Practical joke shows are a hoot. Hell, just lying in general is fun. Which really, when you think about it, is all a practical joke is: a group of people coming together for the sole purpose of deceiving someone into believing something that they had no reason to doubt. Ultimately shattering their mark’s belief in the goodness of others, and making it impossible for them to ever trust another human being again, all for their own sick amusement and entertainment. And really, what’s more fun than that?
But prank shows have been fraught with tragedy throughout the years. Ed McMahon: dead. Dick Clark: might as well be. Even Ashton Kutcher it seems was unable to correctly answer the hobgoblin’s insidious riddles, forcing him to marry it. I believe this all to be even-handed retribution for their sins.
With the premier of Reality Hell on the Entertainment Exclamation Point channel we are presented with a Top Modelesque set up and introduced to an empty headed aspiring mannequin who wants so desperately to be a reality TV star, while seemingly having no concept of how these shows generally work. The reality format has been around for a couple years now, and since she auditioned for what she thought was a reality show, it would stand to reason that she had probably at one time seen one and would therefore understand that they customarily have more than four people competing in them.
All of which seems to indicate that this show, based entirely on lying to its contestant may also be lying to it’s viewers. For us to believe that SHE believes that this poorly set up scenario is a real reality show is a pretty tall glass of “reality” to choke down. Unless of course at some point I auditioned to be an audience member for a reality show not knowing that I was applying to be lied to, in which case, well played Punctuation Station.
Finally, we end (as all new practical joke shows do) with the clumsy awkwardness that is always the most entertaining moment of the program for me, as the host announces to their “star” that they have fallen victim to the diabolical cleverness of the evil geniuses of “Bingo and Stu’s Morning Zoo Crew”. Of course, with it being a brand new show that no one will have ever heard of before it doesn’t matter how loudly and excitedly you yell the name of the REAL show it’s not going to make someone who’s never heard of it understand any better. Especially when in the case of this show, it’s hidden within a fucking riddle.
“You have put me through hell, you have put my show through hell, and Kelly, you know what? We just put you through Reality Hell.”
“… I know, right?”
We all understand what’s going on, there’s no need to be cute, just come right out with it.
“We’ve just wasted thousands of dollars lying to you for no good reason on our brand new, soon to be canceled lie show: Reality Shmiality!”
“Oh… you guys are dicks.”
And we can all go home and get on with our lives.
Now, while I’m all for mocking people who want to be famous for no good reason, (I believe literally that’s all I’m for, that seems to be all I’m doing lately) when at the end of your show I feel more sorry for those involved with making the show than the jerk they’ve been screwing with, well, that’s when we as a species all lose. For realsies.