"Survivor": Did the right person win?

"Richard deserved to win" by Joan Walsh; "Anyone but Richard!" by Janelle Brown

By Salon Staff
Published August 29, 2000 7:05PM (EDT)

Read Joan Walsh's story

Read Janelle Brown's story

It's not that I recommend scheming, lying and plotting. Honestly, I wouldn't even sit down and have a beer with the guy. However, I do feel that he rightfully deserves the title as well as the loot for outlasting and outwitting his island constituents and entertaining the heck out of me.

Richard was just what the show needed -- a wickedly smart, conniving, well-spoken go-getter. Were it not for his devilish efforts, there would be no "alliance," no strategy and no drama. Frankly, Richard made "Survivor" worth watching as he put the "reality" into this "reality-based" show.

Richard, I applaud you. I only wish you were going to be in season No. 2!

-- T.J. Flynn

Did Richard break any of the rules of the game? Did he sneak into the enemy camp and steal rice while they were sleeping? Did he trip any competitors during one of the many cross-island races? No, no and no. In fact, all that Richard can be accused of is being smarter than his fellow islanders. Frankly, not that much of an accomplishment. He understood the game. He analyzed his situation. He developed a strategy. He won the game. Period.

Congrats Richard, for being smarter than your average survivor (to say nothing about the TV critics).

-- Jay Rendon

Did anybody try to reconcile the scale involved in these two factoids?

1. The "winner" in "Survivor" gets $1,000,000.

2. The network gets $600,000 for each 30-second commercial.

It took Richard HOW long to get his million, and the network how long? And people call Richard manipulative!

-- Ned N. Berke

Sympathy for Kelly?! Give me a break! I'm so ashamed to be in the same age group as Kelly and the younger crowd. Those weak, overly sensitive whiners are all too prevalent these days and show how the extreme liberalism and callowness of the last several decades have weakened the American character. We need more Richards and Rudys these days!

-- Gerard Pineda

Do you think Rudy has figured out what happened to him yet? The last immunity challenge, when Richard stepped down after just two hours, was the apex of his weaseldom. He pretended he couldn't last, because he knew Kelly would win, and then vote Rudy off because he would have won the final vote. He got Kelly to do his dirty work -- getting rid of Rudy -- because to dispose of the old bugger himself would have cost him votes in the end. And there's old Rudy, casting a key vote for Richard, "I'm fulfilling my obligation," when greasy Richard had earlier betrayed Rudy by letting go of the pole. Ugggghhh. I'm glad the whole thing is over. Too much like an office.

-- Laurie McGuinness

If anyone is a manipulator here it's CBS, and their underlying agenda to prove that winning has everything to do with embracing corporate America's tactics of social Darwinism, at the expense of ineffective concepts such as socialism.

By allowing only those who remained on the island to vote in each succeeding round, power was restricted to a shrinking elitist faction. The development of an alliance was the natural outcome of such a structure. Richard simply did what he was put on the island to do.

It would have been more interesting, not to mention democratic, if each vote had involved all the "castaways," those remaining on the island as well as those voted off. This would have left little room for tactics such as Richard's.

-- David Paton

I'm perplexed as to why you (and many other commentators) keep claiming that Richard Hatch won the contest because he was upfront about his sneakiness and (by implication) was a better player of the game. In fact, it was the other three members of the alliance that would admit to the camera that what they were doing was dirty, but they felt it was what needed to be done to get into the final four. Hatch, on the other hand, continually stated (even in the reunion program) that there was nothing dirty or sneaky or unethical about his plan. In fact, he stated to Bryant Gumbel that the only person he lied to was host Jeff Probst! And he said it with a straight face!

A quick review of the final vote that won Rich the million dollars shows he had very little to do with the ultimate win. Rudy voted for him because they made a pact and Rudy is a man of his word. Susan voted for him because she was angry at Kelly. Sean voted for him because, well, he's Sean and he and Rich had some sort of camaraderie going. Greg voted for him because, well, he's Greg and Rich guessed the number closest to the number Greg was thinking. This is hardly a testament to Rich's "superior" skills.

-- Dan Majoros

Kelly Wiglesworth may have lost the game, but it is Susan Hawk who is truly the loser. Had the final vote been cast by the viewing audience, I believe that Wiglesworth would have walked away with the mil. In my opinion, she should have been paid the million for just having to sit on that tree stump and listen to the vile, sour grapes spouted by Susan Hawk.

-- M. Hamilton

1. I thought Sue's speech was the funniest damn thing I've heard on TV in years.

2. Of course Richard deserved to win! The others were wussies, not survivors! Besides, he fed their sorry, wienie selves.

3. There were many opportunities for the others to form another group to oppose the evil Richard and they didn't. They just didn't have the brains or the backbone. Phooey on them. Serves them right.

-- Maria de Jesus Gutierrez

Salon Staff

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