Survivor Oz Top 10-Top 10 Reasons Why South Pacific Is The Worst Season Of All Time

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Wednesday is back, which means another Survivor Oz Top Ten is here for your viewing pleasure. This week, Ozlet James Pickering discusses his top ten reasons why Survivor: South Pacific is the worst season in Survivor history. South Pacific is frequently ranked as one of the worst seasons by Survivor fans, but just what is it about this season that turns people off? Is it the return of one of the most criticised additions to the game, Redemption Island? Is it the confusing choice of returnees? Is it the disappointing winner? Read on to find out what makes South Pacific such an unpopular season, and remember to leave your comments in the space below.

10. Invisible Edits

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This is a pet peeve of mine about modern day Survivor. People who are cast on this show go through an extensive pre-game application process that includes countless interviews and surveys. There are thousands upon thousands of applicants, and these people are supposedly the best of the best. I’m not going into the whole ‘recruits versus applicants’ debate now, but these people are supposedly the best possible group of people out of the many thousands at the disposal of the casting people. That is why it is indefensible to give so many characters no character development scenes and such few confessionals. The confessional count for some characters is quite frankly a joke; Rick received eight in fourteen episodes (check out the Survivor Oz interview, he’s a funny guy), whilst Whitney received four in eleven episodes (and her first one came in Episode Five). These people were cast for a reason! Show us their personalities and their stories! And don’t say its impossible; Dirk Been received twelve confessionals in five episodes in Borneo. And people remember the pre-Merge people from the earlier seasons for that reason. Who can honestly say they remember Elyse Umemoto?

9. Samoa

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I remember the good old days when the seventeenth castaway on a season was the country the season was filmed in. Survivor went from the Borneo beach to the Australian outback, from the beaches of Panama to the desert of Kenya. We saw the stunning terrain of Gabon, the rainforest of the Amazon and the Mayan ruins of Guatemala. With these locations, we saw the local culture through Reward Challenges and introductory game rituals (Vanuatu and China immediately spring to mind). Whether it’s through budget cuts or other reasons, South Pacific was the second time Survivor had returned to the same location for a third season. It starts a very bad precedent that has now been followed since; we have only seen two different locations since South Pacific, regardless of how they might think the cryptic season names might fool us. Plus, Samoa just generally sucked as a location.

8. Ozzy’s Arrogance

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I’m one of those Survivor fans who see Ozzy, beloved three-time returnee to many, as a tad self-entitled and arrogant. Although I acknowledge and grudgingly respect his physical game and challenge prowess, his social game is appallingly bad and he often comes across as arrogant on screen. Watching him dismiss Cochran early on in the season as weak, isolating him from the rest of the Savaii’s and then turning around shocked that Cochran flipped, underlines the fact that Ozzy has not learnt the number one rule of Survivor in three attempts at playing it: if people don’t like you, they might not do what you want them to do. Redemption Island and its premise allowed Ozzy to sit on an island by himself through the entire post-Merge, where his job was to very kindly make his visitors a fish before sending them on their way to Ponderosa. That was his one task, and even then he couldn’t do it without an aura of arrogance. His badgering of Cochran to give him his Jury vote if he made it to the Final Tribal Council is evidence of this. Don’t get me wrong, I’m sure Ozzy is a very interesting person in real life; I just didn’t need to see him on my TV screen for a third time.

7. Boring Pagonging

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Is there anything more tedious to watch than one tribe getting the numbers at a Merge then systematically picking off the other tribe one-by-one? I don’t think so, and that’s what happened in South Pacific. We were shown in the first episode of the season the formation of a five-person alliance between Coach, Brandon, Sophie, Albert and Rick, and that alliance made it to the Final Five of the game. The moment Cochran infamously flipped at the Final Twelve Tribal Council, we were subjected to one of the most boring stretches of Tribal Councils in Survivor history. It was so boring and dull that the Survivor producers even conceded defeat and made two double boot episodes in a row, followed by the tedious Recap Episode! The boring Tribals didn’t even stop there; it was so transparent that the next to go after the Savaii members were pagonged would be Edna. Lo and behold, she got voted out next! The only way a pagonging is remotely palatable is if the audience are invested in the characters on show. The only way that is possible is to develop their characters throughout the season. This season was more interested in Redemption Island duels, so we were bored to tears instead.

6. Invisible Winner

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This invisible edit gets its own special mention! I’ll start off by making this clear; in no way do I think Sophie did not deserve to win her season. She thoroughly deserved it; you don’t win a jury vote 6-3-0 if you don’t deserve a win. She was both a strategic force, using Coach as a spokesman and shield, and also a challenge dominator, with three Individual Immunity wins, most noticeably when she beat Ozzy at the crucial Final Four Immunity Challenge. So why did the editors bury her story? Why did she receive the second least amount of confessionals a winner has ever received? Oh that’s right; we had to make room for all the entertaining Brandon struggles, religious prayer circles, and Cochran bleating about his insecurities. And don’t forget about those super entertaining duels/truels! Good one, Survivor editors.

5. Coach Vs. Ozzy

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I must have missed a Survivor season where these two competed together before this one. How epic that season must have been to constitute a whole season theme around a battle between them. They must have clashed big time! Because I mean, there is no other possible explanation for it. They couldn’t be more different as Survivor characters. One is ‘honor and integrity’ and quotes from Marcus Aurelius; the other climbs coconut trees really quick and swims even quicker. OH, they both need redemption because they had a poor social game! Oh I see, that makes complete and utter sense. I mean, ask anybody what a good example of a poor social game is; guarantee the first answer would have been prior to this season: ‘Too easy. Obviously Coach and Ozzy. They totally need a chance at redemption. Preferably in a season where there is Redemption Island so they don’t even need a social game to get to the end anyway!’ At least Russell versus Rob made sense.

4. Redemption Island

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I can forgive a mistake the first time. Put it down to bad decision making, a risk gone wrong, being overly ambitious; whatever. If anything, I admire people who make mistakes and then can hold their hand up and say ‘Hey, this doesn’t work. Back to the drawing board.’ What I can’t forgive is making the same mistake twice, which is what Survivor did with Redemption Island in South Pacific. The Redemption Island twist in season twenty-two was universally panned; it robbed the viewer of the finality of being voted out (and the fundamental Survivor principle that when your torch goes out, you’re out of the game); it introduced tedious duels (and truels and even quaduels at one point) that lacked tension; it meant Reward Challenges were seized away from us; and it also resulted in at least fifteen minutes of every episode being dedicated to Redemption Island, thus taking away valuable episode time that used to be used to develop characters for the viewers to root for. Repeating the mistake with pretty much no changes made to the format was mind blowing. Oh, and it also was (in my opinion anyway) a blatant attempt to make sure that a social game was no longer an object for production’s golden boy Ozzy in his attempt to finally win the game after three tries. His loss at the Final Four and not winning in a landslide after not playing the game for fourteen days was perhaps the only satisfying moment of this abhorrent season.

P.S. Look how pathetic that Redemption Island arena is!

3. The Introduction of Brandon Hantz

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I don’t think there has been a more irresponsible casting decision in Survivor history than the casting of Brandon Hantz. From very early on in the season, it was obvious that this young boy (at nineteen with very little emotional maturity, Brandon was effectively a child) was going to struggle to deal with the moral dilemmas that the game of Survivor involves. His constant inner torment about whether to lie or be truthful in a game where his uncle has such an infamous reputation became extremely uncomfortable to watch once it was obvious that he couldn’t cope with it healthfully. And although I’m usually an advocate of ‘all is fair in love and war’ within the context of Survivor, watching people such as Albert and Coach constantly exploit Brandon’s naivety and weakness left an extremely foul taste in the mouth. The handover of Immunity to Albert at the Final Six Tribal Council was marketed as one of the worst moves in Survivor history, but from my perspective it looked like a child being exploited for our supposed pleasure. Also, the way Russell was then wheeled out at the Reunion to publicly declare his disapproval of Brandon’s game was unnecessarily cruel by CBS. It wasn’t entertaining; it was excruciating. We saw the sad consequences this season had on Brandon’s mental health in Caramoan.

2. Coach 3.0

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One of my biggest gripes with South Pacific is that it has destroyed the legacy of Benjamin ‘Coach’ Wade. In his previous two seasons, Coach was a comedic masterpiece; a never-ending source of epic quotes and sublime television. He was one of the most perfectly edited Survivor contestants ever as the producers accepted him for what he was: not a strategic mastermind, but a character to provide light relief from endless strategy scenes – and they went along with it to the hilt. They had fun with Coach and his Exile Island extravaganza, his Coach-chi, ‘I have’ moments and endlessly entertaining stories, and made him a somewhat sympathetic and likeable character by the end of Heroes Vs. Villains. His Survivor journey arc was complete. And then they ruined him. They turned him into a no-laughs, annoying strategic game-bot and tried to portray him as the figurehead and mastermind of a majority alliance. Even more tragic was that they even portrayed him as the person with the rational outlook on situations; the person who other contestants would come to for guidance and clarification on what was happening. This is not Coach. It will never be Coach. Coach is not a Brian Heidik or Yul Kwon. Coach is entertainment. Coach is fun. Coach is the Dragon Slayer. Coach is the direct descendant of Pocahontas. Portraying him as anything else is blasphemous. It makes me sick. And it’s horribly, horribly sad.

1. Kumbaya My Lord

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Speaking of blasphemy… without a shadow of a doubt, the worst thing about this season was the constant religious theme that was a mainstay throughout the season. It was Rob Cesternino who said it first in Survivor: Amazon: ‘I didn’t know that Jesus had a vested interest in Survivor.’ And he is just so right. Regardless of your views on the validity of any religion, whether you’re a staunch atheist or a radical fundamentalist, there is absolutely no reason for any God to take a vested interest in eighteen strangers living by choice on a deserted island undertaking challenges such as ‘rip the most meat off this carcass using only your teeth’ in pursuit of one million dollars. God has more important things to do, like sort out famine and disease, achieving world peace and smiting Jeff Probst for thinking Redemption Island is a good idea. People praying for guidance in a game that is about manipulating other people for your own personal gain is wrong and fundamentally not what the whole idea of religion is about to start with. God would tell you to stop playing such an unethical game and stop wasting his time. Watching everybody hide behind religion and going off to ask God what to do before vote-offs was nauseating. Watching Coach use a group-prayer session to ask God for help finding an Immunity Idol, which was already in his back pocket, was outrageous. The constant prayer-circles (which for me almost made the people involved in them feel superior to the others) were infuriating. I can’t decide whether this set a cynical or sinister tone for the duration of the season. I personally think a mixture of both. Anyway, it certainly makes South Pacific the worst season of all time, and I hope it stays the worst season of all time. I don’t think I’d be able to sit through another Survivor season that was worse than this…

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What do you think of the top 10? Do you agree? Disagree? Is it in the wrong order or are there ones that didn’t make the top 10 that you feel should’ve? Leave a comment below to let us know your thoughts!

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33 Comments on Survivor Oz Top 10-Top 10 Reasons Why South Pacific Is The Worst Season Of All Time

  1. I hear what you’re saying…but I still think Fiji can’t be forgiven haha. South Pacific to me may be 2nd worst, but Fiji will always land in the season I can’t even watch category

  2. It’s really funny to see a fan of Rupert explaining that Ozzy is arrogant, is like to see a fan of Justin Bieber explaining that Neil Young is a bad singer, but I hate also SP, is the worst season ever with RI. And, you forgot something in your list, the pathetic Cochran, only a stupid nerd can like him in this season.

    • Jack I like Pearl Islands Rupert and to an extent All Stars Rupert, because I think he was such a unique Survivor character who despite his arrogance, made me laugh at numerous points. Whether it was laughing with or at him is irrelevant, he added to my enjoyment of the show. Ozzy’s arrogance wasn’t funny, it was just annoying. Hope that explains things! Glad you enjoyed the article!

  3. I agree with everything on this list. ESPECIALLY THE RELIGION ASPECT. Don’t get me wrong. There is parts of South Pacific I did enjoy. But for the most part this season makes no sense.

    Christine’s Redemption Island arc was by far the most interesting thing this season. She should come back for another shot. She saw through all that crap and even flipped them off a couple of times which was AMAZING.

    I also loved Edna. She was the only one who stayed behind and helped Coach after that first challenge and he treated her like crap the rest of the time. He formed that five alliance and was like oh and we’ll make Edna sixth. That was a real low move on his part.

    How could you not include the Adam Sandler reward on this list? Sophie’s reaction to it is priceless.

  4. I think one world and season 22 are worse than south pacific

  5. oops I was praying ,,people still liked papabear,,,,lolol Happy holidays and bear hugs…

  6. Sara Leaverton Stowe // December 4, 2013 at 2:53 pm // Reply

    Speaking of coach 3.0…I’d love to see a top 10 3-time players. There have been at least 10 now, right?

  7. If Fiji deserved forgiveness,then South Pacific has to be forgiven as well. It wasn’t as bad as 22.
    I thought religion thing was hilarious! It was super offensive and yet I enjoy watching hypocrites like Coach, Brandon and Albert. They are pathetic and funny. Especially Coach’s line “It was God’s Will! Go win Redemtion”
    Plus the winner was great.

  8. Another thing you could have added is the fact that there was no Fallen Comrades sequence.

  9. How can anyone not have Redemption Island as their least favourite season? South Pacific was pretty bad, but Redemption Island isn’t even comparable to it.

    • I actually don’t find Redemption Island as offensive as others do. South Pacific really is bad though. I’d say One World is a better example of a worst season.

  10. Oh yeah poor Coach. Going from a comic relief to a bone-fide player. AWFUL.

    ARE YOU KIDDING ME?!

  11. Did Cochran wrote this very bitter post?! JK LOL! For me, I dont hate the season as a whole, there’s some good & bad points but overall South Pacific is a good one, Maybe its just a personal preference 😉

  12. Excellent analysis, James! So happy to know someone else can’t stand Ozzy’s attitude and play. And Brandon! What were they thinking? The religious theme was, well, icky. Hadn’t heard Rob C’s quote — perfect! The invisible edits were BAD — Sophie was a deserving winner, and Elyse! This smartypants fan had forgotten her. The redeeming aspects of this season for me was the Dawn/Cochran combo and Christine, who’s hilarious, and needed more time. Whitney = another character. Kudos for being spot on. (And seeing the Borneo pic above, reminded me of Gretchen Cordy, someone who I’d love to see come back.)

  13. Good article but next week you should really do top ten tribal council sets!

  14. The only thing that would of remotely saved this season is Cochran letting it go to rocks at the 5/5 vote.

  15. After tonight’s episode, I think you should definitely do a top 10 Tribal Councils after the finale of Blood vs Water.

    • Gregg Matthews // December 6, 2013 at 6:59 pm // Reply

      I think One World, Redemption Island, and Nicaragua were all worse than South Pacific, just in seasons from 20 onward. Coach going from being a joke, to becoming a compelling character who learns from his mistakes but can’t get past his pride. Is one of the strongest multi season story arch’s of the show.

  16. I completely agree that SoPa is terrible, only RI is worst 😉

  17. Mikayla’s early boot 😦

  18. Next top ten should be top ten alliance pairs or top ten pairs

  19. These are all valid points but I still say Redemption Island was worse!

  20. When it came to terrible seasons, Redemption Island was in a league all by itself!

  21. g2-6ff0d22fac4d07459fac1d8d9f9eecf3 // April 4, 2014 at 6:45 am // Reply

    I would say RI was worse, but simply by virtue of BRob being in the season, it wasn’t. Seriously though, the religious stuff x10. I’ve always said I HATE when they focus on that stuff; it makes me sick.

  22. Don’t knock Prayers. I liked it.

  23. Just finished watching the season and the winner made this season much worse…the worst survivor winner in history. I’m not saying I’m all gung ho on Albert or Coach, but even if Sophia didn’t have an extreme case of social issues (whiny, bratty, temper tantrums, etc, she was the brattiest survivor to date and I have little doubt the show gave her less air time to clean up her social miscues), but she refused to make any moves in the game whereas she was in strategic positions on numerous occasions. where it made the most sense to take Coach out and give herself not only a shot at winning the game, but a fairly decent shot. The fact that she won the game anyways, by not making a single move in the game is mind boggling. At least Albert made some strategic moves and attempted to make several more, except Sophia was the dead end to strategy every time. She should not have been rewarded for not only no strategic play, but negative strategic play. Brandon, Coach and Rick were dead ends for any type of strategical consideration, leaving us with Albert and Sophia, except we could add Sophia to the dead end list as well, except worse because she didn’t rule out strategy she was just afraid to use it. Her only strategical play in the game (although inadvertent) was crying at tribal council. It was sad, because someone finding out that they’re a social misfit in everyone’s eyes, is a rude, but necessary awakening in order to look inwards and change some things. To then turn around and give the title to this chick is unbelievable!!!

  24. The religious nonsense is getting redic! Season 22 was religion extreme, but this season was like religion on crack in more ways then one. The disturbing thing is, the only way to make it on the show is to have some belief in Jesus/God (in the realm of Christianity/Catholicism). I’m not sure if others have picked up on this or not?
    Either Mark Burnett is a very religious person or there’s some kind of conspiracy going on. I’m beginning to think that all the big exec’s in the industry (who BTW almost always have no religious affiliation whatsoever) are trying to program this in the minds of the American public for some type of agenda. How else can you explain it? This is every season.

  25. In all fairness, the first half of the season was pretty entertaining. The second half clearly sucked and the winner was dreadful. The first half of the season is what prevents this season from being the worst. For me the worst season by far is Vanuatu, which is in most people’s bottom 5, That was the only season to have no entertainment value whatsoever at any point during the whole season.

  26. Totally not the worst season, the Christianity as manipulative tactic may have made people really uncomfortable but the whole thing was fascinating and well edited. Elyse is also a lot easier to remember than a lot of other UTR Survivors. They showed more of her on A Closer Look.

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