The official student newspaper of University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire since 1923.

The Spectator

The official student newspaper of University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire since 1923.

The Spectator

The official student newspaper of University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire since 1923.

The Spectator

Mmmboppin’ with Scott Hansen

Renee Rosenow

Earlier this year, MTV made a move to promote themselves as environmentally friendly. For the 20th season of the stations staple show “The Real World,” MTV decided to make the living quarters for the cast as green as possible. This included doing things such as giving the cast sustainable furniture, installing solar panels in the house and forcing the cast to use dual flush toilets.

Unfortunately it appears the move by MTV to go green was a short lived one. After “Real World: Hollywood” and its green living quarters were abandoned by the cast, MTV began prepping to begin production on its 16th season of “The Real World/Road Rules Challenge.” In so doing, MTV decided the best place to film the season was on an island off the coast of Panama.

Additionally, MTV wanted to force the cast to not live in luxurious housing like previous seasons and to make them improvise and work in order to make it on the island. The only problem facing MTV at this point was how to give viewers the same feel as the other “Real World/Road Rules Challenges” while still convincing them the contestants were cut off from society. No, they didn’t change the name of the show to “Survivor: Real World/Road Rules Challenge Panama.”

In order to separate the cast from the already established civilization that lived on the island, MTV hired local police to prevent residents from accessing a public beach that was near the shooting area of the show. Once they had established enough force to prevent people from entering the area, they needed to clear it a little bit for a place for the cast to inhabit. Although finding a different location to shoot the show was likely available, seeing as though there are numerous abandoned or densely populated islands on the face of the earth, MTV did what it does best and that’s making the world accommodate them.

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The entertainment mogul brought in heavy machinery to tear down various areas of a rain forest surrounding the site they wanted to film at. Then realizing they had no way to get their crew in and out of the newly plowed site, MTV built an access road for its own personal use. Once again being forgettful, the show’s production realized in order to see the cast at night they would need lights installed around the site they plowed. So without hesitation they installed lighting and generators to create electricity for those lights.

The tearing down of rainforests for one’s personal gain isn’t something new. Corporations seem to have been doing it for as long as there have been corporations. Does that make it right? Not in the least. But at least these corporations are up front about it, or don’t argue with the public’s perception that essentially they won’t be environmentally friendly. They may try to make up for their capacity to not go green by donating to environmental causes, but overall the public perception is that they still aren’t good for the environment.

The difference between MTV and these corporations, in this case, is the hypocritical nature of MTV. The station will tote itself as going green by showcasing the various green things it did to the set of “The Real World: Hollywood” and won’t hesitate at pointing it out every chance they get. And if you can stand to actually sit and watch any hour of MTV’s programming at any given time, be ready to see some commercials about them wanting to help out in making the earth healthy again. But you won’t see them discussing what they did to the island off the coast of Panama and you won’t hear about all the damage they left behind after filming on the island was completed.

Do I expect MTV to be up front about this? Not really. They are in the business of making money and wouldn’t do anything that would obviously hurt their financial gains. What I do hope is that in the wake of this development, those who watch reality shows in general begin to ask themselves what their shows are doing to the world in which they are filmed.

Am I concerned about “The Hills” going green? Other than Lauren Conrad driving her car a lot and wearing clothing made from non-green fabrics, the show really can’t screw up the environment in which it is filmed.

But when reality programming is such a hot commodity today, and so many shows like “Survivor,” “Amazing Race” and countless others are filmed in densely populated areas, the viewer needs to realize they are responsible for what the show’s filming leaves in its wake.

I normally hate hearing about people calling for the boycotts of things, but I sincerely hope no one watches the show and that the ratings for the 16th season of “The Real World/Road Rules Challenge” are astronomically low.

Anyone who watches the show is only sending a message to MTV and other stations with reality shows that it is OK for them to disturb the areas around where they want to film. To disturb the environment for a half hour of entertainment each week is unacceptable, and allowing shows to perpetuate the problem is unacceptable too.

Viewers tend to overlook the fact that they control what is on TV. In this particular case of MTV being extremely non-green, viewers can control whether or not reality programs follow suit and also choose to cause destruction to the environment in which they are filming. Hopefully no one watches the show especially those who claim they are green. Because after all, the choice on their part to do so would be just as hypocritical as MTV is.

Hansen is a junior print journalism major and editorial editor of The Spectator. “Mmmboppin’ with Scott Hansen” appears every Thursday.

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Mmmboppin’ with Scott Hansen