September 23, 2006

"What has this social experiment taught us? All races hate fat musicians."

Oh, you're just including "musicians" to keep from facing the reality of prejudice against the fat. How unsettling that must be to the folks at home watching the show. We've seen two episodes the new racially divided season of "Survivor," and each time the losing team has ousted the fat guy. Oh, all right, the fat musician guy. And in the case of the second ousted fat musician, Billy, the team deliberately lost so they could rid themselves of him as soon as possible. They weren't just ready to vote him off if they lost, they despised him so much they planned to lose and dawdled through the contest as they made sure even the slowest team got way ahead.

What was the point of staying on to watch the tribal council? (And, I've got to say, I feel silly typing out "tribal council," just as I'd feel silly typing out the tribe names and even the word "tribe," but, whatever....) Actually, the rest of the show turned out to be quite fun. Yul, exiled, read his clue and deftly discerned exactly where to dig for the idol. (And I feel silly typing "idol.") And then at the council, where the outcome was obvious, we're all surprised -- and dissolved in hilarity -- when Billy announces that he's found love, with a woman on another team, whom he delusionally believes is in love with him.

I haven't been watching "Survivor" over the years, so I didn't know whether it had been established in the past that throwing a challenge is an effective strategy. Tung Yin seems to think it's better to keep your bad tribe member around so you'll have him to eliminate when someone must be eliminated, but it made some sense to me. Billy was getting on everyone's nerves and ruining the team spirit. They need to cohere and figure out how to work together. You have to overcome a big dysfunction, and then he'll be gone and there you are, evolved into a style of doing things that was adapted to a problem that doesn't exist anymore.

Anyway, each of the four teams began with three women and two men. [CORRECTION: Actually, only the blacks and whites had three women and two men.] Each losing team got rid of one of the men. We've focused on the racial division, but there's something interesting about the gender division. Not only was each team structured with women outnumbering men, but, I suspect, each team was given one man who was supposed to present special problems. Two teams got a fat guy, and not just a fat guy, but a fat guy who was much less athletic and energetic than everyone else. The other two teams don't have a fat guy, but they have a guy who was probably intended to make it hard for the team to form a solid group. On the Asian team, Cao Boi is not just older, but he's seems wacky. His real identity group, he tells us, is hippies. But his skill at curing headaches by smooshing your head about and leaving a red mark between the eyes is helpful. On the white team, it's less obvious that there's an odd man out, since all the tribe members seem rather lame and since the odd one is -- unlike the other team's odd man -- quite good looking. (It's Adam, the guy who doesn't think a floor is worth the bother.)


me said...

Actually, the music world is probably one of the only places where you can be somewhat popular and fat. Lowell George, Jerry Garcia, the dude from Blues Travelers, Mama Cass, and, of course, ELVIS!!!!

Ruth Anne Adams said...

Do you get a royalty for using the word "cohere"?

Thank you for saving me an hour of prime time.

Do you think the fat guys are really auditioning for a cross-over to "America's Biggest Loser"?

MadisonMan said...

The fat musician I thought of was the Queen of Soul. Who hates her?

Are there any women on survivor who would be considered fat?

-Peder said...

Throwing a challenge is not generally well thought of. It doesn't happen often on the show but it usually comes back to bite that tribe in the butt. In the early part of the show, it's not fatness that becomes a problem but laziness. Both of the guys that are out were seen as not willing to do their own share.
BTW, Billy was world class bad at this. Not only did he not work, he didn't even seem interested in talking with the other people. In a game where the social rules, that just won't do it.

Ann Althouse said...

MadisonMan: I'd love to see a Survivor tribe composed entirely of large divas.

Mark said...


The teams were not all composed of two men and three women. The latinos had three men (including the fat guy) and two women. Now they have two men and two women.

Also, the asians have three men and two women.

Only the blacks and whites and two men and three women.

Mark said...

Let me also point out that in the contest in the first episode, the two teams with three men beat the two teams with three women. (Can't say much about the contest in the second episode, since one team threw it; but the third place team was, again, a team with three women.)

Ruth Anne Adams said...

Mandisa, Jennifer Holliday, Babs?

I think zaftig divas versus skinny divas [Whitney Houston, Celine Dion, Shania Twain] would be fun, too.

Ron said...

The shows been on for like 17 seasons, you should probably get over referring to aspects of the game (tribes, idols, etc.)

Throwing challenges or giving up is usually very much looked down on. Jeff, in the past, as acted like he was disgusted when teams/players did that, so his mellow reaction here was actually kind of surprising.

They may make out well in the end, but for a strategy, it was incredibly dumb to throw the challenge. They not only lost a disposable team member for inadvertant losses in the future, they also gave up a chance of a reward. What happens if they try to win next week but lose? They're down to 3 and will look like even bigger idiots. They deserve to lose for this move.

I thought the guy they kicked off was kind of likeable, but maybe it was selective editing as that declaration of love came out nowhere and was just bizarre. Made me uncomfortable in my pity for him.

Elizabeth said...

I want to see that big diva battle, Ann. What a great idea for a new season.

Fenrisulven said...

Throwing a challenge is not generally well thought of. It doesn't happen often on the show but it usually comes back to bite that tribe in the butt.

It already has - dissension and distrust in the ranks. Bad for morale, bad for teamwork. If you've got dead weight, do your best to co-opt him until you really lose a challenge. I hope their team goes down hard.

The Asian tribe looks the strongest to me. Wonder how they will merge teams? Individuals or dual-races? I'm betting they'll merge races for the conflict drama. Asians/Blacks vs Whites/Hispanics.

knoxgirl said...

Geez, Ruth Anne, did you have to link to that picture of Barbra* ??

*That spelling will NEVER STOP setting my teeth on edge.

That guy saying Candice was in love with him made me blush with embarassment. That's one of those guys, we've all run across them: don't smile, don't even make eye contact: he will ask you out.

Fenrisulven said...

Knoxgirl, I love you too.

Marry me?

Derve said...

They may make out well in the end, but for a strategy, it was incredibly dumb to throw the challenge. They not only lost a disposable team member for inadvertant losses in the future, they also gave up a chance of a reward.

Maybe the big guys were eating too much?

Do they show the food rationing part? Or if people have obnoxious personal habits? The competitions are probably just a small part -- an important part, sure -- of living in/with a "tribe".

If you were really stranded and starving, probably you would want to kill the biggest person first, if you could manage it.

Ann Althouse said...

Derve: Good point about cannibalism. And what great good luck that you never even like the fattest guy anyway!

Schaz said...

Cao Boi?? All this time, I've thought it was "Cowboy" when anyone said his name...figured it was his hippie name.

I had to wonder if Billy was as lazy as the editing portrayed him to be - could someone be that clueless?

A better strategy for that tribe would have been direct confrontation, saving tribal council for the last resort.

Did anyone else find it rather embarrassing, how hard they had to work to lose?