Each season we announce our new titles individually, each in their own post, to give you a little extra background...Posted April 2nd
Who's Afraid of Being Kicked Off the Island?
I have been a fan of Survivor since it first aired in the summer of 2000. Initially I kept quiet about my addiction to the show, embarrassed that I was so captivated by what many of my friends and academic colleagues considered a new low in schlocky popular television. This was the beginning of the Reality TV trend, a trend some feared would only further impoverish a medium already lacking in well-written, imaginative programs. Why was it, then, that this show seemed to lodge itself so firmly in my imagination? I remember waking up one morning during that first Survivor series with scenarios of the previous night’s show running through my head: Was Rich going to betray Rudy? What should Kelly’s strategy be? Would Sue ever forgive her? And what was wrong with my life that I should even care or be wasting my time thinking about any of this? After all, as one of my friends observed, the show is hardly reality, but a manufactured, highly contrived, fake reality.
So what is the appeal of this artificially constructed reality that Survivor creates? The show has continued to attract strong ratings for six years now. I am still watching and still questioning my fascination with it. Those questions, along with my background in psychoanalytic relational theory, have led me finally to the following hypothesis: Much of Survivor’s appeal lies in the psychological tension it creates, a tension that mirrors a conflictual …
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