Friday, September 15, 2006



Alright, it's almost all politics all the time around here so I thought that I'd mix it up a little bit on Fridays by doing some Survivor blogging. I blogged about this a couple of weeks ago, so I thought that I might follow up (perhaps weekly) on the infamous program.
As some of you may already be aware, this season's Survivor features four teams of five people each segregated along racial an ethnic lines. Five whites, five blacks, five Asians and five Latinos. All contestants are Americans, so I will not be noting each group by their "blank"-American designation - I'd like to finish this post before lunch. Also note, there may be a couple of SPOILERS so if you wish to watch the show but haven't yet, I suggest that you stop reading and come back later.
Of course, there were the early jokes by certain right wingers about how blacks can't swim and the Latinos should do well because they're willing to do jobs that others won't do. That were lame putdowns and I'm happy to report that no black person drowned during the first episode.
As for the tribes themselves, when I first saw the pictures of them, I immediately noticed that all tribes are definitely not created equal. There were two groups with three men and two women (Asians and Latinos) and two groups with two men and three women (whites and blacks). Please don't think me sexist, but I could tell that these two teams would be at something of a disadvantage. And the results of the physical challenge seemed to bear that out. The top two teams were the Asians and the Latinos, followed by the whites and the blacks. So the blacks finished last, huh? Yep, and it had nothing to do with swimming or anything other than the fact that, from a physical perspective, they aren't that strong. One of the men (a jazz musician) on the team is quite overweight and at least one of the women looks a little older and out of shape herself. So, to me, being black has nothing to do with their performance; it's the fact that it's just not a strong tribe physically. Also, one of the members made a valid point when they said that probably their biggest drawback as a group is that they're a bunch of city slickers with very little "roughing it" experience. I would concur with that assessment.
My early favorite going in was the Asian tribe, and after watching them win the first challenge, I'm sticking with that selection. Everyone looks really fit and they seem to have decent group chemistry. One member made a comment that, given the individual ethnic backgrounds of the group (Two Koreans, one Filipino, one Vietnamese and one Filipino-Hawaiian) the fact that they're all in an Asian group means little since their tribal lineage cuts such a large swath. Still, like I said, the group looks really strong and have only one "black sheep" (a older Vietnamese man named Cao Boi - "Cowboy") whom I could see getting voted out fairly soon if they happen to lose an immunity challenge.
Overall, not a bad first episode. It appears that the show will run with the segregation concept for the forseeable future, which I don't think is necessarily a bad thing. Ultimately, the setup will have little to with deciding who wins the million dollars. As a member of the white tribe, Jonathan said, "I don't believe that just because these groups have cultural similarities that that will make them more specifically cohesive. This is Survivor, someone's going to win a million dollars and they're going to have to cut the throat of some guy next to him at some point." Well said.


Josh D said...

Hey Paul,

I agree that it was a pretty good episode but I have to admit that I was getting pretty tired of the whole "social experiment" thing weeks before it aired. One more thing, I have to question whether Mr. Burnett was making a good "buisiness" decision with this ethnicity split. I think that the fan base for survivor is pretty much solidified and this particular stunt will not really help in bringing new viwers into the fold. Plus, and maybe its just me, the latino tribe seems more caucasion than the caucasions themselves.

budpaul said...

My wife said the same thing about the Latinos. She could barely tell them apart.
And I disagree with you. I think this will definitely bring in a couple more sets of eyes as people may want to see what all the fuss is about. And there could potentially be something of a rooting interest for one's particular group. Or not. Like I said, I favor the Asians. Of course, this not being a a team competition in the end, I couldn't even begin to guess who'll win the million.