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Survivor: Thailand - Looking for Mr./Mrs. Badguyby Ken Kellam III -- 11/15/2002
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It seems as though every Survivor has had a villain. The original had Rich Hatch, the Outback had Jerri, Africa had Lex, and Marquesas had Boston Rob. But now that Robb has departed, who's the bad guy (or girl)? Does any one person really stand out? Let's take a look one by one.
Let's start with Jake. So far, Jake has been one of the more likable people in this game, but you gotta wonder about the last two episodes. First, he goes into an elaborate ceremony over killing a chicken, to less than raving reviews. Then this week, he starts telling wild adventure stories. Clay started griping about the Texan's "Roy Rogers" stories, but then, Clay gripes about everything. Ted didn't seem too impressed either. At times, Jake reminded me of an old cartoon called "Comander McBragg," about a character that told tales too fascinating to be true.
But villain? Nah. Jake's telling these stories because he knows he's probably on the chopping block, not unlike the poor chicken. Is he telling the others these stories as strategy? Probably. I doubt we would be hearing them if Sook Jai were in the majority. Now, while Jake may be the enemy of everyone's efforts to stay awake, he just doesn't come across as a "bad guy."
What about Penny? The last remaining Sook Jai female has certainly been painted in a less-than flattering light by Mark Burnett the last few weeks. First, there was the alleged harsh treatment of Shii Ann, which Ken even alluded to. Then there was her apparent backstabbing of Erin, discussed on the Early Show last week. And let's not forget her attempts at schmoozing the Chuay Gahns, which went over about as well as a rotten banana.
But this week, Burnett seemed to throw us for another loop. Instead of talking about how glad she was that Erin was gone, she talked about how hard it was voting out someone who was like a sister to her. Of course, there was one interesting moment: When she talked about Ted's isolated ways, and how he probably didn't realize how he was coming across to the others. Guess he's not the only one, huh Penny? But any previous attempts to paint her as the villain were dealt a severe blow this week. Either she wised up and has stopped schmoozing as much, or Marky Mark just left out any incriminating footage in favor of focusing on the now-departed Ken.
Helen? Like Jake's adventure stories, her constant recipe talk plays havoc with attempts to stay conscious (or sane). But villain material? Nah. No matter how tiresome her batter banter may get, it's really hard to just flat-out dislike her. Plus, she had a not-bad solo around the campfire.
Jan? She seems a little "out there" at times, such as with her animal burials. But while it's hard to see her winning, it's equally hard to really dislike her. A little eccentric, maybe, but not unlikeable... in VERY small doses.
Ted? Some of the female viewers may always think of him as the villain because of the whole Ghandia incident. But in the weeks since, he hasn't really done anything obnoxious that has you just itching to see his flame get snuffed. In fact, last week's eye roll after his convo with Penny may rank as one of the funniest moments of the season. Of course, you do have to wonder about the solitary trips in the canoe. He's already going to be a target due to his strength. You'd think he wouldn't want to give everyone another reason to boot him.
Okay, now we're on to the two finalists. First, there's Brian. How many lady viewers have come to absolutely detest the ex-porn star for his sexist remarks? His derisive comments about Ken didn't help matters either. Nor did the new car in his garage. But villain? Somehow, it's really hard to dislike the car salesman. After all, when he won the reward challenge, he DID share his cold beverage with the others. Hey, at least it wasn't a piece of half-eaten gum.
What about Clay? Recently, it came out on another website that the Louisiana native had filed for bankruptcy just before leaving for Thailand, and was collecting unemployment at the time. For most of the season, the 46-year-old has been lacking in the charisma department as well. Then there were his comments about Ghandia, saying he'd slap a two-year-old for acting like that.
And of course, let's not forget the number of others he has disparaged, such as Jake, Penny, and Jan. Maybe his comments about them have had validity, but he still comes across as a "Grumpy Old Survivor." It's a little surprising that previews have never said, "What's Clay complaining about THIS time?" But even that really isn't enough to grant him "Villain" status. But two things should be noted: First, when he won the immunity challenge and said, "I know I look sexy," just imagine his reaction if Jan had won and said that, or for that matter, even Penny.
Second, did anyone catch the look of smugness on his face once Ken's ouster was finalized? That's the same smirk we've seen on people like Penny at past Tribal Councils. Don't get too comfortable with the immunity-whatever around your neck, Clay. Chances are it may not be there again.
Well, we haven't found the villain yet, but the continuing search for badness and dislikabilty continues next week. Stay tuned.
Ken can be reached with any comments, criticisms, or money orders at YourNextOfKen@aol.com.
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