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‘Survivor': Sterotypes & the Most Hated Villain Ever

Look what happens when the Survivors have to make blind choices.

It seems that CBS didn’t receive my suggestions for this year’s "Survivor."  Instead of "Survivor: Sorority Rush Week," "Survivor: South Compton" or "Survivor: House Without Wireless," they opted for the pedestrian and predictable "Survivor: Samoa."
 
Oh, well.  I am fan of those coconut and chocolate Girl Scout cookies, so let’s do this!!
 
The theme of this season’s "Biggest Loser" is "second chances." Last night’s premiere of "Survivor," AKA "Big Brother on an Island," also seemed to have a theme: "Don’t judge a book by its cover."
 
The castaways, Tribe Foa Foa and Tribe Galu, had to silently vote on who they thought would make the best leader for their tribe without knowing anything about their castmates. Their choices were based entirely on looks. Interesting.
 
What does a leader look like anyway?  Is it an older guy with a lot of life experience? Maybe it’s a young muscular guy. You can bet that it won’t be a woman, old or young.
 
Interestingly enough, both tribes chose white-collar professionals, a doctor and a lawyer, natch.
 
The first impression thing didn’t end there, though. Each tribe leader had to then choose members of his tribe — based on looks — who he thought best fit the following categories: best swimmer, strongest, most agile and smartest.
 
This is where it gets tricky.  Mick chose Jaison, an African American, as his best swimmer. Mike, a fellow tribemate, whose bio claims that he abhors bigots, mentions in his confessional that "Afro-Americans aren’t known to be swimmers" and, come on, you must admit that that’s a pretty widespread stereotype. 

 

Though he was the most athletic-looking one in the tribe, I don’t know if I would’ve chosen him.
 
Well, "Capital WTF?!" Come to find out that Jaison was actually on the U.S. National Water Polo team! How’s that for breaking down boundaries? I hope Obama is watching!
 
"Strongest" and "most agile" were no-brainers. But then came time to choose your "smartest" player. Mick  chose Liz, and I have a strong suspicion that it was because she’s Asian.
 
Liz also weighed in: "I think Mick chose me because I’m Asian."
 
Duh. I probably would’ve chosen the Asian girl, too.  Does that make me racist? I don’t know, but let’s just say that I’m still trying to get over Sue Chang beating me in the 3rd grade science fair. (Watch out, they’re smart!)
 
While Liz said she was perfectly willing to accept the positive stereotypes that come with being Asian, she was wary of the negative, like being conniving and sneaky.  Thanks, Liz, for educating me on these traits! It will make me pay closer attention to your gameplay and make me investigate what really went wrong with my potato battery that day back in ’94.
 
Galu tribe leader Russell (African-American Russell, as there are two), on the other hand, chose a former Mariness named "Shambo" as his smartest player. Perhaps this was in an effort to look as progressive as Mick did when choosing Jaison. But let’s just say that I would not have chosen the lady with the she-mullet as my "smartest" player.
 
Then there’s the other Russell, the bald, white "firefighter" one. His whole strategy, much like Natalie of "Big Brother" is to outwit, outplay, outlie. He is going around camp garnering sympathy for being a survivor of the Hurricane Katrina tragedy.  His German Shepherd, Rocky, alas, did not make it out alive. (Sniff.)
 
Put your tissues away. Did I mention that none of that is true? He’s a self-made millionaire who has never lived in New Orleans and has never even had a German Shepherd. Call it crass; I call it shrewd. (But I also thought that Jonny Fairplay’s "dead grandma" ruse was genius.  BTW — so did his grandma.)
 
Not only did Russell regale us with tales of Katrina, but he made secret alliances with each of the younger ladies, including the "dumb short haired blonde" and the "even dumber long haired blonde." Call me evil; I think it’s a good strategy.
 
He then proceeded to pour out his camp’s water supply and burn at least one teammate’s socks. That’s cold! (Literally.) "If I can control how they feel, I can control how they think," he offered.
 
Marisa, who vocalized her discomfort with Russell at Tribal Council, paid the price by having her flame snuffed out by Jeff Probst. I hope that Russ sticks it out long enough to become the most hated villain in "Survivor" history.
 
But, for his sake, I hope that the "dumb and dumber" blondes don’t prove to be formidable opponents.  After all, as Jaison showed us, you can’t always judge a book by its cover.