Friday, March 31, 2006

The Real World - Key Haven?

Is it me, or is the MTV Key West Real World show seem a tad boring? Actually, the cast members themselves appear mostly bored. Why? Maybe it's because they are not living on the island of Key West (a tremendously fun, interesting, inspiring, and creative place - more about Key West at ), but instead on an island miles away. Then again, if they named it "Real World Key Haven" maybe no one would have cared.
Or maybe that the whole show is so very orchestrated that it's lost most of the spontanaity. What do I mean by orchestrated? For example, why are the restaurants they are dining at empty except for the cast members? One of the first episodes of this season's show had the cast eating at Blue Heaven - one of Key West's most popular restaurants. I can honestly say I have never seen the place empty, except for the morning that the Real World cast ate there. And then it happened again during another episode at another restaurant, completely empty except for the cast. MTV likes to say that this is a reality program, but maybe they've tinkered with the formula too much and now it's more of a scripted show. To further back up this thinking, it seems strange that they would film the show smack in the middle of hurricane season - virtually guaranteeing that storms would make up for plot. Let's see if it worked for them as I can't imagine the current plot lines keeping many viewers tuned in.
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Saturday, March 11, 2006

Eating Disorders and MTV

MTV's Key West Real World aired its second episode of the season last night with much of the focus on Paula, an anxiety-ridden 24 year old girl. Fueled by low self-esteem and diet pills, her depression and eating disorder took center stage as cast members tried to understand her emotional imbalance.

One can't help but wonder why Paula feels she is on a road to obesity - especially since she weighs only 94 pounds and appears malnourished. In Paula's mind, she admits she "feels doomed".

The answer to Paula's disorder lies in our culture's worshiping of a super-skinny woman, constantly bombarding adolescents with images of beautiful models too thin to do anything more exerting than standing for a camera.

And MTV has been at the forefront of perpetuating this sad ideal. Astonishingly, following the episode was another MTV reality show named "8th & Ocean" about young models each appearing just as malnourished as Paula. One by one, the models were asked to pose in their bikinis allowing the camera to slowly roam their tiny frames.

Makes me wonder how many future Paulas were watching, thinking that they needed to be emaciated to look attractive and have self-esteem.
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Thursday, March 02, 2006

Key West Real World Show Debuts

MTV premiered it's Real World reality TV show this week with Key West Florida as the location.

Once again, seven strangers are picked to live in a house, and stop being polite, and start being real, blah blah blah as the gospel goes.

This season's cast is: Svetlana, Janelle, Paula, Jose, Tyler, Zach, and John. Each cast member seems to be hyper-driven to make an impression, but so far as the first show went, they mostly looked like they were boring even to each other. Yes, they flirted, taunted, and quized each other. But it seemed to me that these people were going to get bored quickly. This isn't the Las Vegas Real World, where castmembers seemed to immediately start boozing and humping.

No, so far the Key West Real world has an awkward feel. And that's not even mentioning the enourmously sad situation with Paula, who's eating disorders and emotional problems make one wonder if MTV is exploiting the girl for a story. Maybe, within a few seasons more, MTV will just fill a house with 7 certified maniacs & alcohol, and film the carnage.

Maybe malaise of the show's premier is due to the location being a drive from Key West. The house chosen for Key West Real World is actually on another island 6 miles from Key West - called Key Haven, a small Florida Keys neighborhood of increasingly upscale homes. The house is grand, and frankly a little over the top compared to the rest of the neighborhood. Think LOUD colors. Something like a furniture store in Boca Raton. And was is me, or has MTB/Bunim-Murray cranked up the color saturation levels so much that it looks like Technicolor? Seriously, the overhead/airplane shots of the island and the house were not what I see in real life...the green mangroves are much darker green in person, and the house looked like a giant Easter bunny might be nesting there. Key West Real World photos - pre-production pictures of the house. Also, here is a copy of the MTV Real World Key West house lease.

Either way, the Florida Keys and Key West came off looking great...a tropical island eden. One recurring reminder in the current story line: hurricanes. The housemates went through an ordeal, no doubt. All of Key West's residents (that actually live there) won't forget Dennis, Katrina, Rita, and (especially) Wilma (more Real World Key West house damage). But MTV already made some blunders ( I know, this really isn't the "real world"). Previews of the season claim that a category 5 hurricane slammed into Key West. That is not true. The storm they are referring to, Hurricane Rita, didn't give Key West more than category 2 winds. Why does this matter? Because a direct hit of a category 5 storm, meaning the eyewall goes over Key West, would most likely destroy most of the island. And this certainly didn't happen. As a matter of fact, life is back to (ab)normal in Key West, and visitors would see little evidence of a storm.

Key West residents are staying tuned to the show: entertained that the island we call home is being given such a big stage. It will be interesting to see what type of activities they participate in. Will they visit the Dry Tortugas, take a Key West fishing charter, or just party party party on Duval Street? Let's hope they enjoy all of the island, and not just stayed holed up on Key Haven.

Check back for more updates here at and feel free to comment/discuss the show and Key West.
Here is a photo from a photo shoot that MTV/Bunim-Murray did on Smather's Beach towards the end of filming. Not sure if this is Svetlana or not, but she is topless except for the masking tape over the boobs. The photo from the shoot is used in the show: it's the one of the girl's shoulder with the words Real World Key West tanned on. I'll post a close-up in the next few days:

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