Andy Baker is a long-time, but definitely not long-winded, Survivor blogger. Andy's time writing about Survivor included two seasons at RHAP, followed by his debut here at the True Dork Times in 2013 for Survivor: Blood vs. Water. After occasional hiatuses, Andy last wrote here during Survivor: Winners at War.
Episode 14: Thoughts from the Edge
Published: May 20, 2020
Now that the king of Survivor has been crowned, Andy looks ahead to what shape the future of Survivor will take, if or when it continues. Which parts of the game need retooling, what twists should stay, and, wait ... teenagers?
Episode 13: Perception is everything
Published: May 12, 2020
As the dawn of the Winners at War finale approaches, Andy casts his gaze on perceptions: How these contestants are viewed by themselves, their competitors, the jury, and the audience, and what that means for their respective chances at a $2 million victory.
Episode 12: All Along the Watchtower
Published: May 5, 2020
There are still two big episodes to go, but Andy is calling his Winners at War shot now: We are watching a virtuoso performance by a unicorn, someone who uniquely combines different Survivor talents, then shapes and performs them in a fiery, string-bending anthem. Andy runs through the many movements involved.
Episode 11: Bleep I yell at my TV screen
Published: April 27, 2020
It was a huge [expletive deleted] episode for Winners at War, and Andy [expletive deleted] Baker is here to tell you all about it, from the good, to the bad, to the [expletive deleted] great.
Episode 10: Unpopular opinions
Published: April 21, 2020
Andy stakes his hot takes claim with a Baker's dozen of potentially unpalatable views about the state of the game and the fates of the players, from kids on Survivor (nay?) to Tribal whispering (aye?) and many hills to die on in between.
Episode 9: Faith
Published: April 14, 2020
This week, as the Winners antipate the iron-clad reassurance of their loved ones visiting, Andy Baker turns his attention to faith: Which players have it in which other players, and most importantly: Should they?
Episode 8: Inclusion conclusion
Published: April 7, 2020
Andy Baker tackles the Winners at War merge with literary analysis: poring over the words of our dozen unreliable narrators, looking at what was said (and not said), and how the action proceeded, in order to discern where this season is headed.
Episode 7: And then there was one
Published: March 30, 2020
With the Winners at War merging, Andy returns from his hiatus to project the outcome of the remainder of the game. Who will come back from the Edge, how will the post-merge alliances shake out, and most importantly: Who is best positioned to win?
Episode 2: Mixed messages
Published: February 23, 2020
After Episode 2 of Winners at War, Andy turns his attention to the big moves various contestants are making: both in the game itself, and in their relative prominence in the show's storyline. What are edit-readers to make of players who appear important in one episode, then disappear in the next?
Episode 1: Truth, lies, and rumors
Published: February 15, 2020
Taking note of the tactics Sandra deployed to successfully shield herself in the Winners at War premiere, Andy dissects the opener and evaluates which scenes and themes were true, false, or unclear portents of the future.
Pre-season: The Natural
Published: February 11, 2020
Andy takes you on an odyssey through the strengths and liabilities of each returning winner, weighing and debating their relative chances of ultimate victory, and finally settles on a winner pick: someone who is just ... well, a natural at this game. Who will it be?
Episode 3: Beyond the obvious
Published: March 10, 2018
Was booting Morgan a bad idea? Did Libby's decision hurt her game? Are there shenanigans to be had with the Ghost Island stationery? Andy Baker tackles these and other questions that go beyond the obvious topics of Ghost Island's third episode.
Episodes 1-2: Middle school for money
Published: March 6, 2018
Andy takes a tour through the grown-up version of middle school (Survivor), and revisits the first two boots, what the first three minutes told us, what we can expect from Ghost Island going forward, and assesses the contestants with rising and falling prospects (and those rendered mute and invisible).
Pre-season: SuperFan fiction
Published: February 27, 2018
Andy has digested as much pre-season information as possible, mulled it, processed it, ruminated, and projected it as a speculative interpretation of how Survivor: Ghost Island will play out, from First One Out to Sole Survivor. It's SuperFan fiction.
Pre-season: TDT Ghost Island contestant draft
Published: February 22, 2018
The True Dork Times writers (Andy Baker, Ben Martell, Dan Otsuki, Pat Ferrucci, Ryan Kaiser, and Jeff Pitman) assemble to draft fantasy teams of Ghost Island contestants, in an attempt to seize eternal* glory by having the team containing the winner. Unless one of the two undrafted players (Team Ghost) win, in which case everyone loses. (*Or until Fall of 2018, whichever comes first.)
Pre-season: Back for more
Published: February 19, 2018
Andy Baker is back for more forecasting of the contestants' chances, analysis of the twists, questioning of production, and everything else you would expect from The Baker's Dozen. Now for Survivor: Ghost Island.
Episode 14: Entertaining mediocrity
Published: December 17, 2016
Andy Baker questions whether Survivor's Trust Cluster era isn't simply another name for taking out the outstanding players before they have the chance to stand out, and offers his final words on Millennials vs. Gen X.
Pre-Episode 14: Jury jeopardy
Published: December 12, 2016
Jeff Pitman, Andy Baker, and Pat Ferrucci join the Survivor Blogoverse prediction game, facing off against their compatriots at Inside Survivor, Reality Blurred, and the RHAP blogs in trying to forecast the jury votes of Millennials vs. Gen X.
Episode 13: Perception distortion
Published: December 11, 2016
Andy Baker takes a look at how the players look... to themselves, to the other remaining players, and to the jury, as a way of assessing their chances of winning Millennials vs. Gen X.
Episode 12: The prettiest piles of dirt
Published: December 3, 2016
Andy Baker returns to assess three weeks of progress toward the endgame of Millennials vs. Gen X, and how they've affected the flawed but beautiful games of the prospective winners.
Episode 8: Hot takes
Published: November 10, 2016
Andy Baker makes a quick pass through the events, twists, alliances, winners, and losers of the merge in Episode 8 of Survivor: Millennials vs. Gen X.
Episode 7: Baker's dozen
Published: November 6, 2016
As the merge approaches, Andy Baker reassesses and ranks the chances of winning for the 13 players left after Episode 7 of Survivor: Millennials vs. Gen X.
Episode 6: The small stuff
Published: October 30, 2016
Andy Baker turns his attention to the tiny inclusions, omissions, and juxtapositions that served to further the storytelling in Episode 6 of Survivor: Millennials vs. Gen X.
Episode 5: What production wants, production gets
Published: October 23, 2016
Andy Baker explores the degree to which casting decisions and who goes where in a swap can influence the game's outcome. Usually in the way production prefers.
Episode 4: Changing gears
Published: October 15, 2016
Andy Baker feels newly liberated, pondering idols, bad newbie strategy, more idols, and more bad newbie strategy. And praise for Jeff Probst!
Episode 3: Babel fish
Published: October 9, 2016
Andy Baker, being a Gen Xer, already has fishing gear, and catches a babel fish to translate Survivor from 'confessional' to 'casual' in one easy step. Or 13 of them, at least.
Episode 2: Courting controversy
Published: October 1, 2016
Andy Baker pulls on his tinfoil buff a few weeks earlier than usual to argue that events in Episode 2 weren't entirely organic, particularly the convenient Tribal seating setting up a blindside, and a serendipitous idol find.
Episode 1: The end is the beginning is the end
Published: September 24, 2016
Andy Baker zooms in on the Survivor: Millennials vs. Gen X premiere-opening sequence, and argues that it serves as a cheat sheet to the major players of the endgame. Like them or not.
Pre-season: This boot order is crazy! (You won't believe #5!)
Published: September 19, 2016
Andy Baker counts down the likely finishes of the Survivor: Millennials vs. Gen X cast, from #20 (the first boot) to #1 (the winner). And really, you won't believe #5. Probably.
Also not S32: DWSC 2015, Part II
Published: April 3, 2016
Andy Baker concludes his in-depth recounting of the 2015 Durham Warriors Survival Challenge.
Not Kaoh Rong: DWSC 2015, Part I
Published: February 7, 2016
Andy looks back in-depth at the pre-merge portion of the 2015 Durham Warriors Survival Challenge.
Episode 14: Sweet Sorrow
Published: December 20, 2015
Andy takes a final, misty-eyed gaze back at Second Chance, evaluating the Final Six, and recounting his real-life interactions with the cast at the afterparty.
Episode 13: Shoulda Woulda Coulda
Published: December 13, 2015
Andy adopts an empathetic approach, in looking back and treasuring the gameplay of departed Second Chance contestants, while also looking ahead at which of the remaining six could take home the Sole Survivor title.
Episode 12: Do Not Read This Column
Published: December 5, 2015
Andy seizes on a single scene in Episode 12, and portends the end of Second Chance. Don't go if you don't want to (possibly) know.
Episodes 10-11: Benefit of the Doubt
Published: December 1, 2015
Andy digests the doings of the double episode, and gives the best possible spin to the players and the remainders of their Second Chances.
Episode 9: Easy-Bake Oven
Published: November 24, 2015
Andy presents 13 rapidly risen reactions to Episode 9 of Survivor: Cambodia - Second Chance.
Episode 8: Reality in Real Time
Published: November 15, 2015
Andy gives his stream-of-consciousness reactions to the twists and turns (and tuk-tuks) of Episode 8 of Survivor: Cambodia - Second Chance.
Episode 7: Everybody Talks
Published: November 7, 2015
The merge is a predictive episode, and Andy dissects the quotes the contestants were shown saying, to divine their Second Chance portents.
Episode 6: Baker's Dozen
Published: November 1, 2015
With 13 players remaining in Cambodia, Andy takes the opportunity to reassess their (second) chances of winning.
Episode 4: Varner's Downfall
Published: October 17, 2015
Andy delivers a succinct synopsis, lamenting the loss of one Jeffrey Varner and his mid-life quest... in an atypical format.
Episode 3: Every(one)
Published: October 12, 2015
Andy examines the relationship (and conflict) between individuality and acting for the common good, and how that balance plays out in Survivor. And re-examines every(one)'s chances of winning.
Episode 2: The Contrarian Returns
Published: October 4, 2015
In which Andy yanks the column's reins from Captain Obvious and hands them instead to The Contrarian, who is less verbose but more highly opinionated. Hilarity ensues.
Episode 1: Narrative Acceleration
Published: September 27, 2015
Andy applauds the rapid deployment of multiple redemptive, "Second Chance" storylines in the premiere episode of Survivor: Cambodia - Second Chance, and posits where they're headed.
Pregame: What's the Big Idea(s)?
Published: September 7, 2015
Andy takes a critical eye to the cast and possible themes ahead in Survivor: Cambodia - Second Chance.
Episode 13: One Blowhard's Ballot
Published: May 15, 2015
Andy casts a final, skeptical glance at Survivor: Worlds Apart, then turns his attention to his preferred set of 20 contestants for Survivor: Second Chance. Hope is renewed.
Episode 7: Merge Feast
Published: April 5, 2015
Andy returns from the land of casuals, revisits his pre-season predictions, and assesses how the Worlds Apart game appears to be shaping up in the post-merge environment.
Pre-season: 30 Thoughts on Season 30
Published: February 22, 2015
Andy presents an extra 17 bullet points to cover all his excitement about the cast and season potential for Survivor: Worlds Apart. Then predicts how the contestants will fare.
Ep.14: All's well that ends well
Published: December 24, 2014
Andy closes the book on San Juan del Sur, and finds himself satisfied with the ending, in light of Natalie's top-tier winning performance.
Ep.13: Ignoring the Edit
Published: December 14, 2014
In which Andy implores Survivor fans to set aside the concept of the winner's edit, and look with fresh eyes at who might actually win San Juan del Sur. And predicts who that will be.
Ep.11-12: Reaching Conclusions
Published: December 8, 2014
Andy evaluates the double episode's big move(s?), then reaches conclusions about how this will impact the remaining two episodes of San Juan del Sur.
Ep.10: The Power of Positivity
Published: November 28, 2014
Andy comes to praise Survivor, not to bury it. Or at least to praise Reed and Natalie's gameplay in this week's episode. And even Baylor and Jaclyn getting cookies!
Ep.9: Producing a Blindside
Published: November 23, 2014
Andy dons his patented tinfoil buff, alleging many of the remaining players on San Juan del Sur, rather than spontaneously gaining game knowledge, appear to have been subtly coached by the questions producers ask during confessionals.
Ep.8: Brain Dump
Published: November 18, 2014
A brief look at the strategic implications of Josh Canfield's ouster from Survivor: San Juan del Sur, including how the loss of Josh's strategic smarts affects the remainder of the season going forward.
Ep.7: Irrational Assertions
Published: November 9, 2014
You won't believe this week's Dozen, in which Andy says that Julie's quit was "great" and that "San Juan del Sur is a Top 5 season." Really! You can't be sure unless you read it.
Ep.6: Fun Sized!
Published: November 2, 2014
Is it a trick or a treat? Andy finds the inner candy identity of the remaining (and just-departed) San Juan del Sur contestants, and asks whether they will have a sweet future in the merge and beyond.
Ep.5: Donut Holes
Published: October 26, 2014
After welcoming a newborn, Andy finds the time to put together a Dozen in slightly smaller portions, as he analyzes the new directions the freshly swapped San Juan del Sur tribes are taking.
Published: October 19, 2014
Andy eschews skewering Drew, and instead turns his attention to the contestants who seem to be coming to the forefront as potential long-term players, in this week's Dozen.
Ep.3: Half Baked
Published: October 12, 2014
You'll never guess which recently booted Survivor contestant Andy likes (not for the reason you think). Andy takes stock of Rocker, Probst, production, and the potential contenders for the win in the aftermath, in this week's Dozen.
Ep.2: Method or Madness?
Published: October 5, 2014
Andy returns to the Baker's Dozen Classic format, and analyzes the strategic performances of key contestants, through the first two episodes. Key question: Are Josh's methods commendable, or mad?
Ep.1: Flipping the Script
Published: September 27, 2014
Andy revisits his cast assessments in light of the contestants' performances in the first episode, and finds himself reversing his expectations for several couples.
Pre-season: Late to the Party
Published: September 21, 2014
An in-depth pre-season evaluation of the relative chances of survival of the new contestants of Survivor: San Juan del Sur. In which Andy swears he'll focus on "positivity and optimism." We're pretty sure you can trust him.
Not SJdS: Put Up or Shut Up
Published: August 31, 2014
Andy describes how (much) he outwitted, outplayed, and outlasted his opponents at the 2014 edition of the Durham Warriors Survival Challenge, a four-day, Survivor-style competition in Maine.
Ep.14: Emptying the cupboards
Published: May 25, 2014
Andy takes a final, post-finale look at the season, players and winner of Survivor: Cagayan.
Ep.13: The power of perception
Published: May 18, 2014
Heading into the finale, Andy examines how the remaining players perceive themselves, how they are perceived by their competitors and the audience, and how that shapes their chances of winning Survivor: Cagayan.
Ep.12: The persona predicament
Published: May 10, 2014
Andy examines how the personas the remaining contestants bring to Survivor: Cagayan affect their gameplay, and their ability to win. Along with bonus taking Probst to task for interfering in the game, and forward-looking prognostications.
Published: May 3, 2014
Andy delivers a bare-bones (bare-knuckled?) Baker's Dozen that takes casting to task, both praises and laments Tony's targeting of Jefra, suggests auction fixes, and praises the agedeness of the Cagayan Final Six.
Ep.10: Idol gossip
Published: April 26, 2014
In a special, Special Idol-related column, Andy casts a disapproving eye on the origins of, search for, and likely impact of the Special Idol on the remaining strategic options in Survivor: Cagayan.
Ep.9: The rambler
Published: April 19, 2014
In a return to the traditional Baker's Dozen format, Andy examines LJ's mistakes, makes a long-awaited in-depth evaluation of Tony's game, and assesses the strength of the remaining players.
Ep.8: Running diary
Published: April 12, 2014
Ever wondered what goes through the head of a Survivor superfan on the day a Survivor episode airs? Obviously you should have. If through some fault of your own you haven't, you're going to find out, anyway. In this case, Cagayan's Episode 8, featuring Sonic-mode Woo.
Published: April 5, 2014
Andy dispenses with his usual 13-bullet-point format to offer a series of independent observations on Survivor: Cagayan's merge episode. Including: Kass's move was not so bad, Trish's move was not so great, LJ/Tony, Tasha, and Sarah's faults and strengths, and... Final Two?
Ep.6: Quitters can kiss my ***
Published: March 30, 2014
Andy examines the ramifications of Lindsey Ogle's quit, commends Alexis Maxwell's (largely hidden) strategic game, and picks favorites among the remaining players of Survivor: Cagayan.
Ep.5: Avenue to the endgame
Published: March 24, 2014
Andy analyzes how the new, post-swap tribes (and the contestants' responses to their changed environments) affect each contestant's chances of winning the game, with a baker's dozen of them remaining.
Ep.4: Pre-swap report card
Published: March 17, 2014
Andy takes a (spoiler-free, ad-free) look at which contestants are currently the best-situated heading into the upcoming tribal swap, based on their performances in the first four episodes. And everyone gets a letter grade! (Spoiler alert: The people already booted don't do well.)
Ep.3: The beauty of a bivouac
Published: March 9, 2014
Andy argues that this is the perfect point for an early season pause, in which the Survivor: Cagayan contestants should take a moment to re-evaluate their prospects in the game and chances of reaching the end. Just in case they don't, Andy does it for them.
Ep.1-2: Capital offenses
Published: March 3, 2014
In which Andy takes various members of the Survivor: Cagayan cast to task for their egregious strategic stumbles in the premiere episode. By "various" we mean mostly David and Garrett, and yeah, the rest of the Brains tribe, and... okay, yeah, fine: almost all of them.
Pre-season: A dangerous thing
Published: February 17, 2014
Andy takes a second pre-season look at the Survivor: Cagayan cast and twists, now including the information included in the Jeff Probst Cast Assessment video, and in the TV Guide Network preview show. Includes Andy's updated cast longevity projections.
Pre-season: Premature articulation
Published: February 7, 2014
Andy takes an initial pre-season look at Survivor: Cagayan, including projecting how the recently announced cast will fare under the three-tribe Brains/Brawn/Beauty format.
Caramoan Ep.5 re-print: Burnett's bedlam
Originally published: March 13, 2013, at RHAP
(Archival edition). A re-published form of Andy Baker's analysis of Brandon Hantz's exit from Survivor: Caramoan.
Ep.14: All good things
Published: December 22, 2013
Andy offers praise for Tyson's winning game in Survivor: Blood vs. Water, and for the season as a whole, and begins to ponder where Tyson's win and the season fit in the show's overall rankings. Plus some final thoughts on the non-winners.
Ep.13: Like, love, loathe
Published: December 13, 2013
With the Blood vs. Water finale just two days away, Andy revisits the moments he liked, loved, and loathed in the penultimate episode, and offers his final predictions for the finale.
Ep.12: Eating crow
Published: December 8, 2013
Andy owns up to perhaps being somewhat inaccurate in his Captain Obvious proclamations, then examines where else his analysis may have missed the mark, as Blood vs. Water prepares to air its second-to-last episode.
Ep.11: Captain Obvious
Published: November 28, 2013
In an overstuffed Thanksgiving Baker's Dozen, Andy dispenses observations on Ciera's choice, Tyson's game, the power of the jurors, and individual challenges that favor specific body types. Obviously.
Ep.10: Survivor SATs
Published: November 24, 2013
Don't worry, this Survivor aptitude test is multiple choice, and there's no penalty for making wrong answers. Except, obviously, for your own eternal shame. Grab your No. 2 pencil, and let's get to filling bubbles.
Ep.9: Ten commandments
Published: November 18, 2013
Andy takes a more prescriptive tone, and offers up ten (more or less) key rules that future Survivor players ought to take to heart, or at least follow, even if they don't want to.
Ep.8: Dear Andy
Published: November 11, 2013
In which the Baker's Dozen takes the form of an advice column, fielding compelling questions from people who may or may not be competing on Survivor: Blood vs. Water.
Ep.7: Things we've learned
Published: November 4, 2013
With the merge looming, Andy assigns his mid-term grades to Blood vs. Water, including assessments of Kat, Hayden (and Kat and Hayden), and Laura B., then puts an eye to where the merge may take everyone.
Published: October 28, 2013
In which Andy eschews theme-based commentary, and instead offers his hot takes on steroids, swaps, Kat, Vytas, Probst, and of course, Brad Culpepper.
Ep.5: True lies
Published: October 22, 2013
Andy explores the intersection between truth and falsehood in Episode 5 of Blood vs. Water, from whether back rubs are just back rubs, to the bluntness of the edit, to subtle production manipulation of the show.
Ep.4: Your H.Q. for B.O.
Published: October 15, 2013
Andy offers his highly informed Baseless Opinions on a number of Blood vs. Water Episode 4 topics, from praising Caleb's Accidental Genius move at Tribal, to debating whether Brad or Monica Culpepper is the better player.
Ep.3: The BD is back!
Published: October 6, 2013
Andy takes his column to a new, less-traveled place: The True Dork Times. A Redemption Island of sort. And he bridges the gap between the Bedlam of Caramoan and Ep.3 of Blood vs. Water. Goodbye Brandon Hantz, hello Brad Culpepper.