Follow Friday
Hogwarts houses, wholesome comedy, Survivor

Dave Jorgenson (The Washington Post)

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On March 11, 2020, Dave Jorgenson posted a TikTok video of himself, dancing in his apartment. That isn't unusual for TikTok, but it was the first of hundreds he would produce at home while his employer — The Washington Post — tried to protect workers from the COVID-19 pandemic.

Over the ensuing months, Dave's videos have been a much-needed source of levity and absurdity, often mining the Post's straight news stories for hidden deposits of humor. The newspaper's already substantial audience on TikTok has more than doubled in that time, to over one million followers.

"I thought it was going to be a three-week-long thread," he says, referring to the Twitter thread where he has cross-posted all 727 TikToks (and counting). "Now, we were just told yesterday that we're not coming back to the office until January, at least ... I have two minds about it. I don't want to be locked out. I don't want there to be a pandemic, but there's a part of me that's like, '1,000 would be cool.'"

On today's podcast, Dave talks about a TikTok star and astrology lover who turns celebrity gossip into exciting stories; a hilarious Post colleague who has secretly voiced one of the characters in his TikTok videos; a wholesome cartoonist who has made the leap from internet virality to bestselling books; and a former reality TV contestant who now leads a podcasting empire.

You can get bonus episodes of Follow Friday every week — including an extra follow recommendation from Dave, coming early next week — when you back Follow Friday on Patreon, starting at just $1 a month.

Follow us:
- Follow Dave on TikTok @washingtonpost and @davejorgenson, on Twitter @davejorgenson, and on Instagram @davetakespictures
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Theme song written by Eric Johnson, and performed by Yona Marie. Show art by Dodi Hermawan.

Thank you to our amazing patrons: Jon, Justin, Amy, Yoichi, and Elizabeth
Full transcript of this episode
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ERIC JOHNSON: Today on Follow Friday, we're going to talk about celebrity gossip, Hogwarts Houses, AOL Instant Messenger, Bridgerton, cicadas, aliens, Jim Gaffigan, Survivor, and breaking the fourth wall. That's in a minute with Dave Jorgenson from the Washington Post.

But first, I want to thank Jon and Justin from for backing Follow Friday on Patreon. Transistor is an independent podcast hosting company with a simple, modern interface for uploading audio, distributing your podcast, and viewing analytics. You can also make as many podcasts as you want on Transistor, for no extra cost, and you can invite other people to access the show settings, to upload episodes, view analytics, and more. Check them out at

[theme song]

ERIC: I'm Eric Johnson. Welcome to Follow Friday, a podcast about who you should follow online. Every week, I talk to creative people about who they follow, and why. This is a guided tour to the best people on the internet, led by your favorite writers, podcasters, comedians, and more. You can support the show and get bonus episodes for as little as a dollar a month at

Today on the show is Dave Jorgenson, also known as the Washington Post TikTok Guy. Since 2019, he's made hundreds of videos for the app and attracted more than a million followers. Earlier this year, he released a book about his creative process called Make a TikTok Every Day. You can find the Washington Post on TikTok @washingtonpost and Dave on Twitter @davejorgenson.

Dave, welcome to Follow Friday!

DAVE: Hey, Eric. Thanks for having me. You got my name right. People usually go -sen at the end. I appreciate it.

ERIC: I mistyped it enough times, while writing the script.

DAVE: That's why I started defaulting to "Washington Post TikTok Guy."

ERIC: Yeah, much easier to remember. A few days before we recorded this, you posted a TikTok about how to take an at-home COVID test. And in the video, you tested positive for COVID. You're fully vaccinated, but how are you feeling?

DAVE: I feel great. Yeah, the video ... I shot that on Monday and I had tested positive the Thursday prior. The weekend, it felt like a really bad cold, as I said in TikToks after that. Then by Monday, I started feeling a lot better. It was a breakthrough case, but I think you can thank the vaccine for how nothing else happened.

I never had a fever. I was never coughing. And this week I got my intern back. That was just by happenstance, but I tried to intentionally incorporate that into the TikTok as if we hired him back because Dave was dying. It worked out really well that he could help us pick up the slack this week. That's been fun to bring him back for at least a month.

It all worked out fine. I feel 100% percent better now. This is just a week after testing positive and it's all good. I was glad I got to use that as an example of "It sucks if you have a breakthrough, but it's much better if you're vaccinated, and here's an at-home test, in case you're not sure if it's allergies or not."

ERIC: Yeah. Well, this week was a little different because sometimes you do TikToks referencing your personal life, but most of the time they're inspired by the day's news, right? How does something go from the pages of the Washington Post to a viral TikTok? Like, are you just scanning the headlines first thing in the morning and writing down ideas, or what is your daily process like?

DAVE: Typically, it's kind of what you just said. Obviously, this was an exception where I got COVID. I thought about it over the weekend while half-awake on the couch, watching an entire season of The Amazing Race. I thought I probably should just tell people this happened because it will be a really healthy way to say, "Hey, you can get COVID if you have a vaccine, but it's okay, and here's what you have to do."

That was a one-off example, but generally speaking, it's either popular news events or something that I find people aren't understanding or need a better explainer of what's happening in the news.

We start the morning at 9:00 AM or earlier, looking at the five most popular stories of the Washington Post. I try to see if a couple of those can fit into the two TikToks we're going to make that day. I'm also scrolling through TikTok and seeing if there are some new trends or a new sound or funny audio that we could incorporate directly into one of those news stories. If not, we just make a sketch-based TikTok that's totally original.

It's really fun to see what works every day and every day is a new day. You could go from two TikToks that totally did not do well, and then the next day, you have one with a million views. It's nice that every day, I get a quick refresh.

ERIC: You've been doing these at home since the lockdown started in March 2020. You post these on Twitter as well, which is how I first started following you. You have this incredibly long thread of TikTok videos you've been making at home since quarantine started. I'm amazed at your creativity. There are so many wild ideas in there.

DAVE: I have this fear every time I add to the thread that I'm going to accidentally delete one of the threads and break it. I don't know how I would do that. It would be a weird freak accident, but I'm just so afraid I'm going to break that thread somehow.

I already have it in the back of my head that, I know someone at Twitter, I could contact them and make sure I get it recovered. That's all in my head. I'm very happy that I had the foresight to start that thread on March 11th when this all happened. I thought it was going to be a three-week-long thread.

Now, we were just told yesterday that we're not coming back to the office until January, at least. That thread is going to reach at least 900, might get over 1,000. We'll see. It's weird; I have two minds about it. I don't want to be locked out. I don't want there to be a pandemic, but there's a part of me that's like, "1,000 would be cool."

ERIC: The monkey's paw just curled. OK, let's find out who Dave Jorgenson follows online. You can follow along with us today. Every person he recommends will be linked in the show notes and in the transcript at

Dave, before the show, I gave you a list of categories and I asked you to tell me about people who follow, who fit in those categories. Your first pick is in the category, "Someone super talented, who's still under the radar". You said Tefi Pessoa, who's on TikTok, Twitter, and Instagram @hellotefi. I especially like Tefi's Twitter bio, where she lists her interests as "pop culture, astrology, self-love, and how much we hate your ex."

Explain what Tefi does and why you like her videos.

DAVE: I was introduced to Tefi via my wife because she was watching her when she had a YouTube show, which I think is on pause at the moment. My wife watches all kinds of YouTube creators and I spend about two minutes on YouTube a week, if that, unless it's a John Oliver clip or something.

I'm not really in that world, but she was watching all this and that one caught my eye. I was listening and was like, "She's pretty funny." Then I ended up watching it religiously, sometimes half-hour shows. Then those stopped for a while and I noticed she got on TikTok. It was a seamless transition.

TikTok fits perfectly what she does, which is essentially in-depth gossip on any celebrity or any celebrity couple.

[clip from Tefi's TikTok]

TEFIA PESSOA: "I'm having a mental breakdown. I was like, OK, I want to talk about how Paris Hilton — allegedly! — dated Benji Madden. And, OK. If you are into pop culture, you know, that's f**king weird. OK? With Nicole and Joel and ... Anyway, I was looking up people that Paris Hilton has dated, and I put myself in an internet hole. There are so many people that I did not know that she had — allegedly! allegedly! — dated. Paris, if you see this, more power to you, get what you can while you can."

DAVE: As I'm saying that, I recognize that there are people like me who are like, "I don't care about that." I don't care about it either, but it's just the way she describes it. The way she goes in-depth on it is so funny. It's just that funny friend you have at a bar. That's what it feels like.

She's so charismatic in that way and so engaging. She's responsive and fun. What I like about TikTok, which she definitely has as well, is she feels very authentic. That's one of my favorite follows, in general, on basically every app at this point.

ERIC: I watched one of her recent TikTok videos, where it's her reacting to the rumor that David Schwimmer and Jennifer Aniston are dating in real life. She's on the verge of tears, just processing the possibility that that might be happening.

DAVE: It's so funny. It's a window into a world that I'm not always in, but I love her passion. You just feel it. It's funny, and you can tell that she's adlibbing every other sentence and that adds a lot to it. It's fun.

ERIC: Recently, it looks like she's been doing a lot of pop culture histories, like celebrities who've been feuding or her most recent one is about Princess Diana and Prince Charles. Have you gotten into any of those? Any highlights from what she's been posting recently that you like?

DAVE: The best ones are when she's reacting to someone having commented. So she'll do like the reply comment TikTok. I think someone had asked about Jennifer [Lopez] and Ben Affleck. And the way she went into it, she was telling you something that was, not that this isn't important to some people, [like] it was like 1776. She was going at this piece of history and it was a five-part TikTok. Each of them was three minutes long and I drank all that up. I thought it was so funny because she was just so excited about it. Once you see it, you get it. The excitement is palpable.

ERIC: I should ask: You and your wife, are you as into astrology as Tefi is?

DAVE: Not at all. In fact, I try to be very kind about it, but I don't believe in it. I just like how she talks about it. That's my middle ground. You can have your own astrology world and that's great, and I don't necessarily subscribe to it. But the way she talks about it is so interesting to me and so fun.

ERIC: She started off the Princess Di series of TikToks that she made by saying, "Okay, I'm going to start by talking about their signs. If you don't believe in astrology, that's fine. You don't believe in science, whatever." She's very out and proud about it all.

DAVE: It's so good. She'll always do that where she backhands compliments or whatever. She just throws it at you like, "You're wrong, but it's fine, you sweet little child." I do love that.

I think there's something about the way she does it, and probably a lot of people talk about astrology. It's the same way that growing up, I would talk about Hogwarts Houses or something and apply people to those. So, I get the excitement and how it's all connected. That's fun, and I think she does that in a very engaging way.

ERIC: There are often these people trying to make generation warfare happen where it's like "Gen Z is dissing millennials for always talking about their Hogwarts Houses!" I'm like, A, that's hilarious, and B, yeah, we do that. We really did that a lot. That's fair.

DAVE: Again, my view of astrology is I don't believe it, but I like that it helps you identify who you are, maybe, and I think that's what Hogwarts Houses did for me. That's my version of astrology.

I used to think I was a Gryffindor, but I realized I'm a Hufflepuff because I'm not like anyone else and you can't put me in a box. The way I'm talking about it sounds exactly how I think other people talking about astrology.

ERIC: I think all people trend towards Hufflepuff as they get older. They realize that maybe being brave or clever isn't actually the most important thing. Maybe being kind is fine.

DAVE: That's exactly right. When I was 10, I was like, "I am brave, like Harry." Then I was like, it doesn't really matter. There are other things I value more.

ERIC: That was Tefi Pessoa, who's on TikTok @hellotefi. Dave, let's move on to your next follow. I asked you for someone who makes you laugh, and you said Alexandra Petri, a former guest on this very podcast, and your colleague at the Washington Post. She's on Twitter @petridishes.

You and I are very much in agreement here; Alexandra is a humor columnist, one of my favorite writers. Talk about why she makes you laugh.

DAVE: Every column she ever writes, anything that she puts out there, I like the tweet before I even read it because I just see the headline and I already recognize I'm going to be laughing. Then I read it and I'm glad that I liked it. Then I retweet it.

I'll tell you a quick story. About four years ago, I was making a separate video at the Post. This is before TikTok. At the time, AOL Instant Messenger was about to be off the internet forever. So, I put out this call to the newsroom and said, "Anyone wants to talk about your experiences with AOL Instant Messenger?"

That was the first time I ever interacted with her. She talked for like an hour and it was the funniest... I had to make it into a three-minute video and I had to cut so much. Everything that she said had a four-minute side story so I had to cut most of what she said. I'm thinking to myself as I say it now; I should have just put out the whole hour somewhere.

ERIC: Please do! Yes.

DAVE: She was so funny. If you ever have her on the podcast again, ask her about what she would do and how ... she would pretend to be historic figures and create fake AIMs and message people in character as these are very specific... And that's as a 12-year-old.

She's very smart and she has even more knowledge of these characters now than when she was 12.

[clip from video]

ALEXANDRA PETRI: "And I would send them, 'Hey, do you think this picture is attractive?' And it would turn out to be a Civil War dude. And she'd be like, 'I think it's pretty hot.' And I'd be like, 'That's Corporal Pelham!'"

DAVE: She can go on tangents and be very funny. She's just one of those people. I think a lot of that intelligence also radiates through all of her columns. It is satire, most of the time, and it's really cutting satire. On top of her being funny, it's very effective as well.

ERIC: First of all, yes, please release the full hour-long ... release the Jorgenson Cut! So, you worked together when she came and talked about AIM and about playing historical figures. Have you ever worked together since then? Have you done anything else together, for TikTok or otherwise?

DAVE: She's been in a handful of TikToks. A lot of people have already guessed this ... The Netflix show, Bridgerton came out a year ago. There's this character in that show, Lady Whistledown, and I was like, "We gotta have our version of that," someone who's a ghostwriter or whatever.

She's been doing the vocals for Lady WhistleTok. She hasn't yet been revealed, but a lot of people have figured out it's her.

[clip from TikTok]

ALEXANDRA: [flowery British accent] "On a day unlike any other in Washington, District of Columbia, the newly elected president and vice-president were sworn in. President Biden immediately signed 17 executive orders, including a new approach to the ghastly coronavirus. Meanwhile, Lord Dave ...

DAVE: Haha.

ALEXANDRA: ... made more TikToks."

DAVE: I've got to pick up that thread again. It's been a few months, but she's so funny. She's been on a few and they all blend together. There was something Christmas-related she was in last December. You'd have to go back and check.

She's always down to make funny videos. It's nice that anytime I can borrow her, she's usually pretty game and she brings everything to it, which is good.

ERIC: We should probably explain for folks who don't know. On your TikToks, you have a whole cast of characters in your apartment with you. Do you want to explain Lady WhistleTok and some of the others who have popped up?

DAVE: I, tongue in cheek, call it The Washington Post TikTok Cinematic Universe. It existed before the pandemic, but as we started making TikToks here in my apartment, it became very clear that I needed to create other versions of either myself or objects. Also, it was fun to do.

I started doing that and I have a can of Spam, Sam, and he's been chilling for over a year and a half now. He has his friends, Pam, and someone sent me one, Spamantha, I forgot her name already. We have all these different characters. We have Planty, which is just a plant that has eyeballs on it. Then there's Carl the Cicada, which is just me in a cockroach outfit, but I pretend it's a Cicada costume.

Carl was picked up by an eagle. We don't know if he's alive, but it looks like he probably died. We'll see. Maybe in the future, we'll see Carl again, who knows? There's obviously Chris, my intern. He's Chris the intern and, and he's back for another month.

There are all these different characters that come in and out. And of course, other Washington Post employees will sometimes appear in TikToks. Before the pandemic, we'd already cameo-ed at least 100 people in their own individual TikToks. The ones that had recurring appearances had running jokes. Everyone thought Gene Park was my boss. He's not, but we just kept that joke alive.

During the pandemic, for a while, people thought he was my roommate, so we kept that joke alive. I don't know why they thought that, but they did. There are little threads we like to keep, like an Easter egg. If you saw the previous one, you recognize that that's referencing the earlier TikTok.

ERIC: What's the character that Alexandra is playing?

DAVE: Lady WhistleTok and she only exists whenever we report on local DC events, like the inauguration ball and all those different very DC, swampy political events. Whenever I have those news stories, I have heard her narrate what happened.

ERIC: She's operating her humor column, she's operating it in a kind of similar way to what you're doing with the TikToks. She's looking in the news and she's finding, what's the funny angle on this? Has there ever been a time where you've seen one of her columns and been like, "Oh my God, I can't believe she beat me to that idea?"

DAVE: I'm sure it's happened that she's beat me to something. I can't say I'd be jealous because I respect her so much. If anything, I can't confirm if I've done this, but I wouldn't be surprised if I've copied an idea she's had before or used the concept that she came up with into a TikTok.

I also do that with some Post articles. Like the whole cicada thing was born out of the crazy amount of reporting we were doing on Brood X cicadas. Way too much. Because of that, I thought that was hilarious. I'm like, "Well, I'm going to do cicada TikToks all the time now.

It probably has happened. I don't get mad about it because, if anything, I look at it as an opportunity to potentially make a TikTok on that joke or event.

ERIC: Well, that was Alexandra Petri, who's on Twitter @petridishes. You can find her episode of Follow Friday at We're going to take a quick break now, but we'll be back in a minute with Dave Jorgenson.

Hey, so two quick things before we get back to the interview. Number one: Keep an eye on our social media next week. We have a really exciting announcement coming up. I can't tell you about it yet, but really, it's super cool.

As always, you can follow us everywhere at @FollowFridayPod, and you can follow me on Twitter at @HeyHeyESJ.

Number two: I have a favor to ask of you. Please go to and nominate us for the Discover Pods Awards. When you go to that link,, you'll be taken to a ballot where you should write in Follow Friday for two of the categories: Best New/Debut Podcast of 2021, and Best Interview Style Podcast.

You can only submit your nominations once, so go ahead and give some love to your other favorites in the other categories. One more time, that's, and please nominate Follow Friday for Best New/Debut Podcast, and Best Interview Style Podcast. Nominations are open until September 24, which is very soon! Thank you for your support. Now back to the show.

Welcome back to Follow Friday. Dave, let's move on to your next follow. I asked you for someone that you've followed forever. You said Nathan W. Pyle, who's on Twitter @nathanwpyle and on Instagram @nathanwpylestrangeplanet.

You said in your email that you've been following Nathan since before Strange Planet, which is his most famous work. To start, maybe we should explain what Strange Planet is.

DAVE: I think he's written two books and he also puts out individual sketches. He's a cartoonist and they're usually four-panel cartoons, pretty much anything he puts out, but especially the Strange Planet ones. The whole concept is it's just alien cartoons that are doing human things, but they have different descriptions for these human things, none of which are coming to mind at the moment.

It's so good. It's so clever. It's so relatable. I don't know anyone that doesn't enjoy it. It's also just really wholesome, which isn't necessarily something I seek out all the time, but I do like having this very wholesome follow, too. I like the world that he lives in that's so wholesome in that way.

I think two months ago, or around that time, they announced that they're doing a TV show based on this comic strip, Strange Planet, with Dan Harmon producing, which is wild. I'm very happy for Nathan too. I just love what he does and I love how the way he approaches things, where it is a very pure of heart it seems.

ERIC: Dan Harmon, the creator of Community and Rick and Morty, and a bunch of other cool stuff. You were talking about the examples of what a Strange Planet comic looks like. I pulled one up here. It's a bunch of blue aliens celebrating one of the other ones, and they're saying, "This is where the planet was when you emerged." They're throwing confetti in the air and the alien whose birthday it is says, "Tiny trash!"

They bring out a cake and they say, "This is on fire." The birthday one says, "I will exhale on it." That's an example of the translations that go on there. You were following him before Strange Planet. What was your introduction to Nathan's work?

DAVE: For a while there, I don't know if he was freelancing, he would make a lot of cartoons for BuzzFeed. That's where I'd probably found him, probably some article or something and I just thought, "These are really fun and clever."

He has this one strip where it's just two people complimenting each other and then they just smile at each other at the end. It makes me happy every time I look at it. I have a screenshot somewhere on my computer where I saved it as my own GIF. Whenever you and your friend are complimenting each other, I just send it in. It's just two people smiling at each other and it makes me really happy.

Even those had that thread or that similar line of humor that was observational humor, which is kind of what he's doing. As you were describing that last comic, it made me realize it's a lot like my other favorite, pure, wholesome comedian, Jim Gaffigan. Again, not that I'm seeking these people out, but when I need that happy time.

He has this whole bit about the Christmas tree and how people are like, "Let's bring the tree inside and put those lights outside.'' It sounds like someone drunk on Christmas and came up with how to decorate. And I think that's very much like what he does with his comics, especially Strange Planet. He just puts it in a different context, which is something that I probably do a little bit with TikToks on occasion.

ERIC: Your brain has to be wired a little bit differently to see past the stuff that everyone else…

DAVE: Yeah, we all accept it and don't think about it ever again.

ERIC: Now that you're talking about the wholesome, PG-rated comedy, it's making me think that we're in a moment for that with Ted Lasso and Strange Planet. It seems like there's a reversal...

You've been active in comedy for a while now so tell me if this is wrong. In my head, I think of the Obama years as being very cynical and dark and ironic. It seems like in the past five years or so, people have just been like, "Just give me something nice. I just want to laugh."

DAVE: I think you're right. I think that's what happened when I started posting the quarantine TikToks and started that thread on Twitter. The first 100 weren't even really news-based, unless they were to explain something that was happening, like how to social distance or something.

They were all very much like, "Dave's going crazy in his apartment. Let's all laugh with him." It was a very wholesome thing. Clearly, I wasn't going crazy because I was also editing and posting these. I think that people were craving that. Then Ted Lasso came out that summer and throughout the rest of last year, and even going into this year, it kept getting more and more traction. I think people just needed that escape, and needed that wholesome character.

I don't think that's a mistake. I think you're absolutely right. It's very easy to point to 2016 as the fulcrum point, and that might be true, but it does feel like people are craving a little bit less cynicism when they can get it.

It's very easy to find cynicism. I think that's part of it. It's switched, where it used to be like you'd go to Twitter to be cynical. Now it feels like that's everywhere. Maybe we need something more like Ted Lasso.

ERIC: Well, that was Nathan W. Pyle, who's on Twitter @nathanwpyle and on Instagram @nathanwpylestrangeplanet.

We have time for one more follow today. Dave, I asked you for someone who's an expert in a very specific niche that you love. You said Rob Cesternino, who's on Twitter and YouTube @robcesternino. He's the host of a podcast called Rob Has a Podcast, but before he was internet famous, if I have my timeline right, was he a contestant on Survivor?

DAVE: Correct. Yes in season six, The Amazon, in 2003.

ERIC: Well, I know from following you, that Survivor is a show you care a lot about.

DAVE: Deeply. Too much. I'll try to give you a brief rundown of my obsession with both his podcast and Survivor. When he was on that show in 2003, I would have been like 12 and I was obsessed with Survivor. For the longest time, that was my favorite season.

For context, they've now done 40 seasons of Survivor. They do two a year. They skipped last year, but now they just shot two seasons again. Season 41 premieres this month. I know; it's wild.

Around season 20, he said, "I'm going to start doing a podcast." I was like one of the first listeners back when a lot of people had either given up on podcasts ... People forget, but 2011, 2010, we thought, "Ah, this was a fad." He really pushed through and he got a lot better at it. Eventually, it became his sole source of income.

I think at this point, he posts a podcast every day, related to either Survivor or reality TV. So there's no shortage of content. I also admire him from a standpoint of, his work ethic is insane. Last year, he decided to do a re-watch of every Survivor season and had all the fans rank them. So he's been counting down and now he's at the number three season of Survivor.

I don't know how he does it. He can talk for six hours about anything. I don't envy that. I don't want to be that person, but it is wild, the commitment he puts in and what he's built doing that now.

My Survivor obsession also runs parallel with this, in that I've always been obsessed. Around the time he started that podcast, I had applied and I was in college. I was 20 and I got all the way through finals and I was on the last cut.

ERIC: Oh, man!

DAVE: I think, in retrospect, that I was very young. I could have had any number of moments where they edited me to look like a complete doofus, which is not hard. They might have done me a favor. In some ways, it made me double down on my fandom. I actually put in an audition tape just a couple of months ago so we'll see.

I said to myself, "It's been a decade. Let's say try it one more time." We'll see what happens. I just love Survivor. Survivor and how they edit it and what it did for reality TV a lot of the people that were cameramen, especially in the early days of The Office, were former Survivor cameramen because they wanted people that could make it look realistic and knew how to get that shot without getting into the other cameraman's shot.

I think a lot of how Survivor edits has been picked up and other reality TV and in everything that people edit. I think the reason my TikToks are somewhat decent is because of editing, more than anything else. I'm really into the edit aspect of Survivor.

Recently, Rob has also become very into that and reading the edit. Especially when you rewatch a season, can you determine who the winner was based on the edit in episode one? I would say, in my opinion, in the first 27 seasons, you could tell who the winner was in episode one, pretty easily. It's pretty wild.

ERIC: You've been listening to his podcast for so many years now. You've seen it, you've heard it evolve and heard his interests evolve and heard him go deeper on different aspects of the show. Are there any other examples of stuff like that where it has changed the way you watch reality TV shows like Survivor?

DAVE: Obviously, my interest in the edit, like I said, he's gotten more into that. But the one thing that he's been so good at and was good at when he was on the show, because he sort of changed the show when he was on, was making it much more about the strategy than the niceness, "We gotta survive together!" part.

He was committed to I'm here to vote people out and socialize and do it in the right way, and this is all strategy. The survivor part is secondhand. "We'll survive. They're not going to let us die." He very much pioneered that.

He's made me watch the show with more of a strategy eye, which I don't naturally have. That's been part of it too. I also feel like when I'm listening to his recaps like the night of the episode airing, he's really good at figuring out what people did and what their motivations were, which is, for me, really helpful because when I'm playing like chess or Catan, I'm not good at that. That's helped me develop that part of my brain.

ERIC: There was a season of The Amazing Race where they had all internet influencers and creators. There's a chance. Maybe they'll do the same thing for Survivor. There's hope for you yet.

If you got selected with your new application to go on the show, what would be your approach, your strategy to surviving?

DAVE: The way I think about it right now, and this could change, but there's a guy who's played, I think, three times. It's funny that it's hard to remember, but some of them have played five times, which is wild. This is a guy who's based in LA. He's actually directed some movies, not to be confused with Mike White, who almost won and made The White Lotus.

Jonathan Patter is the guy I'm talking about. The last time he was on, he got into people's heads where he would tell them, "What's your story? What story are you trying to tell?" I think I would develop that further. If I was trying to get someone to do something and trying to motivate them, I would honestly tell them, "You could be edited to look like a real idiot here."

Try to use what I know about video editing and production to get in their head and go like, "Hey, you already did this. They could make it look like this was my idea." That's how I would approach it, if they'd let me. I don't know if they would, but that's my idea.

ERIC: How much you are allowed to break the rules or bend the rules of the show…

DAVE: They've only let a character break the fourth wall a handful of times, and it's always a person that's come back that the audience clearly loves. I understand they really get mad when people do that, but I would constantly be Jim Halperting the camera if they let me for sure.

ERIC: I remember — a brief story, which is that the first season of Survivor, when the season finale was airing, my family was on vacation in Hawai'i. My parents had reservations at a very nice restaurant and my sister and I said, "No. We're getting takeout from Subway and we want to see the season finale of this new thing, Survivor."

DAVE: Incredible.

ERIC: I should confess that I have not watched any Survivor since then. I just was obsessed with the first season. I think there is something magical about the conceit of reality shows, where it really does feel ... Especially if it's a new thing for you, there is something magical about the style of reality TV. I remember it fondly.

DAVE: Especially that first season and the game evolved so much, as I said. It's much more about strategy now, and whether or not someone can fish for food no longer really even makes the cut. But there is still something about the idea that everyone is forming alliances until they have to break them, because only one person could win. And it continues up until season 41.

That finale is the most-watched finale for any reality TV show, ever. Like 60 million people were watching simultaneously. It's crazy. Including you.

ERIC: Meanwhile, my parents had the most peaceful dinner of their lives.

DAVE: Yeah, they were like, "Great! Subway: Eat fresh! Get outta here!"

ERIC: Well, that was Rob Cesternino, who's on Twitter and YouTube @robcesternino.

Dave, thank you for sharing these follows with us today. Before we go, let's make sure our listeners know how to find you online. Where do you want them to follow you?

DAVE: Definitely TikTok, @washingtonpost. I also have my own separate TikTok @davejorgenson. You can go there. When I do post, I post behind-the-scenes stuff for TikTok. That's fun if you want to get into that part of it. It's my own version of the DVD commentary. Also, @davejorgenson on Twitter. Those are my two main ones. I finally made my Instagram public again @davetakespictures if you want to follow that as well.

ERIC: Cool. Follow me on Twitter @HeyHeyESJ, and this show on Twitter and Instagram @followfridaypod. You can find clips from the show at Our theme music was written by me and performed by Yona Marie. Our show art was illustrated by Dodi Hermawan.

That's all for this week. This is Eric Johnson, reminding you to talk about people behind their backs, and when you do, say something nice.

See you next Friday!

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