"Are you married? If you’re not married, put down that you’re single. She doesn’t want people with girlfriends, no engaged people. Divorced with kids is okay.”
I hear this piece of advice an hour and a half too late. I’ve already filled out my half-sheet application, which asked my relationship status (have boyfriend), age (26), weight (cough-cough) and reason for attending this “Big Brother” open casting call. For that last prompt, I scribbled a few sentences about my fascination with reality television as a cultural concept and how I want to experience the phenomenon firsthand. I guess I’m vying for the group intellectual.
“Did I hear that right?” I ask No.0058, also known as the guy that got in line behind me. “They only want single people? I guess they want as much on-camera banging as possible.”
He laughs, and we make a few porn jokes before the casting call herder tells us to get ready for our group photo. No.0058 gets scolded for throwing up a hand sign -- peace symbol, gang sign, none of it’s allowed. Buff No.0056, who looks to me better suited for “Jersey Shore” than “Big Brother,” is disappointed they’ll be using the point-and-click group camera shots over the nice headshots he brought with him. The five of us hold up our numbers and smile -- big energy, we’re instructed, lots of energy!
After our mugshots, we stand with an associate producer making small talk. One of the casting call hopefuls tells the associate producer he’d love to have his job and fly across the country meeting people at casting calls. “I live in L.A.,” the producer replies, “You’d have to leave Louisville.”
“Fine by me!”
Everyone else in our group of five agrees except me. I am no proud Louisvillian, but I have been to L.A. It sucks. The producer says Louisville seems like a nice town, and my fellow contestants brush away the thought. “There’s only Fourth Street Live!,” she says, “and I’m over it.” When the associate producer brings up Bardstown Road, the lady just scoffs.
Impulse tells me to put my smug hat on and argue with her. I love Bardstown Road, and Fourth Street Live! is right up there with L.A. in terms of places I not-so-eloquently describe as sucky. I find it fake and forced. Of course, here I am standing inside the T.G.I. Friday’s in Fourth Street Live!, waiting two hours for a five-minute shot at wooing a director into selecting me to live sequestered in a house with a bunch of strangers, being filmed 24/7 and subjected to whatever cruel editing someone in a darkroom deems appropriate.
I can hardly claim cultural seniority. I’m as guilty as anyone else here -- they have the group mugshot to prove it.
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