Please, not another Snookie.
December 19, 2012 3:24 PM   Subscribe

A reality tv show that will be airing in January on a major national cable television tv network was filmed next door to my house. Now what?

The show hasn't aired yet, but will be on a major cable network tv channel starting in a few weeks in January. There's already trailers for it. The network tv show is included in all basic cable packages nation-wide (and internationally too for that matter)'s kind of a big deal.

Except...I'm already worried because this is the type of reality tv show that is going to paint my neighborhood in a really bad light (think along the lines of Jersey Shore). I'm concerned. I'm concerned for my town's reputation and I'm concerned because my home is going to appear on the show in countless episodes (if not all).

What type of reactions should I be prepared for? What should I say when people ask/make comments? Do I need to worry about people "checking out" where the show was filmed (and hope it doesn't get any more seasons?? Although I don't think this is likely, since they're continuing to film...)

I was approached several times by the film crew with a waiver to appear on the show and I declined. However, my house is going to be all over that show in the background because I literally live next door. Due to zoning and where my property boundaries exist though, they did not need to ask for my permission prior to filming.

I don't want to be associated with this show in real life - I've been a homeowner for 3 years and in the time that I've lived there, my neighborhood has not only grown/gentrified considerably, but has cleaned itself up and is a very pleasant place to live. I'm active in my community and I care about where I live, as do all of my other neighbors. We plant flowers. We sweep sidewalks. We don't litter and have neighborhood block get togethers.

This show is going to make it seem rough, blue-collar, trashy, and low-brow...which it's not. :(
posted by anonymous to Society & Culture (13 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
Yeah... I wouldn't want my house in the background during the filming of Buckwild either. If nothing else, the show is going to torpedo your property values, If you have any intention of selling in the next 3-5, you might want to get it on the market now before the show hits.
posted by Oktober at 3:31 PM on December 19, 2012 [4 favorites]

Read Peyton's Place by John Jeremiah Sullivan whose house was used for filming a popular show. It might help or just be interesting to see someone else's experiences with it.
posted by rmless at 3:40 PM on December 19, 2012 [1 favorite]

Sounds like it's time to consult a lawyer, possibly?
posted by WidgetAlley at 3:41 PM on December 19, 2012 [1 favorite]

Take heart- not every show on a major network succeeds; it seems like hardly any of them do. For all you know, it'll air twice, no one (aka only a few million) will watch, and they'll cancel it.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 3:51 PM on December 19, 2012 [3 favorites]

You'd be surprised by how many people won't know or care. So get used to rolling your eyes and dismissing the show as sensationalized garbage and go about your life as you always have. If pressed, you can say what you've said here, you declined to be included in the show and you think it's typical for reality TV in that it's all fake and not like your life in the neighborhood at all.

If people show up and trespass on your lawn or the like, call the police.
posted by crush-onastick at 3:52 PM on December 19, 2012 [14 favorites]

Even the most popular reality shows are pretty quickly forgotten. I think you will have an annoying year or so, and then it will fade away. That's part of the reason I quit watching those shows, actually, because I couldn't remember anything that happened on them two months after it was over.
posted by something something at 4:25 PM on December 19, 2012 [1 favorite]

There is nothing you can do about it, really, and there is nothing a lawyer can do for you if they were cleared to film. That being said, this show could EASILY fail terribly, and most people are not nearly detail-oriented enough to notice your house anyway. Think about all the reality shows that have filmed in houses: The Hills, Jersey Shore, all of the Real Worlds. Could you ID the house that they filmed in? Probably, because of establishing shots. Could you ID the house next door? Doubtful. I couldn't tell you which house was next door to the Real World LA house despite living blocks from it AND being an architectural nerd AND having worked in reality TV. So I would not at all worry PERSONALLY about my house being identifiable as next door to a house where they're filming a reality show. Really, only bits and bobs of it will show up on air -- even an establishing shot will be tight enough on the house in question that only part of your house will air, more than likely.

BUT on the off-chance that this show is a hit -- which is really not THAT likely. I worked on a show that seemed like it was going to be huge and yet it sunk like a tank and ended up being aired during the middle of the night -- it could be a pain to live next door to a reality show house. I had friends who lived on Lauren Conrad's block during The Hills and it sucked because tour buses were coming around all the time. This was exacerbated by us being in Los Angeles to begin with, though. If it's a huge hit and people are all over your lawn, call the cops on them. You do not and should not stand for that.

As far as this reflecting poorly on your nabe, there is kind of nothing you can do about that either, other than continuing to make your off-camera neighborhood as awesome as it can be, which is what you are already doing. People who visit will learn that the show wasn't realistic at all (which, by the way, they will probably already assume anyway. I definitely don't think everyone who goes to the Jersey Shore is peeing behind bars in nightclubs). Continue to be a positive force in your improving your actual community, tell people who ask that you think the show is ridiculously off base because of XYZ... and cross your fingers for low ratings.
posted by Countess Sandwich at 4:37 PM on December 19, 2012 [4 favorites]

For anybody else in a similar situation, the exterior of your house may be fair game, but you can post whatever signs on your house you want.

Talk to your city councilors about a city response to the show. Start a blog about the show, and about the positive growth of your neighborhood and town.
posted by theora55 at 5:30 PM on December 19, 2012 [2 favorites]

A friend of mine once pointed out a house on his block where an episode of Cops was filmed. It did not change my opinion of him or the neighborhood one bit. I think most people know that "reality" shows are more like improv, where the participants are hamming it up for the camera.

Is the show really Buck Wild (small-town West VA redneckery on MTV)? I live in Virginia - I think most of us know that the stereotypes of WV are not representative of actual WV. It's not going to kill your property values. Seriously, you already have some stock answer for the inevitable jokes that come with being a WV resident, right? Just more of the same. Don't take it seriously, laugh it off, and everyone else will too.
posted by selfmedicating at 7:11 PM on December 19, 2012 [1 favorite]

The folks that owned the house shown during the opening credits and in establishing shots of The Mary Tyler Moore show got tired of bus loads of tourists pulling up on their lawn to take pictures, so they eventually hung a huge banner in the front window that said "Impeach Nixon Now." That's why Mary moved to a new apartment midway through the series.
posted by Oriole Adams at 8:42 PM on December 19, 2012 [6 favorites]

I would put up a fence, if at all possible. It will literally keep people off your lawn if the come to gawk at the house, but past that there's not much you can do. (also, I love jersey shore, and for all the outside shots the have of the house, they never actually show the neighbors. You might find that it doesn't show up at all.)
posted by raccoon409 at 1:39 AM on December 20, 2012

Any chance you live in Southie? If so, this -- "my neighborhood has not only grown/gentrified considerably, but has cleaned itself up and is a very pleasant place to live." -- is ironically sort of the point of the show. It's an old-school South Boston family living with multiple generations under the same roof, co-existing with the rapid yuppie gentrification of their neighborhood that is pushing out the multi-generational families who used to actually be able to afford to live there. So the goal of the show is not to show Southie as white trashy, it's to show that cultural clash between the old and new. Which is a fairly valid narrative, even if I have no faith in the reality TV industry to do it any justice.

(The rest of my answer assumes that I am correct in my guess)

If you are in South you thus live in a fairly urban area, there are tons of people there anyway. It's not like you're in a secluded suburban neighborhood where you'll suddenly be inundated with tourists. And frankly, Southie already has quite a reputation, particularly for tourists. Everyone wants to find that old school South Boston Irish pub - preferably one they're actually allowed into. Or go to the St Patrick's Day Parade. Or see where things were filmed in Good Will Hunting. Or whatever.

But also, I really don't expect this show to have the clout and the draw of Jersey Shore. "Oh noes gentrification!" doesn't have the same "Train wreck!" appeal of Jersey Shore. The Jersey Shore people are professional attention whores. Whereas from what I've read about the Southie show, it's more about the lifestyle and the culture clash than it is about the family itself. As a result I don't expect it to become the same sort of phenomenon.

Also, if you do live in Boston, you should be used to tourists. I used to live near the Common and got really good at dodging the tourists stopping for photo ops by Cheers. It's a necessary evil of having an interesting city to live in.

Basically, I wouldn't worry too much. Even if it is a moderately successful show, I don't anticipate floods of tourists making your life difficult, but I honestly don't expect it to become any sort of pop culture touchstone. I think we're reaching Peak Reality. (I hope we are, anyway)
posted by olinerd at 3:43 AM on December 20, 2012 [1 favorite]

"Don't believe everything you see on TV."
posted by deborah at 6:03 PM on December 20, 2012

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