Yes, there's a part three. You might ask how I survived the alligator pit, but I could only tell you I don’t know. That's really all I feel comfortable talking about it. But I can tell you I was deeply scarred from these experiences. I stayed away from game shows for five years. I couldn’t even watch them anymore. During this time I met Stacy, the woman I would marry. When I told her about my brushes with fame, she was very supportive. She wanted me to try it again, to get over my fear. I said I wasn’t about to try, but if she found a show she wanted to try out for, I would go along for the ride.
Stacy had a bit of a weight problem, as did I. So she decided she wanted to try out for a replica of the show The Biggest Loser, a show in which obese contestants try to lose the most weight. One Saturday we waited with about eighty others at an open casting call. There were two signs advertising the tryouts, so that passersby could point at us and laugh openly. Two men jogged past us and actually turned around, jogged about fifty feet the other away to take another look, then turned around again and went on their merry way. Another woman had her boyfriend take a picture of her in front of a sign as she pulled her shirt up to show her flat stomach, the cocky whore.
Auditioners grabbed seats to fill out the application, which asked for three female and three male friends who could testify to your character. That’s six references! For a stupid show! Does the CIA even require this many references? After an hour a man shooed the chubby scribblers away, announcing they would be putting umbrellas on the tables in a half hour. Ninety minutes later these no-umbrella-puttin’-up motherfuckers hadn’t produced the giant shade givers, as the large crowd were cruelly forced to stand in the sweltering sun. Perhaps “Operation: Fry the Pig” was to see if we were serious about partaking in this fine program.
I was surprised that very few of those in line were tear-down-the-walls-of-your-house-to-get-you-out obese. Of the men there were a couple in better shape than I am. So I said what the hell and filled out an application myself. There were all sorts of people there, a professional poker player, a former comedian, a Catholic youth minister, and a designer who had already auditioned for Project Runway. Stacy even ran into a high school classmate. Friendships were formed, particularly between the women, as the former comedian said, “I can’t believe none of us wore the same outfit when we all shop at the same store.” And all the gals shouted, “Lane Bryant!” Ah, good times.
Apparently, they needed more contestants because at around noon two men and a woman began approaching passersby, shouting, “Hey, you’re fat! Come here!” Many were insulted. Some broke down in tears. Soon after this two other men started walking towards us, each hauling food carts, one with hot dogs and hamburgers, the other with ice cream. Everyone started digging for their wallets when the men detached the front of the carts to reveal two big piles: One of burgers, dogs and fries, the other of cookies, cake and ice cream. They announced that those who didn’t jump into the food like it was a pile of leaves would get to be interviewed for the show. Alas, before they could finish speaking, several show hopefuls had already dove into the piles, creating an awful mess. The scene was hosed down, the would-be contestants were slapped across the face and told to vacate the premises.
From there, there was complete disenchantment with the whole audition process as the men were herded into one room and the women into another. On the men’s side these two meatheads hazed us like we were pledging some silly fraternity. They lined us up. Some looked around, others stared straight ahead. We were told the show is no joke and only the serious need apply. We were then forced to strip naked and walk obediently by them as they whacked our substantial bottoms with ping-pong paddles. They then dropped marshmallows on the floor and commanded us to pick them up without using our hands, feet or mouths. It was one of the most embarrassing moments of my life.
We later learned that the women underwent similar humiliation as they were forced to stand in a line and remove their shirts and bras a la Showgirls or Fame. There was talk of litigation among contestants later, but, like a group of gypsies, the show was gone the next day, never to be heard from again. No program called Hog Squeal Piggy Fat ever aired.
Stacy and I overcame this and moved on. We would try out for other reality shows, even ones that had nothing to do with us, like Pull the Plug, which followed families as they tried to make that difficult decision. We hung around a hospital for days while producers kept asking, “So where is this Aunt Bernice with the terminal cancer?” We eventually made a break for it. Months later we were thrown off of Conversion, which attempted to turn gay men and women straight. The executive producer caught us having sex in the bathroom at the audition for this one.
Finally there was How Much For the Baby? which offered couples cash for their newborns. We borrowed our neighbor’s kid and went down to try out, but everyone involved was arrested at the scene. And I learned something else from this experience: There’s absolutely no way they'll let a husband and wife share a jail cell together, the Nazis.
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Laura, Toucan Editrice
Enjoy, and Viva La Toucan
Laura, Toucan Editrice