‘Real World’ Backlot Talk

Dec 20, 2006  •  Post A Comment

Melissa Grego: Hi. I’m Melissa Grego, managing editor of TelevisionWeek. I’d like to welcome back Jon Murray, creator-executive producer of “The Real World,” to TVWeek.com’s Producer Shop Talk.
In last night’s episode of “Real World: Denver,” Tyrie stepped in for Davis when a guy at the bar used a slur toward Davis about his sexual orientation. And in the previous episode, as we discussed last week, Tyrie and Davis had gotten into a bit of a confrontation when a racial slur was used toward Stephen at a bar. And then Davis used that same word.
How unusual is it in your experience producing “The Real World” … for slurs to be used toward your cast when they’re out and about at the bar?
Jon Murray: We’ve found this in other cities, particularly amongst college-age kids: If they’ve had too much to drink, one out of 100 people will be obnoxious. And that can happen even if there aren’t cameras around. But certainly with cameras around it’s going to happen occasionally and they’re going to take out their aggression or take out whatever’s going on in their life toward people they might be jealous of or just might be irritated by. So it does happen occasionally; we actually prepare the cast for it. We say this thing happens, don’t take it personal, it’s usually just some other person’s problem that they’re taking out on you.
Ms. Grego: Tyrie stepping in for Davis … it’s nice to see that they’re forming this bond and getting past what’s happened between them previously. Could you talk about how much real time passed between these two last episodes and what evolved between the two of them in that time?
Mr. Murray: It wasn’t a lot of time. I think it was certainly within the same week. I think what happened was we pretty much saw that last week, Tyrie pretty much put behind him what Davis had said and was willing to sort of start fresh with him. That’s the cool thing about Tyrie. He seems to feel things strongly, but he also seems very open-minded about giving people a second chance or being able to take a fresh look at a situation.
Ms. Grego: It was a big episode for him last night. We also saw him starting to get involved with a couple of women, and then his affection seemed to be focused on Jazelle. The idea that these folks in the house are all just there temporarily in town, that issue seemed to come up in terms of the evolution of this relationship romantically between Tyrie and Giselle. Was that part of the design initially in the show, to put these guys in a situation where they might make connections and have to decide whether to pursue them?
Mr. Murray: Well, the cast members generally live in whatever city we put them in for about 15 to 16 weeks, and some people will throw themselves into relationships, and some people, just like when they go off into some summer situation, will say, hey, I’m going to have to leave, therefore I don’t want to get tight with someone. It just depends on the individual. But this thing with Jazelle will grow and we will be seeing more of her as the season progresses.
Ms. Grego: When we will see the housemates get involved in their job? Is that coming up soon?
Mr. Murray: Yeah. It’s coming up fairly soon. They’re going to be working with Outward Bound. They’re going to be training first, which is pretty tough because they’re up anywhere from 10 to 11,000 feet in altitude, which is pretty strenuous … and then two different groups of kids who were affected by Hurricane Katrina will be coming up from the South, a group of boys and a group of girls, to go off on an Outward Bound trip which will be led by our cast.
Ms. Grego: Now I was going to ask what we should look forward to next week, but it looks like alcohol once again might come into play, this time with Jenn.
Mr. Murray: Yeah, well, certainly as this age group alcohol is always a part of the party thing. We see in all the applications we get from “Real World” candidates that it’s not unusual for someone of this age group to be partying three or four times a week.
Ms. Grego: So that’s in the application: what their social habits are, their consumption, things like that?
Mr. Murray: Yeah, we want to try and figure out who they are and have a sense of what they do. There are people we’ve turned down before because we felt that their drinking is at such a point where it just doesn’t make sense for them to be on the show. So we continue to be amazed at the appetites for alcohol of this particular generation of young people.
Ms. Grego: Now Davis mentioned that he actually had a drinking problem. Is that something he revealed also on his application? Is that something you guys were aware of?
Mr. Murray: No, on his application he really didn’t admit to drinking any more than most college kids. So it was a little bit of a surprise, and I think you’ll see over these episodes that he actually curtails his drinking after that incident and tries to at least have a little more control of himself.
Ms. Grego: Well, I look forward to upcoming episodes. Thank you again for taking the time to talk about “Real World: Denver,” and we’ll talk to you soon.
Mr. Murray: OK. Thanks.

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