Tuesday, May 8, 2007

Letters From Iraq: Television Show Ideas


All you observant ones out there will notice that it’s been a whole month since I wrote any e-mails. I’m sure many of you were upset and thought that I died. Although that’s very flattering you’ll be happy to know that I’m still alive, although I do die a little on the inside everyday.

We spent a large chunk of the last month cruising the desert asking the nomads if they’d seen any terrorists. Oddly enough, they haven’t. Here’s my question to you, average citizens: is it reassuring that the best trained Marine unit in Iraq is going door to door (or tent flap to tent flap) asking a bunch of desert people where the bad guys are?

Maybe they’re in THIS tent! Nope, darn. How about THIS tent?!

I don’t even bother to get out of the vehicle anymore. Since my work is less than fulfilling I’ve spent much of the day singing commercial jingles in my head and coming up with new reality TV shows. I have 3 so far.

The first one is a retirement home spin-off of the Real World. I’ve always had a theory that retirement homes are hotbeds of drugs sex and rock n’ roll and American TV owes it to me to explore this potential treasure trove of entertainment and exploit the elderly like there’s no tomorrow.

The second one is sort of like the Simple Life (I think that’s what it’s called), the show where Paris Hilton and some other brain-dead heiress spend a certain amount of time on a farm. In my version 2 similar people go to work in a meatpacking plant. Instead of milking cows they’re required to shove a hydraulic drill deep into a cow’s brain, gut it and then package it for consumption.

The last idea is the real seller though. It’s another Real World spin-off. It’ll be Real World: Betty Ford Clinic. America will be endlessly amused by the wacky antics of court-mandated patients going through withdrawal, attempting to escape, and offering the show’s cameraman a wide spectrum of incentives in exchange for his/her particular poison. I like the opportunities that this idea presents because at any given time there’ll be a celebrity that will be available for a guest appearance.

Hmm, what else? The weather! The weather is always a good mundane topic to talk about. It just hit summertime in the span of what seemed like a couple of days. It was warm during the day and cool at night one week, and the next I swear I saw a bird burst into flames when it left its nest at 3 in the afternoon. I think that must be why there are so few birds in Iraq. That and I heard from our Intel guys that terrorists hate birds (and bunnies and cotton candy and babies and anything cute and cuddly).

Admittedly these e-mails are less and less about my actual experience in Iraq and more about my interaction with television programming, but to be fair, Iraq is much less interesting than it used to be. I think it’s because the desert is so depressing looking. I would put money on it that if we invaded somewhere with bright lights and shiny objects Americans would be absolutely enthralled with the war, and I don’t blame them.

I’m trying my best to do my part to fix this. Wherever we go I carry at least 2 cans of neon spray paint and a large bag full of glitter. Someday we’ll get there.

El Pocket Lint

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