Representatives filming themselves during their first year in Congress for CNN series

A year-long web series produced by CNN will track two first-year representatives in Congress, both of whom film most of the series themselves. Because of that, Freshman Year is confessional and feels more like a YouTube video than anything else, covering both minutiae and interesting things about their jobs.

The two men are Jason Chaffetz, “a conservative Republican, a college football record-setter and a married father of three who is sleeping on a cot in his congressional office to save money,” and Jared Polis, “a Democrat and former Internet entrepreneur who is one of the wealthiest members of Congress and the first openly gay male to be elected to the House of Representatives as a freshman,” CNN reports.

While CNN has given the series a name, it’s not really calling it a reality series, that they’re “a series of firsthand reports from two new representatives” who “won convincing victories in November to represent parts of neighboring states in the West: Utah and Colorado.”

Chaffetz told the New York Times, “They’ve asked us to give insight into what it’s like to be a freshman and what it’s like to be a congressman,” while Polis said in a statement, “So much goes on behind the scenes in Washington that doesn’t make it onto C-Span and most people don’t get to see.”

Here’s the first episode:

Freshmen took different paths to Congress [CNN]
A Web Reality Show on Capitol Hill [New York 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.