Real World creator: “these kids are paid good money to endure” “unduly harsh” fan criticism

The Los Angeles Times looks at the people who “have spent much of the last five years living a 21st century version of the carny life, crisscrossing the nation while punching one another in the face, suffering hissy-fit meltdowns and committing other indignities on camera for the vicarious delectation of their peers.” Those, of course, are the cast members of Road Rules, many of whom have been regulars on the various Challenge shows.

As viewers already know, the story points out that “The shows don’t mirror their lives; they become their lives. And thus viewers may not be the only ones having trouble separating reality from overlapping layers of entertainment-industry artifice. The contestants dub themselves, with little self-consciousness, ‘reality kids.'”

How about “reality whores”? That’d be a little more accurate. Speaking of criticism by people on the Internet, the show’s creator, Jon Murray, says, “People on the Internet are always unduly harsh. And these kids are paid good money to endure it.” As the paper notes, “good money” is a bit of a stretch, as they’re competing for cash now.

A few of the current Road Rules: Viewers’ Revenge cast members seem to have a sense of humor about the whole experience. Susie Meister says, “At some point, you do have to let go of pleasing viewers. If you’re sassy, you’re a bitch, and if you’re nice, you’re a fake…. We feel like we’re in a bubble to a certain extent.” And she also said, “It’s sort of a strange dynamic. We’re reality talent — the cesspool.” And an unnamed cast member replied, “Yeah, talentless talent.”

‘Road Rules’ stars are regulars on irregular TV [Los Angeles Times]

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about the writer

Andy Dehnart is a journalist who has covered reality television for more than 15 years and created reality blurred in 2000. A member of the Television Critics Association, his writing and criticism about television, culture, and media has appeared on NPR and in Playboy, Buzzfeed, and many other publications. Andy, 36, also directs the journalism program at Stetson University in Florida, where he teaches creative nonfiction and journalism. He has an M.F.A. in nonfiction writing and literature from Bennington College. More about reality blurred and Andy.