I’ve had it with American Idol, The Millionaire Matchmaker, all of the “real” Housewives, and Top Chef, which grew considerably less interesting once they brought in the Masters. Yes, doctor, I have a case of reality TV fatigue. Symptoms: glazed-over eyes, ringing ears. Cause: the genre has drifted too far from actually reality. Cure? I propose the following ten new reality shows, or, as I call them, Shows We’d Actually Watch:
The Biggest Post-Partum Loser
To qualify for the show, all contestants must have given birth in the past three months. Who can shed the baby weight the fastest? Separate categories for moms of multiples and moms over 30/40.
The Amazing Race, Baby Carrier Edition
It’s one thing to travel the world with a partner, it’s another to travel the world with a 4-month-old strapped to your chest. Each team will have to complete tasks (eating slugs, herding sheep) and circle the globe while carrying an infant in their carrier of choice (Ergo, Bjorn, Moby Wrap, Duct Tape).
Each week, families of four will be set loose in The Magic Kingdom with maps, passes, just enough money for one set of Mickey ears per kid, and a camera crew in tow. Whichever family manages in a single day to ride the most rides and visit the most attractions – with the fewest tantrums – wins the prize: an all-inclusive beach vacation, sans kids.
American Nighty-Night Idol
Contestants will be singing to infants, ages 0-1, at bedtime hour. Performers able to soothe babies in one song or less (bonus if the baby falls fast asleep!) move on to the next round. Themes include: Dan Zanes songs, They Might Be Giants favorites, and Oldies but Goodies: Burl Ives.
Top Puree Chef
Quickfire challenges, elimination rounds, restaurant wars, cooking breakfast-in-bed for Padma. Expect all of the usual Top Chef staples, but every dish the contestants create must be soft enough for an infant to eat. Yes, I’m proposing gourmet baby food, concocted by culinary geniuses. Talk about a challenge.
The Real Housewives of New York
I mean it: the real housewives of New York. I live in New York, and I see actual housewives every day. And Bethenny Frankel, I love you, I do, but you ain’t no housewife. Let’s round up women who don’t work, who spend all day at home, who wrangle their kids themselves and have to fix the vacuum cleaner with their own bare hands every time it breaks. Put hidden cameras in their kitchens and bathrooms and let the horror show begin.
Project Runway, Hand-Me-Downs
Designers will be given onesies, overalls, sleepers, bibs, and rompers stained with peas, smushed blueberries, and the kinds of fluids that come out of a baby. With scissors, a sewing machine, and $100-worth of fabric from Mood, can they repurpose these pieces into a new, wearable tot-wardrobe?
The Millionaire Playdate Matchmaker
It’s easy to set up rich men with young, striving women – that’s why I’ve stopped watching Patti Stanger’s weekly show. But imagine trying to set up rich mothers and their screaming spawn for playdates. I defy you to find four mother-child combos who can stand each other for an hour in a room filled with toys, sippy cups, and Talking Elmo.
Chopped, What’s Already in My Fridge?
Look, I’m thrilled for all of you who have time to shop for vanilla beans, black cod and tamarind for your dinner, but most nights, like most moms, I have to make do with whatever’s already at home. Oatmeal, a gouda-cheese rind, and ketchup? Let’s invite the Chopped contestants into family homes, and see what they can whip up using only our real-life mystery ingredients.
I’ve tried everything, including bribery, to get my toddler off the paci. It’s time for a professional intervention. I can’t be the only one, so let’s invite the SuperNanny to facilitate as family members and close friends read letters to their kids about how much they love them and how, if they don’t get off the sucking, they’re going to have to cut off the affection. The intervention will be preceded, of course, by reams of secret footage showing the featured baby engaged in horrific, ceaseless binky-sucking.