who will be voted off next?

well heck, i wrote this heated blog about Survivor a while back.  after Boston Rob got voted off.  i tried to post it on the Survivor site, but it never went up for some reason.

So despite the fact that this rant is several episodes old, I still want it somewhere.  so here you go…

In an unprecedented move, Survivor puts out one of the most biased and personally attacking episode recaps ever aired in its twenty seasons. After the surprising removal of an old fan favorite, Boston Rob, Jeff Probst reads off a lengthy tirade aimed at pinning all of team Villains woes on Russell, who spearheaded the plot to vanquish Rob. Potentially alienating loyal viewers, Probst offers up a slanted and horribly skewed version of events that can in no way be validated by the previous episodes shown to viewers. Citing Boston Rob as the diligent, hard working and loyal Villain leader, Probst sets Russell up to be not only Rob’s arch nemesis, but the underhanded and deceitful kingpin of the crew that finally blind sides Rob.

Probst’s recounting of facts doesn’t ring true, however, at least for this loyal viewer and her family. After watching every season of Survivor, and finding this season to be the standout in competition, intrigue, and interesting characters, I have to say that I’m disgusted at the blatant siding of one contestant over another in the opening credit air time.

First of all, I want to say that I have been a fan of Boston Rob since he first came on Survivor, and I loved him on this season. He is an amazing powerhouse of a person, and is a force to be reckoned with, whether in the game or in life. I admire and respect him, though I have to remind viewers and J.Probst that he IS on the Villains team, and there is a reason for that. While it’s true that he almost single-handedly led the team to each of their victories, created fire for them, built their shelter and basically kept them alive, assuming he is loyal, trustworthy and valiant in this game is to disregard his game playing techniques in the past. This IS the man that gave his word to a FRIEND and then flipped on him later, just so he could get what he wanted, and further himself in the game.

I also love Russell. While I admit I wasn’t his biggest fan in the beginning of the last season, Russell’s drive, ambition, tenacity and brilliance quickly grew on me, and I found myself enamored of his antics and shrewd thinking. No one has EVER played the game like Russell, finding immunity idols without clues, crafting three way votes that upend tribal councils, and winning the hearts of millions of viewers. And while it’s true that many viewers hate Russell (a view that is obviously held by whoever wrote the opener of last week’s Survivor), Russell has also garnered untold numbers of fans, and if memory serves me, won the Fan Favorite award for last season.

What bothers me about the opener is this:

1. Jeff says that Russell makes his move out of jealousy. Really Jeff? How do you know that? In the episodes we see as viewers Russell doesn’t seem jealous of anything. Maybe he is paranoid, maybe he is vying for dominance, maybe he is trying to best Boston Rob to prove that he is the best. I don’t recall Russell ever saying he wants to have to be the leader of this crew of people; he comments that he is happy to be playing with the best.

2. Jeff makes it sound like the Villains go on a losing streak because of the demise of Rob. However, by the time Boston Rob goes home, the Villains have OBVIOUSLY already lost (or else they wouldn’t be at tribal council!)

3. Has Jeff forgotten that Russell led a team of FOUR to the end of last season’s Survivor when he was battling an opposing team of EIGHT?? It shouldn’t really matter if the Villains lose a few challenges; they are still up in numbers, and with Russell, anything is possible. I don’t see how Probst can possibly try to pin the losses of the Villains on Russell.

4. Jeff and the production team CLEARLY make Boston Rob out to be the good guy, by replaying Rob’s announcement that his idea of loyalty is very different than Russell’s.

Russell, however, made a good point that he offered himself up to save Parvati, and he was sticking to his own alliance loyally. While Rob may not like Russell’s decisions and alliances, you have to give credit to Russell for being true to his word.

5. And give Russell credit for going BOLD FACED to Rob and telling him his plan. He approached Rob openly to talk through their differences, to which Rob replied, “Watch your back”. Russell seemed to me to be trying to work together.

6. Which he also showed when on the beach with Rob, Courtney and Sandra. He suggested that he and Rob join forces and make the Villains as strong as they could be, by voting off the weakest players and keeping the tribe physically competitive. Again, Rob treated him with disrespect and disdain and then plotted to vote Russell off the island.

7. Having intuitively determined that he was the next target on the list, Russell masterminds the most convoluted elimination I have ever seen on Survivor, and apparently upsets the producers, Jeff, and the writers of the show, who then immediately make Russell out to be the super Villain, instead of applauding him for one of the most interesting and unforgettable episodes of Survivor ever.

I don’t know what the problem is here. In all of these seasons of Survivor, I would think it would be well known by now that this is a GAME, and people all take different strategies to move further in the game. If you want to complain about underhanded workings, try looking to the Heroes, whose members like J.T. have become increasingly sneaky and crafty; James, whose hostility toward another member, Stephanie, was downright offensive; and Colby, whose competitive anger even caused Probst to call him out in a challenge.

Why is Survivor against Russell? He is playing the game like many who have gone before him. He is using wits and words, and sometimes trickery. Not unlike many of the other players in every season. While “Survivor; the entity” is backing Boston Rob and slamming Russell, it is unclear to me what the purpose behind this is. Rob is not more loyal or trustworthy just because he got voted out and Russell didn’t. Or because Russell out-witted him (that IS one of the tenets of the game, after all).

Russell has never presented himself as the Boy Scout. He has openly and honestly played a dishonest game. He wants to win, he wants to be the best, and he wants to do it his way. He’s made no bones about this. This, in fact, IS honesty. He is what he tells you he is; a player. If the Villains team can’t survive without Boston Rob, then each of the players deserves to go home. This isn’t the Final Four, where the whole team must lead each other to victory. There can only be ONE Survivor. If you want to make Boston Rob the honorary god of Survivor, go ahead. I love and admire him completely. But while you’re building a monument to his glory, don’t drag Russell through the mud just because he’s the one that got Rob voted out. He’s playing his game, and that’s why so many of us love him.

I have always admired the way Jeff navigates the tribal councils and calls people out for what is going on in camp. I imagine this wasn’t even Jeff’s comments, but a writer’s. Still, to side so strongly with one contestant against another is bothersome. Had this opening been more factual and less emotional or slander oriented, I wouldn’t even be writing this. I’ve never written in to Survivor before, and probably won’t again. I just hope that the show doesn’t continue to bash worthy, brilliant, and fearsome competitors in the future, regardless of how they decide to play the game.




About denelle

writer. artist. ponderer.

Posted on April 27, 2010, in Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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