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Survivor: Pearl Islands – Why the Outcasts Should Be Cast Outby David Bloomberg -- 11/24/2003
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One thing that I always try to maintain here on RealityNewsOnline is a variety of different opinions. Indeed, that’s why we have RNO Roundtable articles – to show how various writers on the site look at things differently. Similarly, we recently posted an article by Phil Kural, Survivor: Pearl Islands – Why I Love the Outcasts. I disagree with a number of points Phil raised there, and many of them have appeared in other forums as well, so I decided to pen this rebuttal.
Let me start off by saying that I don’t dislike the Outcasts. I know that a lot of people have complained about Lill, in particular, but I disagree with them. She seems like a perfectly nice lady, and she has even learned how to lie in the past few episodes. As I discussed in my portion of the RNO Roundtable article on the Outcast twist, I am of several minds about it overall. As a strategist, I thought it was horrible. As a viewer, it was pretty good. And that’s where some of my disagreement lies with Phil.
Phil said in the beginning of his article that he doesn’t really agree with the Outcast idea. So at least we’re on the same page there. I also agree with him that Lill seems to have gotten a raw deal – although interviews with Andrew and Ryan O. give a different side of the story that puts at least some of the blame on her.
However, after that we part ways. Phil actually tries to support the idea of throwing a challenge – an idea that was so bad we selected it as a Reality TV Hall of Shame Moment. To support this, Phil says that Burton thought he would get away with it. Yes, well, he did think that, but he didn’t get away with it, did he? Instead, he got the boot and the rest of the Drake tribe gave the Morgans something to cheer about. All of the Morgans have talked in interviews about how horrible it was to get beaten challenge after challenge. If the Drakes had continued to pound the Morgans, who knows what would have happened? Well, one thing is certain – Burton would not have been voted out.
From there, Phil goes on to say that Burton throwing the challenge worked in his favor. This, to me, is a clear-cut case of hindsight being 20/20. There was absolutely no way anybody could have predicted this. It was not a case of a great strategic move. It was a case of incredible luck on Burton’s part, nothing more. In any other edition of Survivor Burton would have gone home a big loser. He lucked out, and that luck should not be used to claim that a horrible strategic move was actually a good one.
Phil noted that one reason he likes Burton is because he knows how to play the game. He admits that it might not have seemed that way earlier, but he has it worked out now. The problem that I see with this is that no other contestant in the history of Survivor has had a second chance. They had to learn on the fly. Screw up and you’re out. Burton screwed up. He was out. But now he has a second chance – a new lease on life. That’s great for him, of course, but I don’t see his failure and rebirth as a reason to celebrate.
Finally, Phil talks about the case made by some (including Andrew and Ryan O., at least) that the Outcasts did not “Outwit, Outlast, or Outplay” the others. Phil wonders how you can say that. Well, allow me to answer: Because they were voted off. Burton was outwitted by those who told him one thing and did another. Lill was Outplayed by the rest of her tribe – whether we feel that her exclusion from the alliance was justified or not. And both of them were Outlasted by everybody who made it farther than they did.
Sure, the Outcasts as a whole outplayed the other two tribes in the twist challenge. But they also had advantages that the other tribes did not, such as better sleeping arrangements, more rest, and food (it wasn’t sumptuous, but it was better than having to starve, as the Morgans did). Also, outplaying doesn’t just mean winning challenges – it means strategy. Some of the Outcasts were voted out for strategic reasons, such as Burton. Sure, he was big and strong, but so what? Rupert was the tribe’s feeder, one of the strongest in challenges, etc., and he’s gone now – he was outplayed. The difference is that Burton was actually outplayed sooner and therefore had a chance to come back. How fair is that? Not at all.
I do agree with Phil that the Outcasts have the potential to go far in the game now. For one thing, all the others would love to be against one of them at the end. It would make for an easy jury argument: “I was here the whole time. She/He wasn’t. She/He was voted out once and we all know she/he didn’t deserve to come back. So stand up and vote for me because I deserve it more.” Hell, that might be the only way somebody like Jon can win!
So yes, they will likely go far. But that doesn’t make the arguments against them being there any weaker. Lill and Burton seem to be decent people, and I can respect them for playing the game now that they’re back. But they don’t deserve to be back now to begin with.
David Bloomberg is the Editor of RealityNewsOnline and can be reached at RNO@pobox.com.
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