This is the true story (true story) of fifteen virgins picked to have the most agonizing moments of their young lives broadcast to millions of fellow terrified young people who, like themselves, are intimidated unto paralysis by the idea of doing something incredibly athletic that cannot really be practiced beforehand, and involves offering a body they most likely hate, with and to someone whose opinion in that body they care about to some degree or another... All while trying to synthesize the one million contradictory messages about sexuality, gender, power, respect, disease and control that society hands them each and every day.
Is it gonna be awkward? Hell yeah it's gonna be awkward. Literally the most awkward thing, happening right in front of you, on purpose.
Is it going to be fake? Being a teenager is a 24/7 performance because you have not yet become yourself; of course it's going to feel fake.
Will it be informative? Let me ask you something: When was the last time you believed yourself to be dating a model on MySpace? Thought so. Thanks, Catfish. (But seriously. Porn's freely available to give kids hilariously wrong ideas about what sex is going to be like. This? The crying and weirdness and complex emotions of actual people? That is the opposite of porn: That's learning you are not alone, and never were.)
Is it exploitative? No moreso than Teen Mom, and I would argue vastly less. Mostly it seems like it's going to be a lot of crying—definitely for the teens involved, probably for yours truly—and, I've got a suspicion, a surprising generosity of heart. But we'll see Wednesday night, when the experiment begins.