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

Survivor San Juan Del Sur's dark cloud is lifted

John Rocker

In its third episode, Survivor San Juan Del Sur improved significantly as John Rocker faced off against an Amazing Race villain. But the Exile Island reward challenge remains a drag on the series.


Why Dick Donato left Big Brother 13

Dick Donato

The Big Brother villain known as "Evel Dick" has finally revealed why he left the show during its 13th season: he learned he was HIV positive.

Also: Dick claims he had no choice but to leave the game.

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.