Wednesday, August 14, 2013

I Am Not a Survivor

The only competition I have any chance of winning is one where I am asked to name all the Food Network personalities, because there is nothing else even remotely interesting on television between the hours of 10am and 8pm most weekdays. But that doesn’t stop me from imagining myself as Survivor Season 1 winner Richard Hatch, minus the incessant propensity for nudity.

Here are five reality television game shows that I would never win and why.

Fear Factor

I was obsessed with Fear Factor when I was younger, because I was a sadistic monster who reveled in watching people fail. I now recognize that there is no way I would pass the screening process for this show, so kudos to the contestants who did – especially the ones who made it through to the second stunt. This is the part of the show where the contests are typically forced to eat something vile like live Madagascar hissing cockroaches or twelve million year old wooly mammoth balls. Imagine suffering through the pain of drinking twelve pints of warm rat blood and still being an entire third of the way away from the $50,000 prize. Once you get past the mental anguish of the second stunt, you are forced to almost die performing the third. You have to be Bruce Willis’ stunt double because the task typically calls for you to do some inane fuckery like jump out of a car that has been filled with carbon monoxide right before you speed off a cliff that plunges into a sea filled with eighty Great Whites that haven’t been fed since the Triassic age. This is made all the more difficult because you are chained up like Houdini and the only key that can free you has been swallowed by Joe Rogan and shat out into a burning pit of lava on the other side of the country. Also, you’ve been drained of one fourth of your blood supply. $50,000 is not going to cover your therapy bills when you win.


The best way to win Survivor is to form an alliance with the dumbest players and then stab all of them in the back until you’re the last man standing. Your best bet is to outsmart the biggest threats on the show and then turn the remaining contestants against each other. To do this you must be charming, charismatic and a sociopath. Unfortunately, I tend to make poor first impressions because of my unfriendly face, so unless I make it far enough in the game to worm my way into people’s hearts I am screwed. Plus, things like shaving lotion and chickens become extreme luxuries, and I refuse to be in a situation where I must be willing to eat iguana feces for some off-brand shampoo.


I am too stupid for this show. It took me years to figure out the article placement. (What is ‘dumbass' …or is it who?) The only time I ever came close to getting more than 30 percent of the answers correct was during the most recent Kids Week, and that was only because Harry Styles was one of the answers. (Note: I got the Final Jeopardy question wrong anyway: “The last entry in Random House Webster’s Unabridged Dictionary is used to represent this annoying sound.” I guessed the same as the eleven year olds on the show: zzz. But the correct answer was “snoring,” so I suppose I am not smarter than a fifth grader.) I would maybe do well on Celebrity Jeopardy because the questions are significantly dumbed down since celebrities cannot read, but I would rather crawl into a hole filled with gasoline and light a match than deal with the public embarrassment that would come with appearing on this show. Jeopardy is a more painful version of Trivial Pursuit: the moops, I don’t know.

The Hunger Games

This isn’t a game show or even reality, but the movie was on TBS a few days ago so I am counting it as television. According to the only fact I remember from my eighth grade science class, the strongest drive in the human body is its will to live. You may think my body and brain would work together to survive this fight to the death as long as possible, but I know better than to trust my eighth grade science teacher. When I think about everything surviving the Hunger Games would entail (killing other people, skinning squirrels, being surrounded by nature), I realize I would rather walk straight into the Cornucopia and get stabbed in the throat with a hunting knife as soon as the Games begin than suffer all that effort and torment. My will to live is no match for my spinelessness and fear.

The Amazing Race

I’ve never actually seen a full episode of The Amazing Race because the premise is too stimulating for my senses. The idea of ‘racing,’ or ‘running,’ or even moving at a speed faster than a glacial pace is unappealing and disgusting to me. On top of the physical exertion is the mental exhaustion from having to figure out where you’re supposed to go next. One of my favorite lies to tell people is that I work well under pressure. What is more true is that I have conditioned myself to begin projects hours before they are due, instead of days or weeks. I am an idiot procrastinator who does not know how to properly manage her time. The one time I spent two days working on a paper in college (as opposed to two hours) I got an A+. So, yes, pressure causes me to get things done – because the only other option I have is to fail and I would rather be mauled to death by a dog with butter knives for teeth – but my work is mediocre at best. Add in the complications of unfamiliar territory, a language barrier and public humiliation? I would rather stay home and pluck my bikini line, hair by hair.

Originally written for Greasy Mag.