Screwing up on the small screen



Growing up with my sister meant listening to her practice her Big Brother Canada (BBC) audition tape She practiced over and over again, and I got the pleasure of hearing it through the thin wall between our bedrooms. She was certain she would be chosen to compete in the next season of BBC, but her star quality and cunning game strategy didn’t make it to air.

This month, Winnipeggers got the chance to brag about their skills in-person at the BBC casting call. The line at Polo Park Shopping Centre apparently stretched halfway across the mall.

It’s clear our society has a serious obsession with reality TV and a dire need to be famous on 7 p.m. cable shows: Survivor, The Amazing Race, The Real World, Wipeout. You name it, and we all know a friend of a friend who was on season 12.

The draw of these shows is easy to understand. Those 35 minutes of fame (not including commercials) will provide you with enough material for dinner parties and first dates for the next ten years. The cash prizes usually aren’t too shabby either.

BBC contestants compete for a $100,000 prize. The lengthy filming schedule means an extended vacation from your real life. Most of the shows mean traveling to a trendy destination and staying somewhere nicer than your bachelor pad in Osborne Village.

Okay, minus Survivor. A dirt floor with scorpions is probably worse.

But in the midst of all this, there are a few unfavorable factors to being the next reality star a la Carrie Underwood.

The series will haunt you for a long time thanks to this age of YouTube. That scene where you fall on the steps on your way to collect the rose from Matt or Steve or John (insert any generic name here) is only a click away. And it had over a million views after just three hours.

Or imagine your future husband doing a casual Google peruse of your name. The first thing to pop up is the night-cam footage from The Real World house. You know, that time when the nation watched you hook up with the Toronto business grad with a six-pack and a start-up Internet marketing company. That’s one drunken mistake you won’t be able to forget about.

The bottom line is being a reality show contestant is an undeniably cool experience. But whatever you did and whomever you were as a 22-year-old Winnipegger will stay with you forever. Yes, even the terrible bangs.

Riley Chervinski is a journalism student, soccer player

and reader of cringe-worthy chick-lit. You can usually find her scrolling through

Tumblr, scoping out recipe blogs or laughing at her own jokes @rileychervinski.