I derive a great deal of inspiration whenever I'm around my friends. This week's brilliant idea revolved around hobos, hobodom, and reality TV shows.
"Survivor" is a hugely popular reality TV show in which a group of contestants are stranded in an isolated location and have to "survive." Hobos have been surviving for years, isolated in the midst of a society that largely turns a blind eye toward them. Why not provide them the opportunity to prove their survival skills while at the same time offering them a chance at a more inclusive role in society?
There are very few television programs that focus on hobos, and even fewer reality shows (by my count, zero). There are hobos all over, yet they make up a very small percentage of the characters on TV. I don't recall ever seeing a hobo on "Friends," although I might be mistaken. (After all, they did get around to showing black people when Ross had that one girlfriend who wasn't Rachel, his student, the bald girl, or the Asian girl.) So why not better represent hobos and their culture with their own reality television show?
With the ranks of the homeless bolstered by each foreclosure and loan default, there is an ever-growing contestant pool for hobo reality shows. How about "The Hobo Real World?" This is the true story of seven hobos, picked to live in an alley, and have their lives taped to find out what happens when hobos stop being polite and start being real. It is easy to imagine the accusations of who is hooking up with whom in whose sleeping box and who is taking dumps in the communal space, and still this show does not exist. Yet. Besides, the production budget would be phenomenally low and it is extremely difficult to have walkouts. Where could they go? To another alley? Most conceivably. To a house? Not very much likely.
Their limited means can often force hobos to be creative with whatever they have at hand, be it cardboard boxes and styrofoam trays or yesterdays leftovers. And hobos just have a flair for fashion with their distressed, post-apocalyptic,'90s grunge-look. It is surprising that fashionistas have not tapped more into hobo culture in developing the next big look. A little "Project Alleyway" or "America's Next Top Hobo" would do much to propel hobo couture into the limelight.
Hobos are simply fascinating with often engaging personal stories and cautionary histories. They are ripe for entertainment and deserve people's attention, so why not put them on the television? Give them a chance to regain their dignity and earn the respect of society by making them the stars their own shows, like "Jersey Hobos" and "The Real Hobo Housewives of Orange County." On second thought, perhaps they are better off where they are.
Other hobo reality TV shows conceived but not used in this article:
America's Hobos Got Talent
Dancing With the Hobos
Homeless Eye for the Homebound Guy
Top Hobo Chef