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Survivor recap: Survivor Russian Roulette

It’s another bang-up week for the men of season 30.

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TV Show
Reality TV
run date:
Jeff Probst
Current Status:
In Season

I hate being a guy sometimes. Don’t get me wrong: I’m comfortable in my skin and happy with the way God and/or genetics created me…outside of the fact that I am a complete weakling prone to being knocked over by a moderate breeze. But sometimes dudes do and say really stupid things and this can’t help but drag the rest of us down in a guilt-by-association sort of way. Allow me to say that this season of Survivor has made me really bummed out to be a male, because so many of these Worlds Apart men have been downright horrible when it comes to speaking to and about women.

Max’s comment about appreciating strong women seems like a lifetime ago when matched up against the transgressions of his fellow male castmates. First we had Rodney offering his warped view about how “girls need to hold themselves to a higher standard than guys” and “I’m just stating facts that women disrespect themselves.” Later, Mike explained to Dan that “My personal experience with women? They don’t want the explanation. They just want you to say you’re sorry so they can say they were right.” (Dismissive, much?) Dan has made talking down to females a full-time job, going out of his way to belittle Sierra and Shirin to their faces, and then—in the case of Shirin—thinking it was cool to advocate hitting a woman by saying “somebody slap this woman. For the love of God just slap her and shut her up already.”

Then we got to Will’s explosion last week, where he told Shirin, “I guarantee you there is no one at home in the United States that is missing you. We all have loved ones that love and care for us. You have nothing. You have no family. You have nothing.” See! Guys suck! But wait! It looks like Dan is about to apologize to Shirin. He’s going to show us another side of himself—prove that things can be said in the heat of the moment that he does not really believe, and tell us all how his mistake has made him grow as a person. Okay, here he goes—and right at the top of this week’s episode, no less: “For what it’s worth—I’m really sorry about what happened last night at Tribal.”

Okay, well, technically that was not apologizing for anything he did but rather apologizing for Will, but still, it’s progress. Oh, look! Now he’s talking to us in a confessional. Let’s see what he has to add to that: “Apparently there is violence in her history. If that’s the case, I feel very bad for her.” Again, okay, we’re taking baby steps here. He is expressing sympathy for her situation. That’s a start. Let’s find out what else he has to say. “However…” WAIT, WHAT DO YOU MEAN HOWEVER?!? THERE’S NO HOWEVER! AND WHY IS THE BACKGROUND MUSIC SUDDENLY CHANGING FROM INSPIRING TO CREEPY AND EVIL? WHAT’S WITH THE CREEPY, EVIL MUSIC? DON’T DO IT, DAN! DON’T DO IT!!! “…that being said—Shirin is a drama queen. She is a two-faced liar. She loooooves to play the victim. For Shirin to say that Will is worse than her—that’s hypocritical. Did he go overboard? From what I heard, yes, he did. But when she’s calling him names, when she has no gratitude or appreciation—I ‘d call that karma.”

Crap. What’s with the blame-the-victim she-was-asking-for-it nonsense? Like I said, being a guy sucks. Because, apparently judging by this season’s cast… all guys suck! Okay, that’s an exaggeration. There have been fellas like Max, Joe, and Tyler who all appear to be fine, upstanding gentlemen. And while I will not go so far as to excuse Mike’s unfortunate comment about how women like to be apologized to, that is miles away from the other examples and I do get the sense that he is a generally good dude. But how you feel about all this man-on-woman smack talk (and talk about smacking) may very well determine how you feel about this entire season of Survivor.

Jeff Probst told me before the season began that this might be his favorite cast of all-time. That is a huuuuuge statement to make when you look back at some of the stunning seasons that preceded it. And that statement has struck many as off the mark considering all the ugliness that has transpired in season 30. Many of you in the comments have described this as one of the most unlikable if not the most unlikable cast ever. I’ve seen people complain that there is nobody to root for, which is certainly a problem when you have this many people left.

NEXT: Give ‘em enough rope… that they don’t actually need