September 19th, 2009
My sister-in-law is a Harvard graduate and a reality TV junkie. When I visit her, my brother and the kids out in the burbs of San Francisco, I expect to be introduced to the newest reality series that is the current darling of the Nielsen Ratings. This time ‘round: “18 Kids and Counting”. This program consists of parents Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar and their 18 children (and she’s preggers.) All the offspring have “J” names BUT they are missing a Jax. Not fundamentalist enough. Please meet Joshua, Jana, John-David, Jill, Jessa, Jinger, Joseph, Josiah, Joy-Anna, Jedidiah, Jeremiah, Jason, James, Justin, Jackson, Johannah, Jennifer, and Jordyn-Grace. All home schooled, remarkably well spoken and seemingly unaffected. Kind of.
I actually knew about this clan from my comedian friend/brother from another mother, Troy Bynum. He has a bit about mummy Duggar’s who-ha resembling a bell. He breaks into some physical comedy when he has her chiming the time for her excessively virile husband. Yeah, I just went here.
Nine years ago I wrote a sketch that tapped into some thoughts about reality television. Mind you, this was conceptualized during this genre’s infancy stage. Intriguing that it still holds true a decade later.
FRANK THE LOVABLE INFLATABLE BLUE-COLLAR CAMERAMAN
(Setting - a restaurant. Husband seated at table. Wife enters)
Hi Honey! How was your day?
Isn’t this place elegant? I hear their Cod is just divine.
I have some exciting news! Mark and Barbara invited us to their country home for the weekend!
That should be real nice.
(Wife now remains in “catatonic” state for most of sketch)
(In a concerned aside)
Gees…ever since Pam returned home from being a cast member on that reality TV show, she’s become so removed and uncommunicative.
It’s more common than you think.
Oh…I’m sorry sir. I just couldn’t help but overhear your pensive aside. I should let you know that when my sister returned home after her stint on a reality TV show, she was also distant and melancholy. At first the symptoms were not so obvious because she was invited to be on all the late-night talk shows and early morning news programs. But when those 15 minutes ended, she simply could not communicate…that is unless she was being filmed. You see your wife has lost the ability to communicate effectively with you or anyone else for that matter unless there is a video camera recording her.
Hey that must explain why she is so alert and alive when we’re at the ATM machines (Light bulb going off in head)…the cameraaaas. It’s just so sad.
You’re telling me. But there is a remedy for this: Frank the Lovable Inflatable Blue-collar Cameraman
Frank the Lovable Inflatable Blue-collar Cameraman?
Yes, Frank the Lovable Inflatable Blue-collar Cameraman. You see, there always seems to be a cameraman, usually named Frank, on every reality TV show. There is something about Frank…be it his soothing Staten Island accent or his jeans that hang just a little too low on his behind. But let’s face it…when Frank is there…people talk.
(A nonchalant observer walks over)
Frank the Lovable Inflatable Blue-collar Cameraman saved my marriage.
Husband and Waiter
Wait…Who are you?
Oh..I’m sorry. I’m just a nonchalant observer who was sitting over there enjoying my cod. I couldn’t help but overhear everything you were saying…and believe you me, Frank the Lovable Inflatable Blue-collar Cameraman will bring your wife out of this state of depression.
Wait..I’m confused. Who and what is Frank the Lovable Inflatable Blue-collar Cameraman?
I’ll explain. In order to facilitate a loved one’s return to this odd bizarre world with no cameras, reality TV executives are willing to provide you with a Frank the Lovable Inflatable Blue-collar Cameraman to help with this tough transition.
Even though this is just a blow-up version of the human Frank…this replica is almost like the living, breathing and beloved cameraman Frank.
It’s true. He comes with a camera and even sports a stylish mullet. (Hands the “deflated Frank” to the husband) Here Try!Just Blow!
That’s right! blow!
Nonchalant Observer and Waiter
It’s Just That Simple!
(The husband begins to “blow” Frank in a way that appears suggestive. Once doll is blown up, husband is impressed and holds inflated Frank in the direction of the
wife who has been lifeless.) Oh sweetheart…look who came to visit you!
(Suddenly very awake and alert)
Even though Mark’s cheap and Barbara has that drinking problem…I think a weekend away is just what we need!
Now there’s the woman I fell in love with.
Another success story. Frank the Lovable Inflatable Blue-collar Cameraman is almost as good as that Cod.
(Everyone starts laughing)