Real World creator identifies three reasons why the show isn’t as awful as it seems

The Real World New Orleans 2 debuted last night on MTV, and tries to bring the series from its lowest ratings ever slump by returning to drunken sex and fighting.

Out of deference to the first New Orleans season, the completely unappealing trailer, and the fact that I’ve wasted too much of my life on recent seasons, I didn’t watch the season premiere. But in a pre-season interview, the series’ creator and executive producer, Jon Murray, pointed out aspects of the series’ production that are worthy of praise.

First, Murray told Salon in an interview that “we don’t restage anything. We either catch it when it happens or we don’t. It’s funny because there are so many people who find it hard to believe that we get the things that we get and the things that happen really do just happen on their own. But ‘The Real World’ is one of the only shows out there that shoots for 16 weeks. And when you’re shooting for that long, stuff happens. Whereas, if you were trying to shoot it in five weeks, you’d have a really hard time getting enough material for 12 shows.”

Of course, what they shoot for 16 weeks is the problem, but Murray pointed out what I’ve suspected may be at least partly responsible for my lack of interest: The show speaks to the experience of a different generation. “There’s always going to be These are young people, you know? They’re going to party too much and maybe grow and learn from that. I think it’s easy to forget what we were all like when we were 21 and 22. We judge everyone as an adult now. You forget your own experience,” he said.

A fair point, although I’m pretty sure my experience never involved anything like this. Finally, Murray said that producers actually do work to keep their cast members safe–at least from drunk locals antagonized by the presence of the show. He said “there’s a curfew for the cast. The curfew is prior to the bars closing in the city. We find that if we can get them back before the bars close, it avoids conflict. It’s when the bars close and there are drunk people on the street that most concerns us. It’s not always the cast members that are the problem. Sometimes it’s that drunk guy down the street who sees the cameras and decides to challenge the cast. When that happens, sometimes the crew will put the cameras down and turn off the lights, hoping that the person will go away. It’s only a television show, so the crew is told that if they see a dangerous situation, to put the cameras down and get the cast out of there.”

The “Real World” creator has some explaining to do [Salon]

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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.