This is an essay I wrote online on Facebook about a year ago. It has turned into something that people have to try and dig up from the archives whenever somebody goes on a rant about Flo and how she is the worst winner ever.
To make it easier for everyone, I have decided to paste that entry into its own blog post.
Flo was a legend on so many levels.
1) Up to that point in reality TV, whether it be The Mole/Survivor/TAR, all reality TV winners showed an overall amount of diversity in terms of skill related to the show they had won. This is 2002. Everybody who had won showed respect towards the competition they were on and kept their personalities in check.
Flo is the first contestant to go against all of that.
a) She cried and threatened to quit throughout most of her season, intentionally dodging almost every Roadblock and nearly frightening task except skydiving.
b) She had extremely high expectations for Zach.
c) She went against her own romantic partner to hook up with another team (okay Tara did that too but the audience didn’t mind because Wil is not quite as noble as Zach), which hasn’t really happened before or since.
d) She was exactly like the AI ally from Goldeneye, Natalya. When you play Goldeneye, you cannot let Natalya drift more than ten feet away from you or else she will do nothing. Flo did this on multiple occasions where she waited for Zach to come back and walk with her away from obstacles.
e) She was willing to throw away the game just 24-36 hours before the finish line. . .and gets rewarded with the win? That’s not how reality shows are expected to work. The audience expects they can make sense of the victory.
2) Yet putting aside all of her insane antics, she still did well at some subtle aspects of the race.
a) She was responsible for having working relationships with many of the teams to help her and Zach get ahead. Zach wouldn’t have been able to do this.
b) She had a big linguistic advantage in Europe and Morocco which hilariously screwed over Andre/Damon.
c) She was never rude to locals or presented personality traits portraying xenophobia. Her disrespect was aimed squarely at Zach.
3) She was the first female winner in franchise history. Flo. Tiny, crazy, and non-enduring Flo is a pioneer for women in TAR. This is why I always found the notion of an all-female team winning TAR to be funny. Could two Flos racing together be the key?
I remember eleven year old me was pissed that Flo & Zach won. This was the season I was so excited about that I started -saving- my VHS tapes that I recorded Survivor and TAR on (it aired simultaneously with Survivor: Thailand where I also kept VHS tapes).
During one class in the sixth grade, we even watched the Heather/Eve boot.
Perhaps my favourite part about Flo’s victory is coming home from school the day after the finale to watch her interview with Caroline Rhea. For those of you who do not know much about her in the early 2000s, she was a massive Survivor and TAR fan.
Anyways, Caroline got Flo to say during the interview that she should have only 10, 000 dollars of the prize and Zach be assigned 990, 000 of it.
This, of course, inspired a parody article on Zach’s website TARFlies that people to this day think is completely serious, and claim Flo did in fact give all of her winnings to Zach. The website’s sense of humour went over their heads.
Flo was 23 years old when she won. Today she would be hovering around 38 years of age. I would love to see what she would be like if she raced again. Turning down TAR 11 was understandable due to circumstances, but Flo is one of those few old schoolers who I would love to see how she would change after such a long period of time.
P.S. Feel free to send me additional points for me to add into this essay. Thank you.