Normally, the phrase “MTV reality show” gives me a mental image that could be likened to the vile screeching of a thousand nails on a thousand chalkboards. If you were looking for three words to sum up the most vapid, irritating, cancerous qualities of popular culture, those would probably be the ones. If you’re looking for two, try The Hills (not to be confused with The Hill, which until recently was the only reality show I’ve ever actually enjoyed) and if you’re looking for four, try My Super Sweet Sixteen.
With such a pedigree, things weren’t looking good for this new show on MTV, The Paper. But the premise – a bunch of smart teenagers try to put together a school newspaper they genuinely care about – is definitely a step above the normal reality show approach of, “let’s all get together to worship the material wealth of a bunch of soulless, preening narcissists.” And as someone who was editor-in-chief of my high school paper senior year, I wanted to see how they depicted it.