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Thursday, January 09, 2003

 

When Manny Met Corey Met Jerri Met Gabrielle Met Vince Met MC Hammer Met Brande Special



I can't help but think that I may have dreamed up the new WB reality show The Surreal Life years ago. I have vague memories of sitting on the couch, tuned out in front of the nineteenth Real World marathon some Saturday afternoon, and saying,
"These people are so damn stupid and boring. The should get a big house like that, and throw MC Hammer, Corey Feldman, some kind of child actor with a developmental defect (not Corey Feldman, he's already in there), and a fat hair-metal dude in there together. Then we'd really have something."

Then I must have momentarily snapped out of my programming reverie, watched five more minutes of narcissistic extroverts argue to the camera about whose turn is it to do the damn dishes?!, and further thought,

"Yeah, they really need to get some professional narcissist extroverts on there. And make sure one of them's a fat hair-metal dude that chicks really used to rend their undergarments for!"

Then Ruthie wound up on the floor of the bathroom stall, barely clinging to consciousness after an epic binge of alcohol poisoning, and the gears again ground to life thusly:

"And hey, Reggie [that was my imaginary assistant at the time -- come on, all successful people have them] let's have the dumpy one from 90210 in there! I bet that she and The Corey That Used To Think That He Was Michael Jackson, God Bless Him would butt heads over the simplest matter, like the idealogical underpinnings of his vegetarianism. She might even fall right back into the investigative journalist role she so ably performed at fictional West Beverly High for years, and challenge the apparent hypocrisy of Corey's leather shoes. Fur could fly, pots could clang, Manny [Emmanuel] Lewis' less-than-optimal pituitary gland could throb, a pair of Hammer pants might exotically shimmy in the hall closet! This show will be genius! Book them, Reggie, book them all, and we'll give them a five hundred dollar food budget! I'll bet a couple of them haven't seen a supermarket in years!

My heart, which obviously must have been racing from a string of mental exclamations, probably then shook me back to the television in front of me. Eric Nies and the Country Music Jon were probably bopping each other with those giantic, bellicose Q-tips left over from the American Gladiators firesale when I again fell prey to reverie and grand ideas.

"And just to make everyone's head really explode from all the different levels of 'reality,' let's throw in one of the most hated cast members from a recent reality show, someone who achieved their artificial notoriety on a show {please hold your ears, Reg, before your brain liquifies and pours out over your cochlea} just like this one!"

At some point, I probably took a quick snack break from the Marathon, and while cracking into another bag of Cheetos and pouring a fresh Mello Yello, it's safe to say I was thinking,

"I'm sure that in a short time, Vince Neil's head is going to swell up like an encephalitic pool toy. He'll be the first guy to head for th fridge that we've stocked solely with beer, kick his shitkickin' heels up on the coffee table, and roll his eyes while his housemates take each other on, a *been there, done that, and I'm-an-inch-away-from-asking-someone-more-able-bodied-than-I-to-help-me-trash-the-place* look balancing over his eyes like a pair of Ray Bans on a break. And let's get some Plaboy-slash-Baywatch bim on there to goose the ratings a little, get a little eye-candy going. You getting all this, Reggie?"

Heavy-lidded and back on the couch, staring with mouth agape at three Real Worlders trying to swing a menage, the rest of the blueprint arranged itself, like so:

"Holy fucking shit, Reg-my-man, we're going to knock this motherfucker out of the park right here. Corey's going to propose to his girlfriend straight out of the shoot, on the first episode! And they'll get married on the last episode! Can you say, 'bookends'? This kid is gonna write the whole maiden season for us up front!"

Finally, with some tears and hugs streaming from the Marathon as Gay Dan and Melissa settle their disagreement, Reggie decided to mouth off. I hear him say, "It still needs something, boss-man." I have to answer him. The kid was lipping off, but he was right.

"Maybe you have a point. How about an inflatable bounce-castle in the backyard, like they have at the county fair, and they could vote each other out into the castle? Nah. How about we serve them a meal of sushi on the body of young, naked woman, you know, a semi-ritual that Maxim would report on as the height of Asian culture? It would set off at least half the house -- born-again Hammer would eschew the nubile, unclothed living-mannequin; Corey would be too tempted because he thinks he's a sex addict and would not be able to restrain himself from crashing the platter of California rolls into the pool before taking the young woman right there on the dinner table; Manny Lewis is still like ten years old, and naked ladies are still yucky to him. That's it, Reg-a-roo! We're doing it!"
There was, I remember through the haze, a blow to the back of the head. I may recall that the Cheetos were gone, the liquor cabinet was cleared out, and there may have been a mysterious letter bearing the mascot of the WB, Michigan J. Frog: "Speak of this to no one, see? It didn't happen, see? One day you'll be rewarded with a job at our network with criminally low wages and demeaning responsibilities, see? Zip it if ya know what's good for ya."

But like I said, it's all a bit hazy. It's probably nothing.



About this site

This is the internet home of Mark Lisanti, a Los Angeles writer sometimes known as Bunsen. He is the founding editor of Defamer, a weblog about Hollywood, where he now serves in the nebulous capacity of "editor-at-large."
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