"It's not worth it to feel like shit for the rest of your life for a little bit of money, and your fifteen minutes" - Kelly Wigglesworth
Considering the content of this episode, it's no wonder that Burnett opted to host a news conference the day after.
I'll start with Osten quitting...
First off, let's just all acknowledge that any Survivor is an extremely harsh environment. Very, very, VERY difficult!!! Unimaginably so. And as such, quite a number of Survivors have put themselves through downright dangerous physical hardships to be out there. Colleen's legs were seriously infected. Elisabeth's hair was falling out from malnutrition. Both Lindsay and Lex had to be airlifted out and given I.V.'s for amoebic dysentery (this was never edited into the show). Paschal collapsed before the tribal council where Kathy left. Jan was...just batty and unable to think at all clearly. And Heidi suffered a spider bite that injected dangerous poison into her system, and was nearly hospitalized after the show. Even someone like John Carroll, who only lasted 24 days, said it was months before he felt himself again. Drastic starvation is way, way unhealthy, putting undue stress on your heart, your lungs, everything. And this can cause you health problems years down the road.
But then again, THAT'S THE DEAL OSTEN!!! That's what you signed up for!! They HAD to have warned him...even if he hadn't seen other Survivor series, I would like to think Burnett's crew would warn any contestant beforehand of the hazards. I know they do advise all of them to put on weight before they start, just so they have something extra to lose.
So fair enough - it IS hard! And Osten should have known that. But it still doesn't erase the fact that he was being bit up, rained on, was unhealthy, and had lost 40 freaking pounds in 18 days!!! Honestly, who is more shameful - the person who says "I'll risk dangerous, even life threatening starvation in a quest towards the glory of...ummm...winning $500K (after taxes) and my fifteen minutes?" Or the one who says "Screw this goofy game show - my long term health is more important to me?" Darrah said she would have to be "carried out of here." So it means THAT much to her?
On Survivor: Marquesas, you had a judge (Paschal) who has everything he could want in life, who probably is WORTH a million in total lifetime assets. Yet he was perfectly willing at the age of 57 to put himself through something that wreaked him physically, that may take time off his life expectancy, all in a quest for...what??? Is that extra bit of money worth it??? What is most important in life - or SHOULD more important - your fleeting time in the public eye, or the time you get to spend in this mortal coil with the people you love? The people who will care for you long after a fickle TV viewing audience has forgotten about you?
So after a number of days of deliberating, I think I come down on this side of the debate...
Osten had the guts - yes, I say guts - to be the first person ever to bow out. To decide it isn't worth it, that seriously compromising one's health for the sake of a GAME SHOW when he (as a seemingly successful investment manager) might earn a million on his own just isn't something he needs to do. The man isn't stupid - he had to know he was going to be called every crybaby-related name in the book. Whether he should have known it would be this hard is irrelevant, and besides anybody who can't handle it should be eliminated in casting before they even make the show.
After six seasons of being kings of the reality genre, both Probst and Burnett seem to have lost perspective on this, have adopted a self-important attitude where they say "What, our game show isn't important enough to you??? Who do you think you are??!!?" To that I say (as a rabid Survivor fan to the end) f#@# you guys and your self importance. Maybe - just maybe - some people could care less what you think of them, and could care less about your glorified game show. Hey, it's possible.
So...anyway...onto the twist...
Unfair? The people booted out should be gone forever? Well...maybe. But according to whom - the International Survivor Fairness Council??? The simple fact is that when you sign the War-and-Peace-sized Survivor contract, you are submitting yourself to the All-Powerful 17th player in the game, Mark Burnett. And he can do whatever he wants, period. Still, the thing he can't control is how his show will be perceived by the viewers. Reaction to the twist has been very evenly divided, with some people relishing such a radical change, others saying that it somehow cheapens the entire premise of the show.
I tend to think of it like this - as Jeff said "If you really are the ten most worthy Survivors, this should be no trouble." And look at the challenge...Drake came very close to winning, so it easily could have been only one person coming back instead of two. You could make a great case for the competition being biased in favor of the Outcasts, but they still had to win it. To me, the best argument for the absence of out and out fixing on Survivor was the Thailand series, where everyone in the whole organization knew they were stuck with an insufferably boring Pagonging of Sook Jai. But...it just happened that way, and Burnett had to deal with it. Still, I'm sure he was fairly confident that at least Morgan would lose this one, and that one player would come back. I don't think he was counting on two. And I don't think zero was in his plans...what a bust that would have been!
Another way to think of it is that the two castaways who left as a result of this - Shawn and Osten - probably wouldn't have won anyway. Shawn was looking more desperate by the day, and Osten...well, we know the story there. But then again, that's beside the point - one could have said Kathy from's S4's prospects didn't look good at so many turns in that game, and she finished third.
So maybe the ultimate conclusion is this - is Survivor fair? No, and it never has been. Listen, read Dirk's testimony
in the Stacey Stillman lawsuit, and you will gain an ENTIRELY different perspective on the very concept of Survivor as a whole. Burnett is trying to create good TV that will get people talking around the ol' water cooler, and he's succeeded once again. And that's the bottom line to the guy. And if we think this is off the scale, I'm sure he's got some crazy ass stuff planned for the All-Star Edition, currently filming as you read this.
Funniest Moment: The shortest ouster speech in the show's history - "F#@# you!" Quick and to the point. I'm no fan of Jon's, but that was pretty damn funny! Now tomorrow's show...two people coming back. Burnett has said (as one would expect) that players of course can't vote themselves back into the game. And they apparently were on a total gag order following the competition, forbidden to discuss it among themselves until the actual tribal council. So there should be lots of wheeling and dealing. For considerations of this, I turn to a post from theslick1 on the Joker's Survivor board... Michelle loves Burton so she votes for him. Burton reciprocates by voting Michelle. Trish picks Burton over Michelle. So, two votes Burton. Of the ex-Morgans, Lil votes for Skinny Ryan who in turn votes for her. Nicole chooses Lil over Ryan. Two votes Lil. This makes a lot of sense, because it ensures that two groups of friends will guarantee one or the other will be back in. And for the ones on the outside (Trish and Nicole) their only decision, considering they can't get the votes, is who would be better able to go back and win the game. I'd say Burton and Lil would be best able to do that.
One other note to end the article with...it suddenly occurred to me the other day that for the first time to this point on Survivor, there have not been any cheesy product placements! No mentions of Visa, Sierra Mist, or Tina's favorite, Door-ee-tos. This is a good trend - keep it up Mark!