Ask Andy: Why is Trump’s ego tolerable and Tyra’s isn’t? Survivor challenge sit-out rules?

Didn’t there used to be a rule in Survivor that you couldn’t sit out the same person in back-to-back challenges? How is it that Abi has only participated in 2 challenges?–Sue

The rule is per episode, meaning that on combined reward-immunity challenge episodes, a tribe can continually sit out the same weak link (ahem, Abi). It’s one of the many reasons I dislike episodes with one challenge instead of two.

Speaking of sitting out challenges, Jeff Probst answered a related question in EW last month, noting that for challenges that require more even match-ups, producers decide in advance that the sit-outs must even up numbers of men and women: “It’s a decision that is made ahead of time when the challenge is first designed — long before we have any idea who will be left on which tribe when it comes time to run the challenge,” he said.

Why is Donald Trump’s egomania palatable but Tyra Banks’ is not? When I ask this to other people, they make it about gender and race. Please, please give me reasons it’s not. –Nels

I’m not sure the thesis that Trump is still palatable holds any more, especially after this election cycle, when Trump went from partisan attention whore to thinly veiled racism to crazypants. And I also have new appreciation for those people who will boycott the show simply because Trump profits from it, though I am not sure I will make that same choice.

To answer the bigger (and fascinating) question, I’m sure gender and race might play into that for some people, rejecting Tyra because we’re still not comfortable as a society with powerful women.

For me, it’s a lot simpler: Donald Trump is a buffoon and his show makes him out to be a buffoon. Tyra Banks, however, is a respected model who earnestly tries to help young women follow in her footsteps.

Thus, when Tyra makes it about her, it contradicts her mission and becomes uncomfortable, because it’s supposedly all about the models. When Trump’s ego goes out of control and he does something irrational, that’s what we expect and laugh at. You can laugh at Tyra’s ego, but she’s still making decisions that potentially affect the careers and lives of young women. Trump is just presiding over a show with a joke of a prize–though the Celebrity Apprentice‘s charity fundraising gives it more consequence, which is atypical for a celebrity edition.

Review: Married at First Sight

Marriage At First Sight

In an era of Tinder and Grindr, instant acceptance or dismissal of a potential partner, or instant sex with another body, Married at First Sight offers the thrill of watching strangers deal with the very basics of relationships.

Beyond the headline-grabbing premise, the series has turned out to be a stripped-down, authentic exploration of something very interesting. Read the full review.

about the writer

Andy Dehnart is a journalist who has covered reality television for more than 15 years and created reality blurred in 2000. A member of the Television Critics Association, his writing and criticism about television, culture, and media has appeared on NPR and in Playboy, Buzzfeed, and many other publications. Andy, 36, also directs the journalism program at Stetson University in Florida, where he teaches creative nonfiction and journalism. He has an M.F.A. in nonfiction writing and literature from Bennington College. More about reality blurred and Andy.