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Four 'High School Reunion' Participants Not Actually from the Classby David Bloomberg -- 01/20/2003
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The Chicago Tribune is reporting today that four of the participants of High School Reunion aren't actually part of the 1992 class that viewers have been told they're from. The article, written by Tribune staff reporter Maurice Possley - father of Dan Possley, "The Jock" on High School Reunion - notes that Maya "The Homecoming Queen" is actually from the class of 1991 - a year older than the others. Meanwhile, Holly "The Shy Girl" who posed for Playboy, Summer "The Flirt," and Nicole "The Tall Girl" are all from the class of 1993, a year younger than the others.
We've grown to expect something less that complete reality in our reality TV, but this seems a little silly. Are we truly to believe that there weren't a full seventeen interesting classmates from the actual class of 1992? And, as Possley wonders in his article, why couldn't they simply tell us?
Part of the reason they didn't tell us, I suspect, is that it takes away some of the amusement. Possley points to the first few minutes of the show, when Holly says she has no idea who Jeff "The Class Clown" is. If we had known from the get-go that they were from two different classes, that moment would not have been nearly as funny. But it would have been real.
So why were they included? A WB spokesperson told Possley that they were "notorious" names that kept coming up when speaking to the real members of the class of 1992. Well, sure, I would imagine that Holly the naked Playboy model probably was a bit notorious! And perhaps Maya the Homecoming Queen was known by others in the class. And Summer seems to have been in some sort of love triangle with a couple of the others. But Nicole? She seemed to be totally on the outside of the "in" crowd. Was she included because she was madly in love with Dan "The Player" just so the producers could see what would happen? It's no wonder she seems so out of place. (And it appears that will only get worse next episode.)
I can't speak for anybody else, but when I went to high school (like the folks from High School Reunion, in the Chicago suburbs), I barely knew anybody from the class before or ahead of mine. Heck, with a class of over 750 people, I didn't even know everybody in my class! There were a few from above or below my class, of course, who happened to be in the same clubs as I was, but others from around my graduating class would not have known these folks. If they had been invited to a reunion just because I knew them, they would have been completely left out of knowing everybody else. And the same would be true if I were invited to their reunion.
But then much of High School Reunion is obviously not "real." The dates are forced with the "Hall Pass" concept - and those are also obviously not planned ahead of time. Dave "The Bully" says he really wants to go out with Holly. Voila! Holly gets a Hall Pass. Dave "hears" that she is going to pick a name out of a hat and manages to explain what he's going to do to the camera before heading downstairs to ask her to take him along. Then he gets a "special" romantic Hall Pass when nobody else does. Gosh, wonder who he's going to take. This followed on the heels of Nicole starting with a Hall Pass, as if there was any big question about who she would ask, and then Dan "The Player" immediately getting one after that so he could take out Natasha "The Popular Girl" (who is not so popular with viewers - she currently has a "D+" rating on the show's website, tied for last with her "Player" beau). The only "real" relationship that appears to be developing is Ben "The Nerd" with Maya "The Homecoming Queen from the Previous Year." And Ben had his Hall Pass before she even showed up!
Other "unreal" factors include that, of course, all of the folks at the reunion are single and most of them are rather good looking. I don't know about you, but 10 years after high school I just don't think the majority of my classmates looked that good. And many were already married and had families. Oh, sure, there are a couple of overweight participants, but look at who they are - the Class Clown and the Bitchy Girl. One guy is bald, but the irony is that it's Tim "The Artist," who used to have long hair in high school. The fact is that this is really a dating show, not a show about reuniting people from their high school class. And the producers were going for the two main factors for a good reality show: sex and conflict.
By adding in Holly and Maya, they upped the number of hot women (were there other single hot women actually in the 1992 class? There's no way for us to know). By adding Summer and Nicole, they added more tension and conflict, though it seems that Summer's story arc has just started with the anonymous love note.
So, is it more important that all of the participants really are from the class of 1992, as advertised? Or is it more important that the show provide interesting stories? That is a matter for viewers to decide - though it would have been nice to at least have been given that information. But was there really no way to do both? Were all of the other interesting members of the class of 1992 married or sporting a spare tire? Certainly this is a minor footnote in the grand scheme of reality TV revelations (the "Manhunt" fiasco was the worst, of course). But at what point does good reality television outweigh the "reality" portion?
David Bloomberg is the Editor of RealityNewsOnline, and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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