Saturday, May 17, 2008
I've posted here about how much I enjoyed the Israeli version of the [formerly] popular "Survivor" series. Tonight was the series finale and I informed friends that they were not to disturb me while the show was being broadcast. The show is outrageously popular here, but seemingly only among Israelis: most of my Anglo friends were surprised that I was watching it. A few weeks ago there was a big "Tell All"** in the Yediot Achronot about how it's all rigged. Who knows? And more importantly who cares? If I wanted to watch serious television I'd watch Masterpiece Theater or Animal Planet. Of course Survivor is junk --that's why I love it. I've always been into pop culture, and I'm trying to develop that here in Israel.
So tonight was the finale, in which the final three were vying to be the "Last Survivor". They were:
Na'ama, the mom, of course looks great in a Survivor Bikini, who in my opinion didn't deserve to be there because another player gave her his immunity in the previous show;
Dan, the resident scoundrel, who played the game by lying and back-stabbing;
and finally Noam, the guy who gave Naama his immunity, very gorgeous and played the game without lying and scheming [full disclosure: he was voted out early and won individual competitions on the "Island of Death"] whom half the country is drooling over.
I know it's a stretch, but who do you think I would have voted for?
Why do I love the show, when I really wasn't particularly interested in the American version? Because it's so Israeli and Jewish.
This guy, Alex, lives in Ginot Shomron, the same yishuv as my friends M and E. He runs sports chugim for the kids, and most of the yishuv knows him.
When this guy, Muli, was asked what the first thing he did when he came back to Israel, he answered "I went to Beit Knesset and bentched Gomel".
I guess I should insert over here that this woman, Vika, did NOT go to Beit Knesset, she went to have a manicure, pedicure and massage upon her return to Israel. (Well, in some circles, that is also uniquely Jewish, and Israeli!)
All three finalists were asked to present their cases in front of the "jury". Dan pointed out that he served with honor in Golani Brigade of the IDF (Israel's army), and though he was abroad when the Second Lebanon War broke out, he quickly returned to Israel to serve. That's what we like to hear. Totally irrelevant to the game, but I liked hearing it anyway. (He did not get one vote from the jury, by the way; so much for scheming as a strategy for winning.)
As the host of the show was being flown to Tel Aviv for the final episode, which was shown LIVE!, the helicopter flew past the Azrieli Mall in Tel-Aviv, which is still covered in thousands of blue and white lights in the design of an Israeli flag in honor of our sixtieth birthday. I tried, but couldn't find a photo of the building all lit up. It's really something. It'll be up for a few more days I think, so if you hurry on over to Tel Aviv you'll get to see it.
I know the show is not exactly a portrayal of religious Judaism. I know the players ran around on the beach in bikinis and swimming trunks for the better of two months, and ate all kinds of sea creatures not exactly on the Kosher list. My point is that in Israel, shows can be produced that reflect our way of life, our culture. And that makes me proud.
Congratulations to Naama, who won 1 million shekel and a Hummer (I think it was a Hummer). At $7.00 a gallon, she'll need the million shekel to fill that baby up.
And, no she wasn't the one I was rooting for.
**Hebrew word for "Tell All": "טלאול".