Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Yes, I Watch ... Survivor

I confess.  I watch Survivor.  I fact, I've seen all but one season of the series, often cited as the first "reality" program (experts would give that credit to The Real World, which I would agree with), certainly the first big one.

I'm not proud to say I watch "reality" - again, note the quote marks - TV.  I am fully in favor and support of scripted programming (although much of "reality" TV is indeed scripted ...) and always will be.  I guess I defend the shows of the genre I do watch - Face Off, Project Runway, America's Next Top Model, etc.- because of the sub-category they fall into: competition shows.  I do NOT partake NOR support the awful existence of anything Kardashian or Housewife or Shore or ... sorry, just threw up in my mouth a little.

Let's move on.

So, yes, I watch Survivor.  It is still a great experiment in social interaction and behavior.  They always manage to assemble a group of people that bond, plot, scheme, clash and ultimately irritate each other while being necessary evils for each other in the fight for the $1 million prize.  There usually is a key villain and an underdog to root for. 

And you'd think after 26 seasons - yes, there have been that many - the contestants would know that betrayals and back-stabbings are part of the game and therefore not be surprised and angered by them, but damn if they don't bitch and complain about it each and every time!  Really??  Especially the players who claim they're huge fans of the show can't believe when an alliance falls apart or a tribe member lies to them to get ahead.  That's will surely happen again this season - taking place in Caramoan - more so than usual being that this is another rendition of "Fans vs. Favorites." 

They did this "special edition" back in Season 16 and are revisiting the theme again. For the "Favorites," they bringing back a collection of alumni that made an indelible impression (let's just say the crazier or more outspoken, the better).  This season is doing the same, picking players that stood out.  I don't remember all the names but I do remember certain things:  Saggy-Pink-Underwear Guy, Russell Hantz's nephew (Russell is by far one of the best villains in Survivor history, played twice but never won), Nerdy-Manipulator Guy, and the Bitch (sorry, there's usually more than one).

The last time, the so-called "Fans" were disappointing.  I mean, if they truly knew the game as much as they claimed to, they would have faired much better (I don't remember who did win - I never do, really - but I don't remember too many fans making it to the end).  But it made for an interesting mix.

I'm just glad they got rid of that stupid Redemption Island thing.  Did not work.  This is one of those shows that, despite how long it's been on, doesn't need to tweak or deviate from it's original formula.  Let the cast speak and act for themselves.  They'll create the drama and tension all on their own.

I will say Jeff Probst is very good at his job as host.  He knows how to expertly push the gamers' buttons and get them to say things they maybe wouldn't, or tip their hands earlier or more openly than they would ever want or plan to.  Don't think they could do Survivor without him.

Go ahead.  Roll your eyes.  Believe me, I do too.  But I'll still watch - and be annoyed - and shout at the TV - and say "Really??" about a hundred times.  I just gotta see who Outwits, Outplays and Outlasts this time.

That's what guilty pleasures are all about.  Forgive?

Catch Survivor's 26th 2-hour season premiere tonight at 8 p.m. on CBS.  The show then airs every Wednesday at 8.

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