Television Interview: A few extra minutes for Jon

By John Leung Chung-Yin

There are certain things required to be an effective villain, especially in the realm of reality television. You need to speak your mind, even when nobody wants to hear it. You need to hold your composure while telling the most blatant of lies. And of course, you need to be an enormous pain in the ass. Jon Dalton, known to millions of television viewers as Johnny Fairplay, is all those things and more, having surpassed even Richard Hatch as Survivor’s all-time greatest villain for his role in the Dead Grandma Affair in Survivor: Pearl Islands. Still, Dalton is the same man today as he was when first gracing North American television screens two years ago.

Being on the show is perhaps one of the most exciting things in his life, according to Dalton, even though it was extremely physically and emotionally demanding on himself. He may have alienated most of his fellow castaways, he actually enjoyed the time he spent with all of his fellow Pearl Island castaways and continues to keep in close contact. However, he had some rather disparaging words for fan-favourite fellow castaway Rupert Boneham and host Jeff Probst.

In the game, though, Dalton was a cutthroat player. Some of the strategies he employed during his time on the Pearl Islands were ripped out of the original Survivor villain Richard Hatch’s playbook. While Dalton was invited to participate in Survivor: All-Stars, he declined, a disappointment to more than a few Survivor buffs. The short three-week transition period between Pearl Islands and All-Stars did not allow him time to fully recover.

Still, it’ll take Dalton a little longer than most to fade into reality television obscurity. Who could ever forget Dalton’s Dead Grandma Affair? During a reward challenge, with the opportunity for a night alone with a loved one at stake, Dalton’s best friend informed him of his beloved grandmother death. Though it would be revealed later to be a lie, he played his fellow castaways like a harp. According to Dalton, his grandmother doesn’t mind and actually relished the interviews that followed the incident.

With his Survivor career done for now, Dalton promises to grace television screens in the future. While plans to move onto CBS’s other flagship reality program, The Amazing Race, are on hold, Dalton will appear on a new VH1 program this fall along with other reality television “stars”. As well, he has signed a contract with a pro wrestling league in the US. So Johnny Fairplay may have closed a chapter in Survivor-dom, he looks like he’ll be an enormous pain in the ass for a little while longer. A true act of reality television villainy, indeed.

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