Full Show Index
Advertise With Us
Write For Us
Survivor: Thailand - Penny's Very Un-Sweetheartlike Behaviorby Evan Meikleham -- 12/03/2002
View Printable version of this article
Some reality show contestants have a fan base but are not exactly loved by all for their actions on the show. They may not be the most popular people who will always be remembered as the favorites, but the public generally accepts that they are not bad people. S3's mallrats, BB3's Josh, S4's Boston Rob and Sean Rector, TAR2's Wil, and more recently S5's Robb are among the many examples of this. Penny could have been added to that list and gone down in the annals of reality TV without any major negative points attached to her name, but her actions both on and OFF the show, specifically in her post-show interviews, have shown what a poor sport and a hypocrite she is.
On the show, Penny showed herself to be an unpleasant enough person as it is. Mind you, we never saw much of this due to Mark Burnett's notion that we would rather be surprised by the Tribal Council votes than to actually see an intriguing story, but we saw enough to know that she has not matured since she was about 14. This was not such a problem for her, because she was surrounded by a bunch of like-minded people at Sook Jai, and most of the mature people were over at the other beach. However, there was one person in her 20s on the Sook Jai tribe who had grown up: Shii Ann. It is impossible for some people to fully interact with the group mentality because they just don't see things the same way that everyone else does. Shii Ann tried hard to suck it all up and fit in as well as she could, but the rest of Sook Jai (mainly Penny and Robb) made that impossible for her. When the tribes were put together, Shii Ann may not have done the smartest thing by switching sides, but after 18 days of living on the set of Boston Public with a group of people who made it very clear that her independent thoughts were not welcome, I can't say I blame her. After Shii Ann was gone, when Penny was in a group of mature people, she was in an extreme state of denial, honestly thinking that everyone loved her. At her final Tribal Council, she said that it is sometimes okay to be deceiving, but, "It depends on when you're deceiving and how you're deceiving." In other words, when I deceive, that is fine, but when anyone else does, it's not. In her final words, she stated that they only voted her out because she was seen "as a threat." In the time since she had gone to Chuay Gahn beach, she had backstabbed Erin, snuffed Jake's torch at the immunity challenge, annoyed the hell out of all the men, and let's not forget her fairly gleeful vote against Jake. Sounds like an awfully big threat to me - a threat to be completely deceptive and treacherous, that is.
But as I said at the beginning, these actions alone do not necessarily make her a bad person; after all she may have just been stretched to the extreme by the emotional roller coaster that Survivor can sometimes be, right? Wrong. Her behavior on The Early Show the next morning showed America that she is a hypocrite and truly the manipulative person that we saw. (Or at least that we were told about by Shii Ann and Ken). She said a lot of things that made her look like a prissy spoiled rich kid, but let's take a look at a few of her jewels of wisdom:
"Had I been manipulative, I think we would've seen some actions coming from me, but you never did."
Now, there is nothing wrong with being manipulative, in fact I think that people who don't have the guts to be manipulative do not belong on Survivor. But here she is trying to put herself in a Colleen or Elisabeth "America's Sweetheart" role when it clearly was not that way. Of course she was being manipulative, snuffing Jake's torch and voting against him later that night may or may not have been smart, but it was definitely manipulative. We heard from Ken that she was being nasty to Shii Ann the whole time, and then she puts on a sweet face to the whole Chuay Gahn tribe; yes, that is being manipulative. Penny is a hypocrite who is trying to convince the world that she is an amiable person. She can't stand the fact that in the real world, people are not loved by all for the same reasons that they are in high school. We could also go into the illogical nature of her statement that we should assume she was not a certain way because we never saw it. We did hear about it, but Mark Burnett and the other producers decide what we see. We never saw her go to the bathroom either - does that mean we should assume she never went?
"I think we were as nice as we could be to [Shii Ann] and accepting of everyone out there, and maybe she just felt like she couldn't fit in."
Sorry Penny, that line doesn't work, especially when Jake and Ken were treating her like a human being and both commented on how much of the rest of the tribe (yourself included) treated her like dirt. She did not get along well with the Chuay Gahn members just to spite you, no matter how much you want to believe that you were a victim of her treachery.
"Those 3 days [before Shii Ann got voted off] were torture for me, because I'm sitting here watching and listening to what she's doing to me as a person."
Hello Pot, this is your good friend Kettle calling to tell you you're black. First of all, Shii Ann was not attacking Penny as a person, if you want to know what it is to attack someone as a person, look at what Ghandia did to Ted. Shii Ann was calling Penny manipulative, which is about as impersonal as you can get in the game of Survivor, and I've already gone over the fact that Shii Ann was not exactly lying. Second, Penny has to come to terms with the fact that she did not lose because of Shii Ann, she lost because of Penny. There is nothing wrong with losing, in fact some of the best players ever to play Survivor did not even get as far as Penny did. But Penny's (and the rest of Sook Jai for that matter) willingness to blame their losses on Shii Ann tells me that Robb's comment in Episode 3 that they only lost the Reward Challenge "because of the rules" was more of a statement that is indicative of the tribe's attitude than just a plain old stupid comment. Another interesting point is that when Penny had the chance to strike back at Shii Ann and respond to her supposed attacks at Tribal Council, she didn't. She just sat there and stared straight ahead, not even looking at Shii Ann. That does not strike me as the behavior of a person who was "tortured" by attacks on her person.
Penny is 27 years old, meaning that she's been out of high school for almost 10 years, but she has certainly not matured all that much since then. From what we have seen, she is stuck up, conceited, and perhaps can't stand the fact that people do not love her the way they loved Colleen, Elisabeth, Kathy, Gina, Ethan, and a handful of others. She may have looked like another "America's Sweetheart," but she certainly didn't play the role.
Be sure to sign up for our e-mail update so you can stay informed about new articles on the site! And take a look at the rest of the site. You can find all of our recent Survivor articles at the Survivor: Thailand page and take a look at our sections on Big Brother 3 and The Osbournes. You can even buy reality show stuff at our Reality TV Store!
View Printable version of this article