They Call It ‘Survivor,’ But Really!

While I’m glad that they have medics on set, how do they ever let it get to this point in the first place?

Last Updated: October 23, 2009 @ 6:41 AM

It’s good to see that there are some reality stars who still rely on hard work and likability to propel them further along in the game. (And I’m definitely not referring to little Charlie from this week’s “Toddlers and Tiaras.”) I’m speaking of Russell on “Survivor” (black attorney Russell, not to be confused with white lying SOB Russell.)

As chief of Tribe Falu, Russell has proven his leadership skills time and again, and his guidance has helped his team win all but one of the reward challenges. In fact, just last night he tended to the fire while others took shelter during the five-day long rainstorm. (To be fair, though, this may have been partially to make up for the fact that he chose pillows and blankets for the tribe in lieu of a tarp during an earlier challenge.)

Of course, nothing is done on “Survivor” without some bit of strategy involved. As he was stoking the fire in the freezing cold rain, he himself said, “Sometimes you have to make some deposits in case you need any withdrawals later on. This is buying stock low. Hopefully I’ll be able to sell high later.”

Unfortunately, later did not come for Russell. During the reward challenge, he again stepped up to the plate to do the heavy lifting (literally) and had other team members sit out. Then he passed out … on top of a giant puzzle.  

Of course this was hard to tell at first because … did I mention he was blindfolded?

Russell’s heart rate had dropped very low, and it was obvious that he wouldn’t be able to compete.For the first time ever, Jeff Probst ruled that a reward challenge would not be completed. (What?! No pizza?!)

The go-getter that he is, Russell kept insisting that he wanted to go back to the game and that he was just dehydrated. But when he passed out yet again, the medics deemed him unfit to continue with the show.  (It was scary, ya’ll!)  His eyes were open but there was no one home — kinda like Kim on “The Real Housewives of Atlanta.”

This raises a few questions for me, as earlier this season, Mike was sent home for a similar problem. While I’m glad that they have medics on set to deal with these issues, how do they ever let it get to that point in the first place?  

Yes, it’s called “Survivor,” but I don’t think the intention is to literally fight for your life!

It makes me wonder what kind of background checks are done on the contestants. What questions do they ask, other than, “What would you do with a million dollars?” While reality shows seem to be very thorough on the mental health front — making sure they get the nuttiest people they possibly can — I wonder how rigid they are with the physical health requirements.

As a sidenote,“The Biggest Loser” also shocked me in its premiere by making morbidly obese people run a full mile. This, as we know, ended up with two of them in the hospital! I know that they are adults and they are responsible for hydrating themselves, but sometimes you just get so busy looking for Immunity Idols and forming your “Dumbass Girl Alliance” that you forget. When someone’s health is involved, I don’t think it would hurt for the producers or medics to step in and give a gentle reminder to drink water.

As Russell lay on the ground with tears streaming down his face, Jeff Probst tried to (I think?) comfort him. “It’s frustrating to be pulled out of a game you wanted to be a part of for so long,” he said. (Sigh.) “You were in great shape.” (Burn!) You were the leader of a tribe that was dominating.” (Dig!) You were .. .no sign you were going home any time soon.” (Oh, snap!)

Got any more salt for that wound, Probst?

I was sad to see (black attorney) Russell go, as he probably had the most heart out of anyone there. Now I’m rooting for (white SOB) Russell, as I find his antics entertaining.

I wouldn’t count Shambo out, though. John claims that she poses no threat to anyone and I should believe him; he IS a rocket scientist, after all.  

Then again, that’s what they said about Jordan on “Big Brother.”