OPINION: Come mid-August New Zealand television audiences will have the rare privilege of seeing the shock horror episode of Fear Factor that has been banned in that home of the depraved - the United States of America.
What was it that could possibly offend audiences on a show that regularly challenges contestants to eat or drink repellent creepy crawlies and vile piles of gut-heaving substances that every normal instinct would have you recoiling from?
And the answer to that question is - dare I say it or even write it - donkey semen. Truly: donkey semen. Any semen would be controversial but donkey semen seems particularly wrong, and the idea of humans - dare I say it or even write it - swallowing it is the stuff of bad porn movies.
If Seinfeld was still screening, there would be an episode with George Costanza somehow managing to become a contestant on Fear Factor, and being the twisted trooper that he is, downing a glass of the ghastly unguent in one happy gulp.
But we all know the fate of reality TV show contestants. At debatable best they go on to host shows on the E channel, but most are pilloried forever for making fools of themselves or having been revealed for the cowards and cheats they are.
This particular challenge, done in such poor taste (excuse the pun), brings a new meaning to the phrase selling one's soul to the network, in this case NBC, devil. If one did drink the donkey semen - oh, and did I mention urine as well - you'd be forever known as the donkey guy or girl as you slunk along the supermarket aisles, sniggers and jeering whispers in your wake.
And these are not just shot or sherry glasses of the offending liquid. These are large Viking tankards of the stuff, and regurgitation is prohibited. If a contestant vomits it up, they cannot proceed to the next challenge, thus forfeiting the dosh.
Of course, this challenge will become part of a wider discussion as people search deep within themselves, wondering if they would drink it for the money to pay for their kids' education or to make a dent in the mortgage payments. I suspect the answer would be yes, if no- one was looking but no, if the cameras were rolling.
A contestant who had managed to complete the challenge might find that the donkey emission had been good for their health, that their engine ran rather better on it. Perhaps Victoria Beckham, a pioneer in the beneficial properties of animal products, has got hold of the banned episode and is watching it with great interest.
I refer to the TV One Close Up current affairs programme recently filing a piece on the beneficial effects of lamb placenta, as made in New Zealand.
We saw sheep placentas being gathered from paddocks and the bloody bags of entrails being washed by hand, then put into vats to be broken down and scientifically refined into an acceptable beauty product that was then trialled by a rugged male reporter. I must say, at the end of the treatment he had skin smoother than the proverbial baby's bum. Apparently Posh is a big fan of the product, can't get enough of it.
Unfortunately, we will never know how the donkeys feel about the Fear Factor challenge because Rex Harrison is no longer with us to talk to the animals, but imagine a reversal of the situation in an Orwellian future where humans were farmed and fattened for harvesting, forced to live in cramped battery hen cages and then taken out and regularly milked.
One could imagine donkeys, pigs and aggrieved cattle and sheep bitter from years of man's slaughter and being left out in the cold, gathering round the TV set to watch their fellow four-legged friends on Fear Factor-style shows, drinking human urine and semen for money, as they howled in gleeful disgust.
You might find the scenario I have painted far fetched and facetious but is it any sillier and more demented than the Fear Factor antics? Walking a mile in someone else's shoes, or in this case hooves, would shame us from doing something so asinine and humiliating.
Instead of being laughed at, donkeys should be revered. After all didn't Christ ride one triumphantly into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday?
- © Fairfax NZ News