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Hypocrisy_Central's avatar

How can you determine who the best Survivor of all times?

Asked by Hypocrisy_Central (26829points) May 18th, 2010

The 20th year of Survivor is in the books, but who really is the best Survivor of them all? Is it really Sandra Diaz-Twine, Parvati Shallow or Russell Hantz? Sandra has a perfect record, twice in and twice a winner. But she is probably the weakest player to ever play the game. She sucked at challenges even worse than many of the old people. Never won individual immunity; but she manages to win. Is it skill in making the right moves at the right time or was she just lucky heavier hitters spent more time trying to take each other out leaving her to fly under the radar like when Sugar got to the finals? Or is it Russell? He is a fiend when it comes to finding idols. Twice in and twice a finalist, this time he even left with cash; though he didn’t need it. Then there is Parvati who has second all time individual immunity and one win; certainly beating Russell. She worked harder to win and played more days than Sandra, but still don’t have a perfect record. Maybe they were all lucky in a way that they got immunity at the right time or others diverted attention at the wrong time. Who is the best all time and can you go off just how many “W” you have under the belt?

And what does Survivor say about life over all? That them most slimy, manipulative, devious people win it all in the end, that playing it ethical and nice gets you the poor end of the stick? Sure seemed that way. The Villains played ruthless and cut throat and was the last standing at the end.

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10 Answers

Buttonstc's avatar

I’m a purist. With everybody jumping in and out of alliances and backstabbing each other all over the place year after year, its easy to forget that the first season is when the playbook was written by Richard Hatch.

There was nobody’s game to pattern anything after. If you watch the first season again, you realize how much harder (physically and deprivation-wise) they ALL had it.

There weren’t all the lavish food rewards and such. Just pure survival and no template to follow.

In the first few episodes, he basically just observed everybody analyzing their reactions to everything and each other.

Then he began to organize an alliance and had sense enough to keep his mouth shut about it to keep it secret. He stayed away from all the petty squabbles which get so many players voted out early for being too obnoxious.

And even tho a lot of today’s younger players are quick to toss out older players, he realized the value of Rudy and his Navy Seal training and code of honor and loyalty.

That was his smartest move since Rudy was unwavering in his loyalty to the end.

On the surface one would probably think Rudy would be the last person for a gay man to align himself with. But Richard saw beneath the surface to recognize the inner man who was a person with deep convictions about the importance of honor and sticking to your word. He had that quality called character.

Even tho Rudy felt it necessary to make it clear that tho they were close friends, it wasn’t in a “queer way”. That was so funny, I smile every time I remember it.

Richard was smart enough to realize that it wasn’t being said maliciously at all. Rudy was a product of a more old fashioned time when that was a common term.

If Rudy meant it as malicious name calling, he certainly would not have remained loyal or even agreed to an alliance with Richard at all. Sometimes you have to look beneath the surface to see a persons inner self which is honorable.

But both of them had their priorities straight and paid little attention to all the drama squabbles going on.

I was rooting for Rudy to win, but have to be honest i have to give credit where it’s due and recognize that Richard played the better game.

He had a clear game plan in his head from day one. And everyone else in all other seasons is just doing a variation on his pattern.

He had to create it from scratch, so even tho he has an obnoxious personality, I give credit where it’s due.

Nobody does it better….

To quote the old 007 theme song. Can’t remember which movie, but it fits here too.

Tho he may be a conceited pompous ass at times, he was THE best player. The original.

Russell may have been smart at finding idols but he totally misjudged the social aspect of the game big time. He figured Sandra could barely get even one vote. I wasn’t surprised at all and he’s still getting over the shock.

I think Boston Rob was spot on when he commented that Russell played to get even but didn’t play to win. Russell was way to in love with himself to realize how others were reacting to him. He was a one trick pony with finding idols but Tom Westman pointed out that stabbing people in the back just because you can rather than because its necessary really turns people off Russell was an extremely vindictive little SOB with a Napoleon Complex

In the end, He basically blindsided his own dang self.

Really delusional during the whole game. In his own little world. Certainly not the best survivor. Not even close.

mcbealer's avatar

I should really be sleeping so I will check back in later and read up on this thread. In the meantime, I just wanted to point out it’s run for 20 seasons not years.

Buttonstc's avatar

How right you are !

If it were 20yrs. A lot of us would be old and gray with fading memories.

Richard who? Wasn’t Rudy on the Cosby Show ?

Ha ha ha.

CMaz's avatar

Me. For never watching that show.

jazmina88's avatar

I will quote a song “Thats right the women are smarter”.

Primobabe's avatar

The all-time greatest survivor is the person who’s won the game twice. Sandra’s amazingly adept at playing the game; she outlasts her tribemates, yet she remains unscathed, well-liked, and respected. She wins the game despite being completely incompetent at the challenges and never—in two entire seasons—having won an immunity necklace.

I don’t know how anyone can count Russell Hantz among the great players. Yes, he was good at backstabbing people and staying in the game, but he couldn’t understand that people who detest him aren’t going to give him $1 million. His strategy was shortsighted and self-defeating.

I did enjoy Russell’s petulance at both season finales. It’s ridiculous of him to suggest that fans should determine the season’s winner. “Survivor” is heavily edited, and viewers are manipulated by the editors’ decisions. Every contestant is followed 24/7 by a camera man. Three days of footage—multiplied by however many people remain in the game—get reduced to a 40-minute weekly episode. The fans have no idea what’s really going on; they see only what the show’s creators let them see.

Primobabe's avatar

@Buttonstc “Really delusional during the whole game. In his own little world.” Seasons 19 and 20 were filmed back-to-back in Samoa. The Heroes vs. Villains game had been completed before the broadcast of Season 19. Yes, Russell played Season 20 in his own little world, fully confident that he’d triumphed and been voted the sole survivor of Season 19. He didn’t learn until months later, at the Season 19 finale, that he’d failed.

Things were different at the end of Season 20. The jury’s anger and disgust were palpable, and Russell knew that he couldn’t win. Sitting there at the final council, his facial expression said everything.

Buttonstc's avatar

I see your point. The motto is “outwit, outplay, outlast”

Even tho she came up short in the physical part ( outplay) she was brilliant at outwit and most importantly, outlast.

Many people have underestimated the importance of the fact that this is, above all, a SOCIAL GAME.

There was also an honesty about Sandra which people both liked and respected. She didn’t try to bullshit the jury about her failures. She tried so hard to get Russell eliminated but admitted to frustration.

But she was dealing with the stupidity of some of the overly idealistic heroes.

Even tho all the subsequent seasons pale in comparison to the first, I still find it fascinating to watch the variety of human behavioral reactions (even tho it is increasingly manipulated into unreality by the producers with all the gimmickry).

The first season was the closest to reality that a show like this could ever be ( and even that contained enough manipulation by the crew) but at least it was significantly less.

Sueanne_Tremendous's avatar

Favorite: Elisabeth Hasselbeck

Best Ever, Popular Category: Rupert

Best Ever, Player: Richard first season. He set the bar.

Hypocrisy_Central's avatar

@Buttonstc ”I’m a purist. With everybody jumping in and out of alliances and backstabbing each other all over the place year after year, its easy to forget that the first season is when the playbook was written by Richard Hatch.” I can’t say what the pure form of Survivor was because the 1st season turned me off with all the silly gross out eating challenges. But I would have to say Hatch was the innovator like any sports figure that uses the existing system to create a move or strategy to set a bar at a certain height. Certainly there has been people fine tuning the template he stamped. I wonder if that is what Sandra used as well as laying out of the path of the big fish while they devour each other and weaker fish dumb enough not to stay on the bottom under the feeding frenzy. Her gameability stepped up to me when she put a bug in Russell’s ear to throw coach under the bus. I never thought Russell the self-proclaimed master manipulator fell for that, I mean he should have seen Sandra was trying to save her but his ego would not step aside. I think he wanted to be the last sultan with his harem of puppet women doing his bidding. Up to that point I feel she was just lucky other people were after higher hanging fruit.

I also think earlier Survivors had it harder because they had to basically feed themselves, they did not have all the food rewards and junk. I can imagine where that came from, maybe lawyers covering their but by making sure no one starves to death or to make the loss of a reward challenge that much worse. But I liked it better when they had to survive more on themselves than rewards.

@Primobabe ”The all-time greatest survivor is the person who’s won the game twice.” Logic would say that but even the bench warmer on a Super Bowl winning team get a ring even if they never played a down. As before the stoke of genius of getting Russell to throw Coach under the bus was her only big move I could see. She was lucky Courtney was 1st to go. Regardless of being lucky to not being voted out before Courtney she parlayed that into 2 wins; the only one to ever done so. Also even though Hatch was the innovator he didn’t go up against people playing a similar strategy because there was none in place. So it was all pretty much an experiment to see if he could pull it off as far as trying to beat others at the same game.

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