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This is TraverseTown's Cast Ranking of Survivor 23: South Pacific.
The only criteria for this ranking is how much I liked the person or how much I enjoyed them on the show.
I'm going to go through and rank the casts for all of the seasons I've seen and then continue ranking them after every new season I watch or every time I rewatch a season I've already seen. As of April 2012 I've seen 10 out of 23 seasons.
Usually when I'm ranking a cast in my head, a bland male alpha-male usually will fall into the bottom-most position on the list, but Mikayla's inclusion on the cast of Season 23 gives me special reason to drop her to the gravest point in my my mental hierarchy of Survivor characters.
Mikayla is the exact kind of person who should not be on Survivor. I'm sure some people would argue against that because she was one of the most physically adept female players of Season 23, but other elements of her character put her way past redemption and directly into dead last on this ranking.
What does she do again as a career? Does she play lingerie football or something? She is an obvious recruit. There should be only a very limited number of fans on each cast, but Mikayla seemed like she was there for the camera-time and potential prize and nothing else.
In the game, it was clear that Mikayla was bland. The editing was very ambiguous for her. Some moments we were supposed to feel sorry for her, but others we were supposed to feel like she deserved it.
Mikayla's best moment was not even her own moment. Brandon glaring at her through the bushes like a sexual predator makes me laugh every time I see it. And Mikayla partially is responsible for that because her level of blandness makes me laugh. Seeing how a mannequin like her could make a person respond that way is hilarious to me. There's no denying that she was a piece of eye-candy on season that desperately needed it, but she essentially destroyed any chance of Brandon doing well in the game at all. At least she inspired that extremely memorable quote from Sophie about being Upolu's "Whore of Babylon". Congrats, Mikayla.
Sorry, Elyse. I don't remember you doing much of anything at all during your time on Savaii. Out of the women, Dawn was the lovable one, Semhar was the annoying one, and Whitney was the invisible one. Somehow, you ended up being the EVEN MORE invisible one, which is difficult to do with someone like Whitney hanging around.
I remember that you were Ozzy's ally and you spend a lot of time hanging around him. Only Jim, Dawn, and Cochran voted for you during your boot episode, probably because Keith and Whitney forgot who you were. I don't remember you doing anything memorable during challenges, saying anything memorable during confessionals, or doing anything in your boot episode that would make me remember you. I can appreciate a good blindside, but its too little too late.
I also remember that you got voted off and Whitney stole your bathing suit, but no one even mentioned you by name again after you got snuffed. Maybe I wasn't paying close enough attention and you'll get a little boost if I ever rewatch Season 23.
Papa Bear 16th
Mark, better known as Papa Bear, probably got as far as I would have accepted him going during his opportunity on Survivor. He got this bizarre positive edit in the three episodes he was on Savaii. He never became intolerable, but it became clear he would not be remembered among the best Survivors, or even the best openly gay Survivors.
Furthermore, he probably has the worst Survivor nickname in the history of the show. And this is coming from a show who have had men named Papa Smurf, Boo, and Chicken. Not only is his name bizarre out-of-context, there's some frightening sexual undertones to it that I feel were sort of inappropriate for the show.
At least he got his moment to shine during that recap episode where you taught Cochran how to pick up girls.
I'm a little biased against returning players, especially ones who have already played twice and come back for another try. To make matters worse for Ozzy, he gets blander and blander on each of his reappearances.
I'm never quite sure why Ozzy is so popular with the casual crowd. After 23 seasons, you would think even the amateur Survivor viewer would know that there was more to the show than just winning a series of physical challenges. Frighteningly enough, South Pacific almost enabled Ozzy to win the show despite being voted out twice in one season. That seems a bit backwards to me, but since he got his comeuppance in the final immunity, I'll let this one slide.
He seemed really temperamental. Especially after the Elyse boot. He was willing to abandon his tribe and go mope about on his own because Savaii deviated from his almighty will. And just as quickly as he kicks them to the curb, Ozzy re-embraces his tribe and everything is right-as-rain once again. Weird.
The best part about Ozzy were his confessionals. They were so bland that it was funny. I felt like he never ever took a position on anything. All of his confessionals that regarded a strategic choice or opinion almost always involved Ozzy carefully deciphering his options or weighing the pros and cons of a situation. This sounds good on the surface, but seems almost emotionlessly inhuman when its all you hear. These kind of monotone confessionals gave me a handful of laughs which boost Ozzy out from the lowest positions on this ranking.
Did anyone else find it weird that Ozzy somehow ended up being one of the only Survivor castaways to be a pornographic actor and he STILL ends up as one of the most beloved characters by casual soccer moms and their kids. I couldn't help but think of his bizarre public sexual escapades when that little girl incredulously asked him questions at the finale.
Finally, there's always a little bit of hatred in me for screen-time thieves. We saw more of Ozzy on Redemption Island than we did for EVERY other contestant who spent time there in 2 seasons (sans Matt Elrod).
Brandon was a funny albeit annoying castaway. They want you to believe that he wasn't recruited and that he was a legitimate fan who applied like everyone else. However, if you don't think being Russell Hantz's nephew was 100% the reason behind his application and eventual casting, than you are only lying to yourself.
Behind-the-scenes info says that Brandon was among the most hard-working and well-liked castaways from Season 23. I do believe that honestly. All of Brandon's crazy or idiotic things were especially highlighted while some of his more redeeming quality went missing. This is even more obvious when you realize that Brandon gets a very low-key off-the-radar edit during several separate periods of the season.
I love him when he's crazy. Several times he would just randomly blurt out who he was voting for. I'm shocked the Upolu Alliance made it all the way to the end of the game without Brandon telling Savaii or Edna or someone something that they shouldn't hear just for the sake of honesty. Brandon could play Survivor a million times and he probably would never win under any scenario. The funny part about that is that Brandon probably COULD win if he made it to the Final 3 because he is so likable. But he'll trip over his own feet too many times to even make it there.
Brandon duplicated Erik's move of giving away his Immunity Necklace and then getting immediately voted out. For some reason, people aren't going to remember this as much of a stupid move as Erik's move and I don't know why. For one, Erik was tricked by a group of other contestants into believing it was a legitimate way of getting to the end and winning. Erik knew that unless he did something big, he could never beat someone like Parvati or Cirie in the Final Tribal Council, so he did whatever it took to win some jury votes. Very stupid. However, Brandon had locked his place in the 2nd Final 5 (Stupid Redemption Island), and he STILL gave away his necklace. Yes, Coach and Albert may have made him feel safe, but he should have kept the necklace on pure fact of knowing that had he made it the Final 3, he probably could have won a jury vote against any of the remaining Upolu. So, he's stupider than Erik in my book
Brandon had a lot of good moments. His story arc with Mikayla/The Whore of Babylon was the most unique plot point we've seen on this show in years. All of his random behaviors added to the gold of the show. I would have loved to see him struggling to cover up his tattoos all season long. I would have loved to see Mikayla replace Edna as the sixth person in the Upolu Alliance just to watch the two interact for even longer.
Honestly, Brandon was annoying and dumb and not funny often enough to make it to the top of this list. If the rumors about a Hantz vs. Hantz season ever come true, you can believe I will be on Brandon's side all the way to the Final Tribal Council. Or not, because he can't figure out how to get there.
Cochran makes me so mad. Like furious. I don't hate him very much, but he ruined my chances of ever being on Survivor. Know every dorky guy who auditions or is cast to be on the show will be held to the Cochran standard.
Cochran is not funny for this show. He's probably funny in real life, but everything he says is pre-rehearsed and you can tell Cochran is laughing at his own jokes inside his head the whole way. He definite doesn't have self-esteem issues. Something about his ego rubs me the wrong way.
Despite being such a fan of the show, all of his actions on the show were pushed ahead by the worst motivations. Cochran flipped on his tribe. And it was for a lot more reasons than just being afraid to draw the Purple Rock. If you watched South Pacific and thought that Cochran was being legitimately bullied before he flipped, than you need to seriously consider working to improve your critical thinking skills.
Cochran wanted screentime. Telling funny stories during confessionals and acting quirky was the best way to do that. Cochran flipped on his tribe because he cared more about his legacy than about the game itself. He was definitely much happier with 8th place than he would have been with a lower place on a Savaii that pulls rocks and loses. Since Cochran knew he was at the bottom of the totem pole for both tribe's alliances, he seemed to just care about doing something big enough to get him asked back for another season.
I will indubitably be seeing Cochran on my television again sometime soon. And I can only hope he will be humbled by his experience and reaction to his original appearance and hope that things will be different.
The honeymoon is over. The fun Coach from days of old is gone and we're left with only a robotic husk of the dragon-slayer that you either loved or loved-to-hate. I definitely switched back and forth between the two in both of his previous attempts at claiming the title of Sole Survivor. His third time around, he didn't do as much to inspire many strong thoughts in me.
Coach reminded me more of Russell's type of gameplay this time around in South Pacific. It was very focused on personal manipulation. Coach's shortsightedness was what cost him the game in the end. If he wanted a chance to win, and he had a very legitimate chance, he needed to own up to his actions that Final Tribal Council to earn the respect of the people he lost throughout the game. I'm shocked to think that Coach thought he could win despite have Final 3 deals with 6 people in the game simultaneously.
Assuming he gave a similar Final Tribal Council performance in all of his scenarios, the only pair he could have won against would have been Edna & Albert together. Sophie, Ozzy, Rick, and Brandon were too well-liked among the jury for him to ever have had a chance to win. Apparently to Coach, telling obvious lies about being honorable and trustworthy was the better route than owning up to his own actions in a game where the goal is to outwit.
Additionally, Coach did some other thing that made me mad. The religious overtones he was putting out made me seriously angry and honestly surprised me after being so muted about it in his two original appearance. The "GET ON YOUR KNEES" scene following the pre-merge immunity victory for Upolu was one of the most genuinely frightening sequences in Survivor's history. Also, I seem to remember a scene in the recap episode where Coach withholds good food from Mikayla for no rationalized reason. I hate Mikayla, and this even made me mad.
I hope I never see Coach on my television again. If I even want some more Dragonslayer, I'm more than content to go back and watch Tocantins.
It think it was literally impossible for Keith to avoid falling into a neutral position on this ranking. If you have positive or negative feelings towards Keith based on his appearance and edit on Season 23 of Survivor, you may have something wrong with your brain.
In my opinion, Keith got a worse edit in this show than Rick did. And that's saying something. Rick was on the show long enough for his invisible edit to become a novelty or a joke on its own. Keith's was just sad. Not to mention surprising for someone who was a good-looking, well-spoken young male with a romantic connection and an awesome cardiovascular backstory.
He has to be one of the worst edited contestants of all time. When his name started coming out of the voting urn at the merge tribal council and you were confused about who Keith was, I would not be surprised one bit. I did find it humorous that two most invisible males from each tribe were the ones who got votes that night.
I really want to right more about Keith, but I think that might be physically impossible. Didn't he have something to do with naming the merged tribe Te Tuna. Unfortunately, that name is weird, so it's not something that you'd want to be associated with.
Starting off the top ten is Christine. She was such an underutilized character, I can't help but be disappointed. She clearly was not interested in any returning players, which simultaneously made me like her a lot, but also drove a massive nail into her coffin.
Christine running Redemption Island was probably the time during it's two season run where Redemption Island was most tolerable. Probably because we weren't getting constant updates on Matt Elrod's bible study or Ozzy describing how he was recharging his batteries for some reason.
Christine will be remembered for calling Ozzy and Coach "temporary players". I wish more than anything that she was right, but she wasn't. And that stupid bland Ozzy was one of the reasons Christine was never resurrected to get revenge on the Upolu who ousted her. Maybe in that alternate universe, Cochran never flips, Purple Rocks get drawn, Upolu gets Pagonged and we end up with a Final 3 of Christine, Keith, and Jim. Dreams almost never come true however.
I'll personally remember her for her great friendship with Stacey, who we'll talk more about later.
Christine deserves another shot, but because she was so underedited in a season that most people already hate, the chances of her donning a buff anytime soon are slim.
Semhar was a first boot, making her ascension to 9th place on this list quite a feat. I feel like she probably should have been voted out after Papa Bear, but an unfortunate circumstance landed her out of the game after a poor challenge performance.
Her spoken word performances were just spectacular and Semhar's behavior at the Redemption Island Duel is probably one of the only things I ever even enjoyed happening in that arena.
Too bad Semhar wasn't cut out to play Survivor. Fortunately, the people who aren't cut out to play the game often end up with an interesting and worthwhile legacy in my book.
Albert is essentially an alternate universe version of Keith. He definite would be the bigger windbag of the two in any scenario, but Upolu's dominance pulled Albert out from the shadows he lived in for the first few episodes of the season and into a great limelight.
Albert was a gamebot strategist. And he was bad at it. Albert kept getting in his own way. There was no way he was going to win the game against anyone unless there was a surprise Final 2 and he brought Edna with him. Albert really made no decisions of his own. He sort of just wandered his way into the Final 3. He wasn't exactly a coattail rider, but nothing that he wanted to do strategically ever really panned out or did anything in his favor. And his social game didn't deliver since he either alientated his competitors or tried to buy their votes with obviously fabricated compliments and well-wishes.
Albert's alliance with Sophie is one of my favorite things about this season. I felt like they both sort of hated one another, but still got along because of their personalities. Luckily, Sophie could read Albert's modus operandi better than he could read hers.
Albert didn't do much really. Everything that someone could give him credit for, you could easily attribute more to Coach or Sophie. It pretty embarrassing he ended up as a 0-vote getter while sitting next to Coach.
I almost wish Albert had been voted out instead of Brandon. Maybe his legacy could have been defeating Ozzy on Redemption Island. But instead, we'll never know.
Like most of the people who make it this far on the list, there is something almost comical about Whitney's appearance on Survivor: South Pacific. Whitney will be remembered by me as being one of the castaways with the longest droughts of not having any confessionals that I will remember for a long long time. It was almost as if the editors wanted us not to think that she didn't exist or was an irrelevant competitor. It's as if they wanted us to think that she was incapable of thinking.
Whitney's biggest moments come mostly during times when she does or says very little. She had Savaii's Hidden Immunity Idol played on her during the merge episode, only to have her boyfriend take the hit instead. If you saw Ozzy give his Hidden Immunity Idol away and was confused who he was giving it to and where that blonde chick came from, I would have forgiven you.
Her next most memorable moment comes from when Cochran flips on his tribe and Whitney tells Cochran: "You DISGUST me". It was as if those delusions about being bullied were a self-fulfilling prophecy.
Finally, Whitney lost to Sophie during her final Immunity Challenge and was immediately booted. The season could have gone in a completely different direction if Edna or Cochran had been booted than night instead, but we'll never know.
It was news apparently, that Whitney was already married when she appeared on the show and got personal with fellow castaway Keith (who?). Maybe the Survivor editors were punishing her for her adultery with an edit that sucked so badly.
Did you remember that she won Individual Immunity one time? Me neither.
Jim was an interesting character. He was one of the few people who escape the Savaii curse of invisibility that cursed poor souls like Keith, Whitney, and Elyse.
At time Jim appeared to be a gamebot-type character with no personal development who's only goal was to be strategic for the sake of strategy. And those types of characters are not rare nowadays. However, Jim is distinctly set apart from people like Albert by the fact that Jim has an actual personality.
I can't put my finger on it, but Jim has an inherently likable aura about him. I didn't expect him to rank so high on this list, but he has the charm to end him up right outside the top five.
Maybe it's his looks, his take on the game, or his awesome occupation, but I hope Jim Rice comes back to play the game some day. Hopefully I will re-watch South Pacific soon and I will have more interesting things to say about him.
Dawn is the sweetheart of Survivor: South Pacific. She's such a wonderful person, I really do love everything about her. If she could only have been slightly less emotional and more strategic, she could've had what it takes to make it to the end of the game and pull out a Natalie White-style victory.
Dawn is a Mormon from Utah. That's not a rare character archetype for Survivor nowadays and I've heard reports that Dawn is actual acquainted with several other Mormon castaways from seasons past and future.
Dawn never had anything bad to say about anyone. I felt like everything she said came straight from her heart. She had a genuine smile and her voice was beautiful. And her smile was really frighteningly funny to me.
I remember when she won the weight-carrying immunity challenge for her tribe and surprised everyone with her challenge prowess. I remember her performance during the immunity challenge where they needed to carry rice on their heads. It really made her awesome socks she was wearing stand out.
Edna was such a fun character, I wish we had gotten to see more of her along the way, but she was essentially ignored after episode one all the way into her boot episode.
The casual fans may remember her as the woman who helped Coach with his belongings when Upolu first heads to camp, which is foreshadowing for when he betrays her later in the season. Which sort of becomes irrelevant when you realize that Edna still voted for Coach to win the title of Sole Survivor.
Like many Asian women before her, Edna got the under-the-radar edit where everyone is always talking about how annoying or useless she is, but they never actually show her doing anything that's actually annoying or useless at all.
I'll remember Edna for several things:
- She made a hat out of that tree mail which she began calling "cluehat". Unfortunately, production told her she couldn't wear it at the reunion.
- The shots of her during the Immunity Challenge that Whitney won where Upolu is sitting out and eating deserts. I was holding back tears when I first saw her slowly licking that orange cupcake while intently watching the competition, and was only further endeared by her taunting Rick by pulling another cupcake away from his face making him work for it, dirtying his beard in the process.
- Being the person who was closest to beating Ozzy at Redemption Island.
- Offering to eat Coach's feces.
Edna is one of the most genuinely nice people to play the game this season. Too bad she didn't have what it takes to win.
Oh, Rick, you know the guy who got 5th place. I'm genuinely shocked that Rick got such a bad edit during Survivor South Pacific. I hear that he gave bad confessionals and spoke like he had a bunch of marbles in his mouth, not to mention he had a very consistent and unchanging game plan that would have made for boring television. And you know what? I'm okay with that, because it gave us something even better.
The fact that Rick was so invisible all season long made any moments with him even more funny and valuable. Saying that Albert snored at tribal council. Eating that cupcake with Edna. Squeezing his wife's ass. It made him a mysterious and ethereal cowboy character shrouded in darkness. According to Dawn post-show, Rick is the only Survivor: South Pacific castaway that doesn't have a computer. So Rick disappeared just as mysteriously as he arrived.
I hope you don't think I'm being bigoted when I say that all of the interesting African-American females on Survivor get voted out in the pre-merge. Luckily, Stacey lasted long enough to remain in my memory forever and ever.
Stacey will be most remembered and loved by me for her various sound effects like "BOOM", "BLAM", "POW", etc. Going off on several rants and using them throughout made Stacey a rare character on Survivor. She was still over-the-top and dramatic and was able to maintain her position as seeming like an actual real person.
I'll always respect her because she took the dangerous stance of calling Coach by his real name "Benjamin", which spawned that hilarious scene where Coach starts talking about how even his parents call him Coach.
Stacey, you beautiful woman, please don't ever change.
I understand this is my first ranking, but you have no idea how rare this is. I usually end up hating the winner of any given season. I am not lying when I say that Sophie was my favorite from day one and my pick to the winner all season long. I was disappointed in the direction that her edit took, because I thought it completely removed any chance of her pulling out the win from the likes of Coach. However, Sophie pulled out on of the most amazing finale performances I've ever seen in my life, which redeemed Season 23 in my eyes.
Sophie was never going to be a big character whether or not she won the season. With Ozzy, Coach, Brandon, and Cochran hanging around, she was doomed to fall into obscurity anyway. Luckily, her victory kept her hanging in the wings of the action and controlling the goings-on all season long. I genuinely believe that Sophie was responsible for many of the things Coach got credit for, including helping Cochran to flip on his tribe.
Sophie totally deserved to win and she was able to perfectly analyze and dissect the weaknesses of the other players and use them against her. Not to mention she told the Jury exactly what they wanted to hear at the Final Tribal Council. Her social game could have been better though, because she essentially only won because she pissed off Savaii the least.
Sophie was a challenge dominator and won the most immunity challenges of anyone that season. Not to mention she was the only one to beat Ozzy in an individual challenge. I can remember being so happy when it happened. I feel like I can identify heavily with Sophie, I feel we have very similar personalities.
I loved during the card tower Immunity Challenge, she told Albert to drop his stack and go pick up her pieces. Jeff had to remind her that it was an individual challenge, but it just made me feel that Sophie didn't care what anyone thought about her and was constantly thinking of new and innovative ways to win.
Her breakdown at Tribal Council made me really feel for her. When she talks about how she felt that she was getting weaker emotionally rather than stronger, it really spoke to how I feel some times. It only makes her more of a badass when a few hours later the next day, she obliterates Ozzy away by beating him at a puzzle he normally could have solved in his sleep.
Sophie will always be my favorite Survivor winner. Did I mention that she said she was tipsy at the Final Tribal Council. She still did better than Coach or Albert. You go girl.