Thursday, June 10, 2004
I realize I haven’t been writing much about my job lately, but it’s a slow time of year right now. The most excitement around here has been hearing my office neighbor screaming, “You’re a goddamn alcoholic and I don’t want to talk to you! Don’t ever call me again!” and then slamming down the phone. I don’t think that warrants any comments from the peanut gallery. And no, I wasn’t eavesdropping. Well, maybe just a little.
Since my life seems to be a bit boring right now, I thought maybe you’d like to hear a second or third-hand story, as told by me.
There’s the story of the “industry” assistant, who got herself so drunk at a recent party thrown by a major television network that she passed out on a couch, but since that was told to me third-hand, I won’t repeat it. That, and the ensuing humiliation from losing control of her bowels guarantees she’ll never work in this industry again. And neither will the couch, by the way.
Instead, I’ll relay a story told to me over breakfast this morning by a friend of mine because it has to do with reality television. For purposes of this story we’ll call my friend Joe.
Joe is a working voiceover talent. He also does some acting here and there, but makes a good living doing commercial voiceover. This means he’s the one you hear saying things like, “Have you driven a Ford lately?” or “For better relief, advance to Advil.” No, these aren’t any of his actual commercials, but if you watch TV or listen to the radio, you’ve probably heard Joe pitching cars, beer and amusement parks.
Joe got a call from a friend last week asking him if he’d like to be on some reality dating show—not mine—and of course, Joe says, “There’s no way in hell I’m doing that.” He knows better.
The friend begged and pleaded and said it would be a big favor and that it was a new show where up-and-coming actresses and/or over-the-hill actresses go out on dates with everyday kind of guys. The implication was that my friend Joe might have a shot at going out with Flo from the old TV show Alice, or someone similar. Joe thought, “If I get to go out with Weezy from the Jeffersons, that would be hilarious!” and agrees to do it.
On Sunday he shows up at the appointed place only to see 6-8 other young, single guys there for the same thing. After waiting for about 30 minutes, this woman breezes into the room proclaiming herself the “Queen of Reality Show Casting” and proceeds to give vague and sketchy details as to what this new show is all about. Of course, no one has ever heard of this woman.
Eventually, one of the young men decides it’s not his cup of tea and walks on out the door. After he leaves, the self-proclaimed “Queen of Reality Show Casting” coldly says something to the effect of, “Can you believe he just walked out like that?” and proceeds to tear his headshot into little pieces. “He’ll never work in this town again,” she says.
Not surprisingly, Joe and the other guys are getting more and more skeptical as to what’s going on. They begin to ask questions about the show, only to be given nonsensical answers that would make any politician proud.
After about an hour, they get around to interviewing each guy individually in front of a camera. They each tell things about themselves, revealing what they like in women and other sorts of tidbits that might attract a member of the opposite sex.
Then they wait for another hour and by this time, the guys are getting antsy because the Laker game is starting soon, and everyone in this town watches the Lakers. Eventually, one of the producers comes out and says, “Okay, I’ll need you,” gesturing to Guy #1, “And I’ll need you and you,” as he points to Guy #2 and Joe. Everyone else is dismissed. They all say things like, “Congratulations,” but really, they’re glad to leave.
Finally, they tell the three remaining bachelors what the show is actually all about. They take a normal and average girl, give her a makeover, etc and present her with a “Bachelor-type” experience, where she gets to chose a guy for a fancy date.
There’s no Flo. There’s no Weezy. This is truly ground-breaking television.
Guy #1 gets called into a private interview room first and after a good 15-20 minutes, he comes back out. As he passes by my friend Joe, he gives him an eyebrow-raised look, seeming to say, “What the hell?”
To be continued…