In case you haven’t noticed, there’s a new reality show in town—MTV’s The Real World has hit the streets of Washington. Cast members have been spotted everywhere, from the Dave & Busters at White Flint Mall to the Capitol Skyline’s rooftop pool to the Clarendon Grill.
Perhaps predictably—this is Washington, right?—a debate has taken shape among locals who love and hate the show, and lots of local bloggers are at the helm. Adam Rosenberg, one of the founders of the Anti-Real World DC blog, lives across the street from Ground Zero for the show: the Real World house at 20th and S streets, Northwest. He says he started the blog in June “to chronicle the show from my couch.” Rosenberg has since recruited a team of contributors to follow the cast’s shenanigans through Washington—with a good dose of snark, of course.
“We wanted to have a little fun because we’re in a city driven by point/counterpoint debates and campaigns,” he says. “So of course you have to have an Anti-Real World voice to compliment The Real World.”
Elizabethany Ploger, a video blogger from Woodbridge who vlogs at Love, Elizabethany, is on the other side of the fence. “I love reality TV,” she says. “The Real World was the start of it all.”
A self-proclaimed Real World: DC stalker, Ploger’s goal with the show is simple: to find the cast wherever she can and capture her encounters on video. More than a month into her gig—and with more than six videos under her belt—she says MTV’s production crew knows her by name. The Real World videos have increased traffic to her site tenfold, she says.
We got Adam and Elizabethany to hash out their differences in a head-to-head interview on all-things The Real World. Read on to find out what happens when bloggers stop being polite and start getting real.
Last season of The Real World you watched and your favorite cast member:
Adam: “The last season I watched in its entirety was probably The Real World: Hawaii but my favorite Real World cast member was easily Judd from season three in San Francisco. He was a curmudgeonly, dry-witted, Jewish, aspiring cartoonist who led the charge to kick Puck out of the house. What was not to like? Plus he continued Pedro Zamora’s work after he died. The guy was a progressive and a class act.”
Elizabethany: “I watched the Hollywood season from start to finish, and it was honestly one of my favorites because I loved that everyone on the show was on it for a purpose. They were all trying to do something with their lives, network, and make their way into their dream job. I wish I could have been on that season. I would have given anything to be there. As for my favorite cast member, I liked Will a lot.”
Thoughts on The Real World: DC in five words or less:
Adam: “Welcome to the neighborhood, bitches!”
Elizabethany: “Exciting, intriguing, hilarious, unpredictable, fun.”
Job you’d give the cast members:
Adam: “They can babysit my dog between the hours of 10 PM and 6 AM so I can sleep since, ya know, there’s a block party going on outside my house now every night and she keeps running upstairs to bark.”
Elizabethany: “They all have individual jobs this season, which I think is really cool. They seem to have a lot of the bases covered: One is a bartender, so he’s covering the nightlife; one is volunteering at the Human Rights Campaign; and another one is interning with a media outlet, which is obviously huge in this city. I’m not sure what everyone’s jobs are, but McFadden’s is a really fun place, and I think one of them should work there. They’d get plenty of interesting things on camera. The Trapeze School New York in DC’s Penn Quarter would be interesting and different, too. And I wonder if any of them could be an intern on the Hill.”
Funniest encounter you’ve had with the roommates so far:
Adam: “I don’t really seek them out. I don’t need to. I can watch all the action unfold from my living room.”
Elizabethany: “Move-in day, when I got in a fight with one of the roommates. She has absolutely despised me ever since. She started yelling about me being a blogger and going out with them. I also beat one of the guys in a handstand contest that night after he was bragging about how strong he was.”
Your predictions on . . . :
. . . the bar the roommates will frequent most:
Adam: “Probably some chain bar that they can hit in any city, like McFadden’s. Which is fine with me because I had my fill of popped collars in college.”
Elizabethany: “Since one of them works at Rhino Bar, I’m sure they’ll be there a lot. I’m hoping for McFadden’s or Public Bar!”
. . . location of the first cat fight:
Adam: “Are we counting the cat fights that have already occurred outside my place between dancers at Fab Lounge who were hanging outside the house trying to see the cast? Because those were some epic cat fights! Maybe the dancers can teach the Real Worlders some moves. I’m sure it’ll occur within their own house, which provides better lighting and opportunity for producers to give direction and choreograph better for television.”
Elizabethany: “When we saw them at Buca di Beppo on the first night, the girls were already complaining about everyone fighting in their private party. Apparently it was a big fight about religion or something. Hopefully they fight about more exciting things in public soon.”
. . . the number of times the police will be called to the house:
Adam: “Oh this is easy. Take the number of Real World: DC stalker bloggers and multiply that by the number of cast members in the house. Then divide that by the number of times they visit McFadden’s or Third Edition and you should get your number.”
Elizabethany: “I know they were called for the fight that happened outside of the house a couple weeks ago, but it didn’t involve anyone in the house. I actually don’t think they’ll be called to the house because of anything the roommates do—I think they’ll be called because of people trying to sneak in or doing something to the roommates or disturbing the neighborhood. I’m sure it’ll happen once a week or once every two weeks at least.”
Neighborhood you would have selected for the Real Worlders’ house:
Adam: “C Street, Southeast—they'd be neighbors to some of stuffiest people in DC, who banged people they barely knew and ended their careers. (See: United States Congress, Members of). I think they’d be fast friends with the Real World cast.”
Elizabethany: “Before they moved in, I would have said Georgetown, but now I think Dupont was actually a good choice. Georgetown would have been more fun and college-kids-oriented (read: a lot more partying), but it would have brought even more ‘stalker’ issues once school is back in session. It’s good that they’re in a place that’s close to a lot of things but not actually in the central mix.”
What you’d say to a Real World producer if given the chance:
Adam: “Just like I wouldn’t show up at your office without an appointment and demand a meeting, you shouldn’t have just showed up in my neighborhood without a warning or heads up and assumed it was okay to start your five-month filming. Community outreach goes a long way, just ask that Obama guy.”
Elizabethany: “There’s no need to worry about me or forbid the roommates from talking to me; I’m harmless. I just want to get to know the cast, see what they’re like, and compare the real them to their character on the show. I’m not going to exploit anything about the show. Work with us bloggers, please. It’s an interesting turn for the show.”
Washington: A more or less desirable place to live because of The Real World?
Adam: “DC was great before The Real World arrived, and it’ll stay awesome when they leave. It’s not as if the show is going to suddenly put us on the map. That said, The Real World could prove useful in a new slogan for Washington: ‘Come to DC! We once had a reality show filmed here that people forgot existed. No, it wasn’t The Amazing Race.’ ”
Elizabethany: “More. It’s always interesting to be in a place where a major reality show is being filmed. It’s also fun to see the places they go. It’s helped me explore the city a lot more than I used to before they came. I don’t think they’re disturbing anyone to the point where it’s miserable to live in the city.”
Reality show you’d rather have come to Washington:
Adam: “We actually wrote about this on the ARWDC blog so here’s the snippet: ‘Top Chef: DC has become one of the top culinary destinations in the country. You may not be able to afford some of the higher-end places, but from pho to burgers to haute cuisine to you-name-it, DC is making a name for itself in the culinary world. Spike from season four of Top Chef has his must-eat Good Stuff Eatery on the Hill, and Carla from season five was a finalist. The first challenge could be during Maryland crab season, or maybe a challenge to reinvent the half-smoke. The White House pastry chef could judge the best DC monuments, which have been made for dessert. Or repeat past seasons, and make food for a worthy cause like DC Central Kitchen.’ ”
Elizabethany: “I don’t think there’s any show that I’d rather have here, but I’d absolutely love it if American Idol came to town. I’d be at every single show.”
Favorite local blog besides your own:
Adam: “Greater Greater Washington. It emphasizes smart planning and community activism (something The Real World seems to know nothing about).”
Elizabethany: “There are so many blogs I check on a daily basis—local and otherwise—that I can’t pick a favorite. Right now, I check all of the other Real World: DC blogs every chance I get. Everyone has something interesting to say or something they’ve seen, and I can’t seem to get enough of it. It’s a little ridiculous, but everyone has something they’re obsessed with, right?”
Next week, we learn about life with kids in Washington. DC Urban Dad, who founded the weekend running group, DC Dads on the Run, tells us his favorite daddy/daughter running route, where he goes for an adults-only night out, and his favorite kid-friendly activities (for free!) in Washington.
Have a favorite blogger you’d like to hear from? Send suggestions to firstname.lastname@example.org.