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Survivor: Lord of the Flies

Wandered in from the porch (grading boatloads of final papers) to watch enough of the finale of Survivor to note a couple of chronic syndromes:

First, the basic notions of game theory seem to require that the final pair always include someone who is incredibly lame. To win this thing, you want to bring the lousiest player with you to the final decision. Katie should have owned up, that she had no business being there, but instead she made a last-ditch bid for the million bucks, saying she deserved credit for using the "tools" that were available to her, that she "outwitted" the others, etc., though mostly she just snarled.

That brings up the second syndrome: The way the other players in the jury say awful, hateful things that they later regret. The island effect has kicked in. They've been away from civilization too long. Technically this is known as Susan Hawk Syndrome, and if you don't know the reference, never mind. Last night they stood there and called Katie "pathetic" and "worthless" and everything else imaginable other than "verminous." If they did that show for 139 days instead of just 39 we would be allowed to watch the players kill and perhaps even devour the Number Two finisher.

It's a mystery why no one has staged a "Survivor" style show with children. Or have they? Clearly that would draw huge ratings as we watched them revert to crazed animals and attempt to kill one another. What was "Lord of the Flies" if not a treatment for a reality TV show???

Soon to come: Rob and Amber's wedding, followed by Amber giving birth in High-Def, and then the big ratings bonanza: "Rob and Amber's Divorce."

By Joel Achenbach  |  May 16, 2005; 10:24 AM ET
 
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Comments

There have been kids' Survivor-style reality shows on Nickelodeon and Disney, IIRC. My kids have watched them off and on.

From what I've seen, they're pretty tame, of course due to the legal liabilities. I think they've stopped production on the few I managed to see.

My girls like "Survivor" more than the kid's stuff.

bc

Posted by: bc | May 16, 2005 10:55 AM | Report abuse

Jamie Kennedy had a scam where he pretened to be a big shot TV producer pitching the idea of "Child Island" to a bunch of parents. His argument was "Kids are born every day. Great televsiion isn't." And after being given assurances that weren't very reassuring ("medical help is only 2 hours away, etc."), some parents actually said they'd allow their kids to participate.

Posted by: Andrew | May 16, 2005 11:22 AM | Report abuse

Discovery Kids on NBC has a Survivor-style show for kids called "Endurance." It's really quite entertaining. Pairs of kids compete against each other for pieces of endurance (strength, heart, courage, perseverance, luck, trust, leadership, discipline, knowledge, commitment, teamwork and ingenuity). They even "vote" each other off by competing in a "rock-scissors-paper" style elimination. The show is pretty predictable in that the pretty girls and the cute guys often allign, and the girls stab each other in the back, etc. If you went to high school, Endurance should feel pretty familiar to you. Worth watching...

Posted by: Tracy | May 16, 2005 12:06 PM | Report abuse

Thanks for that info Tracy. I'm definitely going to check out "Endurance". While I enjoy reality programming, especially scenarios where contestants get voted off, dismissed or fired, it is the "rock-paper-scissors" that I will be tuning in for. It is about time that this sport gets the recognition it deserves from network/cable television. Although I would prefer to see a show with adults competing in the mental Olympics that is rock-paper-scissors, I will still enjoy watching the kids compete. I just hope that the kids are mature enough to grasp the subtle strategies of the game. Unfortunately, I expect their puny brains will just go with the first object that comes to mind.

Posted by: Jon | May 16, 2005 3:21 PM | Report abuse

Actually the just-passed season of Endurance was fascinating. Since the kids are high school age it's like high school times two. There is a fair amount of strategizing that happens. The host, JD Roth, does a pretty good Jeff Probst impersonation. A lot of the "symbolism" is fairly hokie but it gives a storyline to the proceedings. One pretty girl ended up getting paired with a big obviously gay drama queen of a boy who turned out to be one of the stronger competitors there. She seemed to really "grow" during the course of the season when she realized that she had completely misjudged him. And the host was clearly rooting for them to win. The really scheming conniving girl had a partner who was not down with her program and couldn't stand her. So there was plenty of conflict. The team that won was pretty predictable but the show was great. Much better than previous season IMHO.

Posted by: Glenn | May 16, 2005 3:33 PM | Report abuse

http://www.rpschamps.com/

Posted by: Jason | May 16, 2005 3:34 PM | Report abuse

having sex with the cat I take it???

Posted by: boohaaa | May 17, 2005 5:55 PM | Report abuse

About Romber...I don't think we'll see any birth stories until CBS has decided on Amazing Race All-Stars. And if they lose that one too, the divorce special will come sans birth special.

Posted by: Anniethena | May 25, 2005 5:51 PM | Report abuse

My favorite Survivor participants were Tina Wesson and Rodger Bingham. That is because they had wonderful personalities. If you're thinking about going on Survivor, I can only tell you that you need to have a good personality. It will get you farther than you think! Then again, you may not want to take a ten-year-old's advice.

Posted by: Kelly | February 19, 2006 2:12 PM | Report abuse

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