I just volunteered to have my privacy obliterated and my very persona flattened into a two-dimensional TV character. I auditioned for “The Real World.”
Normally, I shun the various tentacles of that media monster, MTV. But my principles flew out the window when I received a flier from Bunim/Murray Productions, the creators of the long-running irreality show. The flyer advertised an open casting call in San Luis Obispo for both the fifteenth season of “The Real World” and the thirteenth of its mobile cousin, “Road Rules.”
“We look for characters from real life, people with strong personalities who are unafraid to speak their minds,” the flier read before listing such memorable personalities appearing on the show in past seasons. “Fans of the show will remember alumni such as the irreverent Teck, Pedro the HIV/AIDS educator, and Melissa, the hilarious sparkplug from the New Orleans cast,” it read. The list failed to include other “alumni” like possessive boob monster Amaya, good ol’ Lyme disease Irene or drunken bitch Trishelle.
But yeah, I did remember these people. I used to watch this show, back when either (a) the show was populated with folks with appreciable brain activity or (b) I was dumb enough to think the various casts were cool. But I lost interest when life in the dorms more than supplanted my need for sex, alcohol-fueled arguments and petty gossip, the three tenets of “The Real World.”
Despite my qualms about the show’s innate lameness, the lure of transitioning from watching TV to being TV snagged me. Sacrificing all dignity, I got dressed with the intention of impressing MTV and motored to SLO.
Skipping the line with a Daily Nexus-granted VIP pass, I went straight to the surprisingly impersonal interview process. They herded about 80 prospective castmembers into a bar, then matched 10 with a Bunim/Murray intern. My group included two standouts: the queeniest guy to ever walk the planet – in Rocket Dogs, no less – and a girl determined to thump her Bible hardest and loudest.
The icebreaker involved explaining something unusual about yourself. Predictably, however, Gay Times Infinity revealed he was a drag queen and Solider for Christ explained she was a virgin. Honestly, they couldn’t have surprised less if either had said their unusual trait was eating food and driving a car. Our intern, keenly picking up on the obvious disparity between the two standouts, then introduced the topic for the discussion from which she would be evaluating us: gay marriage.
The remainder of the 20 minute battle for “Real World” supremacy involved Gay Times Infinity and Solider for Christ yelling and quoting Bible verses, respectively, while I and the other normals tried to squeak out our meager opinions. Eventually, our intern called time and said she’d heard everything she’d need.
“The final casting decision has to be made before January, so if you don’t hear from us by late November, don’t worry about it,” she said, with “don’t worry about it” meaning “you suck and ‘The Real World’ hates you.”
My group shuffled to the door, but I realized I’d forgotten to sign a liability waiver on the back of a bio sheet all the applicants had to fill out. I offered to go back and sign it, but the intern just smiled sweetly.
“Oh, don’t worry about it,” she said.
That last coded rejection firmly squashed my MTV hopes flat. But I guess I’m better off not being enough of a stereotype to be on the show. Besides, being on “The Real World” would warp my perspective of life forever. Of course, I’ve also realized what’s more embarrassing than being lame enough to audition for “The Real World:” getting rejected by it.
Opinion editor Drew Mackie can’t wait for the new “Real World,” starring Gay Times Infinity and Solider for Christ.