A few months away from aging out of MTV's target demographic, I find myself riveted by programming on the channel for the first time since "The Real World" allowed in anything but unemployed boozehounds. "The Paper" (10:30 p.m., MTV), about the staff of an award-winning high school newspaper in Florida, is addictive not just because I work in newspapers (and was editor of my own high school paper), but because it does such an excellent job of capturing the emotional turmoil, casual cruelty and unexpected joys of high school life.To read the full thing -- including a short preview of tonight's "House" -- click here.
The show's tragic heroine is Amanda Lorber, the bespectacled editor in chief, whose promotion to the top job in the first episode led to a schism with other seniors who wanted the job. The bitter runners-up - including Amanda's one-time close friend Alex - have tried to undermine and subvert Amanda's authority at every turn, and are often seen cruelly making fun of her behind her back.
Though Amanda is shown to be bossy and not always socially graceful, the show is clearly on her side - tonight's episode frequently doubles back to show examples of how the other kids are liars and hypocrites in their dealings with her - and there are moments when "The Paper" can be as uncomfortable as a particularly squirmy episode of "Curb Your Enthusiasm" or "The Office," or even certain Jane Austen adaptations on PBS.
One person who doesn't find the show tough to watch? Amanda herself.
Monday, May 12, 2008
In today's column, I confront my newfound devotion to MTV's "The Paper," and talk to the show's star, Amanda, about the experience of filming it: