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Keeping it real

Y ou can’t flip a channel today without stumbling over a reality show. (As an aside, I consider myself something of a game show connoisseur, and the title “reality show” bothers me. How many times have you walked down the street and had Donald Trump spirit you away for a two-month-long job interview? These are game shows. There is nothing real about them. Call them “reality-based game shows” or “let’s stop what we’re doing and talk to the camera shows” or something a little more accurate, okay?)

After the initial surge of programming, I was hoping the reality show craze would go away, but like a swarm of cockroaches or the ex-girlfriend that makes awkward conversation for an hour after the party ends, they just won’t leave. And they’re getting worse. I now count at least three shows based on plastic surgery, four if you include the “Anna Nicole Smith Show.” Andy Dick has his own reality show. Andy Dick! “Swarm of Locusts TV” must not be far off the radar.

Rather than fight the craze, though, I’ve decided to embrace it. Inspired by last week’s Central Campus Survivor (an event they really should have held in Southgate, for obvious reasons), For Good or For Awesome Productions is bringing some of the most popular reality shows to Duke. Think about it: What better place to set up a contrived version of “reality” than a campus that features our very own Cinderella Castle? With no further delay, I present to you this season's schedule.

SURVIVOR: 16 students enter Pratt their freshman year, and one by one they're flunked off the island, victims of vicious immunity challenges like “Math 103,” “Orgo” and “Physics 51.” In the end, one student gets out with a high paying job at Microsoft while the other 15, heading home after suffering through weeks of no sleep, no food and long hikes, have only their shattered GPAs to show for the ordeal. Lovely parting gifts provided by Trinity A&S. (Possible idea for the inevitable “eat something gross” challenge: Uptown Seafood?)

THE SIMPLE LIFE: Clueless, inconsiderate rich kids sleepwalk through life in expensive clothes and accessories, pissing off all the nice people they meet. Instead of encountering any consequences for their actions, they become famous celebrities and are renewed for subsequent seasons. (Hm, maybe that’s a little too real.)

THE APPRENTICE: Qualified candidates battle to get one of the cushiest jobs on the planet, which may or may not be available sometime in the next 10 years. The boss spends all his time in a tower, occasionally launches profane tirades, and has a signature hairdo and nickname. Challenges include recruiting scandals in Missouri, short stints in Seton Hall and writing jobs at ESPN. (My money's on Johnny D.)

ELIMIDATE: Drunken hookups are the order of the day as an entire college eliminates a dating scene altogether in favor of one-night-stands crammed in between three-night benders. This one faces some potential difficulties: It’s hard to get attached to characters when you never find out what their names are before the night is over. Also, none of the contestants are particularly attractive.

THE AMAZING RACE: 15 minutes to get to class, and there are only two Central buses running… watch as students frantically check their watches, shuffle their feet and curse themselves (and possibly the transportation department) for not having shelled out the $200 for a parking pass. (Ideas for future seasons: Trying to find one of three parking spots on West that won’t get you ticketed? An intense, 30-minute sprint from one end of the Bryan Center Walkway to the other as sorority rush is going on? Canoe trips through the massive campus potholes after a rainy day?)

THE REAL WORLD: For our last show of the season, 20-somethings leave school and grapple with the job search, utility bills and the uncertainty of a nation divided. The contestants don’t have time for challenges... or parties… or really anything at all other than work. There are no guaranteed prizes and it's entirely possible that some of them may end up living with their parents. (On second thought, maybe we should call that last one “Fear Factor.”)

Matt DeTura is a Trinity senior.

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