A few ideas for reality television, in all its glory

Max Sparber

Variety reports that CBS is taking Elly Mae up on her invitation – “Y’all come back now, y’hear?” – and reviving its classic series “The Beverly Hillbillies” with a reality-show twist, transplanting a real-life lower-middle-class rural family (including their granny) in a mega-money Beverly Hills mansion for one year, where they’ll live in the lap of luxury and have the chance to earn their own substantial cash rewards,” Hollywood.com reported Aug. 28.

“Three of four men accused of paying street people to fight for a commercial video production, some of which was shot in San Diego, withdrew their pleas Friday and challenged the legality of the charges. Ö The $19.99 videos – 300,000-plus copies of which reportedly have been sold via the Internet – show disheveled, bedraggled men engaging in fist fights and self-abuse, such as running headlong into steel doors and leaping off bridges,” The San Diego Channel reported Friday.

In the spirit of such masterpieces of reality-based entertainment program, I have a few suggestions to offer Hollywood. After all, there is great money to be made in shame and humiliation, and I don’t see why I shouldn’t get in on some of this long green. I’ve seen enough schoolyard bullies at work to know how far a little maliciousness can go towards generating a healthy chuckle or two, and, as H.L. Mencken once said, every normal man must be tempted at times to spit on their hands, hoist the black flag and begin cutting throats:

“Who Wants to Eat a Millionaire?”: Four contestants are given a steak knife, a hibachi grill and a map of the homes of Fortune 500 CEOs. Once they have stalked, killed and dressed their millionaire, they must answer trivia questions for barbecue sauce and cayenne peppers.

“Junk Island”: Twelve recovering heroin addicts spend a week on a tropical island littered with syringes, spoons, books of matches and unmarked prescription drug bottles. The last to bloat and turn blue is the winner.

“Dog Kill Dog”: Nine contestants, 36 pit bulls and one long, dark, underground tunnel lined with razor blades. Infared cameras record the exciting action.

“Sick Date:” One single girl, six randy guys, five venereal diseases. Russian roulette has never been sexier.

“Sink or Swim”: Contestants are blindfolded, tied up and flung into the ocean from a low-flying helicopter. To make things more interesting, while the contestants struggle against drowning, the show’s cheerful host (Tony Danza) will chum the waters to attract sharks.

“Whose Gland is That?”: The only game show in which contestants win prizes by identifying masked and pantless celebrities.

“Aphrodisiac or Laxative!”: Choose right, enjoy a night of romantic fun; choose wrong and we film the hilarious results!

“Images from a Too-Bright Woman’s Bathroom Without Stalls”: Children have been enjoying this entertainment for years on their personal computers. Now, the fun arrives on your favorite television station.

“When Drunk Movie Stars Attack”: Live video feed from outside Johnny Depp’s Viper Room Lounge in Los Angeles. Phony paparazzi will be stationed outside the door when guests such as Bjork, Sean Penn and Nick Nolte arrive.

“Sophie’s Choice or Your Choice”: One lives, one dies – you pick in this exciting movie-turned-game show. Winners have a chance to receive a replica of an Academy Award.

You can forward my royalty checks to me in care of The Minnesota Daily; I’m off to sunny Bahamas to bask in the warm glow of my reality television millions.