Television: We Like To Watch

Led by the hit Survivor, voyeurism has become TV's hottest genre. Why the passion for peeping?

You are not, to paraphrase Jay McInerney, the sort of person who would watch Survivor. It's not just the larvae-eating contest (which ex-Survivor B.B. Andersen, 64, helpfully describes as "like having a booger in your mouth"). It's the gladiatorial concept: stranding 16 people on a tropical island to scrabble for food and shelter, all for the delectation of sluggards licking Cheetos dust off their fingers in their air-conditioned living rooms. It's the Machiavellian twist: having the contestants vote one another off the island until there is a single million-dollar winner and 15 rejects. It's the suffering, the mean-spiritedness, the humiliation.


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