Survivor: David vs. Goliath cast assessment: Jessica Peet’s naiveté is double-edged

Photo: Robert Voets/CBS Entertainment ©2018 CBS Broadcasting, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
Photo: Robert Voets/CBS Entertainment ©2018 CBS Broadcasting, Inc. All Rights Reserved. /

Very few teenagers have competed on Survivor before, and Jessica Peet looks to tap into her adolescence to get people to underestimate her abilities.

Every teenager has played Survivor a bit differently from their field. Spencer Duhm had a small part in the Tocantins season, unsuccessfully targetting Taj and hiding his sexual identity. Natalie Tenerelli didn’t hide her age but instead hid behind Boston Rob’s coattails. Brandon Hantz hid his relation to Russell, Julia hid her true age from casting, Will Wahl hid his teenage ego as long as possible and Michael Yerger hid his teenage status.

The one unifying factor is that they usually have something to hide, and Jessica Peet enters the game with Michael Yerger’s gameplay fresh in mind. She, too, will hide her true age, but as First One Out indicates, there are people already onto her trail. For what it’s worth, many seem to view her as a sweet, charming young woman, with fewer keeping a mindful eye on their backs.

If the players were able to read her CBS bio (age redacted, of course), they could easily glean her lack of life experience and hardships to determine her age. Going to the beach, traveling, shopping and working out aren’t hobbies, people not saying “bless you” when sneezing is a weirdly personal pet peeve, and being cast for a reality show as a claim to fame is fine for young adults. It all paints her as a teenager.

All of this is fine; she’s a teenager, for crying out loud! It’s hard to expect the world of an adult who’s been one for just under two years. However, if she thinks she’s going to fool her tribemates as a teenager when she clearly looks as such, it may set off their “sketchy” radars.

For what its worth, it seems as though Jessica is a charming, attractive young woman who can bring people into an alliance as guardians even though she doesn’t need it. There are plenty of parental figures on the David tribe that she can work out alliances with, in addition to strong-willed women that might want to create a new version of the Black Widow Brigade.

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What I’m saying is that Jessica Peet has options in Survivor: David vs. Goliath, and if she’s not playing too aggressively early, she could soar her way to the merge. Otherwise, she might get tarnished with the Libby Vincek label (Ghost Island was airing as the contestants flew out to compete); getting all the blame for a move someone else made.

Her knowledge of the game does extend to her Survivor role model, Stephenie LaGrossa, so her fandom does run deep. She also plans on playing like Sarah Lacina’s winning social game while undercutting some of her strategic acumens.

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Arguing that the n-word isn’t a racial slur aside, it’s hard to know if Jessica will sink or swim. She could sit on her hands, wait until the merge and start making moves, or she could find her lack of life experience hard to make connections with the rest of her David tribe members.