Survivor fans love Rupert. They love the way he’s massive and hairy, but cute and cuddly at the same time — the epitome of a gentle giant. They love the way he stole shoes and wore a skirt in Pearl Islands. They love his tie-dye t-shirt. They love that he is a youth counselor. Survivor fans love Rupert. But here’s a little tip for you: Not all Survivors are as fond of the big guy. Jeff Probst chalks it up to jealousy on the part of other competitors who don’t get nearly the attention that the hippie Hagrid does. That could be it. But plenty of players have grumbled that Rupert has twice gotten a hero’s edit that he did not deserve, and that behind the cutesy cackle is a self-serving attention monger looking out solely for himself. [Rupert gets a bad break in the game, plus on location video after the jump.]
I’m not saying whether these accusations (coming, it should be noted, from a group of attention mongers themselves) have merit or not, but it definitely factors into how he will do coming back to play for a third time in Heroes vs. Villains. I don’t want to make it sound like Rupert is universally despised, because he is not. But for whatever reason, he, like Sugar, is nowhere near as popular with fellow contestants as he is with the viewing public. And Rupert has another obstacle to deal with as well: his toe. He breaks it in the very first reward challenge. I can honestly say I have never heard screams of pain as loud as the ones I heard from Rupert when medical was working on it after the challenge. And for a tough guy like Rupert to be screaming like that, it must have been bad. Rupert is a person that prides himself on his toughness. How will such an injury impact him in the game? That will definitely be worth keeping an eye on.
The other thing that interests me about Rupert is how he will get along with the other alpha males on his tribe: Colby, Tom, James, and J.T. These are all workhorses that are used to dominating physically and being the main man around camp. How will they all deal with having to share the spotlight? In my visit to the Heroes camp on day two, they all seemed to be getting along just fine, but that was only day two. I’m also curious as to how Rupert will handle the issue of trust this time around. He has been betrayed twice before. Is he savvy enough to make sure it doesn’t happen again? “My family warned me as I’m walking out the door not to just blindly trust everybody,” he told me in Samoa right before the game began. “That was my problem in Pearl Islands and that was my problem in All-Stars. I know I’m not just gonna blindly trust anyone.” We’ll see.
To witness the infamous “Rupert Roar” as never before, click on the video below. (You’ll also see footage of that broken toe.) This is the 20th and final installment in a series of daily profiles on the contestants of Survivor: Heroes vs. Villains. If you missed our first 19 (including Russell, Boston Rob, Cirie, and Parvati), there are links to all those players below the video. And to enjoy interviews with all the Heroes and Villains, head over to our super special Survivor video hub. We’ll have TONS of new goodies ready for you next week, so make sure to check back each day starting on Monday for that. Oh, and for Survivor scoop delivered right to you, follow me on Twitter @EWDaltonRoss. Okay, take it away, Rupert…
Image Credit: Monty Brinton/CBS