Survivor: Millennials vs. Gen X

Alternative Reality – Episode 9

For this season, regular contributor Jacob Derwin is bringing you a brand new weekly (-ish) feature called Alternative Reality. Each week, Jacob will be interviewing stars of non-Survivor reality-tv shows and getting their thoughts on the season. From Big Brother to King of the Nerds to The Amazing Race and more!

This week Jacob talks with Brook Roberts from The Amazing Race!

Brook competed in The Amazing Race 17 with her friend and co-worker Claire Champlin (famously known for taking a watermelon to the face!). They finished as runners-up. We talked to Brook on the phone about episode nine of Survivor: Millennials vs. Generation X.

Jacob Derwin: Beginning of the episode! After Michelle’s boot, what did you think was going to go down at camp?

Brook Roberts: Kind of what did go down at camp. I think those two boys [Jay and Taylor], man; they have quite an ego. They come in hot – I call it “peacocking” – and they don’t seem to be intimidated by much. And I don’t even know if that’s a generational thing, I just think it’s their personality. And in a total egotistical fashion, they tell Adam, “Well, you’re at the bottom.” And his rebuttal to that is, “actually guys; you’re at the bottom. I’m at the bottom of their group, but you’re at the bottom of the entire group.” So, he made a valid point.

JD: How did you think Adam handled Taylor and Jay afterward?

BR: I think a lot of people might be critical of Adam, but I see this young man just trying to survive and trying to be friends with everybody. And it obviously gets him in a lot of trouble. He can annoy me at times too, I’ll be honest, but I have a soft spot for the poor kid. You can tell he wants to be one of the cool kids so bad. He fights, he looks up to the older guys and he’s like this little guy in the middle. And then when he started crying talking about his mom and cancer, I just wanna give him a Scooby Snack and a hug. Like, I just have such a heart for that poor kid. He messes up left and right, but you know he has a heart. Where kids like Jay and Taylor just seem to have easy-street lives. The juxtaposition of these two parties is very interesting.

JD: They’re definitely two ends of the “millennial spectrum.”

BR: Yes! I’m actually an old millennial, and I hate being lumped into any group. I think, this is all casting too, you can find a lazy Generation X, you can find the most ambitious, smart millennial. I hate just putting labels on people. I think they kind of over-exaggerated that a little this season. I love the theme, but I think they really go for it at times.

JD: Jeff definitely brings it up every chance he can.

BR: Oh yeah. I’m like, okay, we got your genre. I get it.

"Still Throwin' Punches" - Ken McNickle, Bret LaBelle, Chris Hammons, David Wright, Jeff Probst, Taylor Stocker and Sunday Burquest on the ninth episode of SURVIVOR: Millennials vs. Gen. X, airing Wednesday, Nov. 16 (8:00-9:00 PM, ET/PT) on the CBS Television Network. Photo: Monty Brinton/CBS Entertainment ©2016 CBS Broadcasting, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
Photo: Monty Brinton/CBS Entertainment.

JD: All right, so let’s move into the reward challenge. It was a schoolyard pick, and it was two teams of six. And it was not a close race.

BR: No. Not a close race at all. It was pretty much a blowout. And can I just say, on a random note: I’m so sad that we don’t have Michaela. She was my favorite girl ever. She was a beast! To have her around and see her go in beast mode, it was just fun to watch for me. And going into the challenges – didn’t it make you sad?

JD: I thought she was a great character! She added a lot to the season.

BR: I loved her! Every time you watched any of the challenges, any person that gives 110% and leaves it all on the floor, I just love watching that. Like, a true athlete.

BR: So, no offense, this was the first challenge that I kinda went, “eh.” Just kinda boring. I don’t know if you agree, but it’s how I felt.

JD: Well, yeah, when it’s a blowout like that. Hannah’s team didn’t even get out of the net. No tension.

BR: And what was she thinking picking that team? Like, come on. Everyone is picked in the schoolyard basketball game. “Okay, you got the big guy? I got the big guy. Oh, you have him? I’m gonna take him.” She took the scrawniest, tiniest, least athletic team of people. I mean, you have Taylor, my Ken doll, you have all the big players, all the best athletes on one team. That was probably some of the worst decision-making skills I’ve seen ever on Survivor. I don’t know what she was thinking.

JD: Yeah, she said in a confessional that there was a strategic reason for picking those people –

BR: Eh.

JD: Eh?

BR: I understand where she’s coming from, “who do I want on my team” and all that, but at least break-up athleticism so when you do win the reward, you put some new blood, you become friends with new people, and you keep with your own people. I mean, you gotta still win. Every single thing you do, you have to try to win it. You can’t just “oh I’m gonna bow out and have the long play,” you can’t always do the long play. You have to always look right in front of you, is my personal opinion.

JD: I totally agree. I feel like, in the modern game, a lot of people feel like they need to set up the long game on day one, and then you’re not paying attention to obvious stuff that you need to, to stay in the game for the short-term.

"Still Throwin' Punches" - David Wright, Taylor Stocker, Sunday Burquest, Chris Hammons, Bret LaBelle and Ken McNickle on the ninth episode of SURVIVOR: Millennials vs. Gen. X, airing Wednesday, Nov. 16 (8:00-9:00 PM, ET/PT) on the CBS Television Network. Photo: Monty Brinton/CBS Entertainment ©2016 CBS Broadcasting, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
Photo: Monty Brinton/CBS Entertainment.

BR: I honestly think that’s a big problem. So many people get in their own heads and they think about the long play – you need to live in the now. You need to take on every challenge. And also, you might have an alliance with somebody, but always keep your mind open to a new conversation. Obviously, there have been some major surprises this season with people just going down that didn’t see it coming at all. Really being open to anything.

JD: At the reward, the main feature was Uncle Bret getting drunk.

BR: Which was awesome. What did he say? He had like 9 or 10 drinks? I was rolling. Oh my gosh. But you know what? I can’t blame him. If I were out there starving, and knew you could just hang loose for a day, I’d knock back a few myself! I’d be right there with Uncle Bret. He’s having fun, cutting loose, and in that show, you don’t get a lot of those moments very often, so I commend him for sure. And it was interesting during that time; out of nowhere, Sunday, who’s this quiet, sweet woman, comes out of nowhere going “I need to come up with a strategy.” All of a sudden that popped in her head out of nowhere. I’m like, “and you’re just thinking of this now?” That’s probably a good idea! It’s time to start playing.

JD: Yeah, Sunday was targeting Jessica.

BR: Yeah! The editing has been great, but I feel like the storytellers have really left the two of them out. Like, they are not their main story. So it’s kind of odd as a viewer. And being someone who’s in production, out of nowhere Sunday going for Jessica, I’m like, where did that come from? Did you feel that way at all?

JD: Hmm. Well, there were a few hints of that after the early days after the…uh… what was her name… probably because she got like two seconds of air time… um…

BR: I think I actually know who you’re talking about too… I’m totally drawing a blank…

(Note: Jacob and Brook struggle for a full minute to remember Lucy’s name.)

JD: Lucy! Lucy. Lucy was her name.

BR: There ya go.

JD: I feel like after the Lucy vote there was some distance between Sunday and Jessica because they were on opposite sides of it. But it’s been a long time.

"Still Throwin' Punches" - Sunday Burquest on the ninth episode of SURVIVOR: Millennials vs. Gen. X, airing Wednesday, Nov. 16 (8:00-9:00 PM, ET/PT) on the CBS Television Network. Photo: Monty Brinton/CBS Entertainment ©2016 CBS Broadcasting, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
Photo: Monty Brinton/CBS Entertainment.

BR: Yeah! Again, I guess I think you just start bonding. You know, people leave and you find a new tribe, find a new group. But yeah, Sunday came out of nowhere and that obviously didn’t work; her little plan to get Jessica out. But do you know who I absolutely love who’s left? Ken! He’s such positive energy. He so keeps it real. And when the kids – I always call them kids that’s not fair – when some of the millennials start going to crazy town, he just reels them back in like, “whoa, man.” You know, you’re attractive is one thing but you are just so enlightened. I really hope he goes all the way.

JD: He’s been a lot of people’s picks. Not only is he gorgeous and you know, physically strong, but he’s also been really good at managing people and keeping people calm.

BR: Totally, and being a positive leader without being a dictator, which I think is key in this situation.

JD: Absolutely. Moving on, we went into the immunity challenge, which was a classic “beam and balls” thing. And there was temptation! Jeff offered them grilled cheese, chips, and beer (soft drinks for Will).

BR: Bless little Will’s baby heart! It’s like, “no drinking for you.” Will’s like, “I know.” He’s sipping his coke!

JD: So funny.

BR: He’s so cute. He’s such a little cutie pie; I feel for Will. He’s such a baby fawn. He could do no wrong in my eye as well. Like, you’re a baby. You have a lot of life ahead of you. But it was sweet with him sitting there. And actually I think it was a good decision for them to sit that one out and get some food in their body. I don’t blame them for that at all. I thought that was a smart decision. And Bret sat down after he lost and goes, “good choice man, I should’ve just taken the food.” I was rolling. But yeah, that challenge looked pretty gnarly, to keep that thing steady.

JD: Yeah, I’ve never seen that bow contraption.

BR: No offense, but I was like, jumping up and down when Taylor and Jay lost that one. I’m sorry, I was. Not that I ever root against someone but, I just believe in karma. And when you eat everyone else’s food… I believe in karma. You reap what you sow.

"Still Throwin' Punches" - Jessica Lewis, Taylor Stocker and Ken McNickle on the ninth episode of SURVIVOR: Millennials vs. Gen. X, airing Wednesday, Nov. 16 (8:00-9:00 PM, ET/PT) on the CBS Television Network. Photo: Monty Brinton/CBS Entertainment ©2016 CBS Broadcasting, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
Photo: Monty Brinton/CBS Entertainment.

JD: I was there with you when Taylor and Ken were in the final two of the challenge, I was kind of muttering under my breath, “c’mon, just drop it, Taylor. Just drop the ball.”

BR: Totally! And didn’t it look like, for a minute, because Ken was like shaking his leg, I was like “C’mon baby you got this! Please, not Taylor!” And he’s all cocky and making noises and then he falls off and I’m like, “Yes, Ken!” So I was thrilled.

JD: Afterward we head back to camp and it seems like Sunday’s idea has fizzled out. So it’s probably gonna be Jay or Taylor. But then we have the crazy tribal nonsense that went down. Taylor decides to tell everyone about Adam’s advantage and claims that Adam actually helped him steal and eat the food. So what did you think about that moment?

BR: It just goes back to everything I said about Taylor and how I feel about him. He’s just a – you know what it reminds me of? In the schoolyard? When you have the bullies and you have the cool kids and they just go through life and bully people and make up lies and go “oh, he’s this” or “he’s that.” And I don’t know, some visceral effect… I’m usually not affected by that, y’know? But I’m like, “you’re just bullying him.” And there Adam was trying to be the cool guy, that’s why he confided in him that he had this thing and it could help him in his play, and Taylor sits there and not only uses it against him but lies and says he ate the food and helped him hide it. And you can see poor Adam at the end saying, “this is such a lie.” And there’s a moment where I thought, “surely these people are not gonna believe this propaganda.” And I really started to worry. But it brought my faith back in people. And I just love Survivor for that, it’s like, humanity on an island. And that they did make the right vote and that the bully went home to his girlfriend. “This is for Figs,” or whatever. I’m like, you have so much growing up to do, dude. Like, so much.

JD: I had the same visceral reaction actually. Flashbacks to elementary school. I was like; this is too real right now.

BR: Right? And I think a lot of people are on that end. Not everyone is like the Taylor and Figs and Jays of the world. I think most of America will relate to the Adams and everyone else in that group. It’s just, ah man; gut punched me right there. And you feel like you are in that situation defending yourself from the bully going, “this isn’t true I swear! This is ridiculous!” So I was really glad to see that the right decision was made moving forward. And next, I’ve got my eye on Jay; I hope they ice him next. I see the same flicker and manipulative and in-your-face, “I cheat, I steal, I lie to get ahead in life” behavior in him. I’m sorry, I’m gunning for him to be gone next.

"Still Throwin' Punches" - Adam Klein, Bret LaBelle, Jessica Lewis, Ken McNickle, David Wright, Justin Starrett, Hannah Shapiro, Chris Hammons, Taylor Stocker, Will Wahl, Sunday Burquest and Ezekiel/Zeke Smith at Tribal Council on the ninth episode of SURVIVOR: Millennials vs. Gen. X, airing Wednesday, Nov. 16 (8:00-9:00 PM, ET/PT) on the CBS Television Network. Photo: Screen Grab/CBS Entertainment ©2016 CBS Broadcasting, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
Photo: Screen Grab/CBS Entertainment.

JD: It could happen! He doesn’t have too many allies left; it looks like.

BR: Ya never know. Have you seen this blindsided season? You never know! He’s a master manipulator. He could get in there and really play to that story of “well, Adam has this thing that could hurt us all.” If he plays into that properly, he could sway the vote.

JD: And he has an idol!

BR: Oh my god don’t remind me.

JD: So Taylor gets sent home, vowing to avenge the love of his life –

BR: *laughs*

JD: It is so painful. I’ve been writing this blog all season right, and I’d started to redact Taylor’s name from it because I was so tired of writing about him.

BR: I think as the viewers it’s so painful to watch. And Ken said it best. “Oh yeah, this relationship has been going on for a whole week.” Like, I don’t care if I was 21 or 16, if I was kind of even seeing or talking to a guy for a week, I certainly wasn’t macking on him every day, pet names, all over each other, first and foremost on national television trying to compete in a really serious scenario, let alone in real life! Who behaves that way? I mean the whole thing was really nauseating to watch. Like, whoa whoa whoa. And I’d be curious to know: a. if they kept in contact and created a relationship after the show, and b. once they’ve watched it, now that they’ve watched it, how they feel about it.

JD: Well, I can give you some of those answers if you want.

BR: Oh, do tell.

(Note: Jacob summarizes the post-game relationship status of Figtails and for how long the information has been public.)

BR: No! Shut the front door! What? What?! But you know what? I would expect nothing less. It’s shocking, but not shocking. Oh man, I really hope he takes that seriously… and he doesn’t steal food from that poor baby. Aw man.


BR: Now I get it in retrospect. I’m watching it all play back in my head, oh, people were probably barfing in puke bags in their homes. That is so bad. Oh, heavens to Betsy, that must have been nauseating. Oh man! I can’t wait to see the end of the season. That should be good.

JD: The reunion show, oy gevalt.

BR: It’s gonna be epic.

JD: *laughs*

For the rest of our interview, including Brook’s winner picks and elimination predictions, check out the Next Time On…Survivor blog tomorrow!

Written by

Jacob Derwin

Jacob is a 22-year-old writer, musician and voice actor from New York. He recently graduated from Kent State University with a degree in journalism and broadcasting. Jacob has worked as a Program Director at a college radio station and an intern at The Moth in New York City. He has seen every single episode of Survivor at least once.

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