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Survivor: Pearl Islands, Episode 11 – Mirror, Mirror, on the Wall, Who's the Lowest Scum of All?by Ken Kellam III -- 12/01/2003
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For weeks, we'd been hearing about the big lie, and speculation ran rampant as to exactly what it was. By now, you know Jon used a lie about his grandmother dying to steal a reward challenge away from the others. This tactic is nauseating on so many levels.
Yes, you can say it's just a game, but the others, wanting to show compassion, decided to set the game aside in the name of humanity. And what did they get for their compassion and understanding? They all sacrificed a chance to spend more time with someone important in their life, not to mention their nutritional needs for a night. Meanwhile, we have Jon who, according to Sandra, sleeps until noon, doesn't do much around camp, and he gets to enjoy the food he probably did very little to help catch, gather, or prepare. The fact that the others were willing to set the game aside makes Jon's behavior repulsive for reasons that have nothing to do with the game.
Think about it: several of them gave up time with their significant other so that Jon could spend time with a so-called friend. That brings this question to mind: What do the members of Jon's family think of his "strategy?" Did he have to have a friend visit him on the island because none of his family would go along with his deception? And what did his poor grandmother think when she saw he used her as a pawn on national television? He said she would love it, but somehow, I doubt it. Of course, if he's right, maybe we now know where he got his revolting personality.
But it wasn't enough to float the lie out there. Jon had to play it up as well, saying during the reward challenge that he had a million questions about his grandmother, but that obviously, some people don't give a ****. What makes his lie all the more offensive is that during the taping of Survivor: Thailand, Tonya Vance lost her father in a car accident. More recently, Survivor: The Amazon winner Jenna had to find out while competing in the "All-Star Survivor" that her mother finally lost her long battle with cancer. Granted, her passing happened after Pearl Islands was taped, but nevertheless, it still helps emphasize the offensiveness of Jon's actions. Lying as part of the game is one thing. Lying regarding someone not even in the game to gain sympathy is a whole other bucket of fish – oops, more on that later.
While we're on the subject, can anyone see Jenna ever using a similar lie to advance herself in the game? Yes, she was self-centered and spoiled. Yes, she did bring up her Mom's illness. But at least she was being honest. I can't see her sinking anywhere near the level Jon did. The "art consultant," or whatever he says he does for a living, stated his grandma was home watching Jerry Springer. How fitting, since Jon would make the perfect guest for such a show.
Finally, should Mark Burnett expose the behavior? As awful is it was, no, at least not until the game is over. Disgusting or not, it was a strategy move, and to expose it while Jon is still in the game would be interfering with the game.
Speaking of inexcusable behavior, what can we make of Sandra's "fishy" exploits? My personal opinion is that she was just being a poor sport because the vote didn't go the way she thought it would. She, Christa, and Rupert thought they had the game in hand, and when they found out otherwise, she couldn't handle it. She claimed that every time a plan was hatched, Jon was behind it. I think what she means is, she's mad her own plan didn't go the way she thought it would. On the ouster of Rupert, at least, Sandra and Christa were outplayed and outwitted, although not outlasted just yet.
Here's another point Sandra didn't consider: Yes, it's true that the others don't get to enjoy the fish now, but neither does she or Christa. With food about to become scarce with Rupert's departure, it might have been her last chance to eat well for a few days. And poor Christa: She's not only lost the goodwill of her tribe for something she didn't do, she'll end up hungrier for the next few days, all due to Sandra's spitefulness.
Back to the big deceiver himself. Jon called the fish escapade the single most idiotic, childish thing he'd seen. Maybe he was right: he committed the big lie AFTER the fish were dumped. Then again, most of Jon's actions since the game started have bordered on idiotic and childish.
There was also a big of a pleasant surprise in the episode: It didn't seem lackluster with Rupert gone. As self-centered as the mentor could be, he was by far the most interesting of those left in the game. Credit Mark Burnett for keeping us interested P.R. (Post-Rupert). Between Jon's lie, Sandra's fishy antics, and the immunity challenges, there was enough to keep the viewers watching. Yes, there's an irony here: While the big lie and fish antics were disgraceful behavior, they still made for good viewing.
On one hand, I hope now more than ever that Jon gets the boot soon, however unlikely that may seem. On the other hand, at least the remaining episodes look interesting after all. Maybe the Baja Boys will show up and debut their new single, "Who let the fish out."
Ken can be reached with any comments, criticisms, or money orders at YourNextOfKen@aol.com.
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