Along comes MTV's Real World 2000 in New Orleans and the show is more interesting, more in the news, and more popular than ever. This season's secret ingredient? Julie, the enthusiastically and sometimes dramatically Mormon college student from rural Wisconsin. The story arcs dwell on Julie like flies on honey, and the show is thus more ethnic and dramatic than The Sopranos. Watching black people get along with white people? Boring! Done that, and been there. But watching a Mormon girl visit Anne Rice's house? Now that's fresh.
MTV's Julie is so cool one has to wonder how much the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints paid MTV to get her on the show. The truth is, it wasn't the LDS Church's idea, it was MTV's. Having an active LDS (Mormon) girl on MTV is no accident. MTV's producers sent scouts to Provo, where over 90% of the population is LDS, with very specific marching orders: Get an active Mormon for Real World.
Next season the "reality TV" genre that Real World spawned will be even more crowded. Survivor II is only one show (the odds-on network front-runner), but virtually every network will have "reality" shows. Most of them will be embarrassingly bad. They'll make Big Brother look as good as Law and Order by comparison. But MTV doesn't want to fall behind. Fortunately, they have a plan. Julie's run on MTV has been so successful that MTV's next season feature even more religious people.
First of all, if one Mormon's good for ratings, two will be better. After all, Julie's a Mormon. So is Kelly, the 2nd place contestant on Survivor (not real active, but you saw her in prayer on the season finale, and she was certainly nicer than Rich or Sue). Big Brother has no Mormon, and look where its ratings have been.
So here's the predicted cast for Real World 2001 (which will be set in New York):
Abby: Abby is a nursing student from the Bronx. She's very black and very Mormon. Has never tasted cola, never been kissed, and graduated valedictorian of her high school seminary class. She owns every Gladys Knight record known to man and once met Thurl Bailey in person.
Porter: Porter is a fifth-generation, proudly "Liberal" Mormon. Currently a Women's Studies major at NYU. He confesses to Dr. Pepper addiction and once tried Jolt. He's seen both Angels in America and Neil LaBute's Bash: Latter Day Plays on Broadway and has never watched a BYU football game.
Shapurji - Shapurji, a journalism student from Chicago, is one of the world's last one hundred thousand Zoroastrians. Loves to listen to fellow Brit Parsi Freddy Mercury's albums. Conflicted about prohibitions against marriage outside her faith, because she's already related to all the Zoroastrians in her city.
Pedro - Peruvian born, now living in Detroit, Pedro is a proud member of Opus Dei, the worldwide ultra-Catholic organization. Says he would have been a Templar, but was born too late. Pedro competes on the U.S. judo team and teaches martial arts at his family's dojo.
Patricia - Born and raised in Kansas City, Patricia is a pre-law major who has worked as an auto mechanic, chef, and massage therapist. A practicing Buddhist for 3 years, she is mostly vegetarian. She reads anything by Thomas Merton, Tom Clancy or Ann Perry. She's Irish, but says she's never dated a white guy, though she doesn't know why.
Clark - Economics student at Yale University. Misspelled "Episcopalian" on his Real World application form. Loves Heavy Metal, Jazz, and Gregorian chants, but is main interest is Japanese anime. Says he's very "open minded": he'll "get down" with any kind of girl.
Diane - A theater student at U.C.L.A., Diane was raised Baptist but is now a Quaker. She wants to be an actress or a model. She is a chapter president for Amnesty International and has marched in anti-McDonald's rallies to protest mistreatment of dairy cows. Oddly enough, she's a big Jackie Chan fan.