Dream Reality Shows We Wish Existed

Reality shows have been dominating television since the early 2000s, but very few of them actually touch upon a believable version of, well, reality. Because life is actually pretty boring, conflicts and adventures are clumsily scripted for the home audience, who often remain oblivious to the deception. Reality TV needs to be more real, so here are some suggestions to bring give television a true reality check.

The Jim Show

As the star of The Truman Show and a constant target of paparazzi, Jim Carrey should be pretty familiar with the idea of continuous scrutiny. Over the last few years, Carrey has become a very strange guy, posting weird videos for Emma Stone after his divorce from Jenny McCarthy, and then speaking out against his own movie, Kick-Ass 2. He's surrounded by suicide and Scientology, and things only seem to be getting worse. Jim Carrey needs a camera crew to follow him around and observe what's going on in his life. If the networks can follow around a bunch of fourth-rate Jackson kids, they can follow this weirdo.

Wealth Swap

A few real-ish shows gently broach the topic of the great income divide that cuts America in twain, but shows like Undercover Boss don't really provide any insight, instead providing magical millionaire solutions for hand-picked individuals. Wife Swap rarely trades families across class lines. But here's a novel idea: take someone who was born into wealth and drop them into a struggling family for a few weeks and watch souls crumble, while slowly educating Americans about why poverty exists. Hint: it's not laziness.

Man Versus Mild

If you've seen Edward "Bear" Grylls fake his way through "dangerous" terrain and eat squirting bug guts once, you've pretty much seen all he has to offer. Instead, let's see a likeable person surviving the existential trials of their everyday life. While not really the type of escapist fantasy that most reality shows embrace, an audience could relate to things like missing the train, getting gas after a bad office lunch, and coming home to an empty apartment with a single cat. And if the show is boring? Too bad. That's life. Surviving in the taiga is nothing compared to surviving Thanksgiving with your racist grandpa.

World Weird Web

There are already way too many shows that touch upon weird Internet stuff, but they rarely go into depth about their subjects. It's easy to make a joke at the expense of a guy who has a romantic attraction to balloons, or someone whose obsession with Sonic the Hedgehog has derailed their life. But it would be great to get to know the freaks behind the viral videos on a deeper level. Chances are that you have more in common with these goofballs than you'd first realized. Maybe not the My Little Pony chaps, but like, soul stuff.

The Next Great Comic Artist

Illustrators everywhere desperately want a chance to draw superheroes for Marvel and DC Comics, but finding passage into their hallowed halls is tough. With the popularity of terrible shows like Ink Master already addressing the oft-maligned illustrative arts, it's time to challenge these superhero scrawlers to truly test their skills in a series of challenges: creation of an original hero, effective sequential art, a challenge where a story has to be told without speech bubbles, and even a realistic anatomy challenge where super-boobs are disqualified. Rob Liefeld is pre-banned from any appearances.

Are We Not Men?

DEVO is an unusual bunch of guys. Their music often explores art and social issues, and they've dabbled in crowdsourcing while formulating of one of their albums, so using the pervasive and grotesque medium of reality TV to their creative advantage isn't too far out of their purview. Band leader Mark Mothersbaugh is an accomplished artist and writes tons of music for television, and Jerry Casale recently made news for a 9/11-themed wedding cake that someone surprised him with. It would be awesome to see a bunch of old, eccentric, and eclectic men touring the world and singing songs about potatoes.

Just Be Nice, You Idiots

A group of entitled, self-serving fame-seekers gather together to appear on a reality show, but they're never told what the show is actually about. As they perform arbitrary challenges, an unseen judge casts them off the show for reasons they must decipher. As they claw one another's eyes out, hurl epithets, and sabotage whatever they can, the last person standing is the one who is the least horrible. Instead of rewarding the most manipulative contestant, throw a bone to the one who might show a shred of selflessness.

It's Elementary

Filmed as non-invasively as possible, we'd watch a solid year in the life of an elementary school. The formula is not unfamiliar and has been used briefly in episodes of NHK's Broadcaster's Eye, parts of Jamie Oliver's Food Revolution, and even the epic Up series of documentaries. Kids are entertaining, whether they remind us of our mortality, smacking each other in the head, or are just being sad little freaks. Channel the funds right back into the school and you've got a recipe for a hilarious, touching series...with parental approval.

Real Stuntmen

The men and women who keep our precious, delicate celebrities safe never get the attention that they deserve. While Vin Diesel sits in his trailer painting his nails and eating escargot, some dude is jumping out of buildings in his place while Vinny gets all the credit. Stunt performers are injured regularly, and it seems like another performer dies every year. Take a look at this brave community and follow them through their victories and losses, and maybe shine a spotlight on someone who actually does some work for once. We're looking at you, Real Housewives of Anywhere. Get a job.

Zombie Survivor

Zombies are hot. Not dying is also hot. Assemble a group of strangers in a poorly-protected house and see how they survive a simulated zombie apocalypse. Instead of axes chopping through death-softened zombie skulls, substitute paintballs or lasers and you've got a show. Forget about organized challenges... just get the laziest doofus to stay up all night to watch for the undead incursion creeping through the bushes. Who wouldn't watch Big Brother if you knew the stars were probably going to die?