Monday, August 25, 2008

You've Got the Wrong Girl

Until now, I've never given much thought to competing on a reality TV show. Without sharing too many details that might give away the dark secrets of television casting, I will say only that "you never know ..."

I received an e-mail from a friend who had been approached by a casting associate. After a brief conversation, the friend offered a very nice "no, thank you," and then gave these parting words: "Please keep me in mind for anything that involves living on an island with a full-service spa and 24-hour tiki bar." After she kindly passed on the offer, she passed along names of other people who might project a personality similar to hers. She wrote in an e-mail to me and a couple of others: Guess whose names I passed on? You're welcome.

This reminds me of the times friends didn't know how to get rid of a Student Trying to Make It Through College By Selling Stuff We Don't Need, so they gave them my name.

"Thank you so much for your time. Can you recommend friends who might also be willing to help me make this quota?"

"Oh, sure! Amy just loves to buy more stuff, to learn about unique business opportunities like this and to listen to woeful tales about hardship. I'll get her number for you. In fact, I'll even tell you where she lives." Next thing you know, I'm standing on my front porch in 98-degree heat, explaining to a Lithuanian why I don't need any more computer games. Or, I'm sitting on my couch across from a hard-up country boy hawking overpriced steak knives that can cut, of all things, paper. (This story has unfolded more than once.)

Say what you want, but this casting person was solid on her follow-through, without being pushy. The very next piece of mail in my inbox was a message from the casting associate, whose name and network affiliation I will not reveal. Her message was a very polite invitation to e-mail her about competing on her show because my blog "is so very funny." I'm no Einstein, but I'm guessing she wants people who can take a joke, or provide some comic relief of some sort. This can't be a good sign. I don't want my joke-taking abilities tested on national TV, nor do I want to be "on" all the time. Because when I'm "off," I come across as somewhat of a turd.

To woo me onto the small screen, a better approach might have come from someone who casts a show like Wife Swap: "You look like you could use a break. How 'bout swapping places with a wife who doesn't have to do anything, whose husband will be out of town and whose kids are away at college? They have satellite, WiFi and a full pantry. Johnny Depp lives next door. And sometimes he doesn't wear a shirt when he mows the lawn."

But this reality show is probably nothing like this. Which is not a fair thing to say because I've never actually seen a full episode of this particular reality show that is being passed around like a hot potato. This is not to say that I wouldn't enjoy this program -- it's just that I don't watch a lot of TV. And that, I suppose, would make me an ideal candidate because I don't know the rules. And that could be sort of funny, I guess.

"Who's the dumb chick from Alabama who doesn't know the rules?"

"I don't know, but she was much funnier last week."

"Well, she's not funny now. She's kind of a ... turd."

Note: For those who are wondering ... while I was indeed flattered, I declined the offer. I'm holding out for the full-service spa and 24-hour tiki bar, too.