May 25, 2001
Where exactly is this reality all these
reality TV shows are based on?
Maybe it's just my sheltered existence, but
none of the people or situations are even remotely like anything
I've ever come across in the real world. Or even in Toronto.
And you can't convince me that anyone who
would marry someone they've never met (millionaire or not), be
chained to a bunch of strangers, go through boot camp, or volunteers
to eat rats on some desert island, represents normal people.
If they ever showed us what reality is
really like, no one would watch for one very good reason - reality
is actually pretty dull. At least for most Canadians. No alien
abductions. No vast government conspiracies. No car chases.
For most of us it's work, family life,
household chores and two weeks off in the summer. Not exactly
If reality TV really represented the real
world - especially in Canada - the programs would be very different.
How about a show called "Tenuous
Canadian Connection"? It would challenge members of a
culturally insecure media to find a connection, no matter how
distant, between Canada and something the rest of the world cares
about. It would sort of be like Front Page Challenge, except less
exciting. Who would have guessed Jennifer Lopez has a thing for
Canadian back bacon?
There could be a show called "Who Wants
to be an English Lord?" Contestants could be challenged to
voluntarily give up one of their most prized and valuable
possessions, such as their Canadian citizenship. In return they
could be offered something meaningless and trivial, like the right
to put the word "Sir" in front of your name and to be
seated next to some buck-toothed Earl at Ascot.
In a pre-recorded episode we would see our
first contestant Conrad Black not only giving up his Canadian
birthright, but also most of his dignity when we find out how low he
would go to be considered "noble".
From Ottawa - which is about as far away
from reality as you can get - we could bring back an old favourite:
"The Newest Dating Game". Can perpetually returning lonely
boy Stockwell Day win over any or all of our eight disgruntled and
commitment-shy contestants? How far will any of them go to get - or
get rid of - Mr. Right? Or will they play it safe and let dull but
reliable cousin Joe take them to the prom?
The grand prize is a dream home located at
24 Sussex Drive, but no one should be packing their bags just yet -
they may be in for a long wait.
And finally, from Quebec City a new reality
show pits three members of the PQ government against one federal
cabinet minister with a sack of cash. The challenge is for the
federal cabinet minister to say nothing but nice things about Quebec
and hand out tons of tax dollars, and for the separatists to explain
how each and every thing is either not enough or constitutes a
further 'humiliation' for Quebec.
The game is finally over either when Quebec
has absolutely everything, or the representative of the federal
government decides the only way to win is to not play the game at