Tuned In

Survivor: Fiji: What If They Gave a Race War and Nobody Came?

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Is it unhip to be blogging about Survivor? Is this, like, so 2000 of me? Fine. I don’t care. You punk kids go play Wii or something.

Here’s what I thought:

* Now there’s a novel idea–what if you cast a reality show with a bunch of white contestants, and a bunch of black contestants, and a bunch of Asian contestants, and a bunch of Hispanic/to-be-determined-later contestants, and didn’t conscript them into a stunt race war? You might find that they behave just like… well, pretty much every other group of Survivor contestants. There’s the old man who believes quaintly that he can succeed by working hard; there’s the city girl with no wilderness skills who will probably be vomiting heavily by episode 2; there’s the various pretty boy/girls; and there’s the resented Boss Lady, in this case the delightfully no-nonsense architect Sylvia, who I like mainly because she seems like she really should have been a villain-contestant on Project Runway. The only person who made an issue of race–as far as we saw–was cheerleading coach “Dreamz,” who came off as a button-pushing jerk looking for attention. Sound familiar, Mark Burnett?

* Speaking of Dreamz, I love how Survivor proves how advanced capitalism has become. You can evidently make a career doing anything: who knew how many fire dancers, cheerleading coaches and “expert witness locators” there were out there?

* I’m not sure it was a good idea for Burnett to include the twist in which the winning tribe gets to live on the luxurious beach while the other roughs it–since that was essentially the premise of this season of The Apprentice too. The Apprentice is having a rough enough time in the ratings without Burnett competing, thematically, with his own show.

* Finally, loved the scene in which one contestant told Yau-Man that she didn’t know where his home island of Borneo was. I expect Americans not to know anything about world geography. But aren’t we supposed to know our Survivor history?