Monday, October 10, 2011

I've figured it out . . .

I got a free episode of MTV's The Real World.  I was a teenager in the 90's in the US so it was obligatory watching. It was a lousy show then but allowed teens and preteens to peek through the keyhole into what "adulthood" might be. I didn't realize they'd still be producing it when they were on season 83 and the rest of the TV spectrum is composed of about 90% reality TV (statistics based solely on my own impressions).

I had to watch it to see if it was the same trash it was in '95.  It is.  I was fully ready to turn it off almost as soon as I'd turned it on.  It opened with a whiny 19 year old who lives in San Diego (where this particular season was set) and was lamenting leaving her family.  SIGH.  It was your choice, you're driving there (and hence could go visit home, etc. . . I won't start a rant.  After 8 minutes and 12 seconds I had to fight the urge to delete it and trudged on a little further.  I could feel the edges of my brain starting to tingle.  Something was forming. At 12 minutes it happened.  Epiphany.

EF is The Real World. You go to a strange place, you live with other people both men and women who were not your choice. You hope one of them will be hot, hoping they'll all be nice and interesting and funny.  You're stuck together through the BS that they call work, through the inevitable lies, betrayal, heartbreak and homesickness. The imminent housemate fight is always looming. In most an incestuous situation with at least several housemates sleeping/making out with/dating each other springs up.
On the show, the casting directors select people with tempers, people who are emotional basketcases, people who are physically beautiful, and mildly interesting. Most range in age from 19-25. They come from different areas of The States, and can only bring a suitcase or two. They drink, but are less often smokers.  They are put up in a gorgeous mansion where the housemates don't pay rent or utilities or even food and drink from what I can tell. They don't work, they whine about their situation and are totally self absorbed.

At EF the hiring "director" chooses people who they think won't be runners (teachers who leave in the dark or night, or on a weekend without a trace within their first several months).  Most EFs are understaffed enough they aren't very picky and take most comers. They come from the US, Canada, England, Ireland, South Africa, Poland and Wales. They range in age from 19 to 55+.  They are single, or coupled or divorced. They drink enough to make the Real World cast look like light weights. EF provides a house in various states of disrepair which you pay then to rent you, and you pay for everything else. They don't care what you think or how miserable you are so long as you show up for work.
A motley looking crew no doubt.
EF is the REAL version of the Real World.  This is true, in shades, for the greater bule population in Jakarta.  The social circles are small and it's only a matter of time before you are seeing the same people again and again.  It's can be incestuous and there is great competition for potential dating options. The biggest catch is we have to pay our way all the way along.


  1. lol. And that is why I avoid english teachers in general. :)

  2. We're not all like that. It's a language school situation when you live and work together and the school conspires to keep you poor enough you can't fight it. That said, now that I'm away from EF I avoid 'em too (V and S you know you are the bright and shiny exemptions).