Archives » September 15th, 2006

September 15, 2006

Survivor 13×01

It’s always so exciting when Survivor starts up. Especially the first episode of the fall season, when the show’s been off the air for four months and all you’ve been watching is Big Brother. Of course I know that watching the show gets less and less exciting as time goes on, and by the last few weeks the obligation to watch every week is like a noose around your neck, and you stop caring so much about who’s going to win, and start wishing one of them would get eaten by a shark just so you’d have something exciting to talk about. And also because many Survivor contestants do, in fact, deserve to be eaten by a shark. But we’re not at that point yet. We’re still at the first episode, the honeymoon period, so I still have the capacity to enjoy it.

And of course this season has the added dimension of The Gimmick, as so many seasons do. This year they’ve brought us Survivor: Race Wars, where the teams are separated by race. This gimmick led us first to cringing, then to head-shaking, and then to shrugging it off, because all it really proves is that they’ve run out of real ideas and are starting to do things because they’re “shocking” rather than having a reason. And they were probably hoping to get a boost in the ratings because of all the controversy, but that seems to have backfired on them.

Jeff Probst calls it a “social experiment”, which I don’t think is quite what he meant to say. If it was really a social experiment then they’d be asking some questions that I don’t really think they want to ask, like Who Fights More When They Get In A Group: Blacks or Whites? And Who Can Drink Contaminated Water Without Getting A Bowel Obstruction? Which, I think the Asians have already lost that one. Probably the most intriguing social experiment that came out of this whole thing was the one that regrettably happened off-camera. How did these contestants react when they were first told about The Gimmick? Did they get angry? Were they offended? Did they laugh it off? That’s the only real social experiment here, showing how people react when they’re singled out and separated because of their race. And it’s not shown on camera. When the show starts, the tribes have aready been assigned. So there’s an opportunity wasted. Plus, how long do you think this gimmick is going to last before they shuffle up the tribes? Two episodes? Three? Last season they were so proud of their “Old Women” vs “Young Men” dynamic, but then they wiped it all away just a few minutes into the second episode. So, I’m not counting on this “Race Wars” to last long.

Besides, the only racism I saw during this show was the editors’ insistence on showing so much of white girls Parvati and Candice, when Cecilia is clearly the hottest woman on the island. I mean, come on. Can’t the Latinas get any love?

Other thoughts:
* It’s pretty funny when the African-American team comes out and says, “Yes, black people do swim. Yes, black people do know how to get on a boat and paddle.” Then they immediately proceed to lose a challenge that involves what? Swimming and paddling. It’s ironic stuff like that that you can’t make up, and that the editors are so great at highlighting.
* I didn’t figure out the pronounciation of “Cao Boi” until I heard it out loud. Somehow I don’t think he was born with that name.
* Poor Brad. Which do you think hurt more, his “bad wind”, or Cao Boi’s cure? The migraine did go away, though. Probably because an artery in his skull ruptured, relieving the pressure.

* When I saw Jonathan the Chicken Man, he sure looked familiar. Like he reminded me of some actor. It turns out that he doesn’t remind me of a actor, he is an actor. Which I would have found out if I read his bio at CBS. TV Squad remembers him from Rude Awakening, but I know him as tabloid reporter Nick on The Naked Truth. Was that really on 11 years ago?

* Should be a fun season. Remind me I said that in December when I’m catatonic and can’t wait for the final episode.

Other links:
Trevor’s review at RFF
Miss Alli’s recap
TV Guide review
Zap2It review
Watch the episode on InnerTube
Download the episode with BitTorrent


There were many good things that happened during the 1970s. This is not one of them.

This is the inimitable Thor on the Mike Douglas show.