I met my friend Giddy Golightly at Mom's Country Cholesterol and Vegan Home Style Diner. She pushed aside her Watermelon Wellness Frappe to get a better angle on my fried chicken and waffles. Mumbling around the forkful of my breakfast stuffed in her mouth, she said, “Just got back from Heidi and Spencer Pratt’s interview.
“Are they dead?” I asked.
She considered it and replied, “No. They didn’t seem to be.”
“I thought you were on the celebrity death desk at E! Entertainment Network.”
“I know. Right? But when nobody dies, they make me cover other stories.” She stabbed a hunk of ham steak on my plate and introduced it to her teeth. Her yogurt sat fermenting. Heidi and Spencer told us about their new book, ‘How to be Famous: Our Guide to Looking the Part, Playing the Press, and Becoming a Tabloid Fixture.’"
“In the Twilight Zone episode titled ‘To Serve Man’,” I told her, “it turns out the aliens’ book is not a manual on how they can make our lives better; it is instead a cookbook.”
She looked up, a crumb of biscuit in the corner of her mouth. “Seriously? You don’t even say, ‘spoiler alert’?”
“Some fringe celebrities plan an event to promote a book with ‘Playing the Press’ right in the title? Could they be more obvious?”
“The book tells people how to be famous. Everyone wants to be famous.”
“Steve Martin used to do a routine called ‘How to earn one million dollars and never pay taxes. First,’ he said, ‘get a million dollars.’ Heidi and Spencer can’t tell people how to get famous – they can tell people how to stay famous – you just sucker the press in. Heidi and Spencer don’t even know if their own lives are real or a TV show.”
“Hello! They are on a reality TV show. Reality has the word ‘real’ in it. Except you don’t say REAL-it-ee, you say re-AL-it-ee. Why is that?”
“Because of the liberal media, I guess. Look, I have never watched ‘Laguna Beach’ or ‘The Hills’, the MTV semi-reality vehicles that spawned the Heidi-and-Spencer-Pratt entity. My daughter used to watch those shows and I was in the room, but even hot, young woman on the beach couldn’t make me look or listen. So I guess I shouldn’t judge them.”
“Exactly. And they want to help people like you understand them. They explained that ‘The Hills’ only focuses on a small part of their lives, they want a new show to reveal everything that happens to them.”
“If you hold two mirrors facing each other, you get a reflection of infinite nothing. That would be the result of a reality show about reality show stars who became stars by being in a scripted reality show.”
“This is an important cultural phenomenon. Like Heidi said, ‘You don't get to see our everyday lives and what we do’.
“That is the exact purpose of my life. That is my reason for doing everything that is NOT watching Heidi and Spencer. The philosopher Berkeley said we can’t know if people exist; we know only that we perceive them and can talk only about what we perceive. I don’t want to perceive them. Berkeley should be known as the father of the reality show.”
“Why be a hater? The Pratts were like the best part of ‘I’m a Celebrity, Get Me Out of Here’ last season.”
“’I’m a Celebrity, get me out of Here’ is like Charon’s boat on the river Styx. It carries the deceased to the underworld and they never return to life.”
You are Mr. Stupid Analogy Today, aren’t you? Are you going to eat that bacon or turn it into some pseudo-intellectual pop culture commentary?” She grabbed it before I could answer.
She was right, but it still hurt my feelings. I decided not to tell her about Gilligan’s Island being based on the Greek myth of the underworld. The Skipper was Hades and Gilligan was his three-headed dog, Cerberus. The Castaways were carried across the water to the central marsh and unable to ever leave. Gilligan’s Island was a spinoff from the Twilight Zone and a metaphor for Hollywood celebrity – the first reality show. But maybe that was just the bacon/sausage/cheese/egg/jalapeno/biscuit talking.