If you’ve stared incredulously at a TV screen some time in the last 10 years, you’ll know how all-pervasive reality television has become. No longer some kind of tenuous experiment into human psychology, reality TV has now become the core of television production. A vast number of us decide to relax and be entertained by watching the heiress of a hotel fortune vomit into her handbag after one too many Ambiens.
One of my favourite comedians, Patton Oswalt, did a bit a few years ago on just how deep we’re delving into the arsehole that is reality TV, to the point where we use up all the reality to the point we end up in a reality-less white void. And it’s funny because it’s true.
During a drunken foray into Amazon to probably find either a book on embarassing reproductive diseases or dumb criminals (both are regular searches), I stumbled on one specific nugget of gold: UnPHILtered: The Way I See It, the biography by Phil Robertson, the patriarch of the ever-loved Duck Dynasty series.
If you’re not too sure what exactly Duck Dynasty is, let me put it simply: four men with what appear to be dead animals glued to their respective faces get drunk, shoot rifles, scream at each other and try to avoid assaulting their wives while the cameras are on them. There’s some subplot about the family getting rich from duck calling devices, but that’s really secondary to all the low-grade, violent drama going on.
Now, Amazon is absolutely full of books that don’t generally matter to society, ranging from Coolio’s Cookbook to erotic fiction about being milked by a cow. Yes, if you’re a pervert who also harbors really obscure interests like fondling lion’s testicles or, y’know, just jungle fever, Amazon has it for you. And you know what? If you feel that you need 55 gallons of lube, I’m not gonna judge you. What shits me about UnPhiltered is that a), it’s enormously popular, b) the publishers felt the need to put out a book about a guy who invented a duck caller for some reason, and c) It’s not even fucking written by him. See that “with Mark Schlabach” at the bottom? Sound like a ghostwriter much? God knows it’s hard to write a book about yourself. when you’re beard blocks most of your peripheral vision and your buzzed on pure ethanol all the time.
Anyway, that book piqued my interest in other reality TV spin-off products and, my god, does that rabbit hole go deep. If you don’t know who Farrah Abraham is, it’s probably time to get aquainted, because even if your a Nazi sympathizing dog killer, she’ll probably make you feel better about yourself. The standout star of MTV’s Teen Mom – obviously the pinnacle of conscious thought and ethics in television – Abraham has become a walking, talking, fucking-in-front-of-a-camera-ing caricature of celebrity excess.
Farrah Abraham is definitely the author of and definitely not just the commercial vehicle to sell My Teenage Dream Ended, the story that led to her humiliating herself on national television. As well as being a terrible title for a book, My Teenage Dream Ended kind of skews the fact that the book’s more or less about Abraham getting knocked up and her boyfriend sadly passing away, and how unfortunately common that kind of thing is.
“I got off the phone and I tried to calm down, but my mind was racing. Derek was the father of the baby I was carrying inside me. He was my first love, my only true love. We hadn’t spoken in more than two months, but crazily I had still hoped we had a future together—me, him, and our baby, as one happy family. It’s every teenage girl’s dream, isn’t it? You meet a boy, you fall in love, and then one day you have a family and grow old together, happily ever after.”
“But no, Farrah Abraham!” God shouts from the sky. “You are destined for so much more! Your llife must be ruined to a certain extent to ensure that you lose your mind, sell your soul to a corporate machine and forever be known as that girl who used her illegitimate kid to try and get famous. Oh, and you also have to film a sex tape with a famous porn star, and then deny that it was intended for public release before accusing the distributor of sexual harassment.”
Abraham made a sex tape with man-of-the-skinflick James Deen a little while ago. Now, I’m not a complete expert on the porn industry, but I think it’s pretty clear that when you let yourself be filmed having sex with a porn star, you have to expect it’s gonna go public. Her constant denials of that notion have made her seem slightly more crazy, but not as much as the time she accused the company involved, Vivid, of drugging her and allowing her to be raped. Now, as serious and obviously tragic such allegations may be, many sources have called bullshit on the story, including her own family and friends. So I have no real trouble in lumping it in with the cocktail of batshit insanity that is this poor girl’s life. I’m not going to link any of the porn stuff here, because honestly the idea of it makes me sick, but it’s not too hard to find if you get boners from sadness.
But if you really want to explore the nuances of Abraham’s exciting life, you have to dive in to the accompanying My teenage Dream Ended album. If you’ve never heard the trials and tribulations of teenage pregnancy through the voice of a malfunctioning, cough syrup-addicted robot, then this is probably the CD for you. In all seriousness, hearing someone express all their ennui through autotuned and completely surreal stream-of-consciousness rambling on top of awful, awful dubstep is something I’d been hoping to avoid for the majority of my life, but here this is. Want to know about the phone call that changed her life? How about how she felt after prom? No, either do I, but at least acknowledge that this exists for some reason.