On Survivor: China’s Sunday night live reunion show, fourth place finisher Denise Martin surprised audiences by saying that she had recently been demoted to janitor at the middle school in Massachusetts where she had previously held the position of lunch lady. Mark Burnett, soon after, offered Denise a check fro $50,000 to get her life back on track. It turns out, however, Denise wasn’t really demoted. The move from lunch lady to custodian was actually a promotion and it seems Denise either blatantly lied for sympathy’s sake or she was making a bizarre middle school employment hierarchy joke. Today, Denise cleared the air and apologized for her deception and declined the $50,000, instead urging Burnett and CBS to donate the money to the Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation. CBS will honor this request.
This was a depressing end to Denise’s time on Survivor. She went from being relatively anonymous during the early episodes of Survivor: China, to becoming one of the most sympathetic and likable characters. Unfortunately, that reputation was tarnished in the final episode when she shamelessly played upon her less than desirable home situation to make things very uncomfortable for fellow castaway Amanda Kimmel. Add to that this blatant lie about her job status, and I don’t know what to think about Denise anymore. I have little sympathy for anyone who tries to exploit their own shortcomings for personal gain. Hopefully this is just a case of poor judgment, a momentary lapse for Denise.
I think it’s safe to say that Denise, after these shenanigans, will not be invited back for any Survivor: All-Stars seasons. I was also a little offended by her final jury diatribe against Amanda, who was just playing the game the way she thought best. Sympathy for school lunch ladies isn’t something that should effect a person’s decisions, yet Denise acted like anyone who didn’t sympathize with her situation was a monster.
-Oscar Dahl, BuddyTV Senior Writer
(Image Courtesy of CBS)