Walking into a Reality Show

Dropping off some drycleaning I saw some velour track-suited women, cell-phones in hand, a TV camera pointed at them entering the nail salon: the Kardashians. I know they have a reality show on TV which I’ve never seen, and I know that their step-father is Bruce Jenner, and I do have fond memories of his Wheaties box gracing my breakfast table as a kid (and the OJ trial reference as well). I’m pretty sure these ladies do nothing all day but get their hair and nails done, and Isa was curious about the large camera, so two signed- waivers later, Isa is at the manicurist’s table, and I am trying to sit somewhere so I am not in the shot, and the reality camera is rolling.
Bruce Jenner’s wife comes in with a round of hellos. There’s a lot of cell- phone usage, and the apparent planning of a wedding, and some seemingly-pseudo arguments about candles for said wedding, but no one seems to have the energy to really pull a ‘contentious moment’ together. I realize quickly that there is no witty banter, no clever repartee, and after thirty minutes not a single person has made another crack a smile, let alone laugh. These people are all about talking about objects: candles, appointments, polish, bikinis, clothes. It’s enough to make one feel sleepy.
I find myself unwittingly in many of the shots, so I do just that, prop my hand against my cheek, and close my eyes. No, I’m not getting my nails done. The old lady across from me is visibly agitated by the scene; however, and keeps waking me up to get my thoughts on the matter.
Her manicurist is the boss, or owner perhaps, and she’s made him move to the back chair, so she’s away from the action. She’s loudly complaining about the liability of letting these people in here. In a soft tone, the Vietnamese man gently tells her that it’s okay, he knows them, that they are good, decent customers, so he agreed to the filming.
“But what about liability?” she howled in his ear and then looked at me to make sure I was listening.
We all looked over at the four women getting their nails done, with a camera pointed at them.
The manicurist spoke in his softest tone.
“Really, I think it will be OK. I don’t foresee a problem.”
The old lady shifted in her seat and harrumphed and mumbled something about whether anyone had insurance or not. I was hoping someone would point the camera at her. Then she waved at me again and yelled, “I can’t BUFF! They won’t let me BUFF!”
She gesticulated her red nails everywhere and the poor nail salon owner/manager winced.
“They won’t BUFF ME because the machine is too loud because THEY are in here!”
I felt sad for the nail salon people, proudly displaying their Pamela Anderson signed photos next to their health certificates. I realized I had nothing to offer Isa on the Bruce Jenner connection, and we took our leave. I told her maybe if we watched the episode and she could see how the editing process whittled that down to three minutes (or added a fake storyline that never happened) could help her see how reality TV worked. But, we won’t watch it. Transformers Anime; however, has Isa hooked!

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