I can’t believe I’m writing this, but the Ryan Jenkins/Jasmine Fiore saga has a tragic, almost Shakespearean quality that elevates it above what one reporter called its “grimy glamour.”

While its seamy details have cranked the reality TV/tabloid industry into hyperdrive, even threatening to replace Michael Jackson’s bizarre addictions as the lead item, this story says something about our times and the people caught up in them.

Ryan, from Calgary, and Jasmine, from Bonny Doon, a suburb of Santa Cruz, Calif., were once real people.

Ryan worked with his father and made real estate deals in Canada’s oil capital. He gave flying lessons. He was accomplished.

Jasmine, a.k.a. Jasmine Lepore, was once an athletic girl who loved dogs and horses and dreamed of becoming an actress.

Today they are dead. Jasmine’s body was found mutilated to hide her identity, stuffed in a suitcase and discarded in a park near Los Angeles, where it was found by a homeless person. Ryan was the prime (and apparently only) suspect. On the run, he was found dead from an apparent suicide in a cheap hotel room in Hope, B.C.

Before they died, they both caught Hollywooditis, which is often fatal. It affects the heart and soul and transforms its victims into strangers to their loved ones and, I suspect, themselves.

Jasmine changed her name, got a boob job, posed for Playboy and married Ryan, a guy she’d known for two days in Vegas. Ryan became a professional lounge lizard, signing up for “reality” shows called Megan Wants a Millionaire and I Love Money 3, both VH1 productions that wallow in greed and soft porn.

Almost inevitably, these two fakes found each other and that’s when reality (the real thing) set in, like the mother of all hangovers.

It would take Shakespeare at the height of his powers to capture all the irony that taints this story. At its core, a most bitter twist: Although Jasmine’s killer — allegedly Ryan — pulled her teeth out and cut off her fingers to obscure her identity, the CSI wizards identified her by the serial numbers on her breast implants. Even Shakespeare would have a tough time coming up with that one.

If there was ever a Romeo and Juliet for the reality TV generation, this is it, a cautionary tale for people who think in 10-second sound bites or 140-character Tweets, rather than Acts 1, 2 or 3. The form may be different, but the outcome is the same. The lovers end up dead and the rest is silence … at least until the next exclusive report, after these messages from our sponsor.

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