Friday, November 24, 2006

Unintended Hilarity

Survivor (the reality show, not the band) was roundly criticized for segregating tribes based on ethnicity this season. For whatever reason, people didn't want to see the races pitted against each other in this kind of contest. Or at least they said they didn't.

I couldn't wait to see it, personally, because I remembered something about the way such shows work that apparently few others recalled: the producers hand pick the contestants. Therefore they could load the non-white teams with competent, hardworking team players, rendering any real or imagined disadvantages meaningless.

And by real disadvantages, I mean lack of camping skills. That's pretty much the only thing that really matters on Survivor. Building shelters and fires, finding food and water, and dealing with the necessity to do absolutely everything yourself is a lot easier if you've done it before. In my not terribly educated opinion, I'd expect whitey to do better than the rest because generally on Survivor, more of the whites have been camping. How anyone shows up for a show like this without being able to make a fire escapes me, anyone who watched a single episode understands you need some Boy and Girl Scout skills to get along on a desert island, but by God they do show up unprepared in droves, white or not. But there's always a few good outdoorsmen and -women, and they're almost always honkies.

Anyway, back to my point. I knew the producers would pick contestants carefully, and I suspected that during the segregated portion of the show, the honkies would place third or fourth of the four teams in challenges, and I was right. The Asian team rocked everything and so did the Latin team, and not just because they each had three men and two women while the black and white teams had two men and three women. They just worked harder and better together. I was worried for the black team early because none of the five had done much outdoor stuff, but they mixed up the teams after not too many episodes, and what happened next is pretty much exactly what I suspected: the white people teamed up, acted like jerks, and are now at a major disadvantage.

Fairly early on, the teams were racially mixed up in two tribes when, during one challenge, the chance to mutiny and change teams was offered. A white girl on one team jumped at the chance to get back together with three of her former honky teammates, and the remaining white guy on that team did the same at the last minute. This gave the now-tiny four-person rainbow coalition a serious competitive spark, with which they have won every challenge since, and something even more important: moral superiority. The kind the hero in old Western gets for doing the right thing for the right reason and shutting up about it. At the end of Survivor, the jury of former players votes on a winner, and while backstabbing and double dealing often wins the game, nothing beats being deserving, admired, respected.

None of the white players has anything like respect on the island, or frankly anywhere else. They are dirtbags who deserve beatings, nothing else. Even worse, they ignored the danger signs when it should have been obvious that they were about to have the whole game turned upside down on them. Idiots.

The hilarious part of all this is that the people who were mad about Survivor segregation at the beginning are getting a great holiday season present: the four white people left on Survivor are lazy, stupid, arrogant and dastardly, and they don't trust each other at all. With the exception of the most dastardly one of the four, none of them has even a remote chance at the big prize. How's that for TV racism?

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