As a part of their "Green Crusade," MTV airs odd, cult-like ads urging viewers to turn off their computers at night and avoid driving for a day. They, however, delivered a very different message to a Panamanian town this past summer.
As reported in this letter from Michael Drake, MTV, while filming their newest addition to the Real World/Road Rules Challenge series this summer, cleared out pieces of previously undisturbed rainforest to build tiki-huts and shelters for contestants, dumped trash throughout the forest and left a huge mess behind for the locals to deal with. I will admit that as an avid hater of (almost) all reality TV, this has been my one exception for quite a few seasons now. I indulged my guilty pleasure during the premiere last week and had all intentions to do the same this week. Which makes it all the more heartbreaking, if not unexpected, that the trash bags found by Drake were filled with actual scripts for the show. The thing about this story that brings me actual heartbreak is not the fact that the deserted island where the show takes place is actually a tourist destination with houses within a few football fields of their filming locale; it is the fact that all of this was done during MTVs popular Green Crusade, and I will never know how often they have done this during shows such as "Road Rules" and "Wildboyz" throughout the years, without an American to randomly come across the wreckage afterwards and report his findings.