Editorial: What is reality?

  • Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Filming was to begin this week on a new Murrells Inlet reality TV show. It’s had a working title of “Dirty South” or “Partying Down South.” There are some who don’t like the premise of a group of young people spending their time partying. These folks are concerned that the show could provide a negative image of the quaint fishing village of Murrells Inlet.
And they’re probably right.
But at the same time, another thought goes to the benefit of publicity.
In journalism school we heard a reportedly true story of a Chicago politician who had a bright young kid helping him in his reelection campaign.
The local paper had a headline screaming about alleged problems or corruption. The bright young kid said the politician should sue.
The politician asked: “Did they spell my name right?”
“Well, yes.”
“Then we’re OK,” the politician said. “When the election comes, people will just remember that they read something about me in the paper.”

•  •  •

This is not to compare Murrells Inlet to any rough-and-tumble political environment.
Rather, it’s to point out that publicity about the treasure that is Murrells Inlet can certainly be good.
There are some people in Myrtle Beach who are none too happy with another TV reality show, “Myrtle Manor.” And yet, plenty of people come to Myrtle Beach and want to find the place where that reality show is filmed.
Likewise, whatever name the Murrells Inlet reality show uses will put the name and the images of the fishing village in front of many people.
A side benefit is that the show producers have also rented a plantation near Andrews.
While some folks may not be too happy about the prospective story line, the shows will help local businesses who are feeding cast and crew, providing locations for filming, hiring extras and more.
Several hundred people had parts or helped out in the movie first called “Isopod” but now titled “The Bay.” It was filmed in and around Georgetown and many locals earned money, had a good time and now you can watch the movie on Netflix.
And something else we’re particularly interested in — any efforts to influence the story line would likely run afoul of freedom of speech.
Georgetown County Councilman Jerry Oakley and Building and Planning Director Boyd Johnson have both said the county’s concern is with the effect of filming on traffic and public access.
So long as the movie producers follow local laws for use of facilities, they’re within their rights to have the story line they want.
“We can’t tell a film crew it can’t film,” Oakley said.
We hope the show will convey a positive image of the area. And we expect that viewers will recognize that a TV show is just that, and it doesn’t actually reflect all that an area has to offer.

Movies and TV shows can give a good shot in the arm to the local economy, and people will remember “Yeah, there was a show filmed there. I saw that.”

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