There is a television show that got some attention when it was first announced, but seems to have since faded from public memory.
That show is Gana la Verde, a title that loosely translates to “Win the Green.”
The concept of the show is this: A spanish-language Fear Factor, but instead of famewhores competing for $50,000, you have desperate illegal immigrants competing for a year’s worth of legal assistance to try and get a Green Card.
Doesn’t that sound like fun, kids? Yeah, not so much.
If you thought Fear Factor was a depressing reflection of the American obsession with reality television, you clearly haven’t seen this show.
I had the misfortune to catch a bit of an episode while I was waiting for my Tandoori chicken at my friendly local Indian restaurant. I’m not sure why it was on there, but it was.
It’s truly the most depressing thing I’ve ever seen. It makes Fear Factor look like fucking Shakespeare.
These people are so desperate to stay in this country where they make shitty wages at jobs most Americans wouldn’t touch with a 50-foot pole that they will eat a burrito filled with live worms.
And if you understand a moderate amount of Spanish, as I do, it’s even worse. The host gives people “encouragement” in the form of badgering them about never having to run from la migra again.
The saddest part of all of this is that Gana la Verde is one of the highest-rated shows in Los Angeles (currently the only place it airs, since it’s produced by a local station).
According to the show’s producers, there’s a mile-long contestant wait list. People actually watch this and aspire to be on it.
And if the person doesn’t win (or even if they do), they’ve basically sent out a big love letter to the INS saying “Hey, I’m an illegal immigrant! Come and get me!”
At least on Fear Factor, some dumbass’s 15 minutes of fame (for not sitting in a vat of live snakes for quite as long as the winner) aren’t going to result in his deportation.
It’s definitely the most twisted reflection of the American dream I’ve ever seen, and it makes me ashamed to work in the same medium as these fuckers.