REALITY TV: North Saskatchewan Shore?

The Boss Life.

You’ve seen this, right?

I’m sure you’ve seen it, but I hadn’t until a couple of days ago, because all I do is watch William Powell movies and reruns of Masterpiece Theatre. Now, after repeated viewing, it haunts my very dreams. From what I can tell it’s a trailer from last year for a proposed reality tv show out of Edmonton called The Boss Life, put together by a group of kids raised on a strict regimen of Jersey Shore and L’il Wayne. I can only guess this even though I’ve never actually seen an episode of Jersey Shore – only an endlessly looped gif of Snooki being punched out by some guy at the bar.

I watched that for ten minutes straight, and now I’m pretty sure I can pass myself off as an expert on the series. The Boss Life I’m not so sure about. There are admittedly unplumbed depths to the central characters of Blayze, Quin, Zac, Kaylan, Lindsay, Kurt and Fabricio as they live the dream in Edmonton. Unplumbed because they don’t seem to do much of anything, really, just primp at the hotel, drink, walk around with shirts off, go to the one or two bars where they can feel like they live in New York or L.A., and that’s about it.

Enough for a tv series? Damn straight, kids; this is the era we live in, the age when we can all be stars, and don’t let anybody tell you different.

Now, you might think that all of this is a preamble to a broadside against empty celebrity and the vacuity of pop culture, but it isn’t! I approve of this shift in our thinking, applaud it even. If I had my way, everyone would get their own country music record deal, and those who felt their lives demanded minute observation would have cameras following them 24/7. But not me – I would write about it.

That’s my part of the deal and I gladly sit here in front of the keyboard to do it, in the hope that at least one of the seven friends that make up The Boss Life crew get their wish, which is to become celebrities just for being themselves. We all need something to strive for, after all, and what could be finer, more brilliant than a life devoted to pleasure and hedonism? Rimbaud and Verlaine are still celebrated for this lifestyle, and who’s to say that Blayze and Fabricio aren’t, in their own way, poets?

Arthur William Edgar O’Shaughnessy once observed that “We are the music makers/We are the dreamers of dreams,” but what could he possibly know of such things? Did he ever drink Grey Goose from the bottle? Throw twenties in the air? Grind against a girl to Ludacris or Gorilla Zoe? Lovingly run gel through his hair as he considered the mystery of the night, and where it would bring him?

No; against the budding stars of The Boss Life he was simply a loser, just another useless artifact from the past, and it’s the future we need to speak of. The future will be like going to a ten-year-old’s Christmas play, except it will happen every single day, and you’ll be forced to stand around dingy auditoriums drinking RC Cola listening to someone sing to backing tapes of Creed. It will be like watching your neighbor’s vacation slides from Lloydminster, or an endless video they shot of a mountain goat they saw outside Banff. It will be like going on a long drive and discovering that you only have one Night Ranger album to listen to, and it’s not one with any of their hits. Which would probably be worse.

Or maybe, just maybe, Zac from The Boss Life will retire after years as a public school teacher, or manager of the Safeway meat department, and he’ll regale his youngest daughter with stories about the brief period when he and his crew ruled Edmonton like young, conquering heroes, back when everything and anything was possible.

He’ll smile to himself in remembrance and add that if she ever brings home anyone like his old friend Fabricio, he’ll kick his ass.