Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Reality TV...

Still a wretched waste of time

Yesterday afternoon, Betsy came over to my cubicle to let me know about Mikayla’s progress on the most recent episode of Survivor.  Mikayla is the character that I’ve been assigned in our current Survivor office pool.

I don’t actually watch Survivor, and I had no intentions of ever joining the office pool.  However, we had a shortage of participants as the most recent season approached.  On the eve of the season premiere, Betsy approached me and asked if I'd consider joining as an emergency participant.

After some hesitation, I begrudgingly accepted her invitation.

During our cubicle meeting, Betsy let me know that Mikayla is a physically-gifted contestant who’s doing quite well for herself.  When I admit to her that still didn’t watch the show, I still despised the show, and I didn't understand its appeal, she tried her best to explain it to me and get me excited for this season's action.

The following is the conversation that ensued:

Betsy:  "So, there were two teams last night, and they were playing this game where you had to form a circle for each team, and both teams had to try to get this little ball thing into the circle, and--"

Me:  "This is about people trying to survive out in the wilderness...  right?"

Betsy:  (with emphatic hand gestures)  "Yeah, and so both teams were trying to get the little ball thingie into the circle (makes a circle shape with both hands), and the winning team is the one that--"

Me:  "What does forming a circle and getting a little ball into it have to do with surviving in the wilderness?"

Betsy:  (more emphatic hand gestures)  "Well, the surviving out in the wilderness takes place between the games.  On the show itself, they actually hold competitions.  But when they're not doing competitions, they're surviving in the wilderness."

Me:  "Soooo...  it's kind of like Minute to Win It on a deserted island?"

Betsy:  "Um...  sort of?"

Me:  "I hate that show."

Betsy:  "Um..."

Me:   ...

Betsy:  (emphatic hand gestures)  "But they need to have competitions so they can see who has immunity."

Me:  "Immunity...  ?"

Betsy:  "Yes...  Immunity."

Me:  "...from herpes?"

Betsy:  "NO!  Immunity from being voted off."

Me:  "Soooo... instead of going to CVS to get a flu shot, they gain immunity by playing games?"

Betsy:  "Yeah!"  (excited hand gesture)

Me:  ...

Betsy:  "And, it's just fun to see how people interact with each other on the show.  Like this one character...  He's 19 or 20, and he has a wife and kid.  But he's super religious, and he doesn't know how to deal with his feelings for one of the female contestants."

Me:  "Feelings?"

Betsy:  "Well, they're not emotional feelings.  They're more like physiological reactions.  (hand gestures)  Like...  ya know how when you see somebody who you find really attractive, as human beings we're bound to have certain physiological reactions?"  (more hand gestures)

Me:  "He gets boners?"

Betsy(laughing)  "Yeah!"

Me:  "Sooo...  does he... not know how to deal with his boners?"

Betsy:  (laughing)  "No, he doesn't...  And he thinks he's sinning because he's super religious."

Me:  "I'll bet his wife is thrilled that this is all over television for everybody to see."

Betsy:  "Well, they're actually having marital problems anyways."

Me:  "He decided to deal with his marital problems by going on a TV show where he knew he'd be hanging out with women wearing mostly nothing?"

Betsy(laughs)  "Yeah!"

Me:  "And they have a kid?"

Betsy:  "Yeah."

Me:  "But he didn't know he'd be getting boners?"

Betsy:  "Um..."

Me:  "Did his wife know he may be getting boners?"

Betsy:  ...

Me:  "I guess I just don't get it..."

Even Bart Simpson knows a thing or two about boners.

My first experience with Survivor came on January 28th, 2001, when the Baltimore Ravens slaughtered the New York Giants in Super Bowl XXXV, by a score of 34-7.

Aside from being one of the most lopsided, unwatchable Super Bowls in recent memory, the other memorable aspect was the repeated commercials for the upcoming debut of ‘Survivor’, which was to be aired immediately following the post-game festivities.

By the end of the first quarter, it was clear that CBS would be shoving this new show down our collective throats for the next four hours.  Even if the game itself turned out to be a debacle, the network was hoping that viewers would stay glued to their televisions through the third and fourth quarters, just to check out the season premier of Survivor.

Based on the commercials that were shown, I really didn't understand the show's potential appeal.  But I stuck around after the post-game coverage and decided to give it a shot.

As it turns out, I was only able to make it through the first twelve minutes of the first episode.  I don't really remember what exactly went down, but I do recall thinking how badly it sucked.

Apparently, most of America disagreed with me, and the show became a big hit.

Sometime around 2006, I decided to give Survivor another chance.  With an open mind, I watched the first seventeen minutes of that year's season premiere.

Again, I don't really remember what went on, but I do recall thinking how badly it sucked.  And the additional five minutes I forced myself to endure (with an open mind) helped me realize that most of the characters on the show were arrogant, self-important pricks.

Thanks to the inexplicable success of Survivor, we're now forced to deal with other wretched reality shows like The Bachelorette, Jersey Whore, and Slutting It Up With Kim Kardashian.

While most of my co-workers don't watch any of these other shows, (save for Evan, who never misses an episode of The Bachelorette), Survivor is still as popular as ever throughout our department, as well as our entire office...  hence, the office pool, which has been running for the last three or four seasons.

As I previously mentioned, I have no idea why people find Survivor remotely interesting...  or even bearable, for that matter.  None of the characters seem to be the kind of people that I'd want to share a beer with at a local bar.  Why CBS thinks that I'd want to spend an hour of my time every week watching them quarrel and squabble amongst themselves out in the wilderness is beyond me.

Again, most of America seems to disagree with me, as the show is apparently as popular as ever.

I’m willing to admit that there are a few reality shows that have something meaningful and worthwhile to contribute to our nation’s television landscape.

I think that there's certainly a place for The Biggest Loser.  With obesity at an all-time high, as well as the alarming lack of knowledge of basic nutritional concepts within our general population, any show that challenges its participants to lose weight by eating a healthy diet, working out, and putting in lots of hard, honest effort is valuable in my book.

And I do have a soft spot for Master Chef.  It's fascinating to watch amateur, home-grown cooks with no professional training compete against each other to produce the best food possible...  all the while with Chef Gordon Ramsey and friends barking encouragement and constructive criticism over everybody's shoulders.

But there’s a big difference between the contestants on Master Chef and those on Survivor.  The contestants on Master Chef actually have a worthwhile gift or talent to share with the world.  Through years of dedication and hard work, they’ve perfected their craft, and they’ve earned their chance to put everything on the line against one another to achieve their culinary dreams.

On the other hand, the contestants on Survivor don’t seem to have any desirable skills or gifts that are worth my time and attention.

Unless I’m missing something, the majority of these contestants seem to be obnoxious, boorish turds.

Of course, some would argue that many of the football players that I watch for hours and hours each Sunday are also selfish and arrogant, and make much more money than they deserve.

Fair enough...  there may be something to that.

But again, most NFL players have gotten to where they are through a lifetime of blood, sweat, and hard work.  And there are quite a few of them who are generous with their time and money and have a lot to contribute to society.

Unfortunately, Survivor just hasn’t clicked for me.

I guess I just need more substance than a collection of dysfunctional, mostly naked characters with their faces painted, gathered around a campfire out in the wilderness for family game night.

I still wish Mikayla the best, but I'll trust Betsy to let me know if she wins.

No comments:

Post a Comment