My mom called me a Kardashian fan one day and I got upset. Her response was adequate, despite it distressing me to the point where I had to change the channel. I have been slowly grappled by reality TV and the absurdness that it promotes.
In my most simple defence, I watch because it’s stupid and fairly entertaining. It’s sort of like watching a car wreck and driving far too slowly to see the guts and goo.
I have often surrendered my soul to The Kardashians, The Bachelor and Jersey Shore; the characters, their beefed-up catch phrases and orchestra-set crying episodes and meltdowns. You can punch me now if you’d like…
Today, it’s all about being orange, getting a tattoo, making a sex tape that ‘somehow’ goes public and getting inebriated while crying into a shaky camera. The more you cause complete chaos, the more likely you’re going to get another season or spin-off. There’s also shotgun weddings, engagements, divorces and the knockouts (blood, guts and ambulance trips are necessary for ratings). Reality TV is increasingly scripted (see: background music from Dawson’s Creek or a soapie). It plays on spectacles with the ‘Ryan Seacrest voice’ in a promo bursting on about “The most surprising episode yet!”
If you haven’t been on TV yet, you’re probably not cut out to be a reality star. Let’s be honest, you don’t need a brain cell and you probably don’t need any form of education or claim to fame. You might need the following, though:
1. Sex tape
From Paris Hilton’s awkward pout, Hilton-heir status and that small dog she carries around, the reality TV era was born. The formula is quite straightforward: have sex with a stranger who has a video camera. You don’t really need one. One day, you could buy a diamond-encrusted one and call it fluffy. Anyway, once the camera is set up make sure your entire face can be seen so the press can identify that it’s really, really you. It’s your break-out role so smile and be sure to say the following line to the stranger-sex-man: This is totally private, right? OMG what are we doing?
Back in 2007, Kim Kardashian was plastered over glossy magazines with her home-made sex video with singer Ray J they made four years earlier.
This is how it all begins: next up is the media buzz, the determined apology and new role as ‘person-who-can-put-the-sex-tape-behind-and-sell-a-fragrance’.
2. Sell your smell
Actually every sort of celebrity has their own fragrance. So, if you’re going to make a name for yourself you have to follow in the smelly foot steps of David Beckham, JLo, Britney Spears, Beyonce and Paris Hilton. (Did you know that Sarah Jessica Parker had a fragrance? Bet it smells like horse manure). So what should it smell like? Obsession with fame? Depressing romantic dreams? Douchebag?
Point is, it can smell like anything. It can smell like laundry baskets and McDonald’s dustbins. The real point you have to hit home is marketing it. Make sure you come up with a flashy bottle with lots of glitter and a label that tells your fans how much work you put into this. If things work out, your mom and pet hamster can also brand off spin-off fragrances. Remember, you also get to strut around in naked with the bottle once it’s launched – how fun!
3. Catch phrases
There’s a monopoly of corny, adrenalin catch phrases in The Jersey Shore; so much so that I repeated it a few times and decided to choke myself next time I utter it. But, if you want to make sure your cheesy grin or shocked, orange face sits with viewers for a very long time, make sure to say a catchy phrase as much as possible (even when it doesn’t make sense in context). In many a TV show, we get familiar with the lines and play it out in real life. Like “You’re fired!” (don’t do this too often in the office) or “The tribe has spoken”.
Some reality TV catch- phrases include
”Oh yeaaaaaaah!” – Pauly D, Jersey Shore
“It’s a Situation.” – Mike ‘The Situation’, Jersey Shore
”Please pack your knives and go.” – Top Chef
”Will you accept this rose?” – The Bachelor
“Evidently fear is not a factor for you.” – Fear Factor
”That’s hot” – Paris Hilton
Mine would be: “Ginger love!”
4. Snip snip snip
If you’re ugly, you’re not going to get far, friend. If you have a big nose, make it smaller, stupid! If your boobs aren’t big enough then no one will watch. If you’re a reality show contestant, be sure to have the shortest dress. Sometimes, you can forget to wear underwear to show off your new bum cheeks. Make sure you are perfectly assembled. If not, think about it. You definitely need a fake forehead to make it in life so make sure you have botox needles for touch-ups before your episode’s pinnacle.
If need be, practice your crying and laughter just so you can get a whole counterfeit look that people will procure without a flicker of reservation. If you go too far, you could always have a spin-off called ‘My mistake with plastic’. Heidi Montag, reality star from The Hills, splashed out millions for a full plastic make-over. Now, she looks like a despondent Barbie nobody wants to play with (i.e. TV producers).
5. Marry for athleticism or desperation
Dear me, baseball and basketball players in the US are increasingly blurring the lines between performance on the field and performance playing the field (ha-ha. Get it?). Dallas Mavericks forward Lamar Odom and his wife, Khloe Kardashian is one example of how sports and reality TV had been in bed in the last few years. Kendra Wilkinson, laughable Playboy girlfriend of Hefner a few years back and star of Girls of The Playboy Mansion, wedded Hank Baskett – NFL star. It’s important to choose a man who is buff, a bustling quarter-back or star points scorer. If he is not a star in the team and a possible bench-warmer, then step away slowly. Get to know the sport and see if the guy is worthy of a hook-up or wedding.
Besides huffing and puffing over athletes, if you’re pretty, have issues, hate your ex and are looking to meet your soul mate in a few weeks, be sure to pitch up on those reality dating/wedding/I need somebody in my life or I’ll die shows. Make believe you’re stable and not as desperate even though you’re holding back the word ‘love’ and ‘children’ every step of the way.
When the wedding comes, make sure you promote the hell out of it. It can be a film even.
Then when it’s over, never speak to your husband ever again!
File for divorce and promote a spin-off. Everything is a spin-off.
(Note to men: If you want to hook-up. A lot. Then be The Bachelor)
Reality TV, sadly, is the entertainment of the minion millions out there who fawn over the jeans, coffee stains and kisses theses Kardashian-types exhibit to the world. If you’d like your brain to get completely pickled in debris and phoney emotions, then go ahead and indulge BUT here is my warning: like that gooey doughnut you treat yourself with on an awful Monday, too much reality TV will make you feel culpable of idiocy and depression.
6. Get drunk
Don’t be afraid to drink a lot so you can manufacture some sort of spontaneity.
Get drunk in the mornings, too sometimes. It’s a breakdown episode that everyone needs and if you’re increasingly apologetic afterwards, you will gain more fans and people will call you ‘human’.
Read a book now and again.