Over my dead body

by Jessie K on December 12, 2012

Three times in the last year I’ve been approached by TV people about doing a reality show.

I know what you’re thinking: What the–? I pretty much asked the same thing, though I think it’s safe to say it speaks more to the dearth of new ideas in reality television than it does to my wearisome existence making compelling viewing. Think Bristol Palin: Life’s a Tripp come to rural Virginia only somehow lamer.

Whitey von Whitersteins coming to an obscure cable network near you (check the channels in the 800s and up)

And you thought Tersea flipping over a table on Real Housewives of New Jersey was exciting. Well, how’s this for conflict:  Will mild mannered Jessie choose a hard boiled egg over poached? Will rascally Solha hip check June and send her flying into the bushes again? Will workin’ man Jake ever take off that damn cell phone holster?

The show will have to be called something like The Aryan Agrarians or Everything Will be All White Bread. Coming to an obscure cable network near you (check the channels in the 800-900 range).

The most compelling aspect to these proposals is the language producers use to pitch the idea. Never do they call it “a reality show,” suggesting even they know how tawdry it is. Instead, they call it  a “docu-series” or “non fiction programming.” The point, I suppose, is to massage you into signing on for what sounds like Masterpiece Theater but is really more like The Littlest Groom or Tool Academy.

I admit, I entertained the first of such proposals for about a week. Visions of Kardashian millions pranced and sashayed before my eyes. I too would like my own line of towels at Kohls, perhaps a line of exercise DVDs, maybe a cocktail mixer emblazoned with my face. “Think of it as a stepping stone!” I said to Jake. “This could be our ticket to the big time, baby! You could have your own line of cell phone holsters!”

And then I thought what it would actually entail having a camera crew trail us around our small town — accompanying me to Kroger, descending on June’s preschool, joining us at friends’ houses for some manufactured bitch slapping and table tipping. We would become monsters–either real or staged, and at a certain point, it would be impossible to tell which was which.  Our daughter would become a pariah. People would hate us. Friends would abandon us. We’d most likely divorce. I’d embark on a Kate Gosselin-like beauty transformation. Jake would bolt for Canada. Solha would book a one way ticket back to Afghanistan. I’d appear on Dancing With the Stars. And I’d eventually ask myself, Was it all worth it? Was it?

Depends on if it resulted in my own line of towels.

{ 28 comments… read them below or add one }

Paula December 12, 2012 at 12:13 pm


Congratulations on having good sense! I despise “reality” shows. They are formulaic and not real. My idea of reality TV is those great PBS specials where a family showed what it would be like to live in a certain time period of the past, such as “The 1800 House”, or “The 1940 House.” They were really well done.

If people quit watching this drivel, the networks would be forced to hire the number of writers and actors they used to have, and produce more real drama again.

You wouldn’t want your nice little family to become a caricature of itself!

Penny December 12, 2012 at 12:35 pm


LMAO, you are such a good writer!! I too am glad you said no. I like you guys just the way you are.

Peg December 12, 2012 at 12:44 pm


I can’t see you in a reverse mullet (ala Kate Gosslin).

Jessie K December 12, 2012 at 2:13 pm


I agree. I look so much better sporting a regular old fashioned mullet.

suz December 12, 2012 at 12:48 pm


But it’s comedy gold as blog fodder (see today’s post).

Sarina December 12, 2012 at 12:53 pm


I just wouldn’t want that magnifying glass on my life.. what if I really DO sound like a shrew cutting Mr. Shypoke off at the knees with whithering criticism? What if I chew with my mouth open or burp (or worse) on camera? Or, worst of all, the show is cut and paste to make it look like my life is more drama filled and has a particularly nasty set of villains (aka friends and family) that get into one mess after another.

I also do NOT think that I would be up for making a sex-tape with some B-list celebrity to get ratings up!

Chuck Smith December 12, 2012 at 1:36 pm


How many seasons are they committing to?

Jessie K December 12, 2012 at 2:12 pm


A minimum of 11 seasons. Appearing on The Mulch Network.

Janelle December 12, 2012 at 3:18 pm


You crack me up!
“The Aryan Agrarians or Everything Will be All White Bread”
Thanks for the laugh today. My only chuckle during a hard day.

Karen S. December 12, 2012 at 4:24 pm


Could you imagine walking into Wally World with a film crew? People would be stopping in their pj bottoms and slippers. You’d be right up there with Duck Dynasty.

Brad K. December 12, 2012 at 5:09 pm


You know, Green Acres was good for a few laughs.

But there are stories that might be worth telling. Serving in the National Guard, and waiting at home during deployment. Raising a daughter in the era of Sesame Street and Hello Kitty and LeapPad 2. Finding help from good neighbors, and living in your community.

Chicken tractors that won’t pull a wagon.

But for those kinds of stories, you might hire a camera and producer, and manage the story you are willing to tell, that seems worth the telling.

Charlie December 12, 2012 at 6:12 pm


Hows your dancing? Bristol was pretty good.

deb December 12, 2012 at 7:00 pm



Jan December 12, 2012 at 7:32 pm


You have made the correct decision! My neighbor is currently under contact with Nick for a reality show that starting showing in October. Our neighborhood has been impacted beyond belief. I have camera crew parked in front of my home and cameras set up at the edge of my yard almost constantly these days. People stop and stare and ask what is going on. My dogs aren’t doing well with the strangers all over the place and we can’t sit peacefully on our patio due to the commotion taking place in the next yard. I takes an incredible amount of people-I am talking like 20-running around to create one episode of these kind of shows and not to mention 10 to 12 hour days of filming. It really isn’t as fun as it seems.

Catherine December 12, 2012 at 7:45 pm


Good decision… much better to hold out for the movie version of your book! : )

Kathryn December 12, 2012 at 9:48 pm


As you know I do enjoy a good reality show (humiliating), however being on one would be really, really bad. Thank you for not doing it! I could see myself being the creepy friend who “pops” in and looks like a friction’ moron asking all sorts of nimrod questions :)

Jessie K December 13, 2012 at 11:51 am


RHoRC! Real Housewives of Rockbridge County! I’ll be Kim, you be Kyle.

joy December 12, 2012 at 11:32 pm


While I understand your aversion, I just have to throw out there for what it’s worth that I’d watch every episode.

Jessie K December 13, 2012 at 11:46 am


You must be really big into eggs and cell phone holsters. :-)

Kara December 13, 2012 at 12:17 am


This post is cracking me up beyond belief. I’m pretty sure I would be the absolute worst contestant on any reality show, because I would just sit there and scowl and refuse to talk to anyone. However, imagining the tv-ed up, super-produced episode about your life in which the big issue is “hard boiled or poached?” is basically the awesomest thing ever.

Brad K. December 13, 2012 at 10:24 am


But what if the season opener launched with Honey Boo-boo and Rachel Ray?!?

Olga December 13, 2012 at 1:28 am


Good choice! You are already famous anyway. I bought your canning book and then I looked up your blog and now I read it b/c I love it (I love the book too). Isn’t it the definition of famous – people you don’t know and will never meet know you b/c of something you do? Just stick to your guns and towels will follow!

Jessie K December 13, 2012 at 11:51 am


I’m keeping my fingers crossed! (Ha!)

Leah December 13, 2012 at 9:02 am


Beautiful family picture.

Liz December 13, 2012 at 3:49 pm


Wow, I think that’s flattering (three??) but a wise choice to decline. I get it, because I can relate to your family (aspects), and you are an entertaining, smart, and funny woman. It’s why I always tune in to the blog!

Chin December 13, 2012 at 9:20 pm


I agree with Catherine. Hold out for Hollywood, baby!

Jessie K December 14, 2012 at 10:07 am


Yeah, RIIIIGHT. Well, I can dream about it anyway. I want Emma Stone to play me. And Ryan Gosling can play Jake.

Carrie December 23, 2012 at 9:31 am


I am crying so hard from laughter that I can hardly comment!!!! Yep, signing up for reality TV is like selling your soul to the devil!!! GOOD CHOICE to say NO!!!!!

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