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Survivor: A Study in Human Interaction

Buzzle Staff
Reality television shows are not typically considered to be educational, but they can serve as interesting examples of human psychology, relationships and interactions.
I would normally be one of the first people to bash reality shows as a complete waste of time; at least I would if I didn't happen to catch the end of a Survivor episode at a time when I was taking psychology and sociology classes. On the surface, reality television shows seem filled with a bunch of fame-hungry morons parading themselves on television, and seem to act more scripted than real. While this is a valid, if shallow, interpretation, I see them as more than that.
Reality shows, whether it is Survivor or Bad Girls Club, are exhibitions of human experience and interactions. They show different kinds of people, how they think, and how they act with others. Many reality shows seem to exhibit these things more than others, and I believe that Survivor is one of these shows. I think Survivor provides more examples of human interaction than do many others, especially those that center on drinking and partying.

A Study in Human Relationships

While it is possible that many of the people that are chosen for reality shows are chosen because they exhibit several flaws in their personality, some reality shows have people that seem to be fairly normal. Shows like Survivor have many different people, including doctors, waitresses, teachers, and stay-at-home mothers.
This story centers primarily around Survivor because it is a reality show that puts many different people together, forces intimacy, and forces them to work together to survive. The most interesting aspect of Survivor is that, while people are forced to develop intimate relationships quickly, the game also forces them to compete against each other.
This reality show provides a myriad of human personalities, interactions, and relationships, all at the click of a button. While I will admit that some people in one season are very similar to others in different seasons, there is a fair amount of change when it comes to personality types and situations. The spectator of this show occupies a unique position that you can't get in any other aspect of life.
In no other way can you sit back omniscient, watch others, and interpret their thoughts and actions. One of my favorite things to do while watching this show is to try to predict what someone will do or say based on their behavior, personality, and interactions with others. If you are interested in human psychology and sociology, then you should be an avid fan of reality shows.

Real or Not, It's Worth It

One of the usual arguments against reality shows is that it is uncertain how much is reality and how much is fabricated. In my opinion, it really doesn't matter. I will admit that the types of situations that people are put in are outside normal life, and I will argue that, that is what is so interesting about them. As a spectator, you get to see how people would act in situations that would never, or very rarely, happen.
Survivor is appropriately in the middle between reality and fantasy, with enough doubt for either side that an objective viewer can still study the human interactions. Some reality shows seem more real than others, and I believe that Survivor is one that tends more toward real people and genuine human behavior, making it an interesting study in human interaction.