Tuesday, March 30, 2010

My Reality Show Pitch

Heard on the radio (unconfirmed) that the oldest living person died again today. Occurred to me that we have so many lame-ass 'reality' TV shows, why don't we have one for the person who is, by definition, the Ultimate Survivor? I would love to see a show that followed the crown around the world as the oldest living human passed on the throne. Although, a crown might be a bit much for their frail necks, maybe a nice over-sized mesh baseball cap would be easier on them. Not to be mean, I just ... well, OK that was a bit mean; but, I am serious, I think this could be a great show. Imagine the possibilities. If the oldest living person is in the 115-130 year-old range, they were born before the turn of the last fucking century! That's just nuts. Parents probably lived through the American Civil war. Our subject will have lived through Wright Brothers, both World Wars, the Great Depression, the Cold War, the Space Race, the Civil Rights era, the advent of computers and the internet. Regardless of where in the world they live, some of these things either impacted them, or (even more interestingly, perhaps) didn't.

The old-timers, products of a long gone era, might be more racist, more homophobic, or have insane religious beliefs that would dismay modern sensibilities, or -- even more interestingly -- they might be surprisingly progressive. Their stories could be told Ken Burn's style, or Real Housewives style (they probably have some nutty progeny, the odds favor it), but no matter what style of documenting them was used, there must be a wealth of a stories in each of their lives. Some will probably be in hospital beds hooked up to machines: opportunity to examine end of life care. Some will probably be spry old Okinawan fish-mongers or something, working 'til the last day of their lives: opportunity for anecdotal promotion of whatever they swear by for the longevity. Betcha booze has preserved more than one. Whether they have wisdom or only ignorance to share, an unflinching portrait would only have to be honest to be fascinating.

I imagine the job of Oldest Living Human must have pretty high turnover, so there'd always be a opportunity to get to know new folks. If one has a long reign and the material dries up, profiles of the next in line could always be used as teasers for the next season or story arc.

Every show, if it's going to be a hit, should have spin-offs; there's no shortage of potential OLH spin-off potential. MSNBC already has their Lock Up show, how about Oldest Living Human In Captivity? The stories on that one should be enlightening. "Yeah, I shanked another hobo in a boxcar between St. Louis and Memphis for trying to steal my can of beans." Oldest Living [Nationality]. Oldest Living Active [Politician]: there should be plenty of Robert Byrd stories, and Ralph Hall also looks at first glance to be suitably nutty to deliver some tragi-comedy.

Time to polish this idea up and track down Mark Burnett.
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