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Issue Date: February 2004 Issue


Survivor: Whiskey Island

Adventure. Bickering. Backstabbing. We envision the journal of a reality show with no winners.
Michael von Glahn

In a desperate sweeps move, a local affiliate creates an especially cruel new spin on CBS' hit reality show "Survivor" by marooning Cleveland’s entire political community together on Whiskey Island. Who will be the last one standing? (And will viewers care?)

Day 1: Contestants arrive on the island and divide into two tribes. Gazing around at their new home, they observe that it would make a nice site for a treehouse.

Day 2: The tribes agree to pool resources to build a communal treehouse, but negotiations drag into the night about what sort of wood is best for a treehouse, who will gather the wood and who will perform the actual construction.

The suggestion of creating a new public transit system for the island, à la Gilligan’s pedal-driven bamboo taxi, is shelved for later consideration.

Day 5: During a lavish intertribal dinner, producers discover that contestant Dave Nolan has been smuggling basketloads of Brie, Maine lobster tails, Moët et Chandon and other delicacies onto the island. The other contestants " eyes wide in righteous shock " swallow their mouthfuls, slip a few petit fours into their pockets for later and vote Nolan off the island.

Day 7: Intertribal negotiations fall apart over the issue of which tribe will get to use any wood left over from treehouse construction for their bonfire. Contestant Jane Campbell abruptly announces that no treehouse will be built.

Caught flatfooted, the rival tribe hastily daubs their faces with war paint and counters with a declaration that they’ll set up camp on a forested part of the island Campbell’s tribe had staked out for its own use.

Day 10: Several members of Campbell’s tribe, led by Frank Jackson and Joe Cimperman, claim that the disputed patch of trees is blighted " and, therefore, is where they want to build huts for contestants of future reality shows.

(This echoes the contestants’ decision on a concurrently running reality show, "Big Brother XI: Eminent Domain." On that series, the ploy gets tribal chief Madeline Cain voted off the show.)

Contestant Dennis Eckart, gauging the empty stewpot and the hungry look in the eyes of both tribes, removes himself from the island by hopping a passing Conrail coal drag.

Day 13: Contestant Campbell reveals that the last food is gone. ("The knapsack is bare.") Her husband is caught trying to sneak takeout from Gookies to the island. If he still had the "family fleet" Ford Explorer he had to relinquish as a face-saving measure amid citywide budget cutbacks, he could have outrun the show producers’ Cushman carts.

Contestant Cimperman departs the island to try out for MTV’s "The Real World."

Day 17: Former contestant Mike White, from an earlier installment of the series ("Survivor: The Police Garage"), taunts the nearly starving contestants by sailing his boat back and forth inside the breakwall while grilling alpaca steaks on deck. This sadistic streak might result from head injuries White sustained from chairs and coffeepots hurled at him by fellow contestant George Forbes during taping of their show.

Day 19: Using his necktie, a ballpoint pen and vague memories of a "MacGyver" rerun, contestant Tim McCormack lands a walleye and hungrily roasts it over a fire. Contestant Jimmy Dimora suggests selling it to their fellow contestants, asking 2 percent over the market price to raise money for treehouse supplies. While they debate, the fish burns to a crisp.

Day 22: Having mixed up her script with one from the season finale of "Joe Millionaire," contestant Campbell announces that she does not in fact have $61 million. Employing an obscure tribal rule, she expels almost everyone from the island, including half the production staff and 500 (or 700, depending upon who you ask) people unconnected to the series.

Using contestant Dimora as a flotation device, McCormack takes to the water to escape back to civilization. Treading water after being pelted with beer bottles by inebriated loungers on Shooters’ patio, the pair wait hours for help to arrive via the Waterfront Line. No train ever appears and they sink from sight.

Alone on the island, contestant Campbell sings "Kum Ba Ya" to herself.

The Next Season, Day 1: A new cast of contestants arrives and summarily pitches Campbell off the island. Someone mentions what a good site it would be for a treehouse.


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