Survivor: David vs. Goliath cast assessment: Mike White is Enlightened

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

Perhaps the most famous person competing in Survivor: David vs. Goliath, Mike White has more than earned his spot on the Goliath tribe.

If you do not know who Mike White is, it’s easy to pass him off as the underdog. On the contrary; Mike White may be the most accomplished player on a Survivor tribe filled with titans of industry, perhaps outshining even the historic reaches of Natalie Cole‘s triumphs. However, he also has some of the biggest black spots on any castaway’s record, as the award-winning writer, director, producer and actor has his ups and downs.

His CBS bio is as straightforward as it is unimaginative, so we’ll look at Mike White’s reputation first. His greatest achievements include multiple credits on the HBO series Enlightened, writing and acting in School of Rock and working on Freaks and Geeks. He’s also won an Independent Spirit Award for Chuck and Buck.

He’s also no stranger to reality television. Mike White and his father Mel appeared in two separate seasons of The Amazing Race, the second of which was an all-star season filled with fan favorites. The banter between him and his dad was a delight, according to fans I’ve reached out to in preparation for this cast assessment.

That’s enough to justify his place on the Goliath tribe, as he does have a bit of a leg up on others due to his experiences. He’s also friendly with host Jeff Probst off the island, claiming credit for dissuading the use of Redemption Island for San Juan del Sur. Production used the Exile Island twist instead, preventing the worst-case scenario and effectively ending it forever (please).

As evidenced by Jeff Probst’s interactions with Penner or Savage, there won’t be a mitigating conflict of interest that will prevent Survivor: David vs. Goliath from being an unfair adventure for the 19 other players just because the two knew each other before the game. Hell, Ali knew Patrick on Heroes vs. Healers vs. Hustlers and both were out before the merge!

However, it does speak to Mike White’s knowledge of the game, comparing himself to Rob Cesternino from Survivor: The Amazon. That might be the further pull of a non-winner comparison any player shared this season. Mike’s a fan and will utilize his advantages competing on a reality show prior to flying out to Fiji.

The biggest obstacle facing Mike White; his notoriety. As evidenced by First One Out, multiple people know exactly who he is, planting a huge target on his back early on. Just like when Jimmie Johnson competed in Nicaragua, it’s harder for public figures to get far when it’s easy for their tribe to vote him out early.

He may have the strategic acumen, but it’s hard for Mike to argue why he deserves to stay over nine others who aren’t Hollywood producers. He’s also likely the weakest male on his starting Goliath tribe and has the smarts that could become dangerous should the tribes swap early. If I saw Ned Schneebly on my tribe, I’d be pointing him out to everyone within earshot as a threat.

Next. Survivor Winners: Ranking 35 Sole Survivors By Season. dark

I don’t believe Mike White is long for this game, but he proved to defy the haters in The Amazing Race. Perhaps he can skate by on a dominant tribe through the tribal phase. That’s his best bet for survival, in my eyes. It also helps if nobody knows he was responsible for The Emoji Movie. Then, voting him out would be revenge, basically.