Says Jeff Probst in an interview about last night's episode of "Survivor," which we're already discussing in a post I put up right after the episode. In the comments on my post, there's an accusation that the show is scripted and some blaming of the show for setting Zeke up. I think Probst's interview deals with that. Here's his response to the interviewer's question about how Zeke — the outed transgender — had thought about what might happen in the course of the competition:
I met Zeke in casting and loved him. I still have my original notes from that meeting. He was very engaging, gifted in his ability to manipulate with his words, and he wore this crazy Hawaiian shirt and had poofy hair. We knew we were doing Millennials vs. Gen X as a theme and we wanted him on the Millennials tribe immediately. It wasn’t until after he left that I was told he was transgender. From that point forward we agreed that if his story was to be told, he would be the one to decide when, where, and how.Back at my post from yesterday, Scott said:
As for someone else bringing it up, Zeke was fully aware someone might suspect it or bring it up and he said, “I will deal with it as it arises.” And I have to add it was never a question of Zeke being worried his story would come out. Zeke is a massive Survivor fan and his point with us was very clear — he wanted to be seen as a Survivor player. Not the first transgender Survivor player. I really respected that distinction and I understood it.
Reality my ass.. It was purposely scripted and staged. METAMORPHOSIS was the puzzle word in the immunity challenge. Watching tv anymore is like watching productions from the Soviet Union Central Committee.I responded to that:
The whole season is titled "Game Changers." It's the basis for the selection of contestants — all have played before and supposedly done something game-changing — and it's been a continual theme. How would the players solving the puzzle have understood the puzzle they were doing otherwise?And Jon Burack said:
Also, Zeke played before and was never outed and never chose to reveal his secret. We watched the other season and we never guessed. We believed we were looking at a not-terribly-masculine gay man. I'm sure Zeke was cast both times because of the potential for this interesting aspect of his life to become part of the story, but it never happened in his first season, and I think the way it happened here was Varner's doing.
Is it possible that the producers consult during the show with the contestants and egg them on to do something they believe will make good TV? Yes, but they can't script this stuff. These people just aren't good enough actors and the risk to the show is horrible.
If you watch the clip and see how the other tribe members react, you won't believe it's fake. Melodramatic acting is pretty obvious, especially in amateurs.
Amazing that anyone watches these shows. Nothing in this discussion, including Ann's comment, gives me any sense at all of what attracts people to these shows. I realize, it's a facet of the culture of which I will go to my grave totally ignorant and totally indifferent. I am content with that.I gave a 4-point argument for watching the show:
1. Interesting characters who really want something but must work with each other (and against each other) to get what they want. Concentrated human behavior.Meade reacted to my point #4:
2. Beautifully photographed and edited. Both the natural setting -- with landscapes and plants and animals -- and the human interaction and narrative.
3. Relaxing familiarity but new things always happen too.
4. It's similar to sport events. Why should anyone care who wins? It's not like a war, where it really matters who wins. But that's what makes you enjoy watching. It kind of doesn't matter at all who wins, but you can psychologically engage with the fight and care even as it actually doesn't matter. I mean ask yourself why you ever get engaged with any narrative that doesn't involve your own personal comfort and happiness.
"It's similar to sport events."Also at my old post — a criticism of how dishonestly the NYT writer described what happened.
Okay. Sort of like sport events that are manipulated to make political statements and teach moral lessons.