Jeff Pitman

Jeff Pitman

Jeff Pitman is the founder of the True Dork Times, and is responsible for maintaining the calendars, Survivometers, boxscores, and contestant pages. He also writes weekly reviews/ analysis of Survivor, with topics ranging from show criticism to strategy analysis to editing-based forecasts, with occasional statistics, records, and vidcap galleries mixed in.

 

He doesn't have a catchy column title, but is open to suggestions.

 

Follow Jeff on twitter: @truedorktimes


  • S35 logo Survivor 35: Heroes v. Healers v. Hustlers (click to expand/collapse)
    The state of the final eight... er, seven

    Episodes 10-11: The state of the final eight... er, seven

    Published: December 5, 2017

     

    With just three episodes of Heroes v Healers v Hustlers left and a number of plausible winner candidates, Jeff re-evaluates each remaining contender's chances of winning the game, based on their current résumés.


    Episode 9: Fall o' the leaders?

    Published: November 27, 2017

     

    Jeff takes a critical eye to the emerging pattern of how seeming dominant at the merge of a three-tribe Survivor season can come at a huge cost, plus a look at Mike's idol play, Joe's game, Cole's challenge dominance, and some potential foreshadowing.


    Episode 8: The spaghetti saga

    Published: November 20, 2017

     

    An appreciation of the superbly executed combination of twists that led to the sequential discovery and hiding of the immunity idol clue, and then the idol itself. Also a discussion of the changing narrators, the changing perspective of Devon, and the changing definition of an idol.


    Episode 7: The downside of goats

    Published: November 13, 2017

     

    After a power-establishing Tribal Council capped off the pre-jury phase, Jeff looks at who's in charge, who made the right moves, asks how long the idol whisperer can last, and shows the merge wasn't early. With graphs. And vidcaps.


    Episode 6: Tepid for now, heating later?

    Published: November 6, 2017

     

    Jeff takes stock of the state of the season through the pre-merge, and questions the naysayers who find it dull, especially in light of the potential conflagration looming after the tribes merge. Which may resemble less the three tribe names of the title, and more another hero-containing past one.


    Episode 5: The mom and pop show

    Published: October 30, 2017

     

    A look at Ben's unexpectedly important moment, Chrissy's unexpectedly manipulative power plays, and where Roark's exit from her first Tribal Council falls on the leaderboard of late early boots. Plus a vidcap gallery!


    Episode 4: Resetting the table

    Published: October 25, 2017

     

    Jeff breaks down a highly successful swap episode, looking at couples broken and united, Advantagegeddon redux, Joe's big idol playing game, and Mike's big game-playing streak.


    Episode 3: Three is the tragic number

    Published: October 16, 2017

     

    In an attempt to diagnose the season's underwhelming start, Jeff zeroes in on three problems endemic to the three-tribe format, and offers tweaks to fix them. Also a defense of Patrick, a preview of the swap, and a fashionable vidcap gallery.


    Episode 2: Signs point to the big three (or four)

    Published: October 9, 2017

     

    After just two episodes, Jeff takes a mostly over-extrapolated look at the contenders for winning Survivor: Heroes v. Healers v. Hustlers. Plus a vidcap gallery also about the number two.


    Episode 1: Cramped, rushed, maybe some vomiting

    Published: October 2, 2017

     

    Jeff looks back at the premiere of Heroes v. Healers v. Hustlers, and finds it mostly solid, albeit with an outsized focus on a twist that went nowhere, and a glaring deficit in focus on the booted player. To make up for that: A vidcap gallery.


    Pre-season: TDT Survivor: HHH contestant draft

    Published: September 22, 2017

     

    Ben Martell, Dan Otsuki, Pat Ferrucci, and Jeff Pitman come together to rank and draft fantasy teams of the contestants from Survivor: Heroes v. Healers v. Hustlers. Who will reign supreme?


    Pre-season: Survivor: HHH cast projections

    Published: September 18, 2017

     

    Jeff Pitman's semi-annual inaccurate forecasting of each Survivor contestant's game-winning potential. This time: Heroes v. Healers v. Hustlers.


    Pre-season: The Ivy Lead - S35 edition

    Published: August 30, 2017

     

    Jeff Pitman continues compiling and graphing the appearances of Ivy League alumni on Survivor. Pretty much solely because of tradition.


    Pre-season: How old is too old to win Survivor?

    Published: August 16, 2017

     

    Jeff Pitman looks at the relative paucity of older contestants in Seasons 35 & 36, and asks whether, historically, there is an age beyond which contestants have little chance of winning. Spoiler alert: The answer is yes.

  • S34 logo Survivor 34: Game Changers (click to expand/collapse)
    Breaking Brad

    Ep.14: Breaking Brad

    Published: May 30, 2017

     

    In his final look back at the season, Jeff questions the uneven narrative, praises Sarah's win, laments Cirie's ridiculous expulsion, evaluates the new jury format, and offers suggestions for future improvement.


    Pre-Ep.14: Jury jeopardy S34

    Published: May 23, 2017

     

    The True Dork Times writers (Ben, Dan, Pat, Jeff) combine their prognosticatory powers to predict the outcome of the Game Changers jury vote. And beat RHAP, Inside Survivor, and Reality Blurred, of course.


    Ep.13: Compressed days, compressed plays

    Published: May 22, 2017

     

    As the Survivor: Game Changers finale approaches, a look back at the pre-finale episode's tumultous advantage play and misplay, and how backloading most of the season's action into the final seven days limits strategic gameplay.


    Ep.12: Back from the brink, maybe?

    Published: May 15, 2017

     

    With the finale two episodes away, Jeff questions the emerging Hero vs. Criminal narrative, whether the Legacy Advantage actually hurt Sierra, the Michaela/Tai new power couple, and the worst-case scenario for Game Changers.


    Ep.11: Why is this season so depressing?

    Published: May 9, 2017

     

    Jeff explores mutually assured strategist destruction, the numbers, and Sarah's army vs. Brad's army. If that's not depressing enough, there's also a vidcap gallery.


    Ep.10: Playing like a Tony

    Published: May 1, 2017

     

    Jeff takes a deeper look at Sarah's game-changing decision, Debbie's exit, and Cirie's rewarding (sort of) moment in Episode 10, " A Line Drawn in Concrete," of Game Changers.


    Eps.8-9: So who's in charge in here?

    Published: April 24, 2017

     

    Jeff looks at the panoply of emergent chiefs in the new Maku Maku tribe, that great Cirie-Michaela moment, Ozzy's record-setting exit, other sundry game changing, and more.


    Ep.7: Losses and gains

    Published: April 15, 2017

     

    Jeff Pitman looks at the damage done in the awful Tribal Council from Episode 7 of Game Changers, but also at the potential good that did and can come from it. Plus a look ahead at the merge.


    Ep.6: Viva la reina

    Published: April 10, 2017

     

    Jeff Pitman examines the career of Queen Sandra, the new Exile Yacht, Cochran, Debbie, Tai, and the rapidly metastasizing idols/advantages in Episode 6, "Vote Early, Vote Often," of Game Changers. Plus a vidcap gallery.


    Ep.5: Is she acting?

    Published: April 3, 2017

     

    As Survivor the game has changed, so has Survivor the TV show. Except in this episode, which seems to have borrowed some of the worst (read: thespian) impulses of the All-Stars season.


    Ep.4: Beaten by a bunch of rules

    Published: March 26, 2017

     

    It was the worst of times, it was the worst of times. But it didn't need to be. Jeff Pitman's lengthy dissection of all that's wrong with the two tribes, one vote twist.


    Ep.3: New respect for old goats

    Published: March 19, 2017

     

    Jeff takes a look at the Goat Rehabilitation Program evident in Episode 3 of Game Changers, including actual goats, and also some older male returning Survivor players.


    Eps.1-2: Marketing vs. gameplay

    Published: March 14, 2017

     

    Jeff looks at the two booted players from the premiere double episode of Survivor: Game Changers, and asks to what extent returning players can counteract their made-for-TV reputations.


    Cast: Game Changers cast projections

    Published: February 18, 2017

     

    Jeff examines the 20 Game Changers players' chances of success, sorting them into four tiers of decreasing probability: Likely, Possible, Unlikely, and Impossible.


    Pre-S34: Could this Game be one for the record books?

    Published: February 13, 2017

     

    Jeff gives you a head start to contemplating the many Survivor records that could fall during this all-returnee Game Changers season. From longevity to voting to idols to challenges to stuff you care even less about, probably.


    Pre-season: We have to go back! But should we?

    Published: January 8, 2017

     

    Jeff Pitman runs the numbers to examine how returning Survivor contestants have performed in their second (or later) appearances, to answer whether it really is worth playing for (again). A cautionary tale in a mere six graphs. And one table.

  • S33 logo Survivor 33: Millennials vs. Gen X (click to expand/collapse)
    Ep.14: Adam's evening

    Episode 14: Adam's evening

    Published: December 20, 2016

     

    Jeff Pitman takes a look back at Adam's deserving win, Hannah's and Ken's undershown games, some surprising numbers in not voting people out, and the overall success of Survivor: 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: Fun, painful, beautiful, amazing

    Published: December 9, 2016

     

    Jeff Pitman examines the intersection of enthusiastic, good-spirited gameplay and touching personal drama that has elevated this season above standard reality-competition fare, as exemplified in Episode 13 of Millennials vs. Gen X.


    Episode 12: From Adam to Zeke

    Published: December 5, 2016

     

    Jeff Pitman looks at the rise of Adam and the fall of Zeke, the curious case of Will, and the four leading contenders for the win after Episode 12 of Millennials vs. Gen X.


    Episode 11: Wasted opportunity

    Published: November 29, 2016

     

    Jeff Pitman somehow finds things to complain about (but also praise, obviously) with the excellent double-episodes 10 & 11 of Millennials vs. Gen X. Plus vidcaps.


    Episode 9: Game changers?

    Published: November 21, 2016

     

    Jeff Pitman examines three Survivor-altering developments you may have missed in Episode 9 of Millennials vs. Gen X. Plus vidcaps.


    Episode 8: Heartwarming - The Millennials finally find their goat, then set him free

    Published: November 13, 2016

     

    Jeff Pitman explores the briefly interesting but ultimately underwhelming merge, the emerging goat, the live-grenade advantage, and the purple bootee from Episode 8 of Millennials vs. Gen X.


    Episode 7: Smoked by Jay

    Published: November 8, 2016

     

    Jeff Pitman sorts through the blindside in Episode 7 of Survivor: Millennials vs. Gen X, ponders the merge, then distracts you with vidcaps.


    Game 7: The Cubs, stats, and Survivor

    Published: November 6, 2016

     

    Jeff Pitman basks in the reflected glory of a Cubs World Series win, and reflects on how watching every Cubs game one summer long ago was the reality TV of its time.


    Episode 6: Free of shipping

    Published: November 1, 2016

     

    Jeff Pitman ponders showmances, Michaela's comparable players, and surprising strategists in Episode 6 of Survivor: Millennials vs. Gen X. With requisite vidcaps.


    Episode 5: Three strikes

    Published: October 25, 2016

     

    Jeff Pitman weighs (again) the pros and cons of Survivor's apparent infatuation with swapping into three tribes, as featured Episode 5 of Survivor: Millennials vs. Gen X. Plus vidcaps, of course.


    Episode 4: The Wright move

    Published: October 17, 2016

     

    Idols, idols everywhere (but no goats), as Jeff Pitman discusses their surprisingly effective discovery and use during Episode 4 of Millennials vs. Gen X. With vidcaps.


    Episode 3: Summit of groans

    Published: October 10, 2016

     

    Jeff Pitman summarizes the risible summit (and associated detritus) from Episode 3 of Survivor: Millennials vs. Gen X in words, commentary, and of course, a vidcap gallery.


    Episode 2: Love and doctors

    Published: October 3, 2016

     

    Jeff Pitman dives through the surprising Episode 2 of Millennials vs. Gen X, hooking rings on showmances, medical visits, idols, underperforming superfans, superperforming Michelles, and of course, the vidcap gallery.


    Episode 1: A whirlwind of windbags

    Published: September 26, 2016

     

    Jeff Pitman's quick trip through the extended premiere of Millennials vs. GenX includes brief takes on the episode, theme, and standout contestants. And then, a triumphant (harrumphant?) return of the vidcap gallery.


    Pre-season: Millennials vs. Gen X cast projections

    Published: September 15, 2016

     

    It's the semi-annual tradition that nobody anticipates, reads, or remembers, as Jeff Pitman assigns the contestants' million-dollar prospects to one four tiers of win likelihood: Likely, Possible, Unlikely, and Impossible. Again.

  • S32 logo Survivor 32: Kaoh Rong (click to expand/collapse)
    Ep14: Asterisk

    Ep.14: Asterisk

    Published: May 20, 2016

     

    Jeff Pitman's final look at Survivor: Kaoh Rong, taking note of the unnecessary twist and questionable outcome of the finale, and the occasionally regrettable reunion show.


    Pre-Ep.14: Jury Jeopardy

    Published: May 16, 2016

     

    Jeff Pitman and Pat Ferrucci team up in an attempt to predict the likely votes of the Survivor: Kaoh Rong jury members.


    Ep.13: Fate, swinging wildly

    Published: May 15, 2016

     

    Jeff looks at the rapidly shifting fortunes of the final five during Episode 13 of Survivor: Kaoh Rong, the likely trajectories of the final four.


    Ep.12: The sky is not falling... yet

    Published: May 8, 2016

     

    Despite what everyone else seems to be saying, we still don't think Aubry has lost this game, nor has Michele won it. Yet.


    Ep.11: Underplaying vs. overplaying

    Published: May 2, 2016

     

    Jeff delights in the contrast between Tai's cautious approach and Julia's aggressive gameplay, and their ultimate Tribal Council showdown, in Episode 11 of Survivor: Kaoh Rong.


    Ep.10: Goliath falls

    Published: April 23, 2016

     

    Jeff Pitman looks in depth at the mammoth game move and epic betrayals within Episode 10 of Survivor: Kaoh Rong.


    Ep.9: The bomb doors are closed

    Published: April 17, 2016

     

    Jeff revels in the highs and lows of the highly entertaining Episode 9 of Kaoh Rong. Did Cydney make the right move? Did Debbie? What's going on with Tai? Plus another vidcap gallery.


    Ep.8: A (mostly) women's alliance actually worked (maybe)!

    Published: April 11, 2016

     

    Jeff Pitman looks at Cydney's girl-power power move from Episode 8 of Kaoh Rong. Can the women's alliance hold? Plus challenge-related stuff and another vidcap gallery.


    Ep.7: Battle of the bulges

    Published: April 2, 2016

     

    Up is down, down is up, and a rising bulge takes Neal down, kneecapping what was building up to be an explosive merge vote on Episode 7 of Kaoh Rong.


    Ep.6: Coming and going

    Published: March 26, 2016

     

    As the game shifts from tribal to individual, contestants and former tribes are waxing and waning in power and influence. We look at how things are changing in light of Peter's boot.


    Ep.5: The poker player bluff

    Published: March 20, 2016

     

    After seeing Anna's surprisingly early exit from Kaoh Rong, Jeff Pitman wonders if maybe being a professional poker isn't as much of a Survivor advantage as we've been led to believe.


    Ep.4: Pushed to the breaking point

    Published: March 13, 2016

     

    Without trying to assign blame, we look at the almost triple-medevac during Episode 4 of Survivor: Kaoh Rong, and suggest a few simple tweaks that might prevent a future recurrence.


    Ep.3: Debbination

    Published: March 6, 2016

     

    We celebrate the subterfuge both Debbie and Survivor itself pulled over on the Brains and the audience, respectively, by misdirecting attention away from Debbie's gameplay, in favor of her eccentricities. Also: updated win projections.


    Ep.2: A light helping of blood and pathogens

    Published: February 27, 2016

     

    Survivor suddenly remembers that humor and endearing characters can leaven what otherwise would be a sodden loaf of blood-streaked trees, fighting about aquatic pathogens, and arguing about who's lying. And it was good.


    Ep.1: Embracing the darkest timeline

    Published: February 21, 2016

     

    Maybe likable contestants going out early and everyone else nearly dying from the horrendous conditions could actually be a good thing? We investigate.


    Pre-season: Kaoh Rong cast projections

    Published: February 9, 2016

     

    Jeff Pitman dons his sorting hat and assigns the contestants' million-dollar prospects to one four houses of win likelihood: Likely, Possible, Unlikely, and Impossible. Actual mileage may vary.

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

    Episode 14: Bayon strongest

    Published: December 20, 2015

     

    The Cambodia finale started with one of the strangest Tribals ever, and ended with one of the finest final Tribal speeches ever, followed by a 10-0-0 shutout win. An emotional, enriching end to an amazing season.


    Episode 13: Whose wee rains supreme?

    Published: December 12, 2015

     

    Thanks to the majority making the correct decision this week, with just one episode left, Cambodia - Second Chance is poised to produce a combative, compelling finale. A fitting end to a great season.


    Episode 12: Challenge-ing

    Published: November 30, 2015

     

    One challenge beast is knocked out, but several remain to take his place, in an emotional episode of Cambodia - Second Chance.


    Episodes 10-11: Big movement

    Published: November 30, 2015

     

    A powerful one-two punch in the overstuffed Thanksgiving Eve double episodes 10-11 of Survivor: Cambodia-Second Chance.


    Episode 9: Soggy, but passable

    Published: November 21, 2015

     

    Between debilitating downpours, some solid strategy and interesting twists kept Episode 9 of Cambodia - Second Chance afloat.


    Episode 8: Despicable, but also delectable

    Published: November 16, 2015

     

    At the risk of affirming the wisdom of Kat Edorsson, maybe blindsides are fun, after all. At least for the viewers. Regardless, this episode certainly was, from start to tuk-tuk to [0]-3 finish.


    Episode 7: A muddled puddle of prior infractions

    Published: November 6, 2015

     

    For a season that never lets you forget it's about Second Chances, and an episode that billed itself as 'Play to Win,' Cambodia's merge episode seemed to be more about playing it safe and punishing people for their actions during their first chance.


    Episode 6: Earned tears in a reverse family visit

    Published: October 31, 2015

     

    In which Jeff Pitman found Episode 6 of Survivor: Cambodia - Second Chance to be distressing, but also, in embracing that second chances don't always work out, one of the series' best.


    Episode 5: Yay, blindside (except for the audience)

    Published: October 23, 2015

     

    Survivor produced an enjoyable episode for a (recent) change, even if the allegedly surprising boot was telegraphed almost from the opening recap.


    Episode 4: Is this season actually good?

    Published: October 16, 2015

     

    Maybe it's too soon to pass judgment, but we're really starting to wonder when the fun will start on Cambodia - Second Chance. It has to be soon, right?


    Episode 3: Vidcap gallery

    Published: October 12, 2015

     

    Why did we post this? Because we did.


    Episode 3: When three is less than two

    Published: October 10, 2015

     

    Jeff Pitman poses the heretical idea that while there were certainly some positive developments to emerge from the tribal swap, maybe three tribes isn't always the greatest thing to happen to Survivor.


    Episode 2: Tyranny of the Majority

    Published: October 2, 2015

     

    Jeff Pitman looks at the crushing of the superfan strategists, both in the game and in the editing. And why do the Old School players get to play a cutthroat strategic game while claiming otherwise?


    Episode 1: V is for Voted out

    Published: September 25, 2015

     

    Jeff Pitman finds much to praise in Cambodia's first episode, from hard-charging contestants to surprisingly compelling challenges and idol placements. And #Joega. Obviously #Joega.


    Pre-season: TDT Second Chance Voter's Guide

    Published: May 8, 2015

     

    Jeff Pitman looks through the 32 one-time contestants on the fan ballot for Second Chance, and sorts them into three tiers of decreasing necessity of receiving votes: The Must-Haves, the Would-Be-Goods, and the Ehs.

  • S30 logo Survivor 30: Worlds Apart (click to expand/collapse)
    The Lone Star

    Episode 14: The Lone Star

    Published: May 22, 2015

     

    In which your boy Tex (Mike) puts on a show in the final episode, sweeping three challenges and taking 6 of 8 jury votes to win Worlds Apart. Just like you had probably guessed, but feared he wouldn't.


    Episode 13: The Final Coutndown

    Published: May 15, 2015

     

    An exciting, highly anticipated battle between the Extra Vote Advantage and a Hidden Idol turns out to be a blowout, but at least a blowhard is now out.


    Episode 12: Filler

    Published: May 12, 2015

     

    A mostly unobjectionable episode of Worlds Apart, padded with objectionable objections, followed by a mostly unobjectionable player getting the boot. Next.


    Episode 11: The Comeback (Almost)

    Published: May 1, 2015

     

    All of a sudden, Survivor: Worlds Apart remembers that it's about hope, and playing a game, and hope, and even though it didn't work out, hope.


    Episode 10: Adequate, Forgettable, Occasionally Regrettable

    Published: April 24, 2015

     

    But for a single, laudable act of defiance, Survivor: Worlds Apart becomes nearly unwatchable, as production tries to make everyone even more miserable than they already are.


    Episode 9: Dyin' on the Edge

    Published: April 17, 2015

     

    It was the worst of times, it was... oh wait, it could have been even worse, due to a quit! If you and your "best season ever" claims don't start making sense, we're going to put you in a home.


    Episode 8: Waiting for the Tone Atonement

    Published: April 12, 2015

     

    In which Survivor decides to obfuscate an obvious boot by dipping its toe in a pool of misogyny, then wallowing for a while. Which has to be rectified soon, right? Right?


    Episode 7: Gripping Polls

    Published: April 4, 2015

     

    Idols and poles and buffs that are black but claim to be purple and they called the merge tribe what? Worlds Apart kicked into a higher gear at the merge, and seems poised to keep going.


    Episode 6: Brpwned

    Published: March 27, 2015

     

    As things to start to pick up with the merge approaching, we look at redemption arcs, challenges, and the lingering scourge of One World. Let us all hope for a better future.


    Episodes 4&5: Nerds!

    Published: March 22, 2015

     

    A troubling tone and a massively imbalanced swap made for a double feature that was far from featureless, but still not as perfect as the hype had suggested. Even so, the embers have been stoked, and an exciting bonfire looms ahead. Maybe.


    Episode 3: The Trouble with Treble

    Published: March 13, 2015

     

    Jeff considers the heretical idea that maybe, just maybe, three tribes isn't always such a great thing on Survivor, presenting Episode 3 of Worlds Apart as a prime example. May God's beard smite him.


    Episode 2: Free Blurred

    Published: March 6, 2015

     

    In which Jeff objects not to the nudity per se, but to nudity for the sake of (blur-tastic) screen time. And wonders why so many of the pre-season favorites' games suddenly seem to be going off the rails.


    Episode 1: Fans vs. Production

    Published: February 27, 2015

     

    Jeff takes a look at Worlds Apart's premiere episode, and finds it... in that oddly shaped tree over there. No, it's good. He finds it good. Also, the traditional re-assessment of the cast after seeing what they actually do and how they're edited.


    Pre-season: A Farewell to Ads? Not So Fast...

    Published: February 17, 2015

     

    With a week to go until the premiere, Jeff takes a (spoiler-free, if you wish) look at CBS's ad campaign for Survivor: Worlds Apart, and what is says about the cast and season.


    Pre-season: Worlds Beyond the Usual Mactorfest

    Published: February 11, 2015

     

    Using the tiny amount of information available (Cast bios, 2-minute videos, Gordon Holmes's interviews) Jeff ranks the contestants of Worlds Apart in decreasing order of chances to win. Sorry.

  • S29 logo Survivor 29: San Juan del Sur (click to expand/collapse)
    Natalie wins? You don't say...

    Ep.14: Natalie Wins? You Don't Say...

    Published: December 20, 2014

     

    In which Jeff recaps the San Juan del Sur finale and reunion show, praises the winner, and re-evaluates the two major twists of the season, neither of which he hopes to see again any time soon.


    Ep.13: A move, singular

    Published: December 12, 2014

     

    Oh, San Juan del Sur. We can't stay mad at you. Not when you have a delectable actual blindside that makes you temporarily exciting!


    Ep.11-12: The Little Engine that Couldn't

    Published: December 6, 2014

     

    Jeff looks back at the double episode of San Juan del Sur, and finds something decidedly lacking: Successful, interesting strategy. But hey, lots of idols, though.


    Ep.10: Second-string showdown? Not so fast...

    Published: November 29, 2014

     

    In which we praise the performance of the former lieutenants (Reed and Natalie), while lamenting Reed's great plan was surrounded and drowned by a flood of heavily prompted idols.


    Ep.9: The Reed wedding

    Published: November 21, 2014

     

    In which we appreciate Survivor's pulling off a shocking boot, with another power shift, yet mourn the strategic (and narrative) consequences.


    Ep.8: A herd of goats

    Published: November 15, 2014

     

    As the showdown between Josh and Jeremy claims the former as its victim, Jeff looks ahead and sees naught but a sea of caprine mediocrity (plus Jeremy). Probably.


    Ep.7: Great expectorations

    Published: November 7, 2014

     

    It's the merge episode! Where Survivor finally starts being Survivor! Except that didn't happen, obviously. Oh well. So uh, what other exciting events can we look forward to over the next six weeks?


    Ep.6: Everything's coming up Missy

    Published: November 1, 2014

     

    As we bid good riddance to the Coyopa tribe and look ahead to the merge, we take a moment to note the almost complete reversal Missy's edit took this week. While, as usual, complaining about Probst.


    Ep.5: Fans vs. emotion

    Published: October 27, 2014

     

    In which we try to make sense of a somewhat muddled, emotion-filled, strategically suspect vote that followed a tribal swap that seemed exciting at first, but progressively less so as the episode wore on.


    Ep.4: Strategy vs. comedy

    Published: October 17, 2014

     

    Sure, this episode was a laff-fest, but did it have to be just that? We (try to) argue that Survivor is better when it aims for three dimensions to its characters instead of just two.


    Ep.3: Whitewash

    Published: October 12, 2014

     

    John Rocker is gone, but not without a hero/martyr edit that belies his middling-at-best gameplay and CBS's own pre-season ads. Eh, we'll still take it.


    Ep.2: A melodramatic lose-fest

    Published: October 5, 2014

     

    It's still early, and there's still time to recover, but we're already worried that San Juan del Sur may have some serious structural problems. Our diagnosis and suggested remedies... after the jump.


    Ep.1: The reset button

    Published: September 26, 2014

     

    Did we say there were no likely winners in our pre-season cast assessment? How silly of us. Can we have a do-over? No? Well, tough. You're getting one, anyway. You're welcome.


    Preseason: San Juan del Sur cast analysis

    Published: September 12, 2014

     

    An in-depth evaluation of each contestant's chances of winning Survivor: San Juan del Sur, in which players are sorted into four tiers of descending probability (Likely, Possible, Unlikely, Impossible). Spoiler alert: There are no Likelies.

  • S28 logo Survivor 28: Cagayan (click to expand/collapse)
    It's Cagay-ON, not Cagay-YAWN

    Ep.14: It's Cagay-ON, not Cagay-YAWN

    Published: May 27, 2014

     

    We look back, mostly fondly, on the finale, season as a whole, and the final four contestants. And, of course, take issue with Probst's confounding defense of the Special Idol.


    Ep.13: Har, thee mud

    Published: May 18, 2014

     

    With one episode left, an individual reward challenge appears, pizza disappears, and so does Trish. But in her departure, the game has once again been thrown open, with several people now having a chance to win.


    Ep.12: Crouching idols, hidden typhoon

    Published: May 9, 2014

     

    In which Jeff Pitman assesses the challenges, rewards, and punishments of the next-to-penultimate episode of the season, with 50% less yelling and arguing than in the actual show. But with the same amount of untelevised rain.


    Ep.11: Previously ruined on... Survivor

    Published: May 2, 2014

     

    If you thought the Special Idol was not enough clue-ing and digging and finding and protecting, boy, were you in for a treat this week! Also, people bought surprisingly cheap food, Spencer almost got screwed, and Tasha reigned supreme over tilting tables of wood. Woo!


    Ep.10: Letters from Tyler Perry

    Published: April 24, 2014

     

    This was a very special episode of Survivor: Cagayan. One in which we finally learned what spy shacks are for (spying on your alliancemate, who leaves then returns to the fold, like magic), that steps are slippery, and that balls drop. Also some shiny idol was found.


    Ep.9: Stood up, fallen down

    Published: April 18, 2014

     

    Cagayan takes a darker turn, as Tony makes a move against one of his close allies, seizing apparent control of the game. Jeff looks at the move, the challenges that preceded it, and how the edit partially gave away the outcome.


    Ep.8: Portents and fortunes

    Published: April 13, 2014

     

    Jeff looks at how "Mad Treasure Hunt" may have hinted at the outcome of the game for most of the remaining players, except the ones the episode ignored, which would be several of them. Less reading for you!


    Ep.7: Same vs. the other one

    Published: April 4, 2014

     

    Jeff recaps "Head of the Snake," the tumultuous merge episode (Ep.7) of Survivor: Cagayan. As you might guess, much is made of the twists and turns during Tribal Council, but there may be something that surprises you.


    Ep.6: Ow! Quit it

    Published: March 28, 2014

     

    Jeff recaps "We Found Our Zombies," the final pre-merge episode (Ep.6) of Survivor: Cagayan. It had a quit, it had two more challenge losses by the former Brains tribe members. It had a previously invisible Beauty getting the axe. But hey: merge is coming next week!


    Ep.5: Fractured (like chandeliers)

    Published: March 21, 2014

     

    Jeff recaps "Odd One Out," the swap-containing Episode 5 of Survivor: Cagayan. As expected, the newly reassigned tribes deliver exciting new dynamics as alliances arise and recede, rent asunder by fate's churning tides. Or something like that.


    Ep.4: Having a ball

    Published: March 14, 2014

     

    Jeff recaps "Our Time to Shine," the final act of the Luzon tribe, or Episode 4 of Survivor: Cagayan. Oh, J'Tia, is there anything you can't do wrong in challenges? Also: blindfolded people getting smacked in the crotch by 2x4s! What could possibly go wrong?


    Ep.3: Beauty fades

    Published: March 7, 2014

     

    Jeff recaps "Cops-R-Us," the sodden third episode of Survivor: Cagayan. Water, water, everywhere. In the shelters, over the idols, splashing over the challenge competitors. But when it comes to the Beauty tribe, barely a drop to think.


    Ep.1-2: We put the 'lose' in Luzon

    Published: February 28, 2014

     

    Jeff recaps "Hot Girl with a Grudge," the two-hour premiere of Survivor: Cagayan. It was the worst of times, it was the even worster of times for the Brains tribe, but one of best of times for the audience. Mostly. Praise and pans for strategy, challenges, and the show as a whole.


    Pre-season: Cagayan cast analysis

    Published: February 13, 2014

     

    Jeff projects the chances of success of the 18 new contestants, sorting them into four tiers of likelihood to win Survivor: Cagayan - likely, possible, unlikely, and impossible. Sorry. On the plus side, only a few seem like bottom-tier material this season.

  • S27 logo Survivor 27: Blood vs. Water (click to expand/collapse)
    Fun-loving

    Episode 14: Fun-loving

    Published: December 18, 2013

     

    It wasn't a coronation. It was a man-tiaranation. That's a thing, apparently. A worthy end to a worthwhile season, and a reunion show that somehow managed once again to fit everyone on the stage. Imagine that.


    Episode 13: No redemption value

    Published: December 13, 2013

     

    What should have been a slam-dunk for Tyson, Gervase, and Monica very nearly turned into a flip, due to the aggressive misinformation campaign Hayden and Ciera put into effect. A noble attempt at forestalling a predictable outcome.


    Episode 12: Whiteout

    Published: December 6, 2013

     

     This was a top-notch episode of Survivor, powered by Hayden's precedent-defying drive to rock the vote and save himself from elimination. It worked, despite CBS's best efforts to give away the climactic surprise in its weekend ads.


    Episode 11: Sketchy

    Published: November 30, 2013

     

    This one was the Tyson Show from start to finish (with guest appearances by Hayden and Ciera). Which means, obviously, that it was funny and lighthearted while also being solid on the strategy. It had idols, flips, feasts, and blisters. Yay.


    Episode 10: Loud family

    Published: November 22, 2013

     

    Blood vs. Water returned to form this week. Slick moves sprang from previously untapped sources, personal hashtags continued to blossom, and most importantly, the show took the time to explore the core connections between its three sets of still-paired contestants.


    Episode 9: Filler

    Published: November 15, 2013

     

    Bleah. Two challenges, both of which involved standing in one place. Two of the season's better players, predictably axed for being in the wrong alliance. Although hints of fluidity within the majority alliance might suggest hope for the future.


    Episode 8: Showdown, bro down

    Published: November 8, 2013

     

    As the merge takes out a Baskauskas brother, we look at the prospects of other remaining couples and single players heading into the endgame, with notes on which players have improved, surprised, and disappointed the most so far.


    Episode 7: Midway mayday?

    Published: November 1, 2013

     

    At the exact halfway point in the season, Jeff looks at where Blood vs. Water has succeeded, where it needs work, and where it's beyond help. Luckily, the first area is the most populous.


    Episode 6: Monica and the bandit

    Published: October 25, 2013

     

    Despite a swap, this one felt a little flat. Maybe it was that Kat had no story line whatsoever until this episode, so her boot lacked emotional weight, or meaning. It was still good Survivor, but it felt like it could have been better.


    Episode 5: Too many Lauras

    Published: October 18, 2013

     

    A bit uneven, from a solid, nail-biter duel (two puzzles!) that led to a disappointing, purely luck-based immunity challenge. Some more great strategic thinking, padded out with obvious, time-killing filler (and yet, no room for an intro). Yet as a whole, we regret nothing.


    Episode 4: Thank you, Brad Culpepper!

    Published: October 11, 2013

     

    Another well-done episode, including a big move that took down a big character. As the number of intact pairs dwindles, the drama at Redemption Island may soon taper off. But for now, we're surprisingly content with this season's content.


    Episode 3: F*** you, Brad Culpepper!

    Published: October 4, 2013

     

    This episode delivered the intended conflict between strategy and emotion, particularly in the ratcheting up of hurt feelings at Redemption Island, and in the one-on-one conflicts of the reward/immunity challenge, despite stumbling a bit towards the end.


    Episode 2: Less than the sum of its parts

    Published: September 27, 2013

     

    Episode 2 of Blood vs. Water featured a lot of what should have been Big Events, but somehow, almost all of them fell flat. Jeff explores where the stumbles occurred, and sees potential for better outcomes ahead.


    Episode 1: Logic vs. emotion

    Published: September 19, 2013

     

    Despite his pre-season misgivings, Jeff agrees the Blood vs. Water format worked exceedingly well in the premiere episode, "Blood is Thicker than Anything." Jeff discusses the highlights (new strategy dynamics) and lowlights (ugh, Redemption Island).


    Pre-season: Discussion and analysis

    Published: August 28, 2013

     

    An analysis of the pre-season ads and previews, in order to make predictions about the outcome of the twists and turns of the opening episode(s) of Blood vs. Water. May contain potential spoilers.

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