You’d think, after 23 previous seasons of Survivor, contestants would be savvier than they are today. But no, this week’s episode of Survivor: One World featured the single dumbest thing ever as an entire tribe agreed to give up immunity and go to Tribal Council despite winning the challenge. I have to assume there was some manipulation, perhaps by producers, because I can’t believe eight guys would all sign off on such a monumentally stupid decision.
Recap: The Men Give Up Immunity>>
However, that’s beside the point. My issue with the latest episode isn’t the big, stupid move, it’s who started it: Colton Cumbie. The 21-year-old gay Alabama college student has quickly become the season’s big villain, but he’s also one of the worst people this show has ever had and watching him makes me want to give up on Survivor already, because I’m already at my limit of insufferable a-holes on reality TV with Rachel and Brendon on The Amazing Race.
Before I eviscerate Colton as a deplorable human being, first let me say one good thing about him: He defies stereotypes and expectations. Since I cover Glee, I’m used to seeing gay people as noble, heroic, tolerant human beings who are nice to everyone. They’re also all incredibly liberal. But Colton is a self-proclaimed Republican who has no problem making fun of people who are poor or little. It’s like he watched Queer as Folk as a teenager and assumed Brian Kinney was a virtuous hero.
So while I appreciate any expansion of the portrayals of homosexuality on television, it doesn’t change the fact that he’s just plain awful. It’s possible that he’s just being edited poorly, but I don’t think that’s it. At Tribal Council, Tarzan said Colton was being painted unfairly. The problem is that Colton is the one who was doing all the painting.
Let’s start with his treatment of Bill. I genuinely don’t believe it’s a race issue, despite Colton’s poorly stated flub that some of his best maids are black. It’s more a class issue, because Bill is poor and Colton is obviously rich. He went to a fancy private school, belongs to a country club and has a housekeeper. Colton may not be the stereotypical gay guy, but he is the stereotypical spoiled rich brat.
When Colton complained about Bill for not having a real job, Bill’s response was appropriate. Colton has obviously never had a job either, and probably never will. He’ll almost certainly live off of his family’s money and whatever he can get for becoming a reality TV star now that he’s on Survivor.
That kind of hypocrisy is what makes Colton so terrible. He claims to hate people who don’t work hard, but he does absolutely nothing. He also claims that he doesn’t have discrimination for being gay because he only associates with well-educated people who are tolerant and more enlightened. Yet somehow he thinks it’s OK to compare Leif to a Munchkin and an Oompa Loompa.
Clearly Colton has never been told “No.” I’m no psychologist, but his entire attitude seems like someone who’s been given everything he’s ever wanted and who was always told that he’s the most special, amazing, talented, handsome boy in the world, and that anyone who doesn’t like him is just stupid and worthless.
It’s disgusting, and the fact that everyone in the men’s tribe is so scared of him is embarrassing. I love watching reality TV villains who are scheming and manipulative and evil, but as much as he wants to be that, Colton isn’t. He is incredibly obvious, making sure everyone knows exactly what he’s doing, and somehow that strategy is working for him.
Colton is not fun to watch. He’s single-handedly making Survivor: One World unbearable for me, and the worst part is that he’s exactly what the producers are looking for. He’s a lightning rod, the kind of guy who will almost certainly be invited back as an all-star.
My only hope is that next week’s episode (where it seems the tribes are getting mixed up) will spell the end of Colton’s reign and teach him a valuable lesson about humility. Oh who am I kidding, Colton is one leopard who will never change his spots. He’s a spoiled, bratty rich kid and he always will be.
(Image courtesy of CBS)