Filmmaker Hailey Wist’s documentary The Garden Summer is the true story of five strangers picked to live on a farm, work together, and have their lives taped. Wist recruited four other good-looking 20-something suburbanites to spend the summer on an Arkansas farm, getting all their food (except booze, coffee, and cooking oil) either from their own garden or from within a 100-mile radius.
So what happens when people stop being polite and start getting real on a farm? Well, like the original MTV reprobates, they drink, get in arguments, and have romantic entanglements, sometimes with the same people. But they also learn about where their food comes from, and about wasting less and living simpler.
The cast — I’m calling them The Filmmaking One, The Wholesome One, The Ethereal One, The Sardonic One, and The Mustache, based solely on their pictures — makes the original Real World look like a Benetton ad. I’m pretty sure every season had The Token Minority One, sometimes even The Token Minority Several, but this cast is whiter than the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man. And every single one of them is in a creative field — filmmaking, writing, illustration, photography. Now, I’m not saying that necessarily means they’re all incredibly privileged; I’m just coughing really loudly and it happens to sound like that’s what I said.
So OK, maybe this is less the Real World of farms, and more the Girls of Real Worlds of farms. But it looks like they’ll touch on a lot of questions that many of us have — could I be completely self-reliant for my food? Could I learn to waste less? Could I get by eating entirely local? It sounds fun to watch other people doing the experiment, so you can learn from their experience before you try anything yourself. Because you know your version would be way less picturesque and have no soundtrack.