Thursday, June 07, 2007

Why Survivor Needs an Alaskan Edition

Survivor in AlaskaI hate to admit this but I've not been a Survivor fan. To me the idea of watching contestants match wits (and I use the term "wits" in the most optimistic of ways) while trying to survive on a beautiful island just isn't as exciting as it could be. Here's my plug for having a Survivor: Alaska Edition (are you out there CBS??)
1. I’m tired of the tropics. Figi, China Sea, Panama, it’s just one beautiful beach after another. Nothing but sand, sand, sand and palm trees with an occasional glorious sunset. The venues are starting to run together and I’m beginning to suspect the show isn’t held on an island at all but in a very large New Zealand back lot with Oompa Loompas as key grips. Let’s have some real mountains and mud flats for a change. All the talk of ANWR in the news and the time is ripe for a little down-to-earth living off the land and a chance for the rest of the world to see what Alaska's really like.

2. Anyone can survive the tropics--just ask Tom Hanks—but it takes a real survivor to make it through cold, wind, rain, bears, moose, glaciers and killer whales. Survivor in Tahiti is just one step away from a country club.

3. The tiki torches and thatched lean-tos are growing tiresome, it’s starting to feel more like The Tiki Room at Disneyland than a legitimate survival adventure.

4. I want some new gear for the participants. I’d like to see them try to wear those tube tops in the snow—or else they’d have to come up with a way to make them out of Gortex and to make the bandannas out of those silver space blankets. Maybe with some fur edging . . .

5. In fact the show could do with a little hypothermia. Now THAT would be something. Of course, there’s enough sad attempts to generate heat as it is . . . on second thought maybe you wouldn’t want the cast huddling together any more than they already are, it would just be over the top with salaciousness.

6. But Survivor in Alaska would mean some Serious Survival. None of this collecting fallen coconuts and spear fishing little fish off the reef. Let’s see somebody catch a salmon with their bare hands in a glacial stream and harvest dandelions and low-bush cranberries for dinner. Maybe even skin a caribou. I’d watch that.

7. I’d like to see some immunity challenges that are more challenging. Fighting a polar bear. Yea, that would be worthy of prime time. Put the tribes together with a couple of polar bears and see who would win immunity. I’m guessing it’ll be the bear.

8. But an episode in Alaska would mean action from the very start. In fact, if they held it here and had everyone jump off the boat and swim for shore at the beginning, only about 50% would make it to shore before they either froze or were carried away by the 25-foot tides. Talk about your drama. It would be more like Titanic and less like Gilligan’s Island meets Falcon Crest.

9. Survivor Alaska would be extra cool because the tribe names would be too hard to pronounce. Just picture the Kwigillingok Tribe facing off against the Tuntutuliak Tribe. I’d like to see a network exec wrap their tongue around those words.

10. A vote for Survivor Alaska would mean a vote for seeing hair dressers from San Bernardino, baristas from Seattle and bond traders from East Hampton eating fish ice cream and muk tuk. Fish ice cream—and this is for real—is a traditional Native Alaskan dish of whipped caribou fat mixed with berries, fish and sugar and muk tuk is raw whale blubber—sometimes fermented and also quite traditional. I think. I’ve never got close enough to verify this information. But wouldn’t that be entertaining?

11. Survivor Alaska would open the doors for all kinds of other interesting venues. Just think, they could follow it up with a Survivor Baghdad, a Survivor Sudan or even Survivor Bangladesh. I hear it’s harder to stay alive there than in The Caymans.

12. Survivor Alaska would also mean you could have regular people as contestants, not glamour girls trying for their big break into acting. With all the clothes they’d have to wear you’d hardly be able to tell if they were thin or fat, ugly or pretty. In fact, a little meat on the bones would probably be a benefit—better insulation.

13. Forget voting someone off the island, I want to see someone get voted off the ice floe.

***

Have you entered this month's Write-Away Contest? The theme is traditions.

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53 comments:

thailandchani said...

Not a big Survivor fan, either. If you've seen one season, you've seen them all. Not just the geography as you mentioned ~ butthe personality types.

However, it does serve as a good soporific ~ and it's cheaper than booze.


Peace,

~Chani

Stephanie said...

That I'd watch too. Someday I'll have to tell you my Alaskan back packing story. That was Survivor material!

Jaycee said...

Alaskan Survivor. Sounds interesting. I don't watch much of it either but I think I'd tune in for this.

Yes, the outfits would have to change to actually survive.

Am working on my traditions piece.

Toni said...

I love this show, and would love to see it in Alaska! Of course, they would probably all freeze to death! Mine is up at Special K Family

Jenny McB said...

We got a nice little rocky island off to the right on my header up in Nova Scotia that be a great survivor locale. I am with you on this one, let's make it tougher!

Michelle A. said...

Great post and great writing! Loved it. I watched one season and just couldn't do another and another and another. You may have something here - have you pitched it to CBS yet :-) Thanks for making me laugh!

Laughing Muse said...

Survivor: Alaska would favor the heavier contestants because we'd have our own layer of insulation. All the skinny, waifish types would either die, freeze, or have to gain weight just to stay alive.

Heck, even if they did it in the summer...Survivor: Alaska. The tribes versus the mosquitos!!! :D

Christine said...

I like your reasons for bringing Survivor to Alaska, especially numbers 12 and 13.

I'm all about phobias this week on my TT.

L^2 said...

I've only seen an episode or two of Survivor - the roommate in college was obsessed with it the first season or two - but I might actually be convinced to check it out, based on your list, if there were ever an Alaskan edition. :-)

CoachJ said...

Amen, sister, about the new get-ups for the contestants to wear!

Daisy said...

I love it! Husband is a Survivor fan. I keep suggesting they have one in the UP -- Michigan's Upper Peninsula. The Survivor contestants wouldn't even be able to understand the dialect, unless they're from Michigan or Wisconsin. They'd have to battle mosquitoes, poison ivy, and c-c-c-cold or either Lake Michigan or Lake Superior.

Babystepper said...

Ha! Yeah, I'd watch that for sure.
I tried watching survivor one time. That was enough. Pa-the-tic!

G's Cottage said...

This is purely speculation here but one could get the idea that you are working a wager to see if you can make all the networks call you about appearing on a show? Just speculation, however it could be a really fun summer project.

Amber said...

Let's face it: snow suits just aren't sexy. I think these shows figure the more skin, the better. And look how many years it has been around...

Domestic Geek said...

I haven't been a Survivor watcher for a long time for the very reasons you mentioned. I'd love to have to see some real survival skills. Too bad the networks probably wouldn't buy it.

Wylie Kinson said...

I would SO watch it if they went to Alaska.
Have you ever seen a show called Survivor Man? It's REAL reality, as in, one guy (no camera crew - he brings his own) takes himself off to different locations in North America and plays out a scenario - if his plane crashed (he'd have wreckage to use), if his snow mobile broke down, etc... And yes, he's been pretty close to the arctic!
Great program on OLN. Check it out.

Heffalump said...

Sounds good to me. I have only seen one or two episodes of Survivor and the lying and manipulating made me wish they would ALL stay on their island and away from me!
My father in law likes that show and for a while he was taping them for us (his idea-we don't get TV reception) I think he stopped once he realized we weren't really interested in it.

amy said...

Alaska does sound like a good Survivor location!

pussreboots said...

I've never watched Survivor but if they did an Alaskan edition, I'd watch. Happy TT.

my4kids said...

I've only watched it once or twice also and can't tell the difference from one season to another. I would vote for survivor Alaska! Now that would be interesting!

Erica said...

You're right!! I'd so watch that....CBS - please air in Scotland too :)

Ally Bean said...

Excellent idea. I'd even watch it for the first time if they did this.

Mary Alice said...

That's a great idea. I bet you my brother and sister-in-law would try out for the show. They are bush pilots in Alaska and my sister-in-law, Erika, loves to compete in anything...she's a contestant in the Mrs Alaska pageant next month. I think she was Miss Wildness Woman of the Great Icy Tundra or something like that as well. Anyway it would be a fantastic venue for REAL Alaskans like them. It would also be fun to watch all the people from LA and Houston try to hack it!

EnnaVic said...

Erm - Even if it was filmed in Kiwiville, NZ _is_ a set of islands. There's still lots of room for large back lots though, especially just down the road in Jacksontown, although you'd need to go further north for more oompaloompa sized people - I'd suggest around Matamata.

*chuckle*

Anne Douglas said...

Oh yes, I might even tune back in to watching that. I've been saying for years they need a mountain top survivor - REAL survival stuff, not lying around on a beach all day.

SusieJ said...

Michelle, if you were on the Alaskan Survivor Edition -- I would watch it every week. The ratings would go up -- that's another reason.

Melissa R. Garrett said...

I've never been a fan of survivor either, but I would DEFINITELY watch your version!

Amy W said...

Absolutely great idea!!

Although I would always feel very cold watching it...

Karen said...

Now THAT would be something! :)

JAM said...

I'd actually watch that. The only time I watched Survivor was when a guy from my hometown in Louisiana came in second on the final episode that year. Heck, they could even do it in summer up there and it'd be much rougher than the beautiful tropical isles they usually choose.

eve said...

Really a great idea. I would dread watching. Cold weather actually and truly terrifies me. I live in Seattle and I had to wear gloves to the market yesterday. People teased me.

Darla said...

LOL! Great idea! I suspect they wouldn't go for it though--not enough chance of getting to see the contestants nekkid.

Chris said...

It wouldn't happen b/c they need to have half naked girls running around. I could do without all the fake boobs.

Judi said...

Crack me up! I mean I burst out laughing at #8. I couldn't control myself when you said it would be less like Gilligan's Island meets Falcon Crest. I love your humor! I would watch this too!

Christie said...

Survivor Alaska has my vote! I've never been a fan of the show either, really. Anytime I turn it on (by accident) all I see is half naked girls and guys runnning around with coconuts and tiki torches. Now running around on glaciers and surviving the freezing temperatures, that I'd watch. Great list!

Stephanie said...

LOVE that idea. They really do need new locations and different survival challenges.

Exer said...

I agree with what Amber said previously, it just wouldn't work. I haven't watched Survivor since the original season, but the show is all about the T & A, it just won't "survive" without it. The male fans enjoy seeing the ladies run around in skimpy bikinis, and the female fans like seeing the ripped abs of the unusually buff male contestants.

Sadly nobody will tune into to see a bunch of shapeless snowsuit-covered lumps standing around in the snow with their breath fogging out like smokestacks.

Anonymous said...

Now that is a "reality" show I would watch!

Mymsie said...

Fun, creative list! I forwarded it to a friend of mine who's from Alaska :)

Lisa said...

You are SO RIGHT. THey should do it in Alaska. Not a Survivor fan either.

Corrie said...

I don't think you'd have contestants walking around in their birthday suits - summer or winter. Too much risk of their bits being frozen off or ravaged by mosquitos.

allrileyedup said...

I think in my whole life, I've only seen one episode of Survivor, but I used to hear about it from coworkers back in the day.

Alaska would definitely be way harder than a beautiful tropical island.

Did you ever see the movie Flight of the Phoenix, where Dennis Quaid and co get stranded in the middle of the Gobi Desert? That would be another good Survival locale.

so grateful to be Mormon! said...

michelle: i loved this about our alaska state! what a hoot! this, to date, is my favorite and funniest thing i have read by you. thanks for making me laugh! kathleen :)

ps. i would definitely watch a season if they did this in our alaska state with fur lining to boot!

Nancy said...

Survivor Alaska is a great idea. But, like others said, a huge part of the reason they do it in the tropics is all the skimpy clothing. I think that if they did some more real, rugged locations, they would be able to easily replace their core audience of people who are drawn to that, by people who are drawn to the survival aspect. I'd probably watch it again if they did it in Alaska.

Lucky7Star said...

Survivor Alaska… Great idea! Talk about your real life drama. Maybe they could share a piece of sea ice that has broken off the rapidly diminishing Artic ice shelf and perhaps match wits with a Polar Bear… My money is on the Bear.

cheeky said...

You do have a sense of humour Michelle. I think I watched the first few seasons of Survivor but I'm not much for television and it has grown tiresome in a way, I guess.
I agree, the extreme cold would be hard to survive but I can't say the extreme heat is a walk in the park either. They did hold it in Africa and Australia.
It would probably be too harsh for the camera crew, as well, to follow them about in the cold icy terrain.
You should plug this to CBS, see what they say. :)

Anonymous said...

Hey Michelle. One of your better 13 reasons!! I might rename it 13 reasons I have stopped watching TV. Except HGTV, History Channel, Discovery and Fox News. Each individual observation could apply to 95% of network television . Give me a V (clap, clap) give me an A (clap, clap) P - I - D! Well done!! I'm sure glad my son found you! MOMM

Kathy in WA said...

This is too funny!!! Thanks for posting. I loved it.

Cynthia said...

That's TOO FUNNY! We used to like Survivor, but I'm with you. They all seem pretty much the same now except for an occasional change of a game here or there.

JustRandi said...

Fantastic Post! I've never watched survivor, but I might tune in for this!

polliwog said...

You are such a fun writer. I read a lot over here but never have time to comment. I had to comment on this one!

I'm not a Survivor fan either but I laughed so hard at your idea for an Alaskan angle.

The hardest things I remember enduring when we lived there were the mosquitoes, our neighbors out in 'The Butte', and the infamous Butte dust that got everywhere when the wind picked up.

They could give the contestants a challenge where they were handed a huge roll of duct tape and they had to see how many things they could make out of it.

I LOVE YOUR HUMOR!

Jenny said...

I live in the Northwest Territories, Canada (almost your neighbour!) and we joke about this too. In our minds it's not Survivor until there's a chance of being carried away by mosquitoes or blackflies or bulldogs(a kind of horse fly) or until you've had to rustle up your own food - none of this product placement business and fruit trees all over the place!

Laura said...

Reading some of your back posts! I once spent a year in Sitka-though i otherwise am a lifelong Hoosier and have long thought that Survivor Alaska would be the real deal. Love your blog.