A failing economy doesn’t mean less shows on TV, maybe just less quality. In an attempt to cut production costs on its new “College Life,” MTV has nixed the camera and sound crew. Instead, the cast of the network’s new reality show each has their own $500 camera, and no training. The behind-the-scenes editorial team is still in place, making moments like an exchange between a girl consoling an upset friend where the camera is sat down only to capture their butts more engaging.
The cast of eight co-eds, four girls and four guys, share an insightful look at their college experience on the University of Wisconsin-Madison campus. They are all freshman, except for Josh the sophomore. The show filmed in fall 2008 at the start of their school year. In tonight’s premiere (April 13, 10:30pm EST/PST), they introduce their varied backgrounds and we get a feel for how they each fit the role of a typical college student. There’s the virgin, the drinker, the scholarship recipient, and so on.
The students say the filming is true to life. Cast member Kevin Tracy says this is more organic than other reality shows because they were allowed to film whatever they liked without much supervision.
The university has officially distanced itself from the show, and a disclaimer at the beginning indicates the school does not endorse the program. Administrators fear “College Life” will glamorize a campus scene of drinking and partying. Footage excludes classrooms, logos and office buildings, but does include dorms, parties and other campus scenes.
The low-budget approach will be graded pass/fail by critics and fans.