ryan Kaiser | Published: May 12, 2023
Ryan's wish for an (almost) all-Carolyn episode is FINALLY granted (*bling*, thanks Jaime) in Episode 11, and as you might guess, he is extremely pleased with the results. Two chances left to make this a season-ending streak.
Episode 10: The era of alliances is over
Survivor 44 Episode 10 recap/ analysis
By Ryan Kaiser | Published: May 5, 2023
Ryan is happy that Episode 10 of Survivor 44 featured an actual reward and time spent with the season's moms, sad about the boot, a decidedly lukewarm on the samey-ness of the challenges, especially the show's inability to create a different puzzle.
Episode 9: Enjoy your rice, you bitches
Survivor 44 Episode 9 recap/ analysis
By Ryan Kaiser | Published: April 29, 2023
Ryan recounts the happenings of Episode 9 of Survivor 44, which somehow found time for an off day, only part of which was taken up by an idol hunt. Despite some host-related shenanigans, Ryan is happy to report that the 3-3-3 split by original tribes paid off relatively interestingly.
Episode 8: Everything yesterday means nothing today
Survivor 44 Episode 8 recap/ analysis
By Ryan Kaiser | Published: April 21, 2023
Ryan heralds the return of a "normal episode" with Episode 8 of Survivor 44, one in which everyone on the merge tribe voted and all but one was vulnerable to be voted against. Albeit also an episode that still shortchanged its cast by handing over half its runtime to a single challenge.
Episode 7: Set up like a chump
By Ryan Kaiser | Published: April 14, 2023
Ryan tees off on Episode 7 of Survivor 44's bizarre inability to meet even the absolute minimal expectations of a post-merge Survivor episode: actually being merged, and having jurors vote each other out. Is this even Survivor any more?
Episode 6: No meal, no buff, no hope
Survivor 44 Episode 6 recap/ analysis
By Ryan Kaiser | Published: April 7, 2023
Ryan works his way through Episode 6 of Survivor 44, another new era merge episode that wasn't as fun or interesting as an actual merge, a boot that wasn't especially surprising, but also one that didn't spell the end of Carolyn or Yam Yam, so at least there's that.
Episode 5: What's up with the bitch face?
Survivor 44 Episode 5 recap/ analysis
By Ryan Kaiser | Published: March 31, 2023
Ryan praises an episode that, despite lacking a Tribal Council, managed to do what the previous week didn't: focus on the contestants. Episode 5 of Survivor 44 delivered tension, emotion, and player insights by highlighting its (soon to be defunct) three-person Tika tribe.
Episode 4: Put me out of my misery
Survivor 44 Episode 4 recap/ analysis
By Ryan Kaiser | Published: March 24, 2023
After the rushed, confusing fourth episode of Survivor 44, Ryan tries to make sense of an alliance that seemingly went from besties to bitter rivals in the space of a day, a swap that tried to out-screw-over China's, and a massive deluge of new idols that defies explanation.
Episode 3: What is tribe strength?
Survivor 44 Episode 3 recap/ analysis
By Ryan Kaiser | Published: March 17, 2023
Ryan has some complaints about Episode 3 of Survivor 44, mainly its focus on the "heady" mix of challenge physicality and idol hiding, idol finding, and more idol finding (mostly fake). It's an episode that mostly ignored Carolyn, but did have Kane doing fantasy swordplay, but also continued the trend of original tribes voting out women first.
Episode 2: She's like a mix of Goofy and Cher
Survivor 44 Episode 2 recap/ analysis
By Ryan Kaiser | Published: March 10, 2023
A regular-length Episode 2 of Survivor 44 somehow delivered even more Carolyn content (Carolyntent?) and Ryan wouldn't have it any other way, unless it could be more Yam Yam and Carolyn (and maybe Claire?) instead of other, less exciting tribes finding idols or doing challenges.
Pre-season: I peed my pants
Survivor 44 Episode 1 recap/ analysis
By Ryan Kaiser | Published: March 3, 2023
Ryan returns to recap the many events of the two-hour premiere: The opening uncut confessional, the rock-groping, the self-pantsing, the overactive tongue movement, the desperately wanting to get something but you can't. He also briefly notes the activities of the players who weren't Carolyn, as one does.
Pre-season: Hot or not?
Survivor 44 Pre-season cast analysis
By Ryan Kaiser | Published: February 7, 2023
As Valentine's Day approaches, Ryan's heart turns to the new Survivor 44 cast, as he continues his everlasting quest to find new characters to stan (and also predict how they'll do on the actual show). Who will ignite the Tinder of his soul, and who will end up undateable?
Episode 13: An enigma
Survivor 43 Episode 13 Recap/ analysis
By Ryan Kaiser | Published: December 16, 2022
Ryan tries to make sense of a confusing Survivor 43 finale, one that cut its main characters before the final three. Then he throws those attempts in a swiftly-made fire, crowns a Player of the Season, and looks ahead to a rock-loving 44 pre-fave.
Episode 12: Sugar cracked out
Survivor 43 Episode 12 Recap/ analysis
By Ryan Kaiser | Published: December 11, 2022
While Ryan lost another favorite character in Episode 12's epic blindside, he's excited to see how the Survivor 43 finale turns out, and indulges in his semi-annual predictions of how the season's end might unfold.
Episode 11: In deep water
Survivor 43 Episode 11 Recap/ analysis
By Ryan Kaiser | Published: December 2, 2022
Ryan laments the Episode 11 surround-and-drown-ing of one the more dynamic players of Survivor 43, leaving a looming power struggle and a bunch of politeness and forced analogies at Tribal plus maybe five or six more advantages.
Episode 10: Ugly cry on national TV
Survivor 43 Episode 10 Recap/ analysis
By Ryan Kaiser | Published: November 27, 2022
Episode 10 of Survivor 43 featured a lot of hero worship that quickly boomeranged, and some fun editing techniques that Ryan yearns to retroactively see applied in past seasons. That and more that has Ryan beaming in this week's recap.
Episode 9: Two heads for the price of one
Survivor 43 Episode 9 Recap/ analysis
By Ryan Kaiser | Published: November 18, 2022
At long last, Ryan finally gets his two most-desired outcomes of Survivor 43 (Karla winning things and men being voted out), and he's mostly happy enough about it to relive it with you here.
Episode 8: Tired of seeing women go home
Survivor 43 Episode 8 Recap/ analysis
By Ryan Kaiser | Published: November 11, 2022
We've already had three post-"merge" episodes of Survivor 43, and this one was more of the same: Same format as the past two seasons, same dumb, *super*-surprising "twist," same outcome as most of the votes this season. There were a few fun surprises, and Ryan tries to focus on those.
Episode 7: This next minute's for Neil
Survivor 43 Episode 7 Recap/ analysis
By Ryan Kaiser | Published: November 4, 2022
Ryan tries to make sense of a Survivor 43 episode where a complicated vote took place, but most of the editing focus was on a ridiculously long challenge, while the thought processes of the shifting alliances were barely shown.
Episode 6: I'm way better than I even thought
Survivor 43 Episode 6 Recap/ analysis
By Ryan Kaiser | Published: October 28, 2022
Survivor 43 blurred the merge lines even more than before, with another half-merge (buffs, food) for seven, but also immunity for them, and a story that focused almost entirely on the original Baka tribe. But that wasn't without entertaining drama, which Ryan revisits.
Episode 5: Sassy
Survivor 43 Episode 5 Recap/ analysis
By Ryan Kaiser | Published: October 21, 2022
Ryan's recap of Episode 5 of Survivor 43 finds a lot of things the same (and more sameness next week) — beads, journeys, advantages — but also some new characters emerging, and new threats to contestants otherwise playing well. Knowledge is power, indeed.
Episode 4: It's literally not you
Survivor 43 Episode 4 Recap/ analysis
By Ryan Kaiser | Published: October 14, 2022
For Episode 4 of Survivor 43, Ryan is less than enthused by the time sink of two challenges in a three-tribe episode, but still happy to see bizarre reward swaps, camp raids, and any time at all spent in Coco camp, really. Except for the outcome, of course.
Episode 3: Stop playing scared
Survivor 43 Episode 3 Recap/ analysis
By Ryan Kaiser | Published: October 7, 2022
Ryan is always ready to bead a drum for his favorite, and this week there's even a reason to do so, as she finds, puts back, then grabs and activates her idol. He'd prefer the rest of the episode stop following the same pattern of Vesi voting people out, though.
Episode 2: The hat project
Survivor 43 Episode 2 Recap/ analysis
By Ryan Kaiser | Published: September 30, 2022
It's another super-sized week of Survivor 43, and Ryan is here for all the big scenes involving Cody, rising and falling fates on Baka, Cody, Geo and Ryan's brotherhood, Cody, and more Cody. Beads for all!
Episode 1: Text me back
Survivor 43 Episode 1 Recap/ analysis
By Ryan Kaiser | Published: September 23, 2022
Ryan returns with a review of the premiere, in which he celebrates almost everything but Risk Rock, stans a mom or two, projects future tattoos, and wildly projects winner potential onto various contestants based on their first-episode showing. As one does.
Pre-season: Survivor 43: Swipe right or swipe left?
Survivor 43 Pre-season cast analysis
By Ryan Kaiser | Published: September 7, 2022
It's the fall, the new Survivor season's premiere is but two weeks away, so that means it's time for Ryan to start making fire assessments of the new castaways' future abilities to be "dateable" (in Kat's eyes). So grab some matches (oh wait, those aren't used any more) and some Tinder and steel yourself for some flinty decisions, as we see who sparks Ryan's interest.
Week 6: Relish every single moment that this gift is
SA: Return of the Outcasts Episodes 21-24 recap/ analysis
By Ryan Kaiser | Published: August 28, 2022
It seems like we only just started, but SurvivorSA has already awarded its 2 million prize and aired its (fully stocked) reunion show. But fear not, Ryan has recapped and praised the final week, and season as a whole, and most importantly, crowned his Santoni Stan Star of the season. Who could it be?
Week 5: Shifting in my pants
SA: Return of the Outcasts Episodes 17-20 recap/ analysis
By Ryan Kaiser | Published: August 20, 2022
As the last named SurvivorSA alliance disintegrates, the pace slows down to watch the slow-motion implosion, but Ryan is here to pick up all the pieces, especially any marked with a Salan symbol. The finale approaches, and who among the final five is best situated to take home the two million rand?
Week 4: Is a friendship going to buy me a house?
SA: Return of the Outcasts Episodes 13-16 recap/ analysis
By Ryan Kaiser | Published: August 12, 2022
An already super-sized week of SurvivorSA became even super-er-sized, with a whopping four boots for Ryan to mourn, cheer, mourn, and mourn again. Who finds themselves atop the Stan Star charts this week, and who does Ryan see as having the best chance to win?
Week 3: Who are you with, and how many are there?
SA: Return of the Outcasts Episodes 9-12 recap/ analysis
By Ryan Kaiser | Published: August 5, 2022
Ryan recaps a tumultuous week, as multiple underdogs try to stay in the game, only to fall just short (of the merge). Ryan takes stock of the remaining players, and prepares for another four days of heartbreak next week, as the post-merge commences.
Week 2: Blown up by tribe swaps
SA: Return of the Outcasts Episodes 5-8 recap/ analysis
By Ryan Kaiser | Published: July 29, 2022
It was a week of well-executed blindsides, underdog comebacks falling short, color-filled swaps and shocking medevacs that were not actually medevacs but still ended in shocks. A massive four-pack of Survivor SA, and Ryan has all the action recapped and stan stars dispersed.
Week 1: I was hoping I wasn't Uranus
SA: Return of the Outcasts Episodes 1-4 recap/ analysis
By Ryan Kaiser | Published: July 22, 2022
Ryan has enjoyed, absorbed, and now thrown stars at (you'll see) the first four hours/three boots of Survivor South Africa's super-sized, first-ever returning player season, Return of Outcasts. Who will claim fandom's ultimate stan crown? (2 million rand not included in (figurative) crown.)
Episode 13: Close the deal
Survivor 42 Episode 13 (finale) recap/ analysis
By Ryan Kaiser | Published: May 27, 2022
The winner of Survivor 42 has been crowned, and Ryan relives the highlights of the last two eliminations and Final Tribal, celebrates the final five players, looks ahead to 43, and to another worthy Survivor season that will hit screens in just over a month.
Episode 12: Final five forecast
Survivor 42 Episode 12 recap/ analysis
By Ryan Kaiser | Published: May 24, 2022
Ryan is here later than usual, but early enough to make timely predictions about how the final two eliminations of Survivor 42 — and of course the winner — (just) before finale day. And of course, a brief revisiting of the highlights of Episode 12.
Episode 11: Badass woman
Survivor 42 Episode 11 recap/ analysis
By Ryan Kaiser | Published: May 13, 2022
As Episode 11 of Survivor 42 brings about the downfall of another big player amid a flurry of (mostly failed) twists and trinkets, Ryan recaps all the action, the strategic options, the hanger, and the self-snuffery.
Episode 10: The king will be dethroned tonight
Survivor 42 Episode 10 recap/ analysis
By Ryan Kaiser | Published: May 6, 2022
Ryan is back for the lighter events of Survivor 42, Episode 10: half-drowned contestants competing in a lame challenge while Probst assures them it's 'fun,' reward winners getting spooked by disembodied voices, his winner pick joining the jury. So much fun!
Episode 9: Burden
Survivor 42 Episode 9 recap/ analysis
By Ryan Kaiser | Published: May 3, 2022
After mulling the episode, Ryan comes in later than usual to talk about the many conversations of Episode 9 of Survivor 42, from the big one in the second Tribal Council, to some that were one-sided in camp, to one that was inexplicably cut from the episode.
Episode 8: That ain't your family
Survivor 42 Episode 8 recap/ analysis
By Ryan Kaiser | Published: April 22, 2022
Ryan is back to revisit the first fully post-merge Survivor 42 episode, where the excitement ranges from people realizing they're not in the majority to lots of people sitting out of challenges. At least the latter leads to an increase in Drea's overflowing (with paint) armory.
Episodes 6-7: Are you buff-shaming me?
Survivor 42 Episodes 6-7 recap/ analysis
By Ryan Kaiser | Published: April 15, 2022
After the Survivor 42 merge episode(s) twisted and turned in mostly predictable ways (except perhaps the boot), Ryan takes stock of where the sandy turmoil has left each remaining contestant, and puts forth a somewhat revised winner pick.
Episode 5: Two weasels in a chicken coop
Survivor 42 Episode 5 recap/ analysis
By Ryan Kaiser | Published: April 8, 2022
With the merge approaching, Ryan takes one last look back at the three original tribes, evenly matched at four apiece, but all with internal discontent and warning signs. Will the various power duos succeed going forward, and if so, which one(s)?
Episode 4: There is no Kumbaya - it's like Holy Crap-baya
Survivor 42 Episode 4 recap/ analysis
By Ryan Kaiser | Published: April 1, 2022
There's a lot of Ika in Episode 4 of Survivor 42, and a definite and regrettable dearth of Vati. Ryan makes the best of it, though, and doesn't even miss repeatedly in his attempts to grab the key events of the episode.
Episode 3: The math doesn't make sense
Survivor 42 Episode 3 recap/ analysis
By Ryan Kaiser | Published: March 25, 2022
In Episode 3, Survivor 42's characters take a backseat to rogue challenge waves, twists, more twists, and overlapping twists. But the final vote ends up hinging on two people making decisions, some good, some really bad, and Ryan is here to walks you through the debris field.
Episode 2: What's your story?
Survivor 42 Episode 2 recap/ analysis
By Ryan Kaiser | Published: March 18, 2022
Survivor 42's second episode dials it back a bit on the twists (perhaps they forgot where they were?), and puts a heavy emphasis instead on character development, and Ryan is here to praise every minute of it.
Episode 1: You can be weird too
Survivor 42 Episode 1 recap/ analysis
By Ryan Kaiser | Published: March 11, 2022
Ryan takes a deeper look at the cast, now that he's seen them in action, as they soldiered through the many wild, wet (with disturbing liquids), and weird events of the Survivor 42 season premiere.
Pre-season: Survivor 42 cast assessment
Survivor 42 Cast analysis
By Ryan Kaiser | Published: February 28, 2022
As is traditional, Ryan returns from his winter hiatus to take a look at the even-numbered Survivor season's cast. If he sees his shadow, we're in for another 12 weeks of the same twists as Survivor 41. On the other hand, he reports we're also in for another solid-looking set of contestants, whose chances of winning he ranks.
Episode 13: Time to show everyone
By Ryan Kaiser | Published: December 17, 2021
Ryan celebrates the winner of Survivor 41, and laments the show's continuing inability to tell the winning story of a female champion, despite the alleged new era. He also offers awards of his own, and looks ahead with trepidation at 41's probably evil twin, Survivor 42.
Episode 12: We might've made a mistake
By Ryan Kaiser | Published: December 12, 2021
It's finale prediction time on Kaiser Island, and Ryan puts forth his predicted endgame outcomes: Who will fall at five? Whose flame will be snuffed for not making fire at four? And who will win? The answers may surprise you.
Episode 11: Wow, that drama was over quick
By Ryan Kaiser | Published: December 3, 2021
Ryan looks at the bizarre final seven episode, where production tried to rob the contestants of a critical voting opportunity in favor of ridiculous box-opening theatrics, but also where the contestants once again rose above the mishmash of poor show decisions with compelling drama and discussions of their own.
Episode 10: Today is the day
By Ryan Kaiser | Published: November 28, 2021
Christmas came early for Ryan, in the form of a (pre-Thanksgiving) complex, emotional, deeply-felt episode leading to an epic blindside of a superstar player: the perfect balance of pathos, scheming, and player-driven drama. (Also, Heather survives another week.)
Episode 9: I will literally kill you
By Ryan Kaiser | Published: November 19, 2021
Ryan tries to make sense of the twin Tribals — a TMI one with the threat of advantages flying everywhere, and another not-enough-advantages performance from Xander. But in the end (or at least the one before the end), Ricard saves.
Episode 8: Don't shut me down when I speak
By Ryan Kaiser | Published: November 12, 2021
This week's episode was all about being heard, and it featured a rare appearance by the elusive Heather – in camp, before challenges, nearly winning challenges, at Tribal, and in confessional (!) — and Ryan is here for hearing it.
Episode 7: Putting on her big girl pants
By Ryan Kaiser | Published: November 5, 2021
With the merge finally completed, Ryan checks back in on the big surprises, the big non-surprises, and the big let-downs of the as yet unnamed red-buff tribe and their complicated first Tribal Council together.
Episode 6: Merge-atory
By Ryan Kaiser | Published: October 29, 2021
Ryan is, shall we say, less than thrilled with the half-merge episode's unnecessary mucking about with the structure of the game, but he's happy for the few character-based moments that shone through the haze of host lies and unasked-for manipulation.
Episode 5: Master strategist
By Ryan Kaiser | Published: October 22, 2021
Ryan looks back on another episode of Shan-tasy Island, where she faces one of the toughest decisions yet in the game, strong-arms her way into broccoli talk, and unleashes another dumb advantage on the game, all while opening up on some heartbreaking emotional content.
Episode 4: The best stripper you've ever seen
By Ryan Kaiser | Published: October 15, 2021
The sun rose on a (hopefully) new era of Survivor episodes this week, with long-absent characters finally making appearances, emotional challenge finishes, baby turtles, the only advantage being one that was prevented from being played, and a massive blindside. Ryan revisits it all while hoping for more of this.
Episode 3: These things just fall out of the sky
By Ryan Kaiser | Published: October 8, 2021
There were a lot of things raining down this week: advantages, more advantages, even more advantages, references to broccoli, but mostly the groans and curses of long-suffering Survivor fans like Ryan, who saw this top-notch cast shoved aside to make room for Advantage Talk Hour, all of which amounted to nothing.
Episode 2: She's a firecracker
By Ryan Kaiser | Published: October 1, 2021
Ryan revisits the highlights of Survivor 41, Episode 2, aka "The Evvie Show," as he recounts the savvy Yase's Tiffany-whispering, Xander-wrangling, vote-protecting tour-de-force. With bonus hidden Brad, pretend Sri Lanka, and cheering Heather. A surprising paucity of butterflies, though.
Episode 1: Risk it, or play it safe?
By Ryan Kaiser | Published: September 24, 2021
With a super-sized premiere, Ryan has a lot of twists, turns, decisions, and decision-makers to talk about in his first US Survivor recap in over a year. Will he take a shot in the dark, or talk directly to you, future Survivor players?
Pre-season: Swiping through Survivor Tinder
By Ryan Kaiser | Published: September 1, 2021
While the Survivor 41 cast has only just officially been revealed, Ryan is already here with the hottest of takes: Who on this cast is dateable (making the merge), who isn't, and who gets a super like? That's right, the day has finally come for cast assessment via Survivor Tinder.
Episode 16: Closing time at Chappies' diner
By Ryan Kaiser | Published: September 18, 2021
Ryan salutes the highlights of the finale of SurvivorSA: Immunity Island, from the winner, to F3 boot, to the rainbow-bedecked juror, to the classic, old-school Survivor feel of the finale as a whole, and recounts the ways in which this season made this first-time international Survivor viewer a SurvivorSA superfan.
Episodes 1-9: And then there were ten
By Ryan Kaiser | Published: August 1, 2021
With ten players out and ten still in, Ryan dips his toes into international Survivor recapping with a post-merge appreciation of the action thus far in SurvivorSA: Immunity Island. A full run-down of the highlights of the first half of the season (some of which didn't even involve Santoni), and predicting which remaining players will tank or triumph.
Episode 14: Take it all in
By Ryan Kaiser | Published: May 15, 2020
The War of Winners ends on a high note, in what could be the last Survivor finale for a while. Ryan celebrates the season's emotional end and its embrace of its past champions, with hopefully more to come. A finale that was grand, even if it's not the grand finale.
Episode 13: Funeral march
By Ryan Kaiser | Published: May 8, 2020
The end of Winners at War is nigh, and this week, Ryan is turning the episode's penultimate steps into a pathway to that end for the remaining five players, plus the two thousand jury members/people on the Edge.
Episode 12: Son of a B
By Ryan Kaiser | Published: May 1, 2020
It was a bittersweet week, as the war between winners not only claimed a fan favorite, but also as the fantastic tale of the spy nest fell well short of expectations, like a nocturnal avian projectile. Ryan finds other reasons to cheer, though. So... relax and let him carry you through the forest?
Episode 11: Psychotic double agent
By Ryan Kaiser | Published: April 24, 2020
Ryan revels in an all-Tony episode, as the show focuses almost entirely on his idol-finding, extortion-complying, immunity-winning, vote-flipping antics. Verdict: Time well spent (unless you don't like Tony, in which case, better luck next week).
Episode 10: A fantasy come true
By Ryan Kaiser | Published: April 17, 2020
This week's episode was overstuffed with love, tears, kids, and confusion. Ryan wouldn't cut a second from the first three, but wishes there was room to better demystify the last part. Still, here's his guide to what (maybe?) happened after the challenge and at Tribal.
Episode 9: Worth a shot
By Ryan Kaiser | Published: April 10, 2020
Winners are at war, and they're coming you, apparently. So get ready to whisper, listen to changes of plan every five minutes, and/or pin your hopes on a podium idol. Or, you know, just flip a coin. Ryan has the guide to all your Episode 9 options.
Episode 8: Everyone's a lion
By Ryan Kaiser | Published: April 3, 2020
Ryan takes you on a safari excursion to observe the lions and hyenas of the Winners at War merge menagerie. Who has the main mane? Who is lurking in the bushes, waiting for the scraps? Who is the Tiger Queen?
Episode 7: Thank you for schooling me
By Ryan Kaiser | Published: March 27, 2020
As the final pre-merge torch gets snuffed, Ryan takes a moment to somberly observe the passing of power from old school to new school. Then he gets to the business you've been waiting for: The awarding of the Debbie Donato Wanner Award for Best Performance on a Balance Beam.
Episode 6: Watch this, Jeff
By Ryan Kaiser | Published: March 20, 2020
Ryan both celebrates and mourns the twin Tribal Councils that sent two legends home, one in particularly legendary fashion, during Episode 6 of Winners of War. Don't worry, some peanut butter will make it all better.
Episode 5: Cracks up the wazoo
By Ryan Kaiser | Published: March 13, 2020
After a nod to Yul's noble ALS quest, Ryan recaps the many twists and turns resulting from the swap to three tribes: awkward reunions, even more awkward self-quarantines, and obstacle champ Sandra staying safe and staying out of sight.
Episode 4: He's f***ing dangerous
By Ryan Kaiser | Published: March 6, 2020
It's another week, another favorite leaving for Ryan, but he's not gonna give up, and he'll push through a grueling episode featuring Adam's implosion then recovery, Ethan's near-death experience and survival, and Tyson's near-safe experience that was snuffed by an immovable Queen.
Episode 3: Devour that guy and spit out his bones
By Ryan Kaiser | Published: February 28, 2020
Ryan goes through the stages of grief over the blindsiding of Ethan: denial, anger, more anger, actually lots of anger. Well, anyway, somehow he ends up at acceptance. (Sort of?) Thankfully, Tony and Tyson are still here to provide comfort in this difficult time.
Episode 2: Is she just clueless?
By Ryan Kaiser | Published: February 21, 2020
Ryan mourns the loss of his Danni Girl, gone too soon. But he's excited about the exploits of noted aerialist Tony Vlachos and a freshly devilish Sophie G. Clarke, and is anxiously anticipating escalating tensions in the looming Boston Rob - Sandra war.
Episode 1: Everybody has a target
By Ryan Kaiser | Published: February 14, 2020
Twenty Survivor winners, all at war with each other? Ryan is elated to report that for the premiere, at least, the formula worked, and was exactly the bloody, blindsidey mess he was hoping it could be, if not moreso. Fire tokens and Edge of Extinction notwithstanding.
Pre-season: Cheers for Chaos Kass
By Ryan Kaiser | Published: February 9, 2020
With Survivor unleashing a 'Survivor at 40' clipshow this week in preparation for the Winners at War premiere, Ryan takes us back to his favorite moment in Survivor's first two decades: The Cagayan merge Tribal Council.
Pre-season: Wagering on the Winners at War
By Ryan Kaiser | Published: February 3, 2020
Ryan luxuriates in an all-winners cast two decades in the making, and ranks each winner's chances of winning this particular season (Edge of Extinction notwithstanding). Who has the best chances to win? Who has none?
Episode 14: The prize isn't only in the million dollars
Published: December 20, 2019
Ryan takes stock of the Island of the Idols winner, the finale and reunion show, passes a final judgment on the season's story, cast, and final five, then looks ahead excitedly to Season 40: Winners at War.
Episode 13: Where are we in the game?
Published: December 14, 2019
After Elaine's heartbreaking boot and the dark cloud of another dispiriting Dan card, Ryan tries to take a fresh look at the remaining five Island of the Idols players, and assess their standing heading into the finale.
Episode 12: Wrecking ball
Published: December 6, 2019
Loved ones visit Fiji, but only for the powerful. Noura gives a rant for the ages. An underdog alliance goes up in flames as Dean leaks the plan, and Karishma's ninth life is finally snuffed. And Ryan Kaiser attempts to sift through the wreckage for signs of life.
Episode 11: This bitch bit my finger
Published: November 30, 2019
As a compromised Survivor season staggers on, Ryan tries to focus on the positive: Lauren's idol-winning bet, Noura somehow selflessly winning immunity, and Karishma's big idol play. Also Detective Dean's half-baked obfuscation.
Episode 10: The answer is no
Published: November 22, 2019
After the previous week's harrowing circumstances, Ryan runs through an episode that tries to pretend nothing major happened. Which dampens any thought of celebrating what would otherwise be exciting events in this one.
Episodes 8-9: Standing up for what was right
Published: November 15, 2019
As the once outstanding Island of the Idols season takes a dark, grim turn at the merge, Ryan sets aside the jokes for a week to ponder what went wrong, what needs fixing, and to praise those who stood up for what was right.
Episode 7: You want to pull some crazy s***?
Published: November 8, 2019
Ryan praises and guides you through a second straight spectacular, character-driven, socially relevant episode of Survivor, which as a bonus also featured abundant flashy gameplay and strategic insights ... almost all of it by women. Plus a salute to Rudy Boesch.
Episode 6: Ain't scared of no fight
Published: November 1, 2019
Ryan revisits the high-pressure Tribal that could have gone to rocks, or featured an Aaron flip, but instead deployed a key advantage and an ex-Vokai missing the merge. With lots of juicy stakes, heartfelt 'real talk' conversations, and chicken decapitation reactions along the way.
Episode 5: Orange is dead
Published: October 26, 2019
Ryan takes a minute to relax, with his face full of sand, reflecting on the state of the game in this interlude of an episode: largely Noura-free (and Island of the Idols-free), lots of Karishma, too much Applebee's, and everyone scrambling to distance themselves from old Lairo.
Episode 4: The Noura TV show
Published: October 18, 2019
Ryan is here at this place and time to remind you all that if you live in the present and visualize success, dreams can come true, such as getting to see Noura visit Island of the Idols, then run her tribemates into trees. Also Lairo pulled off another blindside.
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.
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!
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!
Episodes 1-16: Fun
in the Philippines
SA: Philippines Recap/ analysis
By Ryan Kaiser | Published: January 20, 2022
Some people demonstrate their commitment to the game by eating an entire idol clue. For his part, Ryan instead watches the entire SurvivorSA: Philippines (2018) season, recaps it and sings its many praises, then lists his favorites to return in the upcoming SurvivorSA: Return of the Outcasts.
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?