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Swallowing beetles, and your pride

September 26, 2004|Christine N. Ziemba

Eating delicacies like unagi (freshwater eel) -- or anything else that's not red meat and/or potato-based -- is difficult enough for some. So how do those "Fear Factor" contestants dive into buffalo testicles, stink beetles and sheep eyes, et al?

According to "The Reality TV Handbook," a new guide to navigating the genre from the inside, it's relatively easy.

The book's "How to Eat Almost Anything" chapter divulges crucial tips for gastronomical challenges: Keep an open mind, breathe through your mouth and remember that what you're eating won't kill you.

Creative visualization helps as well: "... Imagine that ants are lemon drops to prepare yourself for the citrus taste of their metasoma, the rear section that contains its stomach and rectum."

Written by John Saade, an ABC reality television executive, and Joe Borgenicht, a co-author of "The Action Hero's Handbook," the guidebook provides reality TV wannabes and actual contestants a map of the basics -- from conquering the screening process to forging alliances.

A few chapters cover the essentials for dating and relationship shows such as "The Bachelor" or "The Real World." "How to Hook Up on Camera" reminds those caught up in the heat of the moment to "Cover yourselves entirely with a blanket, keep noise to a minimum and remain aware of the cameras at all times."

Finally, for those stepping into the "Gong Show"-esque realms of reality, there's rule 1(b) -- "Choose an Unfamiliar Song" -- in the "How to Audition Like an Idol" chapter. We call it the "No more Whitney Houston" clause. And we highly recommend it.

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