May 18, 2010

"But my opinion of Russell changed when he admitted to Boston Rob that he did not play to win."

"You can’t be the best if you’re not playing to win. He can hoop and holler all he wants about 'America choosing' but that’s not this game. This game is about convincing a jury of your peers that you are the most deserving person. He didn’t do that. But my problem is not that he didn’t accomplish that goal, it’s that it wasn’t his goal in the first place."

So says Jeff Probst who owes us an apology then for that "All Stars" season where, upon revealing who the jury gave $1 million to, he announced that they were giving away another million dollars to the player America votes for. And it was so obviously a device to give money to the player that won in the alternative way of entertaining America — Rupert. If Russell was playing to win in the alternative Rupert fashion of making himself a popular TV character, then Jeff should take some responsibility for that.

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Don't miss the video interview with Queen Sandra at the link.

19 comments:

Brian Hancock said...

Didn't this crap happen five years ago or so?

Ann Althouse said...

@Brian You missed the great "Heroes vs. Villain" season... in which the superiority of villainy was proved.

Joe said...

I didn't watch it because I tired of the whole thing after the third season or so. That said, Probst expands on his remarks:

"I think Russell did play to win. 100%. I think he just misjudged and didn’t fully understand the game well enough to achieve his goal. So now he is changing history. I believe that last night he was scrambling to make sense, scrambling to defend, scrambling to justify another loss, so he decided that all he ever wanted to do was get to the end."

This is very common behavior.

Julie C said...

I agree with Probst that Russell was too close to the game and needed to take some time off and reflect. For all the people that complained that the others didn't have any sense of Russell since they hadn't seen him play before, in the end, Russell also was disadvantaged since he didn't have the opportunity to realize his strategy wouldn't/didn't work. As he himself said, he's basically been playing for 78 straight days, not 39. Would Russell have changed his gameplay if he knew he hadn't won the first time around?

I don't think he really understood what he was admitting to - he definitely played to win the million dollars, IMO. God knows he said it often enough.

I never got the Rupert love. He was refreshing for about 2 episodes of his first season. The way he glowered at everyone at tribal council was just stupid.

Original Mike said...

Still can't stand Sandra. She's sitting next to Russell and Parvarti who played, schemed, and stagegized cirlces around her for 39(?) days and she thinks she's the Queen? She's just flat out lucky and she doesn't know it.

Betsy said...

Russell failed to recognize that the key was to get to the end AND maintain the respect of the jury. My seasons of Survivor-watching have been few, but Russell's promiscuous alliance-promising was not necessary. By the time he made that promise to Rupert and Colby, it was pathological. He didn't benefit in the least from it; he could have just as easily said, "it looks like I might save your a** tonight if things play out as I think they will." Other players managed to bend the game to their favor without actively lying.

With respect to Sandra: some "under the radar" players get knocked out, others survive. Is it luck, or is it skill?

Beth said...

Russell's a sawed-off thug. Seeing people like that framed as entertainment is why I stopped watching Survivor years ago.

traditionalguy said...

Real people really are entertaining. But people on Survivor are role playing as real people. Or does that matter to the audience that gets a cathartic experience by watching great role players engage one another?

Penny said...

Don't you get the feeling Russell lives in the "jungle" every day of his life?

There were no losers in the final three this season. It was an amazing season for Survivor, and my personal favorite, thanks to Russell yet again. How did Rupert get so close to Russell in the people's award? That was a total head-scratcher.

It also seemed to me that Parvati came to the hoedown with a lot less confidence than I expected her to display. Maybe she was just worn out, while Sandra was just peaking.

In any case, the jury this time out voted for who they "liked best" instead of for the person who played the game best. That just might be one of the hidden elements of Russell's impact on the game. EVERYONE hated him, so perhaps that resulted in the jury thinking along the lines of "like best" vs "hate most" instead of best player overall.

Zachary Paul Sire said...

he announced that they were giving away another million dollars to the player America votes for.

Uh, I thought it was $100k?

Ann Althouse said...

@Beth From a comment at the link: Russell is one of the owners of the bar and "the girl was drunk and shouting at Russell and tripped as Russell attempted to show her out of his bar." We'll see how that turns out. I've read the "Survivor" application form, and it's clear that they are screening for emotionally healthy people. It's easy to see why they would.

Ann Althouse said...

"Uh, I thought it was $100k?"

In later seasons, that has been true, but ... uh, yourself! ... in the "All Stars" season, they gave away a million dollars to the person the fans voted for and that was sprung on us after the filming concluded and when the producers knew Rupert would win the vote.

It was Season 8. Here's the TWOP recap:

"God, let's just get it over with. The winner is Rupert, and he gets a million dollars, so there's lots and lots of roaring and screaming and "Woooo!"-ing. So the producers got the outcome that they wanted. What's remarkable is that Mark Burnett went out in the media this week and actually explained why this essentially ruined his show. Here's his quote about the allure of reality shows, taken from this recent interview: "It's the unpredictable nature of these shows that's important to the audience...people really wanted Rupert to win." See? He knows. So he's either a complete idiot, or he's basically calling out the fact that this was a horrible fuck-up, and not his idea."

MC said...

Yes! I called it! Still haven't caught the final episode here in Australia, but it seems it's all gone the way I anticipated. I very much suspected Sandra would win, she played a good game of hanging on and making friends with the people who would end up being the judges.

First season of survivor I've ever watched, and damn it was entertaining.

Beth said...

Althouse, we'll have to see how that plays out. Other reports say it happened in a parking lot outside the bar. And other comments on a different Lafayette news site say the bar is fairly seedy, and that Hantz is known for spiking drinks with GHB. Comment threads are pretty much unreliable, either way.

Penny said...

"Really, the idea that so many members of the jury could have been up there with her had they just listened is pretty compelling."

Very true, MayBee, except that they didn't listen to Sandra because she was NOT compelling.

She was seen exactly as she was...DESPARATE to stay in the game.

Sandra went on to create her very own "history", that she offered up this information because "Russell was the "devil", and the "angel" tried to warn.

Go figure, it worked! lol

And that's still, Sandra's story...and she's sticking to it.

Except for the minor *?* modification of title change from "Angel" to "Queen".

Those "heroes" STILL have not ONE clue about exactly how easy they were to round up at the sheep ranch.

Kudos to the person at Survivor who set up the dynamics!

Bushman of the Kohlrabi said...

Hard to believe that Russell didn't get a single vote. He clearly ran the show. It amazed me that, aside from Sandra, no one could muster the courage to even try to take him out.

I was most disappointed in Parvati. She needed to act after Russell deep six-ed Danielle. Instead she sat back and prayed that Russell would take her to the finals. That's where she lost the game in my book.

Sandra was lucky. I give her credit for trying to oust Russell but for the most part her game was pathetic. The last straw was when she wasted her immunity idol instead of attempting to make a play.

Bushman of the Kohlrabi said...

I want to see a season of survivor with Althouse, Meade, GWB, Barack, Hillary, Rush, Sully and of course Russell. Now that would be television worth watching.

MC said...

Sandra absolutely deserved that win. She spent almost every day after the merge putting herself in the best position for the vote by trying to reach out to heroes while at the same time managing to remain in with the villains. She was playing both sides, and feeding off the anti-Russell zeitgeist that Pavarti seemed oblivious to.

Russell made some good moves but was playing far too abrasively to ever have a hope, and he never even seemed to realize that. Pavarti also made some good plays but seemed very complacent about winning votes and was oblivious to how her tight ties to Russell was hurting her. Even after Russell turned on Danielle her reaction was complacent.

Both Russell and Pavarti both seemed clueless about both their lack of influence with the judges AND clueless about Sandra's successes in that area. They had no idea how much of a threat Sandra was making herself, and that's why Sandra's play was ultimately better than the good but flashy and unsubtle moves Russell and Pavarti pulled.

MC said...

Basically the smartest strategic play in Survivor is to play to minimize your exposure to the risk of elimination, win influence with the potential jury and try to bump off people who may be threats but without compromising the previous two goals.

Russell, for all his 'smart' play, did that badly, Pavarti was better but ultimately no where near as good as Sandra.