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Real Housewives of Milbank?
Oct 18, 2016
Ain’t America a wonderful place? We can get clean, fresh water in our homes day or night, winter or summer. In many parts of the world that would be considered a major miracle. We can walk into a grocery store and find apricots and yams, buffalo and beef, arrayed before us. Our desperately poor cousins in Sudan don’t expect such a sight this side of heaven.
There’s another great thing about America. You can be dumber than a box of rocks and still get rich and famous. I am referring, of course, to the Kardashian family. They do not toil, nor do they reap — their sole assets are various out-sized body parts and no sense of decorum — yet they have found “careers” as famous people.
I don’t like to toot my own horn, but I wager that is the first time in the history of Western Civilization that Sudan and the Kardashians have been so closely linked. You should feel privileged to be part of this moment. Either that or very confused.
Here’s how it happened. I started out thinking about South Dakota, which I’m required to do 24/7 because of my position here at South Dakota Magazine. “How can I help this state that I love?” I wondered.
“I got nothing,” came the answer after a moment. “Maybe if I noodle around on the Internet I’ll get some ideas.”
Which never works, of course. By a process that is still a mystery to me, I wound up reading about the Coast Guard’s new Sentinel-class cutters. They are very cool, but they have nothing to do with South Dakota. So there I was, an hour older and no wiser.
As often happens, however, solutions to problems present themselves at unexpected times. I was watching TV when an advertisement for some Kardashian-related program appeared. That got me thinking about how lucky they are to be living in this country. Anywhere else on earth they would be living in well-deserved obscurity. From there it was a short hop, reverse spin and back flip to wonderful country, running water, buffalo, yams, etc.
Eventually I came full circle to the Kardashians, and that’s when it hit me: South Dakota needs a reality show to raise its profile. Think of all the stupid ideas that have made their way onto the tube, from beard growing contests to competing to snare a millionaire husband. I know for a fact that our state has plenty of people, maybe tens of thousands, who are as greedy, shameless and dim-witted as anybody on those shows.
Wait … that didn’t … all I’m saying is, we can do this!
Since this is my concept, I’ve taken the liberty of spitballing a few story ideas. Reality shows featuring police, firefighters and rescue squads are perennial favorites. Crimes and disasters are very entertaining when you’re on your couch eating Cheetos and not experiencing them. How about a show featuring a South Dakota town that only has one policeman? Camera crews could follow him night after night. Nothing would happen.
Okay, next idea. How about a show that tears the lid off the rage, lust and tawdry politics that writhe beneath the placid surface of a typical volunteer fire department? Imagine how riveting this scene might be for viewers.
“Where’s the key to the equipment locker? It’s supposed to be on the hook.”
“It must be in my jacket. Sorry. I’ll get it.”
We’re talking an Emmy nomination for sure! I foresee only one problem. By law, every reality show must feature a hot tub scene. I mean no disrespect to the dedicated volunteer firefighters of South Dakota, but … uh … I wouldn’t want to … uh …
Except for the guys in Yankton’s department, of course. I sure wouldn’t change the channel if you were featured in a hot tub scene. Not that … I mean … ah, jeez, please don’t “get lost” if there is ever a fire at my house.
Maybe we should go in a different direction. There are a number of The Real Housewives of Orange County type shows on the tube. Why not The Real Housewives of Milbank? I’m not a TV producer, but the formula seems pretty cut and dried. Put five or six women around a table in a nice restaurant. Have them drink a lot of alcohol. Wait for something to happen.
Think of all the positive exposure that might mean for some lucky town!
Competitive cooking shows are also popular. We could put a South Dakota spin on the genre by making it about real life challenges. In the first round, cooks would have to create a dish from a can of green beans and a bag of frozen tater tots, then get their kids to actually eat it. Scores would be based not on taste but on the most creative threats and/or bribes.
In round two, cooks would have to prepare a well-balanced meal when every pan and dish in the house is dirty. Possible meals might include cherry pie filling straight from the can or Tang on toast. Scores would be based on how convincing the cooks are when they’re extolling their choices as “nutritious.”
For the finale, cooks would be given a can of fruit cocktail and two boxes of lime Jell-O. No matter what kind of exotic, gourmet dishes they created — the possibilities seem endless — we can be certain they would show South Dakota at its very best.