I’m gonna shock everybody here, but did you like know that a lot of Reality TV is not real at all? Like the people in it aren’t really people, they’re actors, and they’re reading scripts – it’s bad actors and bad scripts, but still. Yet a lot of people believe this crap!
The trend all seemed to start with Survivor – a show that implies you’re supposed to survive something other than really awful characters and that jerk host. I found that show amusing from day one. These peeps be all by themselves, survivin’ in the elements like they’re the freaking Donner Party, you know, if the Donners had cameras trained on the at all time. And if the camera people were just sitting there eating sandwiches while the Donners decided which of their pals looked tastiest. Yeah, right. You know if there had been a camera man, the Donners would totally have eaten him first.
Same with Survivor. Oh, dear, how will they find food? How will they survive the extreme weather? How will they keep from strangling the inevitable irritating people they include on the show? I’m on the edge of my seat here. They’re in such danger. At any time a wild animal or something could show up, and they’d be taken away in a plane! Wow they are so brave!
And that’s the thing . . . if you take away the actual danger, it means nothing at all. Not to go all geek on you, but there is a scene in a Star Trek movie that proves this point. In it, Captain Kirk has been in this pretend world that basically lets him do and be whatever he wants. But then he realizes, when he has his horse jump over a gorge, that he did not feel that same thrill – because he knew he’d make it. He had to make it – this was dream world. With no possible danger, you don’t have risk. There is no real accomplishment when there is no chance of failure.
It’s like that old show Swiss Family Robinson, where this family treats their survival of a shipwreck like a family vacation. They build a way cool treehouse with all the best Western conveniences, and they domesticate an ostrich, a zebra, and of course an elephant. This is all totes believable right? I can’t believe Disney didn’t market this as a reality show.
But why watch Disney when you can catch the star of “Man Vs. Wild” survivalist Bear Grylls, who answers the age old question: does a bear crap in the woods? Answer? Yes. This dude is like the professor on Gilligan’s island – though he carries only a knife and some flint, he can craft his own raft, eat bugs, bite heads off of snakes, swim in freezing waters, make a coon skin cap out of a rabid wolverine, etc, all while being followed by a probably really bored camera crew that does not aid him in any way, for reals. They probably sit back and laugh a lot. I would.
Anyway, he can do these things in between visits to hotels. No, Alice, don’t burst the bubble! Already done, like 7 years ago, proving once again I am on the pulse of today’s news. A consultant for the show, who was probably getting sick of Bear and his crap (pun intended), tattled to the New York Times that when Bear was “surviving” in the Sierra Nevada mountains, he survived the night in “a luxurious hotel with its own spa on a lake.” Another time, while surviving on a desert island, he hung out in hotels in Hawaii. Best of all, in this same episode, he led a team of builders to create a raft out of bamboo and leaves and stuff, then had them dismantle it so he could miraculously put it together on camera! Bear, you are my hero!
Bear of “Man VS Wild and Bad Hotel Service” is hardly the only guy out survivin’ on camera for us. We’ve also got a hippie guy who wears pigtails and walks around on bare feet along with a slightly more normal friend, a husband and wife team in which the wife constantly yammers at the husband making the real survival him not smacking her, a couple of people stripped naked (with thankfully blurred private parts), and more. In other words, we’re talking a lot of privileged Western white people playing Swiss Family Robinson on film.
So what do you guys think of our “Survival” reality shows? Is there a show you’d like to see them make? Like maybe a man surviving in a little girl’s room, forced to participate in tea parties for hours on end, wear tutus, and play Barbies. The possibilities are endless, and probably you could find a network more than willing to pick them up. I’m thinking the best one would be a crossover – like say Cougar Wives Vs. The Wild, where these old ladies have to find a young hottie Tarzan to save them from New York City before it’s too late!
Anyway, I’d love to see your ideas. Put them in the comments section below, and I’ll highlight the best survival reality show ideas in an upcoming post!