Rupert: Final episode of "Survivor: Heroes vs. Villains" 

After ten years and twenty seasons, Survivor has really worked out an incredibly effective TV show format and formula. The final show is the icing on the cake, what with its sentimental look back on this season and past seasons featuring the Heroes and Villains. And the final three days on the island were wildly entertaining.

Highlights: Sandra throws Russell’s hat into the fire. She is one stone cold bitch, and I mean that in a good way: “That’s for everything he’s done to me… I don’t care.”

As the final three face the jury, Coach delivers a rehearsed, Shakespearean soliloquy that had everyone in the room where I watched the program doubled over in laughter. I think I might have peed my pants a little when he concluded by saying, “The journey of King Arthur has ended.”

Rupert’s final speech, on the other hand, was no laughing matter. “Russell, I want to start with you. If you think you should be proud of how you got here, you’re sadly mistaken… (You are) a disgusting human being.” Ouch. Even Jeff Probst looked impressed by our boy’s steely, calmly delivered verbal assault.

Finally, Sandra got the jury votes needed to win one million dollars. It’s her second time to collect the big check — she won Pearl Islands in 2003 when she and Rupert did their first shows. Then, in a two-man showdown between Russell and Rupert based on votes from fans, the evil Russell once again triumphed. Though I’d have loved to see that money go to Rupert (and thought he’d win it), you gotta admit that Russell earned this reward with his outstandingly devious, hard-fought play.


Some people have complained that with the tiny bikinis, all the jiggly parts, the pixilated nudity, the oiled-up bare male chests, etc., that Survivor has become a TV soft porn delivery system. To these folks, let me just say this: “duh!” The show is full of what one particularly roguish, indelicate friend of mine (Scott Sanders) refers to as “boner shots.” Does this type of hedonistic, gratuitously sexual prime-time-TV content signify the end of modern Western civilization? Yeah, probably. Whatever.

The photography this season was breathtaking. From the beginning of the show with the Air Force helicopters swooping in, to all the transition shots of the island and its various creatures and natural wonders, we were treated to some spectacular images. And I don’t just mean the boner shots.

I noticed that the Survivors all had canteens this season. I remember that on the All-Star series six years ago, this was not the case. In fact, the contestants were drinking rainwater that had collected on jungle leaves just to quench their thirst. My guess is that CBS legal and medical staff have decided that they have to provide fresh water — otherwise, even with the waivers all contestants must sign, their liability is too high. Bad things can happen to the body when it gets dehydrated, including serious heart stuff. I’m sure there’ve been many high-level network discussions of this topic: “How do we push these people to their physical limit, but not kill them?”

Finally, congratulations to our own hometown Hero, Rupert, for making it so far in a game where a lot of strong players were eliminated early. Personally, my one beef with the show is that Rupert did not get the screen time he deserved. I mean, they could’ve called this season “The Russell Hantz and Parvati Show.” Not that those two didn’t deserve a lot of focus — they played a great game. I just think that, for whatever reason, Rupert got shortchanged by the producers. Where were the shots of Rupert catching fish with his bare hands (besides on the Internet)? Too much Russell, not enough Rupert; too much conniving, not enough surviving.

Thanks for reading — I hope everything is great on your island. Aargh.

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