I will admit a certain sick fascination for Survivor
. I like being able to feel smug
and morally superior
from the comfort of my couch
. I realize, however, that if I were on that show, with one million dollars
at stake, (this works better if there's a Dr. Evil
voiceover) by day 13 I would be offering sexual favors
to members of both sexes from pagong and tagi to ensure that I didn't get voted off the island. By day 20, I would have painted my face, sharpened a rattan stick and impaled
Jeff Probst while declaring myself Lord and Master of Pulau Tiga
, all to the tune of Gluck's
Dance of the Furies from Orfeo ed Euridice
. So I can't really fault Richard
for using a bit o' the ol' duplicity
in attemping to win the prize money.
However, having faithfully (almost slavishly) watched each episode, I understand why Richard Hatch is so widely disliked. I think it has less to do with him being gay than it does with creative editing. 39 days worth of activities were edited down to around 13 hours of footage. And while each of the contestants may have been fully-rounded complex individuals, fully-rounded complex individuals don't make good TV (why do you think The Real World always goes for shallow and obnoxious?).
Each of these participents was made into a character by the magic of television editing. Colleen was turned magically into the adorable moppet. Dirk was the bible-banging religious fanatic. Young, handsome doctor Sean became the village idiot, (in this case, I fervently hope that this is solely through the magic of editing, otherwise I fear for the entire AMA). Our dear friend Richard became the villain. With all the shots of Richard plotting, lying, scheming, boasting and running around naked, the producers of the show couldn't make him appear more malicious if they used Mephistopheles' theme from the Guonod version of Faust as his theme music.
And it's terribly easy to sit back on your plump, comfortable ... couch and pontificate about how noble, honest and hardworking you'd be if you were stuck on the island (I think I'd be taking a page from Gervase on inspired laziness, myself). I was actually glad that Richard won, but then again, in those cheesy aquatic horror movies, I always cheered for Jaws.