I stopped watching Survivor after season 3. Changes producers made in the show and the cast selection process lost me as a part of their audience, but those same alterations probably gained them thousands and thousands more. What am I talking about? Glad you asked.
Season 2 set the show on its ears. From the beginning Survivor's motto was "Outwit, Outlast, Outplay." That's what the producers expected from their cast of contestants. They wanted to divide the contestants from one another and cause conflict. They wanted the contestants to see each other as enemies. They wanted to create bullies. But in their second season, instead of scheming to outwit the others, many of the contestants actually helped one another. Season 2 was considered "boring."
Well, I'm kind of getting ahead of myself. Back then each show began with the characters being stranded on the location. They were also allowed one "survival item." Most of the contestants brought something to help them in their survival...that would benefit them in the game. One man, an older farmer from Kentucky by the name of Rodger, brought something entirely different...a Bible. It threw the other for a loop, but at one point, when his team needed to start a fire, he tore pages from his Bible to use as starter. When asked how he could do that, he said it was okay, he had it in his heart already.
At one point in the game of Survivor teams were challenged was issued to jump off of a bluff into a place where the river pooled and then swim to a specified point. The older farmer, Rodger, couldn't swim. Instead of getting angry with him or tormenting him, his team encouraged him. Because of that, he jumped off and did his best. He made it with the help of others...long after the other team's contestant, and was celebrated by his team for his courage.
He, Colby, Elizabeth and Tina helped each other...looked out for each other...were kind to each other. They were four of the final five contestants. And when it came down to the final three, only one selfish man remained. In a move consistent with their unselfish behavior, Colby voted that man off...knowing full well that would lose him the game to Tina. He did it anyway. What an example of teamwork...of love...of hope. Tina won the million and Colby came in second.
It just goes to prove the theme of my book The Pact: No one should ever have to stand alone. And it reinforces my theory: if we stand together, bullies will not prevail. It was Survivor's hidden gem and a lesson for us all.