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The Osbournes' Legacy: 13 More Music-Related Reality Shows

By now, unless you've been living on Mars, you've heard about The Osbournes, MTV's reality-sitcom about Ozzy Osbourne, his wife, his disturbingly ill-mannered children, their dogs and...well, various hangers-on. In addition to being the funniest intentionally-humorous thing MTV has produced in years, it is -- like most of the music network's reality programs -- a grand opportunity for the rest of us to feel a little bit better about our lot in life. Most of us are not rich rock stars -- but we also don't have Ozzy's kids. Seems like a fair trade.

Naturally, the buzz surrounding The Osbournes has inspired MTV to green-light a healthy slew of additional rock-related reality shows, most of which are on a par with typical MTV ideas -- we're talking twaddle like Brandy Goes to the Hair Stylist. In the interest of proving that quality television isn't an oxymoron, we've taken the liberty of developing a few shows of our own, which we think will be far more entertaining...

Jackass II: The Icarus Line:
Aaron, Joe and their bandmates engage in a series of wacky stunts -- jumping off houses, setting their pants on fire, smashing Hard Rock Cafe display cases, etc. -- designed to divert your attention away from their music.

Screaming Infidelities:
Each week, Dashboard Confessional's Chris Carrabba is locked in a hotel room with twelve love-struck and very willing female fans. Here's the catch: only one of them is of legal age. Or at least that's what the ID she showed us says. Oh, and did we mention that the show takes place in Utah?

Crash Course:
Many of your favorite punk and indie rockers live separate, productive lives ensconced in the protective embrace of academia -- in other words, they're college professors. In Crash Course, we bring both worlds together. Each week, it's musical matriculation time, as we invite a band's fans to fill out the empty seats in a rocker-cum-professor's classroom, where they holler song titles and generally act like they're at a show. Which of your favorite punk rock profs will take it in stride, and which of them will crack?

Robert Pollard presents: Alcohol:
In this reverent eighteen-part series directed by Ken Burns, Uncle Bob takes a long, loving and eventually slightly blurry look at (and drink of) firewater in its many, many forms. See Bob drink fermented yak's milk with nomadic tribesmen in Morocco, pound beers with the Nördvik craftsman-monks of Iceland, match a Moldovan mafia boss vodka shot for vodka shot, pound beers with the cast of a Korean drag revue, inject pure grain alcohol into his left eyeball as part of an obscure Masonic rite, pound beers with former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, and attempt to break the world breathholding record inside the largest vat at Budweiser's flagship brewing facility. See Ken Burns get liquored on one glass of white zinfandel!

Road Rules: Mekons Edition:
Finally, a show with more bleeped-out phrases than The Osbournes! Watch as six fresh-faced young people attempt to drive across America in an RV with Jon Langford and Sally Timms. At first, they'll be charged with completing a different "challenge" each week -- only to abandon them when Langford and Timms refuse to go along with "this fucking idiotic concept." After that, it's basically eight episodes of Timms and Langford telling their youthful passengers, in no uncertain words, "what fucking cretinous, slack-jawed, trend-aping c*nts (they) are." The kids retalliate with passive-agressive "confessionals".

Being Gerard Cosloy:
It's anything goes as cameras follow Matador Records lynchpin and well-known sociopath Gerard Cosloy wherever he goes. Seriously, that's the whole joke. It's high-concept stuff.

BattleBills:
Two audience members compete, playing booking agents for rival all-ages venues. Their goal: book a four band bill with the most inappropriate and ill-considered mix of acts possible, and score points for every fight that breaks out in the audience -- or on stage. In the premiere, see what happens when Of Montreal, Nashville Pussy, Pedro the Lion and Merzbow play the same bill at Atlanta's 40 Watt Club, while Elisabeth Elmore, Kid 606, NoFX and Jim and Jennie and the Pinetops share a stage at Boston's Middle East.

Mission: Impossible:
Our "contestants" in this six-part series are four up-and-coming bands whose albums are being worked by high-end public relations firms like Girlie Action and Nasty Little Man. The groups must first launch an online or print zine, and then attempt to convince their PR firm to send them a copy of their own record. The show's downbeat ending tested poorly, so it's being re-cut to emphasize the comedy angle.

Say a Prayer for My Demo:
Every week, we follow the path of an unsigned band's demo. You'll watch as each disc goes from a band member's home to the offices of Touch and Go records, and from there, unopened, into a landfill in Chicago's far south suburbs.

Big Producer:
Ten well-known indie producers and recording engineers -- yes, including Steve Albini -- are locked in a state of the art recording studio for six weeks, during which time they must resist the temptation to produce a track for a high-profile major label act with more money than talent. Each week the band makes a bigger and better offer. Will your favorite producers hang onto their cred or take the cash? Features John Croslin, J. Robbins, Brian Deck, John McEntire, Brian McTernan, Jim O'Rourke, Albini and others.

Inside Chan Marshall:
Screw The Osbournes -- Cat Power's Chan Marshall has more personalities than the whole Osbourne clan, and you'll get to know all of 'em in this eight-part series! We wired Chan Marshall's one-bedroom apartment with more than a hundred microphones and hidden cameras, so all of America can laugh along as she sits in a chair, mutters to herself, talks to her cats and writes more of those critically-lauded songs.

Spring Break 2003, featuring Jenny Toomey and Ian MacKaye:
Okay, we're cheating a bit with this one, but we're counting on Toomey and MacKaye to keep it real at MTV's annual spring revels. Broadcasting live from the MTV Beach House in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, and surrounded by more than two thousand alcohol-crazed college kids, Toomey and MacKaye present a lively mixture of buzzworthy videos, outrageous stunts, public nudity and thought-provoking political discourse. Sarah Dougher, Corin Tucker and Yo La Tengo's Ira Kaplan file additional reports from Tijuana, South Padre and Daytona Beach.

Iron Tour Chef:
Each week, your favorite bands compete to see who can devise the most interesting and creative recipes, using only ingredients that can be purchased at 3:00 a.m. from a gas station convenience store.

-- The Splendid Staff

Think you're some sort of clever boots? Why not send us your damn list? Come up with a creative topic and make certain to include artist, title, and label information. If we use your list, we'll send you some sort of prize...most likely a Splendid t-shirt. Or not, if you'd rather we don't.

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