There was a time when we escaped the trials and tribulations of our everyday lives by tuning into the fictional lives of characters on network television shows. We could enjoy the idyllic life of Mayberry, where the biggest concern was moonshiners in the hills. We ran away to an uncharted desert isle, complete with a cast of eccentric inhabitants. We marvelled that the Professor could build a car that ran on coconut juice, but he could not build a ship to get them off the island! We all identified with the simple folks who accidentally discovered oil and ran away to a strange planet called Beverly Hills.
Today we escape our reality by living our lives through the reality of others. The exhilaration of going shopping with three sisters who have more money than talent is overwhelming. Spending the day in your BFF’s mansion, painting the Chihuahua’s toe nails is more fulfillment than any of us can handle! Watching the East Coast wise girl get drunk and cuss at tourists on the beach makes you want to take her home to meet Mother. Gazing at a guy lifting his shirt at every opportunity to show off his abs really makes for a memorable “situation!” It all makes you incredibly proud to be part of the same human race, doesn’t it?
The time has come for you to escape the clutches of some stranger’s mundane airwave-based existence! Right here, right now; I am offering you your very own reality television show! Like the rest of the entertainment industry, I refuse to come up with an original concept. Instead, I will borrow from some of the other reality shows that are already out there. In fact, let’s blend some of the more popular offerings into one show!
Your first episode will be based upon “The Biggest Loser.” We are going to jet you off the Somalia for a month. Rather than try to lose extra pounds; your challenge is not to lose more than 25% of your body weight while subsisting on a starvation level diet in the midst of political turmoil, economic corruption, and ethnic genocide!
The following week will have you mimicking “Extreme Makeover.” You will be dropped off at an inner city shelter for the homeless. Your goal is to make a rusty metal bunk and a bare lightbulb hanging overhead look like the Presidential Suite at a Trump hotel property. You have no budget to accomplish this with and will have to rely on the benevolence of corporate donors who do not have the time to talk with you!
Week three of your show takes you to a slightly different version of “Celebrity Apprentice.” Since we mentioned Trump in the previous paragraph, it only seems fitting. However, you will not be working for “The Donald.” Instead, you get to follow a social worker who specializes in troubled children. Your first task is to work with a teenager who needs to find a place that will adopt her unwanted child once it is born. By the way, did we mention that she is only fourteen and already hooked on crystal meth?
We will conclude your soon-to-be Emmy Award winning reality show with a varied take on “Survivor.” You and your fellow cast mates are now living in St, Louis during the winter. We have taken away your job, drained your bank account to empty, cancelled all of your credit cards, sold off all of your possessions, hidden your cell phone and I Pad, and left you with only the clothes on your back. You will spend the next three months begging on the streets, digging through dumpsters, and sleeping in the public parks. Along the way, people will refuse to make eye contact with you, acknowledge your plight, or assist you in any way! In short, you will become invisible to society!
Since this is a pilot concept, we are only going to film four episodes of your reality television show. We do not want to overwhelm the executives at the cable networks by forcing them to think too hard! Yes, I know you are wondering what happens at the end of the season. Since you made it through this demanding trial, we are going to reward you with one million dollars in cash! There is just one small catch; you only have twenty-four hours to give away every single penny of it! Shall I draw up the contract for the show?