Some actual reality on a reality T.V. show.
It seems CBS made the mistake of putting a lawyer in the cast of
the first Survivor. And what happens when a lawyer interacts
with the rest of humanity? Someone gets sued, of course!
Now I'm far from one of those lawyer-bashing types. After all,
we all hate 'em until we need 'em (and I've needed a few in my
time). But there is something so fitting about a yuppie lawyer
filing a lawsuit against a reality TV show that's based on the
furthest thing possible from reality. (Personally, I prefer to get my dose of reality from South
Park, but that's another story.)
case you’ve been… well, on that Survivor island and
haven’t heard, former Survivor Stacey Stillman, a San
Francisco lawyer, has filed a suit seeking the $1 million in
prize money she claims she was cheated out of, expenses and
punitive damages. In the suit she claims the producers of the
show had private conversations with other members of the cast
and convinced them to vote her off the island.
Their reason: Demographics. She charges the producers were
protecting 72-year old Rudy Boesch, the oldest remaining member
of the cast. A sort of reverse ageism if you believe in
that sort of thing.
But most important for the TV viewing audience, she is seeking
to maintain the integrity of reality TV. She wants a stern
statement from the courts stating the show "was unfairly
and fraudulently prearranged or predetermined in violation of
law." It continues, "This unlawful scheme resulted in
the premature expulsion of the plaintiff-contestant, defrauding
her and the viewing public, and altered the ultimate outcome of
Thank God someone is out there protecting us, the viewing public
from falsified reality T.V. And as long as we're at it,
since I'm part of the viewing public Ms. Stillman is out to
protect, how do I get my share of the loot?
So there you have it. A television show, which took the term frivolous to new
heights, completes the circle by calling the lawsuit frivolous.
The wolves devour their young.
By the reading of the lawsuit, there has not been such a scheme
perpetrated on the public since Al Gore warned us of W's risky
schemes about damn near everything. "The producers of
Survivor engaged in the scheme for the purpose of prearranging
or predetermining its outcome, by influencing, persuading or
intimidating contestants to cast votes for certain of the
contestants." Egad, and here I thought all along that
reality T.V. meant that this was like real life or something.
CBS Television released a short statement denying the
accusations: "We heard about Stacey Stillman's allegations
several months ago. They
had no merit then; they have no merit now that she has packaged
them into a frivolous and groundless lawsuit.
'Survivor' has received more press and public scrutiny than any
show in recent television history, and its creative integrity
has remained intact throughout. We are therefore confident that
the courts, as well as 'Survivor' viewers, will see the case as
utterly without foundation.''
Last year Stillman told the San Francisco Chronicle, "I'm
perfectly OK with the way they're representing me as the sort of
Heather Locklear-'Melrose Place' bitch."
So maybe there was a little bit of reality in Survivor after
Buy Books on
II: The Field Guide
by Mark Burnett
Survival Secrets: How to Win $1,000,000, Lose 100 Pounds, and
Just Plain Live Happily
by Richard Hatch
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