Stephen, Tyson, Erinn were the most engaging Survivor Tocantins cast members; Sandy, Sierra were more annoying

The cast of Survivor Tocantins is a strong group, and one with fewer extremes. I have no doubt some will appall us and others will make us love them based upon their behavior during the show, but in person, they were pretty much all likable, engaging people–a nice change from Gabon.

Thus, it was very hard for me to rank the 16 new cast members this season from likable to unlikable, which I did last season. In Brazil, I found Sandy to be downright annoying but incredibly fun to talk to (hell, she was wearing a dehydrated animal penis as a necklace); Brendan was reserved and skeptical but smart and friendly; Spencer was in hyper superfan mode but was a great Survivor conversationalist.

Because no one was really hateful, and are instead just more annoying or less interesting than the others, this list ranks them from engaging to less engaging. And literally every one of them could be switched with the person before or after them in the list; it’s very arbitrary, since, again, no one left me with an overwhelmingly negative vibe.

Because of that, I’ve included two adjectives for each to identify what I recall as their most memorable personality traits. Starting next week, look for an interview a day with more details you won’t find anywhere else, including information about who was recruited (a lot of them), plus my analysis of their potential in the game and their strategies.

  1. Stephen Fishbach: intellectual, aware
  2. Tyson Apostol: witty, unassumingly smart
  3. Erinn Lobdell: fun, charming
  4. Candace Smith: amusing, assertive
  5. Spencer Duhm: young, cutely enthusiastic
  6. Tamara “Taj” Johnson-George: charming, well-rounded
  7. Brendan Synnott: cautious, attentive
  8. Benjamin “Coach” Wade: impossibly arrogant, self-aware
  9. Carolina Eastwood: worldly, perky
  10. Jerry Sims: resourceful, friendly
  11. Debra “Debbie” Beebee: considerate, inviting
  12. Sydney Wheeler: interesting, average
  13. Joe Dowdle: resolute, agreeable
  14. James “JT” Thomas Jr.: nice, flat
  15. Sandy Burgin: super-crazy-enthusiastic, annoying
  16. Sierra Reed: prepared, brash

Surprisingly, man not eaten alive on Eaten Alive

Eaten Alive

Discovery Channel’s happy family holiday special Eaten Alive aired Sunday, rewarding viewers for their two full hours of viewing by ensuring that they spent quality time in the company of others instead of wasting that time doing something else that might not have been as satisfying, such as buying things that have labels which accurately reflect their contents.


Winter 2015 reality TV debut schedule

winter 2015 reality TV schedule

Mark your calendars with all these upcoming reality TV show debuts, including Celebrity Apprentice, The Bachelor, and another season of MasterChef Junior, all of which kick off in early January.

There are also 20+ shows debuting in December--including the one-off return of The Sing Off. No winter break for reality TV.

about the writer

Andy Dehnart is a journalist who has covered reality television for more than 15 years and created reality blurred in 2000. A member of the Television Critics Association, his writing and criticism about television, culture, and media has appeared on NPR and in Playboy, Buzzfeed, and many other publications. Andy, 36, also directs the journalism program at Stetson University in Florida, where he teaches creative nonfiction and journalism. He has an M.F.A. in nonfiction writing and literature from Bennington College. More about reality blurred and Andy.