What parents need to know
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that this original Web series -- which was produced by MySpace and "airs" online -- features some strong language and sexual innuendo, as well as drinking and partying. The voyeuristic series follows eight former college roommates and is presented as a reality series in which four of them have agreed to have their lives filmed for a Web-based show. But it's really fully scripted -- which means all of the iffy stuff is planned out ahead of time. Viewers are encouraged to interact with the cast and the series online, submitting videos and participating in online discussions.
What's the story?
ROOMMATES is a faux-reality Web series about eight former college roommates who just can't bear to be apart after graduation. In an attempt to keep their group of friends together, Peyton, Violet, Heather, and Sigourney agree to allow their friend Justin to videotape their lives for his new MySpace reality show (in actual reality, the whole shebang is completely scripted). The four move from their Florida college digs into a Los Angeles home that has been wired with cameras and computers to capture their every moment. Meanwhile, Chloe, Alysse, Candra, and "The Shaz" get to watch what's going on and post video blogs while they live their own lives out in the real world. Being on Justin's show lets the women interact directly with the larger MySpace community, in addition to each other. They post videos and even participate in online discussions. But while they create relationships with all the folks on MySpace, they find their friendships strained by the appearance of old flames and new conflicts. Dealing with these issues isn't easy, especially with the added pressure of knowing that their behavior is being taped for the world to see.
Is it any good?
Produced by and airing on MySpace (the show has its own page on the site), Roommates is aimed straight at teens who like shows like The Hills and Laguna Beach. While its plot lines are as unoriginal as some of its TV cousins, the series successfully creates a fictitious reality show environment that includes many of the same things that unscripted reality shows have -- from a good-looking cast to wild parties and endless petty arguments. It also creates a voyeuristic experience, allowing viewers to watch as the women get dressed, fight, and engage in sexual behavior.
The show's interactive nature will appeal to gadget-savvy teens who enjoy communicating with their favorite fictional characters. They may also like the fact that they can step out of this world of "unreality" and help influence the show's events.
Families can talk about...
Families can talk about the growing popularity of online television. Are Web series becoming more creative? Do you think scripted online shows are going to become the new trend in Web programming? Families can also talk about popular social networking sites, like Facebook and MySpace. Why do you think producers would want to launch a new Web series using a site like these? Why do so many people like to interact with fictitious characters online? Do you think they realize that the people they're interacting with aren't real? Parents, don't forget to remind your kids about the basic rules of Internet safety.