Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Survivor 13: Putting the Fever back into the Jungle

jungle feevah
Originally uploaded by Katrocket.
Today I was sitting in the lunchroom at work, dining with my colleagues, eating my dull salad and flipping thru a trashy celeb mag. I was about to offer some amusing commentary on that damn skank Lohan, when an article on the facing page caught the attention of the table. It was about this season's Survivor, a show I have watched faithfully for 12 seasons now. I stopped actually enjoying the show several years ago, but like a roadside accident, I can't seem to look away. I had a similar struggle with Melrose Place in the mid-90s.

There's been a lot of controversy since the announcement that contestants would be segregated by race (black vs. white vs. asian vs. hispanic). So what? They’ve already divided men from women, and old vs. young. It’s a fairly natural progression to go for the obvious, and it’s guaranteed headlines to boot.

I think Probst explains it best: “A lot of people who have never seen Survivor have absolutely no idea what they're condemning, and are using this as a platform to advance their own agenda.” I ♥ Jeff Probst.

We can pass this off as a ratings gimmick, but TV networks have been baiting races for fun and profit for decades. Anyone remember Archie Bunker? Good Times? The Jeffersons? Well, this black vs. white bullshit isn't exactly groundbreaking stuff.

We agreed that this could be an interesting social experiment, and by creating teams based on race, the elements of racism and prejudice within tribes would be eliminated from gameplay. I've heard many a past contestant (on many reality shows) whine and complain that they don't fit into their team because of "cultural boundaries", and there’s been accusations of discrimination and stereotyping. The folks watching at home can see that everyone hates that player because the individual is an asshole, not because of their race. So no more excuses, no more accusations. Step up or lose your fire, bitch.

What I’m interested in finding out, through the magic of reality television, is this: If everyone is the same race, does racism exist? I think that's the main point that Survivor is trying to make. In earlier seasons, they have already proven that separating a group solely by physical characteristics only brings on a new layer of conflict. As soon as one judgment factor is removed, (gender, for example) it is immediately replaced with another (such as homophobia or ageism).

Humans are funny that way. We gravitate toward sameness and conformity, and we long to be included and accepted into society, but at the same time, we stubbornly fight to remain absolutely individual. I believe that the essence of true "unity" probably looks a whole lot like the Borg Collective.

But who wants that shit?


steakbellie said...

Soceity already breaks us into groups and keeps us separated. This show will just mirror reality for 60 minutes a week.

Archie Bunker and the others were a long long time ago, and this will be the first admission by the people inside the television, that we arent the same color, since the whole Political Correctness thing.

God forbid we're actually different... I believe in equal OPPORTUNITIES for everybody, all this shit where we cant talk about whats really happening frustrates me.

Good for Survivor and their publicity stunt!

Birdy said...

Steakbellie is a racist.

steakbellie said...

If I told you some of the things Birdy said, you'd blush....

katrocket said...

That would be truly remarkable - Birdy is a pornographer and he hasn't made my face red yet.

Birdy said...

Its not racist if I can't remember it!

And since when did I become a pornographer? It's art, fuckers!

katrocket said...

Ha! No matter how many filters you pass them through, girls bent over with their legs spread and their ass up a camera lens is not art. Nice try though.

Some of your stuff is art. Some of it is pornography. I happen to enjoy both equally.

Okay, I actually like porn a little more.

steakbellie said...

"The Cruise"
Do you remember that?

Birdy said...

That cruise was not my idea.