Where’s the Reality?

May 14, 2008 | By | 2 Replies More

Last summer, I found myself dancing as an unpaid extra in a reality show. I’d been a dancing extra in a TV movie back in ’98, and at least got lunch and minimum wage. This time I not only did it for free, but I had to sign a non-disclosure document. This time the show will have a wider audience than the (bad) movie that I was in before.

Why, you may well ask, do I mention it now? Well, that very show is finally being broadcast. The bit in which St. Louis Contradancers like myself will appear is just a couple of episodes away. It’s the CW’s iteration of “Farmer Wants a Wife” filmed just barely in the next county, near where the Missouri river joins the Mississippi. Map of St. Louis AreaI say iteration because the show had already been a local reality show hit in 11 other countries before a U.S. company picked it up.

Now, I can’t say who was still standing in our episode. I don’t even remember. I don’t really care.

I am amused by the middle-of-nowhere pretension. Sure, it is in the flood plain, and out of sight of any big city. But it is also less than a half hour drive from major population and commercial support. The St. Charles airport that they flew into is about 15 minutes closer to the farm by bus than is Lambert International Airport. Lambert was the primary hub for TWA, before the industry crashed in 2001.

We were just there for a barn dance. It was fun. Cameras were everywhere, all the primaries wore wireless mikes, and camouflaged lighting kept things warm up in that depression era barn loft. Backstage has always had more appeal to me than the audience point of view.

But now I’m watching my first reality show. Sure, we record it and watch it when convenient. It is fun to see people on TV that we’ve met, in places where we’ve been. But now I have even more awareness of all the setup, production, and post production that goes in to making these 40 minute episodes.


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Category: American Culture, Culture, Current Events, Entertainment, Whimsy

About the Author ()

A convoluted mind behind a curly face. A regular traveler, a science buff, and first generation American. Graying of hair, yet still verdant of mind. Lives in South St. Louis City. See his personal website for (too much) more.

Comments (2)

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  1. Dan Klarmann says:

    Episode "Do-Si-Do" is scheduled to air on Weds May 28, '08 at 8 p.m. CDT on the See Dubya (Channel 11/11.1 in StL). Let's see how dorky they made us look!

  2. Dan Klarmann says:

    See me dance like a fool tonight (Weds 5/28/08, 9/8c)

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