There was a collective groan heard among locals when it was announced that VH1 was going to premiere another reality show based in Boston. The press release included lines like, "Get The Pahty Stahted" and "Work hahd, play hahd."We gathered more details about "Wicked Single" when we spoke with Jeff Olde, the show's executive producer and the Executive VP of Original Programming and Production at VH1.
He emphasized that the "doc reality" show's theme was about a group of twenty-something's sometimes messy transition into adulthood. (Perhaps intentionally reminiscent of another popular late night Sunday show on HBO, "Girls")
Left/Right Productions put together the show, a crew known for other reality shows like "True Life," "Kimora: Life in the Fab Lane," "Fashion Show" on Bravo, and "This American Life" on Showtime.
What is "Wicked Single"?
What I loved about it was when the team came back with the casting demo. I was struck by all the characters-- they’re on the cusp of 30 and they really captured the theme of that age. (Ed. note: There will be six characters. Check out their brief bios) Young and still a little reluctant to be adults.
They have jobs, they have relationships. One foot in the real world, another foot not letting go. But they're still up every morning to go to their day jobs.
First and foremost, they're really entertaining characters but balancing responsibilities.
Why set the show in Boston?
It’s funny. We've always been looking to tap into different regional areas and where there’s distinct characters.
Chubs [one of the characters] was on a casting tape on another show. He didn't make it on that, but I loved him, I thought he was great, a real character, authentic with who he was.
So we wondered, who is in his life, who does he hang out with? We followed the bouncing ball on this character and they came back with these characters and we thought that’s great.
People are concerned with how reality shows might caricature their towns. How will Boston be featured?
We shoot all over the city, so it’s definitely the backdrop. Everyone plays against it.
Boston’s also a character in the show. When you’re shooting all over the place, you pick up that sort of city vibe. Things that are sort of unique to the city.
What I liked about [Boston], it felt like it’s not overexposed as a location. I don't know about you, but I'm kind of sick of seeing New York in everything. It's not fresh territory. Boston provided a breath of fresh air. It hasn't been seen a lot. It’s fun and I think that flavor is definitely in the show.
How would you describe the show?
It's little bit of everything. It’s funny. They’re fun, great fun characters. They’re facing real issues: Real relationship issues and real issues with their jobs. Contemplating things like, "Is this what I want to be doing? Am I on the right track?"
What I love about it is there’s real heart to it, too. We screened through and at the end we were rooting for these guys. I think they’re very relate-able what they’re going through. Everyone’s been there. Whether you're tethering yourself down or getting serious. We were all laughing and going, "Oh to be 28 again, when we can go out late and operate the next morning on a few hours sleep."
It’s an alien concept. They really are walking that balance. I think it’s really relate-able.
It’s not been something tackled in reality. They’re not placed in a house and messed with. They’re organic. These relationships existed long before we got there. They didn't quit their jobs. They go do that. I really sort of loved that, that sort of organic approach there.
I think it's a fun show. But I think it’s celebratory in some way. You leave every episode liking these guys, rooting for them. They’re young. I think there's an element to relating to them, like, "where am I going next?"
I think at the cusp of adulthood is something that transcends all of it.
Is the show reality or "structured reality" like others with scripted scenarios?
We didn't look to make a character of anyone. They were just authentically who they were. Boston setting gave it a unique setting. But it wasn't like we had to make them somebody they were not.
We shoot a lot in their real homes, they don’t all live together. They’re friends – it primarily takes place in two or three of their homes. We shot across the homes, we frequented the same night spots. It isn't—we didn't move anyone in a house. There’s no central location, We just sort of followed them and that’s what’s been fun about it. We get up with them in the morning and they trot off to work.
Much of the show is set in Southie?
Very much so. What I like about it is the characters take us to places more interesting than we would have come up with.
Their relationships aren't manufactured. We’re just following where they’re going, where their life is. It’s definitely more a doc reality show. There’s no season arc. We're not pushing them toward a certain end point, just following along with them.
With great characters, we don't have to. They’re already doing things that are interesting.
Why 11 p.m.?
We’re always looking at new time slots. We think that’s a great opportunity for us.
Audiences are still watching. We think it’s a way to catch eye balls. We think it works.
I think we’re putting it there because we feel it’s the right place for it. We think it’s an interesting strategy because our audience is watching at that time
The old ways, the traditional ways are falling apart, that’s now how they’re watching TV. We oftentimes score great with repeats at 11, so we thought, "Hey, lets put a fresh new show there."
The show will premiere on St. Patrick's Day, March 17, at 11 p.m. There will be eight hour-long episodes.