Archive for April 9th, 2009

The Real World comes to Washington?

real-world-ct-ericIf you listen to the New York Post, Washington D.C. is going to be the next location for the eighty-fourth season of The Real World. And, frankly, I’ll believe it when I see it.

D.C. has been the perennial bridesmaid when it comes to The Real World location finalists. And for good reason. While it is a big city, it’s not necessarily a city known for drinking and fighting — the two pillars of Real World drama.  The drinking and fighting that happens in DC tends to involve Hill staffers rolling up their shirtsleeves at happy hour and really getting into it about which bill is full of pork and what will or won’t get out of committee. I can’t imagine the kids are going to want to watch that.

Even though the producers have claimed in recent seasons to search for cast members who have some substance, the only episode I’ve seen this season (the third time the show has gone to the New York well) involved one super-buff blonde guy locking up the kitchen cabinets as punishment to his other roommates (and another, in retaliation, stealing something of his and hiding it). While they may want to cast some smarties on this season, you’ve got to have at least a few dumb jerks to keep it watchable.

Generally speaking, to function in D.C. you need to at least be able to know most of the members of Presidential Cabinet and a few obscure congressmen to hold your own at cocktail parties. Let me put it this way: The most quintessential D.C. situation I can recall was a friend of mine telling me that he had found himself in a local gay bar, talking energy policy with a guy clad in a leather harness.

So, if The Real World does come to D.C. (and God help us all if it does), here are some possible neighborhoods they could live in:

Adams Morgan — If you want drinking and fighting, this is where it’s going to happen. While Adams Morgan is quite lovely on weeknights and during the day (hipsters brunching, grad students with their laptops), on Fridays and Saturdays it quickly turns into amateur night. There are girls in cute skimpy tops freezing their asses off in February, drunk guys in stripey collared shirts and fancy jeans calling each other ‘brah’ and any number of undergraduates puking their jumbo slices up on the sidewalk.

U Street — This is my new neighborhood. The U Street/14th Street corridor is rapidly becoming the new gayborhood (although maybe it’s already moved out to Shaw — it’s hard to keep track, the gays wear me out) and there’s a lot of nightlife with jazz clubs and rock clubs.

Columbia Heights — Probably one of the most diverse neighborhoods in Northeast DC (for now, the new Target is attracting the folks with strollers and nice sweaters), it’s still transitioning a bit. I can definitely see the cast at the Wonderland bar, a hipster dive that attracts a surprisingly eclectic crowd. But, then again, I wouldn’t want them there. So forget I said that.

Capitol Hill — Although this may change with the Obama administration and the powerful Democratic majority, the Hill has always seemed to be a haven for high school class presidents with pleated pants. The portion of the neighborhood in SouthEast DC is arguably the most happening area (a piano bar, the gay cowboy bar — ooh, I bet you they will totally cast some gay dude who wants to be a DC Cowboy) and they’ll probably be able to find a relatively cheap house to gut and redecorate.

Welcome to the city kids. If you stay away from Nellie’s, The Black Cat, The Fox and Hound, Toledo Lounge and The Raven, we’ll get along just fine.

5 comments April 9th, 2009

The Mystery of the Missing Pullman

Harper’s Island premieres tonight at 10:00 pm on CBS. I wrote a review of it for PopMatters.

I asked to review it because, early in the fall, I got a screener with an excerpt of the pilot on it, and it looked pretty interesting. If you don’t know, the story is a 13-episode murder mystery. Guests arrive on an island off the coast of Seattle for a week-long wedding celebration. The island also happens to be the site of some gruesome murders that took place seven years prior. Guess what? Before the party even arrives, someone starts picking off the invitees. (My guess? The bride’s father. Weddings are damn expensive, and I bet he’d do anything to cut down the guest list.) It’s a little Lost, a little 10 Little Indians, and a little I Still Know What You Did Last Summer all rolled into one.

The best part about that little half-screener, though, was that Bill Pullman was in it. Even better–he played a very un-Pullman character, the wacky uncle who shows up at the ferry with a mariachi band and immediately starts hitting on bridesmaids. The minute his grinning face flashed across the screen, everything about the show seemed awesome. Now, imagine my surprise when, after I get the official, honest-to-God, full-length pilot a couple weeks ago, the mariachi band shows up, the drunk man wearing the sombrero turns–and it’s Harry Hamlin. What happened to Pullman?

The stars search anxiously for Bill Pullman.

Now, it’s not fair to review a show based on the pre-screener. In PopMatters, I gave Harper’s Island a bad review based on what was there, not what could have been there. Unfortunately, the series premiere does not do so well as a full hour. Man, that thing is plagued with expositional dialogue. I still love the idea of a murder mystery that gets resolved after 13 episodes, and maybe it gets better as it goes on. But, somewhere between that first screener and the full pilot, all of the life seemed to get sucked out of the show. And I can’t help but think that, even though his character is minor at best, the loss of Pullman had something to do with it.

At least I can picture him leaving the show in the manner of his grand entrance–full of tequila and with a screw-it-all attitude. I’m guessing it was his choice to go. For some reason, I don’t think the show dumped him Harry Hamlin. Maybe if it was Tom Hanks.

Photo: Chris Helcermanas-Benge/CBS ©2008 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved.

1 comment April 9th, 2009


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