In one of my recent posts, I made the comment that "I hate reality TV." This is absolutely true. I was mildly intrigued by the first season or two of American Idol, I was highly engaged in the first season of The Apprentice, and I like the Food Network, although I don't really think that's "reality programming" in the way that we typically use that term. But I also realize that I may become something of a dinosaur if I continue to rage against the machine that is reality TV, similar to the teachers here at BFHS that are convinced that "computers are just making life more complicated." (And if the writers' strike continues, we might not have many alternatives.)
So in the if-you-can't-beat-'em-join-'em spirit, I have 3 ideas for reality television shows that are better than anything out there right now. Tell me you wouldn't watch these:
Name That Tune 2007. We probably couldn't get it off the ground in the next four weeks, so it might have to become Name That Tune 2008, but let's get some music geek--why not Chuck Klosterman?--to host. There will be a house band (or possibly a different semi-famous band every week) that would be prepared for songs in any number of categories: '80s hair bands, Seattle Grunge, Garth Brooks, '90s rap, etc. In the first round, contestants would choose categories and try to be the first to buzz in and identify the song. The second round is played by each contestant separately. While the other is in a sound-proof booth, the player does a "lightning round," in which he/she tries to name as many clips as possible in 60 seconds. The final round is a face-to-face "I can name that tune in 5 notes" situation. Am I right or am I right?
The Decathlon. I think we have to have celebrity contestants for this one. We have 2-4 contestants each week, and they compete in 10 of the following events: tic-tac-toe, rock-paper-scissors, war, dodgeball, 4-square, Tetris, hangman, 500, paintball, HORSE, checkers, 3-card Monte, ping-pong, foosball, air hockey, Guitar Hero, miniature golf, tug of war, etc. If Extreme Makeover: Home Edition can draw 10 million viewers, how many people would tune in to see Pauly Shore, David Spade, Flava Flav, and Adrianne Curry playing 4-square? Hard to even speculate.
The 1st-Year Teacher. Do you know how many teachers there are in the United States? 6.8 million. And even if they quit after a year or two, do you know what they all have/had in common? They had a first year. And do you know what else? It mostly sucked. I am promising you that those people would watch a show that followed a young, attractive, interesting first-year teacher in a school that was likely to create some conflict and interesting storylines. You'd have to pick the right situation, but I know that this could work. I know it, I know it, I know it.
Here's the litmus test: Pick what you believe to be the worst idea listed above. Okay, now pick the 5 best reality shows on television right now. Wouldn't my idea make the list? Thought so.