I just saw this on the web and thought everyone might find it entertaining. I hope it was okay that I start this...Puddin can let me know.
Reality Shows We'd Like to See
A wish list of ideas to shake up a tired genre
By Larry Carroll
Special to MSN Entertainment
After nearly a decade of fascination with a TV genre that's perpetually expected to go away at any moment, maybe it's time to finally admit that reality television is here for good. Nevertheless, many of the one-time powerhouses are beginning to show their age, as audiences are finding it increasingly difficult to stomach "Fear Factor," endure "Survivor" or take a seat in the bored room of "The Apprentice." As always, the genre lives by its good ideas ("American Idol") and dies with its bad ones ("The Littlest Groom"), so in the interest of keeping things real, here's a list of reality shows we'd like to see:
"Placebo: The Show" -- For years, we've watched shows from "Blind Date" to "The Real World" liquor up their contestants and provide the close quarters, unisex bathrooms and hot tubs that encourage them to make horny asses out of themselves. But how much of it is just them being themselves? At the end of each episode, just as the buff and beautiful are on the verge of hooking up, trashing the house or brawling, host Robert Downey Jr. strolls on screen to explain that they've actually been chugging from his stash of O'Doul's and Shirley Temples. Most will be confused, and several dim-bulb wannabes will likely fess up that they thought the word "placebo" signified some sort of science-fiction program.
"Tear Factor" -- Each week, a house full of manly contestants are tormented by the one thing they fear the most: crying. These John Wayne-wannabes must remain stoic through repeated screenings of "Beaches" and "The Notebook," and survive theme weeks such as "Cute Kitties Playing with Yarn" and the sweeps-week blockbuster "Everyone Gets Kicked in the Crotch Really Hard." Once again, the reality genre teeters on the brink of cruelty for "Spouse Pretends to Dump You" and "Mom Fakes Her Death" installments, but the threat of mockery at the hands of host Jack Palance keeps them strong. If that doesn't sound entertaining enough, just think of the bizarre back-to-back commercial possibilities for dual sponsors Kleenex and tough actin' Tinactin.
"Even More Surreal" -- We've seen deranged D-listers such as Flava Flav and Charo co-habitating, but why hasn't the show's success opened up casting possibilities beyond Hollywood? We want to watch Tucker Carlson and Charles Manson sharing bunk beds, the "Are You Gellin'?" guys doing their laundry and disgraced novelist James Frey working alongside The Hamburgler to figure out their household finances. We don't know what kind of conversation O.J. Simpson and Mr. Moviefone would have, but we want to hear it! There are plenty of desperate people out there, and our imaginations seem limited only by the number of pardons our nation's governors are willing to hand out.
"The Amazing Racist" -- Traveling around the world with a camera crew in tow, the world's most ignorant buffoon delivers offensive comments to every race, creed and color he encounters. Inevitably, the offended parties chase him with pitchforks and torches into the next town, where the fun begins all over again. When the PC-ignorant star crosses the American finish line with half the world behind him, he reveals himself as a Hollywood actor who is only pretending to be a racist. Then he is promptly killed.
"Operating with the Stars" -- You've seen them dance, you've watched them skate, but would you let them perform invasive surgery on you? Each week, a has-been celebrity is matched with an adoring contestant willing to act as a real-life Operation board (minus the buzzing red nose). Will Barry Williams be able to remove a goiter from the fan who memorized every line of "The Brady Bunch" three-part Hawaiian episode? Can Kato Kaelin carry out a colonoscopy? The show seems destined to create its own buzzworthy controversies, as with the episode where a fan lets Danny Bonaduce knock him out to extract his tonsils, then wakes up to find that Dr. Danny also helped himself to a liver, for his own personal use.
Oh, Canada! -- Our zany neighbors to the north have entertained us for years with their nonthreatening, oddly eccentric ways, and now this laugh-filled reality show will have millions tuning in each week to see what all the fuss is "aboot." One week, the United States provokes our neighbor country by sending an army of porn producers across the border to recruit "Mounties," and in a later episode we send them our drug dealers to tutor Canadian kids in practical applications of the metric system. Producers hide a camera in every Tim Horton's from Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, to Flin Flon, Manitoba, and watch the storylines unfold. Hey, it can't be any worse than curling.
"The Simplest Life" -- Tori Spelling and Tara Reid give up their Beverly Hills lifestyles to go experience the prehistoric ways of the caveman. Hilarity ensues as they try to hunt and gather their own food, make fire by rubbing two Jimmy Choo pumps together and watch in horror as their tiny dogs get squashed under the foot of a massive Tyrannosaurus rex (played by Teamsters in papier-mache costumes). In a very special episode, the grunting gals use a complex combination of ancient smell techniques and modern-day Sidekick IM'ing to track Chad Michael Murray and Adam Levine from Maroon 5. After hitting them over the heads with oversized clubs, they drag them out to overpriced clubs.
"My Sweet Sixty" -- You only turn 60 once, reason the "Girls Gone Mild" from this reality show, so why not make their grandkids go broke throwing elaborate parties in their honor? Mabel wants Pat Boone to perform at her party; Ethel wants a top-of-the-line Oldsmobile. Now, 18-year-old Ashley and Kip must trade in their T.I. tickets for toll-booth uniforms, working three jobs apiece to make sure that their diva grandmas get what they want. Willard Scott hosts each week, shocking the sweet sexagenarians with surprise appearances by Andy Griffith; fortunately, Depend undergarments is the show's primary sponsor.
"American Idle" -- Each week, the hottest young talents from around the country compete to discover who, exactly, is the best at that lame "who can stay quiet the longest" game that our parents tricked us into playing when we were young. On a brightly lit stage in front of thousands of people, the contestants must sit completely motionless without uttering a single word. During special "Play at Home" episodes, TV screens go black, giving viewers the full thrill of "Idle"-mania. As long as Ryan Seacrest isn't involved, we'd watch.
"Dog Swap" -- We've swapped wives, we've swapped kids and jobs, so why not make some trades involving the faithful family pet? Told from the dog's perspective, this unique show features a tiny camera tied to the top of the canine's head. Inevitably, we learn in each episode that the dog doesn't even notice its new surroundings or family, as long as its bowl is filled every day at mealtime. For the unrated DVD release, a special disc of "Never-Before-Seen Licks!" is made available.
Larry Carroll is a reporter for MTV News and a pop-culture junkie. His writing has appeared on Web sites such as CountingDown, FilmStew, E!Online and IGN Film Force. His merciless review of the film "Drumline" continues to draw hate-spewing e-mails from marching band devotees who resent his comment, "There's a reason why people go to the bathroom during halftime."