photo manipulation by nacrowe
years ago i spent a week the summer before i started graduate school at childhood friend's place in MONTREAL. what a gorgeous enchanted city, especially during the summertime. i'd never been to CANADA, only made fun of it my entire waking life at that point. besides eating smoked meat late night at the famous SCHWARTZ'S DELI and hanging out with my friend's peers and acquaintances, what i remember most fondly is watching this reality show KENNY VS. SPENNY (CBC, 2003-2010) on repeat.
it blew my mind.
first off, i hate REALITY TV as a matter of principal. i just feel that they are mindless dribble and the worst kind of voyeurism since they elevate attention-seeking cretins hungry for 10 minutes of celebrity. but this was different. the show is basically two friends (KENNY HOTZ and SPENCER RICE) that have a competition each week. they agree on a challenge and then the person that loses said competition gets humiliated by the other at the end of the show. KENNY is basically the devil incarnate, always trying to find loopholes to the rules and taking advantage of his friend SPENCER, who is likewise a stand-up yet gullible figure. some of these competitions are brutal, such as:
this show was on network television (CBC no less) and it was easily, scripted or not (i still dont know), the most mean-spirited thing i have seen on television to date. for the DEAD OCTOPUS episode KENNY slips SPENCER LSD and convinces him that he is being chased, resulting in SPENCER lying in a fetal position crying for help. for the KISSING THE MOST WOMEN episode KENNY decides to kiss SPENCER's sister in front of him. for the 10 MILE RACE episode KENNY knew SPENCER was more athletic so he got him away from the track where they were to race at a predetermined time by having SPENCER's mom convince her son that she got cancer and needed him at the hospital. the cruelty is absolutely boundless on this show, which blew me away because its CANADIAN. out of 80+ episodes i must have watched 50 over a few days. i was obsessed.
it was a weird trip because at some point on television there was a televised debate for some public office where one candidate said to the other that he "disagreed intensely based on firm principles." it was so CANADIAN because they didn't demean one another. fast forward a few nights of watching KENNY VS SPENNY and my opinion of CANADIANS has permanently shifted. plus deep down i know im more SPENCER than KENNY, sadly.
im telling you, this is the most debased, depraved, irredeemably cruel show i've ever watched. I TOTALLY RECOMMEND IT.