I've said it before and I'll say it again – when on a reality show you really need to consider your actions, you have to believe that the show is going to be edited to heighten the drama, attitude, and emotion at every point possible. Consequently, reality contestants have to know that if they say or do one stupid thing for one second on the show, that's how they'll be remembered… that is for as long as they're remembered at all.
I think people on reality TV forget this, after all, it's an easy thing to forget. However, even if you don't forget the rule, it can still be hard to monitor your words and deeds to such a degree every second of the day. However, I'd like to provide you today with a case in point of why that's necessary.
Look for a moment, if you will, at Jennifer Hoffman, up until last night a contestant on The Amazing Race. Jennifer didn't have a particularly good season, and won't be remembered very well at all. Looking back on her trip, there are four moments where her actions will be memorable, and none are flattering.
First, towards the beginning of the race, we learned that Jennifer had neglected to put on underwear. She was required to run around in her skivvies for that leg though so the producers supplied her with a loaner pair. I'm pretty sure that she won't be happy to be remembered as "the contestant who went without panties" down the line.
Several weeks later she got into a big fight with Luke, who is deaf. Now, obviously Luke was partially at fault in that fight, but we as a society tend to reduce things as much as we can to aid in our remembering them. So, for that incident, Jennifer could be remembered as "the one who picked a fight with a deaf kid." Again, not the way she'll want to be remembered.
Last week, Jennifer broke down into hysterics when she was required to swim – something she can't do. The show was very happy to provide her with a life vest and she has to be able to swim a little because she jumped off a diving board without it, but she was still hugely upset about it. She spent so much time crying that she put her and her sister well behind the other teams, they only didn't get eliminated because the leg was twice as long as usual. It's not quite as unflattering, but there she's "the one who cried about having to swim."
Then there was last night. Jennifer and her sister had managed – against all odds – to pull themselves out of last place. They had completed all the tasks they needed to do and arrived at the leg's Pit Stop, all that remained for them was to step on the mat to be checked-in. That didn't happen, instead, Jennifer decided that she had to go to the bathroom so badly that it took precedence over finishing the leg of the race. She knew the other team was right behind them but she didn't care. She went to the bathroom and then went on to elimination as the other team passed her while she was in the porta-potty. "The one who lost because she had to pee."
I have no reason to think that Jennifer is anything but a nice, wonderful, caring, decent, fully-clothed human being with an ample sized bladder. However, that's not how she'll be remembered. If there's ever another Amazing Race: All-Stars and she's on it, we all know what the other contestants will remember about her, after all, she's "the one who made a pit stop on the way to the Pit Stop and cost herself and her sister a million dollars."
If you ever go on a reality show, please consider your legacy, otherwise I'm just going to end up having to feel bad for you too.