Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Survivor Philippines Pre-Blog: WHY I Watch

Something new happened to me while watching One World. I stopped caring.

...end blog post, right?

Not exactly. I still love Survivor. What I don't enjoy is the fan discussion about it. Call me elitist, an asshole, arrogant, stupid, rude, Russell Hantz, or whatever other snide Sucks-esque label you can compose, and I'll embrace it gladly. Why would someone allow himself to be degraded like that? Because if you're hurling the insults, you're the one who finds it degrading. I take it as a badge of honor.

The truth is, the show is on season 25 and fan discussion has grown stagnate. There is a large chasm between the evolution of the show on the screen/the game on the island and the fan discussion. It's like a football analyst who continues to insist that statistics are the sole or main determinant of a player being good. Reality has simply proven otherwise. Likewise, Survivor fans (yes, that is a generalization and I have found many wonderful exceptions) are stuck in a rinse cycle that never gets them clean.

Kim's domination of One World was the perfect confluence of events to expose the bitter stubbornness of the fan community. Not only was she the pre-season pick for most people, but she is an intelligent, likable, technically good-looking young woman. In other words, she was the fans' holy grail, the precipice that will never be reached again, a once-in-however-many-seasons (unless she played All-Stars) occurrence. Her victory validated their genius. They know how the show/game operated to the point of being able to predict it in the pre-season and Jeff Probst is a talentless asshole who hates women and minorities.

Except it didn't validate anything. Predicting the future with any sort of reasonable consistency is important. Jeff Probst is a multiple-Emmy-award-winning host and producer of a long-running hit television show--and if he's an asshole, where's the bad press about him? There isn't any. He isn't. And hearing it repeated over and over again, with Kim being used as the counter-evidence, forced me to recognized the futility of watching the show with the awareness of that perspective. At the end of One World, I was barely having any fun.

I still love Survivor. It's still one of the highest quality productions on television. The casting, camera work, and editing are all top notch. That makes the show even more valuable for me in a season with so few exciting programs. Maybe "Elementary" appeals to you, but it's kind of hard for me to get excited about a watered down version of "House" and the BBC's "Sherlock." Ultimately, that's the thing that keeps me coming back to Survivor. It's premise, the game, is so unique and intelligent, and the crew understands that when producing the show.

I've said it before and I'll say it over and over again in my blog this season. Survivor does what good art should--draws our attention to a heightened expression of the human experience. Who wins is less important than why they win (though arguably those two things are inseparable). That is the reason I watch Survivor. I love observing, thinking, and learning about the human experience. Thus, that is what the focus of The Midside will be in relevance to Survivor from now on.

Survivor is art. If you don't agree, that's fine. If you want to pop more quarters into the machine for another cycle, go ahead. I won't be though. I'll be looking at the narrative and what it tells me about life, about the constant mediation between the individual and the group. If you want to join me, I'd really enjoy that (and think you would too). If you don't, I'd appreciate if you kept any negativity away from me. And one final note, I'm still 100% spoiler free, so please help me keep it that way.

Now where's Probst's helicopter? I'd like to catch a ride to the Philippines.

1 comment:

Sarah said...

"Who wins is less important than why they win"

My sentiments exactly! Glad you'll still be blogging this season.