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May 06, 2006

I Surrender

This may be the most painful blog entry I've ever made.

It has now been nearly six years since Survivor first aired, sparking the reality television craze that shoved scripted shows into the background. I didn't see it as a positive development in the world of entertainment then, and after six seasons of Fear Factor, I'm now more inclined to see it as a scourge.

Which is why it pains me to admit that today, after six years of reality TV-free living, one of them finally got me.

Last night, I dropped off to sleep on the sofa. Sometime in the middle of the night I stirred and stumbled into bed, and in my mostly unconscious stupor, I left the television on. So this morning, when I woke up and wandered into the living room to sit down with my laptop, I was greeted by a Top Chef marathon in progress. By the time I was done checking E-mail and surfing all of the usual websites, it was too late. I knew that Harold rocked, Candice didn't stand a snowball's chance in hell, Dave would do well to find himself some sedatives, Tiffani was talented but annoying, and Stephen deserved to be strung up by his thumbs in a dark cell and forced to subsist on Wonder Bread and Franzia.

I watched six episodes.

I'm still pained when the snarky drama is played up. It's dumb and annoying. And the fact that the producers, according to the fine print in the credits, apparently have the ability to covertly overrule the judges casts a WCW-esque shadow over what would otherwise be a really interesting contest. But that said, I have to admit it. I want to know how this thing plays out. Given my historical stand on reality television, the abuse I will take for this is well-deserved, especially since I'm sure I'll be in no position to make fun of Jake's weekly American Idol dissertations once the inevitable season two starts up.

In the interim, though it's a conventional pick, unless he stumbles it's got to be all about Harold. He isn't always the flashiest, but he has that classy restraint and crisp, clean execution that will only become more valuable as the pressure is turned up. Plus, if you're worried about the producers factor, he's easily the most marketable of those remaining. Tiffani can't match him and isn't creative enough to sneak around him. And while Dave is, indeed, the wildcard, there's no way he takes the pressure of the finals without tanking something in spectacular fashion. By the end of the finals, I predict that he's sloppy drunk at a skeezy off-strip blackjack table at 6:30 in the morning, still in his whites, yelling at a blue-haired septuagenarian dealer to hit his hard 17 and then bawling when he busts.

I need to go take a shower, now.


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