Thursday, November 19, 2009

Survivor (another other reality television, plus some LOST)

I feel compelled to write a blog post about my favourite guilty pleasure tv show, Survivor. Since I last posted, the big villain, Russell H has turned into the big hero. He's the main member of the underdog folk in the newly merged Aiga tribe, and while he's still not a "nice" guy, he's just an excellent player. I'm rooting for him, maybe not to win, but it will be a sad day when he leaves. My Mom has made a great point when she says she doesn't want him to win because in the first episode he admitted to being a multimillionaire. She's right. I'd rather one of his allies win for that very reason.

I got to thinking today about how Russell H has become the hero of the season. It's all about the editing. The producers realized they got a winner when they started seeing all the footage of Russell H. So in the early days, most of the time was spent on his tribe, Foa Foa. Therefore, the viewers got to know that tribe better than the Galu tribe. There were actually some members of Galu that did not get any significant interview time until the merge, so I did not actually know their names. How can you root for someone when you don't know anything about how they're playing the game? I think the audience has almost been forced into rooting for the Foa Foa members, including their big hero: Russell H. It's amazing how the "villain" has been shifted into hero status, and the practically unknown Galu folk are kind of the villains. At least, this is how I'm interpreting the game.

Survivor is awesome in that it is always best to start rooting for the underdogs. As a fan since near the beginning, I've watched all (or almost all) of every season, and I know that when you are in an underdog position, you start to scramble. And when the majority alliance gets cocky, that's when the trouble starts. Audiences love an underdog, so most of the time that is who I'm rooting for. My favourite season ever was the Cook Islands season, with Yul, Ozzy, Becky and Sundra. They became a tribe of four, and during the merge, they managed to pick off the majority tribe by continually winning immunity before the merge, and making agreements with the majority tribe members. When you're part of the underdogs, you stick together, and when you find cracks in the majority take advantage of them. It was brilliant game play, and Yul, the eventual winner, is among my favourite players ever (along with Ozzy, who got second place that season).

Yes, Survivor is serious business to me. I like it, and The Amazing Race because they don't feel as tacky as some of the reality shows that have been produced (The Swan on FOX comes to mind as an example of a tacky show). Essentially they're games of skill. Survivor has a huge networking and social aspect, which I really respect. I also acknowledge the difficulty of both shows. I'd never go on Survivor (and can't, because I'm Canadian) because I'm out of shape first of all. Secondly, I'm very shy and not particularly good at scrambling to make friends fast. Thirdly, I have a low tolerance for stupid things people pull, and am painfully honest as a result, which can come across poorly if people don't know me well. Lastly, I don't deal with hunger well. I get dizzy and nauseated if I go too long without eating, and I tend to get cranky as well.

However, if I were able to, I'd love to go on The Amazing Race. I wish they took Canadians, because I would find a partner and apply. Not that I would be a particularly good team member. I don't have my full license so I couldn't be the driver, and I don't know left from right so I wouldn't be a particularly good navigator. Couple that with being out of shape, always in need of a snack close by, and my need for lots of sleep...and I'd be the most incompetent team mate ever.

I think I'll stick to the couch with my bowl of ice cream and my glass of water, and shout at the tv when I think someone is doing something stupid.


Oh, and in non-reality television news, LOST starts on Tuesday, February 2nd! I can't wait! I've been trying not to read any spoilers about it, because I want to go in surprised for as much of it as possible. It's very much like the last Harry Potter book for me. I spoiled myself for all the other books by reading the end before I got to the end...but I refused to do that with the last one, to the point where I read it in one shot. With the final season, I want to experience as much of it "fresh" as possible, so I'm forcing myself to avoid spoiler sites, and I may not even watch episode previews. That way I can get the full emotional impact of each episode.

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