Reality Television and MTV, as Reel as Real Gets

Reality Television watch it

Reality television has made an impression here in the United States while seeping out across the rest of the globe via the world-wide-web.  In fact it even has an entire website dedicated to the news in reality television and the shows that captivate audiences on a regular basis at Reality TV World. Taking a quick glance hurts my eyes as the wording is crunched as small as it can be in order to fit names such as Charlie Sheen, Lindsay Lohan, Rebecca Black and oh yes even Casey Anthony.

Casey Anthony’s Trial had been compared to reality television because of the cameras in the courtroom portraying it to be that way.  Shooting and airing only what the news wanted the public to see, Casey Anthony became another episode to record on TIVO according to some.

Unfortunately when it comes to reality television the label itself is misleading, as shows such as Top Model, Big Brother and The Bachelor have been repeated far into the 13th or 14th seasons.  Reality television is anything but real these days.  When Survivor and American Idol broke onto the scene the only competition in the reality television market was from MTV and shows such as Road Rules and my personal favorite, The Real World.

Why is reality television so appealing?  What makes reality television so big?  Well for starters anyone can do it and costs are low.  If you are using only handheld equipment in cities such as New York City and San Diego, California you are able to get by without a film permit, therefore saving a ton of money when it comes to your budget.  Anyone can do it, you just need drama, drama and more drama or Snooki.

Sure MTV was known for its music television, however eventually shows like Road Rules and The Real World would pave the way into 2011.  MTV has put out more reality television shows than any other company I know.  Shows like 16 and Pregnant, Sweet 16, Real World Road Rules Challenge, MADE, True Life and of course the recent hit Jersey Shore have driven MTV into the reality television realm of late.

MTV’s The Real World interests me the most however because I have stuck with it the longest.  Currently taping its 26th season in San Diego (Round 2 Coverage) MTV’s The Real World has been one show I have watched and thoroughly enjoyed since I can remember.  My personal favorite was during the Hawaii season as I tuned in religiously to watch the story of seven strangers picked to live in a house and have their lives taped to find out what happens when people stop being polite and start getting real.


What did I love about it?  Well the year was 1999 so that puts me at the age of 14 and there were a lot of thingsI didn’t know about the world and wanted to understand.  MTV’s the Real World did that via reality television of which I am sure my mother would not have approved if she had realized what I was watching.

Ruthie was a native Hawaiian with a drinking problem, Amaya and Colin were back and forth on their romance and Teck, well he was awesome and went on to star in the movie Van Wilder as Van’s good friend.  The others filled the spaces as Matt the shy one, Kaia the rebel/searching soul and finally Justin the house homosexual.


Now that I am older, ironically I will be turning 26 at the same time as the Real World San Diego, Bird Rock is set to premiere, I understand reality television is all about the producers, not the people they cast.  7 strangers are picked but they all have specific guidelines to meet.  MTV’s the Real World always has at least one gay/lesbian roommate, one with extreme ethics/religious beliefs  that conflict with the other house members or one in particular, the party guy/girl who is incredibly good looking and will hook up with the other good looking guy/girl in the house that probably has a long term relationship that always seems to be ruined via the reality television experience and finally the other individuals who are searching for themselves, dealing with an addiction to drugs or alcohol or have anger issues.  Yes before I found the Discovery Channel, HBO and the Travel Channel I watched MTV, particularly the Real World.

Reality Television MTV  

The BQB is front and center for the latest reality television adventure by MTV’s the Real World in La Jolla/Bird Rock, California as they shoot this summer.  “DCTeti”, our editor here at The BQB has gotten several shots of the MTV cast as they are lead around the neighborhood.                                  


Working in television, I have seen the game.  Producers have a specific protocol and that involves generating numbers, receiving excellent ratings and filling the slots of commercial time with the biggest names on the market.  Reality television attracts viewers, each viewer counts in the world of television and unfortunately the more outrageous and out of control a situation is, the better the ratings.

Jersey Shore Reality Television Series

America's Reality Television show Jersey Shore in Italy

The Jersey Shore makes the Real World look like the red headed step child of reality television as the out of control Situation, Snooki,  JWoww, Pauly D and everyone else rips up the ratings by just being themselves.  MTV’s most successful reality television show, takes a look at the lives of Italian-American guidos who are looking to go out and party, drink and smoosh smoosh (aka have sex) as they are housed up at the Jersey Shore or most recently Italy.

Italy did not want the cast coming to their country and I have to be honest I do not know how they even were allowed in there.  MTV’s the Real World is on the hot seat out in San Diego as neighbors were never given any sort of correspondence from the San Diego Film Commission on the network shooting within their town.  The current shoot is taking place in a neighborhood where homes are worth millions of dollars, the neighbors are well established, respected in their careers, and chosen to perhaps give MTV a chance to show they are growing up. Because hey it’s all about the Reel, I mean Real World right?

Taking 7 kids and placing them in a multi million dollar home is not right, especially in a neighborhood that did not condone it.  Brooklyn, New York saw the same problem as the NY Dailynews reported MTV’s the Real World as appearing more like “Pleasantville” than Hell’s Kitchen.  Cristina Kinon the staff writer who covered the article wrote, “On their second day in Brooklyn, the cast of eight (yes, eight this time around) roommates walk arm in arm to a pizza joint. If you’ve never been to New York and are watching this show, please take note that it’s unacceptable to walk more than one person wide on the sidewalk. If you take up more room than that, you’ll get the hard shoulder.”

Is La Jolla/Bird Rock in for the same reality television experience as Brooklyn or even Italy?  It seems like the residents there are not at all happy with MTV.  Personally Tamika Young, the Jr. Publicist has not responded to any of the five attempts I made to contact her personally, via email and her phone number.  MTV’s Real World is about money and inconveniencing individuals, having them pay the taxes on security and turning a neighborhood upside down is nothing.  I mean according to an interview between Windy City Times, Jerry Nunn and Davis Mallory of MTV’s the Real World Denver reality television is more reel than real.

When Jerry Nunn asked Mallory if he had any tips for individuals who wanted to be on MTV’s reality television show The Real World, the response was interesting.

“I wish someone would have told me that there are a lot of rules that the show puts on you. They give you fines to keep you in line. At the end they forgive them all. No one told me that they were forgiven. I was keeping track of such things like coming in on time, not touching my microphone and only letting production touch it or not mentioning the words “production” and “camera crew.” You couldn’t say “The Real World” ever when you were filming because they would fine you. But they don’t really do it.” Davis Mallory

Rules and lines to follow mean scripts to be read and as our editor “DCTeti” has captured, cues to be sought.  Taking a look at the 26th season of the Real World, producers and crew are right there to coach along the drama and capture the REEL to secure ratings.

REality Television MTV Cue Shot in San Diego

MTV’s reality television is just the same as any other quick dollar show.  Drama filled season equals people watch, which is why reality television draws the ratings and ratings mean better commercials aka more money.  But with the 26th season of The Real World bunking up in a neighborhood where the homes are worth millions of dollars may not have been the best idea on the production end.  How did they get the permit?  Well at the BQB we are just going to have to find out.   Because until they have to start paying people to be on the show or owning up to requests made by residents such as those in La Jolla, MTV will milk the reality television cow as long as it can.  The Real World, you think you know?  Can you read a script?  Reality television and MTV, as reel as real gets.    



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