Arthur Smith

Assistant Curator

April 18, 2011

An Open Letter to the Producers of the Royal Wedding

by Arthur Smith

Britain’s long-running reality series The Royal Family is making a naked grab for ratings with a much-hyped upcoming wedding episode. Not since the Crown Prince shockingly married a transvestite has this beloved (if beleaguered) hit enjoyed such deafening buzz (the tragic death of his lovely first wife occurred long after she had left the series for her equally popular Sex and the City spin-off Princess Be Trippin’), and clearly the opportunity to revivify this moribund franchise can’t be missed. We at the Paley Center have analyzed the most popular and effective reality programming tropes and present these suggestions, free of charge, to that fading network across the Atlantic.

1) Crying on the phone
Scenes of Real World or America’s Next Top Model castmates sobbing into a receiver in a small closet are reliable sympathy generators. Plebeians alienated by the fabulous wealth and privilege enjoyed by Prince William and Kate Middleton may warm to the precious lil’ aristocrats if you include a sequence of Kate sobbing “They’re a bunch of b*tches here and they all hate me and I want to come home!” Cut to Wills gazing at her with soulful concern and you’re golden.

2) Elimination ceremonies
The wedding will be the hottest ticket of the year, so why not set a group of delusional fame seekers against each other with a series of inane tasks, awarding tickets to the ceremony to the winners? Losers will be sent to the Tower of London with a withering “So sorry, you’re just too common.” This strategy gives fans a rooting interest in participants in the show who are not cripplingly inbred or irrelevant to society…wait, we need to rethink that, actually.

3) “I’m not here to make friends!”
Prince Harry is coached to loudly proclaim this individualist mantra before knocking over the punch bowl and ostentatiously selecting a cadre of comely attendees to join him in his jacuzzi.

4) Makeovers!
A human-like flesh tone can do wonders for self-confidence and “bangability” ratings on Internet comment boards. The wedding party will be exposed to direct sunlight for thirty minutes before the ceremony, insuring complete opacity of the skin. Kate is encouraged to continue her foray into “highlights,” while courtiers gently suggest Will wear a hat while surreptitiously slipping a Hair Club for Men brochure into the royal kit bag. And don’t think we forgot about the Queen Mum: she will be played by Helen Mirren, who will “accidentally” let slip her robe to reveal that improbably well-preserved bikini bod.

5) Prince Charles punches Snooki
Self-explanatory. A polo mallet may be used at the Prince’s discretion.

If this goes well, keep an eye out for The Real Housewives of Swindon, The Amazing Race Riots, and Survivor: Dental School on your TV schedule. Watch what happens!

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Arthur Smith

Assistant Curator


Arthur Smith worked in a film archive and failed to earn a living as a professional musician before joining the Paley Center in 1997. He’s not bitter, but has unhealthy fixations on tweedy clothing and Marvel comics.


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Arthur Smith

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