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"Interesting thoughts from Italy re Mole 2"
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AyaK 10083 desperate attention whore postings
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08-15-02, 10:38 AM (EST)
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"Interesting thoughts from Italy re Mole 2"
In another thread on this page, we posted pictures that were taken during Mole 2 filming in Italy and published recently on the Web site www.barcanews.com. I speculated that the pictures might have been embargoed until now....

In response, we received a lengthy e-mail from someone associated with the site. The person raises some provocative issues with regard to reality TV show filming in other countries, especially on shows like The Mole and (even more so, I'll bet) The Amazing Race. What do you all think?

Excerpts from the e-mail are below:

Subject: message from barganews.com
Date: Wed, 14 Aug 2002 19:27:43 +0200

. . .

First off, barganews is not a newspaper. It is a web site . It happens to be the largest community site in Italy running at over 800 MB of information covering 20,000 pages but ALL of them virtual NOT ONE PIECE OF PAPER.

The article was not published for over a year for a number of reasons:

The filming of the Mole in Barga caused hardly a ripple on the peaceful surface of daily life. So there were 3 large trucks and loads of fit looking people running all over the town talking into headsets to each other but so what ? There are film crews here every year. The local people already know the difference between a film crew and a TV crew…it's in their manners.

Also some of the crew tried stopping the photographer of barganews from taking photographs. They did it in a MOST demanding and aggressive manner, telling the man that he could not take images in his own town. He was sorely tempted to organise a group of kids to run through the town blowing whistles at 15 minute intervals to slow up their filming a tad. Total cost of exercise: $6 Total cost of large crew unable to film because of interruptions $? There was also some resistance from some of the inhabitants having to sign a no-tell contract.

In the end the story was just left where it was.

The world has become a much smaller place and we all have to find space to live it in but sometimes the views of some people are a little over bearing or just down right RUDE. A fine example of this is the following passage written on this forum describing episode 6:

The cookers have to go to 14 different houses and beg for 14 different ingredients and use them to make 3 12-inch pizzas (I had to rewind it here and make sure Cooper didn’t say what I originally thought he said… use your imagination). The team succeeds, but only because they find Roberto, a local who speaks English and Italian and knows everyone in Barga. (Trust me, not as romantic-European as he sounds; he has on an shirt from the 1980s—complete with fluorescent green trim, a pair of lady’s pleated khaki shorts, and black athletic shoes sans socks which you know do not allow those feet to breathe.)

All this begging reminds me of the rash statement I made when I claimed The Mole was a highbrow show. Guess I spoke too soon.

Roberto will be more than pleased at this description of himself don't you think ? He is a young man who willing gave his help to the Mole and asked for nothing except a little respect ....and that is really what this post is about....a lament that respect is missing in this story.

The Mole treated Europe as a cheap backdrop with unpaid bit part actors. All very picturesque but something to be used and then thrown away.

Rant over.

Thank you very much

ciao

www.barganews.com

From my perspective, our bashing of Roberto was mild (since it solely focused on his clothes), although others may see fit to disagree. Heck, I got flamed for being too nasty to the media whores themselves after my E2 summary...

But there is a more interesting and provocative question here, right near the end:

The Mole treated Europe as a cheap backdrop with unpaid bit part actors. All very picturesque but something to be used and then thrown away.

What do you think? Speaking for myself, I thought this was definitely true in The Amazing Race (come on, they're begging for money from the locals?), but I hadn't thought of it as being the case with The Mole 2. But others may disagree.

Even if the show didn't come across as exploitative, does it change your impression of the show if the crew was rude to the locals, as this e-mail states?

Finally, my thanks to the people from barcanews for raising these issues.

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  Table of Contents

  Subject     Author     Message Date     ID  
 RE: Interesting thoughts from Italy... dabo 08-15-02 1
 RE: Interesting thoughts from Italy... SurvivorBlows 08-15-02 2
 RE: Interesting thoughts from Italy... Femme 08-15-02 3
   Agree AyaK 08-15-02 5
 RE: Interesting thoughts from Italy... cyclehausen 08-15-02 4

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dabo 25344 desperate attention whore postings
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08-15-02, 11:34 AM (EST)
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1. "RE: Interesting thoughts from Italy re Mole 2"
LAST EDITED ON 08-15-02 AT 11:36 AM (EST)

>The local people already
>know the difference between a
>film crew and a TV
>crew…it's in their manners.

And budget, and time constraints, and perhaps who knows. My basic opinion of that statement is that I don't fault the crews themselves, but the nature of the beast. Let's face it, part of the reason TV Networks/Channels are turning to reality-based shows is ... they are cheap! A TV producer on a budget would have few reservations about turning loose a film crew without having covered all the bases locally (and the people in that crew are going to be concentrating on the job they have to do), whereas a film producer would have so much to answer for if anything went wrong that there is no way a crew would be turned loose in a town without it all having been arranged and approved in every way imaginable. What I'm saying, essentially, is: Don't blame the people, look at the circumstances. (That said: I also think Mole 2 had much better production values than most reality TV shows.)

>All this begging reminds me of
>the rash statement I made
>when I claimed The Mole
>was a highbrow show. Guess
>I spoke too soon.

Not when the comparison is with other reality TV shows, IMO.

>The Mole treated Europe as a
>cheap backdrop with unpaid bit
>part actors. All very picturesque
>but something to be used
>and then thrown away.
>
>Rant over.

I understand it is preferable to be treated as an expensive backdrop rather than a cheap one, but wasn't it already established that the locals know the difference between a TV production and a cinema production?

ARRRRRRR!!!!

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SurvivorBlows 15230 desperate attention whore postings
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08-15-02, 11:35 AM (EST)
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2. "RE: Interesting thoughts from Italy re Mole 2"
I think as far as the guy's clothing goes, I find it hard to believe that we're anywhere near alone in this stance, after all, this guy does live in Italy -- the fashion capitol of the world -- correct???

I think he'd hear far worse comments than what we said if he ever walked down the streets the Milan...

-SB

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Femme 3621 desperate attention whore postings
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08-15-02, 11:44 AM (EST)
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3. "RE: Interesting thoughts from Italy re Mole 2"
The criticizee will always be overly critical of the criticizer. I don't think the comments regarding Roberto were too harsh (They were my words, after all, and amazingly, I toned down my comments due to the fact that I didn't want to rip apart a poor kid who seemed hesitant to help the strange collection of contestants.) Actually, I thought he was charming, but gushing over sweet young boys who help foreigners navigate a town where they are well known does not a good summary make, IMO.

About not "respecting" the people who live in Barga... I don't know what the producers/crew did while they were there, but I suspect they were stereotypically rude and ostentatious. That would irritate me, I'm sure. Too bad they couldn't have formed a great relationship with the townspeople and both could have been left with good feelings about the whole project.

About not represeting Italy well in the show. That's crap. I think the Mole does this well. You are not left with the impression that people are rude, or that the towns are gross and dirty or unsafe. You get the feeling, throughout the whole series, that Europe in general and Italy in particular are sophisticated, classy locations.

The focus is on the players; there's no reason to have "locals" in the shots. I think it's sour grapes on the part of the author of that article to whine about the missing locals. Showing more of the locals would not have enhanced the show in any way, and I, as a viewer, am not left thinking that because of this, Italy is a "disposable" setting, but rather a peaceful, sophisticated, classy, and beautiful setting. Nice of this guy to tell us how WE are going to see Italy after watching this show.


Femme

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AyaK 10083 desperate attention whore postings
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08-15-02, 03:22 PM (EST)
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5. "Agree"
Just to state my own humble opinion here -- I agree with you on just about all your points. As for the summary -- 'nuff said.

I've worked some with TV crews, and they are always pushy, rude and arrogant. U.S. or overseas, I'm sure they're the same. Film crews aren't as pushy because they have higher budgets to work with!

I've come to dislike The Amazing Race because I do think it presents the locations as disposable backdrops -- the "ugly-American-of-the-month" approach. I think Mole 1 did that as well, because it failed to connect to the backdrops. I did NOT think Mole 2 did it at all. In fact, I thought Mole 2 was the BEST reality program that I'd seen in terms of connecting the game to the locales in which it took place (except of course for Survivor, which picks locations away from everything except wildlife).

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cyclehausen 1197 desperate attention whore postings
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08-15-02, 01:00 PM (EST)
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4. "RE: Interesting thoughts from Italy re Mole 2"
First of all, I must say that I think it is absolutely hilarious whenever someone takes one of our summaries and treats it as if it were some sort of deadly-serious gospel. Respect was missing from the story? Well, no sht!

Second, why did this town welcome the crew? Why didn't the photographer disrupt the shoot? Why did the locals sign no-tell contracts? Why did the players have the town to themselves when there was no call for local involvement or an audience?

My only guess: money. The author made it clear tht film crews are often in the town. Sounds to me like this little piece of nowhere likes the cash thrown to it by the American entertaiment industry. It may not have been used to the confidentiality guidelines of the Mole, but live and learn.

And I'm not going to argue the author's final point. It is somewhat true. However, I wouldn't say that Europe is "something to be used and then thrown away", rather it is "something to be used and then left." Come on, the crew may have been rude, but they did not trash the town or leave it a heap of smoldering ashes, its helplss former inhabitants wailing in the embers.

Of course these little towns are picturesque and OF COURSE we are going to see them, enjoy them, and forget them. What are our other options? Become hypnotized at seeing them, until every person on earth wanders toward Barga slack-jawed and drooling? Perhaps we should have had Anderson say "Trying to answer the question 'Who Is The Mo....' , actually, this is such a charming town, let's spend this episode wondering 'Who is the happiest and most personable citizen of this infectiously loving and difficult-to-leave town?' "

GIVE ME A BREAK.

We have established that media whores have no rights to injunction because of the decision they made to put themselves on television for fun and profit. The same applies to little Italian villages. Next time, just say no, Barga.

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