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Forever Eden: Who Cares?by David Bloomberg -- 03/19/2004
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I’ve watched each of the first four episodes of Forever Eden, but I’m seriously questioning if I’ll bother to watch anymore. The series has taken me into serious “who cares” territory, and I doubt I’ll get out.
As I sat down to write this article, I realized that I can really remember only a few of the players – and this is just the day after the last episode aired. There’s Michael, who I remember because he was voted “most desirable.” There’s that annoying guy whose name I can’t recall. There’s Wallace, who I only even knew was on the show because Jordan (who I also don’t really remember from before) gave him half his coins upon leaving. On the ladies’ side, we have Neveen, who was all upset because the other women wanted to vote her out when they didn’t really have much choice. And we have Shawna, who I can’t even remember being on the show ‘til this last episode, when she got rid of Jordan. In fact, when I think of a reality show Shawna, I still think of Survivor: The Amazon. As for the others, I think there’s a River or a Brook or some sort of water in there. And then there are, as the original Gilligan’s Island them lyrics said, “the rest.”
My point here is not to tell you how bad my memory is, but how little impression any of these people (if they are indeed people instead of cardboard cutouts) have left on me, even after four episodes.
So obviously, there isn’t much reason to watch for the compelling characters. And even if there were, odds are any characters will be quickly cycled through in coming weeks. They’re here, they’re gone, to be replaced with a slightly different cardboard cutout.
Could the host be a compelling character? No. I’m pretty sure she is a robot, judging by the strange poses she strikes and jerky way she moves, as if her programmers haven’t quite gotten the whole human movement aspect down yet.
Without compelling characters, reality TV doesn’t hold much interest. But let’s look at some other possible reasons to watch.
We could watch for the game aspect. The Amazing Race succeeds because of its combination of personalities and the interesting challenges and games they must play. On Forever Eden, well, there is no game aspect. The main game seems to be “Let’s Get Drunk and Grope.” Of course, there is also the variant, “Let’s Get Drunk and Be Drama Queens.” Not terribly fun and exciting to watch.
So what about a strategy aspect? This is, after all, a show in which the object is to collect as much money as possible and stick around as long as possible, so certainly there are strategy aspects, right? Wrong. While the annoying guy keeps talking about playing the game, the problem is that it is like trying to play chess when the types of move each piece can make change after every turn. What? You want to move your pawn forward? No, I’m sorry, it’s the third move so you can only move it sideways. Ah, but now that you’ve done it, you have to sacrifice a rook because it’s Tuesday and we say so. Unless, of course, your opponent moves a knight onto a black square, in which case your rook comes back into the game two spaces to the left of where it originally was.
How the hell can anybody plan strategy with that?
Mind you, there could be strategy, but it seems like the producers went to great lengths to eliminate it. In fact, some viewers are convinced that the producers are even changing the rules on the fly. And what little strategy the producers didn’t eliminate, other players are, such as Jordan being sent packing this week.
OK, so maybe there is a relationship aspect, like Forever Eden’s predecessor, Paradise Hotel, was supposed to have. Well, there was a makeout session this week between, um, Shawna, I think, and some other guy. And two of the other cutouts appeared to have interest in one another. But are any of these real relationships that are worth watching? So far, no. The makeout session seems to have been during a game of “Let’s Get Drunk and Grope.” And how can a real relationship begin when you never know what might happen next? You or your partner could be sent packing. Hell, you might pick them to go on a date and find out that in doing so you doomed them to leave Eden. Or maybe by not picking them you doomed them. Or…
OK, so there’s no personality aspect, game aspect, no strategy aspect, no relationship aspect. That leaves us with watching to see… the twists? While I know that reality TV producers enjoy springing all sorts of twists on players and viewers alike, such twists should be sprinkled in as you would do with a strong spice in a recipe. Just a dash here and there for flavor. But on Forever Eden, that isn’t the case. Instead, the whole flavor of the show is overwhelmed by the strong spice of the twists.
And you know, I just can’t eat that much spicy food. Soon, it gets dull and repetitive and I’d rather eat – or watch – something with flavor. Considering that the show is routinely coming in fourth among the major networks, it appears I’m not the only one who feels this way.
David Bloomberg is the Editor of RealityNewsOnline and can be reached at RNO@pobox.com.
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