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Savior of Reality TV Might be on MTV…

In Opinion, Opinion/Personal, Personal, Random, Recommendations on March 11, 2013 at 10:54 pm

I don’t know what’s happening to me, but I’ve turned into a leaking, whimpering mess these days.  What’s done it this time?  MTV.

I know, I know, but hold up and let me explain.  MTV has somehow managed to air a show that has made it to the second season that is actually worth something.  No sleazy, no partying, no gmy/tan/laundry or whatever the hell that whole thing was.  No, this show focuses on positive things.  That almost sounds like a foreign phrase anymore.  Granted, this show is not at all about music, but it is one of the few shows on television that is real.  It is called World of Jenks.  If you haven’t heard of it, check it out.  It’s worth it.  First of all, Jenks is a young guy that actual has plans and interests.  He looks for outstanding people to showcase using his abilities and knowledge of film.  And outstanding people does he ever find…

In the first season, each episode focused on a different person that he lived with for a week who were living completely different lives than he was.  He was homeless for a week with a young girl and her dog.  He lived with a fighter competing for a big title who was also still dealing with the grief of a lost loved one.  This season, he chose 3 people to follow for a year, spending a week or so at a time with them.

One is a return person from season 1 named Chad, who is 21, about to graduate, has his first girlfriend, and is diagnosed with Autism.  Chad’s episode in season 1 was my absolute favorite.  This is my life, what I worked so hard for in school, what I do every day for my job.  I watched this person and saw my clients in him.  And my favorite parts were the profound moments that were so minimal that they could have been missed by blinking at the wrong time.  His sheer enjoyment in just hanging out.  The moment when something terrifying became not so scary anymore because he had the support of a friend.  The discussion with Chad and his girlfriend, Amanda, when Chad explains that he likes Amanda because she understands him and Amanda explains that she is fully aware of how people see her.  Amanda says that people look her up and down and side to side and all around because she looks different, but that on the inside she feels like she doesn’t have much of a disability at all and is just herself.  The scene at the miniature golf course when Chad runs across the wooden bridge is absolutely amazing to me.

The second one is Kaylin,  a 20-something girl from San Francisco who is a fashion designer planning a move to New York and a cancer survivor.  Twice.  Who may also have cancer again.  I kept waiting for a breakdown to happen, because I know full well how I wuold respond if I received news like that, but it didn’t happen.  She has handled it with grace and an amazing sense of humor, sharing her journey via her blog.

The third is D-Real, a young dancer from Oakland with a new baby, a dance crew, their own style of dance that’s gaining in popularity, and painful past filled with lost friends and loved ones at the hands of violence in the streets.  But D-Real is determined to make Oakland safer and better for kids by teaching dance, which I find extremely admirable.  Plus, the guy’s got wicked skills and boatloads of views on Youtube.

It is so refreshing to see a real show about real people that are young AND motivated to do things of better quality than just partying.  They are working hard to just be, and are still contributing to the lives of the people around them.  The world needs more focus on these types of people.  Hard times don’t stop them from being positive.  Rough pasts don’t make them give up on their futures.  While it is not music videos, I applaud MTV for continuing this great show.  And major kudos to Jenks for taking a risk, not only in seeking out and living with people but for making a show that is in the complete opposite direction of 95% of television shows nowadays.

I highly recomment this show.  I think full episodes are on MTV’s website and new episodes are on Monday nights.

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  1. It’s always touching to see these stories on TV. What worries me is that there are so people who never “think outside the box”, both literally and figuratively, and don’t see that there are people much closer to them in real life who are fighting similar battles. They leave their home and although they were all cut up for someone on TV, they can walk straight past their neighbour who has never told them that they would welcome some support….. Somehow, TV manages to remove human suffering from reality and puts it in a reassuring “entertainment” environment for many people, making it real, but far removed from their lives.

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    • Agreed. For me, it makes it even more real in my life because it brings it to the forefront of my mind. But maybe that’s because of the type of work I do and how readily available my line of work makes a person struggling. I don’t know, I think I would still see it even if I had a different job because I’ve always been one to pick up on pain and triumph…

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