Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Childhood Dreams Of The Reality TV Persuasion

Growing up, little kids dream of being actors, astronauts, zoologists, strippers- you know, those elusive, cool jobs that very few actually end up obtaining. That's all well and good for normal children. But I was anything but. As a wee little Mexican girl, my dreams were much, much bigger than that of a regular kid. I wanted to be... wait for it... on Real World (or Road Rules... RIP.) No joke, I really did. It sounds absurd now, in the harsh light of 2012, but back in the day it was much more dignified. Try to remember what life was like back then. I mean, through the eyes of a 10-year-old girl Real World was everything! Boys, real jobs, makeup, drama, no parents and all of America watching. At that time, that's basically all I wanted in life. Now, here we are, 13 years later and I still watch the damn show. Yet I can't bring myself to audition and make all of my childhood dreams come true. What gives?

The late 90s/early 2000s were really the high point of Real World. MTV really invented reality TV. It was a simpler time- pre-Kardashians, pre-Dancing With The Stars, pre- Jersey Shore. Just seven idiots living in a house, determined to create interesting television. Back in the day, Real World was the shit. Seattle, Hawaii, New Orleans, New York, Chicago, Vegas, Paris, San Diego (the original)- guys, this show really hit its peak during my formative years. It's no wonder I was so obsessed. I mean, I was basically hanging on every word these "super cool" 20-somethings were saying, all of which was total dumbassery. Like, it's amazing I turned out even relatively normal when one of the most important relationships in my life was Amaya and Colin's from Real World: Hawaii. If you think I'm joking, you obviously don't know understand much their relationship meant to me as a small child... I cried when they broke up. I'm not even ashamed to admit that I still sometimes google "Where Are They Now" for my favorite cast mates from over the years. Please don't stage an intervention- I swear I could stop if I wanted to. See, in my head- if I were on Real World, someday someone might google "Where is Carmen Quinonez now" with fingers crossed that I'm not in rehab. WHAT MORE COULD YOU WANT?!?!

Alas, I'm not 10-years-old anymore, and Real World isn't what it once was. What I once looked to for (horribly misguided) relationship and life advice has basically become a cesspool of STDs, alcoholics and hunky gay men. And as much as I love a hairy gay man in tie-dye (Frank- RW:SD), you can't even compare recent seasons to the glory of the past. It's not even fair really. I still watch it and love every second of it, but it's totally a horse of a different color now. What was once controversial television is now considered relatively mundane. Gay people living with straight people is no longer shocking, so they have to push it even further. Now, successful reality TV shows revolve around guidos getting drunk to the point of vomiting and high school students getting pregnant. I'm the first one to admit that I love all trashy reality TV, but all of this, of course, makes me want to reconsider actually being on Real World. (It's actually terrifying that there might be kids growing up right now who dream of one day being on Jersey Shore. Good lord.) A childhood dream that can might never be, simply because I don't want to continuously get hammered on national television. I do have some standards, guys! Truth be told, I just wouldn't trust myself to not embarrass my entire family on TV. I would somehow end up "getting roofied" and puking on all my roommates or something. That's kind of the Real World vibe now. It used to be intense seasons with the purpose of shedding light on interesting people and their stories. Remember Pedro from San Francisco and his struggle with AIDS & Irene from Seattle and her troubles with Lyme disease? Might have been heavy content matter, but it was also compelling TV and really educational. I miss that! Now I have to watch TLC for that shit.

Real World is now largely regarded as something that people who don't know what to do with their lives will audition for, or a go-to move for people trying to break into "acting." It's strange, I never considered myself either of these things until lately. That is to say that I don't know what to do with my life, not that I want to be an "actor." Yikes, that would be a train wreck. I used to be all like "Look at this biddy, just on Real World because she doesn't want to get a real job. You're only delaying the inevitable, girl!" Now I find myself thinking "Um, yeah. Delaying the inevitable... where do I sign up?" or something along those lines. I've been joking with everyone (myself) that I am actually going to just say fuck it and audition to Real World now that I moved out of NYC. Well it's all fun and games until the actual auditions roll around... Thank you, Craigslist.

Seeing my childhood dream laid out in front of me right there on the interwebs made me realize that maybe it's time to finally say goodbye to the dream. First and foremost, I'm about to turn 24. The rules stipulate that you must be over 20 and appear to be between the ages of 20-24. No one wants to be that one creepy, old roommate. That kid always sucks. Also, I'm not sure if I actually even look 24. Once someone asked me if I was 30. Ouch. That dude's totally getting called out in my Oscar's acceptance speech! (Totally don't know what I'm winning an Oscar for... Maybe it'll be a Grammy instead!.... I can't sing.) Whenever it's been Real World audition season before, I've been caught up with work, college, or something important. Now that I'm kind of "floating around" I finally have the freedom to pursue the insanity that is horrible reality TV. But now that it's actually an option, I don't really want it anymore. (This is the exact same thing that happens to me with guys. Imagine that!) I think I've finally decided that it's not for me. I can't subject my family to the embarrassment, or America to my face without make-up when I wake up in the morning. It's time to say goodbye to Real World and my insane childhood dream. It never would have worked anyway- I don't even have an angle as a character. "Hi my name is Carmen, I really like smiling and watching Netflix. Got room for one more?!" Not in the cards, guys. If anything, I'm holding out for Rachel Zoe to call when she realizes that I'm the straight-girl-with-a-gay-man-trapped-inside-her-BFF she's been missing! That's truly my reality TV calling, obviously.

So long childhood dream. You were kind of sucky anyway.


  1. Oh my goodness I was absolutely in love with both the Real World and Road Rules. I wasn't suppose to watch, but I had a cool older brother that would totally let me watch with him when our parents were out. And I am right there with you about Amaya and Colin's relationship, they just needed to be together forever and I couldn't understand why they didn't get that!

    Side note I just recently came across your blog, and I am pretty sure I am in love with it. Hope that's not a super weird thing for me to have said, if so feel free to just ignore that part.

    Little Lady Little City

    1. Oh my gosh, thank you SO much!!! You are too sweet.
      Also, totally funny about the older brother thing- that's how I started watching Real World in the first place, too! In my head, Amaya and Colin are married, living in Hawaii and raising their super tan children together in a house full of love :)

    2. That is a far better way to think about Amaya and Colin, than thinking they are broken up. I am now going to join you in this wonderful fantasy!

  2. I feel the EXACT same way. I wanted to be on TRW soooo badly as a kid, (I was about 14 or 15 when RW: Seattle was out & I thought they were the epitome of cool. I mean c'mon their house had a LIBRARY.) Sadly, I haven't been able to put myself through the torture of watching the RW today, it's just too much for me now. As always, you're too funny Carmen, love this post!

    1. I LOVED Real World: Seattle!!!
      Trust me- don't even bother watching the new seasons. Remember the good ole' days for the reality tv perfection they are.

  3. I wasn't really too big on Real World, especially now I'm in the stage of hating it. I watched it years ago and enjoyed it just because it seemed more real than it is now. Everything with the show seems to have changed, the past few seasons when I saw the commercials I thought it was a movie. It just looks completely staged now.
    I've always wanted to be on the show, but even more.. Big Brother. Seriously, such a good show and I'm dying to be on it!
    I'd say go for it.. it's something you can always say you did in your life. :)

    1. OMG! Big Brother would be amazing!! I'd be kicked off immediately though I have a feeling.
      If we live in a world where Kim Kardashian can have her own reality tv franchise... why can't we?!


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