December 1, 2008 / Media / Brooklyn news / Podcast / TV

Unreal world! Our critic gets a peek at MTV’s Brooklyn reality show

The Brooklyn Paper
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To watch MTV’s latest season of “The Real World,” filming now in and around Red Hook, is to return to the earliest memories of freshman year in college, meeting new people and thinking about whom you might hook up with first.

In the 21st season of the show, the eight-member cast has the full run of Pier 41 in Red Hook. The house’s front balcony overlooks the Statue of Liberty and interior decorators cutely named the four bedrooms after Brooklyn landmarks: Coney Island, Promenade, Grand Army and Carousel.

There’s a fish tank and copious amounts of food (with the camera zooming in on the brands, naturally) and the video game Rock Band already hooked up to a giant TV. There’s a man-made beach.

In other words, it’s the “Unreal World: Red Hook.”

But it gets much better.

In the first episode, we met the eight characters, all between ages 20 and 24:

Meet Katelynn, a transgendered female from West Pal Beach who only comes out to one cast member, a gay 22-year-old man named J.D., when they commiserate over rough childhoods (he’s a dolphin trainer from Miami Beach who ran away from home at age 13, wouldn’t you know).

There’s a 23-year-old Salt Lake City Mormon, Chet, a hipster in American Apparel’s finest. He’s straight as an arrow and claims that his goal is to “show people that Mormons are fun.” As we say in Brooklyn, good luck with that, Chet.

New Hampshire resident Scott, 23, has been to the gym every day since age 14 and recently received the designation of having the best abs on the East Coast.

Devyn, 20 of Kansas City, is the sole black cast member and was Miss American Teen in 2005 and wants you to know — as she flashes her buoyant breasts at Scott — that “it’s easier to get into heaven than it is to get into Devyn.”

Gettysburg, Penn., native Ryan, 23, served in the Army for 3-1/2 years, including a one-year tour of Iraq, and waxes about the whole experience on his guitar and in a 300-page single-spaced typed journal (and he’s the fun one!).

Baya, 21, is the non-Mormon from Salt Lake City who is a dedicated dancer and the token cute white female.

And Sarah, a 22-year-old San Franciscan, seems to be the only one with an interest in anyone else. The rest of the cast just wants to know who might sleep with whom, if Katelynn is or isn’t transgendered, and, oh, can we see Scott’s abs again?

So should we be watching? How can we not! “Real World: Brooklyn” has all the camp value of “Showgirls” — plus lots of cameos for our borough. Hey! There’s Smith Street! Van Brunt! No, they’re not going to make out near that rat-filled lot on Beard Street!

It’s a true “reality show,” in that the cast members don’t have any pre-conceived joint project to busy themselves, but are left to “pursue their own interests.” Sounds like a recipe for cattiness and awesome drama!

And, yes, it’s fun to hear the Mormon Chet say, as he does in the first episode, “Brooklyn is usually spoken of as more a place where you don’t want to go — I just don’t want to get shot down here.”

Judging from the first episode, the only time he’ll get shot down is by Devyn.

Updated 5:10 pm, July 9, 2018
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Reasonable discourse

Hannah Smith from Boerum Hill says:
Um, are you aware that very little of the show is actually shot in Brooklyn and that they've had to schlep them all over into Manhattan to film because so few places in Brooklyn have let them film there?
Dec. 6, 2008, 5:23 pm
crewmember from bushwick says:
they "schlepped" themselves around the city and only a handful of Brooklyn business owners refused to let the crew film at their establishment. Most of the time the roommates ran into problems with the self-rightous jerks who would throw ice, trash, drinks and often insults at the camera crews. More often than not, it was the crew who would decide not to shoot in a particular location for their own safety. Not to mention the fact that the $150k cameras were being damaged by this lame display of douche-baggery. I guess you can't blame the jerks. They don't know what a job or working for a living is. Some people's kids....(sigh)
Dec. 29, 2008, 9:58 pm

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