Being A Likeable Villain

Likeable Villain

In the game of Survivor players are frequently divided into either heroes or villains. While we're meant to cheer on the heroes and hope for the villains downfall, it's rarely that simple. In today's feature article Ozlet Alex Morella looks at wait makes some villains just so damn likeable. Read on to find out why evil is sometimes good!

 Villains are the people we’re supposed to hate in the Survivor world…the people we route against because boooo they are trying to defeat the heroes we love so dearly. This of course…is characterised by many actions that are…well….villainous…there’s things like…hiding your tribe’s machete…tipping out your tribe’s supply of rice…being loud and angry at camp because you don’t have any cigarettes…or simply being a bit of a delusional douchebag…but of course the one thing you have to do to be a villain…is run a strong alliance against any kind of underdog or hero…without Villains…there are no heroes…well there are…but they’re not as awesome!

Cochrane

However…like anything with bad guys…you don’t always route for the good guy…maybe because it’s what we’re supposed to do…or gosh…maybe just because the Villains themselves are just too darn likeable! Or you could be like us and just watch survivor so much that great villains are a refreshing change of pace! It’s something that has evolved through the seasons, even if it was present back in Borneo.

The Development of Likeable Villains…and Villains Themselves

So…on that note…did Richard Hatch start us off on the path of Villains we should love? Or was he really much of a villain at all?

Well…at the time he was! At least I believe so…I was like 7 when the first season of survivor came out…I was watching Pokemon and Digimon…not the infancy of the greatest reality show around! However…from when I have gone back and watched it…it seems the work around ‘alliances’ was totally evil because…well…it wasn’t about voting based on survival skills or anything like that…and that was evil! But…Hatch did start the likeable villain as well…Fat Naked Fag was a pretty big deal and worked nicely for him…so in a tiny…tiny sort of evil way (I mean…comparing it to some of the villains in recent times…he’s so mild and probably not even a villain at all…but he started this trend…so I’m going with it!

RichEven Rich thinks I’m wrong!

So through the seasons this developed…and early on we had the trend of definitely booing and routing against the villains…Jerri was the first true villain…and we hated her for it…and then Keith was pretty bad too…we had Brian Heidik using Survivor as a business trip…but this is where it all becomes a bit murky…because Brian was awesome…even if he played very differently to what had been seen…and he and Rob Cesternino started this likeable trend of players who did…well…deceitful things…however again…small steps…they simply played the game well it could be argued.

It all probably came to a head in Pearl Islands…where two of Survivors great Villains were found…Jonny Fairplay…and Lillian Morris…hehe…I kid…of course I mean Sandra Diaz-Twine!

So through the seasons this developed…and early on we had the trend of definitely booing and routing against the villains…Jerri was the first true villain…and we hated her for it…and then Keith was pretty bad too…we had Brian Heidik using Survivor as a business trip…but this is where it all becomes a bit murky…because Brian was awesome…even if he played very differently to what had been seen…and he and Rob Cesternino started this likeable trend of players who did…well…deceitful things…however again…small steps…they simply played the game well it could be argued.

It all probably came to a head in Pearl Islands…where two of Survivors great Villains were found…Jonny Fairplay…and Lillian Morris…hehe…I kid…of course I mean Sandra Diaz-Twine!

JerriThe first true face of evil! We love her now though!

I remember watching this season thinking Morgan are the good guys and Drake are the bad guys…probably just a sense I got because of the whole…down on numbers thing…which plays a huge part in perceptions as to who’s the good guys…and after they got rid of Savage and Ryan O…the villains came out…well…better! The out-villain off between a lot of the cast made the season so enjoyable…and that made it great…but also showed what made us love a villain even more…the ability to narrate and be entertaining…and remind us that villains have great personalities too!

This is what has emerged over the seasons with likeable villains…

I remember watching this season thinking Morgan are the good guys and Drake are the bad guys…probably just a sense I got because of the whole…down on numbers thing…which plays a huge part in perceptions as to who’s the good guys…and after they got rid of Savage and Ryan O…the villains came out…well…better! The out-villain off between a lot of the cast made the season so enjoyable…and that made it great…but also showed what made us love a villain even more…the ability to narrate and be entertaining…and remind us that villains have great personalities too!

This is what has emerged over the seasons with likeable villains…

Great Confessionals

Nothing beats listening to a confessional from a villain who’s on top of the world…in control…and bragging about it! It’s not the confessionals where they say…’I have to keep making sure everyone is in line’ or even ‘my alliance is strong’, it’s the ones where they bag out the heroes and the rest of the tribe…where they talk a little bit prematurely about going to the end and winning…where they tell us they might make another move…or where they simply build up how perfectly it’s going…but in a kind of nice way…not a Boston Rob way…I’ve never considered him that much of a likeable villain…just a damn good one (although in Heroes and Villains and RI he had a lot more good human moments I thought).

FairplayThis guy was evil!

Great masters of this are Russell Hantz…Tony…Tyson…Jonny Fairplay…Jerri when she played in HvV, Parvati…the good villains yeah? Not your players like Sash and Sugar and Chase and Albert and anyone on All Stars that who played with the bad guys…but couldn’t talk their game up…I think this is where Boston Rob always is different in that he just embraced it because he wanted to win…but kept it very level headed…the others almost showboated with it and had fun…which usually adds to likeable villains…I get it…there’s a million bucks on the line…but that doesn’t mean we can’t love you!

They never stop making moves

Ok…so you’re in the top 7 or 8…you’ve got the core alliance…so instead of going to the script…you just change it up and boot out someone you want to beat at the end…It just makes everything a bit more refreshing…even if the analysis afterwards is ‘that totally didn’t have to be done yet’ or ‘wow that was brutal’…because…as Jerri put it before getting booed off the stage at the All Stars reunion…this game is about entertainment and all that…we want to be entertained…why do we all not like this current season…because WE ARE NOT ENTERTAINED! So any remote way you can make it more entertaining…not only makes us love you more…it increases your odds to return in the future and have fans excited to see you back! The extra gameplay is so much nicer than a Pagonging…even if a Pagonging is practical and logical to win the game…

TonyCos the players gonna play play play play play and the haters gonna hate hate hate hate!

How else can villains be likeable you might ask?

Playing in anti-hero, or even a hero role, but…more…villainy

In wrestling…a lot of storylines revolve around an evil authority figure…it’s just a story type that is always accepted…but while there’s always some kind of American hero fighting them who the crowd doesn’t want to get behind (I’m looking at you John Cena!), but rather they get behind the guy who acts like a bad guy…but is on the good guy’s side…there are countless examples of this…but Stone Cold Steve Austin has always been that guy to go to!

RussellThat evil look…

It’s a bit the same in Survivor…While Russell Hantz is polarising…in Samoa he played the anti-hero to the Galu alliance…where the numbers were against him…so he kind of went from the villain to the hero to…the villain again…but I liked him for it…not sure about everyone of course…but I liked him for it…

Twila probably did a similar thing with Chris and Eliza and Scout in Vanuatu…The ‘evil’ Amy and her alliance ran the show…and then it got flipped on it’s head…and we didn’t have to like Twila…because she wasn’t always nice about it…but we did…because we wanted the major alliance to fall!

I personally enjoyed something similar in Gabon…where the lines of Hero and Villain seemed crossed for a while…and Marcus and Charlie were the heroes with Corinne…but Corinne was a villain so did that make Marcus and Charlie villains…and Sugar became a hero somehow but she was really a villain…and Kenny was the little outsider hero who became a super villain with Crystal…and then Randy was always evil and Bob was always good but he briefly worked with the evil and then Suzie and Matty were there too kind of playing with the bad guys but not being the bad guys…well Suzie was a couple of times….it was all over the shop…and that’s why I love Gabon! The villains were underdogs…then they were on top…but it worked out as a perfect storyline! So when the villains go mad with power…we love them for it because there was no way they should’ve had it in the first place!

Fang RankThey also brutally ranked everyone!

It even works better if sometimes

They seem to be on the same page as us

I mean…it helps when if we find a hero or other player annoying…that a villain simply articulates it the best to us…or even makes a joke that just pays out on someone else (Julia is an insult to vanilla anyone?). That makes us laugh and enjoy a villain (Cochrane definitely went down the bad guy route…it worked much better for him!).

This beats stuff like someone voting…and casually just calling the person they vote for a dirt squirrel…screw you Benry…poor Alina didn’t deserve that!

But yes…the fact they narrate what we’re thinking…and we feel we can relate to them…makes them so much better than anyone we think we know but we can’t just agree with them on a lot of things…we want to connect with them…think like them…and that’s why we would like them!

And finally…it always helps if…

They’re just a little bit nuts!

Or really nuts…either way works…but it makes us remember them…and it might be good…or it might be bad…but they deliver on the wacky moments!

PhillipThis.

Coach…of course I was going to bring him up…Phillip’s antics on Redemption Island…even the way Tony just casually made Llama noises as Kass…who wasn’t quite the same likeable villain. Tyson had wacky rituals and moments…Russell couldn’t keep himself out of trouble…and it’s stuff like that we remember and love…there’s always something said about being systematic and just getting to the million…but there’s no fun in that for us! Even Sandra…the great Sandra…was a little bit nuts both times and it worked for us beautifully because we saw someone playing rationally…but at the same time losing their mind over who they were stuck with!

This season

So that brings us to this season…which I personally have really not enjoyed…and I tried to see if many of the villains (there are plenty…this is like…all villains left nearly…I mean…Joe and Jenn were the heroes…and Shirin is kind of one but…not really)

escameca-800_thumb.jpgWere we supposed to like these people?

We have Mike…who doesn’t give great confessionals, and while he’s turned into a bit of an anti-hero…I wouldn’t call it a good anti-hero…just one who messed up a couple of moves and put himself on the out

We have Dan…who is a little bit nuts…but…it’s not a nice nuts! He’s not on the same page with most viewers and…it’s just a little bit difficult to watch

We have Rodney…who while entertaining…and does amazing Mike impersonations and pretty good confessionals…is still an ass to people and women especially…which doesn’t help his image…however I think he’s the closest thing.

We have Carolyn and Tyler…who just haven’t given us a reason to want to like them yet…and someone called Sierra is apparently out there too!

That leaves Will…who’s just articulated what everyone is thinking about Shirin…but it wasn’t…well…nice or even relatable…it was just mean and horrible…so that didn’t work…and Shirin…well…she’s a bit funny and different sometimes…but she’s still hard to connect with…and hard to root for after just not feeling like she’s done anything to deserve our acclaim…just turned up as the underdog.

And that is why it’s been hard to support anyone…I don’t want the villains to win…but they pretty much already are…but I don’t want any of them to win! So…yeah…

Villains are villains…we’re supposed to root against them…but if they give us a few nice moments…a few nice confessionals, and seem like we can see them as relatable people…we might just hope their evil reign succeeds til the end!

Do you agree with Alex’s assessment? What do you believe makes a likeable villain? Let us know your thoughts below!

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About Survivor Oz (2111 Articles)
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21 Comments on Being A Likeable Villain

  1. I couldn’t even finish reading this because all the ellipses.

  2. I always root for the villain and well as someone who is going to try out for the show hope to be one my self. The villains are smart players the heroes are loyal players and everyone else just sits there LOL. Richard was not a villain he was just someone who wanted the money and decided that he would vote with 3 other people. Jeri yeah she wanted to be evil but was not. Brian was the 1st villain and rob was a villain because he played smart. Johnny fairplay is one of 3 supervillains (him russell and tony) they are pure evil well tony just used russells evil LOL.

    Top 3 heroes
    Rupert
    Colbey
    Ozzy

    Top 3 Male Villains
    Russell
    Fairplay
    Tony

    Top 3 Female Villains
    Kass
    Twila
    Parvati

  3. Abi Maria is a WAY more likeable villain than Corinne

  4. You have some really interesting and good points in the article but in the future can you not constantly put in the ellipses as it ruins the flow of the article.

  5. THE ELIPSES THEY BURN

  6. douchebag // May 4, 2015 at 10:59 pm // Reply

    You have to consider the intentions of people. Rodney’s intentions are better than the average guy who’s going against him right now. Mike’s a superb guy and if you have problems with his attitude, then….

    More importantly, what these people have said this season is merely something they’ve learned in their lifetime as well as they’re playing it up for the cameras. They didn’t every single time make the wrong conclusion about things to become this way (wink, wink) and they’re not hate driven except for maybe Shirin, because of her past, to say that they’re completely utterly wrong. I’d hope for CBS to edit this crap out next time, it is nonetheless hard to watch.

    Wonder if this get through Ben 😀

  7. Jenn is not Heroes… Please Have different angle of her as a Heroes. It be perfect if she get the title “Mean-Spirit Girl who wants to Quit but doesn’t want to get title Quitters”.

  8. Rodney, Will, and Dan are villains but the rest aren’t. I think Tyler, Carolyn, Sierra, and Mike can be likeable players: one of them is currently considered an underdog but the others are either invisible or are being depicted as gamebots, similarly to Yul, Kim, Sash, etc which I dont think makes them villains.

    • Anonymous // May 6, 2015 at 1:37 am // Reply

      I agree. Mike and Sierra are SUPER likable, especially Mike but I think Sierra would be too if she was shown more.

      • I agree with Sierra totally. Sierra COULD have been edited so much better. She’s smart, and she’s very aware of the situations around her.

  9. Nice article. Great season needs a great villain

  10. Number of times ellipses were used in this article: 242. Number of times ellipses should have been used in this article: zero.

  11. Just because your in the minority does not mean your a hero like Alec

  12. This article is unreadable, aside from the ellipses it’s just riddled with grammar and spelling mistakes. Not to mention a stupid idea for an article. If they’re likeable then they’re an anti-hero not a villain

  13. If you read that whole article…I give you credit… The ellipses… so horrible…

    Do you not have somebody who reads these before there posted? Who wrote this? I’m sorry to sound harsh, but never write an article like this again.

  14. Boston Rob is the worst villain ever in my opinion. He’s just a Grade-A Jerk if you ask me!

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