Thank god for Autumn.
I had a dream last night of what my life would be if I had gone to work on computer software in Florida with my father after I graduated. The whole thing took place in the summer of 2007, but I had a pretty set of memories at the onset.
After working with my father for a few months I managed to immerse myself the same group of friends I’ve found in high school, college and work: sarcastic social critics immersed in pop-culture and possessing almost no ambition.
We’d hang out at this bar down there, Bull Dogs or something, munching on fries or jalapeno poppers and drinking rather a lot of beer. It became somewhat of a tradition to share ideas for books, movies etc. either those truly close to one’s heart or those purposely bad.
One night I was proposing an idea for a reality show, to catch the tail end of a (thankfully) dying trend. (For some reason variety shows were the up-and-coming fad). It was a hideous idea, and I only shared it because I was drunk and I wanted a few laughs, but one guy, a blonde fellow named Mike that was new to the group, was actually the nephew of some Fox Television executive. He ended up pitching my idea to his uncle a couple of months later at a wedding or something, and, long story short, I ended up on board as a producer.
Truth be told, it kind of sucked. I didn’t know the business that well, so I was getting shafted left and right by Fox, and my show was so mind-bogglingly amoral that it, and in effect myself, were taken as the shining example of a world gone wrong. Worse yet, I knew it was a terrible show; I had only gone on board because I was hoping to make it a farcical satire of the genre, and get my foot in the door to be a show/film scriptwriter. But Fox took it seriously and America loved to hate it, so it was successful in the same way sensationalized news is successful. And I had to stay on, contractually.
The premise was this: someone would nominate themselves or someone they knew who was taken for granted by his/her spouse, friends, relatives or boss. Then, depending on the situation, something would happen and the subject would appear to disappear, die or otherwise be lost to those that took him for granted. After a month of hidden camera’s following those left behind, the subject would confront and either thank or damn his supposed loved-ones. To make it interesting, if it was proven that he was taken for granted, he would receive the full worth of his life insurance policy. If he was in-fact appreciated but a self-absorbed dick who nominated himself, the money went to his relatives. No matter what, families were broken up.
One of the ones from the first season involved an old guy, a sweet doting husband and his bitch of a trophy wife. Sure enough, as soon as he was “lost” while on a camping trip with some buddies, she whored herself up and started spending his money wholesale. Thing is, the poor guy got to watch the hidden footage, and at the end of every episode did one of those Real World reactions to it. It was heartbreaking. The bitch kept trying to cash in his life insurance, but the company, hip to the trick, kept stalling, saying a body hadn’t been found. It was awful.
And that’s all just the history. My dream took place as we were filming one of the last episodes of the second season. Fox had optioned not to renew our contract following a lot of bad press about how we ruined families and possibly contributed to a murder/suicide. Over the two seasons I had done everything I could to sabotage the show or get Fox to cancel my contract, but every stupid thing I did was taken seriously by the other producers and turned into just another way of tormenting the participants. And people kept nominating others and themselves.
It worked the same way The Bachelor did, insomuch that we filmed the entire first season in a hush-hush manner so that people didn’t know what was going on. The second season only happened because no-one thought you could do a second season, just like The Bachelor 2 or whatever it was called.
The one we were currently filming involved a spoiled little brat, an 8-year-old girl, who didn’t think her parent’s loved her. We had arranged for her to win a spelling bee to fly out to Washington on a chartered plane, which would be reported to crash. Because the bitch was too young for a life insurance policy, and because the other producers wanted to end the show on a bang, the “winning” side would get $1,000,000. It was craziness. After accompanying the little monster on the plane to the resort we were housing her in for a month, I took another unscheduled vacation to help a friend from Florida.
My buddy, George Romeo (Hispanic, it was pronounced Hor-hey) had a little non-profit organization that helped plan camps and activities for troubled youth. With some of the blood money I had made with the show (it had a shitty title like “Did You Miss Me?” or “Taken for Granted”) I had helped him purchase a new building for his business currently housed in a ramshackle singlewide in the middle of no-where. Just as I was starting to feel like I wasn’t a complete waste of skin, helping out those in need, I woke up.
This dream sucked.