Survivors, has it really already been three months? You’re welcome for the short game, by the way. Still, it’s time now to reflect on what brought us here, and walk through the jury with a couple of eliminated folks. Typically I just use one person, but this time, I decided to use the two planned Emissaries (remember that debacle?). Each one will walk through and comment on her own team. Let’s get to it!

K: Our first casualty was Brandon “Friar Funk” Keel, a dude who sells solar paneling in my building who showed more enthusiasm for the game than anyone since Sarah Bergervoet in season II. Like Sarah Bergervoet in season II, he didn’t show up and was eliminated first. I have nothing else interesting to say about him, so let me point out that he has a righteous beard.

RCK: Three months is too far back to remember or debunk
Anything about the Friar or whether he had funk.
It doesn’t help much that he contributed almost nothing.
Righteous beard, you say? Well…I guess that’s something.

K: Geoff “Arrogant Fur Porter” Beckstrom” was the next to fall, which I typed before remembering that he pulled out of the game because he actually fell down the stairs and f*&^ed up his tailbone. The good news is that a bunch of people already had him figured out and weren’t going to keep him around much longer.

RCK: Who were these “bunch of people” of whom you speak?
Guessing his identity definitely wasn’t for me.
Sorry, though, Geoff, for insulting you non-stop
When you’d recently broken your tailbone a lot.
It’s always nice to have an easy vote, though.
So you really were the best way to go.

K: Scott “A Greased Scotsman” Stearley was the first Maniac to leave us, which was a good laugh for some of the regulars who watched as he outlasted a couple of people some years ago despite never showing up once. I think he made two or three comments here before emailing me “I have no idea what I’m doing”…in response to an email where I explicitly told him what he should be doing.

GL: After popping into say hello, Scotsman promptly jumped ship. He did leave us a nice smiley face, though. It’s unfortunate, really, as I think a greased scotsman might have come in handy for a couple of the challenges.

K: Michael “History’s Greatest Meatloaf” Rivet paired one of the game’s best names with one of the game’s worst games. He mostly was too far in the background, assuming he could pick it up later. But when you’re quiet, there is no later. He dedicated his time off to cheering for Novak to troll people.

RCK: Silence was only ¼ of his poor intentions.
The other ¾ was not following directions.
We’d already placed a move on Groovy Loaf once!
We didn’t need another, so you came off as a dunce.
Sorry, bro.

K: Joh “Horatio Goatblower” Galindo is one of my favorite people at work, and one of my least favorite players in this game because he sees me constantly there and was thus acutely aware of how much he was failing. He even talked about hypothetical winning situations before his disappearance. In his defense, he started dating one of my other favorite people at work, and since she’s attractive, it’s hard to hold it against him.

GL: When will I learn? I made an early effort to try and connect with Horatio. He goofed on setting up his email, so I knew he was a n00b and I wanted to snatch him up. But let’s face it, I have HORRIBLE luck with people named Horatio and he just faded away. We did have a great deal of fun with Horatio and his goats for a short while.

K: Chris “Have at it, Gang” Barthule was almost the same as Joh. Work, fail, girlfriend. I actually don’t know if his girlfriend is physically attractive, but she does sound kind of great as a person, so…eh, no. Screw these guys for disappearing, you know?

GL: Gang seemed like he was going to be a great team member in the beginning. He just abruptly stopped showing up. It was unfortunate, as he was starting to exhibit a sarcastic bent that would have fit in nicely. Maybe you’ll try again, Gang, once you get married and aren’t . . . never mind.

K: Alan “Francis Undergarments” Briggs died via falling rocks, amusing us all and allowing Knuckles to make a false claim that he planned it, which his teammates were stupidly impressed by. Guys, sacrificing numbers that early makes NO FUCKING SENSE. But I digress. I really remember very little about Alan in this game, other than the fact that he was involved in this hilarious situation.

RCK: Undergarments was pretty much already doomed.
He was the least teamy teammate in the Diplochat room.
I understand the “each man for himself” thing
But, for him, “Big Ol’ Target”, was what it helped him be.
And considering we’d given him the answers re: immunity,
It was best for all that he took himself down in infamy.

K: Eric “Horny O’Friendship” Peterson, Alan’s best friend, fell next (though not to falling rocks). He made a decent showing, certainly in comparison to his early exit in XIV. Horny didn’t actively suck, but he also didn’t actively seek allies, which does very little for one’s chances.

GL: Speaking of Horatio’s goats . . . god, Horny, is there nothing you won’t shag? Anyway, poor Horny suffered from mistaken identity. I made a snap judgment about who he was the very first day, which caused me to avoid him. This season has been full of lessons about doing that. Anyway, you helped me get my idol without asking for anything in return, which is exactly what you received.

K: Dana “A Shrubbery” Hazen made us all chuckle with two straight challenges of showing up near the deadline, agreeing to a move and then disappearing. I don’t know what’s what. Drugs? Underconfidence? Legitimate doubt over how the game works? At any rate, she fell well short of her best finish and left me scratching my head again.

RCK: I already wrote this poem, bub.
All hail our mighty non-shrub.

K: Brooks “Gropin’ the Wind” Maki was far too quiet early in the game and ended up frustrated when he had all the right moves planned but couldn’t get players to trust in him. When one sucks at challenges, why doesn’t one trust people who don’t? Familiarity with the person doesn’t mean much in that situation. Anyway, Brooks kind of took the season off, but if he’d made the merge he would have made trouble for the rest.

RCK: Who is the guy who continually says nothing
But was probably planning lots of fun things?
And who is the guy who seemed occasionally good at a game
Before disappearing and seeming all lame?
The answer, my friend, is Gropin’ the Wind.
The answer is Gropin’ the Wind.

K: Joseph “The Claw” Rakstad was eliminated for the greatest Spookymilk Survivor sin: sounding kind of like Matt Novak. Joe was really putting together a nice game, easily his best, and I hate seeing new players be the ones who pay for their threat level first. Though I suppose veterans know how to hide behind them. The Maniacs dealt with his non-Novakness pretty amusingly.

GL: Claw! Voting him off was effing tragic. I hope he knows how upset some of us were when we realized we lost him and didn’t get rid of Novak. I had so much fun playing with him, but I was afraid his Novakianity was going to rub off on me and get me shit-canned. He was the original producer of *Maniacal Laughter,* the musical, which ran to the very end, as Robot and I were singing a Journey song during the final challenge. I even wanted to name our tribe after the merge Legion of The Claw, but, alas, I was too late.

K: Melissa “The Rhyming Couplet Kid” Diamond, like The Claw, was eliminated because people thought she was Novak. She was playing a good game among a lot of weird teammates and had some real postmerge options when Knuckles and Brock, sitting by each other in real life at the time, decided to idol-flip her out, ruining not only her chances but also their relationships with basically everyone else in the game.

RCK: First of all, how is “planning this together IRL” not gross?
I think that’s what kinda irks me the most.
That all aside, fuck you, Knuckles; and Brock, you, too!
I hope it was all worth it, you sly dogs, you.
Wait, what? “Bitter”, you say? Well, that isn’t true.
Why would that even have occurred to you two?

K: Colin “Brock Hardcastle” Wolfson talked a lot. I don’t know what he does at his job, but he doesn’t seem to do very much of it. Brock secured himself a jury spot just by appearing to run things thanks to his nonstop chatter, but he also made himself a clear postmerge target for the same reason.

RCK: Brock sure was present…very, very present.
If you needed something done, you would know he’d be…present.
He tried to be sneaky, but it came off as non-prescient.
We were all somewhat baffled, except Knuckles, that’s apparent.
Brock almost made it to jury, though, which is more than for me!
And he’ll probably be somehow present when it comes to voting.

K: Brock actually didn’t make the jury, but whatever. Conner “Crusty Knuckles” Burke is weird. He had a decent enough position, but decided to blow his idol to save the walking dead and become unable to save himself. He lied about tricking a teammate into hurting the team’s chances and continued the lie in the jury room for some reason. He then agreed to use his idol to flip out a Maniac, despite having no idol left. So what was his game, knowing that he couldn’t do anything about it? Frickin’ weird, dude.

RCK: One has got to admire someone who is simply Pure Crazy.
He’s like Loki, or Coyote, or an undead Patrick Swayze.
To be honest, I thought of dropping rocks on Undergarments, too.
But who actually uses that thought-process as a tool!?
It was much easier to appreciate you once I got voted out.
Just like it’s easier to appreciate a healthy foot after gout.

K: Jake “Jerky Smuggler” Elliott has played this twice before and was eliminated in the first three spots both times. Of course, he nonsubbed in each of those. Not to be outdone by his history, this time Jake played a decent game to past the merge and THEN nonsubbed. Watching him play for real was nice while it lasted.

RCK: Non-subbing can take lots of talent and spunk.
Smuggler has it, but not as much as Shrubbery, that punk.
So I guess Smuggler’s true claim to fame
Is having a tasty and chewy-sounding name.
And Spacegirl. That helped him, too.
She definitely fought for him, good and true.

K: Peter “Thumbtack, Jr.” Bruzek found himself in familiar straits, putting together a group to turn the tide and finding out that he instead would be the vote. His problem was talking to people he needed waaaaaay too late. One minute I was sort of cheering for him, and the next he was gone. He tried to put a pun about pins or needles in every sentence, and I’m not sure anyone really noticed.

GL: Oh, I noticed. We had a couple of pointed conversations. I don’t remember exactly who Thumbtack was talking about when he said “they don’t need to be such a prick,” but it caused me to snort hard cider out my nose. As a former big fan of Mitch the Possible, I suspected Nibs well before the merge. I was sad (relieved) when we managed to boot him.

K: Eric “Radical Cabbage” Schapp likes to mess around. He voted against the group a couple of times for reasons only he knows for sure, and as usual found himself outside the numbers thanks to his distrust of pretty much everyone. Still, he’s entertaining as hell to watch, and one of the people who did the merge-point predictions picked him to win, so there’s that.

GL: I could never figure Cabbage out; one minute he’s pretty much handing me the cursed idol and the next he’s writing my name down on the vote. After one baffling challenge move, he told me he was an agent of chaos, which I greatly admired. It didn’t improve his position any though. As Mack said to him in the jury room, “You gotta be you.” RadCab, I salute you and will never trust you to hold my stash again; you owe me a bag.

K: Chris “Brian Bumbershaft, Theoretical Mack” Dykhoff outlasted a lot of people he wasn’t supposed to outlast; all the same, his rigid outlook left him out of a lot of plans and got him eliminated despite several outsiders cheering him to be better. Still, it was the second-best showing for a first-timer, and it’s always fun to watch someone as paranoid as Chris.

RCK: Mack, you need to know, absolutely need to know
That I never once lied to you nor intended you to go.
I have to say it because everyone convinced you otherwise.
You were a good player with the least amount of lies.
I’m sorry you didn’t make it as far as you could
But you know what they (Yoda?) say: Die young, do the Good.

K: Jon “Unlimited Breadsticks” Roberts played for the second time; he was Cellular Mitosis in XIV and was eliminated before his time thanks to a rat bastard who was exerting more control with every passing vote. His main goal was to surprise, outlast and eliminate his cousin Matt Novak, but as you know from reading, Novak either didn’t play or has not been eliminated to this point.

GL: Wow! I played with Cellular Mitosis but I never recognized him in Breadsticks, so congrats to him on hiding so well. I took our story of being brothers to heart, so, of course, never trusted him. He was all over the place, but that’s what being unlimited is all about. He claims to always choose the wrong people to trust. As Thumbtack put it in the jury room, “been there.”

K: Annette “Groovy Loaf” Barron doesn’t know how to finish poorly, but also doesn’t know how to win yet. She ran a decent percentage of the game, with her only misstep being that she willingly ditched her best ally for his Novaky language. She fell out of favor, just barely, at five when it was clear she had the victory if she got any further.

GL: I LOVED being Groovy Loaf. Groovy lives the life. Very little responsibilities, party’s all the time and he likes everyone. “Fun fact,” Groovy’s night playing Mario Kart with two strippers was a real thing. That’s what happens when you pick the right character . . . just sayin.

K: Zack “Farthington von Landingham III” Sauvageau has a long real name and a long fake name. He played somewhat quietly, as often, preferring to keep his friends close and his enemies completely in the dark. It’s a decent way to get far, but it’s tough to win this way. This was only the second time Zack’s gone to the merge, but he had a shot to win if some other things had broken his way.

GL: Wow again! Good job, Zack! Despite having been on a team with Zack in Survivor XV, I never had a clue that’s who Trip was. He played a deceptively simple, yet effective, game. We never connected, much to my detriment. He was a great help in challenges and totally came to Laughter’s rescue with My Little Ponies.

K: Brian “Cleansed Robotics” David played such a brash game, announcing his vote every single time (he had to dread the eventuality of having to hide his vote, but that time never came). Brian played much of the game too rigidly, but showed willingness to break from the obvious when it became clear he had a shot to win. Once we were at three, I thought he was a lock to go to two, but here we are. Anyway, I didn’t think Brian was likely to ever win before this game, but now, I can see it.

GL: Robotics was great fun, although his schedule can be an issue. He became my closest ally near the end, right up until I failed at my run at Gloom. His outbursts of both song and curses would literally make me laugh out loud. If we had voted for best character work this season, he definitely would have gotten mine.

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Thanks, Loafy and Rhymey! Your winner will be announced tomorrow morning. Now I’ve got to judge some stories. Don’t worry, it won’t take long. There were five nonsubs!

Cheers, Survivors.

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