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''Survival of the Richest''

By RD Heldenfels Published: March 31, 2006

I finally got around to watching ''Survival of the Richest'' today -- two episodes without commercials, no less -- and man, do I want that time back.

The show pairs a rich young adult (or, at least, a young adult from a rich family, since net worth is defined by the family's) with a poor one (defined by accumulated debt) for a series of challenges. The team winning a challenge cannot be voted off in a given week; everyone else can be eliminated, based on a vote by all the contestants.

The vote provides the one moderately interesting twist in the show. If one member of a team is voted off, the teammate goes, too. In other words, if you hate a rich kid so much that you want to get rid of him or her, then you're going to send home someone you don't hate as well. That at least creates the possibility of ambivalence in the voters.

But beyond that, it's just not that interesting, especially after you've heard from the rich kids how much they spend and how few chores they do -- and heard it umpteen times. The challenges are set up to encourage foolish blabbing by the rich folks -- working as waiters, for instance, or having to clean up public restrooms. But as much as I hated one of the rich players, even the thought of seeing him voted off wasn't enough to keep me intrigued by the show. Save yourself the time.

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