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Survivor: Thailand - Hype, Hype, Hooray!by Ken Kellam III -- 10/05/2002
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It looked to be perhaps the most controversial Survivor episode ever. But in reality, that may have been due more to overhype, both from Mark Burnett, and Ghandia. Let's address those issues, and a few others, one by one.
First of all, what REALLY happened between Ted and Ghandia? I'm surprised that whatever it was, the cameras didn't capture it (as far as we know). Let me state something up front: Rape is a horrible, awful crime, and my heart goes out to any woman who's ever been subjected to it. Furthermore, any man who commits such a crime should be locked away for good. But the issue here is the specific incident on episode three. We really don't know what happened, but here's what I'm guessing: Assume for the moment that Ghandia was telling the truth, and Ted did everything she said he did. I can believe that he may have been half-asleep when he did it and didn't realize what his doing. In fact, judging by his reaction to her when she first told him about it, that's exactly what I think happened. In my opinion, if he were really the kind of person that would've done something like that knowingly and in full consciousness, he would not have been the kind of person to apologize, and instead would've completely denied it. Instead, he seemed genuinely surprised when she told him what went on, and seemed sincerely apologetic.
Now where exactly did the problem start? When Ghandia decided to blab to the other tribemates about the incident. I'm not sure what she was trying to accomplish, and I'm not sure what more she wanted from Ted. The way she handled it all, I'm guessing, probably has less to do with the actual incident on the Island and more to do with the trauma she suffered in college. If that hadn't happened, she may have reacted a lot different to the whole incident. But whatever happened with Ted may have brought back memories of the original trauma, and THAT is what she was most likely reacting to.
Did she handle right? Not in my opinion. Bringing it up to the group behind Ted's back after he had already apologized served only to cause trouble, and leaving out the part about the apology gives reason to question her motives. A similar incident happened to me when I worked for a radio network. A co-worker was irritated about something and decided to take it out on me, and I promptly invited him to visit a place with a lot of fire, and I don't mean tribal council. He admitted he should not have called me down like that, and I apologized to him. He accepted the apology, and I thought matter was closed. Later that day, I get a call from my boss (who had only heard about the incident, not seen it). He asked me about it, and I admitted to it, but also told him about the apology. That was the first he heard of the apology, but he was ready to can me before even hearing my side of the story. The point is, whoever told him about this only told the part of the story they WANTED to, and left out the part that didn't fit his/her agenda.
That is exactly what Ghandia did. Was she subconsciously seeking revenge for the assault from her collegiate days? Was she simply trying to turn people against Ted for what she felt was a willful sexual advance? God only knows, but leaving out the part of the story that didn't coincide with her agenda certainly raises cause for suspicion.
Now for the overhyping by the producers. The incident between Robb and Clay wasn't nearly as dramatic as we were led to believe. But it does bring up a question: Is Clay a whiny baby as Robb alleged, or is Robb a jerk, or both? Frankly, I don't blame Clay. If someone that much bigger than me put his hands around my throat, I'd scream too. Robb is lucky he didn't get disqualified from the series. But the producers have to bear some blame: The rules they set up allowed for the possibility that something like this would happen.
There is an irony to this whole incident, by the way. Robb whined about losing the challenge, claiming, "We got beat, but not by somebody better. We got beat by rules." Talk about whining! Even his teammates didn't seem to agree with him. And while we're at it, if there were no rules, tribe Sock Jaw may have not won the first few challenges. Robb, by the way, seems to go out of his way to give viewers a reason to hate him. But unlike Marquesas Rob, who knew what he was doing, this guy seems totally oblivious to how he comes across.
Since CBS has been accused of overhyping, what other possible storylines could they have teased? Well, one just screams out: The irony that despite winning the first two immunities, SJ was miserable, while the down-to-six Chew Gums seemed happy as could be. You'd have thought they had won the first two immunities.
Also overhyped, apparently, is the prediction prowess of a certain spoiler site whose work has been discussed on this site and many others. This makes two misses in a row. In week three, these folks predicted Stephanie would be bidding adieu, but she didn't even get a vote! Maybe Burnett and company are doing a better job of concealing the results and throwing everyone of the trail than they've been given credit for.
No overhyping here, but a few words about the demise of Jed. He may end up in the Hall of Shame for wasted potential. A former high school athlete, Jed came through big in SJ's two immunity wins, but it apparently wasn't enough to overcome his laziness in the eyes of his tribemates. Indeed, he was sleeping on the job, literally, and as a result, his tribe's fishnet is now history. He seemed to have so much to offer his tribe in terms of sheer physical ability, but failed to capitalize on it. That's what's so sad about his departure: He could have prevented it. He wasn't sick. He wasn't weak, except maybe weak-willed. But regardless, he held his fate in his own hands. As strong as he was physically, it makes you wonder just how lazy was he for five of his tribemates to conclude he wasn't pulling his weight.
Ken can be reached with any comments, criticisms, or money orders at YourNextOfKen@aol.com.
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