What I Read/Watched is my Friday series detailing a writing lesson I learned from something I watched or read. It is not my intention to divulge spoilers, but sometimes it might be necessary to explain the lesson.
I’ve always found the name of this show to be a bit of a misnomer. Or, at the very least, it carries a double meaning. Because the actual surviving the elements part isn’t completely left up to the contestants. They aren’t really all on their own after all. They are surrounded by camera crews and production staff, and occasionally Jeff comes down from the fancy hotel to interact.
But what the contestants do have to survive is an intense social game. They have to form alliances and perform as a team while playing for a solo-prize. Most often, this causes them to face inner demons and on the reunion show at the end of a season there is a lot of talk about the emotional journey they experienced.
Hmmm, not all that different than what should happen in our books, hu?
This week that struggle was particularly real for Brandon Hantz, nephew of the former player voted most hated – Russel Hantz. From the moment we were introduced to Brandon he insisted repeatedly to the cameras, he was not going to play the game like his uncle did, but he wasn’t in any hurry to tell his team-mates about his family.
This all began to unravel for him very quickly. First he started manipulating his team mates, and then with the guilt became too much he spilled the truth, every last bit of it, including tears for the camera.
The first three episodes this season demonstrated a hero’s inner emotional journey pretty well, at lest the beginning. I don’t think I would send my character through all the stages as fast as Brandon has breezed through them, and I’m not sure Brandon has completed his growth arc yet.
I guess I’ll have to tune in again next week to find out how he’s doing.