A couple weeks ago ABC premiered a new reality/competition show called Expedition Impossible. Basically, it’s ABC’s version of The Amazing Race with a few changes. The biggest change is the grand prize. The first place team of three people wins $150,000 and they each get a new car. Read that again. To put things in perspective, the winners on The Amazing Race win $500,000 each and all contestants are eligible to win a variety of prizes for coming in first in each leg.
Putting aside the fact that the IRS takes a considerable chunk of that cash prize and the winners must pay tax & license on that new car as well as income tax on it. As someone who won a new car on a game show, I can tell you, that ain’t cheap.
The other day, I told my oldest daughter how cool it would be if her and her sister went on a reality show together after they were both eighteen. She then told me that she wanted to go on with me, which got a huge laugh from my girlfriend since she knew that meant that I would be one of those old men in their fifties who never win.
It got me thinking about kid and reality shows. Do shows like Survivor give young people an unrealistic view of how tough things like that are or do they inspire them to give it a try thinking that if Richard Hatch can win a million bucks, so can they?
My kids and I watch The Amazing Race, Big Brother and Survivor every year and they always comment on the challenges in the show. In response, I always have to remind them that the real challenge is getting through the emotional and physical drain that these shows put on you. Hanging from a giant banana isn’t that tough, but spending two months with people who think they are more clever than they really are is excruciating.
Personally, I would love to see a reality show that challenges a houseful of teenage kids to see who can be the laziest. The first kid who breaks and actually picks up after themselves, gets sent home. That’s a reality show.