Reality shows hit real world
Published: Saturday, December 18th, 2004
"Fear Factor," "The Real World," "Survivor," "Big Brother" and so on and so on. “Reality” shows are all the rage now and to be honest, I have a bit of trouble with them. To begin with, how can you call it “reality”? It doesn’t resemble any reality I have ever seen. I mean, when was the last time you were on a tropical island in Bora Bora like Survivor? How real is that? Or When was the last time you lived for free in a luxurious house in New York, San Francisco or Honolulu with nothing but good looking people whose teeth glint in the sun and muscles ripple when they change shirts (which from my occasional watching seems like every three minutes) like they do in "The Real World"? Is that reality? Or when was the last time you had someone dump worms, snakes and spiders on you just to see if you could tolerate it like they do in "Fear Factor"? OK, OK, now that I think about it, there is some reality to that, I used to do it to my sister somewhat regularly - and when I did, our reality show changed just a bit and became “Kill Little Brother,” a program that, fortunately for younger brothers everywhere, has not been picked up by the networks. No, I think we should have reality shows that deal with real things and real situations so they really reflect reality better. Let me put forward just a couple of ideas I have recently sent to programers at the major networks. How about one called “Gym Class” Do you remember gym class when you were in junior high school? You’ve got to appreciate how similar that is to both "Survivor" and "Fear Factor." I mean, to begin with, you had to dress in front of some very strange people and put on some incredibly questionable clothes. That’s a whole episode in itself - ugly, baggy shorts and tacky grey T-shirt. And then when you get out of the dressing room, you have a gym teacher who has nicknames for everyone who wasn’t out for whatever sport he happens to coached. “Hey you, Four Eyes, Fat Kid, Droopy Drawers and Funny Haircut run up and down the bleachers until you bleed from the ears,” He will take a breath to build the suspense. “Saggy Socks, Bow Legs and Big Nose go stand in the middle of the gymnasium while everybody else throws basketballs at you. I’m going to go have a smoke in the teachers’ lounge.” Assuming you are not eliminated (or killed) during the last part, you then have to enter the most frightening episode of the show. This could be the finale. This one would be called “Shower Room”. We won’t delve into this one, but when they advertise this episode it will say, “If the embarrasment doesn’t get you, the cold water and the fungus will.” I think it has potential to run five or six years, at least. Another idea I am toying with for a reality show is “Family Reunion” I also think this one has potential. In this one in the first show, you have to go into a large room with people you are vaguely related to (probably by marriage) and try to converse - never mind that one third are accountants and only will talk about actuarial tables, one third are engineers and they will only talk about....Jeez, what do engineers talk about? And one third seem like they are extras from the film Deliverance and they only want to talk about dating their sisters. In one of the next episodes you have to deal with a brother-in-law trying to sell you property that lies somewhere beneath the surface of the Florida Everglades. In one of the others, you must try to eat 42 tuna casaroles with green peas on the top while being watched by those women cousins who cooked them. I expect the most horrifying episode, though, will be the one called “Family Reunion Swimming Pool.” Let me just say, “Great-aunt Ethel” and “Bikini”. I think we’ve got "Fear Factor" beat easily.
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