Alex Casey introduces the young subjects in TV3’s new documentary series Reality Trip, including a 25 year-old with the views of a crazed senior citizen.
TV3’s new series Reality Trip takes a group of young New Zealand consumers and whisks them around the world, confronting them with the reality of how their favourite products are made. Travelling to the likes of Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and the Philippines, the eclectic gang of kiwis must spend every waking moment together in testing living quarters and harrowing third world working environments. Once you meet them, it’s clear that it’s only a matter of time till things fall apart faster than a $10 toaster:
There’s Steph Lai, a 21 year-old Dior-toting former Miss Asia New Zealand:
Peter, a 22 year-old intern at a computer company who has never travelled before:
Stevie, a 21 year-old social worker from Rotorua who comes from a huge family:
Anna, a 19 year-old fashion magazine intern who is dedicated to by ethically-produced clothing:
And Kieran, a 25 year-old redneck:
The group meets for the first time at the airport, and are immediately whisked away to the Philippines. Within five minutes of arriving, black belt Steph buys a giant painting from a man on the street. She seems like an impulse buyer, but we learn that her purchase can probably feed two families for a week. Meanwhile, Kieran is very busy sharing his views on the benefit back home:
On that jovial note, the gang head to the EMS factory, home of outsourcing for the likes of Samsung and other mobile companies. Their task is to place tiny plastic covers on thin copper wires all day, wearing white boiler suits and masks that look like a space age take on a certain famous klan. The perfect outfit for Kieran to confront Stephanie about her immigrant parentage. As you do. Just banter:
Things are feeling pretty tense at the factory, but Kieran isn’t quite done yet. As if he hadn’t just told her family to leave his precious country, and poured doubt upon her “classic kiwi” status, Kieran also tells Steph the reason she is so good at this factory work is because she is “like the rest of them… oriental”. The total scores come in, and the girls have almost doubled the boys productivity. Time to sprinkle some sexism into this racist stew:
Cue a sick burn from Anna:
Countless other things go down in the first episode: unflushable toilets, chicken foetus-eating and air showers. Next week they head to a banana plantation elsewhere in the Philippines, where Steph is sure to purchase another piece of art and Kieran will definitely distribute more of his conservative preachings. Although the core premise of the documentary is eye-opening and informative, it’s the unmissable characters that make this essential New Zealand viewing – for classic and non-classic kiwis alike.