Thursday, February 09, 2006

Reality Television Thy Taste is Bitter

I would completely lose my taste for reality television if every show ended with the irritation of last night's Project Runway or tonight's Survivor. It is so annoying when events do not follow the script I have in my head. Of course, the same thing can happen with traditional television shows, after all, Rhoda and Joe divorced and Sam Beckett is still leaping from lifetime to lifetime, if you see what I mean.

I don't want to completely recap tonight's Survivor because, well, frankly it's a lot of work and by Thursday I'm pretty tired. My sister also criticized my last effort saying it wasn't funny enough. (What is funny enough, I wonder?) I stayed up extra late last night venting about Project Runway-Makeover so for Survivor I'm just doing a critique.

Let's talk about the strategy involved in the show which is the main reason I watch it. I have seen almost every season of Survivor. I believe I missed Thailand, which if my sister is telling the truth was no great loss because somce really obnoxious porn star guy won. I do remember they had a teacher on that season who talked continually about how much she missed beer which as an educator appalled me. I was taking a night class that fall for my second master's degree (you know I had to get that in, right?) so I only caught a couple of episodes. My point, now that I remember I was making one, is that I do not claim to be the font of all knowledge Survivor. I know enough to makes some comments about the mis-steps I feel occurred in tonight's show.

First we have the school yard pick, and in spite of a growing body of evidence that older players are better teammates--more loyal, harder working, more pleasant, less given to inane behavior--we see that, in general, the young women go for the young guys and nobody wants the older men or women until they have to pick them. Someone, a younger girl, does make the fatal mistake of picking Shane--crazy, quitting smoking guy--because he was the 'coolest' of the old guys. I think she'll regret that decision because he's, well, crazy quitting smoking guy. I assume that the young women are looking for men who will be easily ensnared in their seductive webs in order to ensure their own survival by developing a Rob and Amber like connection. Ditto the younger men in reverse. Now they cloak this strategy in the old "we need physically strong players" but some of those girls are so frail they couldn't stand up to any kind of physical competition so that's just so much hooey. Anyway, the fact that in year after year of Survivor seasons the romantic connection plan has only worked the once, doesn't seem to affect the continued attempts to use the strategy. '

So we merge from four teams into two. I don't have it all straight in my head who's who. I'm happy to see that the former fighter pilot guy and the astronaut have ending up on the same team. I regret that Bruce? the other older guy who got exiled will end up on what I will now call LOSER team.

Winner team, with my military guys, wins the reward and immunity. We don't see much of them because they are integrating pretty successfully. I note that the two older guys form an alliance with the two younger guys. The two younger guys are also approached by the two younger girls. Hmm, that could lead to conflict down the road but right now younger guys are in the driver's seat because both sides want their votes. These players have the sense to keep their mouths shut about these backstage shenanigans. That is smart strategy. Keep your secrets. What other people don't know they can't get upset about or be offended by or counter-strategize against. DUH. That's Survivor 101.

Back at LOSER team--with it's head case Shane as the main spokesperson, we have pretty much the opposite strategy being played out. First, Shane is blabbing at the challenge to everyone about how crappy their team is physically before they have even competed in a challenge. Is this because the younger men/women camp or whereever they ended up, has no fire, no shelter, and no brains? Then we spend tons of minutes watching Shane boohoo like a big baby because he misses his son and stuff and job and detox from nicotine. He cleverly puts together an alliance of four apparently based on approaching whoever is not plump. He then threatens to kill anyone who breaks the alliance. Oh yeah, this is gonna work great.

So after LOSER team loses, Shane has a hissy fit. He wants to go home. Boo Hoo. Wah Wah. Let me call the wahmbulance for this pathetic cadavar. Cuz you've noticed the guy's emaciated, right? I mean, seriously, Cerie or Melinda could take him in a wrestling match, I have no doubt. His loyal alliance are devastated that he might quit and talk him out of bailing on them. Why?? Oh right, numbers-they need four to stay in control of the other three. So after Shane flip-flops, the other guy in the alliance--no, I do NOT know his name--decides to put all his cards on the table and just tell Cerie and Melinda that it will be one or the other. Shane helpfully chimes in that whoever survives today will just go next. Don't get too comfortable. That kind of honesty is always so helpful in the game of Survivor. All the team members just work so hard to win then. Don't these morons understand that the idea is to go into the merge with the most members? You've revealed your alliance--you've shown your willingness to keep crazy Shane over people who want to be there whole-heartedly--and you've made it clear to Cerie or Melinda that they have no stake in what happens with the team because they're going home no matter how hard they work or how much effort they put into the challenges. Wow. Maybe they could write a book on how NOT to play Survivor.

At tribal council, naive me, I briefly hope that the two younger girls in crazy-Shane's alliance will rethink what is happening after he admits his three pack a day habit which he is quitting cold turkey. His skinny little body with its limited lung capacity is not that big an advantage for the team--oh wait, it's NUMBERS, stupid. Metaphorical head beating--Why can't I remember that? Making a case for herself, Cerie cleverly talks about how disappointed her family will be if she is voted off. She is SMART! Melinda just mentioned how pissed she will be. (Excuse my quote, there.) I think readers of my blog, being the smartest on the internet, have already seen that Melinda will be the one to go.

So another reality show ends this week with irritation resulting in immediate blogging. Getting it all out in my blog actually helps me sleep better. I used to just write letters to CBS in my head. I never sent them, I just planned them. Blogging is actually good for my sleep and my stress levels. Hmm, what do you know--my hobby and obsession is good for me.

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