Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Reality Show Integrity

I'm sure I've said before that I have no intention of ever participating in a reality show for a number of reasons. (This may be that they haven't yet come of with the combination of skills and prizes that will entice me - a reading and knitting competition perhaps? Somehow I don't see that making good TV). The follow up to this is I am driven crazy by contestants who seem to be unfamiliar with the workings of the game.

I watched "Survivor" for a few seasons and the thing that drove me nuts was the people who in their interviews would say, "I can't believe they lied to me. These people are all manipulators and backstabbers." Um hello? The game is "Outwit, Outstay, Outlast". There are no points for being nice or honest or any of that. And while you can argue that some of the bigger backstabbers have lost in the end because more people on the jury thought they were mean than the other person - none of that matters if you don't make it to the end.

I recognize that a portion of this is just venting on the part of contestants, it would certainly be tiring to be examining everyone's motives and then to be constantly questioned on what I personally think all those motives are. All of this brings me to "The Amazing Race". Key word - race. A race implies that people who are faster - at getting places and at doing things will succeed. Sure there have been contestants who did things like cancel other team members cabs and stuff - and you can choose not to stoop that low. And certainly at the beginning, it may make sense to pool resources. But in almost every round someone is going home. And it's one thing to choose to succeed without being mean. It is another to fail on a point of niceness.

For those who have missed out on this season of "The Amazing Race" there were three teams who banded together. They shared travel information, they followed each other to tasks, they waited for each other so they could all leave places together. Which was all fine while it lasted. But then it became clear that one team wasn't buying in all the way, they were willing to make use of shared information, but they weren't willing to wait or help anyone else out much. And perhaps during those rest breaks that aren't filmed they clarified that to the other members. Two weeks ago - after being saved from elimination twice - one of the teams (which it seems may have been the glue that held the other two a bit) was eliminated. The two remaining teams were now in the back two positions - so - without major shifting - one was going home. Well - the Chos finished a task and waited for the Alabama moms to finish. And they all got to the airport and got on the same flight. The Chos got a map and got directions, the Alabama moms agreed to follow them. But the Chos proved very nervous about their directions which led them to stop several times. Not once, that we saw, did the Alabama moms offer to go get directions or to start leading. Instead they complained that it was taking to long. So after they both completed the task (with the Chos again waiting) the Alabama moms pulled in front and then complained when the Chos followed them. Which would be fine in normal race circumstances (the complaining) but hey - you followed them out and they didn't try to ditch you.

Well for the next task the Alabama moms peeled out leaving the Chos in the dust. The Chos then got lost - ended up going to a different task - and then took a wrong turn no the way to the pit stop. The problem is the wrong turn was down a road that had been closed so they were then questioned by the police before being allowed to proceed. So, the Chos came in significantly last and were eliminated. But they are proud, because they raced as friends. Okay, you race however you want to race, but seriously? Ronde and Tiki Barber are freaking twins - but when they're teams play each other does Ronde say you know, I'm going to soften up a bit because he is my brother and I don't want to mess with that? No he does not! It doesn't mean they don't love each other; it means they have jobs. And sure a reality show is not a job - although considering you are taking time off from yours in order to do this you should sort of treat it as such, but whatever. If you are just there to make friends you didn't even need a reality show to begin with.