Survivor / Survivor Sucks

Oh Joel, we hardly knew ye. But on the Web, your 15 minutes of fame will be extended. CBS' official "Survivor" site gives an almost obsessive amount of information about the reality television show -- everything from critiques of how well the two teams are eating to fun facts about the contestants. (Susan once had sex in Disney World. She didn't get caught.) It's an amusing read, and the episode guide will keep Netizens informed of what happened on previous shows, going through the spats and the challenges step by step.

Oh Joel, we hardly knew ye. But on the Web, your 15 minutes of fame will be extended. CBS’ official “Survivor” site gives an almost obsessive amount of information about the reality television show — everything from critiques of how well the two teams are eating to fun facts about the contestants. (Susan once had sex in Disney World. She didn’t get caught.) It’s an amusing read, and the episode guide will keep Netizens informed of what happened on previous shows, going through the spats and the challenges step by step.

The home page gives an update of the most recent episode’s turmoils in online news style — headlines, punchy leads and mugshots. The prominent side feature allows the recently exiled to rat on those who remain.

But the site goes beyond pure content. If your “Survivor” interest extends to buying paraphernalia from the show, there is an extensive amount of “Survivor” tchotchkes, including shot glasses, hats and the ability to pre-order the official book from the online store. Sorry, the $18 “Eat Me” T-shirt featuring Malaysian field rats is out of stock.

And for those seeking some deeper meaning to the show (yes, both of you), Dr. Gene Ondrusek with Scripps Hospital in La Jolla offers a commentary on the psychology of the “Survivor” ethos.

The site’s faults are largely technical. The blue-on-green type used in some sections is hard on the eyes, and the fingernail-sized photos of the island are a little too small to discern what exactly you’re going to get if you decide to click on the image to enlarge it.

Naturally, for every official Web site, there must be its smart-alecky foil. SurvivorSucks.com is a sassy unofficial companion to the CBS show, with rumors abounding about which person will get their torch extinguished next. A live chat that goes on during the course of the show allows Netizens to dish on the progress of “Lord of the Flies”-esque developments of the Tagi and Pagong tribes.

But if you watch Survivor for the fun of guessing who’s going to get axed, don’t go to this site. Based on complicated permutations of photographs taken from the opening montage and hints sent in by quasi-reliable sources, the mysterious powers behind the Web site — no address is given, the only contact is via e-mail — are three for three since they started prognosticating the next to be ousted. Yes, Joel, they knew your number was up.

Survivor / Survivor Sucks

Production: Reviewed at broadband and 56K modem speeds on July 5, 2000.

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