Before you retreat to your couch, your bedroom, or your office cubicle for an afternoon siesta, say a little prayer for Jamal Shipman, the latest victim in Survivor's sleep-shaming edit. The 33-year-old college administrator committed the cardinal Survivor sin by endorsing slumber in broad daylight, and he paid dearly by being painted as arrogant King Jamal, ruler of the popular kids and promoter of indolence.
If you want to teach your children the value of getting a good night sleep, don't let them watch Survivor. The characters edited in the most favorable light are almost always the ones lurking around in the darkness, foraging for idols or hiding camp essentials. Rick Devens in Edge of Extinction and Ben Driebergen in Heroes vs. Healers vs. Hustlers kept their games afloat by forgoing REM cycles to buy themselves another cycle of voting. Tony Vlachos, one of the most revered Survivor winners, hardly slept a wink throughout his 39-day adventure, building spy shacks and concocting his erratically entertaining master plans in his head in the middle of the night at the expense of his health. Survivor has aided in the notion that the less one dozes, the better chance that person has of being successful in the game. Meanwhile, the very image of a contestant relaxing in a hammock often foretells imminent elimination.
Those trained in recognizing these tendencies knew as soon as Jamal said, "I recommend a mid-day nap," that his chances of winning Island of the Idols had dropped exponentially, if not evaporated completely. The snoring cemented the ominous story arc. Rest assured, Jamal is still in the game. But his closest ally - at least from what we were shown on screen - Molly Byman, was the second person voted out of Survivor: Island of the Idols. There was certainly more to the manifestation of this blindside, but from what viewers were shown, it was the pompous proposal of pre-tribal repose that led to the dethroning of Queen Parvati 2.0.
This lazy narrative continued into tribal council, where Jamal was chided for suggesting slow play over big swings. His persistence on sticking with the easy vote during the 10-person Vokai tribe's first visit with Jeff Probst was derided. Once the votes came in for Molly, Jamal had been sketched as an overconfident leader who wasn't playing the game as hard as the others.
Before you troll Jamal over his ill-fated catnap, understand that sleep-shaming on Survivor is a real thing. It's been used to explain the downfalls of many a Survivor loser, when in reality, the missteps occur during waking hours. Jamal may have been shocked by the vote, but it wasn't because he caught some Zs. All humans need sleep to function. It's because he wasn't attune to the attitude at camp while he was awake.
Survivor airs Wednesdays at 8 p.m. on CBS.