Screaming at the Screen - Damnbueno's Survivor 46 recaps
Could this be my dream season?
By Damnbueno | Published: February 29, 20234
Survivor 46 Episode 1 recap/ analysis

Could this be my dream season?

Welcome to a new season of Survivor and Screaming at the Screen. I broke my tradition of staying spoiler free and decided to check out some pre-season coverage this time around. I’m happy to say I think we’re in for a very entertaining season.

The Season 46 cast is the first one who had a chance to watch all of Survivor 44, in which the standout cast member was the quirky and expressive Carolyn Wiger. I think the Casting Dept. realized they hit a home run, scored a hat trick and messed around and got a triple double all in one with Carolyn, so naturally they took a shot at finding another one. This season’s cast is full of Carolyn types.

Of course, the more Carolyns you put in a cast, the more likely some of them will get booted early. So, I figured it would be best to give them some props in my episode one column while I’ve got the chance. If they don’t get booted early, I think we’ve got the best chance of discovering a “new Carolyn” in Liz, Tevin, Ben, Moriah, Kenzie or Tiffany. In their pre-season interviews, they showed the greatest “Carolyn potential.” All of them appear to be spontaneous, unpredictable, and unwilling (or unable) to conform to the norm.


I’ve often spoken about my dream season in which you take two each of a typical Survivor archetype and put them on 6 member tribes. In other words, each tribe would have 2 Super Jocks, 2 “There for the adventure” types (aka crazies), and 2 “Expert Strategists.” After checking out this season’s tribe breakdown, I might be getting what I’ve been hoping for.

The Nami tribe has 2 Jocks (Hunter & Randen), 2 Adventurers (Liz & Tevin), and 2 Strategists (Soda & Venus).

The Siga tribe has 2 Jocks (Maria & Tim aka "Spice"), 2 Adventurers (Ben & Moriah), and 2 Strategists (Charlie & Jem).

The Yanu tribe has 2 Jocks (Q and Jelinsky), 2 Adventurers (Kenzie & Tiffany) and 2 Strategists (Bhanu and Jess).

Will the Jocks try to out-jock each other and take dead aim at each other in testosterone-filled aggression, or will they realize the more of them who are around, the safer they’ll all be? Will the Adventurers constantly be distracted by pretty butterflies, or will they unite and force the others to start speaking whatever language they’re speaking? Will the Strategists feel threatened by the other scholars and target each other, or will they unite and outwit all the others?

Now of course, some of these players could easily meld into one of the other categories. Bhanu could be more of a Jock. Hunter and Charlie could easily be Adventurers. Jelinsky describes himself as more of a Strategist. Two seasons ago, Frannie appeared to be purely a Strategist, but turned out to be a challenge beast. My observations are only based on a little bit of pre-season info. But just the same, you can understand why I’m so much more excited about this season than in other recent “New Era” years.

And coming off of Dee’s absolutely elite-level win last season, its gonna take a lot to satisfy the strategy nerd in me. So far, I’ loving the potential. On top of that, I’ll get to watch Venus being beautiful for a while. I don’t care what she does, as long as she does it on my TV screen.

And away we go ...

Tevin gets the first confessional. Some people think that means something. I don’t. He’s being very dramatic. That’s not a surprise since he’s an actor.

Yeah, Bhanu reminds me of Naseer from Survivor 41, alright.


Jess says she’s a little odd. She might fit right in with this cast of Carolyns.

Hunter reminds me of Mitchell Pritchett from “Modern Family.”


Ok, we can vote Charlie out now. Too much Taylor Swift. If he starts babbling about how people should feel bad for him, and he’s the victim, he could be perfect for her. But keep him off of my Survivor. Tiffany says she’s a hustler. She should have played a few seasons ago with a different Ben.

Hi Venus! Have I mentioned she can do no wrong in my eyes?


I can’t promise I won’t go overboard on praise for her, even if she gets voted out first.

Q calls himself the Quarterback. Yup, we have our first official Alpha male style player.

We’ve seen this challenge before. I wonder if anyone will remember the trick to getting the flint off the pole - namely sticking the pole through the loop and dragging it?

Hunter is advertising his Super Jock status right off the bat.

Hunter carrying puzzle piece

Soda: “Hell yeah! Jump on that course like a starving man on a Christmas Ham!” Ok, I like her.

Maria just showed everyone she’s a super jock too.

Maria carrying puzzle piece

Jess: “I have no idea.” That’s a horrible thing to say out loud, even if its true. Don’t label yourself the weak one.

Tevin takes the first spotlight role, and he knows the trick.

Tevin, pole trick

There goes Jelinsky blatantly studying the completed puzzle.

Charlie takes the spotlight role and does the same thing Tevin did. Yeah, these players have watched the recent seasons.

Q and Jelinsky volunteer for the “Sweat” challenge. That’s their first mistake, but I don’t know if either of them realize it. I might grab some small rocks and try to plug some holes in those leaky buckets.

Jelinsky volunteers

Q sure sounds cocky in his confessional. Very cocky.

It looks like the bamboo was stacked for the tribe as soon as they got to camp. That doesn’t bother me, but I prefer old school Survivor when they had to bring it to the shelter site themselves.

Bhanu says “I’m a provider.” Naseer said the same thing.

Ben and Charlie volunteer to do the “Savvy” challenge. I don’t think this is as bad as volunteering to do “Sweat” because they won’t be physically exhausted on day 1, and most people realize the “Savvy” challenge is a lot harder to win. Just the same, its smarter to go with the other 4 and start sizing up alliance partners.

In pre-game, Tim said he wanted to be called “Spice,” but I guess that didn’t go over well with the Producers. So now you can call him ... Tim (with or without the “Enchanter” part).

Maria: “Im not gonna be in the flashy, red car (in this game). I’m gonna be in my little mini-van, driving the game.” I love that quote.


Liz: “I’ve owned four companies and sold two. Yeah, I’m pretty awesome.” Bad move. Why tell everyone how successful you are? Are you trying to give them a reason not to give you a million dollars?

Soda brags about being able to make a fire (which is bad), but then makes a fire. That could buy her some early safety, but it could also make people want her gone before the fire challenge. She was very “common sense” in her confessional too.

Soda makes fire

Q just got a “superman” nickname. Athletic guys with nicknames don’t usually go deep. Remember Chris “Hulk” Hammonds from MvGX? He finished 12th. Colby got labeled “Captain America” in Survivor: All-Stars and missed the merge.

Jelinsky quits the “Sweat” challenge, and loses a possible ally in the process. Yet another reason you don’t volunteer for the “Sweat” challenge. He’d have been better served by staying behind Q when they fill their buckets, and dumping his out every trip. That way, he’d save a little energy, while Q kept burning his reserves. Q might still want to work with you if you fooled him into thinking you gave your best. Guess what he’s gonna tell the tribe now?

Q is pissed off at Jelinsky for qutting. The Producers are pissed off at Jelinsky for breaking their hourglass.

Pissed off Q

Ben’s strategy is to “Chill hard?” Isn’t that a misnomer like “Military intelligence?”

They seem to like Ben now, but I suspect they might get sick of him after a few days of hunger.

Kenzie “I’m the queen of the tribe.” That could be a Survivor death phrase. She’s overconfident, but hasn’t crossed into the cocky zone yet.


Hunter’s introvert status could really help him. It rubs some of the “super jock” image off of his aura. The humility he shows can go a long way.

Tevin: “Everyone’s gonna find out why this island is mine.” Claiming island ownership hasn’t been a successful strategy. Just ask Troyzan.

So far, Maria is doing a good job of staying out of the “tribe mom” role.

Jem, Maria, Charlie

Tim is already worried about a women’s alliance? Dude, just because you have a wife and a grandmother does NOT mean you know how women operate. Your attitude will get you booted, not your gender.

I don’t like this talk about targeting Venus. I won’t have it! Randen must go! But its good that Soda doesn’t trust him. He thinks Venus is another Parvati? Hopefully she won’t be like Parvati in Cook Islands. That version of Parvati wasn’t very game focused at all.

More Venus

Soda warns Venus that Randen is targeting her. Venus: “That doesn’t faze me at all. If you have my name in your mouth, you’re going home.” That sounds like something Dee said a lot last season. She did pretty well, didn’t she? Go Venus!

Don’t get on the boat! You’re gonna lose your vote! That should be a song on the Survivor soundtrack.

Da boat

Jelinsky: “If it’s a Journey, I want to go. Without a doubt.” Pardon my French but he’s a dumbass. The only thing worse than going on the first Journey is volunteering to go. Jelinsky thinks legends are made on Journeys. Well, Dee, Yam Yam, Maryanne and Erika did NOT go on a journey, and they all won the game. Gabler is the only one to go on a journey and win the game, and I’m still trying to figure out how he did it.

If there’s a good way to get chosen to get on the boat, Maria and Tevin did it. They both appeared to have been chosen by chance. While they’ll both still be under suspicion, they won’t look like they were drooling over going like Jelinsky was.

Jelinsky lies about having the “vote” card once, and Maria appears to buy it. But then he repeats his lie, this time, breaking eye contact. That’s usually a dead giveaway because most people can’t look someone in the eye when they’re lying. I think Maria knew it too.

Doubtful Maria

Jelinsky folds under one question of scrutiny (“I’m not deceptful at all”). So far, he only excels at shooting off his toes. That’s four so far. Now he has to bring a story back to camp that nobody will believe. He’s doesn’t have a great vocabulary either. And there’s Jesse Tyler Ferguson who played Mitchell in “Modern Family” in a commercial for “Elsbeth.” Is that a good sign for Hunter?

As soon as Jelinsky returns to camp, he tells everyone he lost his vote. He didn’t even try to fool them.

Bhanu: “Jelinsky gives up too quickly.” My thoughts exactly.

Bhanu, WTF?

Even the “winners” on the Journey are under scrutiny. Maria told everyone she has an extra vote. Her target got a little bigger. But at least she didn’t volunteer to go.

Jess is intimidated, but I like how showing her humility is actually endearing her to her tribe.

Kenzie, Jess, Bhanu

Tiffany finds something, and immediately tells someone. So much for the preseason promises to keep mouths shut about Idols and Advantages.

Advantage: Tiffany

And now Tiffany is telling everyone she doesn’t have a vote. I’m so disappointed. I thought these people were listening to me. Why not hold that information back at least until you lose a challenge? Now she can’t even bluff about having a vote to maintain her ability to influence the vote. I’m not sure why, but Tiffany is reminding me of NaOnka from Nicaragua.

Jelinsky: “’Several means 7!” All the heads shaking no should tell you you’re not on the same page.

Ok, a land version of the “Giant Water Snake” challenge, but with a Gecko. I’m surprised CBS didn’t get Geico to sponsor this challenge.


It was hard to see since they were in the back of the shot, but Venus was the first one up the ramp on her tribe.

Nami is killing it in this challenge. Venus and Soda take the spotlight roles on the puzzle. Bad move on their part. They’ll be labeled the puzzle masters.

Nami, huge lead

Probst: “Yanu could be in this if they could get it up.” Hee hee.

Maria and Moriah take the spotlight roles for Siga, as do Jelinsky (no surprise there) and Jess. Jelinsky volunteers for everything. He’s a little unclear on the concept of Survivor.

Puzzle teams

I think Jelinsky has already talked himself out of this game, but it might not be at this vote. Jess hasn’t really connected with a majority yet, and Bhanu seemed very upset with her while she worked on the puzzle.

Bhanu: “The game is on 24 by 7.” That’s a new one to me. Has Survivor become a big piece of wood?

Everyone goes to fill canteens, and Jelinsky stays in the shelter. What is he thinking? Why separate yourself?

Resting Jelinsky

Jess to Jelinsky: “You think its better for your game than going where everyone is?” Jess did go with them to fill canteens, but when she was talking to Jelinsky, guess who the other 4 were talking about? Come on Jess! Take your own damn advice!

Then Jelinsky tells Jess her name is on the block too. Way to make her feel comfortable, dude.

Kenzie to Tiffany “I don’t know where your brain’s at, but beautiful.” That got window-shaking laughter out of me.

Yanu beach looks like the island the final 5 was sent to in Survivor 42. Tiffany finds an Idol but will probably find herself under more scrutiny than it was worth. Especially since Kenzie already knows about it. She might as well assume everyone in the game will know she’s got it.

Alpha male Q wants Jelinsky gone because he volunteers but fails. That’s another reason why you don’t volunteer. The only question is whether or not anybody will listen to Q. His alliance partners don’t seem to like his lack of flexibility.

Not voting Jess

I say keep the vote you’ll be able to control. That’s probably Jess. Plus, if she’s so physically and mentally spent, she’s less likely to outwit you.

I’m thinking this tribe won’t be able to get it together much like Belo last season. Ther lack of unity is what destroyed them after the merge. I’m seeing Kenzie in the middle like Kellie was last season. But I think Kellie was better at holding her tribe together than Kenzie will be.

This Tribal Council set reminds me of Survivor: China.

Tribal Council

How many words will it take for Jelinsky to sink his ship?

It only took him about 9. “We’re the type of dudes to not give up.”

Jess, if your brain isn’t working, don’t talk about it. Even if you don’t leave tonight, you’re creating a reason to vote you out at the next vote.

Yanu at Tribal

Bhanu: “I want to work with someone who’s good socially, not someone who’s not giving you any clue of what’s on their mind. He just indirectly (but pretty directly) told Jess he wants her gone because she doesn’t talk enough.

Jelinsky: “I don’t want my fate decided by a Journey.” That’s why you DON’T volunteer to go on a Journey!

Jelinsky is like Gilligan. He’s full of good intentions, but always screws things up. He’s the type who’ll unintentionally spill valuable information to another tribe at a swap or a merge. He just can’t help himself.

Jelinsky snuffed

Bye, Jelinsky.


Just about every move Jelinsky made, I was screaming “Don’t do that, you fool!”

How many mistakes did Jelinsky make? Let me count the ways. 1) He volunteered to do the “Sweat” challenge. 2) He gave up on the Sweat challenge and didn’t even pretend to care about it. 3) He volunteered to get on the boat. 4) He didn’t stick to his lie on the Journey. 5) He told everyone he lost his vote, which meant they all knew it would be easy to vote him out. 6) He volunteered to do the puzzle. 7) He didn’t stay physically close to the majority – especially right after losing Immunity. 8) He told Jess she was in trouble instead of making her feel secure. 9) He claimed he doesn’t quit, right after talking about how he quit. He’s most definitely a candidate for my “Worst Players” list. The only thing he did right was when he looked at Nami’s completed puzzle on day 1.

As for the rest of his tribe, Q is living up to the Alpha Male pre-game impression he gave me. He doesn’t strike me as the type who’ll respect a plan that he didn’t think up himself. Kenzie is right in the middle of the group but doesn’t appear to know how to sway the votes. I think Jess will be able to turn it around, but she needs to start right now. Tiffany can’t keep a secret and that is bound to hurt her. I think Bhanu needs a swap because he doesn’t seem to know how to trust anyone around him.

I’m of course, captivated by Venus, but I do see a calm, straightforward, no-nonsense approach to her game that immediately reminded me of how Dee played last season. Venus had a very calm confidence when she worked on the Immunity puzzle. Even when they won, she kept her cool, and wasn’t dancing with the rest of her tribe. Dee was just as aware of how others perceived her, as Venus seems to be. Dee knew how to address it. We’ll see if Venus can do the same.

I don’t have a solid read on the Siga tribe aside from the appearance that nobody is taking Ben very seriously. Nobody’s talking about including him in their alliance, but they’re not discussing removing him either. I think the women’s alliance will crumble like most early gender alliances do.

What are your thoughts? Who looks like a solid player so far? Who has already killed their game. What’s up with the Siga tribe? Can Jess turn it around like Holly did in Nicaragua? Is Tiffany gonna step on the tribe’s bananas like NaOnka in Nicaragua? Is Venus as beautiful as Brenda in Nicaragua? Let me know in the comments.

damnbuenoDamnbueno got his nickname in 8th grade Spanish class when his friend shouted out "You're pretty damn good at Spanish." The teacher insisted he say it in Spanish, so the friend said "Esto es damn bueno en Espanol." The nickname stuck. These days, when he's not forgetting his 8th grade Spanish, Damnbueno is indulging his obsession with all things Survivor. Reach him in the comments section here at True Dork Times.