Which Survivor season had the best casting? The answer will shock you.

3 Mar

It’s always dangerous to come up with a conclusion and then do the research to back it up.

As I ranked the Survivor seasons in a recent post, I wondered which season had the largest quantity of memorable characters.

I figured if I went through and counted later, those numbers would dovetail neatly with the best years of the show.

I was wrong.

Take Samoa — one of the most entertaining seasons ever only had two characters that stand out when I look back: Russell Hantz (an all-time great) and helmet-haired Shambo. And I’m not so sure about Shambo.

Meanwhile, the season with the most characters who proved to be memorable was … Gabon?

Let me do a quick recap of them and see if you don’t agree.

Randy: The wedding photographer was such a hit as a cynic/grump that they brought him back for an all-star year.

Marcus: Handsome, athletic, and brainy, the type your girlfriend runs off with, and also the guy who would have won Survivor if not for a memorable blindside vote.

Corinne: Biggest bitch in the history of the show. I think that might even have been her goal!

Crystal: Vexingly unathletic Olympic gold medalist. The producers couldn’t possibly have forecast her ineptitude, could they? It was entertaining.

Kenny: Asian videogamer who became a strategist.

Sugar: Bettie Page wannabe who cried a lot. Also got an all-star season, though less deservingly so than Randy.

Bob: Physics teacher who could make a darn convincing fake idol and had other skills too.

Ace: Pretty good player with a British accent that may or may not have been faked.

Gillian: Spunky South African grandma who was entertaining the brief time she stuck around.

That’s nine characters that stand out years later, or half the cast.

Further proof that my original theory was nonsense: look at the worst season, Nicaragua: there were some pretty memorable characters in that one! Jimmy Johnson; Jimmy T. the paranoid loudmouth older guy; Marty who said with a straight face that Guillermo Vilas was a chess grandmaster; NaOnka who shoves cripples; Brenda the “mamba snake”; Sash the schemer; and that affable stoner Fabio.

Is that a memorable group? Yes. A likeable group? No: would you want to share an office with a mamba snake, someone who pushes the handicapped, and Jimmy T? Heck no.

End of self-inflicted debunking.

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