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December 20, 2002

Survivor 5, 6, and 7

When "Survivor" first started several years ago, it spawned a wave of copy-cat "reality" television shows. The name is unfortunate—there's very little "reality" in the contrived situations "Survivor" casts have been in during the show's five seasons. Sure, they really do go hungry and have to sleep on the ground, but there is always a camera crew there with radio contact to helicopters and hospitals and whatever. That's not to say none of the so-called "survivors" has never been in any real physical danger; wasn't it the second season where Michael was choppered out after falling into the fire? So bad stuff can happen, but it's still only "real" in a very contrived sense.

So who cares about that "reality" moniker, is what I say. I find the show fascinating. "Survivor" and "The Amazing Race" are great, but you can keep your "Bachelor" and "Temptation Island" and "Big Brother" and "Osbornes." The appeal of those shows kind of bothers me. Why is it so great to see people humiliated and embarrassed and cheated on and lied to? Oh wait, that's also what happens on "Survivor," isn't it?

Anyway, "Survivor 5—Thailand" ended last night and the official story says:

After 39 days on a physical and mental roller coaster, Brian Heidik, the 34-year-old used car salesman from Quartz Hill, California, won a majority of the Jury's votes, earning him the title of SOLE SURVIVOR and giving him the million-dollar prize.

One of the things that gets me about the show (and another way in which it is anything but "real") is the power the editors have over viewers' opinions of the action and the "players." I want to say that Brian was the satanic incarnation of the sleaziest used car salesman stereotype you've ever heard. But what do I know?He's also apparently an actor. So aside from internet gossip, we only know what the producers/editors decided to show, and it's obvious they do whatever they can to magnify character flaws and tensions between people. But the point is, what does it take to win? And the answer is: That depends. According to Jeff Probst, "King of the Hyenas" ('s name for Probst during the 2nd season), if you want to be a survivor, you should:

Study John Nash's "non-cooperative game playing theory." All the answers to Survivor are there.

If you want to be a Survivor, here's the casting call. According the application, Survivor 7 will be filmed in June/July 2003, and the application process goes from the Feb 11 application deadline to final selection in April. You know me; I'm crazy about application processes, and heck, by now I should be a pro at them. Don't you think a few weeks as a Survivor contestant would be a good way to blow off steam before starting law school?

The application requires a 3-minute video. Does anyone have a digital video camera I could borrow for the next couple of weeks? ;-)

Footnote: A history of "Survivor" winners:

  1. Survivor 1—Pulau Tiga: Richard Hatch, the 39-year old corporate trainer from Newport, Rhode Island.

  2. Survivor2—Austrailian Outback: Tina Wesson, mother and personal nurse from Knoxville, Tennessee.

  3. Survivor 3—Africa: Ethan Zohn, the 27-year-old professional soccer player from Lexington, MA.

  4. Survivor 4—Marquesas: Vecepia Towery, the 36-year-old office manager from Portland, Oregon.

Posted December 20, 2002 01:05 PM | life generally

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