It used to just be one show. Maybe something like a Jerry Springer theme show - I Married My Sister’s Wife But She’s Not the Father. But reality has proven to be far more kinky than any fictional television program. From various Real Housewives shows to tuna fishermen to truckers, everything has become some strange competition. There are now two shows featuring people bidding for storage units. Storage units? Are you kidding me? Yes, there is gold in other people’s financial misery.
I’m waiting to see a real timely competitive show - Foreclosure Wars, where dueling law firms see who can dispossess the most families in a given week. How about Real Junkies of New Jersey, where two gangs compete to see what treasures they can rip off from Newark pedestrians? Or Aluminum Can Search, where homeless families compete to see what treasures they can find on the streets?
I played an iPhone application the other day - the computer version of “Are You Smarter Than a Fifth Grader?” The good news is, “Yes, I am.” The bad news is “Why aren’t you?” Didn’t we all go through fifth grade?
I’ve lost my hunger for cooking competitions. Iron Chef, Master Chef, Lesbian Chef. Oh, wait, the last one might work. Plus, two separate shows on how to save a dying restaurant. Hey, maybe they can do a show where Gordon Ramsey shows up at the White House and shows them how to revive a stagnant national economy. Gordon: “Okay, Barack, you need to rediscover your passion for politics. We are redesigning the chairs and tables, giving you a sign out front that says in large letters ‘The White House - established 1792.’ And I’m giving you a simpler menu for success - from now on, you have to spend less than you earn. Plus, you need to get Joe Biden out of the kitchen and onto the front of the House”
By next year, either Barack or Mitt will be out of the White House and will probably be on a show “Do You Think You Are Smarter Than A Politician?” Most contestants should win - at least on the math part.
There’s American Ninja, where mostly WASPY white guys climb obstacles but don’t wear any ninja clothes. Where’s the shuriken? Where’s the short sword? Where’s the fatality rate?
There’s Ultimate Fighting, or MMA or Octagon, where the rules are set so people from other styles don’t have much of a chance, and most of the competitors have never even heard of a block. They all do these stupid kicks to the outer thigh, which never seems to have any effect. So why do they do it, and more importantly, why do they all do it so wrong? If it’s so ultimate, why isn’t there more of a death toll? If they are so good, why aren’t they in professional boxing, where the real money is? Let me tell you something about real ultimate fighting - it usually involves a gun. Let them bring loaded guns into the ring - I’ll watch.
Dance competitions. So You Think You Can Dance Better Than A Fifth Grader. Dancing With The Stars You Never Heard Of. Iron Dancer. Dance Hospital Ultimate MMA Dancer. Ice Road Dancers. Have I left anyone out?
Reality dating shows. The Bachelor, The Bachelorette, So You Think You Can Get To Third Base Better Than A Fifth Grader, American Ninja Dater. Dog The Bounty Dater.
Reality shows about people who repossess cars, hunt bail jumpers, build fancy motorcycles. Three shows about people who do tattoos. Are there that many tattoos in America? Is the hepatitis-C level that high in America? How about a show about people getting tattoos removed - American Laser. And the spin-off - So You Think You Can Be A Urologist?
With all these people working on television, how do we have such a high unemployment rate?
Isn’t anybody normal anymore? Why am I wasting time asking you? You’re busy watching reality TV while the real world is passing you by.
Do yourself and your kids a favor - turn off the tube and face reality. And by reality, of course, I refer to the internet. Now, that’s real.
Marvin Wolf is a satirical columnist for Local Talk.