Off Limits

A smokin' deal

What's So Funny?

By Adam Cayton-Holland

Howdy, pardner: Coors welcomes Salazar?
Howdy, pardner: Coors welcomes Salazar?

This is the true story of an anonymous informant, self-picked to attend open auditions for The Real World in hopes of being picked to live in a house with seven strangers, work some asinine, pointless job, have his life taped -- and then find out what happens when people stop being polite and start getting real in The Real World! Boulder.

As he walks into the Foundry Billiards Club in Boulder on a recent Tuesday, our informant is greeted by a perky Real World lackey and instructed to fill out a form, front and back. Open auditions for the show's sixteenth season are under way, and other wannabes are all dressed to the nines, spread around the room, filling out the same form. The first page is a questionnaire with about a dozen questions: Are you in a relationship? (No.) In terms of the opposite sex, do you pursue or are you pursued? (Like a leopard after a pronghorn.) What are your best traits? (Healthy sheen, pog collection.) Your worst traits? (Bi-curiosity.) What scares you most? (Carnies.) What is the most important issue facing you? (Pog collection outgrowing storage space, bi-curiosity.)

The next two pages contain the fine print that alerts a potential cast member that, by signing, he is agreeing not to talk to the media about the audition process and also surrendering the rights to his image. Our informant faces a moral dilemma: He wants to tell the story as best he can but doesn't want to compromise his journalistic integrity -- or get his ass hauled into court. He decides to hold off on signing the form and in the meantime make as many observations as possible, an old reporter's trick used by Edward R. Murrow when he tried out for the first season of Road Rules.

His first observation: Boulder hasn't seen this many minorities since Bill McCartney's last good recruiting year. African-Americans, Hispanics, Asians, all wide-eyed and eager, waiting for their turn in the spotlight. People of every shape and size, everyone from Mohawk-bearers to wire-rim wearers -- people you'd think would be above trying out for this show -- look nervously around the room, anxious and excited about the opportunity to plunge headfirst into the mainstream, to become famous. It strikes our informant that this is what has become of the American dream. Gone is the notion that hard work and dedication can get you everything you desire: Reality TV is the new hope of the huddled masses. Our grandparents would be ashamed of usŠif they weren't so busy watching Survivor.

In order to participate in the ten-person group interviews with an L.A. über-producer, you have to sign another form promising that you will not reveal what takes place there. If you did spill, however, you might talk about the lame game you play called "Two Truths and a Lie" -- in which you tell two truths and a lie about yourself -- and how the producer fakes interest in everyone, even the ugly girls from Pueblo. But when all is said and done, the three people snatched from the group are the exact people you would expect: a studly moron who chirped nonsensically the whole time about his motorbike, and two vapid, attractive girls who've been best friends since they met puking up their lunches in neighboring stalls in junior high.

Afterward, a group of dejected rejects stands outside in the rain, commiserating and talking about where the next Real World should be filmed: Austin is rumored to be in a hot race with Boulder. And even though our talented, anonymous informant won't be in the cast, as he drives home from the audition, softly sobbing down I-25, he comes up with the following reasons why the show should be done here:

: Soon-to-be vacated Chi Psi house offers central location for show, replete with well-established, festive party atmosphere.

Minority cast members feel right at home in diverse Boulder environment.

Super-chill native cast-member Dane alerts national audience to area's "dank-ass kind buds," "fucking gnarly kayaking spots."

Group trip: Broomfield.

Weird episode where Governor Bill Owens "just stops by" to see how kids are getting on, has to be forcibly removed from house some nineteen hours later.

Increased sexual tension, drama abound when cast is forced to move into dirty, two-bedroom crack den because of inflated local real-estate prices.

Finally answer age-old question: If slutty MTV starlets are sexually assaulted by CU football players and only fifty cameras document incident, does it make a sound?

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