Tonight at 10 p.m. ET, ABC debuts a new six-episode docu-soap from Real World producers Bunim-Murray. One Ocean View follows 11 New Yorkers in their 20s who shared a house on Fire Island earlier this summer.
But what it’s really done is piss off a lot of people. ABC says the show is “the first network summer reality series to be set on Fire Island,” and that didn’t go unnoticed by residents there. The New York Daily News reported earlier this month that “[t]he insular enclave that is Fire Island … was also a source of friction.”
In a separate story, executive producer Jon Murray admitted that and more. “There was certainly some controversy in our coming there,” he said. “There were people who didn’t want us to be there. Our goal during the production was to leave them alone.”
But the locals didn’t want to leave the production alone. When The New York Times finally weighed in, the paper noted that “a lot of local residents didn’t want them there,” as was apparent by the “beer bottles thrown at them, or the gardener who turned the spray of his hose onto a $35,000 television camera.” The Times also reports that “producers paid the town $500 a day for 20 days of shooting plus the salary of a local police officer to follow each film crew” and “donated $10,000 to the police and fire departments and $12,000 was paid to the community of Corneille Estates.”
So was all the trouble worth it? According to critics, the answer is no. Variety’s Brian Lowry calls the series an “older version of MTV’s ‘The Real World’” and says that the “not-even-generation-next knockoff is adorned with all the requisite trappings, providing a veritable festival of pained if utterly vacant reaction shots.” And The Boston Herald’s Mark A. Perigard says it’s like “The Dumb and the Restless” and says “it’s just sad,” in part because one of the cast member’s “cousin makes a cameo appearance.” That cousin is reality TV senior citizen Eric Nies, from the first season of The Real World.