A Love Letter to “Australian Survivor” Star Simon Mee: From Himbo to Hero

simon mee australian survivor
Network 10

I’m not going to lie. When Simon Mee of “Australian Survivor: Brains vs. Brawn” fame was announced as a returning cast member for “Australian Survivor: Heroes vs. Villains”, I wasn’t thrilled. The physical first, pride-above-all-else style of gameplay has never appealed to me as interesting. In fact, it frustrates me to no end.

Simon came into “Heroes vs. Villains”, apparently, ready to play the same style of game, so you can imagine how shook I feel writing that, as we approach season’s end, this villain might have just been the biggest hero of them all.

Why Was Simon Mee a Villain in the First Place?

I see a lot of talk online about how reality TV contestants shouldn’t be taken or judged by the edit they’re given on their respective shows, and that’s true. We know George, for example, is ruthless, unforgiving and completely selfish on Australian Survivor, but I would never just assume he’s like that in his day-to-day life. However, when people make commentary on reality television online, it’s on the character we’re presented with on the show, and it will never be able to encompass the nuances and complexities of the very real person that cops the brunt of that commentary.

Now, we know editing plays a colossal role in how “Survivor” players get portrayed on the show (except for Shonee — those genius one-liners thrown out consistently simply cannot be the fabrication of a production team). That being said, the Simon we were presented back in “Brains vs. Brawn” was truly insufferable to me. As soon as he had two idols firmly in his grasp, he was walking around like he owned the joint. Touting all these big moves he made that I simply must have been too blind to see! Naturally, his own pride led him to not play either of the two idols he held when he should have, and he was booted pre-merge and was just a blip in a season dominated by two of the greatest “Australian Survivor” players: Hayley Leake and George Mladenov.

If At First You Don’t Succeed, Do It Exactly the Same Way Again

simon mee smiling australian survivor heroes vs villains
Network 10

“Heroes vs. Villains” put the man in the same trajectory as before. Joining the show as a villain, he was tribemates with some all-time greats: Jordie, George and, may we never forget her, queen Shonee Fairfax. Ready to prove himself immediately, Simon came out swinging in the very first challenge with attempted sabotage of the Hero team’s efforts. As the game drew on, Simon the Survivor contestant reverted to his old ways — and on a tribe that contained the Spice Girls alliance, I was immediately turned off.

As a side note, I also had a serious problem with his relationship with George and the way they treated one another. But it seems like that’s all behind them.

But after a slew of big swings and bigger misses, Simon found himself at rock bottom of the tribe. Let’s not forget he found what was ultimately a clue to an idol, gave it to his allies thinking it was a legitimate idol, only for it to not work and have his ex-allies thinking that Simon played them. He was no longer walking around camp with his incredibly defined chest sticking out. He almost felt reserved and defeated. No-one wanted to play with him, and his lifelines were looking slim. The man had entered a flop era to end all flop eras. 

The Redemption Arc of the Kingslayer

It was at this moment that Simon’s character arc did a complete 180. With nothing left to lose besides the game itself, Simon mustered up this sort of gumption that helped him evade defeat for weeks. In an alliance that really only ever consisted of him, the man never gave up, despite many of the game’s biggest players wanting him goneski. Call it desperation or call it patience, Simon genuinely seemed elated when someone approached him with a plan. Every time someone told him where votes were going, it was like a dog at the park or Shonee with a margarita. It was the best day ever, every time. And, god damn it, that pulled at my lil heartstrings!

Now, Simon’s “Survivor” gameplay was defined by unflappable determination, overwhelming appreciation and just the most unbridled amount of cringe — and he didn’t care. From confidently misquoting Batman to talking about “severe bottomness”, Simon was really just saying whatever. And he didn’t care! This is a man who literally let Jordie feel an immunity idol wedged in between his butt cheeks. That is a level of free-spiritedness that, frankly, I aspire to.

Losses and setbacks filled Simon’s tenure on “Heroes vs. Villains.” Despite not receiving a single vote until day 37, he was consistently the base of the totem pole and can thank his physical strength for helping him through. But his storyline was never super negative or pitiful — it was the exact opposite. It was fun, it was inspiring, it was cringe, it was insane, it was just good television!

So, as we’ve finally hit the end of “Australian Survivor: Heroes Vs. Villains”, I have to apologise to Simon. I’m sorry for seeing you as little more than an egotistical muscular himbo. Embrace the himbo, please, but your determination, enthusiasm, sense of humour and unashamed passion and vulnerability has made you one of the most entertaining and most exciting contestants in the show’s history.

I hope he gets the chance to compete again. The man has learned his lessons and garnered the support of Survivor fans all around the world. He’s leaving the show a bigger hero than any of his competitors, and taught us all a valuable lesson: nothing will save us from flopping like embracing the cringe within.

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