Margaret Russell

Margaret Russell comments on behind-the-scenes drama.

on Feb 7, 2007

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When I watched Episode 2 on DVD, I was as surprised as you might have been by John's disclosure that he was HIV-positive and struggling with the after-effects of a massive dose of testosterone. It was clearly distressing for all of the contestants, however Jonathan, Kelly, and I didn't know what had taken place.

Every week, just like you, I'm learning what happened day-by-day. The judges see only what occurs in the White Room and as we walk through the finished product -- we are clueless as to snafus that take place during construction or any behind-the-scenes drama. (In the White Room, Michael tried to justify some snarky moments more than a few times by shouting "Just look at the footage!" But the backstory is irrelevant, what's key is who succeeds at each particular challenge.)

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John's dismissal was not because of his cantankerous personality or constant excuse-making. I think that he has true talent -- he wouldn't have been offered a spot on the show if he didn't -- but this challenge proved to be his floor-to-ceiling downfall.