Horrified Observers of Pedestrian Entertainment: Dirt Merchants... Up Close and Personal




Dirt Merchants... Up Close and Personal

The image “http://www.variety.com/graphics/photos/mugc/cronin_mark_02.jpg” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors.A H.O.P.E. Operative in the field sent us this report from the set of the Surreal Life. Although the show had a novel charm in seasons 1 and 2, our operative reports this season is more in line with the most recent installments. In other words, more mindless entertainment from the production company Mindless Entertainment run by garbage trader Mark Cronin.

Please note one more example of how "reality" TV is not in fact reality at all; a sentiment that is frequently expressed, but rarely explained. The problem with reality shows that purport to be real but are actually staged and scripted is that it eliminates the spontaneous human dynamic that makes these half-baked, sensationalized, criminally zany shows bearable. There's no reason to care about what these people have to say or do when you know the entire thing is a sham. D-list and unknown/uninteresting "celebrities" living together is a marginal premise at best, when you add in the fact that they're taking the time to plan and act out the stupidity, well...

You've got a show that was only supposedly funny/interesting because of its unscripted nature, which it no longer has. You have people acting "real" (being forced to live in a house with 7 strangers) but that are actually actors that are pretending to be "real". What you have, in the words of our leader Mr. Jackson, is a terrible soap opera. Do we need another one of those?

For more of H.O.P.E.'s views on reality TV, please go to founding father Ben Hoth's article "A Dose of Reality"

From H.O.P.E. Operative Samantha Stevens

I've always thought people need to know how fake and ridiculous this show is, and it's only for that reason and my love for H.O.P.E. that I went on this trip to Hell.

After a two hour wait and drive in a hot van (as an unpaid extra, thanks Mindless Entertainment!), we finally arrived at the Surreal Life house. All the extras were herded onto the adjacent rundown tennis court to hang out among piles of cables and plastic folding chairs, barked at and basically treated like shit. After another long delay, they called us up to the house and were ordered to line up at the front door. All of us in line were handed a twenty dollar bill with which to purchase the Jose Canseco, book "Juiced" and get it signed by the desperate and bankrupt "author". They made it clear that if we were to keep the twenty dollar bill, we would not receive a book and they would catch us because they had cameras everywhere. "Don't look into the cameras". they barked. We were told to act natural. Well, natural except for the fact we were supposed to pretend like we were fans of his and there to get his book signed.

The door to the house opened and we were greeted by Apprentice reject Omorosa. She looked more like a prostitute than a lawyer or whatever the hell she was. She had on some tight jeans with a glittery belt, a pink tank top tied like a hooters girl shirt, and some long fake lashes a la Tammy Faye. She had a look on her face suggesting that this was not a preferred activity.

As we made it through the house in the Jose line and were directed around the stairwell leading to the upstairs quarters. Carey Hart (someone seemed to think he's a Motocross guy) was no fun at all. He just stood at the bottom of the stairway, pretending to guard against intruders.

We followed the line to the large common room where Janice Dickinson (apparently she was a model at one point) sat on the couch in some athletic clothing and a military type jacket eating a salad. She acting oblivious to our presence and then fake casually looked up and said in a perfectly scripted manner: "Where did you all come from?" She just kept looking at us with big anorexic doe eyes asking us where we'd come from. I laughed out loud at how stupid the entire scene was and the fact they were trying to pass this off as natural.

Finally, we made it to the Jose table. Bronson Pinchot sat quietly at the table, collecting our twenties, dwarfed by 'roid monger and professional rat; the tired and miserable looking Jose Canseco. Pinchot stared morosely at his box of money. It may have been the most money he's seen in a long while. He rarely smiled or made any expression for that matter but looked slightly perturbed at the jerkoff's calling him Balki. Jose, like a trained seal, wrote what I asked in my book -- "Princess, you changed my life". and I quickly got out of there (steroid abusers are prone to violent outbursts.)

As I turned around, ready to make my escape I was surrounded by cameras and booms and all kinds of strange machinery. I got passed the cameras and was greeted by some model I didn't know. A tall, blond, burly type, handing out pb and j's (Caprice someone said? Who the hell are these people?!) I turned again, almost dizzy, and asked a down-trodden woman I was later informed was Sandi Denton of Salt-N-Pepa if I could use the restroom. She turned to a P.A. looking for an answer. He barked at me to go outside.

But there was hope. On my way out I carefully stuck little heart shaped, doily, post-it notes to the wall leading back to the front door from the living room. The most memorable ones said "You are all liars. How do you sleep at night?" and "Quit Ruining the World!" I feel better having left them and not ugly yellow ones. They are less threatening.

As I left, Omarosa thanked me for coming. I did not reply and she repeated herself louder "THANK YOU FOR COMING!"

"Thank You!!!" I shouted, and hurried out the door to the port-o-potty where I almost vomited.

So basically, it's more of the same. The whole thing was so calculated and coordinated that the only reality is the reality that these are people whose careers are over and need to try to trick the American public for money. Another example of how a show with a good premise turned to shit by playing loose with truth and running the theme into the ground. Bleh. And to think they'll have me on camera pretending to be excited to see Jose Canseco under the false premise I came there to get my book signed.

The whole scene reminded me of a line from the once funny Dennis Miller referring to a 2 for 1 special on baby blue leisure suits at K-Mart. "Hey, two of shit is shit. If they really wanted to fuck you, they'd give you five of these things." Well, the Surreal Life house has six boring and disinterested D-list pseudo celebrities, and without having any elements of reality or spontaneity, making them all live together is just six times the boredom.

I need a shower.

Go H.O.P.E.