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Survivor’s Big Liars – Jon, Sandra, and How They Represent the Worst in Peopleby Jamie Goralski -- 12/03/2003
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Remember during Survivor’s first season, when there was the talk of it being a sociological experiment as well as a game? A microcosm of society forging their own civilization in the wild? I kept thinking about that as I watched last week’s episode and saw “the big lie” play out.
I know I will be in the minority but I don’t think the big lie was Jon’s. Yes, pretending his grandmother had died was despicable and I wouldn’t want to trade my karma for his at this particular moment, but if there is no contractual clause against outside help, it was merely hardcore gameplay. He helped himself to the reward but hurt no one as far as their standing in the game.
I think the big lie was Sandra’s. If what Jon said was true that his Grandmother would be proud of him then he got himself a little reward and garnered a little sympathy. Sandra on the other hand sabotaged her tribe’s food supply in an incredibly juvenile moment and allowed Christa to take the heat for that. That, to me, is far less forgivable. Sandra’s lie had a victim and the extent of the repercussions are as yet unknown. Will it shorten Christa’s time on the island? Possibly. Will it come back to haunt Christa should she make Final 2? Absolutely.
Back to the microcosm of society thing. Human nature isn’t always pretty and in cases like Jon and Sandra are frighteningly ugly a disproportionate amount of the time. I’m not just referring to this season’s penchant for really scary night-cam segments, either. People who aren’t that attractive in flattering natural light really shouldn’t be lit like that, but since when does Mark Burnett worry about my happiness with his aesthetic choices? But back to more substantive matters… the fact remains that they were both representative of some of the worst in people. People lie as a means to an end. All the time. People let others take the heat for their offensive behavior. All the time. Sometimes they get caught, which generally happens when you do that with cameras on you 24/7.
Jon knew he would be found out but knew it would be too late to matter so he didn’t care. I can respect that. I don’t have to like it and wouldn’t choose him as a friend, but yeah, I have a grudging respect for the strategy. Sandra had no such foresight as there was no strategy involved. She behaved like a two-year-old without a nap and by sheer luck Christa was targeted and she went with it to save her own skin.
This begs another question. Why was Sandra so angry? She had been talking about getting rid of Rupert herself and there are some who subscribe to the theory that her vote to Jon was a throwaway to ensure Rupert’s boot without leaving her fingerprints on the knife in his back. If that’s not the case and she was genuinely angry about his being sent packing, why did she deviate from the vote-for-Darrah strategy, which could have forced at least a tie? Until the fish incident, I did think she tossed a vote for Jon knowing Rupert would be headed home. What’s the point in making such a strong angry statement if no one knows about it? With that I take back assuming she was clever and now think she is treating this whole thing like an anger management seminar gone horribly awry rather than a game for a million dollars.
The repercussions will be Sandra’s and Jon’s. They have to deal with people after the game and I don’t know about you but I could get past a dead-grandmother story a whole lot easier than knowing someone is capable of sitting by and allowing someone to be hurt and humiliated for something they hadn’t done. Besides the lie, who does that? Who throws away a bucket of fish when people are hungry? Isn’t she a little old to be having temper tantrums? I would hope she would be called on it at the reunion but I had the same hopes last season regarding Jeanne when her yummy and malicious maggot cakes came to light and still no one vilified her, so I won’t hold my breath.
I wish they would cast some Survivors as vindictive as I would be. But then there would be lawsuits so perhaps they know what they’re doing.
I have to say this is by far the least likable group of Survivors ever. For the first time I find myself in no one’s camp. I don’t care who wins, yet it is one of the more interesting seasons. Totally devoid of emotional investment, it’s all about the strategy for me. Like them or not, Burton and Jon are the ones working it. Why on earth would Tijuana tell Jon about ousting Burton? They didn’t need his vote; I can only conclude she had lost her mind to the elements out there as there is no reason anyone with any cognitive functioning would find that necessary. I honestly thought I was watching one of the worst moves in Survivor history until Sandra trumped her. Why oh why would she side with Jon and Burton over Darrah and Tijuana? In both plans Lill is expendable and so she thinks she has a lock for herself and Christa for final four. So you opt to go with Jon, who you know is the president of the liars club, and Burton, who could be hooked up to a morphine drip and still smoke them all in any immunity, mental or physical, rather than the two women who aren’t exactly challenge powerhouses.
I would have personally voted out Sandra just to have some peace because she’s become so shrill and irritating, but that’s why I don’t apply for the show. Well, that and my love of electricity and showers.
But back to my point, which is that the game is truly playing out season after season proving to be what Mr. Burnett said in the very beginning: a microcosm of society. Unfortunately, people like Sandra and Jon are living out here amongst the masses. The lessons are clear. Trust no one and always guard your bucket of fish against irrational and vicious harpies. If that isn’t a motto by which to live your life I don’t know what is.
Jamie can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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