What would you pay for this stuff?
January 11, 2002 7:50 PM   Subscribe

What would you pay for this stuff? CBS/Survivor auctions off gee-gaws from Survivor Africa to benefit Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS foundation. Way to go Survivor! As much as you may not like this show, it's a pretty cool thing to do. Would you pay $25,000 for the Immunity Idol, though?
posted by aacheson (12 comments total)
If I were a contestant on the NEXT survivor, I think $25K would be a good investment...
posted by Stuart_R at 8:24 PM on January 11, 2002

I wouldn't personally, no. But I'm really impressed that the producers took the opportunity to help a good cause. Of course it's just to further their stature and make them look good. It's good PR. But still it's a worthwhile cause to help the Africa AIDS issue and despite my pessimism I have to hand it to them.

If you watched this season, you'd see that it makes perfect sense. One of the 'reward challenge' rewards was to be allowed to drive a truck to a nearby hospital facility and present medical supplies. It was one of the few good scenes of the show this season. Lex had annoyed me up until that point, but he showed his true stripes that day and it was a touching moment. So it makes sense that for the end of the season they'd auction stuff on ebay and give the money to the foundation that supports that medical facility.

The show itself was overall rather lackluster this year. Not as bad as I predicted, but their connection with the AIDS medical facility was one of the few highpoints. I watched it cuz I'm a reality television watchin' fool. I thought Survivor 3 was gonna make or break reality tv as a whole. The show has survived despite my prediction, but without infusing new life into the concept. Apparently, rather than crash and burn, reality tv is just going to slowly die away a painful and blood-curdling death.

Still, Survivor 4 looks vaguely hopeful. They're going back to their roots. It's an island again. The Marquesas (sp?) Island near Tahiti. This time supposedly the castaways are getting NO rations. Zero. Everything they need to survive is supposed to be on the island itself. So this should prove to be more worthwhile to watch. Though it'll still have the stupid voting process, there should be more footage that just shows whether or not they can pull together and literally survive. I find that more interesting personally than the backstabbing. They should make Survivor so hard that people don't have to vote each other out. Once every three days someone should either beg to be kicked out or they just pass out from exhaustion and have to be choppered out in a stretcher.
posted by ZachsMind at 8:25 PM on January 11, 2002

$25K for the Immunity Idol, but surprisingly, the second most expensive item so far is the Water Tank @ $15K. To true fans of the third season that would be a precious collector's item. It wouldn't mean anything to most people, but the watertank was a prominent plot element in the show this season. Water being of penultimate importance, it gave the Boran tribe the edge early on, until the Switch.
posted by ZachsMind at 8:41 PM on January 11, 2002

It's somehow sad that the empty cans on a rope are bid higher than one of the contestant's torches. And it's crazy shameless that they found a way to work product placement into a charity auction.

<cynicism>The Pediatric AIDS Foundation is a pretty tame choice. Clearly it's not just African children being devastated by AIDS. But since the Foundation is removed from any unpleasant suggestion of sexuality or IV drug use, it tends to be a favorite of the media. </cynicism>

Still, the Foundation fills a crucial niche in the world of AIDS charities, and I concede that CBS and Survivor producer Mark Burnet may have found an appropriate way to begin to atone for their bastardization of Masai culture.

In other Survivor-related charity news, contestant Brandon Quinton (the gay Dallas bartender), masterminded this benefit for a local AIDS charity and an alternative high school. Anybody wanna loan me 600 beans so I can buy his torch?
posted by varmint at 9:14 PM on January 11, 2002

I am a shameless Survivor fan. They really can do no wrong as far as I am concerned. It's about the only hour of TV I watch in a week other than news coverage.As Mark Burnett put it, this season was categorically the best HE has ever produced.

I agree, and am pleased that the ratings for the OG reality show has been left to those who enjoy the subtle expressions the expert cameras capture even if it was actually a grimace from a tick biting their bottom.

The HIV problem in Africa is going to need more than the 25 grand for the idol though. Any exposure of this issue to our sheltered existence can't be that bad?I actually hadn't heard a thing about African HIV epidemic in months. (maybe I should watch more TV?)

Survivor is my favorite. I am not sure if I will watch next season because it is a huge time commitment.I wouldn't want to only see a few episodes.

I have only missed two episodes EVER.

The first one, and the one where they switched it up on a Wednesday or something. I thought maybe they were trying to use the show as a ratings howitzer against Friends and almost stopped watching then on principle even though I don't care much for Friends.

I must say, a frozen pizza and watching the show with a few good friends is a pretty good escape on a cold Winter night.

They aren't trying to bust up any marriages, they are not trying to gross anyone out ( the Masai have been demonstrating the blood drinking for $$ for years, Don't blame Mark B.) and as far as I can tell, it is some of the best produced live footage I have ever seen. How discreet must those camera people be to catch some of those private exchanges? Great show in my opinion.

The auction? Nice, but only a drop. I guess you gotta start somewhere.

Sheesh, I have rattled on about as long as Kelly but with a lot less venom. Poor girl.

thanks for reading my first post.
posted by kremb at 10:09 PM on January 11, 2002

kremb, you've missed two? And you call yourself a FAN?

I've seen every episode of every season (thanks, TiVo) and can categorically say that this season was the weakest by far. The first was the best, the second was weaker, and this one just seemed to lose its footing early on. (The early merge was the first desperate annoyance.) There was no "surviving" as far as I'm concerned, very little battling of the elements. Just incessant strategizing and bickering, inane "plot" twists and forced drama. At this point I'm thinking about skipping season 4 -- and I was about as big of a "Survivor" fan as you can find. Hell, I was at the E! "Pre-Show Party" that kicked off this season.

That being said, ZachsMind, your analysis of the importance of the water tank scares me.
posted by Fofer at 11:02 PM on January 11, 2002

I didn't watch the first season... actually, I pulled a pretty silly move and refused to watch it because it was being hyped so much. my loss, i guess. and while i definitely did like the second better than the third, I thoroughly enjoyed them both. I'm excited for the fourth one, and yeah... tivo would be nice. oh if only i can get a job by march! :P i'd much prefer to watch them at my leisure.

anyhow, I'd like to think survivor at least won't die out. Ratings seem to have dropped, and the other stations have ditched their me-too reality shows. but I think there's room for at least one.
posted by chrisege at 11:59 PM on January 11, 2002

kremb, I agree. I barely watch TV anymore, but Survivor and take-out Thai curry is a Thursday routine my wife and I look forward to each week. There is plenty worse on TV, and this mindless hour is dependably entertaining. I agree that watching is a bit of a burden and I'm not quite sure if I want to commit to another season.

As far as Reality TV goes, Survivor is the gold standard. Yes it's contrived, formulaic and manipulative, but it is still the show that everyone else in the genre is chasing, and for good reason. This season was by far the most touchy-feely yet, and the desperate story-editing that tried to turn Lex into the bad guy seemed transparent to me.

The trip to the AIDS hospital was one of the most exceptionally good things I've seen on TV in a long time. I'm used to seeing third-world problems reported by people who spend a normal African family's annual income on shampoo, and who could make a difference but don't. Burnett deserves applause for actually helping the people they visited. ZachsMind, it was good PR, but this is one of those cases where the outcome of that PR is mutually beneficial. Survivor looked great, but those boxes weren't empty. If anything, they didn't deliver enough.

BTW, I don't think I've ever missed an episode, and that's without Tivo (but with a VCR and embarrassed, pleading calls to friends).

Oh, and kremb, welcome to MetaFilter.
posted by joemaller at 12:55 AM on January 12, 2002

Fofer, care to elaborate? Why's that scary? Perhaps I should restate myself. The water tank by itself was not a pivotal plot element, but water in general was, and the tank became the answer.
posted by ZachsMind at 2:22 AM on January 12, 2002

ZachsMind, I was just teasin'. To expend any more brain cells on this prop's "significance" would be criminal. It's a damn TV show... and an incredibly well STAGED one at that... but nothing more.

For kicks, I'd really like to meet the chap who is shilling out that kind of cash for this water tank "of penultimate importance." I'd like to see how it looks in his/her living room 7 years from now, when the "3rd season of Survivor" seems as significant as ALF's fur.

At least the $7k (and rising?) will be going to a good cause. Sheesh.
posted by Fofer at 3:58 PM on January 12, 2002

CBS/Survivor auctions off gee-gaws from Survivor Africa

As an aside, might I say that this is the first time that I have ever seen gee-gaw written down anywhere. The word probably wouldn't have leapt out at me had its alternate spelling of gewgaw not played such a prominent part in an Independent article on paranoid pronunciation that I read a short while ago.
posted by MUD at 4:51 PM on January 12, 2002

Though it'll still have the stupid voting process, there should be more footage that just shows whether or not they can pull together and literally survive. I find that more interesting personally than the backstabbing.

To each his own, ZM. I find the survival aspect completely uninteresting, and it's the politicking and backstabbing that keep me watching. Presumably the producers are smart enough to realize that each aspect is responsible for some of their success, so future seasons will continue to have a mix of both.
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 8:16 AM on January 14, 2002

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