Riding Coattails: Survivor's Greatest Hit, Introduction


Survivor rocks so hard. I can’t wait for Season 10.

My college football playing brother:
No, it totally sucks. I can’t believe you watch it.

Well, I hate to break this to you, but I’ve always hated football. So I guess we’re even.

Every time I go home for the holidays and bask in the radiant love of my nearest and dearest, a conversation of this sort inevitably crops up. My brother thinks Survivor is a dull, pointless show for only the most pathetic of weenies. I, on the other hand, am counting the days until the premier of Season Ten. When a season is airing, I tend to think about the days of the week in relation to their closeness to Thursday.

My Husband:
What day is it today?

Let’s see. Survivor’s on in three days, so I guess it’s Monday.

Some people might find that line of thinking incredibly lame, but for me, it’s a foundation block of my mental health. I once read about a psychological study on regular watchers of soap operas. It turns out that people who watch All My Children and Days of Our Lives suffer from less depression than those who are off reading books with words in them or working a day job. I imagine that the same effect occurs for fans of any regularly broadcast show. I have plenty of friends who are die-hard fans of The Simpsons and happily watch the back-to-back reruns every night after work. Nothing gives them greater joy.

Due to the unpredictable nature of life, with its deadly tidal waves and seesawing reports about the role of carbs and fat in the obesity epidemic, the primetime television schedule provides a much-needed presence of stability. Aside from the occasional interruptions brought about by presidential debates and baseball games, my favorite shows are something I can count on every week. A friend may not return my phone call and my subscription to Cosmo may mysteriously lapse, but I know that barring some breaking news (like Nick and Jessica announcing their divorce), my shows will be there for me.

And while I am also a huge fan of The Apprentice, Fear Factor, The Amazing Race, and Wife Swap, Survivor remains my all-time favorite reality show for one simple reason: it’s the best. It combines intriguing human interaction with physical challenges (harkening back to my days as a Double Dare devotee) in a deserted island setting. What could be better?

Now that it’s the off-season, I’d like to take a look back at some of my favorite moments, a greatest hits type tribute, if you will. Over the next few weeks, I’ll be a Casey Kasem for reality TV, counting down what I think have been the best things and people to happen on this rockin’ show. And to make the whole process a bit more interesting, I’m requesting a bit of help from readers. Please e-mail me your suggestions for Oscar-style categories. And aside from the obvious inclusions, like Hottest Chick with Fake Breasts and Gayest Hand Gestures, give me something juicy to work with. I promise to include as many of your ideas as possible. And if no one writes to me, my next column will focus exclusively on my other obsession, which is making doilies. What would you rather read about, honestly?

I can’t wait to hear from you and start compiling my lists. Now, if only Jerri could lend me her bongos for a drumroll.