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Survivor Hype

Saturday, April 21, 2001

By Rob Owen, Post-Gazette TV Editor

Now we know the best man won't win "Survivor." Fatherly, prayer-leading, dadgummit-spouting Rodger Bingham from Kentucky was voted out after a particularly tear-filled episode.

Rodger Bingham

Everyone got weepy when smarmy host Jeff Probst gave them the chance to instant message with loved ones back home via computer.

Boring scenes of typing gave way to tears, which led to nausea.

"We call each other 'Peas and Carrots,' " Keith said, describing the nicknames he and his girlfriend have for one another.

It got worse.

Keith asked his girlfriend, who looks as if she ought to be his daughter, to marry him. It's still unclear who's crazier -- he for proposing online or she for saying yes.

Later, Rodger ascended to near saint-like status when he sacrificed himself so his beloved Elisabeth could remain a little longer to vie for the $1 million grand prize.

"I think of her as much as I do a lot of members of my family," Rodger said. "We've become very close, and I've watched out for her."

Even though Rodger was the nicest player remaining, none of the potential winners is as awful as most of the finalists in the original "Survivor."

I haven't completely forgiven Tina for stabbing Maralyn in the back, and Keith is pretty manipulative, as the Colbster suggested this week. But even if one of them wins, it won't be as crushing as the Richard Hatch victory last year.

CUT THE UMBILICAL CORD: "We're best friends," Colby said of his mom, "so much more than a mother-and-son relationship. She's everything."

CUT THE UMBILICAL CORD II: Elisabeth referred to Rodger as "my Outback daddy."

MISSED OPPORTUNITY: All the warm and fuzzy time spent communicating with the folks back home would have meant more if executive producer Mark Burnett bothered to develop the backgrounds of the characters as he did in the first "Survivor." Instead, this season has been all about strategy, with little time devoted to the home lives of the contestants.

CHAINS OF CHALLENGE: How ironic. The Immunity Challenge featured players shackled and chained the same week similarly-themed "reality" series "Chains of Love" premiered on UPN.

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