Salahi vs. Heene: A Comparative Study In Successful Fame-Whoring

Two families. Two plans for achieving meritless fame and potential fortune. It’s the new American dream. But who did it right and who fell on their faces? And how can we apply these lessons to our own plans to become successful fame-whores?

Tareq and Michaele Salahi

The Virginia couple, previously tapped for a potential D.C. edition of the salacious docu-soap, Real Housewives, managed to sneak their way into a White House State dinner last week, where they mingled freely among the muckety-mucks of Washington. 

With a wealth of experience rubbing elbows among the polo-playing set around our nation’s capital, the Salahis developed a solid, well-thought-out plan for turning a media stunt into a potential Larry King payday and putting themselves high on the reality television radar. The smartly scheming Salahis even had an official “spokesperson,” the pornorifically-named Mahogany Jones, ready to issue denials of financial and publicity motives on behalf of the White House party crashers.   

Thumbs up, Salahis. You compromised our national security with grace and aplomb. You got it going on.


Richard and Mayumi Heene

Compare and contrast the vivacious and intelligent designs of the Salahis with the Heenes of Colorado. The crazy couple of reality TV’s Wife Swap dalliance who schemed to cry wolf that their child was trapped thousands of feet in the air in an escaped helium balloon. The innocent young Heene-child might plummet to his death at any moment. Hilarious basis for a prank, right?

Not only was the Heenes’ obnoxious plot, well, completely obnoxious, but they seemed to have barely contemplated the obvious need for scripted and rehearsed responses from their own children. C’mon, fame-seeking hoaxster families, you know the kids are going to break if not properly coached. They’re the weak link. If you’re not drilling cover stories into their still-forming grey matter at least six weeks prior to going “live,” you’re going to have loose lips. And loose lips sink ships. 

Beyond the “kids say the darndest things” factor, did Heene family mastermind, Richard, not even consider the immigration status of his wife, Japanese citizen Mayumi? For a man-who-would-be-TV-king, has he never seen an episode of a police drama where the cops threaten to deport the mildly complicit mom if she doesn’t turn over incriminating evidence?  Mayumi Heene needed to be way, way out of town when this insidiously inane, fame seeking venture was launched. Same reason they took Reagan out of the room when discussing Iran-Contra. Plausible deniability. 

So weak, Heenes. Failure at nearly ever possible step.

You’re no Salahi family. Not by about a million or so dollars.