I read the term "reality TV expert" the other day, used unironically in an article. I'm not a comedy writer, so I'm not going to try and make some hacky jokes about "How do you get to be a reality TV expert? Watching TV all the time?" jokes, but I do wonder how one gets to be a reality TV expert. Possibly by watching TV all the time?
Expertise on any subject of popular culture seems pretty fleeting to me. Even in sports. I mean, Peter Gammons is synonymous with 'baseball expert' but if you ever read his predictions, he's wrong all the time. Just like pretty much every other sports writer/talking head. Sports aren't like economics or physics, the best you can do is make an educated guess which is usually wrong. If baseball was like physics we'd all be floating off into the sky around the time the Cardinals won the 2006 World Series.
I was wondering if this kind of utter inability to predict the future also applied to "reality TV experts". Since I don't know too many, I turned to the best source I could think of, Television Without Pity. They just happened to have a relevant feature on one of the few reality shows I know anything about, Survivor. In this case, prior to the beginning of the most recent season, they assessed the odds of each individual competitors chances. Let's see how they did.
Verdict: Sort of adorable, but his nice-guy attitude won't get him very far... no matter what kind of business savvy he may have. He needs to step it up and be more cutthroat or he'll be out early.
Odds of Winning: 50 to 1
Pretty good start! He wasn't "out early" but he did in fact prove to be insufficiently cutthroat when he let himself get voted out by the, ahem, "Warrior Alliance" while holding a hidden immunity idol. OK, not bad!
Verdict: This supposedly smart woman brought herself up from the street, got a scholarship to law school, passed the bar and then quit... to become a model. She's not long for this game at all. She'll probably flip-flop alliances and be gone before we can learn her name.
Odds of Winning: 50,000 to 1
And indeed, she was the first one from her tribe voted out. Looking good so far. According to the show she was an attorney, but as the site mentions she's a former beauty queen who quit the lawyer game to become a model. I'd like to point out that TWO other females this season were models (and they didn't even call them something else like waitress, they just called them models). So nearly half the women were "models", and a fourth was a former pop star. It also seems like every year on the The Amazing Race there is always a "model team". I'm guessing casting directors are not so much confused about the workplace makeup of America, and more interested in casting good looking media savvy people. But really, have any of these people ever been the slightest bit interesting? Every season, every show, "I'm beautiful, this food sucks, I've been eliminated".
Verdict: She's utterly forgettable and a little too New Age-y for this game. Unless she gets with a strong alliance early on and they carry her through, she'll be gone before the merge.
Odds of Winning: 5,000 to 1
I think she was the first person voted out. Also, it says she's a bartender but I'm willing to bet she's done some "modeling" too.
Verdict: She deals with teenagers all day, and she looks like she'd fit in on a new season of Real Housewives. She's kind of hysterical and really fun to watch, so we hope she'll go far. We hope she at least makes it until we get to see one of those handsprings.
Odds of Winning: 15 to 1
She did indeed acquit herself pretty well, finishing 6th and doing well in a number of different immunity challenges, winning once. She also became utterly loathed on the Internet, for reasons I'm not totally clear on, aside from close relationship with that one guy (which she belatedly realized was a bad idea) and the sin of having fun at 46, an age at which women should apparently just sit in a corner and knit.
Verdict: We're bored of her already. She might stick around a while because people will forget she's there. Even she says she has no stand-out traits (though she tried to spin it as a good thing).
Odds of Winning: 1,000,000 to 1
Screw you Television Without Pity! Erinn was awesome, she finished in 3rd place and was the only one who would call that one guy out on his crap. You have no credibility with me now!
Verdict: Sweetest little Southern boy ever, but there is no way he's gonna make it in this game. He sure will work hard... even though that never gets rewarded.
Odds of Winning: 100 to 1
Other than JT winning the game, never receiving a single vote in Tribal Council, getting every vote at Final Council AND winning the fan-voted $100,000, yeah this one was pretty right on.
Verdict: We trust this man with a nuclear power plant, and he's kind of hysterical. We'd sure be afraid to vote him out. He's got all the required skills, just a matter of if the others think he's too big a threat and kick him to the curb.
Odds of Winning: 2 to 1
They probably couldn't have predicted him getting sick, but could they have predicted him pretty much just packing it in and asking to be voted out? Apparently not.
Verdict: Not especially memorable, which could allow him to fly under the radar, since he seems like he won't piss people off. He'll need to step it up in the end if he wants to win, though.
Odds of Winning: 30 to 1
They successfully predicted him being labeled "boring" failed to predict him being sent home for having a cut on his leg the size of a pencil eraser. (What? That's what I measure things in.)
Verdict: She sure is nutty. She spent more of her interview talking about her pets than her kids and grandkids, and she contradicts herself with every other sentence that comes out of her mouth. She doesn't want to be the motherly type, but she does. We wouldn't be surprised if she was the first or second to go.
Odds of Winning: 5,000,000 to 1
I think she was like, 4th to go. At least she was a real person unlike some guy I could think of.
Verdict: So if Sugar actually knew how to play this game? You'd probably get Sierra. Though she's still got all the flighty qualities of Sugar, she's got a little more savvy... though people may realize that Sugar-y girls aren't so sweet and be more wary of someone like her this time around.
Odds of Winning: 25 to 1
Model. Not worthy of the hatred she seemed to attract but not possessing of any particular skills or abilities either. Not sure what TWoP saw in her to rank her as that much better a pick than say, Erinn. Ability to cry and beg?
Verdict: This young guy talks so fast that just watching him makes us exhausted, and he's already worried if he's going to be too hungry out there (teenage boys do like to eat). He seems determined and eager, but not nearly as underhanded as he needs to be to win.
Odds of Winning: 75 to 1
I guess I have to give them this one. When confronted with the possibility he might get voted out his attitude was pretty much "Maybe you could vote someone else out, but yeah, I probably deserve it."
Verdict: His strategy seems to be similar to Ken, in that he's working the nerdy angle and is eager to get other people to do his dirty work. Which might work for a while, but if he starts losing challenges, he'll be gone.
Odds of Winning: 500 to 1
Lost plenty of challenges, including the one he most needed to win and still finished in 2nd overall.
Verdict: Pretty blonde girl who doesn't really have a chance in hell.
Odds of Winning: 1,000 to 1
Verdict: We already think she's got a better shot than last year's "celebrity" Crystal. She's funny and lively, and as long as she's actually able to contribute to the challenges, she'll do well. Especially if she follows the advice from her own book.
Odds of Winning: 7 to 1
I don't know what to make of Taj. She seems nice and she did better than expected but she also was clearly buckling under the stress and took her inevitable betrayal poorly. She also always seemed to be running in last/the first person out in individual challenges. Whatever, she did fine.
Verdict: He thinks Jonny Fairplay played an excellent game, though thinks he has an advantage because he's stronger and better-looking. We hate him already. Ugh. How long did Ace and his pomposity last before he got blindsided? That's about how long we give this guy.
Odds of Winning: 100 to 1
Probably not the total jerk he came across as, it seemed like he wanted to play as an acerbic bad boy for the cameras. Lesson learned, if you're going to make yourself a huge threat don't go out of your way to put a giant bullseye on your back. Still, he provided the two best moments of the season, saying he would demand the other tribe call him "Coach" if he wound up with them and receiving the greatest motherfucking blindside in TV history. (I still watch that clip to cheer me up) The other lesson learned? Don't put your trust in a completely delusional moron. Which brings us to...
Verdict: If he can learn how to play the social aspect of this game, he should be unstoppable in challenges. As long as he makes it past the merge, he can go all the way.
Odds of Winning: 5 to 1
I'm not going to call him by his preferred moniker, because he's not a coach of anything anymore. And I won't call him by his real name, because that's my name damnit.
It's important to note the rest of his entry from this article breathlessly recounts his being attacked by a tiger shark, but makes no mention of butt eating Amazon pygmies. Now, they had him at 5 to 1, and he finished a respectable 5th. He also did fairly well in the individual challenges (after utterly dogging it in every team challenge). Well, except for the ones he opted to quit on or sit out in favor of eating pizza. But there was nothing in his totally non-fraudulent bio that could have predicted that happening, right?
In conclusion, I clearly make a better expert than the so-called "reality TV experts".
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Finally, a site on the Internet where somebody complains about things! Usually the fact that criminal justice majors make me cringe.
- ▼ May (7)