Westporters are often accused of living in a bubble. Next month, a local family meets the rest of America head-on. That bubble may soon burst — loudly.
The reason is that great national leveler: reality TV. On July 7, “Great American Road Trip” debuts on NBC. It’s “a hilarious and relatable new series where seven families from divergent backgrounds are selected to take the journey of a lifetime.” Whether the show lives up to that PR fluff is debatable. But chances are, the Katzenbergs are in for a ride they never imagined.
For 8 episodes Marc, Hyleri, Sami and Andrew Katzenberg will join families from New York, California, Alabama and Texas — how’s that for diversity! — while “competing in a medley of humorous challenges that will ultimately lead one family to victory.” The “comical, clever challenges” — hey, I’m just quoting the website — are “set against iconic American backdrops like the majestic Grand Canyon and the regal Washington Monument.”
Sounds tame enough — nothing as gruesome as “Wife Swap” or as weird as “Amish in the City.” But 2 weeks before its premiere, the drumbeat of pre-publicity offers a less-than-encouraging look at what’s ahead.
The website describes the Katzenbergs:
Marc and Hyleri recently fell in love. Having just formed a “Brady Bunch” family unit, this show will give them a chance to really get to know each other. Hyleri’s daughter Sami, and Marc’s son Andrew, quickly bonded over accusing the other of being high maintenance. The truth is, however, they all have a little “diva” in them.
However, Marc and Hyleri are also active philanthropists and instill this in their kids. Sami is a natural entertainer who makes her voice heard. Andrew is a ladies’ man who enjoys flirting. Each member of the family likes to be the center of attention and adores themselves — and each other.
In interviews, Sami’s “Must Have Road Trip Items” includes “cute boys between the ages of 16-22, lip gloss and sunglasses.” She says she will miss most “all the cute boys back home and my blackberry.”
Andrew, meanwhile, lists these “Must Have” items: “Hot girls. Wallet (to take the hot girls out). Cell phone (to store girls’ phone numbers and call them).” And his “Favorite Road Trip Food”? “Anything that’s not spicy. (I only like my women to be spicy.)”
The show has not yet debuted, but already the knives are out. Here are the first 4 posts on FansofRealityTV.com:
- “I get the impression that these people are going to be nauseating.”
- “Ugh…give me a frickin’ break…I already don’t like these guys…”
- “I’m not liking them, either. They seem a bit high maintenance to survive this.”
- “They could be a lot of fun to snark over.”
Like many folks on reality TV, the Katzenbergs may wish for a memorable national adventure.
And like all of those who make the cut, they should be careful what they wish for.