The Observer is a Student-run, daily print & online newspaper serving Notre Dame & Saint Mary's. Learn more about us.



The realities of reality TV

Liz Harter | Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Normally, I’m not a fan of reality television. I find shows like “The Bachelor,” “A Shot at Love with Tila Tequila” and “The Hills” to be completely pointless and shallowly vapid.

The only exceptions I make to this overall dislike are for shows like the “Real World/Road Rules Challenge” (one of my life’s ambitions is to become one of the people who sits around a table in the MTV studios and comes up with competitions like “Mexican blanket rolling” for crazy, money-obsessed people to win money), Rock of Love (Bret Michaels may be balding and old, but he’s still hot) and my new found obsession- MTV’s new reality show “The Paper.”

You might have guessed that I’d be slightly biased towards a reality show about the production of a student newspaper. I mean, I am working on producing a student newspaper at the moment. And come on, when a show starts out with the words, “Journalists are the most important part of the world,” what journalist with a flair for the occasional melodrama wouldn’t be hooked.

“The Paper” follows the staff of the Cypress Bay High School newspaper staff.

Now, I’m normally skeptical about just how much reality is shown in reality TV, and while I will admit I really think this show is scripted, I can tell you this is pretty realistic for a paper.

Let me let you in on the reality of The Observer. Sunday through Thursday there are at least 12 people in the basement of South Dining Hall putting together the paper. Since we print daily things are a bit more harried than the newsroom shown on “The Paper.” But really, it’s pretty true to life that we use a ton of paper printing things to make everything perfect (or at least as perfect as a bunch of students who have to go to class, do homework and write articles can).

In the first episode, which aired Monday, the race is on for Editor-in-Chief. Four juniors are vying for the head position, something not seen in The Observer this year as Chris Hine, our current EIC, was unopposed when he applied for the position.

The episode followed the exploits of these four juniors as they write their applications for EIC. Only one completes her application with days left until the deadline. The other three decided they can’t work unless they’re under pressure, a phenomenon which I have come to experience since joining The Observer staff in my freshman year.

After printing the last edition of the year the staff of The Circuit throw a party (by the way, there are way too many solo cups and ping pong balls in this episode since these are all underage teenagers…). In much the same vein, The Observer hosts our annual semi-formal after we print our last edition in December, though our parties are probably a bit more scandalous.

There are a lot of other similarities between Cypress Bay’s The Circuit and our very own The Observer, but I’m out of space. Now I just have to implore you to tune in at 10:30 next Monday and maybe we’ll randomly need another Inside Column at 1 a.m. next Tuesday and I’ll be able to regale you with more similarities between these two publications.