I Didn't Survive
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From: Peter Langston <psl>
Date: Wed, 30 Aug 100 10:18:36 -0700
Subject: I Didn't Survive
X-Lib-of-Cong-ISSN: 1098-7649 -=[ Fun_People ]=-
[I'm afraid this is kind of predictable, but fun nonetheless... -psl]
Forwarded-by: "Stephen Nelson" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
I Didn't Survive
By Tony Kornheiser
Sunday, August 27, 2000;
I must be the only person in America who hasn't watched one minute of
"Survivor." I didn't even watch the finale. What happened? Did Dr. Richard
Kimble find the one-armed man?
The fact is, I was afraid to watch the finale for fear that if Fat Scheming
Nudist Richard won, he might celebrate by smooching one of the other
survivors the way Al Gore French-kissed Tipper at the Democratic convention.
Gaack. Gore was in so deep he should have been wearing a miner's helmet.
I don't care if Tipper's his wife. There's a time and a place for
everything. Can't Al Gore confine his sex life to the Oval Office like
Speaking of Gore, I'm astounded at his sudden leap in the polls. The day
after the end of the Democratic convention, Gore gained a spectacular 17
points to draw even with the Bush kid. Millions of Americans favorably
changed their minds on Gore overnight! On the basis of what? That kiss?
Seriously, how could Gore go up 17 points in one day? This is a presidential
election, not the Nikkei, for heaven's sake.
But I digress.
Let me get back to "Survivor."
Oooh, just one more thing. Did you see that story about how the McDonald's
chain is going to improve working conditions for its chickens? Maybe they'll
start one of those "points" programs, so a chicken can get a free weekend
stay at a Four Seasons hotel or some other valuable prize, like a McFlurry
shake or, God help us, a six-piece McNuggets meal.
Well, the headline on the story read: "McDonald's Tells Farmers to Treat
Chickens Better." And when I saw it, my first reaction was to ask, "How
much better?" Because the way I see it, there's better and then there's
really better. "Better" would be if McDonald's is kinder to the chickens,
let's say by instituting a corporate policy prohibiting employees from
verbally abusing chickens with taunts like, "One more cluck outta you and
you sleep with the Filet-o-Fishes!"
Treating the chickens "really better" would be if McDonald's went
What odds do you give on that? Even if McDonald's goes first class and
brings in Martha Stewart to refurbish the henhouse, there's still only one
way out for the chickens, right? And it's usually coated with honey mustard
Okay, back to "Survivor." Even in the time it took you to read this far,
I still haven't watched it.
Because it bites.
Oh, wait, maybe I'm being too harsh. Let me recap what I've read about it
so far--including the impressions I have from the news clips I've seen.
A bunch of losers agree to become castaways on some island made to look
like a hellhole, even though there's a resort a mile away. The people are
uniformly despicable--they make George Costanza look like Jonas Salk.
They eat rats. They wear no makeup. They are festooned with scabs and bug
bites. If they assembled the cast on a parapet for a group picture, the
caption would read, "Throw out your dead!" (I don't understand it. Ginger
was marooned for years on "Gilligan's Island," and she looked great!)
All they wear are bathing suits. It's like "Baywatch From Hell." It's the
only show on TV where you're praying the women won't take off their bathing
To top it all off, at the end of each episode they sit around at some dopey
"tribal council" and vote one slob off the island. "The people on the show,"
my friend Tom said, "are so unattractive that after a show is over you want
to take a shower--and while the show is on, you wish they'd take a shower."
And this kind of TV, according to TV executives, is the Next Great Thing.
The case is made that this craptitude will revolutionize network TV because
it's so cheap to produce. (The contestants do this for nothing! If a network
wants to be magnanimous, it throws them a few bones. I mean, literally!
After rat on a stick, a few bones will seem like seared foie gras with
truffle essence.) This is the way the networks will be able to shed
themselves of the high-priced, no-talent, whiny sitcom stars who are
bleeding them dry.
The champions of these reality-based shows insist that the American public
doesn't want to see the greedy, beautiful (except for the fat guy) cast of
"Friends" anymore--it wants to see ordinary people put in situations of
If I wanted to watch slow-witted, hideous people being nasty to each other,
why would I watch it on TV? I can live it at home and at work.
Some suit at CBS insisted that "people are tired of seeing actors who are
35 years old playing 20-year-olds. They're tired of silicone-implanted
Speak for yourself, pal. I've got room in my den for all the
silicone-implanted women you don't want.
The fact is that real people will tire of seeing real people on TV. Real
people have no place on TV. TV exists so glamorous people can be on it.
That's why Dennis Miller is doing "Monday Night Football" and I'm sitting
in an undershirt typing this junk. Not that I'm bitter.
The gold mine show won't be the "Survivor 2" they're already working on in
the Australian Outback. The gold mine show would be to take the cast of
"Friends"--the very people the network suits claim to despise--and stick
them on an island for 39 days in bathing suits, eating rats, and maybe the
network suits (if that's not redundant). Heck, if Rachel and Monica are
going to be in bathing suits, you can stick them on an island for 239 days.
But Ross? I'm snuffing his Tiki Torch first.
(c) Copyright 2000 The Washington Post Company
© 2000 Peter Langston