I’ve been at it again; throwing myself into yet another socially atrocious situation involving the movement of my body in ways I don’t want it to move. I attempted to swallow my introvert by letting my extravert out for a little run around with some whacky strangers. But I have a feeling they weren’t sold on my inability to scream enthusiastically about lameness.
That is in the description for The Almost Impossible Gameshow on Digital Spy, so I knew the audition for it was going to make me feel physically ill. I wanted to go in there and pretend to be someone I’m not – be a character of some sort to push myself through it – but the whole experience ended up being an internal battle with the judgemental side of myself against myself.
We were told to dress to represent our personality with an aim to stand out in the high energy crowd of serial TV-show-audition-folk. Some people had attended previous auditions as “The Cookie Monster” or “Superwoman” (sigh) and it had been a long time since I had been invited to an environment where elaborate costumes and hyperactivity were welcomed alongside each other without a punch bowl.
I didn’t want to go in there looking like a plain-clothed wally, so I made a bit of an effort by clashing as many colours as possible and pairing my Nikes with some dungarees. Totally cute, right?
When I arrived I was sent through to what looked and felt like a greenhouse to grow humans; a large room with a glass ceiling and tennis court floors. There was plenty of room for activities in the giant sweat pit that welcomed the summer afternoon sun like an old friend.
The crowd was full of attention-seeking, class-clown types. Flawless skin and unbroken spirits indicated that majority of them were younger than me, and flirtatiousness and Starbucks cups indicated I was among a big bunch of drama students. There also seemed to be an abundance of gorgeous young girls in Lycra, which made me realise my dungarees weren’t as cute as I originally thought.
I tried to make friends with one of the few weirdos who looked to be closer to my age even though she complained a lot and her skin was Oompa Loompa orange. But unfortunately every time I tried to speak to her about grown up things – like the temperature of the room – it just seemed to confuse her.
“It’s so hot in here, isn’t it.”
“Does it? When?”
I instantly gave up on her and went back to people watching while we waited for our group leader to come and lead us. We had been split into four groups of about thirty and the gymnasium sauna was really loud so grandma ears (that’s me) only caught bits and pieces of what she said.
“I wanna hear cheering and songs… We just want to see how much fun you are… You’ll be forced to scream and yell.”
I crawled into the imaginary shell on my back and made a cup of tea to calm myself.
They wanted us to push ourselves because “only a select few” would be chosen to go through to the second round. This instantly put a competitive edge on it even though no one was competing directly against each other. I was now making an afternoon of it and serving myself scones and cream in my shell.
One was called something like “schlong belt” and its vulgar name made me uncomfortable let alone the demand of hip-thrusting while wearing it.
Another was called “dizzy spin” or something; apparently it’s a classic which involves spinning around ten times before successfully carrying a tray without anything on it falling over.
Then there was this jumping jiggling game where five pedometers were attached to a person’s body and they had to shake around like an epileptic to get the step counts as high as possible.
I wanted nothing to do with any of those activities and I still thank whoever was watching over me that day for giving me the last activity which involved sticking my hand in random cardboard boxes until I found the “electric” shock. My dad used to keep us from leaving the yard with electric fences, so this was nothing new to me.
Every person completed one of the four tasks and unsurprisingly there was an unhealthy amount of screaming and cheering-on of people doing weird shit. I did participate as much as my personal disposition would allow. I didn’t actually want to get through to the second stage, but I knew it would make me feel good if I did get through.
And guess what. I got through.
We all did.
They tricked us.
They told us only some people would get through so that everyone would go full-blast berserk.
I felt like a darned sucker.
So then we all had to wait around for another 2 hours while they put 100 people through the one-on-one interview stage.
Well a lot of other people waited. I was long-toothed enough to know you can always make up excuses to be put first in line. So I did that and I was outta there, back to the real world wearing my dungarees.
Less than a week later I heard back that I had been shortlisted. And I felt about as honoured as a I did all those years of receiving participation trophies for school sport. As if everyone wasn’t shortlisted. Anyone can do the grotesque stuff they are asking people to do at their own expense.
I had an opportunity to go on the show but decided against it. Not because I’m scared of the blatant ridicule contestants are going to endure, but because their deceiving selection process kind of pissed me off. I’m a real person, with real feelings, man.
Plus there was no prize and the whole concept seemed ludicrous. This is how I politely declined.