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Homosexuality and Survivor


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#1

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Posted Sep 29, 2008 @ 11:13 PM

They definitely could, but please start a new thread in General Gabbery about Gay Survivors or something like that, since it's getting a bit off-topic if you want to compare and contrast between different seasons.


Since Survivor Gabon is playing up Charlie, the openly gay man who has a crush on his tribe mate hence forming an alliance, I felt homosexuality is hyped up the most compared to previous seasons. I would also like to discuss a few issues about gay men and women featured in Survivor such as:

*How well they do in the game: Physically and the Social aspect of it. Some analysis would be good.
*How they are portrayed to the audience: Positive? Stereotypical?
*Comparisons between gays and lesbians (tie-in to gender issues)

Hopefully this thread will have some healthy discussions.

#2

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Posted Sep 30, 2008 @ 1:38 AM

Just found an interesting interview with Gabon's Charlie on Adovate.com talking about getting on the show, as well as a connection another gay reality contestant, Clay Aiken. One interesting quote was:

Interviewer: The whole idea of being gay while you’re on the reality show, though, is a tough one. Do you worry about being compared to any past gay contestants?
Charlie: I was a little nervous going in that I’d be compared to Todd, who won a few seasons ago. When I was watching Todd’s season in China, I really liked Todd a lot, but I never thought I was similar to him at all. Then going through casting, it seemed like people have such closed-minded ideas of gay people that you fit a gay person down to brown hair and brown eyes and they immediately assume you’re the other gay person who sat there with brown hair and brown eyes. So I definitely wanted to go in there and prove that I was different than Todd.


So, it does sound like the producers do have a "gay contestant" mold they like to fill, especially with the last few seasons having a gay white male (excluding JP and Brad from Cook Islands, in which the show was trying to be more diversified). It's good that Charlie was aware of this. In the article, he talks about having seen all of the previous seasons, and in fact he wanted to be more like a Cirie rather than a Todd, meaning that while he wouldn't be the immunity powerhouse, he'd hold his own in competitions and have a good social and strategic game.

Ironically, he also mentions:

Interviewer: Reality shows have been criticized in the past for casting the token gay character. Did you have any worries about that?
Charlie: On Survivor, a lot have romantic interests out there and that distracts them from winning the game. I knew I was never going to be tempted out there because I was going to be the only gay person, so if anything, I knew it was just going to help my game. But it does add a little bit of stress being the only gay character and knowing you’re going to be representing that demographic.


Kinda funny that he thought he wouldn't be tempted since his main scenes so far have been of him fawning over Marcus. However, as a gay man myself who has gone on nearly month-long group trips through other countries, I know how he feels being the only gay around.

#3

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Posted Sep 30, 2008 @ 5:28 AM

Interesting, but Charlie was the only contestant I know to develop a romantic attachment in the game. The rest, especially Todd focused a lot in the game strategy and not bothered to have any romantic interest at all.

I bring this post over to this thread as it seems appropriate to discuss here:

IMO, Charlie would be the most stereotypical gay man among the other gay contestants in the bunch of gay contestants they had on the show. Others such as Chet, Todd, Rafe, Brad (His homosexuality didn't play up at all that season), Brandon (Africa) have some variations of a homosexual male, but Charlie seems to check all the boxes to fit to that stereotype.

Personally I dislike people being put into stereotypes, but the editors seem to shove the typical gay man's edit to Charlie. And I have yet to see him breaking the mold.

Could someone list the openly gay men and women that is featured on this show and their performance in the game?



#4

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Posted Sep 30, 2008 @ 2:29 PM

Other than the ones listed, the only other openly homosexual (or bisexual) people I recall were Scout, Ami, Richard Hatch, and Coby.

#5

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Posted Sep 30, 2008 @ 5:28 PM

For a second there I thought you (Eponah) said that Colby was openly out, but then realized you wrote Coby. Whew! I was like I don't ever remember reading that Colby was out n about.

#6

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Posted Sep 30, 2008 @ 8:50 PM

Well, clearly the biggest gay relationship in the show has always been Probst's man-crush on the alpha male of the season, starting with Colby.

#7

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Posted Oct 1, 2008 @ 5:32 AM

I do remember Jeff having a huge man-crush on Andrew Savage (Pearl Islands) although Savage is straight. So, I'm not too sure if that counts. I liked Savage and actually would have liked him to go further. I can't remember Jeff's other man-crushes. Anyone?

#8

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Posted Oct 1, 2008 @ 5:40 AM

Well, clearly the biggest gay relationship in the show has always been Probst's man-crush on the alpha male of the season, starting with Colby.


Lol, do you remember who else Probst was crazy about each season?

EDIT: Colby is straight too, IIRC.

So the list of homosexual contestants are as follows:
-Borneo: Richard Hatch (Won)
-Africa: Brandon (Jury)
-Vanuatu: Scout, Ami (Jury)
-Palau: Coby (Jury)
-Guatemala: Rafe (Jury)
-Cook Islands: Brad (Jury)
-China: Todd (Won)
-Micronesia: Chet (Pre-Jury)

With exception of Chet, all of them did well in the game. But I vaguely remember how most of them play in the game strategic-wise and their social game (Other than Hatch, Todd and Chet). Chet is obviously have zero strategy in the game (he was just "there"), Hatch founded the idea of an alliance and Todd strike an alliance early in the game and it stuck 90% of the time.

Edited by myintermail, Oct 1, 2008 @ 5:42 AM.


#9

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Posted Oct 2, 2008 @ 3:34 AM

Cook Islands also had JP, who was out 3rd just after the first tribe shuffle. He wasn't as out back then, but he's been super out as a model on the Janice Dickinson Modeling Agency.

It's interesting to see the long gap between Africa and Vanuatu, whereas only Fiji and Panama have not out gay contestants since then (although part of me had wishful thinking for Aras... I thought he was cute).

Well, clearly the biggest gay relationship in the show has always been Probst's man-crush on the alpha male of the season, starting with Colby.

Lol, do you remember who else Probst was crazy about each season?

Yeah, Probst always likes the alpha males, and they are the straight ones. Terry, Ozzy, James are probably some later examples of his favorites. On the flip side, he always rags on the players he sees as super weak (Chet, Lydia).

#10

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Posted Oct 2, 2008 @ 7:13 PM

The shameful part was when Ami kissing her then girlfriend was edited out and Burnett defended his decision in Entertainment Weekly. As far as most sapphic tinged moment since then I'd go with Natalie's interest in Parvati culminating in the tribal council.

#11

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Posted Oct 3, 2008 @ 12:09 PM

I don't like the fact that it seems that they are filling some sort of quota. We've seen the typical stereotypes over and over...such as:

The Prissy Gay Man (Why not have a regular gay man on the show instead of someone so prissy?)

The Angry Black Man (Black men should be ticked off)

The Dumb Blonde (Although Sugar isn't dumb and she's not really a blonde) hehe

The Bitch

etc...etc...

#12

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Posted Oct 4, 2008 @ 5:50 AM

It's interesting to see the long gap between Africa and Vanuatu,


Marquesas, the season right after Africa, had a gay man (John). Then Thailand and Amazon had no openly gay contestants.

The Prissy Gay Man (Why not have a regular gay man on the show instead of someone so prissy?)


Brad wasn't prissy. Brad got very little screentime, but he didn't fit stereotypes.

Survivor sees people as stereotypes. They assume the audience is full of idiots who can only take a very limited vision.

In spite of that, I would say that Todd, Chet, Coby, and Charlie, to name some of the most recent gay men on the show who had storylines, have been extremely different in personality and in gameplay.

#13

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Posted Oct 4, 2008 @ 12:46 PM

In spite of that, I would say that Todd, Chet, Coby, and Charlie, to name some of the most recent gay men on the show who had storylines, have been extremely different in personality and in gameplay.


Can you briefly explain how Coby & Rafe played in the game? I hardly remember they had a good strategy in the seasons they played.

Also, from the list they were only 2 lesbians compared to 8 gay men (John from Marquesas included) featured in Survivor. Is it harder to find homosexual women to become a tokenistic cast or lesbians are cast by chance?

#14

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Posted Oct 4, 2008 @ 2:13 PM

Can you briefly explain how Coby & Rafe played in the game? I hardly remember they had a good strategy in the seasons they played.


Coby didn't have any significant strategy that I can remember, aside from early attempts to be the "social butterfly". He soon isolated himself because of how much he hated Tom. He only stayed to jury because Koror kept winning challenges. He seemed to enjoy the challenges much more than the strategy.

Rafe's strategy was to be the nice guy, to build an alliance, to work with Steph and use her to get rid of all the threats to him. Steph took the backlash because those were her friends and allies and because she wasn't very likeable. They also happened to be people Steph might have had a chance to beat in the final two. That way he knew if she won the last immunity she'd take him to the end. It was a good strategy, but he messed up in keeping Danni over Lydia. Telling Danni she didn't have to take him to final two was also a mistake, but I think the big mistake was letting her get to final three in the first place, because even if he hadn't released her from her word, she might have still voted him out.

Edited by O2Sean, Oct 4, 2008 @ 2:13 PM.


#15

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Posted Oct 4, 2008 @ 3:19 PM

Marquesas, the season right after Africa, had a gay man (John). Then Thailand and Amazon had no openly gay contestants.


Yeah, that's what I thought. I remembered Boston Rob having a comment about "the gay guy" that set an initial dislike for some viewers against him. I forgot the comment and couldn't find the reference, so I left John off the list until I knew someone else would pick it up. Good call!

I do remember, though, that that comment was one of the suggestions Twoppers gave for possible reasons why the several gay racers on TAR 7 all despised Boston Rob. That, or his camera mugging and use of Survivor tactics on TAR. Their angry obsession with Rob made Patrick, Lynn, and Alex all less appealing that year. However, it is interesting to note the variable numbers of gay contestants (either as couples, friends, or family members) each season on TAR compared with the usual one or none on Survivor (excluding having 2 on Vanuatu and CI).

#16

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Posted Oct 5, 2008 @ 9:49 PM

Thanks for the info, O2Sean and WannaBeBad2.

Personally I am not a fan of stereotyping people regardless of race, religion, sexuality and gender too. The constant push of the TPTB of shoving gay men stereotypes to the audiences' throats just confirms the false image of a gay men "should" act, particularly people who never interact with actual homosexuals.

That being said, should TPTB have a tokenistic cast of a homosexual contestant just like they have for ethnic minorities to have diversity, regardless they fit to the stereotype?

#17

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Posted Oct 7, 2008 @ 4:57 PM

Okay, I give. I thought and thought, and I can't remember....Whose Brad?

Wait. is Brad from Fiji? That's the only one I remember, and he was gay?

No: I don't want a token homosexual contestant, because quite frankly, I don't want a token anyone contestant. I want ppl who can play the game.

Edited by sienna gold, Oct 7, 2008 @ 4:58 PM.


#18

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Posted Oct 7, 2008 @ 8:00 PM

Brad was on Cook Islands, as was JP. He was part of the big tribe of 8 that lost all the challenges to the Aitu 4. He wasn't very prominent, compared with people like Jonathan, Candace, Ozzy, Yul, or even Cao Boi, so it's understandable that he'd fade from your memory. He did make the jury, though, (esp. since the jury was expanded that season).

#19

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Posted Oct 7, 2008 @ 10:09 PM

I don't think most of the gay players who have been cast have been there just to be tokens. With some exceptions (Chet most obviously, and Coby and maybe Brad), many of the gay players have tried to play the game all out. Some of them even dominated in both challenges and strategy. I think every group on Survivor is cast based on stereotypes, which does annoy me, but when I compare Survivor's casting to, say, Real World casting (Tyler, Davis), I realize how much worse it could be.

I mostly remember Brad because of the reprehensible way he was treated by his tribe, especially the "nancy boy" comment from Nate.

#20

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Posted Oct 8, 2008 @ 11:34 AM

You know. I still can not place him at all. Cook Islands... okay that's Yul's season.... okay and naturally,stupid CBS changed the website so you can't even see past seasons of Survivor Pictures anymore. This is bad, I usually can remember most of the casts. (which in itself, really sad LOL).

#21

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Posted Oct 8, 2008 @ 2:49 PM

Here's an interview with Brad, and a photo.

#22

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Posted Oct 8, 2008 @ 7:16 PM

Oh, HIM!
Okay. Thank you. I remember him now. Geeze. That was driving me insane. Again. I didn't think he was gay :)

#23

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Posted Oct 9, 2008 @ 5:37 AM

I don't think most of the gay players who have been cast have been there just to be tokens. With some exceptions (Chet most obviously, and Coby and maybe Brad), many of the gay players have tried to play the game all out. Some of them even dominated in both challenges and strategy.


You can add Todd and Charlie to the list of tokenistic gay cast.

While I was fine to most of the homosexual contestants in all of the seasons, I find Charlie extremely annoying. Not that he checked all the boxes for a typical gay male, but 50% of his confessionals are about worshipping Marcus drives me crazy. I certainly don't remember anyone else who is involved in showmances (straight or otherwise) does that.

#24

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Posted Oct 10, 2008 @ 9:01 AM

One of my friends works with the Survivor casting people and she said that they looked long and hard for this season's "gay" before casting Charlie. Apparently, they said they were looking for someone who was visibly gay - so that if someone were just tuning in, they would immediately know that he was the gay guy, she was the mother, he was the nerd, etc. It was interesting because my friend said she saw casting tapes of really interesting, dynamic gay men - who were not cast at least in part because they were not obviously gay enough. It does sound annoying but I actually think Survivor does do a pretty job with diverse casting (at least, compared other shows) and men like Brad, JP and even (gag) Rafe have shown a willingness to portray a wide array of gay types.

#25

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Posted Oct 10, 2008 @ 12:30 PM

But I think that kind of thing ultimately hurts minorities, because it plays up stereotypes. That's why I loved Cook Islands, because there were no 'token' characters in terms of race, and those who were minorities (Jessica, Brad, Caoboi) had interesting dimensions to them.

Unfortunately survivor seems to have regressed back into casting stereotypes (geeky Asian, fem gay guy, dumb blonde, cartoony villain) which unfortunately grabs ratings because it makes people more "memorable". Shame.

#26

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Posted Oct 11, 2008 @ 8:35 AM

You can add Todd and Charlie to the list of tokenistic gay cast.


I'm not sure if I'd say Todd was a token gay because they never even said onair that he was gay. They stripped away anything about him as a person to make him into the one-dimensional schemer.

I think that Survivor has a very specific edit in mind with Charlie and most of his actual game is meaningless. He does have to own his embarrassing adoration of Marcus, but from the clips and the interviews that aren't on the episodes, his game is much more than simply saying "I love Marcus".

I think Survivor wants to go the laziest route this season, either through lack of inspiration or through an attempt to get new viewers. That means we don't see anything of Charlie beyond "I love Marcus", just as we don't see anything of most of the players beyond the most unimaginative caricatures. I think some producer got a good laugh at the idea of a gay man having a crush on a straight man, and they thought this would be great to show over and over.

Or maybe this will lead to some big point for Marcus and Charlie, and Charlie eventually knocks him out of the game, or Marcus betrays him, I don't know. I'd just like to see something beyond what we've had so far. Their relationship is more complex than what the episodes have shown so far.

That's why I loved Cook Islands, because there were no 'token' characters in terms of race, and those who were minorities (Jessica, Brad, Caoboi) had interesting dimensions to them.


One of the reasons I didn't care for Cook Islands was I thought through either casting or editing, they very rigidly enforced racial stereotypes. Lazy Stephannie, obnoxious Nate, meek Becky, superperfect Yul, wacky crazy Caoboi. Then there was Candice/Parvati/Adam, who all reinforced what some would see as stereotypes of whites (Adam the dumb jock, Candice the princess).

Brad could have had interesting dimensions, but instead he was invisible.

Sadly, in more recent years, it seems like Survivor may only want to bring up a gay man's sexuality if it means viewers can laugh at him, or see it as some type of novelty act (like Charlie). It's very rare that gay people can just be openly gay, matter-of-factly. I do think Survivor has had a fascinating and in terms of personality diverse group of gay men, but I don't know how many of them were ever actually shown as being out.

Edited by O2Sean, Oct 11, 2008 @ 8:41 AM.


#27

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Posted Oct 11, 2008 @ 12:50 PM

I'm not sure if I'd say Todd was a token gay because they never even said onair that he was gay. They stripped away anything about him as a person to make him into the one-dimensional schemer.


I remember he told someone in his tribe (Leslie?) or said it somewhere when he introduced himself to his tribe mates in episode 1. After that his sexuality was not brought up at all, and neither of his actions that checked the check list of a stereotypical gay male.

He does have to own his embarrassing adoration of Marcus, but from the clips and the interviews that aren't on the episodes, his game is much more than simply saying "I love Marcus".


So far as we have seen on the show, Charlie is portrayed as one-dimensional love sick puppy who falls for a guy who will not be attracted to him. Heck, some of his insider videos are more in-depth confessionals of how wonderful Marcus is. We never got to see how he performs in challenges, what strategy he adopted in the game and who he interacts with more (aside from Marcus) and his opinions about his tribemates (again, besides Marcus).

Usually I'm fine with a gay castaway in the show. But Charlie's actions and how he is portrayed so far has painted a bad name for the homosexual community as people who are unfamiliar with the gay culture might think gays are hyper effeminate, love-sick and in some level, annoying.

#28

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Posted Oct 11, 2008 @ 9:56 PM

I'm not sure if I'd say Todd was a token gay because they never even said onair that he was gay. They stripped away anything about him as a person to make him into the one-dimensional schemer.


I'm pretty sure this is incorrect, 02Sean; if you recall the beginning of the season, they introduced Todd as a 'gay Mormon flight attendant'. So if you mean that it was not discussed between Todd and his tribemates on the show, you could be right- I seem to recall there were a few references made, but I could be wrong- but it was not like Brad of the CI season, where the only reference was from Nate's stealth homophobia with the 'nancy boy' comment.

Speaking of Brad: in a few of his interviews, he mentioned that not only was he out to his tribe, he basically had a tribe meeting around the firepit where he told them all. Which I cannot imagine somehow did not get filmed. This is not the RW/RR Challenge; everything gets filmed.

Survivor is essentially run on stereotypes and storylines; unfortunately, gay men and women who do not fit into a neat, familiar box or whose sexuality does not directly help along whatever arc the producers are trying to push that season are ignored or marginalized.

Edited by TWoP Pembleton, Oct 12, 2008 @ 8:19 PM.


#29

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Posted Oct 11, 2008 @ 10:05 PM

I think Charlie's actions involving Marcus make him look silly and pathetic, but I don't think he's given the gay community a bad name. I think most viewers know that's just him, not gay men in general, particularly since he's the first gay man on the show to ever have a story which amounts to little more than having a crush on a straight man.

For me, the season which was the most pervasive in potential damage to the image of gays was All-Stars. Episode after episode had smarmy jokes from various men on Richard's tribe about having to sleep near a naked Richard. Richard himself was unbelievably smarmy and creepy, to me at least. Then there was the rubbing his genitals against Sue, and the ensuing debate over whether or not this was wrong, because he was gay so maybe it wasn't as bad as if he'd been straight. I always thought he did as much to reinforce stereotypes as to break them in his first season, but I never imagine just how awful he was going to be in All Stars.

#30

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Posted Oct 16, 2008 @ 11:04 AM

What about Jeff Varner? He was one of my favorites.