I’ve watched some TV this break, and caught up with some shows the rest of the world knows about but I don’t. I don’t watch those terrible talk shows, mostly because I don’t get up in time. I usually watch at night.

One great show I discovered was Blind Date. It’s where they set two random people up, and then put them on a blind date, with a camera following them the whole time. The interesting thing is, they put in these little pop up balloons, kind of like Pop Up Video, that’s just amusingly done.

So the reason this show is so interesting to me is that the matchups are just totally random. It’s interesting to me to see how people interact with people they don’t know at all, who often are very different from the people they would normally hang out with. Seeing how they interact just totally intrigues me. It’s really fascinating.

The other amazing thing is how many clueless guys there are. I don’t pretend to be totally with it. But it’s insane how many guys are even more clueless than me. And they all appear on this show. And it’s hilarious, because the women can tell at a glance that they’re clueless, and send these little hints that the men never ever catch on. And it’s funny because at the end of the date, the men always think it went well, and would like to see them again, and the women are just like, never ever.

There was this guy last night who was just totally lost. I mean, he was so uncool it was frightening. Anyway, the girl was uncomfortable the entire night, and he just wouldn’t pick up on it. There was this one time when she says, in an Austin Powers voice, “Do I make you horny?” And then she realizes in horror that he has no idea what she’s talking about. And he says, “Yes.” And then he asks her, in a straight voice, “Do I make you horny?” And she was so uncomfortable, so she just kind of laughs nervously and says nothing. And argh he doesn’t pick up on it! He waits and then says, “You didn’t answer my question. Do I make you horny?” Insane uncomfort.

Anyway, it’s all about random interaction, and it intrigues me.

Another show I’ve discovered is Craig Kilborn, after Letterman. I like it. In fact, I’m going to say I like it better than Conan. He’s just got this snarkiness to him. It’s sad, but Conan’s lost something with Andy gone. The skits just don’t have the same zip. I don’t know.

By far the most interesting thing I’ve discovered is Survivor. I don’t know if you people watch it, but it’s absolutely fascinating to me. It’s the number one TV show in America, for a reason. It’s a great show. I was up for an hour last night just thinking about it.

So let me explain the show and give my analysis on it. Sorry if it’s boring, but it’s a really intriguing concept that’s worked surprisingly well. So in the beginning, they were divided into two teams, and separated into camps. They had to do everything to survive by themselves – make shelter, cook food, find food, and all that. I’m skipping the details, but you get the point – to survive, they actually had to do something like that. So that’s one part of it.

Anyway, they come together for challenges, in which the teams are pitted against each other. There are two types of these. One is just for creature comforts. Like I have only seen 2 episodes, but I know it’s involved for example chickens (as I’m sure you heard, meat is not given, and some have eaten caught rats) and chocolate. But the other challenges, the losing team has to vote one of their members off the island.

So for the most part, the strategy has been easy. First and foremost, you get rid of those members that don’t help you on the challenges. That is, you get rid of your weakest members. And of course there are other things too, like personality differences and whatever. But to me, it seems like the usefulness in challenges has kept people around. So just get rid of the weak people. Clear strategy. And you wanted to make yourself useful.

Anyway, this past week, they changed everything, and merged the remaining members of the two tribes into one. Now, there are still challenges, but they are personal ones, in which every member competes alone. The winner gets immunity for the week, so that that they can’t be booted off the island that week.

And this just totally shifts the strategy. Now, you don’t want to get rid of the weakest member, you want to get rid of the strongest member. So as a survivor, I don’t know what the optimal strategy is. You almost want to make yourself appear weak, so you don’t seem like a threat. But you surely can’t hide what you’ve been like for several weeks. It’s fascinating.

Even more interesting. The smaller group (4 members) schemed before they joined and decided to always vote in a bloc. So their plan is to one by one, pick off the members of the other tribe, and leave only themselves. It’s fascinating because the other tribe had 6 members. (I’m actually not clear on the details, so I might be wrong. But this is how it seemed). What happened this week, is that the 6 member tribe had no reason to their votes, so they all voted for different people. But the 4 member tribe all voted for Gretchen. It was shocking, because she was well-liked, useful, and just good. It didn’t seem she had clear conflicts with anyone. In retrospect, it’s clear she’s the biggest threat. So what the former 4 member tribe is doing is picking off the strongest members of the other team one by one.

And it’s fascinating because the other team still holds a majority. But who knows if they’ll figure out that the other team has colluded against them. They’re more disorganized, so it’s unclear whether they’ll wise up to the plan, and fight back collectively, or whether the 4 member tribe will win out. They’ve really only got one week to figure this out and act accordingly. So it’s just fascinating. The 4 member tribe kind of took a gamble, which is a good idea, but being a minority, it might not work. It’s fascinating.

So I’m kind of on pins and needles wondering if the other tribe will figure it out. I really hope they do. I don’t know, maybe they’ll negotiate or something.

But there’s even more complexity. Because it’s not just a matter of team collusion, and picking off the strongest members, but also surviving. And some members have more worth in that regard than others. So like this one guy, Richard, he’s evil. Well not evil, just smart, and he’s pretty much the force behind the collusion. It’s pretty clear he’s the leader, I would say. But if the majority wises up, do they kick him out? The problem is, he’s the most capable in a lot of things. He’s a good organizer, it seems, an excellent manipulator, and among other things, the best fisherman. you don’t want to eat just white rice. It’s nice to have fish, and he seems the best at it. So things like that come into play. Just all this complex issues.

Even more interesting is that when it comes down to two people, the old Survivors vote for the final member. Only the last person gets the money. And that’s fascinating also, because then when you’re doing all your scheming and conniving, you can’t do too much, or it will work against you.

So it’s all about politics now; it’s nowhere near as simple as it used to be, and the complexity of it all just intrigues me to no end. What I was thinking about last night was what the best strategy is. It’s really unclear. You kind of now want to be not too strong, and try to get along. But if you do this too much, you can miss out on opportunities for collusion. And you won’t get immunity. But if you try for immunity too hard, and one time don’t get it, you’ll get booted off. Just a lot to think about.

So obviously, I’m a big fan of the show. It’s just really interesting to me.

Big Brother, conversely, totally sucks. The problem is that no one on the show has any semblance of personality. Those that kind of do, people don’t like, and they were the ones nominated to be booted first. I don’t know, it’s a pretty lame show.

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