Take seven people, 18-25 years old, and force them together in a Venice Beach house; no, it’s not a reunion of “The Breakfast Club” or a sequel to “St. Elmo’s Fire,” but a documentary follow-up to one of MTV’s more intriguing series.
Introductory hour-long episode is divided into reunion of seven members of last year’s “The Real World” and intro of three participants of this year’s “Real World II.”
Tech credits are fine, in MTV’s super-verite way, and the story is fascinatingly told. But if the other four new regulars are anything like the three shown here, “Real World II” may be hard to watch for anybody who doesn’t slow down to linger on car wrecks.
Last year’s docu assembled a group of strangers in a New York City loft turned into a sort of people-quarium.
Original group — Norman, Julie, Becky, Kevin, Andre, Heather and Eric — are brought together at the top of the hour for the reunion; many of them have been out of contact since the windup of the original series’ shooting.
From the way they talk, many of them would just as soon not be together now: Eric and Julie, a real item in the series, are definitely at odds (he hasn’t returned several of her phone calls), and others resent what they see as the original series’ concentration on those two.
Further, Eric Nies, who went on to host MTV’s dance series “The Grind,” is a real pill who evidently hasn’t seen what happens to the majority of MTV “stars” once they leave the channel.
Audience is let in on what has happened to this particular set of MTV stars: not much. Norman is a painter, Becky a bartender with aspirations of a folk-singing career, Andre a musician (illustrated by a shot of his band, Reign Dance, on a Whisky a Go Go pay-to-play night marquee), Heather a rap vocalist, Julie continuing her study of dance, and Kevin Powell a filmmaker, whose credits include hosting the MTV docu “Straight from the Hood.”
After about a half-hour, focus then shifts to the new group. Camera moves to Nashville, where — for reasons unexplained — Los Angeles residents Dominic and Tami meet, board an RV and drive to Owensboro, Ky., where they pick up 18 -year-old country singer Jon Brennan (who evidently wears his Garth Brooks hat even when relaxing at home) and head for Los Angeles.
Episode follows them as they display their intolerance as Dominic and, to a lesser extent, Tami poke fun at devoutly religious and rather self-righteous Jon.
He, on the other hand, thinks that Dominic (an Irish-born bartender whose resume includes TV and music reviews for publications including Daily Variety) drinks and smokes too much.
Members of the New York cast predict on camera that this bunch won’t hold together, and in fact MTV’s press material indicates that an unnamed cast member “is asked to leave the house for good.”
Kickoff seg runs an hour; subsequent episodes clock in at 30 minutes.