After the first episode of Survivor Samoa I hated Russell Hantz, this season's evil genius. Watching last night's finale, I almost (but not quite) hoped he'd win.
At the end of this post you'll find a comment interchange between me, Brian, and Tucson -- a regular commenter on my blogs and a fellow Survivor fan. Since this interchange occurred on a post unrelated to the show, I wanted to copy it to this post-finale pondering about Russell's unexpected second place finish.
Tucson and I ended up in basic agreement with a thoughtful NPR blog analysis by Linda Holmes: Russell blew it, because he thought Survivor was all about strategizing and scheming, not interpersonal relationships.
Russell was an inveterate liar and jerk on the show. Question is, what's he like in real life? If he was acting on Survivor, it was a masterful performance. But I tend to think that Russell really is as unappealing a guy as he appeared to be.
And that he lied about being a rich oil company executive along with many other things. My Googling of "Russell Hantz" didn't turn up any evidence that he's a highly paid successful businessman.
However, I did find some well-deserved skepticism that Russell is who he claimed to be. Way back in September there was talk that Russell's bio was a lie. Seemingly he doesn't own any property in the part of Texas where he lives. And his "oil company" has a zero online presence.
When someone typed in the address of Hantz Tankering Service, which is the name of his company, aerial photos show a nondescript rural residential road. Methinks Russell is a fake.
Here's the interchange between Tucson and me:
Tucson: At least Russell didn't win Survivor. There must have been a teeny bit of consolation in that.