Tuesday, June 21, 2005


"It'll be really weird to see myself drunk. But I guess we'll all learn something about ourselves."

So it's time for another season of MTV's hit "reality" show, The Real World (a name which has lost all meaning since the show's original, much more idealistic inception). As The League recalls, The Real World was originally created to fill the heads of cotton-headed MTV viewers with a glimpse of life in NYC, but, more specifically, to showcase the trials and tribulations of leaving home and trying to make it in the big city.

This was an era of the show in which the cast memebers were defined by what they did, not whom they did. Someone could, in this early stage, be "the actor guy" or "the musician guy". Cast members were pulled in from all points of the country with big city aspirations, and, I THINK the point was to show folks getting away from their comfort zone and sort of dealing with the mish-mash of personalities and ideas that one faces in "The Real World". Only 24/7 and in a swank loft.

I'm not sure they actually succeeded, but the show did prove Americans love to voyeuristically watch other people doing the exact same stuff they could do if they weren't watching the program at that same moment.

Well, it's God-knows how many seasons later, and The Real World is now subtitled Pretty Drunk Exhibitionist Mental Midgets You Might See "Doin' It". No longer are the cast members asked to, or even really encouraged to, leave the house. Instead, the program fills a house with booze, adds a hot tub, and casts people who are nuts for the sex and insist they "don't want nobody gittin' all up in (their) face". It's a beautiful, beautiful level of simplicity that has taken full advantage of the Gen Y belief in self-entitlement and instant celebrity. After all, there is absolutely nothing special about the cast members. Seriously. Not a damn thing aside from an over extended ego and lack of foresight regarding covering camera lenses when having sex.

So the new season of The Real World takes place in The League's professed hometown of Austin, TX.

Being Austin, apparently not everyone took kindly to folks making a scene and invading their turf.

To add insult to injury, and fueling my dislike of UT's Paul Stekler (which began when he told me to my face he didn't care if I could graduate), Stekler offered the Real World cast a job.

To keep the cast from slacking, "The Real World" puts the kids to work . . . sort of.

In Austin, filmmaker and University of Texas film professor Paul Stekler ("Last Man Standing") was recruited to help the kids make a mini-documentary during the South by Southwest Music Festival in March.

Initially Stekler thought it was "a pretty weird offer." But then he decided it could be good publicity for UT. The graduate students who trained the cast — P.J. Raval, Jenn Garrison and David Hartstein — were paid. Stekler's time was covered by a contribution (undisclosed amount) to the UT film department.

You know, it's reasons like this that UT RTF calls me and calls me and I won't give them any money. I remember how much I had to bust my ass to even get into a class where I could have done a project like this. Apparently I should have been greasing Steckler's palm.

I might watch an episode or two of the Austin-based series, but it's going to be tough to take the mouth-breathers of the show's cast seeing Austin as nothing more than a huge bar while the producers angle to make the show hip enough for their soulless LA-based bosses.

Ah, well. The League is getting old and grumpy.

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