September 1, 2000
So Survivor is over and we can all get back
on with our lives. It's been more than a week since I've heard
anyone discuss who's going to be next off the island, and I've
enjoyed every blissful minute of it.
Don't get me wrong - I'm not a TV snob. I'm
not glued to the set when the CBC airs a program on alternative
interpretative dance featuring two people in rubber masks leaping
around an egg for two hours. Documentaries on the first pioneer
shoehorn factory in North Battleford leave me cold, especially
when I see the producers thanking my tax dollars in the end credits.
You just have to ask my wife. I watch a lot
of junk on TV. I was raised on Hogan's Heroes and Get Smart.
As an adult I'll happily sit through Zena or Buffy or Beavis
and Butthead. All the time I'll be thinking - there must be something
better I could be doing - but I'll sit there anyway.
My TV standards are obviously not high.
But even with my low standards, Survivor didn't
do it for me. I know I'm alone in this. The rest of the world
has been Survivor mad for the last few months. Who was off the
island was reported on nightly news before airplane crashes.
Every newspaper devoted sections to it. Websites and rumours
were followed more closely than the stock market.
I was especially disappointed to learn that
the winners didn't get to eat the losers. It would have been
much more interesting if he tribal council ended with someone
in a big soup pot.
And now its gone. After the public obsession
over Survivor, just ten days later it seems odd to even mention
it now. It's so last week.
But rest assured that even as we speak the
pinheads who brought you such great reality shows as "Who
Wants to Marry a Multi-Millionaire" are looking for our
I caught five minutes of the TV show Big Brother.
It seems to be Survivor without rats and fake palm trees. Like
Survivor I decided I didn't like anyone enough to care about
what they did.
That's the problem with reality shows. Real
people just aren't that likeable or even interesting. The Internet
is full of websites with cameras showing us every detail of ordinary
people's lives - and it's boring.
My own former roommate got on my nerves by
never buying toilet paper or cleaning the dishes. Annoying -
yes. Destined to be the subject of a TV series - no.
What's next - a TV show called "Juice"
with a camera in a real kitchen to see if the person who drinks
the last of the fruit punch makes a new pitcher, or just puts
it back in the fridge for the next person?
Maybe a camera could follow someone through
the airport while they look for their luggage and a cart without
a wobbly wheel.
Or sullen teens could be brought together
to compete for who has the most tortured and meaningless existence
because their parents won't let them have a ferret.
It's strange that no one watches our own Canadian
reality show, where broken alliances and weasly behaviour is
also rewarded with the opportunity to come back again next week.
By all rights, the Parliamentary channel should
be in prime time - real life, real drama, real tax dollars.