Tuesday, February 19, 2008

The morality of Survivor

At a discussion board I visit, there is a thread about Survivor. In it, someone mentioned they were glad to see Jonny Fairplay go home because he is a jerk. I mentioned that I liked him and was sad to see him go so early in the game. While he was talking about how he wanted to go home, I kept thinking "what kind of scam is he running" I also said that I like the strategy the fireman is (or was, we'll see if it changes) employeeing as far as getting people together to vote people off. I tend to like the people who play dirty on those shows because that is the point of that kind of show. The person that I was discussing this with brought up the issue of wanting people who are nice to and i countered that playing dirty and being ruthless is the way of the world. No one that is extremely successful is a nice person. She brought up the issue of what her watching those types of shows is teaching her children and that got me thinking.

Does everything in life have to some morally redeeming quality or are people allowed to have guilty pleasures? On one hand, my previous statement that ruthlessness is a way of life stands. Of course, there is the caveat that success is how you define it. Am I successful? I would say yes. I'm a good mother, I work hard, etc. I'm by no means rich but I'm succesful at what I've chosen to do. When I talk about being successful for this arguement, I would define that by being rich, since the point of these shows is to win money.

On the other hand, it could be used to start the conversation of "yes there are people like this in real life, but they aren't the people that anyone wants to be around" Rob and Amber are a perfect example of that. Rob screwed people left and right to get to the final two and at the end, no one would vote for him to win because EVERYONE hated him (it still worked in his favor by marrying the winner but if he hadn't he would have just been a jerk).

So, this post sounded a lot better in my head. I've spent over an hour writing it here though because I keep getting distracted (Make me a Supermodel is funny) and it didn't come out as profound as it sounded when I first started working on it. :(


MidlifeMutant said...

Since you asked. No, it really isn't okay to have "guilty pleasures" at other people's expense.

We all do it, however. We've become so desensitized to the pain of others that we now employ it as entertainment.

Mom said...

But is it really at someone's expense in the case of reality television? The people on the shows sign up to be on TV, knowing full well what is in store for them (I'm obviously not talking about the reality shows were the contestants are lied to prior to the show).

And is it not ok to enjoy watching people play the game the way the game was designed to be played (everybody knows that the "shit stirrer" is kept around as long as the producers can swing because those people make good tv)because they are jerks?

Alternately, what about other guilty pleasures? What about soaps? The people in those shows are HORRIBLE. Yet it counts as a guilty pleasure. Honestly, even though Survivor (and all other "reality TV") doesn't use actors, they are in the same vein as Days of Our Lives or The Bold and Beautiful (I'm obviously showing how often I watch soaps because those are the only 2 I can name and I have no idea if they are even still on the air LOL). They are people acting like fools for the sake of the viewing audience.