The (un)real world of SC-based reality show

From Staff ReportsJanuary 19, 2014 

The reality of reality shows based in South Carolina is, well, unreal.

The second season of “Myrtle Manor” — trailer life in a Myrtle Beach mobile home park — began last week. It’s competing against another Grand Strand-filmed reality show called “Party Down South,” with both showing for the first time each week at 10 p.m. Thursdays.

And, on March 3, South Carolina’s political history gets another unusual footnote with the appearance of former state treasurer Thomas Ravenel in the reality series “Southern Charm,” filmed in Charleston.

Ravenel, 48, resigned as treasurer before serving a prison term for drug-related charges. This, apparently, is part of his comeback tour. According to a Bravo trailer released last week, that includes carousing around the Holy City.

There were efforts to bring a season of MTV’s “The Real World” to Charleston, but public reaction to the proposal kept anything formal from going forward.

Columbia has had its share of reality fame, too. “Newlyweds” featured the growing pains of Tina Sugandh and Tarz Ludwigsen, who live in Forest Acres. Their December 2011 wedding and reception were filmed for the series.

We’d like to cast a net to capture what’s reality on TV and what the reality is.

‘Southern Charm’

TV reality: Thomas Ravenel’s biography includes: “In 2006, Ravenel was elected statewide to the office of state treasurer for the state of South Carolina.”

Real-life reality: His Bravo bio doesn’t mention that he resigned six months after his election after a federal indictment on cocaine charges. He served 10 months in a federal prison.

TV reality: The show purports to show some of the underbelly of the charmed life of the rich, a “playground for men who never want to grow up.”

Real-life reality: Who cares? Charleston still got voted one of the top five friendliest, most charming cities in the world and remains one of the top tourism destinations in the nation.

‘Trailer Park: Welcome to Myrtle Manor’

TV reality: Myrtle Manor is a mobile home park just outside of Myrtle Beach.

Real-life reality: The name is a pretension of the series. It’s called Patrick’s Mobile Home Park. The retro sign (as well as a swimming pool) were erected specifically for the series.

TV reality: All the residents were there when filming began for the first season.

Real-life reality: A few of the cast members were, indeed, cast for the series.

TV reality: The first season of “Myrtle Manor” ended on TV with a wedding and a tense standoff over a possible sale.

Real-life reality: After the first season aired, two of the cast members were arrested. Taylor Burt was arrested twice; once for sexual conduct with a minor and another time for disorderly conduct. In December, the producers of “Myrtle Manor” said he was not appearing on the second season.

‘Party Down South’

TV reality: The cast of Southern misfits were sequestered at King’s Krest, a waterfront home near Murrells Inlet.

Real-life reality: None of the cast is from South Carolina.

TV reality: Murrells Inlet is portrayed as the epicenter of partying in the South.

Real-life reality: Huh? Hey, Myrtle Beach is just up the road.

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