Having carefully scrutinized the current plethora of reality television shows, I was certain that my innate abilities would only allow me a shot at a TV gig in one of three ways.
I'd have to eat horse rectum (a requirement for a Fear Factor episode); belt out a cover tune effectively enough to convince Simon Cowell that I have an unusual octave range (American Idol); or have breast-enhancement surgery while flitting around aimlessly, high on peach schnapps (The Anna Nicole Show).
But now I've come to find out there's another way to reach small-screen nirvana. You can sexually ingratiate yourself with the president of the United States of America, and the world is your oyster.
Monica Lewinsky hosts Fox TV's newest dating absurdity, Mr. Personality, which features 20 masked bachelors vying for the affections of a very attractive young woman. Interestingly, the creators chose "Mr. Personality" as opposed to "Ms. Personality" because I'm assuming they realized that a good-looking bachelor would be too shallow to choose a woman based strictly on her behavior and not her body.
Like other dating show hosts, Lewinsky will help the bachelorette with the elimination process, offering the wit and wisdom that made her something of a star. Let the groaning begin. Does Personality Count?
Having seen Mr. Personality previews, I am less than compelled to watch it. The men are covered about the head like tragic burn victims and the colored things they wear are more frightening to look at than their faces could possibly be, no matter how unattractive they actually are.
Putting the entire ludicrous premise of the show aside, one has to wonder what makes Lewinsky the hostess of choice. Was it President Clinton's "personality" that won her over? Was it her "personality" that won Clinton over? Is she such a great judge of character that she should preside over the decision-making process?
For those of you keeping score at home, the answers to the last three questions would be "no, no, and no."
Whatever the reason, it's just another marketing ploy to get TV viewers to sink their program-watching criteria to a level below anthill. Reality’s Busboy
If you thought Mr. Personality was debased and pointless, then you obviously haven't heard about The Restaurant.
This little nugget comes from Survivor creator Mark Burnett and Who Wants To Be A Millionaire's Ben Silverman. It's actually going to be a six-part reality show about a restaurant in New York City and what happens there each week. The cameras will follow chef Rocco DeSpirito as he tries to make his new Manhattan eatery the hippest, trendiest hottest dish in town.
Currently, the production company has been holding open casting calls for waiters, waitresses, bartenders, sous-chefs, busing staff and dishwashers. They want people with real experience and would like those interested to send a resume, head shot and short videotape.
Many may know that New York restaurants are comprised of aspiring young actors and actresses who work as wait staff, but you don't find stars-in-waiting washing dishes — a job oft resigned to poor immigrants, many here illegally, who keep a low profile and don't have a "head shot" to send to central casting.
The producers are also looking for the right people to have as customers, so there's a casting call for clientele also. Although it's very difficult to get a reservation at some of the more popular places in New York City, I've never had to send a resume and video to be allowed to eat someplace. Though I will say an occasional $20 to the hostess will keep an "unknown" from getting a table by the swinging kitchen door.
So, how realistic is The Restaurant going to be if they're hand-picking the staff and hand-picking the diners based on photos and videotapes?
Well, you're not going to see what many New York restaurant goers claim they've seen — a busboy eating off a plate that he removed from the table or a woman complaining of a hair in her food that doesn't match either her color or that of her dining companion.
You can be just as certain that Mr. Personality won't conclude with the bachelorette getting stuck with the ugliest guy to be alive since the late Marty Feldman.
This leaves us with the fact that, as viewers, we're being duped once again into another collection of TV shows that are neither reality nor entertainment. Hollywood has run dry of creative ideas and writers so they've taken the easy way out.
More than anything else, viewers are watching out of necessity because there's virtually no other new programming. And that, my friends, is the real reality.
Heidi Oringer is director of entertainment programming at ABCNEWS Radio.