2002 - Marquesas
An obnoxious steeplejack from Boston became one of the most fascinating characters on a little South Pacific island. He was nasty and over-played his hand and dodged innumerable bullets before those around him had had enough. It was the season of Survivior where the pawns stood up and fought back and took the game into their own control for the first time, and while he wasn't part of that dramatic move, he gave the show the momentum it needed to get there. It was almost enough entertainment to propel that season past the point where Jesus won a million dollars.
The came Survivor All-Stars - at first I was delighted that Rob was back. But then he allied with one of the least interesting survivor players ever - Amber.
What did Amber have that made her 'All-Star' worthy? Well, she tagged along behind uber-witch Jerri in Australia long enough to make it deep into the jury. And, she was reasonably hot, and hot deserves some attention. But I feel pretty confident that if you were behind the doors where the decisions were made in selecting the cast, you would have heard Mark Burnett say something to the effect of:
"(Big sigh.) Well, too bad Mike Skupin, Brian Hedik, Christy Smith, and Jake Billingsley all said 'no.' I guess we'll have to go with... I dunno - Jon Dalton. Gawd I hate that guy. No forget it, let's add some cheesecake and go with... Hmmm... Erin? Heidi? Sarah? No too blatant. Too much boob. I guess we'll just have to make due with Amber."
And so, the personality-less one latched onto a shit-disturber again. And hot damn if Rob didn't pick up his game - helped immensely by possibly the stupidest move ever made by an otherwise brilliant player, Lex - and he bootstrapped the pair of them into a million dollars.
Well, technically, Amber won the million. But it was Rob who orchestrated it and as they were a couple by the finale (at which he proposed to her) it was all pretty much academic who won.
If there was anyone who wasn't thinking "I wonder if he'll propose at the finale?" they really weren't thinking at all. The fact that they were a couple totally removed all interest out of the finale - though it was nice that Rupert won a million essentially for being the kind of player that everyone thought would win the million if the game was what everyone naively thought it was before Rich Hatch offered up the Apple of Alliance in the original Survivor paradise. But that's another story.
Point being - Rob and Amber were collectively boring. And Rob managed to get a bit ugly. Even within the confines of the game. Ugly. But boring.
Proposing on TV - how calculated was that? It's not like she could say 'no.' (But fuck, would it have been phenomenal television if she did!)
Then they did the Amazing Race. They actually did fairly well - though it would be a stretch to say they came close to winning. And to give credit where credit is due, Rob pulled one of the best moves ever, by refusing to do a challenge that was so hard that it took longer to do it than to accept the penalty... which is to say nothing of the potentially detrimental effects of eating as much meat as would have been necessary to complete the challenge.
Then they got married - on TV. By now... they were getting pretty over exposed for a couple who were largely set apart by their odiousness and uninterestingness respectively.
Then this past week ANOTHER show about them - a series presumably. Morbid curiosity reeled me in ever so briefly.
After a quick run-down of their history (which I've already covered in more detail than the show did) we are told that they are going to Vegas to pursue a career in professional poker playing. Huh?
First we are subjected to a series of 'spontaneous' conversations where Rob tells Amber and she doesn't like it. So he packs his bags and goes and she calls Mummy and Daddy. I had already quit watching by this point - I let it run in the B.G. as I went to the toilet and put my laundry away. Rob had another totally contrived conversation with an acquaintance who knows his shit about poker. Rob explained how his Dad - or Grandfathah - or whoever, used to play poker and showed him the ropes.
HOLY FUCKING BORING!
It wasn't even worth playing as background noise.
And like I said... SO contrived.
I have yet to figure out how poker became a spectator sport in the first place - even with the advances in technology which 'add value' to the experience. And this show subjects us to this rather uninteresting couple with the Alpha-male and the woman who can't effectively stand up for herself as they make the 'spontaneous decision' to pursue a career in professional poker?
I didn't last seven minutes! I can only hope that they lose their shirts (which Amber has already done in a few magazines) and we never have to hear from them again!
This is exactly the sort of broadcast smeg-stain that give Reality TV a bad name.
I know that 'Reality TV' ought to be called 'Contrived Reality TV' - but fuck! At least the Osbornes really allowed us to watch what simply happened in their oddball lives - perhaps played up a bit, but not wholesale manufacture! And the 'reality' in Survivor and it's ilk is how people REALLY react when placed in an extreme situation. This has the virtue of... what exactly?
In the first 2 minutes of the show Rob declared that he can't possibly got back to a 9 to 5 after what he has been through in the past 5 years. One can only hope.
The snooze alarm on these two's fifteen minutes is broken and there is no reason for us to be subjected to them for one commercial break longer.