Every now and then, you get a character on “Survivor” who almost immediately, you realize is going to be a huge character for however long they are on the show. Last season, we’d argue that you had that with Debbie, or back in “Survivor: Cagayan,” you could see that almost right away with Tony. Zeke Smith could be the entertainment star of “Survivor: Millennials vs. Gen X,” largely because he’s got a huge personality, he loves the game, and it also turns out that he’s incredibly smart and may be underestimated in that department because he’s a big character.
Also, he’s got an amazing mustache and quite possibly the greatest B-roll footage in the history of preseason interviews.
Tribe – Vanua (Millennial Tribe), though Zeke doesn’t seem to consider himself much of a Millennial at all.
Bio – He’s a 28-year old asset manager living in Brooklyn, though he originally is from Oklahoma. He excelled in debate and high school and used that in part to carry into spending time in Harvard.
Positive attributes – He’s extremely charismatic. He is also superbly self-confident and has no problem (literally) rolling around in the mud. This is a guy who is never going to be afraid of his edit or of what people think of him, and as a result of that he’ll have an opportunity to play a relatively unburdened game. He’ll make moves when he needs to, and be able to leverage his knowledge of the show into making great strategic decisions.
Potential negatives – There are some serious bros on this tribe, and Zeke’s not going to compete with them when it comes to athletic ability. He also seems to go by the beat of his own drummer, so we’re not sure entirely how well his personality meshes with some of the other people that are here. Some people will inevitably love him, but his personality is one where he’ll never fade into the background and people could target him as a result.
“Survivor” comparisons – Given that he mentioned Tony, we’ll go along with that to a certain extent, though we do think he also has the analytical skills of someone like an Aubry from last season. If he could actually combine these two games and then a social game of someone like a JT Thomas he’d probably be one of the best players ever … but that’s probably too much to ask of any human being.
Early assessment – Zeke’s up there right now with Adam in terms of the players this season who are perhaps the easiest to root for based on pre-game footage alone. Anyone who loves “Survivor” as much as he does is someone we want to see go far! The biggest obstacle standing in his way is just that we’re not sure he will ever know how to go under the radar, and it’s impossible to be a perfect player all of the time. Sooner or later he’ll probably make a strategic mistake and go home a few weeks after the merge; it would most likely take a little luck and a close-to-perfect game to get him to the end.
What’s your take on Zeke? Vote in the poll below, and head over here to get some other “Survivor” news! Also, sign up over here to secure some further TV news on all we cover, sent right to you via our official CarterMatt Newsletter. (Photo: CBS.)