Koos Kombuis

Would this be the worst reality TV show ever?

2013-09-12 11:57
I don't think it's a coincidence that families who allow themselves to be filmed for the purpose of reality TV shows, sooner or later, fall apart.

It's happening to the Kardashians. It seemed to have happened, to some extent, to the Osbournes. And now Miley Cyrus's career is imploding (though, in all fairness, Hanna Montana was not actually a reality series, but still, it depicted her with her own flesh-and-blood father – whose career is also now imploding! – in a family setting).

Families need privacy. I know mine does. About that, there is consensus in our household. Our decision to stay away from the leering lenses of the paparazzi was actually not my own, but theirs. My children simply don’t like reporters.

My thirteen-year-old son thinks journalists are boring old tannies who ask stupid questions – repeatedly – and his decision to ban the press from his life came after a request from Sarie magazine to do an interview and a shoot for Father's Day. "Why don’t they rather do a story about the plight of the rhino's?" he retorted.

And when my eleven-year-old daughter recently picked up a copy of Rolling Stone SA and noticed a full page photo of Koos Kombuis on page 3, she announced: "That’s it! This magazine has no credibility any more. From now on, I'm buying Heat."

They cannot comprehend, in the first place, why anyone in their right mind would listen to their father's music. After all, I'm not sexy, I don’t sound one little bit like One Direction, and, for heaven's sake, I'm just their old man, full stop.

To be honest, at first I was a bit disappointed when my family - including my wife, who has hated publicity ever since she was misquoted by Rooi Rose more than a decade ago – said that they would refuse to grace the pages of the popular press.

After all, I'm secretly quite proud of them. And, in fact, we have nothing to hide! We are just like any other boring nuclear family unit in our street, with our cats and our dogs and our tattered soccer balls and our budgeting problems and our occasional little quarrels and quirks. And, most of the time, we are quite happy.

And that's probably the point. If we were to be viewed through the lenses of TV cameras, we would make the most boring footage imaginable. To be honest I would rather watch ten episodes of Under The Dome than five minutes of my own family life on the flat screen.

Besides, I suspect that for any family to be exposed to reality TV must be extremely unhealthy psychologically. How would we discipline our daughter, if, one moment after reprimanding her for not brushing her teeth before school, and after the customary five-minute tantrum following that little skirmish, she is paraded in front of a team of camera-men to show her best profile while complaining to the entire TV-watching public of South Africa: "I really hate it when my mother forces me to brush my teeth before school in the mornings. I’d rather do my hair. After all, my brother spends so much time in the bathroom that there is never any time for me to go in there."

After that, her brother would be interviewed to explain why he takes so long in the bathroom. And all this will be interspersed with shots of me, irate and impatient, sitting outside in the driveway, honking my car horn, and my wife running around in the kitchen trying to finish their school sandwiches.

No way! We'd be divorced within a month! What’s more, my children would grow up as spoilt brats, thinking the world revolves around them! Within a year from now, they'd either be taking drugs, crashing cars, or sticking out their tongues like Miley Cyrus! And that would be the very sad end of our relatively happy, relatively boring, quite ordinary family life!

If they ever change their minds, that's okay, too, I guess. But until then, it is highly unlikely that anyone will ever see a show on South African TV called Keeping Up With The Kombuise.

"Do you have any Afrikaans-speaking friends who happen to be a little lost in life?"

Koos Kombuis has just published his first self-help book! Advise them to buy i-TJIENG – ‘n GPS vir Verdwaalde Siele (Penguin SA) and allow themselves to be guided by the ancient wisdom of China.

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