Nobody Outplayed Russell

Jeff Probst blogs about ‘Survivor’ finale: ‘Nobody outplayed Russell’

Categories: Reality TV, Survivor

Okay, now that the show is officially over I’m going to take off my hosting and producing hat and just give you my personal reaction to what went down last night.

I think Russell was the victim of a jury of bitter people. I am not taking anything away from Natalie, she clearly did a great job of reading the group dynamic of the jury and as a result she deserves the money.

Oftentimes on Survivor, the vote does come down to a choice where a determining factor is “how nice someone is” but that’s usually when all other criteria being considered is equal. That doesn’t hold up this season. This season was so lopsided in terms of one person (Russell) completely dominating the game that to not give him the money and the title is a bit silly.

If I were playing Survivor, no matter how much I despised someone, if they kicked my ass in the game I would give it to them. Period. Outwit. Outplay. Nobody outwitted or outplayed Russell. Not even close. 
I was a bit surprised at Erik’s nod to Natalie during the final tribal council. I think he certainly helped Natalie and definitely hurt Russell. I also think that when Erik watches this season again in a few years he will regret not giving his vote to Russell. Erik is the kind of guy who I thought would respect a player like Russell. I think Erik was still smarting from the whole Galu disaster.

I do not believe the jury voted for Natalie, I believe the jury voted against Russell.

Russell was clearly upset last night and I think a lot of people understand why that would be.  He played a very risky and creative game and he wanted to be acknowledged. As for the audience, they spoke quite loudly when they awarded him the $100,000 from Sprint by an overwhelming 46% Russell to 10% Shambo… and 7% Natalie. Not even close. I put myself in that same group. Again, I’m speaking as a fan, not as a host or a producer.

But hey this is how it goes, it’s why Survivor is so fun to watch, you can never predict the outcome.  So…

Q. Can you be considered the greatest player ever if you don’t win?
Hmmm. It’s a tough question for me. On one hand, it’s a no-brainer, absolutely not. Survivor is a social game and to win you have to vote people out in a way that compels them to return and vote for you to win the game. It’s extremely complicated and Russell did not achieve it, therefore he cannot be considered the greatest player to ever play. On the other hand, I can’t think of anybody who has ever played a game like Russell played. It was so dominating that I am still shaking my head that he didn’t win. The only guy I could even see having the talent and guts to do something equally dominating would be Boston Rob. So I am on the fence on this one. But this much I am certain of – Russell is without any question ONE of the greats. No doubt about it.

Q. Did Natalie play a better game than Russell? For me, that’s a bit easier to answer. I do not think that Natalie played a better game, but rather was the right person in the right position who made one very good strategic move and that was to stay out of Russell’s way, and as a result she ended up with the money. But to be fair – a very good counter argument is that Natalie used her strengths, avoided her weaknesses and by taking this active approach to the game, she put herself in position to win the money and it paid off. It’s a counter argument, but not one that I’m that fond of supporting.

Q. Was this a great season or a lame season? For me, this is another easy question. Survivor: Samoa will rank as one of my favorite seasons and for one reason:  Russell Hantz. He single handedly kept this show interesting week after week after week. But I know some will argue that because it was “The Russell Season” it lacked having more big characters and therefore does not rank as high. This is one that will be debated by Survivor fans for years to come.

I hope you’re all jazzed about Survivor:  Heroes Vs. Villains. I think you are going to really enjoy it!  We have an all-star cast returning. A lot of people you will expect and want to see and a couple of surprise choices that may leave you scratching your head, which we love, by the way.

One last reminder – if you are looking for a show that offers adventure as well as a positive message about how to live your life to the fullest. Check out Live for the Moment Thursday, Jan. 28 at 8pm on CBS.

Happy Holidays Survivor fans – and Happy New Year.



Also on EW:
‘Survivor: Samoa’ finale recap: The worst jury vote ever
‘Survivor: Samoa’: And the winner is…

122 thoughts on “Nobody Outplayed Russell”

  1. Thanks for posting Jeff, I have a tough time adding to that. Because Russell was so good, and this jury so bitter, they voted against him. In my opinion Russell is one of the only people that have ever really played the game. Rob is a close second. Did Rob win? Combine best player ever with the most immature jury ever, this is what we get. See you on the 28th!

  2. I thought Russell was the one to beat from Day 1. This season proved that the best game player doesn’t always win. The man “PLAYED” the best game. The Jury was one of the most bitchy and bitter bunch off assholes. Look back Jury, you were outplayed. You were outwitted and Outlasted by a man who had a gameplan coming into the season and worked it all the way till the end. He beat y’all fair and square. Own up to those facts! Y’all blew it!!!!!

  3. thank you jeff;without you the show would lose a lot because you get to see the things we all would like to see when they happen ;thank you and keep up the good work ;we all are wateing for the new show each year we all look forward to more and more from the show and we get it ;;thank you ;;great show ;i will be watch ;;god bless ;;gordon

  4. I’m with Sal, Russell did outwit, outlast and outplay EVERY last one of them and they were a bunch of sissies with their collective panties in a bunch! I think when they watch the whole season they will all realize the mistake they made.

  5. Jeff has summed up Survivor Samoa perfectly for me! I cannot wait for Feb. 11th and a big thanks to Snake for keeping the torch lit! We will have to see what happens on Jan 28th… maybe we will have something new to talk about… As Grodon says “thank you jeff;without you the show would lose a lot”… so, let’s see what Jeff has in store for us!

  6. I was most surprised by the guys on the jury, I thought maybe they might appreciate some of Russells gameplay, I never thought he would get the girls vote, In a way when you play to hard, people do turn on you at times, I have seen that plenty on other reality shows,His own cockiness and ginormous ego, killed him in this game.Maybe he learned his lesson ,and will be a much different game player, the next survivor.

  7. Russell H. performed much like a modern day Napoleon. Everything was going Napoleon’s way until his hunger for power combined with his enormous ego led him into Russia where he was defeated by powers beyond his control, namely a harsh winter that led to misery and discontent and finally defeat.

    Russell H. flaunted his control and power as he marched into tribal council in the final weeks flaunting his invulnerability around his neck, failing to realize just how unsympathetic, unrewarding and brutal the final drive to victory was about to become.

    The jury in the end was as devastatingly chilling to Russell after his 39 day assault as the winter and determined Russians were to Napoleon.

    History repeats itself yet again…

  8. If Russell had a gun, he would have shot himself in the foot, showing it off.
    i’m not impressed with the man. at all. if he were such a great player he would have managed to do it and do it without making so many ppl hate him. maybe he should as dr.will if he gives classes.

  9. As i said before i just wonder if some people had different opinions of people ,when they went home and watched their season, i wonder i shambo would have voted for Russell, if she knew what he really thought.

  10. Russell will also look back at the tapes and see he could have been less egomaniacal in his manner and a little more humble. He probably would have gained the votes. That said, I agree, those on the jury were were basically little people with little minds and their egos were probably bigger than Russells in the long run. They were 7th graders for sure. They blew it, I agree!

    Sal, thanks for all you do for us. Loved Jeff’s analogy above. I couldn’t agree more.

  11. PHILLIP… well done with the Napoleon comment!

    STARFISHRussell will also look back at the tapes and see he could have been less egomaniacal in his manner and a little more humble. He probably would have gained the votes.… Well said, but he will never admit it, maybe not even to himself.

    tendrIf Russell had a gun, he would have shot himself in the foot, showing it off.… Another tendr moment from our resident scribe!

  12. PHILLIP… well done with the Napoleon comment!

    STARFISHRussell will also look back at the tapes and see he could have been less egomaniacal in his manner and a little more humble. He probably would have gained the votes.… Well said, but he will never admit it, maybe not even to himself.

    tendrIf Russell had a gun, he would have shot himself in the foot, showing it off.… Another tendr moment from our resident scribe!

  13. I see Teddy is making the rounds gloating about da Bears. You guys missed the play by play on Aggie’s blog.

  14. RUSSELL OUTPLAYED HIMSELF… This quote below by Mick pretty much sums it up… and you all know how much I love Russell… No Aggie, not that way!

    Mick… As the game went on, his ego just got so ridiculously overblown. He couldn’t contain himself, really. That, just turned people off. There’s a way to play that hard, but just make a couple friends along the way. Put a couple people on the jury who don’t despise you.

  15. He really should have won, but he didn’t do himself any favors with his answers. He sucked at the social game, to let a dumb bimbo like Natalie win. And yes, I do mean dumb bimbo. But she played it up and gave the jury no reason to hate her. She’s one of the most undeserving winners I’ve ever seen, and I’ve watched this show from day one.

  16. Well, I wouldn’t say a ‘dumb bimbo’… she was smart enough to get to the end. Russell took her with him and Mick was luck of the draw so to speak. But his increased arrogance and taunting of not only the other players, but the Jury also at the least few TCs spelt his doom. I was cringing when he was laying in the hammock with his mimosa spouting BS on the last day. Here’s what Brett had to say later on:
    Russell apparently developed such an inflated ego over the final few days that he was talking about TV appearances and marketing himself for money.

  17. Really Herm? That’s what you actually thought of Nat? I find that hard to believe. She was not dumb and she certainly was no bimbo. She competed well at challenges.

    As far as her being the most undeserving winner in Survivor history…. I can’t speak to that having only watched season 1 and 19.

    I agree that Russell was the clear cut winner… in my and most of America’s opinion. There seems to be 2 schools of thought on this whole matter. I don’t think either is wrong.

    1) Some people separate this from real life and see it solely as a game. Therefore the person that played the best should win.

    2) Others realize that it is a game but weigh in how a person acts in real life to determine if the’re worthy of winning. How they played is more important than the end result.

    Natalie played the best game she could. I thought Russell played much better…. the jury didn’t agree. It has been 9 days since the finale…. and it’s already ancient history for me (except when I read a comment like yours Herm)

  18. Jt, they had to vote for someone , they would have liked to vote for Brett ,but since he got voted out, they would rather give it too anyone but Russell.

  19. If you can get yourself to the end your not that dumb, its kind of funny Russell thought she was so dumb ,but she did beat him, congrats to her.

  20. IDK Aggie, I just check in from time to time myself…. seems like everybody is taking a break til there are more shows to talk about.

    As for me, I have nothing to watch til Sunday’s football games. Can’t wait til all my shows start.

    How can there only be 2 days left of this DECADE?! Wasn’t it just recent that the whole country was going through the big Y2K scare? …I have no idea where those 10 years went. Was I supposed to accomplish something in that time? I hope not.

  21. Jt, come on if you have cable ,you cant find something to watch, i know they repeat alot of stuff, you probably just like sports, more than alot of other stuff.

  22. Good Morning Everyone, at least its not snowing here, we havent had anything major yet, but, Its a matter of time,. have a good day.

  23. Good morning aggie….we’re getting snow now so you should be getting it soon. Not too bad…1-3 inches depending on what
    area we live in. Ours should be about 2 inches.

  24. Good morning everybody. After reading these most recent blogs, I can see not much has changed and in a way that’s good.

    About 10 days ago I spent about 45 minutes on the other site writing a blog and when I went to enter it I got caught on a “green screen” that I couldn’t get out of and lost everything I typed. I wasn’t going to start over and go through more aggravation so I just gave up, temporarily.

    After reading all these comments about Russell there is nothing more to add. Jeffs comments were right on, but I wonder if I had someone that I knew that was like Russell how long we would remain friends? I know it is only a game, but some of his traits, unless I am dead wrong are going to carry over in his personal life.

    JT, I agree that Russell was the clear cut winner… in my and most of America’s opinion. There seems to be 2 schools of thought on this whole matter. I don’t think either is wrong.
    Couldn’t agree with you more.

    Aggie, I know you told me to STFU the last time I blogged, but I simply couldn’t keep my mouth shut. Lets just shake hands and try to be friendly.

    And Herm, couldn’t disagree with you more! But that is what makes this site so interesting, sometimes. Everyone is entitled to an opinion!

  25. Hey Franks… you know Russell is like that in real life… I have had a friend like that… hard to like sometimes for sure, but still a friend for some reason. And I do feel your pain on losing your pearls of wisdom… hate it when that happens!

    As far as Aggie goes, well Aggie is Aggie and has told me to STFU so many times that I have lost count… on the bright side, however, she seems to have found the CAP UNLOCK BUTTON! You really should go to:THE BLONDE BLOGGER’S BLOG for a ‘good time’, as they say!

  26. Politicians are just like ‘baby diapers’ and they should be changed just as often for the same reason! :lol:

  27. Oh Franks, you did not strike me as Mr. sensitive, You seem like kind of a cranky pants, but i like grumpy, i have know problem with you really, I have said many things to people on here ,even some of the nicest people, So dont mind me ,I have a big mouth, I thought you were a little tough on Donna, thats all, come on back I dont have a problem with you.LOL

  28. Aggie… I put your blog link up on the wall of the men’s room at the Pilot Truck Stop today… No need to thank me for the advertising though. Let’s just say you owe me one…

  29. I dont think teddy will put my email ,on a mens room wall, if he did i could have alot of fun with his to, believe me tit for tat, you know what i mean.

  30. Careful Aggie!! If you are giving “Tit for tat”…… PK will be sending a lot of “tat” your way!

  31. LOL… That was my gift from Ted. It is hard to see as an avatar. Thanks AC!! Boy would I love to get my hands on one of those for cruisin’ across the lakes!!

  32. Cranky Pants? Aggie, you made me smile when I read that remark. It’s the first time in 71 years that I ever heard that remark. Please don’t judge this book by its cover. I wouldn’t knowingly want to hurt any one.

    PK, I laughed out loud when I read your 5:48 pm remark, but be careful, your playing with fire!

  33. Come on back franks ,i do like cranky, i like Pk, after all, he always likes to push my buttons, he is a harmless old fart,He, he, He,so cranky Pants ,have a great New years, LoL ,another cranky pants,Aggie

  34. God, Aggie, if PK is an old fart, was does that make me? :)

    Happy New Year to you to Aggie and may you have many , many more. That also goes to the rest of the people on this blog.

  35. H A P P Y 2010 to my blogging peeps. Lets party like its 2009. Hope TGO is over the disappointment and is ready to start the New Year fresh.

  36. Aggie spanking naked Ted with one hand and knitting with the other in the comfort of her rocker. I want a picture of that.

  37. Hope everyone has a safe and Happy New Year.
    I plan on ringing in the new year drinking diet coke.
    How fun is that?

  38. Sorry Liz…I’m too old for all that. Preteens????? I feel for ya
    dear. My is going to be quiet. The only teens that will be at
    my house is my 16 year old grandson and his girlfriend. I’m sure
    I won’t see or hear much from them.

  39. Ah Yes, the old Aggie is back in rare form… not having missed ai>beat… Can Random Caps be just around the corner???

  40. Sal must be happy… Navy ahead 35-13 with 3 mins left! Sal, do you think any of those football players will ever serve on a ship?

  41. unfortunately ,they have randy on the new survivor show, i hated that guy, i thought it was funny when sugar made him look like a complete jackass ,of course their going to have those to on there ,it should be interesting tv. I say randy rarely has a date, what do you guys think?

  42. Happy New Year everyone!! My daughter, son in law and the devilish one have all left and now my daughters girlfriend is cleaning the kitchen (bonus of having a broken leg!!). Gonna go to the in laws for dinner and then do nothing. That’s all I do these days!

    Liz, glad u survived ur night with all those kids!! I wanted everything I saw on that stove!!!

  43. Welcome to 2010…
    By now I’m sure all of your New Year’s resolutions have already been put on hold until December 31, 2010 so just enjoy things as they were for better or for worse…

  44. Hi Aggie, I never get to talk to you anymore either!! Me and Liz see each other sometimes on buttbook as you like to call it!
    Hope you are doing good. What shows do you watch that are starting this month?

    Liz, I never asked you either, what do you watch that we can yap about?

  45. Product 1999 price 2009 price Change
    Observation deck, Empire State Building, adult $4.00 $20.00 400.00%
    Gold, one ounce $279.11 $1,106.00 296.26%
    New York Times daily edition $0.75 $2.00 166.66%
    Slurpee, largest, 7-11 $0.99 $2.12 114.14%
    Superman comic book $1.99 $3.99 100.50%
    Toll (auto), Golden Gate Bridge $3.00 $6.00 100.00%
    Gallon of gasoline $1.30 $2.56 96.92%
    Apple (AAPL) stock, one share $102.81 $198.10 92.69%
    Average ticket price, Boston Red Sox $28.33 $50.24 77.34%
    Cost to raise newborn to age 18 $165,630.00 $291,570.00 76.04%
    Disneyland, one day adult ticket $41.00 $72.00 75.61%
    NYC YMCA summer membership $125 $200 60.00%
    Average expanded basic cable (per month) $31.22 $49.65 59.03%
    Average ticket, NFL Denver Broncos $49.00 $76.65 56.63%
    ATM transaction cost $2.28 $3.54 55.26%
    Babysitting per hour $7-$10 $10-$15 50.00%
    Budweiser, six pack of cans $4.01 $5.99 49.38%
    Home value, average $119,600.00 $173,100.00 44.73%
    Electricity per 500 kwh $45.38 $65.21 43.70%
    Movie ticket $5.06 $7.18 41.90%
    Time magazine, newsstand $3.50 $4.95 41.43%
    Aspirin, Bayer, 100-count $3.47 $4.81 38.62%
    Sugar, 5 lb. $2.13 $2.90 36.15%
    Cheerios, one box $3.89 $5.15 32.39%
    Stamp, USPS, 1st class $0.33 $0.44 33.33%
    Cigarettes, Marlboro, per pack, Calif. $4.65 $5.95 27.96%
    Harley-Davidson 883 Sportster $5,595.00 $6,999.00 25.09%
    Average cell phone bill $40.24 $49.57 23.19%
    McDonald’s Big Mac $2.50 $2.99 19.60%
    Levi’s, men’s, 505 $36.99 $44.00 18.95%
    Coca-Cola, one liter $1.14 $1.34 17.54%
    Ty Warner penthouse, Four Seasons, NYC, per night $30,000.00 $34,000.00 13.33%
    Car, Toyota Camry,base model $17,518.00 $19,395.00 10.71%
    Wedding, average cost $18,900.00 $20,398.00 7.93%
    Nike shoes Jordon vs. LeBron James $150.00 $160.00 6.67%
    Gallon of milk $2.88 $3.05 5.90%
    Top 100 Music CD $13.65 $13.98 2.42%
    Bestseller novel, Grisham vs.Patterson $27.95 $27.99 0.14%
    Tom Cruise earnings, per movie $20 million $20 million 0.00%
    Windows 1998 vs Windows 7 $209.00 $199.99 -4.31%
    Coffee, Maxwell House, 34.5 oz. $9.99 $9.49 -5.01%
    Average domestic airfare $329.00 $301.00 -8.51%
    Credit card average APR 15.07% 13.71% -9.02%
    Batteries, AA, 4, Energizer $3.99 $3.49 -12.53%
    Wal-Mart stock $69.12 $52.80 -23.61%
    $100,000 mortgage, 30 year fixed, total cost $265,154.54 $184,549.59 -30.40%
    iMac desktop computer, Apple $1,499.00 $999.00 -33.36%
    Hummel “To Market” #49 figurine $120.00 $79.95 -33.38%
    Martini and Rossi Spumante, 375 ml $12.99 $8.29 -36.18%
    Prime rate 8.50% 3.25% -61.76%

    Notes: 1999 prices are in 1999 dollars, 2009 prices in 2009 dollars. For some items, a true apples-to-apples comparison is not possible, since the product/service has evolved; the iMac, for example. The earlier prices were taken from the last half of 1999 or the first half of 2000. For statistics that are only gathered annually, we have used the most recent figure available; usually at 2008 year end.

  46. Hi Holly, maybe when BB is on ,we will be able to talk more all this Butt Book, and whatever else as screwed alot up around here ,remember the good old days, when they didnt have it, If you really want to talkto me about something just email me for now.As far as tv shows go ,i dont really watch alot of regular tv, its mostly cable stuff ,True Blood is my fave now, The only shows i watch on regular tv, are reality shows the same ones people around here watch.

  47. Oh I am a TV fanatic I watch… Taboo, The Game, Dexter, Californication, United States of Tara, Survivor, Weeds, Biggest Loser, Big Brother, Modern Family, Cougartown, Accidentally On Purpose, Friday Night Lights, Bad Girls Club, The Cleveland Show, Rita Rocks, How I Met Your Mother, Locked Up Abroad, Big Love… and many many more! I really dig National Geographic Channel!

  48. OMg Liz, you are a good woman all that food looked so good you made me so hungry, A really handsome group of kids also you should be very proud indeed. Liz, I tried to email you a few times their was aproblem with your email addy if you could send me again i would appreciate it. My email is:

  49. Yup thats my hair my son keeps swinging on it, LOL! Thanks DonnaP the tween in the hat that says I love Becky (his auntie becky loves it) is mine and the baby is mine. He got really mad that I kept calling it a Slumber Party, hahahaha! okay Aggie let me email you now. So how are you both?

  50. This is the first “Survivor” show I’ve ever watched. The reason? Russell! Hands down. No decisions Russell had made led to his demise. Bad jury. Shame on them. The “WINNER” really lost. The jury justified their poor judgement.

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