Dear God: please let me be cool enough for U8TV. I have big boots. I am sarcastic, and the items on my Visa bill prove that I am not, a person, but a marketing focus group.
They just have to take me.
I've been seeing the ads for weeks, urging me to "Quit your damn job and live for a living" and audition for U8TV, the latest --Canadian -- reality-based TV/Internet show.
Eight "hip" people will live and work together for a year in a loft, be filmed 24/7 and be given fake jobs working for a fake TV show, but hopefully will not have to fake sex, since The Whole World Is Watching. The Survivor summer catchphrase of "You're so off the island" will be revamped into the more urban "You're so off the cocaine."
"I think everybody is borderline unhappy with their own lives, so they like watching other people make a piss-up of theirs," says one hopeful loftee cheerfully.
Hmm... piss-up of my life. Loft. I can do that. That's why I've joined the Refugee Camp of the Cute at the Toronto casting call. The sign says "TV Star auditions." Hey, that's me.
I pull up fashionably late, at noon, only to discover that some of the legions of the so-called cool are engaged in a full-on sing-along of More Than Words and Lean On Me, which I think disqualifies them immediately.
Get crush In anticipation of the up-to-six- hour wait, I get into an intense discussion with my line-mate Andy about what we'd do if we develop a crush on one of our fellow lofters.
"I'd try to keep it a secret," she says. "Which would be hard because the cameras would be everywhere." She pauses thoughtfully. "Then I'd fuck his brains out."
I meet a guy in a suit who tells me he should be on TV because he's really cool, is from Pickering, loves Pearl Jam and is going to strip for the producers; someone named Kitty who groans that she just wants somewhere to live; a guy who complains that he's just lonely, since he doesn't live with his mom any more; and a terribly beautiful Gap ad lad who writes terrible poetry. Whatever. I am so beating all of them.
"I'm hungry," I moan after two hours. "Being a lofter is hard." But my plaintive mews of "We're lofters, we need sushi" are met with little response.
You wait. You just wait until I'm a star.
The line, however, provides a sneak preview of the kind of stoner pillow talk viewers will be privy to on the show. We debate the relative merits of various Vice magazine articles on how to give head, ponder whether a woman has to break 30 to be considered a cougar and argue about whose three desert island items are the best. (Mine: journal for writing, newspaper for reading, vibrator for... conversation.)
My audition "Straight up, I'm telling you. Chicken," one guy pronounces. "I'd take a lifetime supply of chicken. I l-ooo-ve chicken."
"Being hip is boring," a girl sighs.
"And a knife. I'd take a knife to cut my chicken. I'm going to eat my chicken. Mmmm, chicken."
Three hours later and I'm finally led up to the door of an empty movie theatre for my audition.
"Omigosh," I hiss. "This is just like Broadway!"
It's producer Zev Shalev himself and two of his clique that I get to perform for.
"I only want to live with cute people," I warn them immediately as I stare sweetly into the camera.
"Oh, you will," Zev assures me.
Improv time: Zev tells me Stockwell Day is coming to visit me in the loft and I have to find some common ground. I make expected gagging sound, which is better, I imagine, than most responses, which were various shades of "Who?"
"I don't think I have any common ground," I decide finally. "But I like his muscles."
"Stockwell is at the loft. You have to get him to show you his muscles. How are you going to do it?"
I propose: 1) coy "Show me your muscles, Stocky Rocky", 2) dousing him with shower head, and 3) molestation.
I also have to do a scene from Almost Famous and tell them about the time I played a border guard in a lesbian porno flick.
Oh, it's in the bag. Now all I have to do is wait for the callbacks in October, and then I'll be professionally fabulous. (Perhaps will have clothing endorsements. Note to self: get shoes, too.)
I leave, my face flushed in a blaze of glory, and pass my unlucky chicken-sucking comrades outside. They press me for details. "What did they make you do?"
Oh, wouldn't you like to know....