Did Survivor host err in judgment?

It has to be pointed out, however late for now, that TV host of Survivor Philippines may have to explain – in the context of fair play – whether or not Zita ought to be the real winner in the reward challenge after she had obtained five (5) white necklaces in that particular episode ahead of Rob whom Paulo Bediones announced the winner instead. Since this is a much-vaunted reality TV, there is nothing more real than the fact that Zita was the first to earn the five white necklaces and it must have been incumbent upon the Survivor host to have announced her as winner even before Rob could have earned his fifth white necklace. The point is, making Rob the winner in that game segment among castaways when facts show otherwise is tantamount to rigging what the game results should be. In other words, Zita herself knows too well, she should have won it but for no valid cause at all, Paulo instead picked upon Rob and announced him the first to have obtained the five (5) white necklaces sans scientific basis.

To be sure, that reward challenge is a contest as to who would be the first to earn or obtain five white necklaces which means precisely that the contestant who has offered the most number of correct answers to questions in a game sequel wins. It was Zita, not Rob, who first earned the required five white necklaces. But it was Rob who was announced as the winner and thereby gained for his family in the Philippines the amount of P50,000. Earlier before that game, there had been footages trying to tell the viewers what any of the castaways may have in mind should they win the P50,000 cash and here we remember Zita having said that with that P50,000, she is already contented even if later on she does not get to win the final P3 million reward as Survivor. Content of having made some money for her family out of joining Survivor, she will open a sari sari store as soon as she comes home. And she did win. But the reward money went to Rob, not to her. Isn’t that the most paradoxical of reality, and the most real of paradox?

Viewers do not expect the host of Survivor Philippines to have decided differently. But Paulo Bediones did announce as winner the unreal one precisely because – in both real and reel – it should be Zita who won the reward challenge as she did win in another episode to earn the immunity suit if again in a later and another reward challenge – testimonies of her great survival instinct. The viewing universe, at this point, learned about the personal and social circumstances of each castaway and Zita happens to be a mere laundrywoman (labandera) with too many mouths to feed and other financial woes. For this to happen to her – not being announced as the winner when she should very well be – would then be a clear act of oppression that may have been, wittingly or unwittingly, committed by the Survivor host who acts as referee, umpire, arbiter, judge. Naturally, in the spirit of fair play, Bediones should not be expected to commit any mistake on deciding who really wins in a particular game sequel or episode. But he did commit it and nothing indicates he was wrong in his judgment so far as he is concerned. Why this?

This is the problem now since any TV program has a viewing audience and where a survey should be conducted as to gauge who should have been announced winner in that particular reward challenge, we could be most certain that they will quite unanimously say it is not Rob but it is Zita who won. Why did Zita not complain? Why did not the other castaways who may have known who really won complain? There is time left for Paulo Bediones or at the very least, GMA 7 to take a look at it and perhaps, make apologies to Zita, first and foremost, and then to the viewing audience who surely empathize with Zita since she felt cheated by the decision made by the host of the popular TV show. That nagging question will always be left unanswered in Zita’s mind as it is with the TV viewers and it may be high time to point out here that the Survivor host or GMA 7 must clarify who the real winner should be. Otherwise, some people might think that the labanderas are discriminated against, reason Zita cannot be announced as winner. And Rob, because he is a businessman, like other economic elites, gets better treatment.

Maybe, the MTRCB as the regulatory entity over TV or radio broadcast should step into the scene and check for itself if there be valid ground to possibly change the decision made by the Survivor TV host – revoke the prize money and that it be given to the family of Zita instead of Rob and that Zita, not Rob, be announced as the true winner in that game sequel or reward challenge. If this cannot be done by MTRCB, for what purpose does it still stand to this day? Participants in any game show on TV for that matter deserve to be competing in a level playing field where there is no possible room for erroneous decision or judgment. Bediones should simply be consistent. He is there, trying to narrate as zealously as he can every stride, every breath, every word, every scene and every moment of the whole Survivor reality show to come up with a very stimulating series of events. He could not have missed on knowing that Zita already got five white necklaces and spontaneously announcing her as winner as soon as she wore on her neck the fifth white necklace. Whatever happened to Bediones?

From where I stand, the reward has not been given to the rightful winner of the game. Lastly, in the larger context of censorship, not just swear words should be made inaudible but otherwise excessively improper acts such as that of Marlon should have been edited lest it can mean the TV show teaches its younger audience that in the real world of games – Marlon’s style – is really acceptable. At the very least, Marlon should have been disciplined for having done what he did when he knew he will be booted out. Again, the real “house rules” were not applied and that is not discretionary on the part of the Survivor host, is it? Let us hear what the TV host, or the TV network itself has to say if better still, the MTRCB – please?

There is an easy way to make the matter simple. Let us put Bediones in Zita’s shoes. How would he feel if he will not be announced winner right after he earned five white necklaces? What will Bediones’ brother or sister or father or mother feel watching a wrong decision having been made as to who wins? Will the family not feel having been cheated? All told, Survivor violated its claim that the reality show, unlike other Survivor versions elsewhere, has not made part of its scheme recruiting would-be actors and actresses. Further, I fear the day when the nude scenes caught on camera on any of the contestants to Survivor will be sold in the market if they are not already being sold on a pay-per-view. If this happens, it may be that the concept of honesty can be toyed with, in the end just like in another TV show we know.

UP Diliman, Quezon City (Email: nielsky_2003@yahoo.com)