By Andy Rathbun Herald Writer
GRANITE FALLS — It’s about as far from the Jersey Shore as MTV can get.
MTV bills the show as a real-life version of “The Breakfast Club.” Like that 1985 movie, the show tackles the cliquish atmosphere that permeates schools.
The 12-episode series premiered in July and has featured schools in Denver, Oklahoma City and Paris, Texas. The upcoming Granite Falls episode, filmed last school year, helped producers check a box for the Northwest.
“We really wanted to see what was happening in schools across the country and get different demographics,” supervising show producer Cameo Wallace said. “Granite Falls was perfect for that.”
Previews of the episode describe Granite Falls as a “small, small town” where teens have nothing to do. The episode zones in on the school’s cliques: jocks, rednecks and preps, among others.
The show also plays up the separation between the 660 students at Granite Falls High School and the 180 students at the district’s Crossroads Alternative High School.
The show follows five students from different cliques as they participate in Challenge Day, a national course that puts students through an intense day of exercises meant to break down the stereotypes they hold of their peers.
Tessa Romack, 17, a Granite Falls senior who serves as the episode’s prep, said participating in Challenge Day for the network was amazing. She hopes Granite Falls serves as an example for teens across the country.
“The great thing about Challenge Day is that it helps kids from all different cliques realize that they have more in common with each other than they thought,” she said.
Students didn’t have a huge problem with MTV cameras tracing their every move. Crews shot the episode over the course of four days in March.
Along with Tessa, the episode features then-senior Corey Moline, 18. He’s a self-described redneck.
“Being followed around by cameras was a little weird, but it wasn’t bad or anything,” he said. “It was a new thing.”
MTV tries to avoid embarrassing the students, network spokeswoman Ter’rece Walker said. The network touches base with teens before the airdate, to discuss any sensitive personal information they divulged on camera.
While students are braced for the episode, some are a little nervous about actually watching it.
“Very personal things in my life are going to be shared on national television,” Tessa said.
The show focused on the five students, but dozens more wound up on camera. All told, 100 students from the district’s two high schools participated in Challenge Day.
Kale DeCamp, 16, a junior at Crossroads, worked with school administrators to bring Challenge Day to the school.
He said he tried to ignore the MTV crews when they were on campus. He intends to watch the episode at a friend’s house Tuesday night.
“It’s kind of weird, because whenever you watch these shows, you don’t think that they’re real,” he said. “They are.”
Andy Rathbun: 425-339-3455; email@example.com
Granite Falls on MTV
Granite Falls High School students will be the focus of an episode of the MTV documentary series “If You Really Knew Me.” The episode airs at 11 p.m. Tuesday. To see a preview, go to tinyurl.com/MTVGraniteFalls.