Saturday, January 2, 2010

Real World DC: Premiere Party & Episode 1 Breakdown

don’t really watch The Real World.

When I was in college my roommate and I would head on over to the female side of the floor of my dorm to hang out and watch episodes of Real World Philadelphia, but besides that I haven’t watched a whole lot of the granddaddy of Reality TV. My inexperience with the show doesn’t make me feel too alienated since many Washingtonians tuned in for the first episode of The Real World DC, some for the first time ever or first time in a long time. Having a reality show filmed in your urban backyard kind of has that effect. The show did slightly better in the ratings compared to the previous season, Real World Cancun, no undoubtedly thanks to many locals who wanted to see how the 23rd season of the Real World would profile DC.

I caught the first episode at the Metromix Premiere Party over at BlackFinn. There I met up with Suburban Sweetheart and Emily Goodstein and watched the first episode with members cast and other members of the media. Party organizers Elizabethany and Chris Wiggins were pleased to see the small downtown bar packed with fans.

It was really interesting to see the cast react to their first glimpses of themselves on television. Ashley shed a few tears while watching an emotional heart-to-heart between her and Ty. The cast must also be stuck in Real World mode, many Tequila shots were taken while watching the season premiere.

Just hanging out with the RWDC cast (Photo: Alfredo Flores)
After the episode the cast stuck around BlackFinn to watch the after show, mingle with bar patrons, and of course- take more Tequila shots. The cast then high tailed it to Halo to meet up with fellow cast member Mike Manning who was hosting an after-party to the premiere party.

After talking with the cast in earlier, it looked as if this latest season of The Real World is going to attempt to go back to its roots of less hot tub, more issues. This is Washington DC- where people greet each other with a handshake and political affiliation; wouldn’t a DC reality show be all about the serious issues of our Nation’s capital? So did the first episode live up to those claims? Almost. The show introduces us to eight strangers who say the right things (Ty: “I’m one of those people that wants to put their foot in every door.”) but reveals themselves with typical reality show ambitions. Cast member Erica can be seen in an interview talking about expanding her music career and Andrew’s top goal in DC: get laid.

The cast was quick to introduce drama with a dinner-time argument over religion, but in reality it was just a stubborn shouting match between Ty (who doesn’t believe in God) and Mike (a devout Christian.) Was there any breakthrough moments that explored the issue? Not really, the tense moment resembled two sports fans arguing over who’s football team was better.

The first episode succeeded in introducing us to this year’s slate of characters- but the jury is still out on if Real World DC will be a a stand-out amongst forgettable season in recent years or a feeble attempt to go against the Jersey Shore standard reality drama.

The Drama In DC
So with the first episode of the show we meet the eight roommates, let’s scope them out.

Andrew Woods
21 – Denver, CO

You either think he’s funny or obnoxious, nevertheless he comes off as the biggest personality on the show. He’s funny in a complete weirdo kind of way and will do or say anything to be funny/get attention. Viewers saw him lie to Emily and Callie about his hobbies and background- but did anyone catch the very subtle “Oh! A lesbian!” line he said when Erika and Josh were walking up to the house? At least we don’t have to worry about him being racist- since he thinks that anyone that enjoys basketball can’t be a racist. His main objective on the show is to get laid, a very noble goal for someone on The Real World, however we’ve already seen his game and while the cast members brush it off as lame I think he has a good chance to get women with the whole funny guy/complete geek act he has going as he doesn’t go overboard with it. Plus having cameras around will help him too. Drama level: Low – He’ll walk around DC in that Panda hat, try and make funny jokes, and perhaps say something inappropriate to a cast member or woman- but he’s a wannabe lover- not a fighter.

Ashley Lindley
22 – Houston, TX

The first cast member to be introduced, we are told that she’s a big fan of Barack Obama and was a delegate in the 2008 election. However her big mouth and tendency to snoop on the other cast mates puts her in line to be the house drama queen, not house politico. In the first episode she reveals a past where she physically abused by her father and has a very contentious rapport with Ty. However those that watched the after show saw a different rapport between the two, perhaps a sign of things to come later this season. Drama level: High – She has all the makings to start or get involved with every situation in the house.

Callie Walker
21 – Huntsville, TX

What I’ve noticed about Callie is that she prefers her left side in photos. She also often does this raised eyebrow, chin up kind of pose in a lot of pictures. The shutterbug from San Houston State not only looks good in front of the camera but loves to take photos behind the lens as well. She’s a vegan and we are led to believe that she’s somewhat conservative (even though she’s told me that she’s socially liberal.) Drama level: Low - Her personality doesn’t really stand out too much and I have a bad feeling that she’ll be easily overshadowed by the bigger egos in the house.

Emily Schromm
20 – Columbia, MO

Wait she’s only 20? Unless she turned 21 over the course of the season does this mean she didn’t partake in the many trips to the DC bars? It’s not like she doesn’t want to drink. Now a former member of a fundamentalist Christian cult she’s all about rebelling and living the life she didn’t have in her earlier years. She’s all about adrenaline and dating both women and men. She’s also got a nose piercing and a tattoo- both signs she’s a rebel. Like Callie she comes across as quiet but she conveys this real down to earth attitude that makes her one of the cooler heads in the house. Drama level: Low – I don’t think she’s going to be starting any fights but she’s already shown a liking to token hot black guy Ty.

Erika Lauren Wasilewski
21 – Chicago, IL

In her audition tape she describes herself as, “a little crazy, and a lot of rock and roll.” We also heard her sing- which I think is good but not great. In the first episode we saw her rock and roll side and her love for rock and roll people- like Josh. She also says she’s only cheated on a boyfriend once- and that was when she started dating her current boyfriend. Erika’s bf I got news for you- she’s probably going to make it two times. Drama level: High - we haven’t seen her crazy side yet but I know it’s going to come out and when it does, it’s going to be amazing. Also we know anybody that comes on the show dating somebody is just asking for infidelity.

Josh Conlon
23 – Philadelphia, PA

Andrew described him best, he’s a coolest guy in the room and he knows it. He hails from Philly where he worked at Pat’s King of Steaks. He’s an aspiring musician and just looks like he lives and breathes the rock and roll life style. It was great to see him in the confessional holding an entire bottle of Jack Daniels. Right now we don’t know a whole lot about him yet but we did see that he has a girlfriend. Good thing that the two cast members with significant others already have crushes on each other. That’s going to go over real well. Drama level: Medium - Maybe he’ll get in a fight but he seems too cool minded for that, but that girlfriend back home situation is looking mighty tempting for some drama.

Mike Manning
22- Thornton, CO

The big revelation at dinner on the first night was that he’s Bi. I have a feeling he’s definitely, “bi now, gay later.” He told me that he was a closet case before the show and you can see his slight uncomfort when he talks about it. He doesn’t want to be known for his bi-sexuality. Too bad you are on the show as the token bi/gay male. Besides that he comes off as a really nice guy, it makes you wonder how he got on the show in the first place. Drama level: Low - He’s somewhat naive when it comes to his sexuality and I see his awakening to the issues being the main storyline for him this season.

Ty Ruff
22 – Baltimore, MD

I enjoyed the fact the other cast mates were hoping for the “hot black guy” to arrive and he walks up to the house just in time to satisfy the quota. A lot of people are already making reference to Ty also fitting the, “angry black man” role and I have to say he does come off very cocky and very out spoken. He’s already picking fights and if this trend continues- I see him starting many, many fights this season. Drama level: High – He will have his share of words that will spark much drama.

Look I Know That Place!
For the first episode the locals were pretty lame. Mike and Ashley met at Reagan National Airport, Emily and Andrew met on The Mall (so cliche), and Josh and Erika met at Union Station. Callie and Ty traveled to the house solo: Ty is seen coming out of the Dupont Circle Metro while Callie gets lost getting to the house.

Their first dinner? Buca Di Beppo. Yes a chain restaurant. There’s been a lot of snarky remarks about the choice but it’s only the first night and as a video producer there’s only so many places that would of allowed MTV cameras inside. Also from a logistical standpoint there’s only so many places that could close off an entire area for the cast to eat privately.

Otherwise there were a good amount of B-roll shots including the Columbia and 18th section of Adams Morgan.

Final Word
The first episode did a lot of standard intros, nothing exciting, nothing really dramatic. Let’s hope the next few episodes can hold DC’s attention before we start waiting for The Real Housewives of DC.

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