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Russell’s fans defend his honor; Jeff Probst compares his exit to moon landing

Russell Hantz’s elimination last night was awesome and remarkable–it’s the first time he’s been voted out, and it may end his streak of being on every single episode of three of the last four seasons–but Survivor Redemption Island host Jeff Probst has gone far, comparing the moment to the moon landing.

Jeff, of course, loves Russell so much that he has insisted you’re not a fan if you don’t like Russell. But in his recap on his new web site, Jeff lists four “Historic Moments in time,” including the invention of canned beer, the first person to run a mile in under four minutes, the Apollo 11 moon landing, and “Russell Hanz [sic] voted out of Survivor: Redemption Island.” (Yes, he spelled Russell’s name wrong.) I imagine this is a bit tongue-in-cheek, especially since he goes on to say “Survivor fans all over the world will no doubt remember this day for decades, and if science hurries up, perhaps centuries to come.”

But Jeff does still talk reverently about Russell, saying, “This is brand new territory for Russell but we all know that Russell can never be counted out. He is always playing.” Jeff also discusses how our standards for behavior can change based on how much we like the person and says, “the Zapatera tribe is acting as dickish to Russell as Russell has acted to his tribemates in the past. Is one action more acceptable than another?”

An interesting question, but I think Jeff makes his own point because Jeff himself never made this point when Russell lost because he was a grade-A asshole who can never win.

Meanwhile, I recognize that some people are Russell fans, and they have gathered to mourn their fallen hero. While the wall on Russell’s personal profile was hidden from public view between last night and today, On Russell’s Facebook fan page has lots of comments from his fans, many of whom appropriate his comment that his tribemates are “bitches.”

There’s a lot of hope that Russell will return and others who threaten to quit the show if Russell loses; others worship him. And there’s the predictable mix of those who use anti-gay slurs, make sexist comments, or are just plain illiterate.

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  • Andy Dehnart is the creator of reality blurred and a writer and teacher who obsessively and critically covers reality TV and unscripted entertainment, focusing on how it’s made and what it means.


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