Alternate-Reality Shows

From the Onion comes this article lampooning reality shows. Having long exhausted an interesting reality show premise, networks begin presenting alternate-reality shows, such as Antebellum Island.

“Set to air in the spring of 2004, Antebellum Island gives us the unique opportunity to play with both social dynamics and recorded history,” CBS Chairman Leslie Moonves said. “The contestants on Antebellum Island will spend 60 days braving the elements, each other, and the unfamiliar customs and practices of a 21st-century Confederate States of AmericaŽâ€”all for a chance to win a cool million.”

Added Moonves: “That’s one million in Union dollars, of course!”

Later, this quote:

“In casting the show, we looked for people who displayed adaptability, good judgment, and impeccable hospitality,” Davies said. “But we wanted to let the contestants’ personalities shape the show. We didn’t just look to fill the typical slots: plantation owner, houseboy, carpetbagger, and Uncle Tom.”

Executives were reluctant to reveal the themes for Antebellum ‘s weekly competitions, but said contests might include skeet shooting, quilting bees, formal-dress cotillions, and working at a textile factory on the west side of the island for the entire show’s duration with no chance at the $1 million prize.

This is funny stuff, but really is only slightly more absurd than the miserable crap they really are dredging up from the bottom of the barrel. I have to credit the rise of reality shows with my decline in the amount of TV I watch. It doesn’t take too many “compete with a group to marry a stranger” shows before the whole nation as one reaches for a book.

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Dave Slusher is a blogger, podcaster, computer programmer, author, science fiction fan and father. Member of the Podcast Hall of Fame class of 2022.