The Boston Diaries

The ongoing saga of a programmer who doesn't live in Boston, nor does he even like Boston, but yet named his weblog/journal “The Boston Diaries.”

Go figure.

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

The Real World vs. “The Real World”

I remember watching the first season of MTV's The Real World. I had just moved out for the first time and the apartment I shared with my two friends actually had cable.


Okay, basic cable, but cable nonetheless.

And in between gorging out on music videos and Liquid Television was this odd soap operaesque show of a bunch of twenty-somethings thrown into a condo in Manhattan. I found it oddly compelling and watched the the following season.

I stopped watching it after that though, due to a variety of reasons (moving back home, losing interest, etc).

So I was rather surprised to learn that a friend of mine, Katelynn, was going to appear on season 21 of “The Real World”. My first thought was Cool! followed by that show is still on the air?

I first met Katelynn a few years ago through Spring, as they both worked for Negiyo. I found her to be quite the geek, deep into martial arts and rather cute (and I still find her attractive even though I know she wasn't always a she—and she's not the only transsexual person I know, but that's another post).

So it'll be interesting to see how they edit the show to portray Katelynn. It's also wierd to think that “The Real World” is now old enough to vote and drink. Where did the time go?

MTV's The Real World: “The Ryan & Chet Show, starring Katelynn”


MTV's “The Real World.”

As the introductory episode, our cast is presented for the first time; my gut reaction to each member as they're introduced:

Small town soldier with average intelligence; he can play the guitar but could use some singing lessons, but he should not give up his day job. He's not much better at the lyrics either.
Pretty much the Katelynn I know, although she comes across a bit more reserved, a bit more mature and not quite as wild as I remember.
Ah, Chet. Tight clothes. Purples and pinks. Yeah, I totally believe you're a straight-laced Mormon and not a closetted raging homosexual (not that there's anything wrong with that). That you make your own clothes is just icing on the cake. No really! I believe you!
My, what … large tracks of … land you have! And no question at all that she's won a few pageants. Wow.
Cute, but the dancing reminds me of the type of dancing Elizabeth Berkley has done. But I believe her when she says she's not Mormon.
Okay, it's clear that none of these people aren't hansome, beautiful or cute. But, come on … a former lesbian who's found “love-forevah!” with a man? Isn't that a cliché? A man's “wishful thinking”? Especially for a girl from San Francisco? Sigh.
Nice enough guy. Seems straightforward, but isn't straight at all. And a dolphin trainer. Pretty cool, being a tutor to heir apparent of the throne of France at age 22.
Beefcake. 2% body fat and six-pack abs to die for. <sarcasm>I hate him already.</sarcasm> Could be straight. Could be gay. Hard to say—we'll have to see how this plays out (and it's clear that the majority of the cast is in lust with him).

I'm not sure how much control Katelynn (or any of the “cast”) had over their protrayals, or even the opening introductory segments, but for Katelynn, I think it would have been dramatically better for her transgender status to come out later in the series and not blown right up front. Then again, given the publicity of the show so far, perhaps the producers knew they couldn't keep this a secret, so let the audience in on her status early.

Anyway, while this show was ostensibly to introduce us to the eight contestants member cast, the show really ended up being the “Ryan & Chet Show, starring Kaytelynn.” Ryan was determined to figure out what exactly, was “up” with Katelynn (apparently when filming started, no one else knew she was transgendered), and Chet, naïve Mormonnite that he is, appeared totally enthralled with Ryan and his wonderful singing (I swear, Chet is so deep in the closet it's a surprise he's not in Narnia by now).

They both come across as insensitive clods; perhaps the producers playing up their provincial upbringing? In any case, as presented, I don't care for either of them (neither does Bunny, who suffered through the show to watch our friend Katelynn).

The rest of the cast don't get as much character development. JD does reveal he's gay to Ray and Chet, and when he takes Katelynn out to dinner she reveals to him that she's transgendered (he took her out to make her feel more welcome, being a bit of an outsider himself). But that's about as much character development as we get from the “Ryan & Chet Show starring Katelynn.” But there's still eleven weeks to go.

MTV's The Real World: After Dinner Mints

After the “Ryan & Chet Show, starring KaytelynnMTV had a half-hour special where, not terribly surprising, they interviewed Ryan, Chet and Katelynn about the season opener. Katelynn was open about her experiences and came across as being very professional and cool. Ryan did apologize for his “I know why [JD]'s taking it to dinner” remark (which Katelynn accepted) and Chet is still working his way back from Narnia.

And unfortunately, we were subjected to not only Ryan's singing yet again, but everybody singing. There's a reason I don't like karaoke and this was a prime example of why.

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