Monday, May 12, 2008

The Tribe Has Spoken

I've watched Survivor for each of its 16 seasons not because it's always good or entertaining but because I find it fascinating to see how people behave when put into a situation where they need to play a social game while starving. Social games are hard enough when played in the real world, fueled by pizza and cheese doodles. How well would I be able to influence people if I spent 39 days in a bikini, drenched by rain at least once a day, subsisting on clams and coconuts? I probably won't ever have the opportunity to answer that question based on experience, so I answer it vicariously by watching the show.

Last night's finale was unique in that each of the four remaining contestants had played a very good game. None of them was a goat, dragged along to the finals as dead weight who can't possibly win. I have no doubt that Parvarti, the winner, is a bitch in real life, but I have to give her props for her ability to lie, backstab, flirt, look good in a bikini, and persuade her victims to give her the win, all while consuming probably around 500 calories a day.

I often watch Survivor jealous that our lives can't function on this simple level. Don't like your boss? Convince an alliance of coworkers to vote him or her out of the office. Want to teach your rival a lesson? Send him or her over to Exile Island for a couple of days and plot against him or her the whole time. If life were like Survivor we could work our way through all our anger and resentments immediately and openly, simply by persuading others to share those resentments and act on them. We'd also all be thin, and look good in bikinis.

Of course, life isn't a game and doesn't feature a million-dollar prize at the end. Life isn't edited to fit into a 13-week season. Even so, I woke up this morning wishing I could go to tribal council tonight and vote someone off my island.


Anonymous said...

Who would the perfect tribe consist of? I think that you would need someone good with medicine, someone mechanical, someone strong, and someone who knows how to procure food. After that, it's all art and angst.

tunsie said...

I have a close friend who looks good in a bikini.she is in maxim.but when she is hungry she doesn't go behind the bar and eat chheze doodles 4 an appetizer and for the main entre she has joe's pizza.but rather she eats slices of carrots or celery.and then she will eat soup or some left over yum cha.the important thing is not looking like courtney in a bikini.It is about other people liking you.I don't think I could vote someone off,it's mean in a subtle girlfriend eats cheeze doodles,pizza,bacon cheezeburgers,and smoked 3 cigs on saturday nite.tunsie.tunsie.tunsie

Elucidator said...

In life, Anon's tribe would be ideal. On the tv show, the ideal tribe would be me and a bunch of strong young men. They'd provide for me, devour themselves trying to out-macho each other, and leave me standing until the end, unable to perceive me as a threat. Why? Blinded by boobies.