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And THIS Is Why I Love Reality TV: Survival Of The Richest On The Verge Of Extinction


Not since “Filthy Rich Cattle Drive” on E! have we been able to bask in the whiny nonsense of spoiled rich kids—until now. Thanks to The WB (when is the WB actually merging with UPN to be the XPEHDLT Network?), we can now see how rich kids interact with poor kids in “Survival of the Richest.” My friend who introduced me to this show described it as “Beauty and the Geek” but all about money instead of looks and brains. She’s so right. “Survival of the Richest” pairs an heir to a fortune to a young adult in debt. Two by two, they are eliminated through various challenges. The poor learn about the lifestyles of the going-to-be-rich-and-hope-to-be-famous and the rich learn about why they really don’t ever want to not have money. So sweet.

Never heard of this show? Not surprising. I stumbled upon it through my aforementioned friend who stumbled upon it because she likes Hal Sparks, who is the host. Friday night at 8 or 9 is not an ideal time slot for a new show. I’m not sure when the first episode was and I don’t know when it will end or if it already has ended. I catch it randomly but when I do, I can’t change the channel. It’s one of those suck-you-in-like-a-car-wreck deals.

Let’s delve into the rich kid psyche first. I have to admit, not all the rich kids are whiny and spoiled. Some of the females are especially kind and generous and not so full of “let me show off my money” attitudes. However, what’s the point of a show about rich kids if none of them act the 1980s [i]Less Than Zero Pretty In Pink John Hughes Is God[/i] stereotype?

Meet Hunter, the guy whose smirk I may find a way to smack off his face through the television screen before the season ends. He thinks he owns the world. He flaunts his cash like no one’s business (what the heck does that phrase mean anyway and why am I using it? Never used it before in my life…moving on). When the gang goes out for sushi, he interviews that sushi is a way of life for rich kids and they have to like it and it was quite atrocious watching the poor broke kids eat it as if it were simply raw fish. Yeah, okay, buddy. Sushi, I hate to break it to ya, is Japanese, so how it’s a way of life for American rich kids, I don’t know. Perhaps it’s something you enjoy eating, but I can tell you, I eat it too and I am far from the definition of rich. Then at the sushi dinner, he and his other rich friend make a point of simply throwing wads of hundreds on the table without really “figuring out” the bill. AND he thinks he can get any girl he wants because of his good looks and charm. Newsflash: Your sucky attitude makes you the most unattractive person in the world. If I had not even a half cent to my name and I was starving and thirsty and cold and dirty, I still wouldn’t go near you to even try to beg for a dime. Why not? You irk me.

The funny thing is that the rich girl Hunter goes after is vying for the poor kid Jim because Jim is nice. Oh, and he’s hot. Very very hot. So if you’re a rich blonde chick, and you already have money, do you go for the semi-good-looking rich guy who has a sucky attitude or the all-American-poor-boy? See, Hunter? Money doesn’t buy you anything as Jim will tell you as he frolicks half naked with the rich blonde girl in the pool. And just because Jim is poor doesn’t mean he’s dumb; he’s going along with this girl’s advances because, well, she’s hot too, and to protect himself in the game.

Then there’s TR who is a rich kid who flaunts his money but also plays the nice guy sometimes. He hangs with Hunter but he also hangs with Jim. Here’s the catch. Among all these young hard bodies, TR looks as if he’s 43. He just doesn’t seem to blend with the group. And poor TR got sent to the ER during a fruit picking challenge because the sun was beating down on them and he, being 43, couldn’t take the heat. So he got out of the kitchen, meaning he hyperventilated and passed out.

The truth here is that the rich kids don’t really have fortunes. Well, they do physically have money, but they’re not rich themselves. They’re future heirs to future fortunes. Some are even royalty. The poor kids aren’t really all that poor. Well, again, some are, but some just have regular debt. And some just need to get a job.

However, the interactions and manipulations between them all are fascinating. They all think they’re playing each other when they are all getting played. Hard.

While we’ve all seen a rags to riches story and we’ve all seen a John Hughes 80s epic, the old tale never dies, especially when we see it played out by real people. They aren’t characters in a movie. They’re all real people. And, especially for guys like Hunter and Jim, they are true to how we’ve imagined them to be all these years.

The prize in the end is, of course, money. Which makes me wonder why the rich kids are even on this program. The prize is only a small fraction of what they are already worth. And to say they came to have a growing and learning experience is just silly. If they really wanted to learn about “poor” people, they would work in a soup kitchen (which they have to do in one episode and Hunter ain’t happy) or help build a house for Habitat for Humanity.

[b]And THIS is why I love reality TV[/b]: I’m pretty sure they came for fame which is pretty funny because, um, is ANYONE watching this show? My guess is no. So it’s truly the poor kids, or the one poor kid on the last team standing, who wins in the end.

Oh, and perhaps you should catch the show before the season ends (if it already hasn’t…who knows?) just to see Hal Sparks for the five minutes he hosts. He’s hilarious.

Rags to riches stories to share? Or perhaps just a comment or two—Email me: Christina@realityshack.com And you can check out some photos of my “I-Had-The-Flu-In-Germany” trip at http://christinamrau.blogspot.com


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