Do you have a secret? Are you living a shameful (or shameless) existence? Do you hate your body? Do you have a sex tape? Do you think your toddler needs to go on a diet? Have you stabbed your lover? Do you have a more-than-meaningful relationship with your car, your pet chimpanzee, or an inflatable doll? Do you grocery shop at a gas station? Well, there may be some good news for you. Your outrageous, unrefined, crude, addictive, aggressive, compulsive, self-loathing behavior might make you rich and famous…well, rich and infamous. A quick glimpse at the array of what we so literally describe as 'reality shows' may have you wondering if there’s hope for you yet.
I believe the children are our future…that profound, if obvious, lyric has been echoing in our ears for decades. In 2013, we have 16 and Pregnant, Teen Mom, Toddlers & Tiaras, My Super Sweet 16—where incidentally, one birthday girl cried because her father bought her the wrong make and model of Lexus. Then of course, there’s Here Comes Honey Boo Boo, a show that seems to me to be a 46-minute infomercial for Country Crock…peppered with commercials for Country Crock. Picture the Barefoot Contessa preparing a Thanksgiving turkey—stuffing the cavity with lemons and fresh herbs, and basting the skin with clarified butter. OK, now picture the exact opposite and a lot of Country Crock…
What happens in fight club stays in fight club…or gets and to an audience of fives and tens of people. You want to watch people fight? I’m not talking Mayweather-Pacquiao. I mean really fight. Well, thanks to basic cable, the gloves come off. The Housewives of various cities fight. The Mob Wives fight—that one is really an area of concern as I’m fairly certain multiple felonies have been committed and/or confessed to on that show. You have to raise an eyebrow about a woman leaving flowers on an unmarked patch of grass behind Giant Stadium.
The first step is admitting you have a problem…My Strange Addiction has a self-explanatory title. The crew simply follows around people who eat couch cushions or drier sheets or rocks or nail polish. I’m assuming each episode ends with a death, but I can never seem to make it through the full hour.
So this is what we’ve come to. If you collect toenail clippings or want to do a cooking show about road kill, you may have a future. However, I have a sneaking suspicion most of us are wishing the Mayans had gotten it right.