OK, I’ll admit it—I’d love the chance to be on television. In fact, I can’t think of an opportunity I’d take advantage of with more shameful readiness, outside of maybe Brad Pitt showing up on my doorstep with an empty six-pack of beer and the slurred lament, “Jennifer doesn’t understand me.” You need a live broadcast of me humiliating myself with the kind of embarrassing self-revelation that should only slip out during drunken toasts at weddings? Just tell me where to stand. Believe me—no stopwatch known to modern technology could properly clock the lightning-quick alacrity that would greet the offer to tell four wasted frat boys on Elimidate that I can only keep three of them for the next round of questions in the hot tub. The only difference between the rest of nation and me, apparently, is that I don’t think any of this means I should be on television.
I say this only because I am more frustrated than ever about the fact that I cannot blink without having to witness every last nose-picking in the life of Joe Average. Oh, excuse, me—that’s Average Joe, of course. People who used to be lucky to catch the eye of the assistant manager at Orange Julius are now not satisfied with their lives until Entertainment Tonight broadcasts regular updates on their decision to have chicken for dinner. Who are these people? Why do we care? I’m beginning to feel like I’m the only person in the country who doesn’t take a piss in the morning and know that it’s the only thing some Nielsen family in Iowa won’t get to witness that day. And, hey, I had as much fun with The Real World as anybody, but I wasn’t prepared for the constitutional amendment stating that every American willing to bang a roommate has the right to ink a network deal. (Christ, I went to college with veritable legends if this is how we’re measuring stardom.) It used to be that everybody got their 15 minutes; at this rate, everybody’s going to get a half-hour, with the possibility of 20 more episodes.
This is leading to places we don’t want to go, my friends. You give nobodies an inch, they’ll take a mile. The success of MTV’s Newlyweds has bankrolled the future of Nick Lachey and Jessica Simpson, the most potentially lethal celebrity pairing in American culture since Ben Affleck rolled over one morning and yawned, “So, Jenny, whaddya say we do that flick where you’re the hot dyke and I’m the mook who helps the horny retarded kid get some Baywatch poon?” These two boring popsters agree to document every burp in their meaningless little married lives, and the next thing you know, you turn on the tube one Sunday night and get your eyeballs permanently seared by the sight of them goofing with Mr. T in their own variety special. (What, Jessica? You managed to keep your chastity until Nick put that ring on your finger? Congratulations. I would’ve gotten off the Lachey ride and started shaking my moneymakers in front of Justin Timberlake about two years ago.)
Maybe I’m overrating anonymity, though. Maybe I am as fascinating as I think I am. It’s been a while since I got good and liquored and brought some hot pants from the boy bar back home to show him my etchings. Wanna watch?