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Maui Wowie

January 24, 2007

It appears MTVs new show “Maui Fever” is causing quite a stir on the Hawaiian island where it was filmed.  Although only one episode has aired to date, residents have begun to voice their opposition to the way the show depicts their community.  

I recently discovered this fine piece of MTV programming just this past Saturday morning, as I flipped through the channels in search of something decent to watch.  Having avoided MTV for nearly ten years,  I wasn’t quite up-to-speed with any of the network’s new shows.  To put things into perspective; “The Real World” was brand new the last time I cared to study MTVs prime-time line-up. (To date, there have been 18 seasons of “The Real World” since its debut in 1992.  A 19th season is  scheduled to air later this year.)

“Maui Fever” is certainly no “Real World.”  It is more akin to the daytime soaps I grew up watching than the typical reality show formula we have all become accustomed to over the past decade.  The viewer is presented with (what appears to be) real boys and girls facing the typical troubles and tribulations one experiences in young adulthood. (Aren’t you glad a film crew wasn’t present for your ten most embarrassing social blunders?) 

However, any credibility “Maui Fever” would try to lay claim to is easily washed away by the obvious staging of events and the sheer absurdity of the show’s narrative structure.  Nothing (apart from the sand and ocean) seems real.  You know how scientists construct a maze and plunk a couple of mice in it to study?  “Maui Fever” is no different, except I find mice a heck of a lot more interesting (and believable) than the cast of this show. 

Can anyone honestly say you don’t know what will happen when a jealous girl tries to control her jealous (ex)boyfriend?  Does we NOT know how alcohol can impair a person’s judgement?  You put a handful of men and women in a carefully controlled social environment (meant to enhance any pre-existing hang-ups) and start the camera’s rolling.  I guess that is what passes for ‘reality TV’ these days.

Please don’t mistake “Maui Fever” for a reality, think of it as a social obstacle course, carefully constructed,  filled with ‘willing’ participants,  and then filmed for your amusement. 

I was not amused.

(“Maui Fever” airs Wednesdays at 930pm on MTV) 

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