Sunday, March 01, 2009

I Survived

I hate this show.

It's quite difficult for me to find words to express the deep and abounding loathing I have for this television show. For the uninitiated, I Survived is a show on the Biography Channel in which people recount the absolute worst thing that's ever happened to them. Truthfully it should be called The Thing That Scarred Me Forever.

Consisting almost entirely of close up interview footage, people explain truly horrific events in brutal detail. Sometimes it's a story of man against nature, like people caught in a storm, those who had their snowmobiles fall through the ice, etc. Those stories are palatable. The ones that are almost unwatchable feature people that have looked unspeakable evil in the face.

Take for example the story of a woman who was attacked in her own home, terrorized, raped and bound. After that her assailant hit her in the head with a hammer, stabbed her and then tried to pound the knife into her head with the hammer. It's truly horrifying, brutal and gut-churning. If you don't believe in metaphysical evil, you will after watching these stories.

After 10-15 minutes of each story, it ends with the victim saying why they thought they survived. That's right, 10-15 minutes of total nightmare fuel followed up by an afterthought of "Oh, yeah, I didn't die and stuff..."

This isn't to say that these sorts of stories shouldn't be told. On CBS 48 Hours has started a series of episodes called Live to Tell which covers the same ground. I've actually seen the same story on both shows, and the thing that sets the 48 Hours version apart is that only 1/3 of the episode centers on the gory details. The rest talks about how they caught the psycho that did these horrible things and how the person rebuilt their life. By following this larger story arc, it prevents me from wanting to throw myself under a bus at the end of the show - and I thank them for that.

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