The Farr Side: 'Survivor' season 19 finds most despicable contestant
For anyone tired or bored with “Survivor,” season 19 will make you think again.
“Survivor: Samoa” is as fierce and competitive as prior “Survivor” excursions, but the deception, physical demands, weather woes and short tempers seem to be at an all-time high. I know what you’re thinking: How could it get any worse?
So far we’ve seen 20 castaways strut their stuff, some in perfect shape, others because they’re show fanatics and some who perhaps have something to prove. Then there’s Russell Hantz, Samoa’s resident bad boy. He’s a 36-year-old oilman who’s the most despicable survivor player yet.
Hantz freely admits he doesn’t need the money, he just wants to show America he can win the game. And he’s not about to make any friends doing so, only those he knows he can manipulate to further himself in the game.
Shortly into the first episode, I wanted Hantz to go. Strategy or not, I can’t stand the man nor his actions. There’s nothing in the rules stating you can’t behave like he is, but it doesn’t say much for his character. He has zero regard for anyone else, something I could never do for money.
Hantz aside, there’s been plenty of other drama. Mike Borassi and Russell Swan were pulled due to medical reasons, while host Jeff Probst stopped a challenge to remove Ben Browning for deliberately kicking a female player.
Borassi’s departure didn’t surprise me much. He’s 62, and most of the challenges this season have seemed more physical than other seasons, but it was Swan who shocked me. He blacked out during a challenge and dropped to the ground. His heart rate dropped significantly, forcing doctors to make the call to remove him. He’s only 42, and it goes to show that no one’s invincible.
What I found more interesting was how fast the medics came to his aid; you know there are a lot more people present than just who you see on the show.
Browning’s actions did warrant Probst’s decision to pull him from a challenge. I was pretty shocked to see what he did. He also made waves in camp, often blurting out remarks that some took as racist and offensive. Game or no game, that shouldn’t be tolerated. I’m glad his tribe voted him out that same week. He deserved to go.
I’m still deciding on my favorites, but so far I’m banking on Erik, Jaison, Monica and Shannon “Shambo” to do well. I like how they are choosing to play the game. My ultimate favorite will be whoever can figure out Hantz and get him out of the game.
David T. Farr is a correspondent for the Sturgis Journal in Sturgis, Mich. E-mail him at email@example.com.