Saturday, September 9, 2017

Why Kevin Doesn't Deserve to Win America's Favorite Player

It's clear to me right now that America is divided between choosing either Cody or Kevin for America's Favorite Player. Though I am actually a big fan of Kevin, I've made it quite clear that I would rather see Cody win the award.

But perhaps a more interesting question to ask than "why should Cody win America's Favorite Player" is "why should Kevin lose?" I think I know why most people, including myself, have a soft spot for Kevin. He's genuine, witty, kindhearted, endearing, and memorable.

That said, I'd argue that there are still a number of reasons why Kevin doesn't deserve your vote. Let's talk about a few below...

 1. Kevin still has a chance to win the game.


Something I can't get over is how defeatist the #KevinForAFP movement seems. Why are you rooting for third place when your guy is still in the game and can potentially come in first?

Essentially, the strength of the #KevinForAFP movement reveals one of the most significant reasons why Kevin doesn't deserve to win the award: his diehard fans don't have faith in his ability to win the game.

If the roles were reversed, and Cody were in the final five, would the #CodyForAFP movement be as strong as it is? I doubt it, because people would rightfully assume that Cody still has a chance at first place.

The fact that the #CodyForAFP movement is about as strong, if not stronger, than the #KevinForAFP movement, despite the fact that Cody was evicted weeks ago, speaks to the greater impact that Cody had on the game.

Were Kevin an impactful player, the #KevinForAFP movement would be weaker, because his fans would still believe that he'd have a chance to win the game. Instead, what we've seen is that people have given up on the notion of Kevin coming in first and switched gears to rooting for third, before the guy has even been evicted.

If Kevin's gameplay hasn't convinced people that he's done enough to potentially win the game, then doesn't that weaken the argument that he's done enough to win America's Favorite Player?

Of course, I am not saying that you absolutely need to be impactful to win America's Favorite Player. It's simply one of the things you think of when choosing who to vote for. Which leads me to my next point...

2. Kevin doesn't compare to past America's Favorite Players. 


America's Favorite Player has typically been awarded to an underdog who's played a flawed yet powerful game. Normally, they end up being evicted by the people who eventually win the game.

This holds true for the last several AFPs: Jeff, Britney, Frank, Elissa, Donny, James, and Victor all fit that bill more or less. And so does Cody.

But Kevin, on the other hand, has been in the house's most powerful alliance the entire game. He's marched to the beat of Paul's drum since the start. In fact, I think it's safe to say that he's never deviated from Paul's plans.

You could argue that he's been on the outs regarding the Cult of Paul in the last few weeks. But that doesn't change the fact that Kevin still believes in Paul, and that Paul is still directing all of Kevin's game moves.

Let's compare Kevin to Frank, for instance. Frank went up against an even better manipulator than Paul in Dan Gheesling. Frank gunned for Dan nearly the entire game, and won several competitions in the process. The battle between those two was fun to watch.

Or how about Donny? The guy who won AFP for reasons similar to why people want Kevin to win. Well, the primary difference here was that Donny was wary of his season's manipulator, Derrick, and at least tried to make moves against him. 

Kevin, on the other hand, has never won a thing, and he's never openly fought against Paul. He hasn't had to, because Paul has kept him safe in this game.

I can't think of another AFP who's ridden the coattails of his or her season's most powerful player while also being aligned with them. I also can't think of another AFP who's fulfilled the trifecta of never winning any comps, not having a great social game, and not taking a shot at their season's most powerful player.

3. Kevin has already won $25,000. 


In a way, Kevin has already won third place because he won $25,000 at the very beginning of the season.

Given the game he has played, given that he's already received so much money, and given that he still has a chance to win first place, I think that it's only fair that somebody else be considered for America's Favorite Player.

That is not to say that winning money in the game should preclude you from winning more money in the game. But think of it this way: has Kevin done enough to warrant America gifting him the equivalent of second place? 

4. Kevin hasn't learned from his mistakes. 


Being part of the Cult of Paul means following Paul's orders. Kevin has done this all season to his own detriment.

The most egregious example might be how he throws competitions at Paul's behest. Indeed he's thrown several HoH's, including "Ready, Set, Whoa," and the "True or False" comp they played during the double eviction.

Nearly every time he throws an important comp, Kevin says something in the DR like "well maybe next time I won't listen to what Paul says and win for myself." But we've yet to see that happen, and the game's almost over.

Whether Kevin is genuinely incapable of winning competitions, or he's throwing them intentionally to further Paul's game, neither possibility strengthens the argument that he deserves AFP.

5. Kevin will leave the game bamboozled. 


When Kevin inevitably gets chopped by Paul (which I guarantee happens unless Kevin miraculously wakes up and begins winning things), he'll likely be just as bamboozled as Jason was.

If Kevin hasn't figured out by now that Paul isn't as great of an ally as he thinks he is, then he probably never will. And if Kevin leaves the game blindsided and unaware of what was actually going on in the game, then that hurts his case for AFP even more.

I suppose you could argue that Britney left the game in a similar manner after being blindsided by the Brigade. But Britney was never actually part of the Brigade, while Kevin is a part of the Cult of Paul. That Britney couldn't see that she was on the outs with another alliance was bad, but Kevin not being able to read his own alliance is worse.



Kevin had a chance to shake up the game when Ramses was on the block. At that point he could have used his gift of gab to get Josh out, and then flipped to Jody's side of the house.

From that point on, he would have had the numbers to beat Paul, and his move would be remembered as something worthy of America's Favorite Player.

As it stands, Kevin was never self-aware enough to realize that he could have made a move to keep Ramses. He wasn't aware that Paul never had his best interests at heart.

In the end, this made Kevin complacent. Complacency doesn't usually qualify one to become America's Favorite Player.

The one thing Kevin has going for him -- that he's a genuine and witty character that most people find endearing -- isn't enough this season. Not when he's facing off against Cody, who I think was just as interesting of a character, while being much more self-aware regarding the game, and much more willing to make big moves in order to win.

Yes, Kevin did last longer than Cody. But if Kevin doesn't come in first or second, then all you can say is that he spent a few more weeks in the house being Paul's lapdog, while at the very least, Cody went down swinging.

This article likely won't convince diehard Kevin fans to switch their vote to Cody. But hopefully those of you on the fence now feel more confident regarding how you cast your vote, regardless of the side you choose.


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About The Author

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Nicholas Garcia (M.A.) is a PhD Candidate at the University of California, Davis. He is also a Co-Founder of the Bulosan Center for Filipino Studies. Previously, he contributed to and the Davis Humanities Institute.