my new reality show

Okay, so this is not exactly a photo of my family.

I’ve got an idea for a new reality show; it’s called “Three-Day Yontif.

Three families, living under one roof, compete over preparations for a three-day yontif, let’s call it, Sukkot. One bathtub, one shower, for twelve to twenty people. Each family is given a different budget. Within that budget, they must decorate a standard 10″ x 12″ canvas Sukkah, buy the children new clothes, as well as buy enough food for six four-course feasts. The food must be pleasing to the eye, varied, and delicious. Points taken away for families who serve on paper. All preparations must take place during the four days following Yom Kippur.

Contestants: Let’s mix it up. One rich family with lots of help, one poor family with lots of kids, maybe an Israeli family that only observes one day.

Let’s throw some wrenches into it! How about the meat delivery that doesn’t show up until the day of the holiday, then left by the delivery man outside the garage door overnight? A freak hurricane, leaving inches of water in the basement that your whole out-of-town family is supposed to sleep in! How about the poopy diaper that needs changing just as the mother has her hands plunged elbow-deep in a vat of slimy meat, in the throes of making stuffed cabbage? The bored children who bicker and leave wrappers, shoes and Wii games around the TV, although their mother needs help vacuuming, laundering, polishing, ironing, and cooking? The child who announces that he has lice, just as the mother comes home from that last trip to the store! Or the child who cuts himself badly enough for stitches, and must be rushed to the ER, seven hours before sundown! So many possibilities.

Other challenges: the emergency trip to Amazing Savings for more aluminum pans, only to find that there aren’t any standard-size lasagna pans left. The rainstorm that destroys one Sukkah’s exquisite, hand-crafted decorations and blows the walls out of a second one. The cleaning lady who quits the day before the holiday. The college-aged daughter who brings a friend home for the holiday, a friend who only eats Satmar schita meat, cholov Yisroel milk, no gluten, and no nuts. Laughs ensue when the sleep-deprived mother has a mental breakdown from all the nonstop shopping, cooking, cleaning, mediating, scouring, soothing and serving, after surviving thirteen of these feasts in the previous two weeks.

What’s great about this show is its portability; I envision a Three-Day Yontif Teaneck, Three-Day Yontif Five Towns, Three-Day Yontif LA, Three-Day Yontif Sephardi Style.

Who would the judges be? The in-laws, of course! That’s the beauty of this game show. No one ever wins.

What are your ideas for challenges?

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4 thoughts on “my new reality show

  1. You’re a funny girl miss Helen Shankman. I would add a stuffed toilet or clogged sink, a couple relatives with nut allergies, a bad reaction to a bee sting in the sukkah, a chronic dieter who questions the nutritional and calorie value for everything at the table and what about the kid who can’t find one shoe as it is time to go to shul.
    🙂

  2. Avi wrote:
    “Helen, this is a great idea. I loved it. I would recommend adding in the failure of a major electrical appliance (oven, refrigerator) the day before the chag. That adds even more realism.
    And aren’t you glad that you get to do this 4 more times over the next 7 years (including next year)? That’s right – it is happening 5 times in an 8 year period! Maybe it really is time for you to join us in Israel!
    Chag Sameach, old friend.”

  3. I would also add 100 degree heat, a 25 minute walk to shul in stilletos, perhaps a crisis over a non-matching hat or a zipper that won’t close (overstuffed effect), and maybe an accidentally overcooked potroast….
    funny, Helen!

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