Reality TV

My TV tells the truth (and nothing but)

“I want to talk about me. I want you to talk about me. I want the whole world to talk about me.” These words were found etched on the bedroom wall of Micky Bailey. But Micky is nowhere to be found. He is the latest contestant of ill-fated reality TV show, Real Like Me, to disappear. At a press conference held yesterday, the police stated: “There are grave concerns surrounding Real Like Me. Five people are missing and no one has a clue as to where they are. Until these disappearances can be explained, Narcissus, the production company behind the show, will not be allowed to continue rehearsals or air footage already shot.”

What went wrong for the show that was supposed to herald a reality TV revolution? And where is Micky? We spoke with Narcissus chief executive, Randy Buckfast, to get his version of events. This is his story. “Big Brother was like, wow man, when it first came out,” remembers Randy. “I watched the first episode in the Cock & Crumpet in Hoxton. It was beautiful, we were all weeping and hugging at the end. It was the first time that I realised god is dead. We’re all Jesus man and we’ve all got the right to preach.”

So why the need for Real Like Me? “Big Brother quickly became this grotesque game show,” continues Randy. “All the tasks, the nominations. It shouldn’t have become a popularity contest. We all deserve to be celebrities, you know? I mean, look at Jesus, perhaps the biggest celebrity of them all. He didn’t nominate his disciples.”

“What do you mean, what the fuck am I talking about,” blasts Randy after we ask him to clarify his thoughts. “You know what I’m talking about. It’s all about ‘me’, the right to self-worship. That’s the campaign trail I’m on brother…and Real Like Me is going to be my party-political broadcast. Big Brother, Celebrity Love Island, it’s all unreality TV now you know? We need to get back to life, back to reality.”

The format for Real Like Me is simple. It starts with twelve people in one house, being filmed 24/7. Participants are encouraged to talk about themselves, continuously. “It’s the only way to find yourself on this crazy planet we call Earth,” beams Buckfast. But rather than voting people off, members of the public are voted in. “Each week, each participant can nominate someone to join the house, It’s a nomination of love, not hate man,” continues Randy. “My dream, when the show starts-up again, is for everyone in the UK to be a part of Real Like Me. There will be cameras everywhere picking up ‘me’ vibes.”

But what went wrong? “We were running rehearsals,” states Randy. “You know, reality is a hard format to master. We had to make sure that the concept we had manufactured was right. It started really well. We spent the first two days helping the participants to distil the ‘we’ to ‘me’. This is an important process. People need to realise that everything they think is important and to get it out. Banality, self-obsession, egotism; these are all notions that cultural snobs cling to as they waste their lives trying to create things, find answers and ‘being there for each other’. Fuck that. The only way to move forward is to know yourself and the only way to do that is to tap into your inner me and shout it out.”

Which Randy proceeds to do…”ME! I LOOK GREAT. I BLEACH MY UNDERARM HAIR. IT MAKES ME UNIQUE. I LOVE MYSELF…I LOVE MYSELF!” At this point we break for ten minutes. Randy finds conversations ‘anti-me’ and very tiring.

“That was a ‘me-moment’,” states a rejuvenated Buckfast. “And for the first few days there were plenty of those on Real Like Me. But it started to fall apart when we introduced participants to the ‘me-chamber’. As I think I’ve made clear, Real Like Me isn’t a game show that looks to induce fear or paranoia. It’s about loving yourself. But to help participants truly distil the ‘we’ to ‘me’ we punished any ‘anti-me’ moments with a stint in the ‘me-chamber’, an eight by eight room, covered in mirrors. It’s designed to force people to confront themselves from every angle, to focus on ‘me’.”

“With the right focus people can talk about themselves without having to think. Gabanna was the first to experience the ‘me-chamber’. On coming out she remarked, ‘I’ve just seen my whole bum for the first time.’ It was a beautiful moment of self-discovery. But I think she had spent too long not talking about herself to other people. We didn’t realise the effect of this until five participants had spent time in the ‘me-chamber’. And by then it was too late. Micky was the last one in, a couple of days ago. He was one of my favourites. During the audition for Real Like Me we asked him if he had empathy. ‘Empathy?’ he replied. ‘Yeah, I’ve got loads, it’s my favourite brand.’ That’s the sort of ignorance that should be applauded.”

But what were the side effects of the ‘me-chamber’? “As I said,” continues Randy, “the ‘me-chamber’ prevented participants from preaching the ‘me’ to other people; as it turns out, a critical factor in truly loving yourself. We had given the five participants time to think when they should have been preaching. If you’re on the road to self-love you need other people around you to externalise to; they don’t have to listen, just be there so that you know you’re important. Without this I think you literally evaporate. I’m no scientist but I think it’s a real possibility. I haven’t told the police yet but I think they’re all gone for good.”

Since this interview Randy has been given full control of all reality TV shows on channels 4 and 5. A spokesman for both channels said: “What Randy has done is create an uber-reality, a reality where it is possible for no-one to exist. It’s almost like magic. Our audiences enjoy magic as well as reality and we feel that, with Randy’s talents we can make all of our reality TV stars disappear. If there’s anyone left to watch our shows, we think the ratings will go through the roof.”

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