Saturday, May 17, 2008

הישרדות--"Survivor"--Israeli Style

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".


JJ said...

I started watching several episodes back (after the merge, when Idan was voted off, I think), and I was really annoyed at how LONG the season lasted. It took twice as long as the US version because they'd never do the challenges and tribal councils in the same episode- not to mention the 1/2 hour of chit chat at each TC before the vote-so annoying!

Anyway, I was shocked that Naama won until I realized that people probably voted for her over Noam because she was in the actual game longer, whereas Noam had an easier (yet more boring) time alone on the island- though he did have to win several challenges there as well. Hmm, maybe it doesn't make sense after all...

Could not believe that Dan didn't get even one vote! He must have been mortified. Personally, I found him to be more of a babe than Noam. I don't like guys with long hair, and I found Dan's shmuckiness oddly attractive. Go figure! (and no, my husband is nothing like him!) But I was glad he didn't win because he was so conceited and sure of himself the whole time.

I would rather have had Noam win because Naama got whiny at times- the woman bugged me.

Jameel @ The Muqata said...

Noam lost because he didn't really survive anything, just the "island of the dead....

Naama got more than whinny -- she abandoned her baby and dying father to be in a reality tv show. Is that shallow and selfish, or what?

Baila said...


I agree with you that they really stretched out the shows, of course for ratings. (That's what they also do on American Idol.) Totally annoying, but I always watched the show while doing something else (commenting on blogs, cleaning up after Shabbat...). Also, did you notice that commercials were like 15 minutes long? I got all my ulpan homework done during commercials.

It intrigues me that you were oddly attracted to Dan's shmukiness. (I laughed out loud when I read that, I hope he doesn't go into politics, b/c we'll all end up crying). I was so happy he didn't get one vote. How'd you like that he was going to give half of his winning to Youth in Danger. Ugh.

I hated it that Naama won. I didn't like her at all--Marina was so much better, and I really like Yael. Do you think her and Noam will get married? :)


I know that Noam didn't survive anything (I read he actually gained weight on Death Island because he was eating so much steak). But he was a nice guy, and easy on the eyes, if you know what I mean.

Jameel @ The Muqata said...

Baila: Did you see this top secret picture? It explains why Israel lost the second Lebanon War...

Baila said...


It sure does explain alot, doesn't it?

(I thought you were going to show me a picture of Dan sipping a pina colada during the war).

JJ said...

I am cracking up at that picture! Had to call my husband over to show him. Hee!!!

Right, I forgot about Naama abandoning her baby and her dying father. Disgusting. I'd like to ask her if the million shekels was worth it.

I really didn't like Naama OR Marina. Marina was the better competitor (her early fall from the pegboard notwithstanding) but I got tired of her obsession with perfection and never losing- at anything. Yael did seem more normal- everyone is debating whether or not she and Noam "did the deed" that night. On a talk show she answered, "If I say yes I'm a whore, and if I say no I'm either stupid or a liar." LOL

And Dan, the he was going to donate his winnings, eh? Riiiiiiiiight.

I'm just glad the season's FINALLY over. Do you ever watch "Eretz Nehederet?" They did some GREAT parodies of the show. One guy did a spot-on impression of Moshe that was absolutely hysterical.

Baila said...


Why does Moshe always wear turquoise? And don't you think he has much more confidence now? Did you hear the girls screaming for him?

But tell me, what do we watch now? (And I've seen eretz nehederet, it is funny, but I'm usually not around Sundays for it).

Anonymous said...

For those of us chutz laaretz, is this show all in hebrew? Stopped watching it here after the first season, who has the time.