February 8, 2003
The Real Amir
People, especially bitter LA actors, constantly say reality shows are the death of TV. Well, I did a little unscientific study about how much they're really "taking over". In one week, there were 12 primetime reality shows on the major networks. Seem like a lot? I don't think so. Basically, out of about 105 hours of network primetime (5 networks, 3 hrs, 7 days), 12 were reality. About 10%! Now take into account that cable networks like HBO, TNT, MTV, and Lifetime also create plot-driven programming. So calm down, people. My friend Kevin E. West once told me that bitter, unsuccessful people will always look for reasons outside themselves for their lack of success. Not me, I just keep plugging.
When I moved to LA, my friend Sarah said her big dream was for me to be on a dating-reality show, preferably Blind Date. No way, I said. But a couple weeks ago, E! reality programming called. They wanted me and 50 other men and women to interview with an E! personality and possibly date one for a reality show. I thought, well that might be OK, because it'd be more embarrassing for the "personality" than for me.
An hour after I get there, we finally get inside. The form says "The Anna Nicole Show". Oh my God. They're trying to set me up with the insane and humongous Anna Nicole Smith. At least, that's what it seems - they won't tell us for sure.
A man-on-the-street interviewer (who I actually sense is more important) asks potential applicants questions outside. "Excited to be here? What do you think is going on?" Most people are unamused actors giving sleepy or fake enthusiastic answers. I say, "I think that we're gonna go in there, and Anna's gonna judge our talent, sort of an American Anna Nicole Idol. We sing, and depending on how well we do, she'll either whine 'That was awful!' or 'I wanna have sex with you!'. But I really wanna score a date with her lesbian assistant -- anyone who says 'yeah, I wanna spend every day of my life with Anna Nicole' has to be a little wacked out." The guy is laughing his butt off, and makes sure I won't leave. Um, sure, whatever.
4 HOURS LATER, I finally get into the interview. The only reason I stayed so long was that I knew Sarah would wanna hear the story. I get in, and it's not even Anna! It's her cheesy lawyer / "boyfriend" guy. He looks like he hasn't bathed / slept in a week. "Amir, I'm sure you can understand I'm really protective of Anna, so I have to interview everyone personally." Sure. "Ever been convicted of a crime?"
"Other than marijuana, done any illegal drugs since 2001?"
"No drugs, ever."
"Ever hit a woman?"
I bust out laughing. "No! BWAHAHAHAHAHA!! No!" But he's not laughing. "I'm sorry, that's just such a ludicrous notion to me. No, I've never."
"Well, I just have to ask."
"Sure, sorry bout that"
"Are you doing this for financial gain?"
"Huh? I thought it was a silly date. No, that didn't even occur to me."
"You don't think it'll help your acting career?"
"Do you? No, I doubt it would do anything other than make people know me as the tiny man Anna Nicole sat on." OK I didn't really say it like that.
"So why are you doing it?"
"…I have no idea. Maybe it would just be interesting."
"Would you ever do an interview about Anna?"
"Sure, I'd be happy to."
"What if she didn't want you to?"
"Oh, well, if she told me something in private, or whatever, I wouldn't betray her confidence."
"What if they offered you a million dollars?"
"Yeah, it'd be pretty hard to turn down a million bucks."
"OK, then we're done."
As the outside interviewer guy walks me out the bldg, I tell him I probably screwed myself by telling the truth, but ah well. "No you didn't, Amir. You told the truth; that's important. You're a really cool, interesting guy with a lot of personality - keep doing what you're doing, and you'll definitely go far. I direct a lot of TV. (He rattles off a bunch of shows). I haven't walked anyone out today except you, and I just wanted to tell you: keep doing what you're doing, keep me informed of what you're up to, and we'll definitely see each other again.."
How random and cool! I have no idea what will ever come of this, but I guess it wasn't a complete waste of time. Wow, long journal entry. Well, keep it real, y'all.