Grantland Reality TV Fantasy League: Fat Faces, Fake Boobs, and Fun on the Survivor Reunion Show

CBS Survivor: Blood vs. Water live reunion show

The Friday before Christmas week is no different here at GRTFL headquarters than it is at your office: We can’t wait for what lies ahead. The next GRTFL column will be the annual GRTFLies Award Show, and the following column will feature not only The Bachelor, which is GRTFL’s lifeblood, but also Real World: Ex-Plosion. The future is so fucking promising that it’s hard to give Sunday’s Survivor finale the attention it deserves; luckily, Juliet Litman already did that. Juliet broke down an excellent season of gameplay, and she left me the fun part: the reunion show.

I love nothing more than breaking down how added weight and stylist-selected outfits have affected the contestants’ looks; how watching themselves on a season of reality television has affected their dispositions; and, of course, how many of them have gotten plastic surgery in an attempt to get on their boyfriends’ “level.” This week’s GRTFL is going to break format, so if you want to know the scores from Sunday’s finale, they’re in that table thing at the bottom of the post. It’s time to do what I do when I watch the reunion show: overanalyze and make catty comments. Let’s get to it.


Our winner/villain/stoner/Hanson Brother was as smug as any of us would be if we’d just won a million bucks on live TV:


Face: A little more filled in now that he’s nourished, but he still gave me a general Wicked Witch of the West vibe.

Clothes: OK, A FUCKING TUXEDO T-SHIRT?!?!?!?! Dude, no. Just no. I know you think you’re being funny or whatever, but you look like a fool. You spent the entire season talking about how dumb everyone else was, you know you’re about to win a million dollars, and you show up to receive your check looking like this? I’ve yet to find someone who can pull off the tuxedo T-shirt. I don’t think it can be done. Actually, I bet Gwen Stefani could do it; she can pull off anything.

Disposition: I’m the greatest, smartest, coolest man to ever walk the planet.

Quote: “I’m not a focused individual.”

Brad and Monica

I can’t put my finger on what exactly makes these two so unlikable. I almost want to apologize to them for not liking them, because it’s so unfair. Sorry, Brad and Monica.


Faces: Monica looks the same. Brad looks a bit more like a former defensive lineman.

Clothes: Solid, basic, clean, stylish. Brad could probably do up another button, but, you know, Florida.

Disposition: For some reason, they acted really proud. It almost seemed like they thought they’d accomplished something profound. Monica assured Brad, “None of this will go to my head.”

Quote: Monica to Brad: “Even though you made this great time for us, I still am that gritty little coed that caught your eye at the University of Florida 23 years ago.”

The best part? That quote led to this photo:


This photo has to be the GRTFL Questionable Moment of the Week:

ARE THESE PEOPLE EVEN BRAD AND MONICA? Did someone at CBS fact-check this image? Is Monica drinking a pint of white wine? How are they both skinnier a quarter-decade later? Why does Brad have three cigars in his breast pocket? Why do people smoke cigars? Cigars are fun for, like, 20 seconds, and then you realize that you hated them last time and still hate them. Why are there three salt and pepper shakers on the table? What is the third table condiment? Wait, is that a pattern on Brad’s shirt, or stains? Is that Jeremy Shockey? Seriously, IS THAT JEREMY SHOCKEY?


Gervase, shut up.


Face: Looks the same. He definitely kept off the weight. I’d venture to guess that, within a couple of months of returning home, most contestants wind up weighing more than they did when they went on the show. If you watch the Ponderosa clips, you know that many of the jurors end up returning home the same weight.

Clothes: I respect the look. When you’re on TV in your underwear for four months, it’s nice to show that you can, you know, put on pants and look respectable.

Disposition: I bet Gervase still doesn’t realize that he played a horrible game and handed Tyson a million dollars. The only explanation is that Gervase thought being in the final three was like joining the final table at the World Series of Poker, and that they’d split the money.

Quote: “I always had a plan of getting rid of Tyson in the back of my head.” (No, Gervase, you did not.)


Somehow I didn’t notice Ciera for 10 episodes, and then she became one of my favorite players in the history of the show seasons I remember.


Face: She looks WAY better. Most improved for sure.

Clothes: Am I attracted to Ciera? I think I am. Yes, yes, I am.

Disposition: Like Monica and Brad, she’s a little too proud, especially for someone who didn’t make the final three.

Quote: “It totally happened at tribal and it was crazy, crazy. I’m sitting here thinking, like, OK Ciera, are you four? Like, am I really four? And when it really hit me, it crossed my mind that I didn’t come here for fourth place, I came here to win.” (I’m guessing this isn’t the last time we’ll see Ciera on the show.)


Let’s just say that newly minted Friends of Grantland Hayden and Kat came off much better on the Juliet Show than they did on the official reunion show.


Face: As handsome as ever. We learned that Hayden was on a plane, got offered a spot on Survivor, then eventually went on Big Brother instead. In short, when you’re super handsome, people just walk up to you and put you on TV. If no one has walked up to you and put you on TV, you’re probably not that handsome. Someone had to tell you.

Clothes: Suspenders? I feel like if you wear suspenders or a bow tie, you’re trying to be classic and old-timey, but you just end up looking like, well, like this.

Disposition: Please someone cast me on another reality show.

Quote: “Everybody out there should follow us on Twitter.” (No thanks.)

Colton and Caleb

This is America’s most mismatched couple since Ben Flajnik and Kris Jenner.


Faces: They look great.

Clothes: The white T-shirt under the button-up is a personal pet peeve. What’s the function?

Disposition: We know everyone thinks we don’t make any sense as a couple, and guess what? We don’t have to explain it to you.

Quote: “My entire life, I’ve basically needed other people to take care of me. I’ve always looked for other people, whether it be my mom, or Caleb, or in my first season women, and so when those weren’t there, I just freaked out.” (Translation: I can’t fend for myself, and I’ll never be able to.)

Jeffy P

Jeffy P is an excellent television host, executive producer, and “author.” This reunion show was not his best work, however.


Face: Looks great. I hate to even ask, but: Has he had work done?

Clothes: I mean, come on: blue button-up, doi. (Anyone else notice he mixed in some green this season?)

Disposition: Very concerned about time and maintaining control of the show. Too much so. He kept mentioning it. At one point he even asked Glen in the control room to cut to the wide shot, but guess what? Glen was already on the wide shot. Glen was all, “Dude, just worry about your job, Jeffy P.” But Glen would never say that to Jeffy P’s face, because Glen is super chill.

Quote: “I’m not meaning to cut you off; I just have to keep going on the live show.” (You are meaning to cut him off, and you did.)


I think that Rupert’s likability is a myth. Unpopular opinion, I know.


Face: The same.

Clothes: The same. Seriously. The above picture is from the reunion, and the below is from the season:


Disposition: The same.

Quote: “Blah blah blah … my wife … blah blah blah … my wife … blah blah blah … I’m actually a real live Wild Thing from that children’s book.”

Aras and Vytas

I really thought one of these two would win.


Faces: Why didn’t any of these people blow up? I would totally blow up at a reunion show.

Clothes: How chill are their outfits? How do they stay conscious in such comfortable fabrics? What do you call that neck on Vytas’s shirt? A chill neck? Is this another questionable moment of the week? No, no, it is not.

Disposition: We still hate each other. But secretly.

Quote: “After we left the Philippines, I really thought we were tighter than we had ever been, and we hadn’t fought in so long, and we were so close. And, like, the day that we got back, we got in a big fight and didn’t talk for two weeks again.” (I told you they still hate each other.)


The most quotable cast member did not disappoint.


Face: Her face looks great. Her hair? Um. I don’t think anyone is going to print out this screenshot and bring it to a hair salon.

Clothes: Basic, solid. I approve.

Disposition: I have new breasts, America! Check ’em out.

Quote: “I’ve made some arrangements to get on his level. I’m a little more top-heavy now.” (Translation: “I have new breasts, America! Check ’em out.”)

Candice and John

So perfect. So handsome. So beautiful. So medical. So headed for divorce.


Faces: Pefect.

Clothes: Perfect.

Disposition: Perfection.

Quote: “There is no logical thinking when your wife or husband is involved.”

When Kat came by the Grantland offices, she said that these two were super fun to hang out with, and hearing that has turned my opinion on them. Why should I dislike them just because they’re beautiful, smart, successful, and in love? And they’re a good hang, too? I take it all back, John and Candice. I hope you don’t get divorced. I hope you have lots of babies and become our country’s first royal family. Sorry, second royal family, I forgot about the Kardashians. Kardashian joke? It must be time to end the column. But before we do, let’s have a look at the tease for next season:


So, next season is “Brawn vs. Brains vs. Beauty.” My favorite part of this is that even though being categorized as any one of those things is a compliment, NOT being categorized as the other two is double the insult. Imagine if you were delegated to the “Brawn” tribe; that means you’re strong, but it also means you’re dumb and ugly. If you’re on the “Beauty” tribe, you’re dumb and weak. But if you’re on the “Brains” tribe, you’re probably smart enough to know that you belong there, so it hurts less. That’s why I think someone from the “Brains” tribe will win. Brains trump all that other shit, except when it comes to, you know, procreation. But that isn’t a big deal, because scientists are going to find a way to clone John and Candice and just populate the world with more of them anyway.

Enjoy the holidays, and keep an eye out for the GRTFLies.

Filed Under: CBS, David Jacoby, Grantland Reality TV Fantasy League, Reality TV Fantasy League, Survivor, The Decline of American Civilization

David Jacoby is an ESPN producer who somehow became a writer and editor for Grantland.

Archive @ djacoby