Sunday, October 05, 2008

Surviving the Amazing Race

My closet obsession, over the past few years, has been reality TV. Survivor, the Amazing Race, and Big Brother are fun and entertaining. Yes, I know it is a waste of perfectly good time. I could be reading or sleeping or staring at the wall and I’d be doing something far more valuable. I’ve justified my obsession with phrases like “I just need to relax at the end of the day…” Even I don’t buy my lame excuse. I’m hooked. I’m writing today to confess that my obsession has taken a turn for the worse.

A new season of Survivor and a new season of the Amazing Race have both started and I’ve not watched a single minute. Why not? Have I been cured? Not a chance. I’ve been too busy watching the most incredible reality show play out on the “news” channels. I don’t have a editorial team packaging the footage from each week’s activities on the “island” into a one-hour show for me. So I have to do it myself. I have to watch CNN, FOX, MSNBC, the Comedy Channel, and Saturday Night Live and make my own editorial decisions. The night I caught myself combing through hits I found after searching “Levi” and “Wassila” on Facebook, before we knew the identity of the real Levi from Wassila, I knew I was hooked on a whole new kind of reality television. (By the way, I think I saw the real Levi’s page before it was pulled off Facebook, but I didn’t pay much attention to it as I was distracted by the “wrong” Levi…)

The cast of characters is perfect for a real reality show, balanced with racial, gender, and age diversity. There is eye candy—personality—and enough back-stabbing-game-play to make a reality show producer drool.

I can look at poll numbers and read the New York Times, and appear to be doing something useful. Or I can read every blog I can find from Alaska and twenty or more comments about an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal, comments written by folks who don’t know any more about any of this than I do, and know I’m just getting my fix.

It really is a terrific show. I wonder if I’ll be able to watch Survivor and the Amazing Race again after Nov. 4? Or will they just seem lame in comparison?  Especially since I'm on the "jury" for this show.  I have a vote.

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