Survivor 44 players argue in favor of picking food over competing in challenges

“I’d like to break down the stigma about sitting out for food,” one hungry contestant tells EW.

Jeff Probst loves to tempt people. Not in a creepy way, mind you. Instead of tempting people with his dreamy dimples, Probst likes to tempt Survivor players with something else — food.

Usually at some point on every season, the host will offer contestants a choice to sit out of an immunity challenge in exchange for food. It’s the ultimate dilemma for players: Should they compete for a chance at immunity to guarantee their safety in the game, or satisfy their hunger cravings and refuel for the homestretch?

In the past, it has been considered something of a badge of honor on Survivor to pass on the food and continue to compete. For one thing, how often in their life will these people have a chance to take part in amazing games of skill and endurance built just for them? (If your name is Boston Rob, it turns out the answer is a whole hell of a lot.) Plus, way too many folks to count over the first 43 seasons have been voted out of the game when they thought they were safe — and some immediately after choosing food over competition. So why even take the chance, especially with a million dollars on the line?

But while fans my howl and scream when players opt for a full stomach over the chance for safety in the game, the cast of Survivor 44 is here to argue otherwise. At least some of them are. We asked the cast just before filming commenced if they would ever sit out of a challenge for food, and we were surprised by many of the answers, which you can watch in the video at the top of the post.

“I’d like to break down the stigma about sitting out for food,” Kane Fritzler tells EW. “First off, I think they’re going to starve us pretty bad. And secondly, not everybody wins. If I stayed in a challenge because I’m like ‘I wanna play, I came here to play,’ and my ball falls off my thing in 20 seconds, I’m going to feel really bad, because it’s going to be like, I definitely should have sat out. So I think that what it takes is for you to understand what your strengths and weaknesses are. And if you know or even think you’re going to suck in a challenge, then sit out for the rice.”

Sums up Kane: “Know your weaknesses, and go for the food if you’re weak.”

He’s not alone. Perhaps it will come as no surprise that the woman who sat out three straight immunity challenges before being eliminated also advocates for stuffing one’s face over competing. “Hell yeah, I’d sit out a challenge for food,” Claire Rafson says enthusiastically. “I think personally, know your strengths, know your weaknesses. I am not the most physical person. I’ve been looking around and half of these people look like literal body builders who only eat steamed vegetables and boiled chicken, and they’re going to beat me in a lot of competitions. So If I don’t have a good shot of winning and there’s food? I’m going to take the food. Obviously, I know that’s a recipe for getting voted out, but if I’m hungry and I’m not going to win anyway, why not?”

Carson Garrett also supports potentially sitting out for food, but for a completely different reason. “I absolutely would sit out of a challenge, depending on the challenge type, for food. If the challenge has anything to do with a reward, especially in the individual portion of the game, then I would totally sit out.”

Why, Carson? Tell us! “Because a lot of times when you win that individual reward, then you are put in an position where you probably are going to have to choose one, two, maybe even three different people to come with you. And in that position, you’re always at a disadvantage because regardless of who you take, the people that you take don’t really have any allegiance towards you… but if you don’t choose someone, then they’re upset at you because you didn’t choose them…. So any reward challenge like that I will sit out. I won’t do it.”

Who else would take the food over competition? Watch the video at the top of the post to see for yourself, and get ready for Carolyn Wiger’s very adamant response.

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