Reality T.V.

I admit it. I’ve been extra fascinated with this season’s, “The Biggest Loser: Couples.” Not only is it good reality-based entertainment, it’s the fact that an ex-Back40 staff member is a contestant. Neill Harmer and his lovely wife, Amanda, competed against nine other couples to lose the most weight and win $250,000. Neill and his wife were voted off the show after its third episode but are still in the running for a $100,000 prize. Good luck to Neill and Amanda!

We all can’t be on reality shows, but with a little make-up and an ever-present camera crew, I think parts of our lives could be entertaining for American viewers, especially in light of the recent writer’s strike. Who knows? Here’s what we came up with:

American Idle

(Or we could call it Edmond Lane Swap or Survivor: Waterloo) This slow moving action reality show would chronicle the Edmond rush-hour traffic. I think this would attract a wide demographic and could prove extremely entertaining. I would open the season premiere with the highly emotional 15th and Coltrane 4-way stop. Contestants would try to figure out how to cross the intersection without making contact with each other’s vehicles. Contestants would lose points for gestures, audible outbursts and less than gradual acceleration or deceleration. In our premiere episode a Chimney Hill mother learns that the person with the most expensive car does not necessarily have the right of way.

Design Intervention

The network suits would argue that this reality show concept is too “niche,” but since bad design affects so many lives in so many ways, I think Design Intervention would play to a wider audience. We’d secretly document an Oklahoma City business owner who has really bad marketing materials. Twenty four hours later, we’d arrange a meeting at our office and, with the help of professional designers, we’d explain in a loving, caring way that its okay to say no to clip art and that it’s okay to ask for help. We’d go around the room and explain how much their business means to us and then we’d group hug. Season finale would include increased public awareness of business owner’s brand and the business owner’s personal awareness that he wasn’t bad; it was just his marketing materials.

So You Think You Can Design a Website

There are no skimpy outfits or fancy dance moves here. This show follows the everyday perils of three contestants and their websites. The first contestant is a small business owner who decides he can save money by building his own website. He tells himself, “If I build it, they will come.” But without a marketing plan they don’t. The next contestant is a marketing director of a medium-sized company. She used her in-house tech guy to produce the website, and while the website works – the text blinks, logos spin and little annoying trails follow the mouse. It obviously lacks the polish of a professional grade website. The last contestant is an entrepreneur. He chooses to have his nephew build his website. He saved money in the short run, but now his nephew is obsessed with playing Halo and is “not really into the website thing” anymore. The competition heats up when all three are asked to update their websites with a new web page and an image. The contestants completely freak and network bleeping ensues. After a commercial break, I’d meet with all three contestants, and using my best British accent for effect, I’d explain that if Back40 designed their websites they could edit their own websites through our easy-to-use content management system. Then I’d sign them all up for a design intervention.

We’ve had a lot of people ask for an update on Teddy Burch, our managing editor who underwent aggressive treatments to fight cancer. Teddy is well, his hair is coming back and he is cancer free. Praise God!

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