It's hard to avoid the hype for "

Survivor II"

January 25, 2001

It's hard to avoid the hype for "Survivor II"

In the beginning, it was all about the grubs.

And worms.

And ants.

Oh my.

It seemed simple enough: Write a story about edible insects, sample said bugs.

Entomophagy (ent-um-off-uh-gee) is its name, eating bugs is its game. And I was going to do it.

Sadly, while this is somewhat creative and self-sacrificing in theory, in practice it is slightly more difficult.

Granted, I didn't work hard to secure a bug feast. When the opportunity presented itself in the form of unidentified critters wriggling around in a box of Rice-A-Roni the other day. ... I just couldn't do it. Color me weak, but until I'm lost, tired or hungry, the only insects on my plate will be chocolate-covered or gummi.


Unfortunately, it's not nearly as hard as avoiding the hype for CBS' latest foray into reality programming - "Survivor II."

There's the Australian Outback-packing crew smiling from the cover of TV Guide; glowing on the cover of USWeekly; appearing on the cover of Entertainment Weekly. Watch host Jeff Probst give a behind-the-scenes tour of the crew compound on E! Entertainment Television.

Lucky for us, we'll have the first Survivor clan available to comment on the festivities throughout the sequel's 13-week run, joining Bryant Gumbel on his Early Show every Thursday morning to predict who'll get kicked off that night.

Americans should have an easier time identifying Kitty Hawk than Susan Hawk, Eddie Haskell than Colleen Haskell, Orrin Hatch than Richard Hatch.

Instead, we get 16 new survivors, largely hard-bodied men and women flitting about in swimsuits, working hard and embarking on more dramatic twists than an afternoon of daytime dramas.

Which brings us to "Temptation Island," Fox's answer to a Cinemax After Dark soft-core skin flick. They've both got the same tacky, dramatic music. The same slow motion camera work. The same stilted attempts at acting, though on the island it's all unscripted ... and it shows.

The shellshocked couples involved emote with all the subtlety of a woodchipper.

The troublesome notion about reality programming isn't that it pulls back the curtain on the seedy sides of life for participants. It's that by watching, we're ripping the curtain back to expose ourselves.

It has been said that one day the power will go out, prepackaged foods will disappear, society will have to fend and forage for itself, and natural selection will take over.

Presumably, there will be no sand and surf for most of us, no exotic locales, no television cameras and no sex-starved singles endlessly recreating the last seduction.

Only the strong will survive. Life, not $1 million, will be the ultimate prize. Then we'll have a survivor series worth watching.

Kevin Clapp is a staff writer for Lifestyle. Contact him at

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