Saturday, February 27, 2010

SURVIVOR...PARENT STYLE...a real show about survival...humorous take on reality

February 27, 2010

You know, I’ve only watched “Survivor,” a few times and I don’t think I’ve ever gotten through a whole episode, but I’m always struck by my idea of what a true survival-type of show would really look like.

None of this namby-pamby eating of bugs, ratting each other out to narrow the odds and Generation Y-ME hook-ups that – gasp! – don’t seem to work-out when living the unreality of a reality show, all as contestants vie for a cash prize and the chance to be on the cover of People magazine as the “hottest” television survivalist of the year. (I’m taking a deep breath now because that was a “mother” of a sentence, was it not?)

Nope, my idea for a REAL show about survival would be called, Survivor…Parent Style.
This is where parent contestants would take their families on a trip outback, front, or in the middle of nowhere in order to show people what it’s really like to be challenged beyond the limits of human capacity. (In point of fact, most of you know what we usually call this kind of adventure – a vacation!) Parents are challenged by family life every day in civilized society, so we can only imagine how this would all look if the parental show were taken on the road.

Survivor…Parent Style wouldn’t be a wimpy show with whiny people dispatched to a gorgeous island where they are interviewed about how hard it is to balance, standing, on a raft for hours. Huh-uh. It would be a realistic show with whiny families living on a gorgeous island where we hear kids ponder larger-than-life issues like the meaning of time by asking, “When are we going to be there?” to which their wise, soul-searching mother would reply, “We are there, Josh. Now be quiet and eat your pillbug and could you please close your mouth over that wiggling larvae?” Think of the hilarity that could ensue with warring families? It would be Swiss Family Robinson on steroids.

Ever balance over a latrine while holding a three-year-old’s hand? I know you have moms. Now, there’s a challenge America is probably just not ready to see, but that’s what true survival looks like. There could be plot twists, like temper tantrums that scare the natives so badly, they try to figure out how to get off of their own island? One flying set of flip-flops, soaring across the forested treetops as a result of a child hearing, “no,” from a parent is all it would take.

Survivor…Parent Style might not be the ratings bonanza the networks are looking for because the reality of family dynamics and physical requirements is just too scary and overwhelming, but also because at issue could be the time commitment. Here’s the pretend tag line for my pretend show:

“Watch Survivor...Parent Style as ordinary people, previously living ordinary lives, take their ordinary children into an extraordinary world filled with dangerous obstacles. Observe parents spending 18 years raising their children in the wild, without losing them, their own sanity or the keys to the jeep that will escort them out of this hellhole when, and if, the jeep starts up at the end of their almost-two-decade-long journey.”

That’s right. I forgot to tell you the best part of my idea for the series, Survivor…Parent Style. The show would air for 18 years OR until all of the minor children were rendered non-minors OR until all of the majority-aged adults were rendered majorly nuts. Whichever comes first. Care to lay odds on this one?

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