With the twenty-eighth premiering tonight (with tribes divided by brains, brawn, beauty, and affinity for Mitt Romney), it's time we did something for history and ranked every season so far. But his constant berating of the (admittedly terrible) Zapatera tribe for voting out Russell smacked of the sour grapes of a TV producer, not someone paying attention to the game. One of this season's twists was that the tribes would have to elect a "leader," a completely arbitrary and toothless designation which only functioned to put a target on one person's back. Russell Hantz, who was mercifully euthanized early on in this, his third attempt on the show, when his tribe recognized what a fool decision it would be to keep a noted and celebrated cancer on their tribe for even a little bit. -4Jeff Probst Annoyance Factor: Jeff has always been a Boston Rob cheerleader, so that was nothing new.
(In the case of ties, though, we've ranked based on base personal opinion.) institution and cottage industry unto himself, who took the occasion of his fourth time on the show to completely run his island full of lemmings and idiots.
-3Total score: -5Best Player: Probably Ken Hoang, who barnacled his way to 5th place and managed to mastermind quite a few of the eliminations, despite the fact that nobody remembers him. Bob wasn't a very dynamic player, and he won the jury vote mostly because everybody was a jerk about Sugar and the other one (Susie? Not that it stopped Probst from harping on the leaders' "failures" at every juncture.
+1Other memorable characters (+1 each): They're not exactly memorable for being all that good, but fine: pinup model Sugar who went on to despite the fact that he wasn't so much a villain as he was a mean old crank who got way too much screen time. -2Total score: -2Best Player: Weirdly, it was 12th-place Erik Cardona, who was the only player smart enough to try to make a move against season superstar Russell Hantz, and who, most importantly, swung the jury towards ultimate winner Natalie White.
-1Signature Moment: Corrinne telling Sugar at the final tribal council that her deceased father would be ashamed of the way she played the game. +1Other memorable characters (+1 each): Melissa Mc Carthy character Shambo.
Mild-mannered (probably a bit too much to put up with Russell) Jaison.
+2Insufferables (-1 each): There are people who are very big fans of the over-the-top, self-conscious villainy of Russell Hantz. Not when said villainy is accomplished with all the subtlety of a water buffalo, thus making it utterly impossible for him to ever win a jury vote. While watching Russell get beat was certainly satisfying, that's not the same as having a satisfying winner.
-1Signature Moment: Russell dumping his own tribe's water! Russell finding immunity idols that were carefully hidden underneath his pillow at night! Natalie, who played shrewdly, was ultimately not enough of a presence throughout the season to truly feel like a fitting winner.
0Jeff Probst Annoyance Factor: The degree to which Jeff clamped onto Russell's behind and refused to disentangle himself for the whole season truly was a wonder to behold.
-3Total score: -2Best Player: Either 10th place Brenda Lowe, whose strategizing made her too much of a target early on, or 4th place Holly Hoffman, who overcame what certainly looked like an early nervous breakdown to make some of the shrewdest maneuvers in the season's endgame. +2Other memorable characters (+1 each): Cranky old broad Jane, who was both hilarious and possibly unstable.
+1Insufferables (-1 each): Na Onka wanted to be on another show entirely. Jud "Fabio" Birza was an affable himbo who bumbled and stumbled his way to victory.
(That show was Queen of Jordan.) Also Benry, who was so infuriatingly hot that he could afford to call himself "Benry." -2Signature Moment: Na Onka and "Purple" Kelly, a player so anonymous they had to describe her by her favorite color, quit the game simultaneously, despite having already put in 28 days and being in position for top 8. +1Jeff Probst Annoyance Factor: Jeff, as is his custom, reacted overly to Na Onka and Purple Kelly's resignations, but that was pretty egregious, so we'll give him a pass.