Over the past decade, reality TV has become more and more prevalent, with such popular shows as American Idol, Top Chef, and The Real
Crazy Bitches Housewives of [Rich Place]. The reason these have become so widely produced isn’t just that they are as popular as scripted shows, but also because they are damned cheap. Hugh Laurie’s salary of $700,000 per episode of House — which ended up being over $15 million per year — is more than enough to produce an entire reality television show.
Despite this, even reality TV is often tinged with opulence that most Americans can’t fathom, like the Bachelor(ette), wherein people travel to at least four different countries, staying in 5 star hotels and mansions, all the while being bombarded by romantic songs from famous but not exceptionally popular musicians — because, you know, that’s the only way people can fall in love. This sort of lavish lifestyle, while cheap for the network, is altogether still out of reach for anyone who isn’t in the 1%. Given this, I present to you reality television anyone could produce, AKA TV for the 99%, AKA Occupy Reality TV!!!
Extreme Grasshopper Wars: As a kid, there was no low budget thing I liked more than collecting grasshoppers. Even though I was terrified of touching grasshoppers and often killed them. But that’s alright, because the more times my grasshopper colonies got demolished by me, their large-eyed overlord, the more I could go catch another batch and repeat the evil process!
In the spirit of this, Extreme Grasshopper Wars is a show where the premise is that there are two people/teams who compete to see who can make the best grasshopper colony. It could be short-form, as in each episode has new competitors, or long-form, where the competition is actually over 3 or so months, and the challenges include things like, “How many grasshoppers can you catch in 15 minutes?” or, “Who can do a better job of bedazzling the terrarium!?” It’d be hugely exciting! And imagine the tragedy when little Skipper dies. Or was that Jumpy…?
Potential catchphrases: “Hop to it!” “Beware of snakes in the grass.” That’s all I got. And the second one was lame. But I like “Hop to it!” The rest will just happen as you shoot the show, I’m sure.
Dream Doll Weddings: Ah, love. Nobody can resist a good romance, and nobody is more romantic than a 5 year old girl (or possibly a 5 year old boy with progressive parents). Dream Doll Weddings is a show wherein children and extremely sad adults use their imaginations, string, felt, and whatever cheap items are handy around the house to create the most impressive miniature weddings they can. Depending on how many issues the person dreaming all this up has, the wedding could be waylaid by the groom, Jeff, having a a drunken affair with his best friend, Scott, or perhaps that hussy Margaret in the dollhouse on the other side of the room decided she’s going to have her wedding on the same day! Nothing says drama like a cat fight between two plastic women being controlled by a little girl with divorced parents.
Potential catchphrases: “Dream big or go home!” “Not in my dollhouse.” “I imagine you could do better. Please go.” Okay, I really am not good at making catchphrases.
Real Cat Ladies of York Street: If there is anything people love when watching non-competitive reality television, it is women acting insane. If there is anything that people throughout time love, as demonstrated by every culture from ancient Egypt to the Victorians to the entirety of the internet, it is cats. Combine these two things to get what might very well be the best internet reality show ever, the Real Cat Ladies of York Street.
This show follows one or a few crazy cat ladies and their adventures with their 5+ cats each. I could see the show centering on a group of 3 women who are connected only by their love of felines: a younger, novice cat lady, who is still trying to be successful romantically and financially, but also leaves work early at times to feed Whiskers and is afraid to go on dates because sometimes Buttons gets lonely; an intermediate cat lady who is actually married with kids, but she ignores them all for her true “babies,” her 9 feline companions; and an expert cat lady who lives alone and only for the affections of her 20 cats, as well as 30 or so strays that don’t actually live in her home but do indeed come to her on a daily basis for food.
Potential catchphrases: “I want it all; love, a job… And cats. Lots of cats.” “I don’t need you, my life is purr-fect!” “You can’t tell me what to do! You aren’t my cat!”