Thursday, January 29, 2004

I've spent most of the morning reading the recaps of The Surreal Life over at TWOP. I really need to start tuning in to that show. For those of you who are unfamiliar with The Surreal Life, it's basically a reality show where they throw together a bunch of C-List has-beens (the previous season featured Vince Neil, the kid from Webster, Corey Feldman, a third-rate Pamela Anderson knock-off and some other losers I can't remember; this season it's Tammy Faye Bakker, Vanilla Ice, some Baywatch bimbo, Ponch from CHiPs, Ron Jeremy and other assorted "celebrities"), set them up in a house for two weeks, and give them assignments where they have to work together, like baking brownies for their neighbors, putting on plays for children, working at a diner for a day, and other odd jobs. It sounds just bad enough to warrant regular viewing--I'll have to check the local listings to see when it's on.

The Surreal Life recaps got me thinking--who would be in my version of The Surreal Life? If I followed the show's format, it'd be a half-dozen or so people who once had significance in my life, but have since vanished in the mists of time. This is who I came up with:

Trent--my sophomore year boyfriend and the first guy I was ever "in love" with (I use the term loosely in his case). He was a total pothead drunk who cheated on me, lied his ass off and stole money from me to buy weed. A real winner, that one. He's probably in jail now or dead in a pool of his own vomit, but for the sake of the show, let's say he's alive and on parole.

Rachel--my best friend in 8th grade who I never saw again after the last day of school. She was really into running and was on the cross-country team. I have no idea of her whereabouts now, but I'm sure she's not in jail or dead. Although, I haven't seen her in 16 years, so anything's possible.

Paula--obnoxious, scary behemoth of a girl from my bus stop in junior high. She was obsessed with Kirk Cameron and used to tell me that I was going to hell because I wasn't "saved" and--more importantly--because I didn't attend her podunk church. She would then invite me to go to Sunday services with her (which I declined). She'd be a good one to have on the show. Come to think of it, she and Rachel totally hated each other, so that would create some inevitable conflict that would be good for ratings. I'm starting to think like a reality show producer!

Melody--a girl from high school that I loathed. She was an evil, angry, bitter shell of a human being, and this was at age 15. I shudder to think of what she's like now. Thankfully, I only had to deal with her my freshman year. The first day of sophomore year, when I found out that she wouldn't be returning to my high school, I practically got down on my knees and belted out "Amazing Grace." Lordy, I despised her.

Dick--(yep, that was really his name)--my former micro-managing, denture-wearing, sexist, fascist boss from the insurance company. Melody would totally eat him for breakfast! (He should be so lucky).

My neighbor from Sherman Drive--a nice older lady who lived next door with her preacher husband. She'd be like the Tammy Faye of the group, except she'd have better fashion sense and a lot less makeup.

My elementary school principal--just for good measure, and because I can't think of anyone else to round out the cast.

I think Andie's Surreal Life would go something like this:

The setting is a remote farmhouse in rural Indiana. The group is to live together in the house with no phone, no television, no internet--nothing to entertain themselves except each other--and a massive stockpile of booze. I will be monitoring their actions from my control room in an undisclosed location several miles away. From there I will occasionally assign them random tasks like cleaning roadkill from the highway and shoveling cow dung. Mostly, though, I'll just sit back and watch them all slowly go insane.

Day 1: Melody immediately throws herself at Trent, who shrinks away in horror--having correctly assessed that there is not enough alcohol in the house to get him drunk enough to even kiss her. He then locks himself in the bathroom with the bong he smuggled in his pants and a bottle of Wild Turkey. Meanwhile, Preacher's Wife drinks tea and reads her Bible. Paula asks her if she's been "saved." Rachel tells Paula to shut the fuck up, then goes out for a jog. Paula whines that she's missing her Growing Pains re-runs and then heads off to her room to cry. Dick cracks open a Schlitz, shaking his head and muttering something about "sending these uppity womenfolk back to the kitchen." He tries to bond with the other elderly white male, The Principal, but he's hard of hearing and just smiles and remarks "Is that so?" after everything Dick says.

Holy shit, I'm pretty good at this.

Day 5: Melody is huddled on the front porch, chain-smoking Winstons and hugging herself as she rocks herself back and forth like Rain Man. She is despondant over her unrequited lust for Trent. She's in luck, though, because Trent suddenly wanders out on the porch, plunks himself down next to her and, with tears in his eyes, announces that he's smoked the last of his stash. Seeing her chance, Melody springs to life and eagerly tells him that she'll find a way to scare up some more weed for him, if he'll agree to do her a little favor....Inside the house, The Principal naps on the couch as Preacher's Wife and Rachel sit at the kitchen table, pounding shots of Jaeger and laughing at Paula, who's in the corner reading through back issues of Tiger Beat. Paula tells them that they're both going to hell. Preacher's Wife sweetly calls Paula over and asks her if she's familiar with the "judge not lest ye be judged" passage in the Bible, then sucker-punches her. Paula runs away crying and Preacher's Wife and Rachel just laugh and laugh.

Day 7: Dick is upstairs in his room, plotting. He's dissatisfied with Trent's performance at the dung shoveling project that he oversaw yesterday, and is planning to petition the rest of the cast to have Trent's slacker ass "voted off," like on Survivor. Melody soon catches wind of this and leaves her new loverboy Trent to go stomping up to Dick's room to give him the what-for. (The what-for? Did I just type that?) "Listen you ugly toothless bastard," she spits, grabbing him by the tie, "leave my man alone!" She turns on her heel and Dick, still reeling from the stench of her breath, removes a small flask from his suit pocket. His hands shake as he unscrews the lid and takes a swig. (Okay, that's overly dramatic, but this is a reality show. We want uncomfortable, unnecessary drama).

Day 10: Trent is unsure how to get rid of Melody, who has blackmailed him into being her sex slave and still hasn't come through with the ganja. He goes to The Principal for advice, and ends up spilling his guts about his childhood, his self-esteem issues, and his small penis. The Principal looks up from his newspaper. "Is that so?" he says. Trent is so moved, he bursts into tears. "You're the only one who understands me man," he tells The Principal, who just smiles and nods.

Day 14: The footage is in the can, and the cast packs up and prepares to leave. Paula goes back to handing out religious pamphlets on the street and stalking Kirk Cameron; Dick and The Principal look for a place together (having finally forged an alliance during the last few days); Preacher's Wife goes home to her husband; Rachel goes back to, uh, whatever she was doing before; Melody tricks Trent into accompanying her back to the trailer park.

One year later...Andie's Surreal Life is a hit, and Preacher's Wife now has her own afternoon talk show, a la Sharon Osbourne. One of her frequent guests is Rachel, who has just released her own line of running shoes. Dick and The Principal are still living together--a Felix and Oscar for the 21st Century; Kirk Cameron issues a restraining order against Paula; Trent's back in the slammer (his probation officer watched the show and saw him blazing up, right on TV). He has finally found love with his new cellmate, Juan. As for Melody, nine months after the show, she gives birth to a baby girl she names Butch, the product of her unholy union with Trent. The kid runs away from home before the age of 5.

Wow. I can't believe I just spent two hours coming up with all that.

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