The Jenna Show

The concept for The Jenna Show came about in a meeting of producers from several reality tv networks in the mid 1990’s. Their ratings were consistently falling and reality tv wasn’t bringing in the big bucks like it had in the past. The only problem was, about half the channels on tv were all owned by a massive reality tv company, Greenbrier Productions. Even though they were failing, they had so much inventory no one could afford to buy them out. Greenbrier started looking at outside solutions and taking polls from the most and least watched communities. The common thread: reality tv was becoming too staged. No one believed that these people weren’t acting or that shows weren’t scripted. Greenbrier decided that they had to create an atmosphere that wasn’t fake, and they decided that the only way to do that was to put someone in a reality show that didn’t know they were there. Since Greenbrier didn’t have enough money left to do this on their own, all the other networks joined forces, with the stipulation that they would get a fair percentage of the profits while Greenbrier controlled everything.

Greenbrier decided it was best to use a baby, so they would grow up knowing nothing different and not risk arousing suspicion. They hired different teams to build the biggest, most elaborate set in the world, create logos for the show, brainstorm titles for the show, and seek a main character. Greenbrier decided it was best to choose an orphaned child, since the rest of the family couldn’t join in the show. They found several candidates from the United States and waited to see which one was best in front of cameras. The show couldn’t be released yet because the title was based on the name of the child, and there were some legal problems to attend to. The production had hired lawyers because this concept was groundbreaking and sure to upset some people. The lawyers said that getting a baby wouldn’t be illegal as long as the guardian gave consent. The problem was when the child turned eighteen. They would have to give their own consent to be on the show, and they wouldn’t even know that they had been on a show for the past eighteen years. The CEO of Greenbrier laughed when he heard this; the longest running reality show had lasted eight years, and the next longest had only lasted three. He was thinking that this show would be over and his company save long before the child turned eighteen.

The first child to be given consent by their guardian was an orphan named Jenna. Thus, The Jenna Show was born. This was the winning logo that Greenbrier decided to represent the show. The artist of this design became rich and famous because of how many people wanted to hire the man who designed the “face” of The Jenna Show.

The first few years of the show saw good ratings only at important childhood moments like first words, first steps, and so on. Greenbrier was getting worried that he had dug an even deeper hole for himself. One of his marketing advisors had been sent to see what was going on, and he came back with the information that people in remote towns and cities alike weren’t all that knowledgable about The Jenna Show. People just hadn’t heard of it. Greenbrier had wanted to keep it hushed during the primary stages so protests wouldn’t occur, but now it was too hushed. They started a marketing campaign, at first doing a yearly advertisement for the show depicting Jenna growing up. As the show gained popularity quickly, special edition posters allowed the recipients of them to be a guest extra on the show. The most recent poster shows Jenna at almost eighteen years old.

Meanwhile, Jenna is growing up happy and healthy. The country has seen her every day and every night since she was a month old, and they know her like a their own child or sibling. She loves her small town with it’s parks and all the neighbors knowing her name when she bikes to school. Jenna is (almost) top of her first grade class and wants a pet dog more than anything. Most of what Jenna gets to do/ have are voted on by the audience. Luckily and unbeknownst to her, Jenna wins and gets a puppy. Her “parents” aren’t happy about that because they’re both allergic. Jenna notices this, and also notices that she doesn’t seem like her parents all that much. They have tan skin and all she does is turn red in the sun, and their hair is stick straight while hers is curly. She wonders if she is adopted, but never asks for fear of upsetting her parents, and fear of finding out the truth.

Throughout her life Jenna is happy, but faces a lot of identity issues. Her parents don’t ever tell her much about her grandparents, who she has never met, or how they met each other, they don’t even have wedding photos. All the photos of them together start when Jenna is about a month old. Her mother says all the older photos were lost in a fire that destroyed the house they used to live in. However, Jenna cannot find a record of any houses burning down in their town within the past twenty years.

As Jenna grows up she becomes more and more aware of how different she is from her parents, and it seems like everyone around her is watching her every move. Sometimes she’ll see someone new in town who just stares at her, like they’re waiting for her to do something. As she gets older she spends more and more time at the library, partially because of her love to read, but more so because no one can bother her there. One day she stumbles upon a door she’s never seen before. She thought she knew every inch of this library, so she is intrigued and opens the door to find a small room with a file cabinet that is slightly ajar. It seems like she isn’t supposed to be in there. Jenna leans down to inspect the open drawer and finds at least fifteen VHS tapes. She picks one up to see what it is, and on it is a label that reads: The Jenna Show; Video Log 6,965. She gasps, then hears footsteps approaching so she stuffs the tape in her backpack and runs home.

In her basement at home she finds and old VCR and pops in the tape. She can’t believe what she sees.

It was her. It was her from yesterday. In her house. Jenna was shaken and didn’t know what to do. When her parents got home she told them and they both turned white. They made up some excuse about a new security system they had installed and forgotten to tell her about. Jenna almost believed them, but then remembered that she found the videos in some weird room in the library. Why would her family’s security tapes be there? And if it was a new system, why were there so many tapes?

Jenna could not shake this incident. Every day she went back to the library to try and find that room, but she couldn’t. After a week, everyone in town had started avoiding her and the town shut down the library for renovations. Jenna knew she had to get out of town and figure this out, but she didn’t know how. She asked her parents if they could go on vacation, just for a weekend. They had never been on vacation before. Her parents said no, they couldn’t afford it right now. Jenna thought “probably because you spent all that money you don’t have on a fancy new security system.” Jenna started to raise money by herself so her parents had no excuse to not leave.

Every time Jenna got close to a substantial amount of money it was lost or stolen. The first time it was stolen from Jenna’s bedroom when she left the window open. Jenna was kicking herself for being so careless. It was odd, though, that before that incident the town had a crime rate of zero for the past eighteen years. The next time Jenna had almost all the money she needed, a strong wind ripped down her street and blew all the money right out of her bag. At last, Jenna thought to put the remaining money in the bank. About a month later she finally had enough saved up for a family vacation. As she was about to tell her parents the good news, they sat her down to tell her “something important.” Someone had stolen her identity and gained access to her bank account. Once again, all was lost.

Jenna decided then and there that there was someone trying to make sure she didn’t leave town. That night she snuck out of bed and into the forest that surrounded town. She face many obstacles like blocked roads, fallen trees, and even a loud siren announcing a storm warning, though the sky looked clear to her. Little did Jenna know that this was no storm warning. It was an emergency broadcast to the crew of the show.

Soon enough Jenna could sense that the town had woken up. She started to run. She knew the forest only surrounded the town for five miles on each side, and she had been walking for an hour already. She knew she was close to the edge of the forrest and suddenly…she ran face first into a wall. She hadn’t seen it, it was camouflaged to look like the forrest. She panicked. Where was the end of the forrest? Did it even have and end? She ran along the wall to find an opening until she was so tired she collapsed. Her parents and a search party found her a few minutes later.

Luckily for Jenna, the dawn ushered in her eighteenth birthday. She now needed to give her own consent for being on the show, which had been running her whole life, making the reality networks rich and Greenbrier richer. Her parents said they would take her home, but Jenna watched them pass her house and head toward the library. They took her to the little room where a man came in and told her everything. Then he opened another door hidden in the room and ushered Jenna through it. They emerged into a room covered floor to ceiling in windows. Jenna had never seen anything like it. No, not the windows; through the windows and many stories below them was a city. Jenna was so disoriented. Weren’t they just in the library? The library was at the lowest point of town, how were they suddenly up this high? Her town, the set, had been built in a skyscraper so Jenna would never hear any of the sounds street level may have produced, or the protests that were small but regularly going on outside the building. Most surprisingly, she saw poster and billboards of her face plastered all over the city. She was…famous?

After eighteen years, most of which were spent in confusion, Jenna was finally free. She could go anywhere she wanted, and go to the actual place not just a set. She never needed to work again because she had sued the network for misleading her and won about half the network’s worth. That was enough money for three lifetimes and then some. Jenna spent the rest of her life traveling the world and seeing every place she had ever dreamed of.

 

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