Dear Big Time Reality TV Producer Convinced All Occupations in Alaska Are Cool,
I see it like I’m right there with you. I see you sitting at your desk, a mounted moose head behind you, a big map of Alaska on the opposite wall, and your people shuffle in, all averted eyes and hang-dog expressions, one at a time admitting they’ve got nothing to out-Ax Men Ax Men. You curse them. One guy says he’s got an idea about having a camera ride along with a long-haul trucker. You ask him what’s the hook, what is the driver doing while on the road. Just driving, he says, maybe sometimes it’s dark out or the weather gets bad. You tell him the idea sucks. You’re set to fire him when the guy next to him, your go-to guy, snaps his fingers and shouts “put the truck in Alaska!” You green-light it right then and there, working title Trucks in Alaska, no pitch book, no episode springboards, three seasons good to go.
Alaska? That’s all you have?
Does any job in Alaska in your opinion merit a reality show? What pixie dust does Alaska sprinkle on the same jobs we do everywhere else? Defend your promotion decisions, sir. What drives you to believe watching traffic citations in Alaska, as opposed to Kansas or Ohio, two fine states, makes for compelling television?
Sir, by my calculations (which are available at your request), every Alaskan will be featured in a job reality show by mid-2016. This includes the unemployed and the Alaska-based crew members who make reality shows. I submit you have created a significant imbalance in the number of reality shows centered on Alaska and the amount of reality actually occurring there. Consider the evidence:
- FACT: in the entire 130-year history of the U.S. Census, to date only a net of 700,000 people out of humanity’s billions have decided to make Alaska their home. How does this indicate a national Alaska fetish requiring unrelenting hours of reality programming? In that same period California added 37,000,000 people. In the court of population, Alaska is getting its ass handed to it.
- FACT: The same census referenced above indicates over 300,000,000 currently reside in the U.S. and its territories. Ergo, 99.8% of national reality does not occur in Alaska. Would you like the math on Alaska’s percentage of reality shows?
- FACT: There are nearly 12,000,000 illegal immigrants living in the U.S, a population seventeen times greater than that of Alaska. You will note they’re not flocking up there either, despite ample reindeer meat and unlimited secluded hideout options.
- FACT: Las Vegas has taken the opposite strategy with far more success. Rather than televise even the most mundane of its jobs, the city takes great pains to ensure that what goes on in its confines remains in its confines. Fewer cameras on Alaskan state routes and more penetrating Las Vegas’ great veil of secrecy would yield far more interesting programming and perhaps further our national security.
Let’s stipulate Alaska is beautiful. But so what? It’s America the Beautiful, not just Alaska the Beautiful. So Alaska has roads and trucks? We have roads and trucks down here. Alaska has salmon and bears? We have salmon and bears. Big damned bears. We have glaciers and mountains and snow. We have loggers, state troopers and fishermen. We have crabs. Perhaps you think fishing down here is easy. Have you seen The Perfect Storm? That’s our fishing.
Sir, do not perpetuate your Alaskan chokehold on reality television. The rest of us want– no, deserve–our shot. Voiceovers and a soundtrack that make mundane jobs seem interesting is not a God-given right for one state, but for all fifty. Every American deserves the chance to debase themselves on reality programming.
Yet, sadly this is where you have brought us. It is the American people who pay the price for your Alaska fixation. While you’re working up Yukon Yarn Shop and Tax Preparers of the Tundra, I am sitting on a frigging haunted pawn shop remodeling job in the Everglades idea without even a call-back. Sir, I am prepared to buy a boat and fish the Bermuda Triangle with Tim Gunn and as many New Jersey a-holes as it takes.
Or we could film it in Alaska.