Friday, August 25, 2006

Outwit! Outplay! Outlast! Outraged!

Much like Superman, I too have one weakness.

For me, it’s not Kryptonite, but Reality TV.

If you’ve been coming here for any amount of time, you have no doubt heard me expunge about my obsession with this nasty habit: Surreal Life, Real World, American Idol, Apprentice, Amazing Race, etc.

No matter how much I try to tell myself I’d be better off just reading a book, I find myself time and again getting myself invested in the lives of people I could otherwise care less about.

But of ALL my Reality TV obsessions, not one of them comes close to the near Jihad-level of fanaticism that I have for “Survivor”. I don’t know what it is about the show that captivates me like a Pavlovian dog, but captivate me it does.

Allow me to use bullet points to detail my level of obsession:

- Except for the VERY first episode of season 1, when my damn VCR died on me, I have watched every single episode of Survivor EVER. The day my TIVO abandons me and I miss an episode, the world will feel my wrath.

- I tried out for Survivor 3: Africa, which had been regarded by far as their most brutal season for the contestants. I actually got a few stages into the interview process before I got the “We might call you for a future season” stock answer. My audition tape was genius (I had thought): I was running thru the jungle in a Blair Witch-type spoof except in my video, it was my first night on the island. I had the Blair Witch outfit on, and it was pretty damn funny if I do say so myself. And no, you cannot see the video. I am not ready to bestow that level of humiliation upon myself. Trust me, Earl has been begging to see it for 4 years now. It’s not going to happen.

- As a goof one year, I decided to run a small Survivor pool with Earl, my niece, and myself. It was kinda fun. Enough fun that the next season I asked a few people at work to join in. Word spread, and every year the pot got bigger and bigger as more and more people joined in. I had strangers calling me saying “Hi, my sister works with a friend who knows someone who is in your Survivor pool. I want in! Where do I send the check?”. By the last few seasons I was running it, the pot had gotten pretty big for what was supposed to be a fun little game. When all the layoffs started here, It got depressing to keep removing names from the pool, so I finally decided to close shop on it.

- Sometime in the near future, I will be sending in another audition tape. I want to be on that show. I need to be on that show. It is MY DESTINY!

Anyhoo, how much I am obsessed with Survivor is not the point of this article.

You may have heard in the news this week that CBS has finally released information about the upcoming season, titled Survivor: Cook Islands, and the new cast. They made a bit of a stir because this season, they have decided to begin the game with 4 separate tribes, segregated by race!

You heard that right.

This season, we wont be treated to the typical pairings of 2 tribes, with the usual early division and strife between the young hotties and the older geezers (wonder which side I’ll be on when I finally get on?).

No, this season the 4 teams will be Whites, Blacks, Asian, and Hispanics. You can check out their pics above.

As soon as the announcement was made, the public outcry began. Civil Liberties organizations in NYC have already called to boycott the show, and similar statements have been made all throughout the country.

And isn’t that EXACTLY what Marc Burnett wants for his little show? After last seasons rating’s slip (The show however is still a huge moneymaker, costing almost nothing to make and consistently falling in the top 10), Burnett felt he needed to shake things up a bit and create some controversy. He attempted to use the idea last season on his other reality show, The Apprentice, but apparently the Don nixed the idea after getting some bad press about it.

How will this affect the show? I have no idea, but I for one applaud any time a show tries to push some boundaries, in almost any way it can think of.

I will definitely be watching (as if anyone had any doubt!).

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