CBS posts 'Survivor: Africa' cast profiles
September 25, 2001 7:42 PM   Subscribe

CBS posts 'Survivor: Africa' cast profiles If reality TV is even marginally relevant to anyone anymore, the bios of the latest Survivor contestants have been posted. My questions are: 1. are these people representative of the American population at large? Almost all of the women list In Style magazine as their favorite and one picks "shopping and ads" as her favorite section of the newspaper... and 2. will more or less people be watching Survivor post-WTC tragedy?
posted by popvulture (26 comments total)
i think anything called 'survivor' is in poor taste and should be banned!

how dare we continue to try to live, or build up some sort of reasonable expectation of having things go back to 'normal'!

this is insensitive to the people who died on the 11th! and we should always live in fear of ever offending the dead.

so there.
posted by jcterminal at 7:50 PM on September 25, 2001

My gut feeling is that manufactured trials and tribulations, in the face of real trials and tribulations, are going to seem very pale in comparison. Not offensive or anything... just pathetic. But then again I never liked the 'reality' stuff in the first place, so I may be way off.
posted by louie at 8:09 PM on September 25, 2001

I was at a newsstand the other day and noticed that the September issue of InStyle is 650 pages long. How? WHY?
posted by aaron at 8:10 PM on September 25, 2001

Diane Ogden
Occupation: US Postal Service Mail Carrier

Need I say more? What are the chances of her going ballistic and killing everyone on the island? ::crosses fingers::
posted by suprfli at 8:18 PM on September 25, 2001

Just think of the useful skillset that the marketer from Consholotsoconsonants, PA will bring to the rigourous test.
posted by machaus at 8:26 PM on September 25, 2001

Hang on - isn't that the cast from Survivor 2? Bronzed matriarchal figure, slow-poke but faithful farmer, token black guy/girl, pudgy middle-aged guy who can't cook rice, guy who you just know is gonna get voted off first coz he looks creepy, whitebread southern boy with perfect teeth...
posted by obiwanwasabi at 8:39 PM on September 25, 2001

>are these people representative of the American
>population at large?

sadly, yes, very much so, methinks. InStyle magazine is 650 pgs thick because it sells like wildfire. that is kind of depressing but then this is a country where until recently Swing magazine (david lauren's navel-gazing fishwrap) was sold on newsstands along side The Economist and Der Spiegel. okay maybe not on the same rack but people BOUGHT and READ it for years....
posted by subpixel at 8:42 PM on September 25, 2001

"...he has competed in and completed more than six marathons, including the New York Marathon, London Marathon..."

More than six? You mean like seven? Or what's that other number...eight?
posted by obiwanwasabi at 8:44 PM on September 25, 2001

My questions are: 1. Does anyone give a s***. 2. Why?
posted by normy at 8:45 PM on September 25, 2001

Ha! I actually worked as an editorial assistant at David Lauren's "Swing" magazine a few years back before it went belly-up, and I remember when the Editor-In-Chief himself was scheduled to interview Steve Jobs... In preparation for the interview, the assistants needed to explain to David who Steve was. *grin*

The InStyle thing really boggles my mind. Are tons of people out there reading it in secret? I honestly never see anyone on the train or anywhere in public "reading" that magazine. And this twentysomething woman also listed Maxim(!) to boot. Do women read Maxim?
posted by popvulture at 8:51 PM on September 25, 2001

popvulture: less people will watch it.

my prediction: Clarence will win. His luxury item is Camouflage Paints (heehee).
posted by culberjo at 9:09 PM on September 25, 2001

I can't believe a 22-year-old girl is taking crochet needles and yarn to the fucking African desert.
posted by animoller at 9:43 PM on September 25, 2001

Did not watch the first two, will not watch this one. Never even seen an "In Style" magazine, heard of it, however. None of these people represent my known population, but then I live in rural Texas.
posted by bjgeiger at 10:24 PM on September 25, 2001

Do women read Maxim?

I actually did a project on women's and men's magazine reading habits for a class last semester. I took a (highly unscientific) survey...I think I surveyed somewhere between 60-70 people. Many of the women surveyed had read or were regular readers of "men's" magazines. Of those, Maxim was the one named by the most women as one they read. Not far behind was Playboy, of all things. It was really interesting.
posted by SisterHavana at 10:30 PM on September 25, 2001

Do women read Maxim?

::raises hand::

subscribed to it for two years. now my (female) best friend gets stuff and my (male) housemates get maxim, fhm, etc. everyone spends way too long sitting in the bathroom because of the library.

wait, that came out wrong.
posted by palegirl at 10:43 PM on September 25, 2001

fuck survivor
posted by blackholebrain at 10:44 PM on September 25, 2001

I'd shag Jessie, in case anyone is interested. I love reality shows, well a couple of them. The British version of Temptation Island (I thought that the US one was great) just started and it looks like it is going to be a classic. Sky 1, Sunday 9.00pm, I think.
posted by Atom Heart Mother at 10:47 PM on September 25, 2001

Hmmm... so I can watch Survivor or actual war this fall?
posted by dopamine at 11:10 PM on September 25, 2001

Temptation Island? Oh geez, what a pile that was. Although I agree Jessie is one hot sheriff! My money has her appearing in Playboy by February 2002. I also see sparks between her and Ethan.
posted by Fofer at 11:20 PM on September 25, 2001

culberjo: speaking of figuring out who will win based on their luxury items, stupid or smart, check out this article on exactly that from the luxury items from Survivor 2
posted by skeptical at 11:36 PM on September 25, 2001

Truth is, Survivor and other Survivor copycats were losing steam before the towers fell. Survivor 1 was refreshing to many. It was different. Survivor 2 was so-so. I don't believe it did as well as the first season. Other shows like Manhunt, Murder in Small Town X, and Big Brother doesn't work because they try too hard to be like Survivor.

Making more shows like Survivor failed because audiences don't want new same things. They want different things constantly. Reality shows will eventually run out of steam altogether because the bar constantly has to keep getting raised. Fear Factor has done well because though there is a familiar routine to the contest, the dynamics change from week to week. Amazing Race looks promising, but the editing is poor, and many viewers and critics complain that it's hard to follow. It also risks being too much like Survivor - with someone being disqualified from the race each episode.

LOST is about as close to reality as I think reality can safely get. No silly producer-concocted challenges. No being voted out or nominating your buddies. Just "can I get home?" The suspense and tension of the show is not manufactured, but uniquely intrinsic to the concept. It feels more real. However it also risks being too real, and therefore boring to audiences used to car chases or tongue wrestling every fifteen minutes. The producers only have what the cameramen capture to work with, and there are no second takes. It is easier however, for a viewer to follow the events. It's better edited than Amazing Race, and there's less couples to follow so each couple gets more face time. With Amazing Race it's hard to keep track of who is who without a score card.

The chosen characters in reality based shows are usually what the casting directors believe, based on sometimes questionable research, the audience can respond to favorably. They are not intended to be representative of the audience but it's hoped that at least one of the contestants will appeal to anybody who tunes in. OR the reverse of that. Sometimes a person is chosen because it's hoped they'll encourage the audience to watch because they love to hate the contestant and want to see him fail. And they want conflict; often combinations of people are considered hoping that they're prone to ram heads with each other.

They think they got it down to a science. They need to go back to the drawing board.
posted by ZachsMind at 11:51 PM on September 25, 2001

1. are these people representative of the American population at large?

Are you serious? Is the group of people who would leave their jobs and families and go off to Africa so people could watch them make fools of themselves on TV representative of the American population? I think not.

These people probably aren't even representative of the .00001% of the American population who TRIED OUT for Survivor (being the dozen people weird enough and attractive enough to be chosen).
posted by straight at 6:43 AM on September 26, 2001

I just don't get this whole genre of shows.

Manufactured activities, pseudo-tribalism that should be insulting to the cultures they mock, long interludes of conversations at an infantile emotional level, and (like the Blair Witch movie) nothing ever actually happens.

Anybody have links to demographics on the audience for these shows?
posted by yesster at 6:58 AM on September 26, 2001

I can't wait to see the two bartenders argue over how to make the perfect Margarita.
posted by dogmatic at 7:05 AM on September 26, 2001

I'd shag Jessie, in case anyone is interested.

Christ, does anyone notice that she's the only one who wasn't photographed with a full-face profile? Of course....the token Latina has to be the sexpot.
posted by jennak at 10:04 AM on September 26, 2001

There are way too many people here with sticks up their asses. This is light entertainment, it was never high drama. Maybe we should take all the sitcoms off the air too so we can make sure that people understand "everything has changed".

I will probably watch it, I find it amusing. It is simple fair and it entertains me for an hour.
posted by johnmunsch at 10:38 AM on September 26, 2001

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