Picks and Pans Review: Race and the New Survivor

updated 10/02/2006 AT 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 10/02/2006 AT 01:00 AM EDT

Kicking off Survivor: Cook Islands, Jeff Probst described it as "a social experiment like never before." No, it's a dumb gimmick and a throwback to separate-but-equal: The four teams have been divided along racial lines, Asian, black, white and Hispanic. This means that when Probst yells, "Puka wins the challenge," he should just say, "The Asians win!" For now, I miss the usual emphasis on the perils of untamed nature. The white team fought off a cold night by curling up in what one woman actually called a "cuddle puddle." That's surviving?

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