Anyone who has read this virtual fishwrap for more than a year knows that I hate most reality TV, but that I love, love, love Survivor. Even the couple of crappy ones. I'd love to go on the show, but I never will, even if they would pick me. I simply can't imagine spending that long away from my family. Two days is the most I've ever managed. Still, I love to live vicariously through these people, and especially the lawyers. There are no words to describe how geeked I am to watch this new one.
Anyhow, words cannot describe how amused I am over the controversy surrounding Survivor 13 - Cook Islands. Nothing gets people more worked up over than race. Survivor divides teams into young and old -- nobody cares. They divide into male and female -- nobody cares. Players try to rally groups around gender ("come on, let's make it the 3 women against the 2 men, and we're golden to the final tribal council!"), nobody cares. Divide 20 people into four groups of different ethnicities (they aren't even different "races," since Asians and Latinos are actually caucasian) and people go bat shit crazy. The New York City Council even decides that they should take time off from their daily worries about high crime, heavy traffic, high taxes, terrorist threats and other pressing business, and start lobbying CBS to roundfile the whole season and start over.
I think it is great. If it turns into Crash on an island, even better. I'm just hoping that every action on the show is either a blatant example of stereotyping or the complete opposite. For example, I'd love to have the first immunity challenge be an engineering problem, and have the Asians finish last and have to vote someone off. If they win, however, it would be just as good for conversation. Then, in the next challenge, a running race, let the Blacks come in dead last. But if the Blacks smoke everybody, that's awesome, too. The only thing better than having the Blacks lose a swimming competition would be to have them win it with their strong swimming skills. That would be good TV.
My hope is this: if you make a friendly wager with a friend on the outcome of a particular challenge, based upon a racial stereotype, you either win, or lose poignantly. Any group coming in second or third in a competition involving any sterotypical strength or weakness will cause me to throw the remote at my TV screen.
In most previous shows, I've ended up rooting for a white guy, but only because I tend to like the physically strong players, who are usually (Terry, Aras, Tom, Rupert, Sarge, Lex, Colby) guys, and usually 80% of the players are white, so the numbers just tend to have me rooting for a white guy. Those same numbers, of course, also have a white guy as my least favorite player, and my three least favorite Survivor winners (Chris, Brian, Richard) were also white guys. This show only has 2 or 3 "white" guys (I honestly would peg some of the other guys as "white" if I saw them on the street), but I like one of them already. JP is a Cal. State guy. Go Cal. State! This one should be interesting.