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And you thought MTV's The Real World (Wednesdays at 10 p.m. ET) was all about hot tub hook-ups and dirty dishes in the sink. Well, think again. According to a casting call via New York City's Craigslist, the show is looking to add some Occupy Wall Street protesters to the season 27 roster.
"This all came out of the current zeitgeist," Sasha Alpert, the senior vice president of casting for the show's production company, told Entertainment Weekly. "We are always looking for people who are involved in whatever is going on in the world around them."
The Real World, which is currently taking place back in San Diego, has a long history of spotlighting cast members who are passionate about social, political or religious causes. Season 1 highlighted racial tensions among the housemates, Season 2 dealt with their views on abortion and Season 3 featured conflicts over gay rights and AIDS. Throughout its 26-season run so far, cast members have faced all kinds of prejudice and have obviously been encouraged to argue about their political differences.
But in recent years, the show has dwelled more and more on soap-operatic sex and romance to fuel ratings. At this point, hot-tub threesomes are more likely to provide the drama than any political issue. Could the OWS casting call signify the producers' intention to return to their more serious beginnings?
Peter Bella, a columnist for the The Washington Times, takes a more cynical view. "They probably want to capitalize (on) the popularity of OWS with their core demographic," he writes. "Counter-culture capitalism equals big bucks. The 1960s protests and counter-culture yielded billions." Bella wonders how long it will be before Playboy puts out an "Occupy Wall Street" issue, featuring hot, female protesters. Or maybe the producers of Girls Gone Wild will film an episode at the OWS site in Zuccotti Park.
But even if The Real World is merely looking to capitalize on a popular movement, the extra attention it offers that movement can't be a bad thing, right? Only time will tell.