Survivor? Ha!

The other day I was looking through my local TV listing. Actually, I wasn’t looking through it per se, as much as I was searching for the answers to the crossword puzzle on page one, which, as it turned out, happened to be on the last page I looked at. Then I proceeded to fill out the entire puzzle. I was at the point where I had guessed at six of the answers, three of which were misspelled, and two were wrong. The end result was that I now had a perfectly completed puzzle and my wife continues to think of me as a genius. You may consider this cheating but I see it as maintaining the fragile status quo. Hey, I’m not judging you, and your puzzle completing style. Who really has time to complete a complicated puzzle like that, in the correct way, anyway? The way I see it is, all of the squares are filled and I did the filling. Isn’t that what’s important?

I may have gotten a little off track. Perhaps I should start again. The other day I was looking through my local TV listing and I noticed something totally amazing. The granddaddy of all reality shows has started its thirty-sixth season. Yes, Survivor fans, it’s back in all its dirty, smelly, back-biting glory.

For those of you who don’t know the show, or don’t care, it goes something like this. They strand twenty or so very good-looking people on a desert island. They have to survive, for a month without internet, cosmetics, and gym memberships, while being videoed twenty-four hours a day. All this torture for the chance at a million bucks. The contestants whine and complain about how rough the conditions are, and look pretty haggard at the end of it all. Even the well-endowed bikinis get pretty nasty. In fact, they look almost as bad as my niece does after one day of dealing with her two toddler sons. Especially since number three has arrived. (By the way she is really cute) To be honest, I don’t think that this show is so tough. I’d like to see the winner of that show chase a couple of two-year-olds for 24 hours with no prize at all. Now that’s reality.

In fact, I bet that I could come up with the most grueling show of them all. I’d call it Extreme Parents and it would start with sixteen good-looking people, (you have to have good-looking people, no one will watch otherwise), aged twenty to thirty, and thirty-two children aged under two, living together in an average sized home. Here’s the kicker: no one’s allowed to leave. The kids would be easy to come by. I know several parents who would be willing give up their little angels for a month, or two… or three… or thirty. As a matter of fact, my niece can provide three of them right off the bat. Food, diapers, coffee, and headache tablets, would be stocked at the onset and rationed over the duration of the game.  No one would be allowed to leave for any reason. Every three days there would be challenges and the adult who loses, (or perhaps wins) would have to leave but the number of kids stays the same. Eventually you would have 32 screaming children and maybe four very strung out, sleep deprived, underfed, adults heading into the finals.

The challenges wouldn’t be the adults eating bugs but preventing the kids from eating them or perhaps a contest between one child and adult to see who has more energy. We could have an obstacle course to get the potty. The obstacles would of course be the other children and piles of toys. Other tests might be keeping a room clean for more that an hour. No closing the door! How about, feeding the kids spaghetti, yogurt, or chocolate cake without making a mess. Perhaps they might give a cold to several of the kids just to keep it interesting. The possibilities are endless. These kinds of challenges are happening in suburbia every day, and they never make it to the TV. I say it’s about time.

Hey network people, you should know a show like this would not be expensive to produce. There’d be no need for all those expensive prizes. If someone won a challenge, all you’d have to reward them with would be a cup of coffee that’s never been spit in. Or perhaps ten hours of uninterrupted sleep, or maybe actual clothes that don’t look like birds pooped all over them. In this kind of game, simple pleasures would truly be the best.

I think my favorite thing to see would be the deterioration of the adults as they take care of these lovely children day after day. I have seen new parents, with just one youngster, deteriorate over just a few weeks. Imaging the devastation with dealing with more than one, with the odds ever on the increase. Those sexy young adults wouldn’t be good looking for very long. You might even say that the first ones out are the winners and not the losers.

I realize that this is probably not a practical idea for a reality show, because there is just too much reality and not enough fantasy for the viewing public. There would be just too many letters complaining about the sheer horror, and a congressional committee would probably have to be set up to study violence on television. They might even have to go so far as to need to take a fact-finding trip to Aruba.

Then again, where would you find sixteen thrill-seekers with the capacity, and mental wherewithal to take up the challenge? Snowboarding and bungy-jumping are one thing, this would be a whole lot scarier.

Either way, it was just an idea. I mean, I never claimed to be a hyper intelligent network programing guru. I mean, I could never come up with an idea like Mr. Ed. I guess I’ll have to be satisfied in the highly difficult world of crossword puzzles. In fact, I sense another one being perfectly filled out in just a few minutes.


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