That was a lot of insight...so for you, it seems that the characters were who they were and that stayed as it was. Connie didn't become a kinder, gentler person just to get along by going along. Angela didn't decide, "You know what? Tony's a nice guy; I'll go easy on him." Well, until the Reunion, anyway. And Alex didn't lighten up at all. She was always completely dark. I kind of pictured her as the other side of the Joe Dirt coin. She reacts to her bad childhood and poor situation by shunning others and being quiet, to herself, and mistrusting. A phrase such as "Life's a garden. Dig it." would never be uttered by Alex.
I tried to type-cast my characters like that, and I had almost no success. Rachel from my series was actually based on someone I saw on Jerry Springer by that same name; I made her louder and worse. The post-show transformation was an idea I had later. Steve was...I have no idea what his deal was; originally, I had him down as a nice, older brother-type figure who was friends with everyone rather than the divisive, clumsy jerk he ended up being. As for being a self-hating male feminist...well, part of that was playing up that stereotype and part of it was a reaction to what I see with a lot of guys who let women push them around, only taken much farther.
I also noticed this - you seemed to point out the characters' physical appearances. I deliberately avoided that, and I avoided talking about their lifestyles any more than the show dictated. Looking back, my cast could easily be fairly white and nerdy with few token minorities, though it's because some of the characters I didn't get a chance to develop were the token minorities. Catharine was my token black contestant, and it killed me to bump her off when I did. I also wrote in Danny and Loretta as gay characters, but it never came up, and I also never got a chance to write in another storyline in which one of my characters suffered from obsessive-cumpulsive disorder. Just a few things that ended up on the cutting-room floor.
No one seemed to have much of a back story with me; the closest I came was with Becky's background in the WNBA (Becky was my answer to Gary Hogeboom from Guatemala; the difference was that Becky relished in her status as an athlete) and with the merge spat between Charlie and Paula. Charlie and Paula are two characters I would have loved to develop more, and frankly, I could have seen Paula going a lot farther than she actually did (though she's one who, like Gardener, clashed with a lot of people and was close to one other person.) I mentioned the idea of a bunch of people writing individual storylines for a TAR combined story (which I know is impossible unless we recruited like hell from other places) and the characters I thought of were Charlie and Paula. They both went out of the game because of circumstances beyond their control, and both of them would kill for another chance. That All-Stars story I want to write for this summer? You better believe they're in it. There are a million different directions I could take their story arcs - on one hand, they could be another Rob and Lex, where they don't end up speaking to one another. On the other hand, Charlie could drop to one knee at the Reunion and propose to her...though that's already been done.
I also noticed that the loved ones seemed to get a bit of a storyline as well in your story, especially Audrey. Audrey and Edward could have gotten their own Survivor spin-off. For me, the loved ones were just more people who popped in and disappeared, although Maria's girlfriend seemed to have a lot more impact on the story (that was Billy's comeuppance for making Jason lose his concentration after the merge...basically, both Billy's enraging of Jason and Maria and Laura's kiss were unnecessary gestures that were designed to achieve an outcome that was already pretty close to certain. But, in both Billy's and Maria's defense, the actions they took felt really good, and they didn't know they didn't need them.)
I'm a rambler myself. Incidentally, was there any reason you chose to have Gardener use his surname? I guess it might make a little more sense after all these nutballs from Cook Islands and Fiji used a bunch of nicknames, but so far, no one ever made that final push, even if there were duplicate first names.