The days when Reality TV was treated like a network’s red headed stepchild are a faded distant memory. Reality TV took over the dial like a non-native apex predator. We are living in the golden age of Reality TV, but yet some Reality Stars continue to make amateur mistakes. This season’s “Bachelor” Juan Pablo was a recent casualty of not following the rules of Reality fame when he referred to gays as “perverts”. Have they not heard of “Will and Grace” in Venezuela? With that in mind it’s time we laid out some easy DOs and DON’Ts when it comes to being a Reality TV star.
DO – Keep Your Mouth Shut
Juan Pablo’s real problem was that he began to believe the hype surrounding his fame. He actually believes we want to hear his views on things, like he’s the President. We want someone like Juan Pablo to take on screen showers and make out with as many women as possible. When he and his fellow foot in mouth-er “Duck Dynasty” star Phil Robertson forgot is that the show isn’t all about them. The show is actually about selling commercials, and you are the current face we have to sell. In the case of Juan Pablo he has little time left on his fifteen minutes of fame. At best he had a “Dancing with the Stars” appearance locked up, but now he’ll be lucky for a spot on “Couples Therapy”. To lift a line from “Annie Hall”. Reality fame is like a shark. It has to keep moving forward or it dies. And with Juan Pablo we have a dead shark.
DON’T – Believe the Hype
When you do get on a reality show there will be a parade of people waiting to blow steam up your rear end. “You’re the whole show. You deserve a spin-off.” Thinking like that is a good way out of reality fame. There is little leverage for reality stars because they’re disposable by definition. Reality stars are very similar to pro wrestlers. Vince McMahon “makes” each of these stars, so if one leaves over money he can just grow another. Leave the “Jersey Shore” and they’ll replace you in five minutes with a similar tanned New Jersey resident. Never forget that everyone is replaceable. Remember thou art mortal.
DO – Strike While the Iron is Hot
No one is going to confuse the winner of “Big Brother” with Meryl Streep. With that in mind Reality stars should take any opportunity offered them, especially endorsements. There’s no “career” to worry about with the clock running out on fame. It might seem ridiculous to do a commercial for a male enhancement pill, but don’t shoot for the Oscar. Any thing that raises your public image is a plus. Say yes to all public appearances whether at clubs in Las Vegas or yogurt shop openings at the mall. Remember Jerri from “Survivor” or any of the winners of “Project Runway”? Neither do the rest of us. They just faded away.
DON’T – Bite the Hand that Feeds You
In the world of Reality TV, the producer is king. The Ed Harris role in “The Truman Show” isn’t that far off from the power these figures wield. If one of them asks you a leading question in an interview, then follow their storyline like a Labrador. This is especially true in competition shows, where the real judgement happens behind the scenes from the producers. Making great TV, which means working with the producers, can keep a lesser talent around longer than they deserve. The show might be called “Top Chef”, but the goal of finding a new culinary talent isn’t as important as the Dunkin Donuts product placements. Working against production is as dangerous as an actor who won’t stick to the script. Both will find their careers over rather quickly.
DO – Take Your Top Off
This final rule is simple. Don’t go onto Reality TV if you value your pride. That innocent routine worked during the early days of Reality TV. Back then having sex on television was seen as a career killer. Now it’s a prerequisite for entry. Look at the type of people who get picked for the “Real World/Road Rules Challenges”. The actual “Real Worlds” are just minor league events for the “Challenge” to find new talent. Only the loudest drunks need apply. The only way to change the world through Reality TV is to play by their rules. Ladies take your tops off, Gentlemen start fights at clubs. See you on the small screen!