I would like to preface what I’m about to say with a disclaimer: It is possible that I am addicted to reality TV, including but not limited to, documentaries of various types, news programming, public broadcasting (ie: food network, travel, Antiques Road Show, among others), and the CBS show, SURVIVOR.
I don’t think the admission made in my disclaimer makes me any more fanatical than my male counterparts who love to watch televised sports, including the PGA, LPGA, NFL, NBA, MLB, Nascar, the Olympics and a myriad of other sporting events. Neither do I think my affinity for reality programming is any worse than reading a litany of romance novels or spending hours surfing the web for political, economic or lifestyle content.
I would agree that most Americans watch too much TV, and I would assert that I am like most Americans. That having been said, I want to comment on one of my guilty pleasures: SURVIVOR.
These are the reasons why I watch SURVIVOR and enjoy it so much:
1. I think SURVIVOR accurately documents the ebb and flow of relational experiences out there in the real world. These people act the same way as the people I live with, work with and worship with each week, so I can identify with the complexity of emotions in them.
2. The game play in SURVIVOR is ever changing, so that no contestant can reasonably say “that’s not fair”. The game is what it is, and the fact that it changes whenever it likes is more evidence to me that it accurately reflects real life on this rock. Like it or not, folks, we are not in charge! Note: if you haven’t seen SURVIVOR for a couple seasons, I assure you, it’s not the same game you used to watch.
3. People have to answer for their behavior in this game, whether good or bad. I like that, because there are times in life when I see people getting away with bad behavior and hiding their misconduct from the bigger “team”. On SURVIVOR, cameras are everywhere, so those bad behaviors that would otherwise remain hidden are revealed.
4. SURVIVOR serves as a catalyst for togetherness in my family—we watch the show together each Thursday night and use its game play as a jumping off point for deeper, more revealing conversations between us. These conversations help me know my “tribe” on a more intimate level, believe it or not.
5. SURVIVOR challenges it’s contestants to outlast, outplay and outwit one another, which fosters a game that is competitive physically, mentally, socially and spiritually. I benefit from watching how contestants on the show behave with other contestants and extrapolate the “game play” down to my personal experience with other “teams”. For me, SURVIVOR is a social experiment that provides valuable feedback about my interactions with others.
6. Jeff Probst is the BEST game show host ever!