I still remember the first time I heard about Survivor.
My best friend and I were on our way to work and, as was our morning ritual, I was reading tidbits from the newspaper’s entertainment section, whether he wanted to hear them or not. “Can you believe this crap?” I asked him. “They’re stranding people on an island and have them do crazy competitions and vote each other off.”
In my rather fertile imagination, this could, of course, end only one way: “Someone will eventually go crazy and start killing people.”
Eventually, our conversation — along with that of most people — evolved into the big question: “Would you go on it?”
Then came Big Brother and America’s Next Top Model and The Amazing Race and Bachelor Pad, and with each new twist on the reality genre, viewers pondered whether or not they had what it took to survive, thrive and possibly even win.
Every Friday night, you can find Dan and I tweeting The Amazing Race and using the hashtag #ImaginaryRacers as we decide which of us will tackle the various tasks required of contestants. (You can follow Dan @danjkroll and me @howrudeareyou.) Perhaps not surprising to anyone who has ever gone out to eat with me, I tend to volunteer for the food-centric tasks while Dan is the more adventurous of us.
There is, however, a world of difference between live-tweeting an around-the-world race and going on a reality show. And given how much reality I watch, I’ve clearly pondered which show my particular skill sets would best be utilized by.
As much as I love the idea of going on Big Brother, I tend to think that I’d quickly find out that aspects of my personality I find charming are… well, not necessarily viewed that way by others. The fact that my best friend/officemate resists the urge to kill me two or three times a week only because he hates cleaning up messes more than he does my incessant chatter tells me this could be an issue.
Survivor would no doubt be great from a diet and exercise point of view, but I tend to whine when I get rained on while waiting for a bus, so typhoon season probably wouldn’t be my cup of tea. And don’t get me started on the bugs.
I hate-watch The Bachelor and its various spinoffs, but those shows are all about selling what you’ve got. Since I’ve been unable to give it away for the past 50 years, the odds of me getting a rose would be right up there with those of Chris Harrison becoming camera shy. And I’d love to go on Top Chef, but my flavor palate can best be described as “fried,” which is rather limiting.
I meet neither of the titular prerequisites of Teen Mom, so clearly that’s out, and while it’s probably fairly easy to land on Cops, I’ve spent a lifetime avoiding that particular fate, thank you very much. I’d totally go on The Voice or American Idol, but I have it on good authority that I’m one of those people who think I sound awesome but wind up being told by Simon Cowell that I have a voice for silent pictures.
So until they come up with a show that involves winning lots of money for sitting on a couch live-tweeting the activities of others, my dreams of becoming a reality star are deader than Clay Aiken’s political career.