Can You Be "Too Nice" For The Show? Wednesday, June 17, 2009


The admission is, there really isn't much to write on the Survivor front--at least before the show's 19th season heads back to Samoa in the fall. But the usual online trawl led me to this story, and to wonder what they're actually looking for in a contestant. Or, that question I wrote on the title. Can you be too nice for the show?


There was this guy, 26-year-old Greg Insco, based in Cincinnati, who was told just that, when Survivor producers turned him down after submitting his audition tape. Well, there's actually more than that: he walked the entire way, from his hometown to Los Angeles--all two thousand or so miles--to submit his video, and to be turned down.


"I'm the guy that walked across America and had my dreams killed," he said. "The producer said I would get eaten alive. I said, 'By who? Ronald McDonald?' If being too nice doesn't get you on a TV show, that's crooked isn't it? Should I just be a jerk?"


"I tried to give everything in my life humanly possible to make this a reality," he added. The trip was a survival trip of sorts: he said he ate a rattlesnake that tried to attack him at one point, and drank water from a toilet in another. But producers are not just buying it. "It's a social game," casting director Lynne Spillman said, adding that they're looking for contestants who can bring a sense of humor, confrontation, and sex appeal. "If it was who could survive, he's probably perfect."


As for Insco, he's keeping his spirits up, despite having to face the prospect of returning to a beat-down life back home--credit card debt and repossessed property, for instance--and him still finding a way to get back there. "I'm working on a Plan B," he said, adding that he aims to invite producers back to Cincinnati and have them walk along the city's streets and see what reality is. "I'm not just going to lay down and give up."


And then I toss it back to you. We all know that, whatever the case may be, there'll always be a fictional element to reality shows. Is his intentions clear, or is this all a publicity stunt? Toss time.


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