By Barry Dutter
For about 200 years, the American Dream remained the same: master a skill and become wealthy and successful through long hours of hard work and dedication.
Somewhere around the turn of the century, the American Dream evolved to become: get on a TV reality show, and become rich and famous for doing absolutely nothing!
By the year 2000 it seemed like everyone in America was going to have the opportunity to be on a reality show and become semi-famous, at least for a few minutes.
All my life, I wanted to become famous for being a great writer or a funny comedian. But when I saw so many nobodies become somebodies, I decided that I liked the idea of becoming a reality TV star. I wanteda camera crew following me around 24 hours a day. I, too, wanted to be paid $50,000 just for showing up at night clubs!
Thus began my blatant attempt to find fame and fortune comparable to that of a real celebrity, without actually having to do anything. My ultimate dream: to get paid to live in a house for a few weeks, and have all my exploits broadcast on national television.
The first thing I did when I began my quest for insta-fame was to rule out the shows I did not want to be on. Number one on my list of shows I would never go on is SURVIVOR. Live on an island for two months, catching and growing my own food? Screw that. To me, the million dollar prize isn’t worth it if I have to work that hard for it.
My plan is all about doing things the easy way, not having to suffer to win big money. For that same reason, I ruled out shows like FEAR FACTOR and WIPEOUT. It looks to me like people actually get hurt on those shows. You can’t pay me enough money for me to get hurt.
I’ve always had this fantasy of going on MTV’S THE REAL WORLD and being the anti-social guy who stays in his room and reads comic books all the time. But I’m way too old for that show -- and let’s face, “Anti-Social Comic-Book Guy” wouldn’t exactly make for great TV.
Likewise, I’m way too old to ever be on JERSEY SHORE. (I am from New Jersey, but I moved out of the Garbage State to get away from obnoxious Guidos like the ones on that show!)
THE APPRENTICE was out, because on that show, they don't give you a prize -- they give you a job. Honestly, I would rather just have the money! Doesn't having to work for the money kind of defeat the whole purpose of going on a reality show?
But what about BIG BROTHER? A show where people of all ages get paid to live in a house for six weeks and potentially walk out with a million bucks! That show was right up my alley.
I tried out for BIG BROTHER, but I didn’t get very far in the audition process. The casting people kept asking me questions about how I would react if someone in the house got in my face. I’m a very non-confrontational guy, so I kept saying I would be totally cool and walk away from any fight.
That was not what they wanted to hear. I think they wanted me to say that I would go ballistic if anyone ever got up in my grill! But that’s not who I am. I’m a pretty mellow guy. I’m not going to change my personality just to get on TV.
Reality TV producers really want people with the most dynamic and explosive personalities. Someone who is going to just “chill out” isn’t going to make for gripping TV.
So BIG BROTHER was not for me. But what about one of those dating shows, where they put 20 guys in a house with a hot girl and one by one the guys get eliminated?
I could do one of those shows in my sleep! (Literally!) Best of all, on any show where you are sequestered for weeks at a time, they always pay you a day rate to be there, whether you win or lose!
I almost made it on to one of those shows in 2007, when I was in the casting pool for a show starring model Cindy Margolis, formerly know as “the most downloaded woman on the Internet.”
Her show was originally going to be called SEX AND THE CINDY, which was a clever title, until they realized no one on the show was actually going to be having sex with her. The title was changed to the equally misleading SEDUCING CINDY.
Out of hundreds (thousands?) of guys who tried out, I made it to the final 40. I was told to keep the last two weeks of August free, because if I was picked, I would be living in a reality TV house for a few weeks. It seemed like my scaled-down version of the American Dream was finally coming true!
I almost went so far as to tell my boss at my day job that I couldn’t work the last two weeks of August. Fortunately I didn’t do that, because I never got called. Alas, I would not be seducing Cindy.
But a year or two later, another opportunity came up. Omarosa, the woman who became famous in the first season of Donald Trump’s THE APPRENTICE, was launching a dating show of her own, called THE ULTIMATE MERGER.
I was contacted by a casting director and asked if I wanted to try out for the show. I’m not a big fan of Omarosa, but I figured, what they hey, it kind of tied in with my whole “new American Dream“ thing.
What the casting director had not told me was that they were looking for super-successful businessmen. I don’t know why they contacted me. I’ve always been more the “creative/artistic” type than the “power-hungry executive” type.
At the audition, each man was asked to talk about his successful business ventures. Most of the guys were entrepreneurs who had started their own companies and gone on to become fairly wealthy.
As I listened to each guy make their pitch as to why he should be on the show, I realized that I did not belong in that room. This was not the show for me.
When asked by the casting director what my personal net worth was, I meekly answered, “Under one million dollars” and left it at that.
I hated to disappoint Omarosa, but I would not be merging with her any time soon.
And so my quest for reality a TV semi-fame continues. I realize that this type of fame is fleeting, but is a method to the madness. When you do one of these dating shows, there is always the chance you could be spun off into your own show if you are popular enough with the viewers. (Hey, it worked for Daisy, New York, Real and Chance, Frank the Entertainer, and Domenico!)
And if you have to ask who any of those people are, clearly you haven't been watching enough reality TV! Someday, my name could be right up there with those reality superstars!
And when people ask me how I got there, I'll say, "I did it the American way --- by sitting around on my ass and doing absolutely nothing! "
God bless America! Is this a great country or what?