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Resentment and Reality TV (With Tonight's ''Survivor'')

By RD Heldenfels Published: November 10, 2005

Bobby Jon finally went down on ''Survivor'' tonight, though not quite the way I expected -- although, as usual, I wondered what the editing was hiding.

I was thinking earlier today that we should have hit the point of resentment by now, when the other competitors looked at Bobby Jon and Stephenie and really objected to their being in the game. Hadn't they already had their chance on ''Survivor,'' after all? I have also been wondering when Gary was going to officially become known as The Quarterback and be ousted because he, too, had had a chance at greater rewards than your usual ''Survivor'' competitor has managed.

So maybe there was a watershed moment when Bobby Jon, trying to warn players against Stephenie, reminded them that he and Steph had competed before. Maybe that built, too, on what had happened in the reward challenge.

That was one of those fights for food. Winner gets the best meal, second place the second-best meal and so on. Judd won and Jamie -- stung by the accusations against him in the last telecast -- gave up fourth place for ninth in order to get back in everyone's good graces. Judd was given a chance to share some of his meal with two other people, and picked Bobby Jon and Stephenie. Needless to say, this didn't sit well with the other -- and may have fueled some unhappiness.

Judd also won a clue toward the hidden immunity idol, sharing the clue with Stephenie but lying to everyone else. Jamie, meanwhile, won the immunity challenge -- saving himself from a likely vote-out since even his reward sacrifice didn't keep him from annoying people.

That put Gary in jeopardy, until he deduced Judd's lie and was able to save himself at tribal council. But a big alliance within the tribe had obviously made a backup plan -- and the target of that plan was Bobby Jon.

So now I wonder if we'll see Stephenie or Gary next, or if the alliances will shift. (I always get amused when groups see themselves as solid; have they not watched the collapse of seemingly impregnable alliances on previous series?) And yes, I was more interested this time than I have been in awhile. Either the show has reached the point where the scheming is complex enough to be entertaining, or it's just the inertia of watching every week.

I mean, I also was drawn into this week's ''Amazing Race,'' which didn't seem significantly better on paper -- there was an awful lot of driving -- but still held my attention when I watched the two-hour installment. (I watched one hour before ''Lost'' on Wednesday, the other before ''Survivor'' tonight. I am so behind in my viewing.) But there I have a motive, though not a particularly positive one. I want to see the Weavers lose.

I like the Linzes and the Godlewskis and don't mind the Bransens. The Weavers are like a raw nerve, talking up their ''Christian life'' while playing dirty tricks, speaking ill of other teams then resenting things said about them, whining that no one likes them when they have given the other teams ample reason to feel that way. They embody self-righteousness, so sure of their own goodness that they are unable to recognize their own wrong-doing. I'll concede this: They're a pretty successful team, and they could well win this thing. But when they do well, I get the same sick feeling I got from Rob & Amber, that someone else -- almost anyone else -- is more deserving.

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