I’m Not a Bad Sportsmanship

Sometimes you can have too much of a good thing. The producers of Survivor brought Stephenie back for a second shot at $1 million because of the overwhelming fan support she received on her first doomed foray into the literal and metaphorical jungle. However, fan loyalty can’t be relied upon in reality television. The audience is watching flawed human beings, not carefully crafted characters, and real people are petty, careless, and unlikeable some of the time. Stephenie’s return gives fans a second look at her, and many are not liking what they see.

Check the topics in the Survivor Sucks forum (http://p085.ezboard.com/fsurvivorsucksfrm1), and it’s obvious that lots of fans are pissed at Steph. Most of the hatred is centered on Stephenie’s use of the words “gay” and “retarded” as put downs. They’re juvenile and insensitive comments, to be sure. But they’re also funny as hell. No college-educated 25-year-old should be using those terms as insults, but that’s what makes it hilarious. The fact that Stephenie is stressed and bitter enough to throw around insults that she used well before she understood what the words meant means that she’s close to losing her mind. And losing your mind makes for good TV.

When you lose your mind on Survivor, you get Judd, who flew off the handle in such spectacular fashion on Thursday that it already ranks as one of the best Survivor moments ever. Margaret knew exactly how to bait Judd at Tribal Council, and every trap she set for him worked. Margaret said Judd talks too much and he ranted for several minutes in his defense. She said he’s a bully and a bad listener, and he demanded that each of his tribe mates declare him a good listener. Judd asked Rafe if he was a bad listener, and when Rafe responded with a thoughtful, “Well…” Judd snapped, “Just answer the question!” Judd didn’t even wait for a response from Rafe before he asked the same question of Cindy.

Because she had to know she was the most likely to go home, it was smart strategy for Margaret to expose Judd as a lunatic. Unfortunately for her, it didn’t save her from getting voted off. But at least she went down swinging–possibly damaging Judd’s chances down the line.

Judd’s ranting drew laughs from Steph, Lydia, and Jamie, who himself is a victim of fan fickleness, namely mine. Jamie started off the season on my shit list. No good reason for it, I just didn’t like him. But I couldn’t stay mad after Jamie turned into The Most Bitter Guy in Guatemala. Jamie hates everybody. He tolerates Stephenie and Judd because they’re competent in challenges, but deep down he hates them, too. It’s a beautiful thing to watch as Jamie stands apart from his own tribe and then tries to goad the opposing tribe into fights. His eye rolls at Tribal Council are enough to bring me to my knees with laughter. If I could control destiny, I’d make Jamie win.

Having footage of 39 whole days of Jamie’s overwhelming bitterness and broadcasting it to the world would be the greatest comedic gift I could give humanity. Only after I did that would I use my fate-control powers to fight poverty or something unfunny like that.