Looking ahead, planning for the ‘real’ world

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March 28, 2008

3:46 AM

It is official: I have plans for after graduation. Granted, I don’t have a job yet. I don’t quite know where I’ll be living. I don’t know how I’ll support myself. But I know with whom I’m living and we’re making strides toward being more concrete. Cue reality spin-off music.

p. As my roommate and I have become even more addicted to reality television, we have come to realize that we would make an excellent reality duo. Our drama works in opposition: She has bad days when I have good days; her relationships run smoothly when mine are in shambles and vice versa. We are every producer’s dream.

p. Now that we’ll be living together in New York, we have a built-in spin-off series and an unlimited pool of extras to cast as our friends. Together we’ll navigate the complex world of grad-school (her) and abject poverty (me), all the while looking glamorous and trendy. It’s enough to get a licensing deal.

p. I suppose this is the worst kind of plan. I have the basic idea but all of the blanks are haunting me. We’ll be meeting with real estate agents in May, but until then, the lure of Craigslist has us trolling for meaningless apartments. My job search is moot because nobody is hiring in my field, so now it’s just a waiting game. It makes for excruciating television.

p. But with the beauty of editing, our reality series can be made to look like all we do is take glamorous trips to Taco Bell and the Leafe and enjoy spring semester in all of its glory. Perhaps there will be an episode about my thesis defense. Perhaps a montage of philanthropy participation. But all of the hours of footage on the cutting room floor — well, they’re hard to actually live through.

p. If we’re going to wait around, we might as well get some production information taken care of. First and foremost, who can be our frenemy? Sure there are people who hate us, but none of them are attractive enough for television. Second, who are the love interests? I suppose we’ll have to iron out the skeevy bartender casting call when we get a little more settled, but that all seems so impersonal.

p. And then there are the cameras. When going out to a restaurant, we have to be aware of where we sit so that camera crews can film us for wide and close shots. For example, there is just no way for us to dine at Mama Steve’s without sitting in a booth. It would be far too disruptive otherwise.

p. We think about this all the time.

p. Being on a reality show also requires supreme control over the facial features and neck extensions. One has to be aware of the YouTube link screen caps and subsequent buddy icons that will result from our ever-dexterous brows and cheeks. I should start practicing.

p. Then there is the issue of the soundtrack. Firstly, what on earth is our intro music? Lily Allen seems appropriate but has too many curses. Do we make our own? No, too edgy. Ratatat? No, Americans like lyrics. It should be catchy, mainstream and totally able to capture the spirit of young, impoverished life. We think, “I Feel Like a Child” by Devendra Banhart. There’s a lot of egg-shaker and drums which makes it avant-garde but completely remixable. These things are important to think about for our totally emo, mega-label-supported soundtrack deals. We’ll have to see about getting a contract together.

p. So I suppose, really, I have everything all set. I can get some fake job at a magazine, live in an impossibly expensive townhouse, and live glamorously off of a freelance writer’s salary. Oh America, you are the land of (filmed) dreams.

p. __Charlotte Savino is a Confusion Corner columnist. She’ll find out what happens when people stop being polite and start getting real.__

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