Reality is Not Reality

My Early 1990’s “Pioneering” Public Access “Reality” Show and What Happened with MTV, True Story!

MTV Pre “The Real World

MTV had not yet started its series “The Real World.” And initially when I began my vlog in 1990 I had in the back of my mind that it would be great to get MTV involved. In a certain sense, although very indirectly, MTV did start a series that did involve an access of my program. More on that to come.

Dub is a Flub

SaaS (Software as a Service) has been around for a while and the possibilities are endless. I have been thinking about the ’90’s this morning because I started watching a limited series last night on a popular streaming video platform. It is about the true and original innovators of a particular concept that involved being able to, in a manner of speaking, travel around the world from your computer. I only just started viewing, but I must like it, because its format is one I do not enjoy viewing. I but you know I am interested because I generally do not watch anything that is dubbed.

The Same Five

I avoid things with voices that are changed from one language to another. This is primarily because it seems like the same five voice actors do all the movies. and series. And for me there is nothing worse when it comes to viewing, than gazing at a screen that features characters whose voices are are the exact same ones that I heard while an entirely different motion picture. Thankfully the series I just started watching seems to have a much better match, with voices that appear to match the person speaking onscreen.

Memories of a Different Time and Space

In the bit of the show that I have seen, reminds me of the hope I had in the 1990s for an era in which art meets computers. Starting in 1990 and running through until 1995, I did an experimental public access show in which I documented my search for the computer/art connection.

Have Camera, Will Babble

I was obsessed and had a system that I used to film/edit/broadcast a new episode weekly. This was before reality television and I looked upon it as being a kind of diary. And what started out as a focus on uncovering how to use computers in a creative way, evolved into my leading of a life in which I taped everything that happened to me.

On and Off Living

It was my real life, or at least as real as is possible when you are taping yourself (this was way before selfies) and the people you are interacting with know you are recording them also. life. At that point in time I did not censor myself much, thereby documenting as much as possible every aspect of my NYC life in my Hell’s Kitchen neighborhood. It was as if when the camera was off, my life was on hold. Turn it back on and reality has returned.

Mom and Dad Were Both on my Program but Really Were Not

I have to admit, for the first five of the ten years I would have a cable show, I began to take artistic license. For example, I wanted to do an episode with my parents to show the unstable nature of my childhood. But not only would my parents not have done my show, they lived three thousand miles away in California, one in the mountains and another near SF. So what did I do? I cast the father of a friend (who was a therapist) and an actress I knew. Both “mom” and “dad” looked to be around 60s that at the time worked.

A Sign that MTV is Not Far Away

This was before social media so I would have viewers leave voicemail messages, some of which I would select to be on a next episode. Reponses to the “parents” show went through the roof. Everyone thought that the performers were my actual Madre and Padre. And there was a lot of unstable parenting revealed which viewers seemed to like a lot. In fact, a television production company contacted me to come to their office around the street from where I lived in Manhattan. But when I sat down with them and told them that I did not share any genes with my TV parents, they were very disappointed. Regardless, I took it as a sign that MTV was not far away.

The Public Access Show Does Not Fall Far From the Tree

The parents episode did so well I decided to play around with having a son, one that I did not know I had fathered as a result of a prior relationship of mine. The actress I cast as my ex girlfriend I didn’t know about from a past relationship. The actress playing my ex girlfriend was someone I had worked with when directing a play I wrote that was done in a popular 99 seat theater downtown. Finding someone to play my son was not as easy. But I then decided to cast a kid I knew who had his own public access show too, and had confessed to me that he watched my program and used certain ideas he had gotten from it. I grew to like that concept because it meant dad has a public access TV show and son has one too. The “dad finds out he had a son” episode was a hit as well. And again viewers thought it was real and that the young public access TV host was really my offspring.

MTV? Yes. MTV as I Expected? No.

Before I tell you what happened, I want to first set the stage using a quote from a friend of mine who has been on several reality shows years. He said something along the lines of “The only reality of reality shows is that they are not reality.” Okay, so, keeping in mind the thing my friend said, imagine if you will what happened a few short months after finding out I was I was the father of a “son.” His show, which he admitted borrowing from mine, was, get this PICKED UP BY MTV! I kid (pun intended) you not. True story! It only ran for a season though. And years later I saw the young actor who was now probably in his 30s and was prematurely balding. He was an interview show and was ranting that he had gotten the big opportunity of being an a national channel but had not been able to parlay it into anything. The apple does not fall…