That’s exactly what happened tonight, with the game’s biggest villain (real name: Jon Dalton) taking himself out of the game after his team of “favorites” lost a tricky challenge to a tean made up of giddy Survivor super fans.
At least I think that was Fairplay. Gone was a lot of the cheesy WWE swagger from Pearl Islands, although he tries to talk the talk in a pre-show video on CBS’s official Survivor site (check it out here). In the game itself, he looked more like Will Ferrell playing Johnny Fairplay, with that fake smile, extra bad ‘fro, and dorky shirt. As soon as he team lost and were headed to tribal council he lobbied hard to be tossed first, boo-hooing about how much being a new dad means to him now–even though Baby Fairplay wasn’t due for another two months.
Probst called him a quitter, snuffed out his torch and then gave him a big hug on the way out. Fairplay–who lied that his granny died to gain a sympathetic edge during his past tour on Survivor–was doomed from the start in this game and he knew it. He had the biggest target ever on his back and this way–in his mind at least–he avoided the humiliation of being the first loser by “masterminding” his own exit.
Probst broadly hinted this would happen in a CBS phone conference with critics last week, suggesting we all would get exactly what we would expect from Fairplay tonight. Probst also admitted he wanted nothing more to do with the guy prior to the teams being selected–he even at one point wanted him banned from any Survivor fan parties or conventions. Probst was eventually talked into letting the manipulative weasel back in the game by other Survivor producers. Mark Burnett knows every game has to have a bad guy or two and Fairplay came ready made.
Probst said he made peace with Fairplay and also hinted he felt a little sorry for the guy; tonight we see what he meant. Teary, frightened, anything but cool, Fairplay seemed like someone who knew he was well past his 15th minute. He was outwitted, outplayed, out of time. Be a dad, best of luck, but never come back, not even on The Surreal Life. The tribe has spoken.