The Virtual Reality Show!

As we’re aware, the newly-hatched Fort Smith Hometown TV channel is sorely in need of some original, innovative programming to balance out the mix of shows already airing. Well, we’ve got an entirely unique answer, something that is both humorous and…well, unusual.

First, let’s look at our idea for a promotional spot, probably just a 30 second affair but photographed as professionally as possible, as if this project really is breaking ground which, though the general public wouldn’t want to be standing on the ground in question when it is broken, should be presented as if it were important and vital to the survival of western civilization. This promo pretty much explains the entire concept of the show, but we’ll spell it out for you in big letters shortly afterward just in case you lack either a sense of humor or just a brain.

We open on a first-person perspective, a spectacular cinematic scene. The camera’s vantage point soars through the clouds (stock footage). Dark shapes form in the distance and then rapidly grow to fill the screen. They are large, easy-to-read letters, reading WHAT IS THE VIRTUAL REALITY SHOW?

Cut to a living room where a woman is sitting on her exer-cycle, with the “What is the Virtual Reality Show?” display on the TV set in front of her exer-cycle. She could be dazzlingly beautiful and sexy, or she could simply be a female resident of Fort Smith. She takes an impossibly enormous swig of Gatorade and gives the camera a smoldering stare, breathing “I watch the Virtual Reality Show on my exer-cycle” in a husky voice that should send chills racing through the nervous system of any men watching or listening (or, for that matter, any women watching or listening who happen to enjoy that sort of thing). The woman continues to give the camera that heart-stopping look and unleashes a belch that rattles the senses and causes some hearing damage to small animals.

Next, cut to another stunningly gorgeous lady on a ski-machine, her room arranged in much the same fashion as the previous shot, right down to the TV with the “Virtual Reality” screen. “I watch the Virtual Reality Show while I’m on my ski-machine,” the woman growls.

We now go to a fat, flabby man struggling to keep up with his treadmill (once again, situated in front of a television with the “Virtual Reality” logo on screen). He sputters, “I watch…the…Virtual Reality Show…while… while…” and then he slips and falls.

Cut quickly now to yet another bombshell, this time on a rowing machine in front of – you guessed it – a TV displaying “What is Virtual Reality Show?” She rows furiously as an authoritative and absolutely dead-serious announcer’s voice is heard: “Yes, it’s the Virtual Reality Show, a video vacation for those who need a little scenery for their morning workout!”

Very briefly, a shot of a fully grown adult man in blue pajamas with a red beach towel tied round his neck. He’s also wearing a World War II pilot’s cap and flight goggles, and is laying flat out on top of a coffee table in front of his “Virtual Reality”-displaying TV set with his arms stretched out in front of him, Superman-style. A fan atop his TV blows into his face at top speed, sending the cape flying. He’s obviously euphoric about doing this kind of thing and says “Wheeeeeeeee!” gleefully. This shot should be VERY quick, just long enough for the man to say “Wheeeeeeee!” (and do so gleefully).

Cut back to the clouds and “What is the Virtual Reality Show?” title. The title then breaks into tiny pieces, and the scene fades briefly to white. A quick fade from white into a different scene, such as a first-person drive down the interstate, or a first-person drive through a neighborhood in Fort Smith or something similarly domestic. Over this scene, the words THE VIRTUAL REALITY SHOW, Every Saturday Morning At 8 a.m. (or “Every Saturday Morning at 8 p.m.” if you really want the bastards to sit up and think for once) appear, with valiant, cheery, heroic-type music. The scene then shifts to a first-person perspective ride into a train tunnel. The headlight of an approaching train appears (simulated with the help of the ubiquitous Video Toaster) and becomes larger and larger, until there’s a bone-jarring crash and static appears briefly and fades out.

The concept of the Virtual Reality Show? Fairly simple, actually. A wild assortment of first-person camera shots of any kind. And the show will involve various members of the community, for we’ll rely on them to send us the kind of footage needed for the Virtual Reality Show. They could sit on the front end of a motorboat zipping across the Arkansas River, install a camera in a race car during a match at one of the otherwise useless raceways in the area, hike through the woods with the camera rolling, or perhaps take a canoe trip over the edge of Niagara Falls with camcorder in hand – the only vital element is a long stretch of steady first-person footage. Just get your exer-cycle, treadmill, ski-machine or Superman cape, and we’ll provide the scenery for your morning exercise!

The scene will change every three or four minutes via any number of odd transitions. Sudden blasts of light, or just a dissolve (which normally manages to not happen as one is driving down the highway), or perhaps that burst of wild colors that you get when ejecting a 3/4″ videotape while it’s playing. Some custom-shot scenes could also periodically pop up: a high-speed drive during which the “vehicle” appears to run down children, nuns, and Ken Rank; a reckless crash through a large plate-glass window which a couple of guys were trying to safely move across a street; stock medical footage of a trip down the mighty esophagus or other orifaces; crossing a tightrope at the circus and knocking a clown off, crushing his fingers as you go over them (this could cause the ski machine people some difficult existential traumas, however, as they try to sort out how they crossed a tightrope on skis); a sudden cut to a dizzying, vertigo inducing roller coaster ride; the aforementioned simulated train collision; stock footage from storm chasers driving alongside a tornado; attaching a camera to a bungee cord and dropping it off the Garrison Avenue bridge or the First National Bank building downtown; the trench scene from Star Wars (or better yet, the speeder bike forest sequence from Return of the Jedi); the first-person moon rover films from the later Apollo missions…the possibilities are endless, and, in many instances, pointless. But who’s keeping score?

The opening of each show would be a generic introduction, only shot once or twice. It would feature a very dignified, distinguished-looking, tuxedo-clad gentleman saying to the camera, “Welcome to the Virtual Reality Show.” Then the camera would appear to mow him down at top speed as a transition to the first bit of first-person footage. If need be, this same host can reappear at the end of each show (again, a generic shot), covered with tire tracks and basically looking as if he’s just been run over, to groan “Thank you for watching the Virtual Reality Show, and be sure to tune in tomorrow!”

If we can’t get William Shatner or Leslie Nielsen to do the opening remarks, I would recommend someone with a sense of humor, or perhaps just a resident of Fort Smith who can squeeze into a tux.

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