There is no such thing as bad publicity.
That’s the attitude the beach bum has had since hearing that The Learning Channel (TLC) is filming a “reality” show in Myrtle Beach.
Welcome to Myrtle Beach Manor debuts tonight. Producers have dressed up a trailer park along Highway 15 on the south end of town; they’ve put its denizens under the microscope for all of the United States to see.
Some people — largely politicians and tourism and hospitality reps — have crawled from beneath the woodwork long enough to express concerns that the show will reflect negatively on Myrtle Beach.
Nah, if Myrtle Manor producers wanted to project this city in a bad light, they could have just stuck the camera in the mayor’s face and those of a few city councilpersons and asked them why they are so silent about the gigantic, hideous parking lot on the former Myrtle Square Mall site. Yes, landowners can do what they want with their properties. That doesn’t mean the local yokels can’t put a little heat on them about developing it. It’s going on a decade since the mall closed; the last seven years the lot has been an open eyesore. Congrats, Burroughs $ Chapin.
If Myrtle Manor producers wanted to cast a sad shadow on this tourist town, they could turn their cameras on the former pavilion site, where wooden, zipline towers stand like skeletons all winter long on the very spot once occupied by an amusement park. Or they could do an expose` on some of these ratty hotel owners (some of the hotels are run down, too), who pay their help so little that workers have to be bused into town from 50 miles away.
Sorry, I got sidetracked — again.
To be sure, Myrtle Manor will have little to do with reality. I suspect it will end up being like most shows of its ilk — a contrived, sensationalized, somewhat-scripted, highly-manipulated portrayal of day-to-day life. An illusion. Bad television. But even voyeurs need something to do.
Its “cast” is said to include a heavily-tattooed, bearded lady who juggles cats while drinking from morning till night. Okay, I made that up. Except for the tattooed, drinking part.
TLC representatives have said — after pointing out that Myrtle Beach is a huge, tourist destination — that they wanted to learn more about the locals and the city while documenting the story of a multi-generational, family-owned trailer park.
Please. TLC wants ratings and advertising money. If they truly wanted to learn more about the “locals,” they would do so by hanging out in decent restaurants and watering holes. They would set up their cameras on Springmaid Fishing Pier. Film your show, TLC, but don’t play us for fools. Many of the people you are trying to turn into stars were born elsewhere.
Take Myrtle Manor for what it is. Entertainment. At least to some. I’m not watching a minute of it. If some of you do, that’s your business. I don’t want to hear people around me talk about it. If they do, they do. I’ll just chuckle and keep on keepin’ on.