Who watched this? To the bitter end? This is, dare I admit it, our Family Show. We race home from track & field, settle on the chesterfield, and eat nachos while staring at the fascinating spectacle that is Survivor. Because it really is, despite its preponderance for picking horribly conventional stereotypes as cast members (40-something grouchy men, 20-something babes, 20-something nutjobs of either sex, and 20-something athletes with chips on their not inconsiderable shoulders).
We've even got memorable episodes for our Greenridge Family History: the night Ozzy (in his second appearance on the show) was voted out, sending a then FDPG (who was in love with all his amazingness) to bed in tears. She cried herself to sleep she was so distressed at seeing her hero leave with his torch extinguished (does Jeff ever feel self-conscious doing that, I wonder). Richard said "This is not good - she shouldn't be crying about something on TV," whereupon I reminded him of his reaction whenever the Canucks lose in the playoffs.
Cough cough - abject sorrow - cough cough.
Then there was Yaoman. An older Asian guy. He was an anomaly on the show: old, small, and not excessively athletic. But he was extremely clever, nimble, and quick. It was like watching Yoda: a swimming Yoda; a puzzle-solving Yoda; a logical Yoda. The older people don't last long, sad to say. They struggle with the sheer difficulty of lasting through nights on hard bamboo floors, with lots of bugs, next to no food, and ageist athletes as bunk mates.
The women are often the least exciting aspect of Survivor, but only because they are such stereotypes. They appear in our memories as a long line of pretty blondes and brunettes with big boobs and next to no clothing, with equally vapid conversation. There are exceptions, of course. Not many, but they're there.
But what the kids really want to see are the Challenges. This is what sends the twins into a tizzy of excitement. They leap up and down on the chesterfield, shrieking and yelling all the way through. When it's over they collapse in a heap on the cushions, and FDPG usually says something along the lines of:
"I love the challenges."
"The challenges are the best part."
"When I grow up I am going to be on Survivor. Do you think they'll take Canadians by then?"
"The challenges are so exciting."
This past season was no exception. Mostly since they had a Heroes vs. Villains theme, with such polarizing characters as Russell, Rupert, Parvati, Coach, and Boston Rob around to liven things up. Then, at the very end, after they'd decided the winner (Sandra), Russell pulled out his best Totally Delusional Act and tried to tell everyone that he should have won because he was the BEST PLAYER EVER, prompting Jeff the Host to remark "That's not Survivor, Russell; that's Russell gets to choose who wins" to much laughter. FDPG almost fell off the chesterfield she was so hysterical.
I just wish I'd bet someone somewhere, because I called the Final 3 and the final winner. Fortunately I am not quite as delusional as poor old Russell; I know when I haven't won.