Thursday, November 09, 2006

Survivor Night

For the past six years Thursday night has been “Survivor” night--I’m talking, of course, about the television show, not any actual ordeal I have to endure.

Many people who know how much I love this televised guilty pleasure (not to mention travel), ask me if I’d like to be on the show. And the answer has always been: Oh good Lord, no. For one thing, you don’t really get to see much of the country while you’re competing--just the miserable stretch of sand-flea infested beach they strand you on for six weeks. For another thing, it’s a social game, more about networking and forming alliances than anything else, and if I were any kind of team player, I wouldn’t be sitting here by myself in front of my computer right now. Plus low blood sugar puts me in a really bad mood, so I’m sure one way or another I’d be an early boot.

Lately, though, it occurs to me that this fate might not be so bad. Spending six weeks camping on a beach with strangers sounds horrible, but in reality, only the last few players standing spend that long out there. The eliminated players have to leave the game, but the producers can’t send them home early, or word will get out that they didn’t make the whole 39 days.

The solution is that they keep these people stranded in the countries where the show is filming. The exiles can’t call home, but they mostly get to do what they please until it’s time for everyone to return to the United States. To make up for the fact that they are--technically--prisoners, they arrange all kinds of great tours and distractions for them. And it’s all free--in fact, they get paid a little bit for having been on the show, even if they’re the first one kicked off.

I still don’t really want to be on “Survivor.” But more and more, I want to be off “Survivor.” It would be perfect, really: A few days going hungry and then an all-expenses paid vacation in a foreign country lasting a month or more, if you play your cards right. It’s such a good deal that I almost wonder if I’m not the first person to have thought of it. Looking back on it, some of the early boots in past seasons have been certifiably crazy, but a few of the weirdos who got themselves eliminated early seem to have become almost normal by the time the reunion show airs. Crazy, or crazy like a fox? Only they know.

So stay tuned to CBS Thursdays at 8pm. You never know whom you might see--ever so briefly.

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