I am not a big fan of reality television, although I will admit to having a bizarre fascination with Honey Boo Boo and her clan. Not because I enjoy Toddlers & Tiaras (yet another reality show), but because I love her nickname. If I have one regret, it’s that I was never asked to join the Mafia, because those guys have the greatest nicknames: Cheesebox, Benny Eggs, Bobby HaHa and Momo, to name a few.
Our family watched the first few seasons of American Idol, before our interest waned and we moved on to other mind-numbing pastimes—like trying to figure out Lost. Needless to say, we’re the ones who lost five years worth of Wednesday nights. We never could figure out the smoke monster, the hatch, the Others, the mothers or why that Brazilian couple wandered in for part of one season then ended up in a shallow grave. Que pena!
Going to the gym is a mind-numbing experience as well, so most days, in order to get through my workout, I watch the bank of televisions in the cardio room. I don’t wear my glasses because I sweat so much, so mostly what I see are smudges that resemble people with huge wads of hair prancing around behind privacy glass. Truth be told, you really don’t need much vision when watching reality TV. Here’s what I’ve gleaned from what little I’ve seen:
All the Housewives programs are interchangeable. My theory is there is a stable of five to seven ersatz “housewives” who have access to incredible hair infrastructure, spray-tan booths, stiletto heels (and the ability to walk in them) and dresses that could double as tourniquets in cases of potential limb loss. They must also have the desire to engage in frequent catfights while drinking lots of Chardonnay. Does that sound like anyone you know or would want to know? Me neither.
There is a reason the franchise has not yet made it to Mo’town. The Real Housewives of Moorestown might look something like this:
Five moms spill out of a minivan at BJ’s. As they tumble out of the van, an interior shot reveals fast food wrappers, sports equipment, a cello or a large, inert body draped in gym uniforms. The housewives are all dressed in jeans, leggings or sweats. They are not talking; they are texting. Each other. In the greeting card aisle, their souls are bared as they bond over Hallmark sentiments—at half-price! The ladies smell some candles, then move towards a towering display of bananas. The excitement intensifies when a catfight breaks out in the wine department as all five of them reach for the last bottle of Pinot Grigio. They speed through the rest of the store in 20 minutes so that they can rush out toWesley Bishop before practice is over.
One of the most bizarre reality shows has to be Amish Mafia. Ironically, the Discovery Channel is having a ratings bonanza with its program about gun-totin’ enforcers amongst the Amish, heretofore known to be a quiet, peaceful people. A Pennsylvania defense lawyer, when asked about the veracity of the show, remarked, "the fighting mentality isn’t even there." The attorney, Jeffrey Conrad, went on to say he had litigated scores of cases involving the Amish. “We can’t even get them to file lawsuits!" he said.
The Mo’town version would not be of much interest to hardcore reality TV junkies. Entitled The Quaker Mafia, it would show enforcers dressed like the Quaker Oats man, walking quietly to the Meetinghouse to meditate. In light of the recent uptick in gluten allergies, a non-binding agreement would be reached to eliminate wheat cereals from Wegmans and ShopRite, quietly forcing Moorestonians to eat only oat cereals. Must-see TV, it isn’t.
Would it be more compelling if it was the Methodist Mafia? A gang of men on motorcycles, led by Dave Schill, force Mo’town citizens to ante up for the 4th of July Parade. A fight breaks out when one biker suggests they trade traditional leather jackets for tasteful ecru togas. Mr. Schill reminds them togas and motorcycles are a bad combination for obvious, wind-related reasons. Amid much grumbling and veiled threats, hammers and power drills are drawn. The men circle each other ominously, waving their weapons, then roar off to help rebuild the Shore, post-Sandy.
The Post Office lobby was buzzing last week when it was rumored the producers of Survivor were scouting Mo’town for their next contest, set to air in 2014. One possible scenario? Survivor—Municipal Complex. The two tribes would face the elimination challenge after driving Hummers, Tahoes and Escalades separately to the Peter Pan parking lot, only to find it full at 8:45 a.m.
The first tribal member to find a parking spot would win a pair of binoculars. The binoculars would be a huge advantage in the initial elimination challenge—finding Sambe Construction. Visibly MIA since the groundbreaking ceremony in December, Sambe is allegedly hiding out in Pennsauken, waiting for the parking lot furor to die down.
Once located, the Sambe bosses would be forced to stand at the chain-link barrier surrounding the municipal parking lot. Inconvenienced library patrons and citizens running errands would then pepper them with questions, all pertaining to the lack of parking in town. While the bosses try to explain that the lack of parking is actually something town council should have planned for in advance, the townspeople turn into an angry mob.
If you have deep pockets and are interested in becoming a television producer, please contact me. Or look for me behind the Moorestown Running Company, looping the lot in search of a parking spot.