Opinion Extra

May 3, 2013

Opinion: Bemoaning `Myrtle Manor'

I told a friend a few weeks ago that I would probably watch "Welcome to Myrtle Manor" because, you know, it's like a part of my job.

I told a friend a few weeks ago that I would probably watch "Welcome to Myrtle Manor" because, you know, it's like a part of my job.

She was aghast at the mere idea.

I know, I said. It's going to be ugly. But I need to keep up with what's happening in Myrtle Beach, no matter how much it hurts. Besides, I said, I might recognize someone on the show -- which turned out to be true.

There was Roy, a guy I recognized from many years ago, and there was Myrtle Beach City Councilman Wayne Gray.

Roy has a hairdressing shop on the trailer park property; Gray lent his considerable prestige to a sham "Myrtle Manor" beauty contest.

Sham? Well, it was won by the owner's daughter who was, in my view, not exactly the most beautiful contestant.

Anyway, dear readers, I have endured every episode to date on your behalf and today, on the eve of the final "Myrtle Manor" episode of the season, I'm bringing you some highlights of what you managed to avoid. Small children should avert their eyes.

First, a caveat. This, like all such "reality" shows, is not exactly scripted but each episode has a carefully plotted story line.

There was, for instance, an early episode in which an above-ground pool shows up at "Myrtle Manor" after all these many years.

A celebratory pool party gave producers a quick opportunity to gross everyone out when the oldest resident stripped to her skivvies and jumped into the pool.

Before you could say "barf," she removed her top and waved it around. Fortunately, TLC is basic cable and nudity is still prohibited -- well, at least AARP nudity. So I'm hoping that most viewers managed to keep their lunches down.

Another story line featured a security guard named Marvin and his attempts to discover who urinated on the mattress of the cranberry-haired Jessica.

The suspects included Jessica and her former boyfriend, the notorious Taylor Burt, the same Taylor Burt who has since been charged with having sex with a 15-year-old. The other suspect is a waddling, drooling old dog named Gus, owned by Taylor.

Marvin, who has watched too much "CSI," packs the mattress off to a laboratory (we're told), then takes urine samples from the suspects. I wonder if his efforts to get a sample from Gus have made it to YouTube yet?

I forget what Marvin's sleuthing turned up, because we were on to another story line -- the requisite reality show-mance between Jared, an unemployed and seemingly unemployable drifter, and the lovely Chelsey.

Chelsey was not just a pretty face. She figured out early on how to boil a wiener -- no easy feat for the folks at Myrtle Manor -- then eked out a living selling hot dogs on the beach.

Jared was not as motivated as Chelsey, but he managed to get a stripper gig -- another story line -- at a Myrtle Beach topless bar so he could buy an engagement ring. I mean, who needs food when you're in love?

When he found a swell $300 ring, he gave the jewelry store 300 one-dollar bills. He didn't tell the clerk where they'd been.

A lot of people expressed disgust when they heard about "Welcome to Myrtle Manor." Their apprehension was well-founded. Not only did this show do its best to defame Myrtle Beach, it also managed to insult all those who live good lives in mobile home parks.

There is one large consolation. Apologies to Honey Boo-Boo, but the world at large has probably never found TLC among their 200-plus TV channels.

They still recognize the Grand Strand as a great place for family vacations and one of the world's greatest golf venues.

"Welcome to Myrtle Manor" won't change any of that.

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