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Survival of the Fittest--and the Most Reptilian

August 25, 2000|BOOTH MOORE

At last it has come and gone--our generation's version of "Who Shot J.R.?"

Although I was only a casual "Survivor" viewer, on Wednesday I found myself glued to the TV set along with 51 million others. The last half hour was a nail biter. Then, at 9:55 p.m., my boyfriend ambled in the front door yelling, "How was your day, hon?" I almost bit the man's head off. Sprinkling him with "shushes," I turned back to the screen, the cheesy speeches and the close-ups.

After nearly two hours of buildup, Richard Hatch was the survivor. The tribe had spoken, but somehow his triumphant win was anticlimactic. Like a sundae without a cherry, a roller coaster without a loop, a . . . well, you know.

I remember watching the final games of the Lakers championship series earlier this summer with my windows and sliding glass door wide open, and hearing the cheers from nearby apartments and houses when Kobe Bryant scored a winning basket. But on Wednesday, all was quiet. Maybe my neighbors didn't want to be caught watching, or maybe it's something else.

"Survivor" wasn't about honor. (If it was, perhaps Rudy should have won for staying true to his alliance with Rich through the last vote.) In the end, the tribal council wasn't choosing a hero or a most valuable player; it was choosing the lesser of two evils. After all, Rich never hid his snakelike ways.

He was the sole survivor because of his raw Machiavellian strategy, plain and simple. Unlike Kobe, he has neither physical skills nor sportsmanship to applaud. He's not a team player fans can rally behind next year, and his personal qualities aren't anything to aspire to. He was just the best villain.

QVC is selling T-shirts with Richard's mug, but who'd want to buy one? Give him his 15 minutes of fame, then he'll fade back into real reality, joining Darva Conger, Rick Rockwell and the other millionaire wannabe celebrities that society spawns hourly. Meanwhile, we'll all settle back into the folds of our fat couches . . . until next season.

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After all that TV, how about something literary? Beverly Hills jewelry store Slane & Slane will host "Stories at the Moth" Tuesday with comedian Margaret Cho, actress Chloe Webb ("Sid and Nancy"), "Easy Rider" producer Bill Hayward and others spinning tales around the theme of "The Seven Deadly Sins."

"Stories at the Moth" is a roving storytelling showcase that began in 1997 in New York, has featured Joyce Maynard, Frank McCourt, George Plimpton and others in more than 52 events. Tickets are $15. Cocktails start at 8 p.m., stories at 9. Info: (213) 683-3441.

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Party planner Jeffrey Best, the genius behind Stuff magazine's "Seven Deadly Sins" party and Maxim magazine's "Maxim Motel" party, is planning the biggest bash yet: his own wedding.

Best will marry makeup artist Michelle Ward in October at a 1930s estate in Palm Springs. The rehearsal dinner will be a pool party, he said, with a swim-up bar and a Moroccan theme. And the invitation is a sarong. I'm sure mine is in the mail.

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Booth Moore's column runs Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. She can be reached at booth.moore@latimes.com.

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