Survivor Oz Top 10-Top 10 Tarnished Legacies


Today is Survivor Oz Top Ten Day! This week, Our Ozlet from England, James Pickering, takes a look at the top ten players who have returned to play again only to have their legacies tarnished. From Tina being booted out first in All-Stars to Monica failing to claim the title in Blood vs. Water, there have been plenty of returnees along the way, but which ten have dampened their ‘Survivor legacies’ by returning? Join James as he counts them down and don’t forget to leave a comment!

10. James Clement – China, Micronesia & Heroes vs. Villains


View after China/Micronesia – the loveable gravedigger who was a complete fan favourite, underlined by the fact he won the Fan Favourite Award two seasons running. He was hilarious in confessionals, he was great for a sound bite and seemed like the gentle giant. It seemed impossible to say anything negative about him as a person.

View after Heroes vs. Villains – he was mean to Stephenie, he is a grump, he picks on old men and the previous seasons must have been an anomaly as this new James is a horrible person. Went from being a fan favourite to most people disliking him immensely.

9. Sue Hawk – Borneo & All-Stars


View after Borneo – mostly remembered for the most iconic Jury speech of all time. She was also considered an integral part of the Tagi Four and as a result one of the first people to create and dominate a game with an alliance. She was one of the biggest characters of the first season and as that season had sixty million viewers for the finale; she was a household name across America.

View after All-Stars – it cannot be said that the snakes and rats speech is now forgotten, as that would simply be an outrageous lie. However, the extremely ugly scenes that led to her leaving the game now sour her legacy. Most people’s last memory of Sue is her screaming at Jeff Probst about how she was humiliated, violated and dehumanised. And rather than take that seriously, we were treated to Big Tom dancing to ‘Ding Dong, the Witch is Dead’ to mark her departure from the game.

8. Rupert Boneham – Pearl Islands, All-Stars, Heroes vs. Villains & Blood vs. Water


View after Pearl Island – the quintessential hero who everybody universally loved. He was the loveable pirate who stole the shoes for the Drake tribe and wore a dress without any qualms whatsoever. He was the fat kid who got bullied in school but used that to become a role model for disadvantaged youths through his charity. He was tragically blindsided by the despicable Jonny Fairplay. He basically could do no wrong whatsoever and any other Survivor contestant will almost certainly never match the height of popularity that he reached after Pearl Islands.

View after Blood vs. Water – seems to be a general consensus that Rupert has played too many times and people now groan when he is on screen. His game play has remained the same and it is generally accepted there is zero chance Rupert will ever win a game of Survivor. There was outcry on the Internet when he was cast for season twenty-seven and people celebrated when he was voted out first. Also now seen as self-indulgent and a bit of a camera hog and the whole pirate shtick annoys people more than it endears him. I personally still love him, but whereas in 2003 I would be representative of around ninety-nine percent of the Survivor fan base, I would now say I’m in the minority.

7. Ami Cusack – Vanuatu & Micronesia


View after Vanuatu –The biggest female villain in Survivor since Jerri Manthey. Orchestrated a female alliance into systematically taking out the men one by one before it self-imploded at the last hurdle. She didn’t want to show the men any tricks the women learnt from a Vanuatu tribesman and she didn’t want to share the Rewards that was bought back to camp. But despite this, it was generally accepted she was a power player who was a strategic force.

View after Micronesia – A bit-part player who just rode coattails until she was voted out. Spent her last Survivor moments crying about how she could be trusted by the remaining favourites and was voted out in such a way that the audience took pity on her; before promptly forgetting her as a Survivor character. That is sad, as she would have been a much better casting choice for Heroes vs. Villains over Danielle Di Lorenzo.

6. Kathy Vavrick-O’Brien – Marquesas & All-Stars


View after Marquesas – A massive fan favourite who was often cited as an example alongside Rob Cesternino and Jonny Fairplay as proof that the best players of a season got voted out in third place. She was loveable, feisty, caring woman who got screwed by heartless Vecepia at the Final Immunity Challenge.

View after All-Stars – Along with Lex, she received an unfavourable edit, which centered around the deal made between Boston Rob and Lex. Now mostly remembered as Lex’s sidekick in that whole affair, which is a tragedy considering how big a Survivor contestant she was before All-Stars. Again, would have made far more sense for her to be cast in Heroes vs. Villains on the Hero tribe instead of Sugar or Candice.

5. J.T. Thomas – Tocantins & Heroes vs. Villains


View after Tocantins – One of the most likeable winners in history and also the first player to play the ‘perfect game’ (never receiving a vote, then getting all the Jury votes in the Final Tribal Council).

View after Heroes vs. Villains – Mostly remembered for making the ‘dumbest move in Survivor history’ when giving the Heroes Idol to Russell Hantz. J.T. has also led to a significant number of the fan base attributing most of the strategic decisions made in Tocantins to Stephen Fishhbach, the person J.T. sat beside at the Final Tribal Council and beat seven-zero in a Jury vote.

4. Colby Donaldson – Australian Outback, All-Stars & Heroes vs. Villains


View after Australia – One of the most beloved players of all time. A challenge dominator who sacrificed a sure fire one million dollars in order to honour his friendship with Tina by taking her to the Final Two. He was funny, he was handsome and he could do no wrong. People named their children Colby after him he was that popular. He was an underrated strategist who played the game with the right balance of strategy and morality, (basically he voted out Jerri instead of fan favourite Elisabeth Hasselbeck). He still holds the record for the most Individual Immunity wins in a season.

View after Heroes vs. Villains – Old and past it. People look back on Australia and decipher that he only won challenges because the challenges were different back then and his competition after the Merge was weak. Seen as a player with no strategy and somebody who simply didn’t care or even worse, understand the game of Survivor. He only made it to the Final Five because he simply wasn’t a threat in any way and as a result was kept around as an easy vote off when needed.

3. Rob Cesternino – Amazon & All-Stars


View after Amazon – Declared by Jeff Probst as the smartest player to never win the game, he was also considered a revolutionary player of Survivor as he was the first to openly flip-flop between alliances to suit his needs. He provided hilarious confessionals, dominated the game and screen time as much as anybody had done previously and he was without a shadow of a doubt, considered the best ‘Rob’ to play Survivor.

View after All-Stars – ‘The Rob that sucks’. Generally viewed as a massive disappointment in All-Stars and the majority of the fan base allowed that to tarnish their view of his game in Amazon, to the extent he was largely forgotten as a Survivor character at all. Now famous within the community for Rob Has a Podcast, but for somebody who changed the game as much as Cesternino did, it’s a pity that a podcast is most likely going to be the thing most Survivor fans will associate him with.

2. Lex Van den Berghe – Africa & All-Stars


View after Africa – A shrewd strategist who was extremely close to perhaps winning the season outright. Somebody who dominated the game with a unbreakable alliance of his close buddies. He was somewhat likeable, unique and without a doubt a multi-layered, fascinating character.

View after All-Stars – A bitter juror who is mostly remembered for that fight with Boston Rob. Some fans also accuse him of hypocrisy as his treatment of close friend Ethan could be compared to Rob’s treatment of Lex himself. Madison Square Garden booed him at the reunion for trying to explain his point of view and his Survivor reputation still hasn’t really recovered.

1. Jonny Fairplay – Pearl Islands & Micronesia


View after Pearl Islands – Quite simply the most notorious villain to ever play the game. He was directly responsible for arguably one of the most memorable Survivor moments of all time when he infamously told his dead grandma lie. He set off on his Survivor adventure with the express intention of being a villain by creating a character for himself and he succeeded like no other has done before or since. Whilst doing this he also became a common answer for the one of the greatest players to never have won, as he was one Immunity win away from probably taking the crown of Sole Survivor against the crying Scout Master Lillian Morris.

View after Micronesia – A quitter. Jeff Probst said he wasn’t considered for Heroes vs. Villains, (it is a crime he wasn’t cast), as Survivor doesn’t recast quitters. The majority of casual fans forget what he did in Pearl Islands and tarnish him with the same brush they do with people like Purple Kelly, NaOnka and Osten. Personally, I find that very sad.











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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34 Comments on Survivor Oz Top 10-Top 10 Tarnished Legacies

  1. I would replace Kathy, Amy, Rupert and Sue by Colton, Stephenie, Russell H and Russell S. Brenda could also have made the top 10.
    I really agree with the top 5. Thanks for this top 10!

  2. Seems a mistake not to have Russell in there somewhere. To go from “most” of the fans being outraged when he lost to Natalie to him being a 2nd boot that cried on his way out and has been bitter ever since is definitely worth a shout imo.

  3. Nathan Miller // April 2, 2014 at 9:41 am // Reply

    What’s with all the Rupert hate? In my opinion, he’s the best. I am a huge fan of Rupert. RUPERT BONEHAM TO PLAY A FIFTH TIME!

    • I love Rupert! You join me in what is now increasingly the minority. I wrote this article trying to get into the mindset of a casual fan. And as much as we might love him, people now find him past his sell by date. And that is very sad!

  4. I would say Gervase had a pretty tarnished legacy after Blood Vs Water, he was someone i looked up to as a child, he was my hero, then i watched him play again and he turned into this bitter old man / final 3 goat

  5. Totally agree with the top 2. Personally, I would have put Lex in the number 1 place for his vile hypocrisy. Took the game way too personally and he was just as ruthless. Extremely butt-hurt. He went to being one of my favourite contestants (even met him and got an autographed pic) to someone I completely despise.

    • “Completely despise”???? I think you might be taking this all a bit too seriously mate….

      • Ha ha ha – I see what you did there. As a viewer and serious fan of the show, I do indeed completely despise Lex. His opinions in interviews, podcasts and recaps show very little growth and maturity. Can’t accept anything less than him being in the right. Nauseating…almost to Russell Hantz proportions! I like contestants who realise that it is just a game after all!

    • Call it whatever you want, but Lex and Boston Rob were very close buddies outside the game. They were best buds. Now put your self in his shoes. You voted out your ally to save your best friend’s girlfriend as a favor in return for safety, and your friend stabs you in the back the next chance they get.

      You have to look at both sides, and the fact you despise a man who you have actually met who is a great man with a great sense of humor (I have heard his interview, his RHAP podcast, and a couple of RTVZones) is honestly quite sad that you hate a man so much from just seeing an edited down 45 minute episode of a 39 day journey.

      • I understand the edited show, I really do – but my opinion is based on exactly what you mention – all the interviews, podcasts etc.

        You could argue Kathy got screwed over just as much (if not more) but she is not as bitter and can put things into perspective. She actually still acknowledged Rob’s ruthless gameplay and voted for him to win. If only Colby and Ethan (yes, his Survivor Africa buddy, Ethan!) carried the same amount of hurt by getting voted out by Lex.

        Lex says Ethan didn’t fit into his game plan but that doesn’t make it any different to Rob who also tried to explain that Lex was no longer part of his. Rob made his mark in All-Stars. Keeping Lex and Kathy may have diminished his stranglehold and he may have been regretting his foolishness in not being ruthless enough / or playing with his heart rather than his head – if he didn’t do what needed to be done. That meant voting out his ‘friends’ Kathy and Lex. But don’t ever forget that Lex voted out ‘friends’ too.

        I just see a hell of a lot of hypocrisy – and time has not healed it. I sense Lex continued to seethe as Boston Rob went from strength to strength.

        I actually did a turn-around as was not a Rob fan at all. How they conduct themselves post-show reveals a lot about character too. That’s my view.

  6. Awesome list, James. I love Lex, Kathy and Colby, but All Stars didn’t really do anyone any favors

  7. Survivor Troll // April 2, 2014 at 2:30 pm // Reply

    Obviously you have forgotten that Rupert SACRIFICED his own game for his wife to play. He never got a chance to improve his game. This list is kind of unfair in some areas especially with Rupert.

  8. The one that jumps out to me is Stephanie, though I do think her edit was the main difference. She was set up as the underdog in Palau and then as the counterpoint to Danni in Guatemala. I’m guessing she wasn’t that different.

    • sarcastabtch // April 5, 2014 at 12:52 pm // Reply

      ITA with you. The difference in the editing was huge- but I saw the same core characteristics in her personality on both those seasons.

  9. in the last one Jonny Fairplay you said survivor doesn’t recast quitters. But what about Colten.

  10. Jsjdifjdjeisiskzjssudidjsj // April 4, 2014 at 4:58 am // Reply

    Stephenie in guatemala. The one who James was “mean to”. That awkward moment when she was “mean to” people in Guatemala and had a dreadful strategic and social game. It’s BS that she gets a free pass.

  11. Jsjdifjdjeisiskzjssudidjsj // April 4, 2014 at 5:01 am // Reply

    James also sincerely apologized to her. In Steph’s postgame interviews, she acted like a vindictive, entitled princess, overplaying the victim card.

    • “James also sincerely apologized to her”. You justify James attitude? Never a guy can talk to a woman like this, James is just an overrated player, who have a serious problem with woman.

      • Jsjdifjdjeisiskzjssudidjsj // April 8, 2014 at 6:03 pm //

        Calm down I don’t even like James and I realize that he’s overrated (not as overrated as Steph, though). I don’t condone men being condescending to women, but it’s happened so many times in survivor. For some ridiculous reason this instance gets more attention. That feud was blown out of proportion. If you heard his interview, he says good things about Steph. Thank you for also proving my point by giving her a free pass for her own bitchiness as if two wrongs make a right.

  12. Lex should be number 1 far and away. And I’m in the minority that still has a lot of respect for him.

    Fairplay shouldn’t be on this list. I know it sounds weird, but I don’t think his legacy was all that tarnished. Because he quit in the first episode, most people don’t even remember that he was on Fans vs. Favorites. He didn’t experience a horribly negative edit like James or Lex, and the fanbase by no means has stripped him of the respect he earned in Pearl Islands. It’s really just production that hates him.

  13. After Rupert’s third time, his legacy was tarnished. Honestly a terrible player.

  14. James was an ass in previous seasons but no one cared. But when it’s Steph he’s an ass to, he’s satan. What a joke.

  15. What is Ami doing on this list? After Vanuatu she was basically viewed as a cold hearted bitch, but her edit in Micronesia showed her a nice person. She has had one of the best story arc developpments after Jerri.

    Besides she most certainly wasn’t riding coat tails. She had an alliance that got picked off and she had a plan to turn the game but “f***ing Chet” ruined the game for everyone on that tribe.

    It’s clear that the person who wrote this is letting their personal feelings dictate the list rather than what the fan base as a whole actually thinks.

    • It wasn’t just Chet that screwed up her game…the episode she was voted off, she had approached Erik to try and form a new alliance that would get the two of them to merge, but Erik just couldn’t keep things a secret and ran and told Ozzy about Ami’s plan to boot him…pretty much the entire fans tribe were idiots aside from Tracy

  16. Sugar is a good choice. She was amazing in Gabon but HvV first boot ruined her for another returning shot.

  17. Amanda and Russell need to both be on this list for ruining their finals streak when they played a third time

    • Russell being Russell did him in…he had an advantage in HvV because Samoa hadn’t aired at the time of filming, so no one knew just how big of a snake he was until it was too late…as RI showed, the minute everyone got to see Russell play, almost no one wanted him around or respected him…even now, I have yet to hear a previous Survivor say they respect Russell…and judging by Ashley’s interview on here, he still would’ve been one of the first to go had he been on Ometepe instead…so no matter where he ended up, no one was going to play with him

  18. Blade Laser // April 30, 2014 at 8:59 am // Reply

    What about Russell (S22) Stephanie (S11) Tom (S20) Rob (S20) Cirie(S20) ???

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