Summertime, and the livin’ is easy. For some people, it’s too easy. There’s nothing to do. Before long, what? A life of crime? Debauchery? Or just flat-out ennui? Probably the last. There is always the possibility of a job. Which are in shorter supply. The economy is not what it should be. And there is a capitalists-selling-the-rope-with-which-they-will-be-hanged fervor for jobs to be moved to China. What’s left? A life in entertainment.
The whole genre of “reality shows” is absolutely ideal for those who don’t have a whole lot going on in their lives. Before it came into the fore, there were always the game shows, but chances are this was but a brief encounter: On the show one day, off the rest. Occasionally, someone would get a longer run on, say, Jeopardy. But then it was back to anonymity:
“I’ll take ‘State of Being’ for $100, Alex.”
“What will I be after this show is over?”
Now, even the losers of shows like Survivor and American Idol seem to be like the denizens of Dawn of the Dead. The damn things just won’t go away.
There is a new opportunity arising, one that is rife with possibilities. TBS—which styles itself as “television’s ‘very funny’ network”—has commissioned the creation of a new reality show, The Real Gilligan’s Island. And the producers are looking for people who may not look like, say, Bob Denver and the rest of the gang from the S.S. Minnow, but people “whose true-life experience mirrors that of the passengers.” So they are looking for a boat captain, a first mate, a professor, a millionaire couple, a movie star, and a Kansas farm girl. Imagine the potential. Imagine the years of thinking about Ginger and Mary Ann, which is probably rivaled only by the amount of time spent thinking Betty v. Veronica. (One assumes that women never spent a whole lot of time thinking about the Skipper and Gilligan, Thurston Howell III and the Professor. And what the hell kind of name is “Professor,” anyway?) Think no more. This is, after all, a “reality” show.
Presumably, the selected castaways won’t be put on a ship that will encounter a less-than perfect storm. After all, depending on how things went, instead of becoming castaways, they could end up as sea food. The goal will be for the people to figure out how to get off the island. But to what end?
Think of it: A tropical island. Enough stuff to build shelter. Fermentation stills. There’s probably wild bud. Ginger, who was undoubtedly a “star” without much in the way of speaking roles. Mary Ann, who is likely not to want to go back to the farm. What would the point be of getting off the island? To go back to the under-air conditioned apartment to watch reruns on TV.