A complaint of many Survivor fans is the way that at certain times the show can shove the edit of one player down the viewers throat while neglecting to flesh out the story of the other players in the cast. Throughout the history of the show many players have been shafted by minimal edits and an appalling lack of screen time. Whether their invisibility can be justified or if the blame should rest on the player's own shoulders or productions is a constant source of discussion amongst the Survivor community. Today Ozlet Patrick Gustavson steps up to the plate to give these under edited players some much needed attention as he looks at the top 10 players with minimal edits. Read on to find out who made the list.
In the early seasons of Survivor, characters were the driving factor of the show. The editors told the story of the season, while giving the audience a glimpse of what these people were like, and how they contributed to said story. Even earlier boots would generally have a decently developed character arc, and would sometimes have their boot episode largely focusing on them. However, as the number of players per season has grown, it becomes more difficult for each player to get an equal amount of airtime, which is fair to an extent. But in some instances, there are players who are largely ignored for reasons such as having little strategy, having little impact on the game, or just being a flat character. This could be expected for earlier boots but it more and more often, players who make it deep in the game, deep enough to warrant them an edit, simply are invisible. These are ten players who at least made it to the merge in their season that received a minimal edit. This list will not include returning players. Even though there have been cases of a minimal edit on their returning season, they all received a strong edit their first time around to warrant their return. This list is also not based solely on confessional count. While that matters, other elements such as circumstance, importance to the season, and potential are all factors in these decisions.
10. Keith Tollefson – South Pacific
This was probably the most surprising of all the players on this list. After an initial viewing of South Pacific, I did not realize how little of an edit Keith truly received. In ten episodes (although two were spent on Redemption Island), he only received six total confessionals. It’s not like Keith was the most compelling or entertaining character, but he was Ozzy’s right hand man on the Savaii tribe, and generally, someone in the position he was in would surely receive more confessionals. Besides that all we really saw of him was be in a showmance with someone who will also appear on this list.
9. Whitney Duncan – South Pacific
See entry number ten. All joking aside, I was almost compelled to put Whitney and Keith down as one entry, because they were almost the same player. They were tightly bonded together and were in a strong alliance with Ozzy. However, Whitney’s edit was even worse than Keith’s! She only received four confessionals in eleven episodes. Really the only thing that was memorable about Whitney in the entire season off the top of my head was when she berated Cochran following his flip.
8. Artis Silvester – Philippines
Based on the edit, it appears that Artis did not have a very good time in the Philippines. Not only was his edit minimal, but it was incredibly one dimensional. It seems like almost every time we saw him, he was complaining about something, ripping on Skupin, or just sitting there with a frown or a grimace on his face! His lack of confessionals prior to the merge can’t even be explained by how successful Tandang was, because we saw plenty from just about everyone else on that tribe! His grumpy antics were a bit entertaining, but he could have been a much better character if we had the chance to see more of him in order to see more sides of his personality. Not only did he have a miniscule amount of confessionals, his portrayal certainly did not help his cause.
7. Carter Williams – Philippines
It is very difficult to talk about some of these players, because the show gave us so little from them to base opinions off of. Carter finished sixth place, lasting twelve episodes, and only received eight confessionals from that time. He seemed to be a very nice guy who was very close with both Penner and Jeff Kent. He was strong in challenges and was never really the target to go home up until his boot. However, there was not much strategy in the little we saw of Carter. Most of his confessionals were pretty standard, with nothing memorable, and was often perceived as out of the loop. He is the epitome of an invisible player. He was so insignificant in the season that it was obvious he would not win, and it was basically just there waiting until his inevitable departure.
6. Wes Nale – San Juan del Sur
Some of the players on this list are honesty a bit boring or unmemorable, which could be a reason for their minimal edits, but Wes by no means falls under that category. He received just nine confessionals in ten episodes, and based on what we saw, he was quite a fun character. He was an absolute star of the episode ten immunity challenge, revealing his talent of eating chicken nuggets, and reminding Jeff Probst of his cameo in Two and a Half Men. He appeared to be very similar to his father Keith, who was a massive star and one of the biggest characters of the last few years, and there’s no reason to say Wes couldn’t have been that big of a character himself. It is hard to gage how good of a player he truly is due to the fact that we saw nearly none of his strategy. He was clumped into the minority that saw very little airtime following the merge, and was unexpectedly and anticlimactically voted off in the epic, double-idol tribal council. Wes had a lot to offer to the season and certainly warranted a greater edit.
5. Leif Manson – One World
Similar to Carter, there really isn’t much to say about Leif. He was a member of Colton’s misfit alliance, but he never really got his footing in the game. He was deemed untrustworthy from the start, ala the Bill incident, which led to the infamous surrendering of immunity, and this carried on throughout a majority of the game, never really being in a solid alliance. He only had four confessionals in ten episodes: Colton averaged more confessionals in six episodes than Leif had in the entire season! It did not help his cause that he was on a season of bold personalities, but it is just so easy to forget about poor Leif.
4. Zoe Zanidakis – Marquesas
When I started looking over confessional statistics, there was one that really blew me away. I did not expect someone from such an early season to get such a minimal edit, considering how good the early seasons were at developing characters. I was stunned to see that in nine episodes, Zoe only received five confessionals. I honestly thought it was a mistake, and had to re-watch Marquesas before I could believe it. It just goes to show how rare this was that the three people who were eliminated prior to her had at least thirty-two confessionals. All I could really gather from Zoe is that she was a member of the Rotu 4, physically strong, and strong-willed, but not overly memorable. Despite this, she did give an incredibly entertaining interview. What is really staggering about her edit was that everyone received a pretty fair edit in Marquesas, to say the least. It is just impossible to get over how someone from such an early season could be so invisible.
3. Rick Nelson – South Pacific
Whenever a season has returning players, it is likely that they will take up a majority of the airtime, and South Pacific is the greatest example of that, and it is possibly the worst edited season in the entirety of the series. This is the third and most egregious player from the season to make this list. Rick should have played a major role in the season, making it all the way to the finale, ultimately winding up in fifth place. From the first episode, he was a part of the extremely tight Upolu 5, which would later even be tabbed as “the family.” This alliance was in control the entire game, but Rick only saw eight confessionals throughout all fourteen episodes of the season. However, being a crucial player in the game is not even the main reason I feel so strongly about his lack of an edit, it is more because of his potential as a character! Though he seemed a bit mild-mannered, Rick had some really funny moments such as his golden line about how “there ain’t no dragons,” and two memorable voting confessionals bidding Cochran and Brandon farewell. Rick could have been such a great, unique character, and the season really could have used a nice break from the polarizing characters such as Coach, Ozzy, Brandon and Cochran.
2. Brett Clouser – Samoa
Even though Brett will wind up having the most confessionals of anyone on this list, I feel he certainly warrants the number two spot, and for a few main reasons: circumstance and importance to the season. Brett was one immunity away from winning Samoa in what would have been a landslide, and for the first eleven episodes of the season, he was almost nowhere to be found. In the first eleven episodes, he received only three confessionals, but went on to receive nine in the last three, when he nearly took the season, and that spike in confessionals and edit is the only reason he is not number one. Prior to the merge, Brett was just another member of the Galu tribe that was overshadowed by the Russell show. However, unlike other Galu members, who did see some airtime, Brett really was nowhere to be found, a likeable, strong challenge performer who was in no real danger of going home. Once the Galu tribe began to implode, Brett’s name was still never on the chopping block, despite his positive attributes. The likes of Erik, Kelly and Laura were ousted for various reasons in order for Foa Foa to take over the numbers. The next votes are what really get me: John and Dave Ball are targeted in the next two votes, and Brett’s name was not mentioned once. It’s almost as if he wasn’t even there! And then the remaining players, and audience, are shocked when this guy who has barely been seen or heard from, goes on an immunity streak and becomes the biggest threat to win the game. If Brett were to have won, he would have been the Fabio before Fabio. But based on his edit, Fabio looks like a Survivor genius in comparison! Perhaps if Brett had won his edit would have been much different, but for someone who was such a crucial piece to the story of the season to be son invisible for such a long streak of time, is simply inexplicable.
1. Kelly Shinn – Nicaragua
This choice is certainly the obvious one, and likely the expected one. When you think of invisible Survivor players, Purple Kelly is the first that comes to mind. I actually attempted to not put her at number one, but the more and more I thought about it, it was impossible. For someone to be in the game for eleven episodes, and not give a confessional in nine of them, is truly baffling. Kelly’s first confessional came in episode seven. She then went another three episodes without one, before having a massive number for her standards (four), in the episode in which she quit. What is even more baffling about the situation is why she received this horrible edit. An argument to defend that would be because she quit the game. That couldn’t have held too much weight, because NaOnka, who quit the same episode, received fifty confessionals, the most of anyone on the season! I understand NaOnka was a massive character, but if the editors were punishing Kelly for her quitting, wouldn’t they do something similar with NaOnka? Also, quitters sometimes get confessionals and airtime hinting that they might quit at some point, with examples being Osten in Pearl Islands, Julie in San Juan del Sur, and even NaOnka. It did appear that Purple Kelly was not very strategic, and was not the most entertaining of players, but there are plenty of players who were not very strategic, or entertaining, that received some form of an edit. Would it have killed the editors to throw her a bone with a throwaway confessional here and there? Just to remind the audience that she was actually present. Purple Kelly was so forgettable on her season that she is now unforgettable in Survivor: some even tab the invisible edit as “The Purple Kelly edit.” She is the ultimate invisible player in the history of Survivor.
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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