A little bit full of yourself aren’t you?


I am not a reality tv buff, but I am partial to The Amazing Race and Survivor. The antics of the casts of these two shows kept me intrigued and there were more than enough nail biters to go around. If I were a nail biter, I would be experiencing a serious lack in the nail department right about now.

What I like most about reality shows though (at least the good ones), is the insight they give you into human behavior. Like, for example, why has there never been (at least to my knowledge) a real honest-to-goodness all female alliance in any Survivor season? Or why did the vegetarian sign up for The Amazing Race, when he knew there was a strong likelihood that somewhere along the way, there would be meat involved……and not anything as boring as chicken?

The most recent seasons of these two shows did not disappoint in the “are you kidding me” department.

First, let me preface what I’m about to say by acknowledging that I am sure that we all recognize that there is a large amount of editing that goes on to make these shows ‘ratings friendly’. Stuff gets cut, stuff stays in, all so that we could really get sucked in to the goings on and take sides, and cheer for our favorites. That being said, no amount of editing able to hide underlying attitudes and opinions.

Take, for example, some of the Amazing Race contestants, in particular the dating couple Carol Rosenfeld and Brandy Snow, and the other dating couple, Brent Horne and Caite Upton. Caite was a contestant in a Miss Teen USA Pageant a few years back and messed up big time on a question asked by one of the judges. She sounded like she did not have a clue. Of course, some of the other contestants had a field day with this. They had themselves a good laugh at Caite’s expense. This included Carol & Brandy. It seemed though that they were especially mean. It was no small wonder that when the opportunity arose, Caite took her revenge and u-turned the two, ending their quest for the million dollars. They, or rather I should say Brandy, did not take this very well. She became absolutely caustic. It was not a pretty sight. It became even less pretty at the end of the race, when she was, let’s say, less than sporting in her behavior.

Now I understand her being upset about getting kicked off and all that. What I was a bit confused about though, was how this grown woman could decide to ‘mix it up’ with someone half her age. Yeah yeah yeah, I get the whole ‘she’s over eighteen stuff’ and the ‘we’re all competitors’ stuff, and we’re all equal and so on and so forth. But come on Brandy, she’s a child to you, you were supposedly the adult, and as an adult, you have a responsibility to act like one. Instead you decide to join in the heckling and, in some cases, prolong the teasing. You saw absolutely nothing wrong with your behavior, after all, all’s fair in love and war (and the Amazing Race). Thing is, you made the mistake many of us make when we’re getting all caught up in the moment. You took the whole ‘all’s fair theory” and applied it ……..to yourself…..only. You never thought for one moment the “tiara wearing, dumb blonde’ could possibly at some point have your fate in her hands. Well she did, and she used the opportunity to avenge herself against any real or imagined slights on your part. And we all shook our heads as you cluelessly walked off still ranting against the child who engineered your departure, completely missing the irony in the fact that she was still in the race and you were not. Oh well.

The end of the Amazing Race gave me time to focus my energies on Survivor, another study in human behavior. It was a very enjoyable season, and I saw first hand (at least as first hand as you could get watching tv), the impact of ‘self talk’, or what my wife calls ‘believing your own press’. I saw this by watching two players, Russell Hantz and his ego. Russell convinced himself that he was the best survivor player ever. I’m not sure how he arrived at this conclusion, but he somehow did. From my couch, all I saw was a thug, who bullied his way to the final tribal council. There was no subtlety, no real thought, just mafia style threats and scare tactics. His fellow Survivor ‘Boston Rob’ said it best. Basically he said that Russell was able to play well enough to get to the final tribal council, but not well enough to win. Russell’s response to his loss, was one of his many profound observations (similar to when he hid his team’s machete and blabbered on about creating chaos and other such nonsense); there was a flaw in the game. The flaw was that America did not get to vote, because obviously (to him anyway) there is no way he could have lost. So I am left to assume that the real flaw was that Russell didn’t win. Either that, or he thought all along that he was he was on American Idol.

Even after his loss, he is still clueless; still making irrelevant arguments about changing the rules of the game, and complaining about how much of a toll playing back to back games had on him. Well buddy, did they shanghai you? Because if they didn’t you coulda said no. Instead he continues his rant about how everyone else is wrong, and that Sandra is such a weak player and yada yada yada. Yeah the same Sandra who walked away with ‘your’ million dollars. If you really were the best player, you would have won. The game doesn’t end when you get to the final tribal council, you actually have to get the votes to win. You couldn’t do that, you didn’t even get one vote (not even one dude), yet you are still somehow convinced that you’re the best player. Hmmmm………maybe back to back games is not the best idea.

Yup, I can’t wait till next season of reality shows. Maybe we’ll see Russell and Brandy again; he’ll be on American Idol, so that America could finally have a say, and she’ll make an appearance on Are you Smarter than a Fifth Grader. Maybe she’ll actually win……maybe.

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