With only a few days until their show premieres, “Welcome to Myrtle Manor” cast members said Thursday they were excited and nervous about how their lives could change if the reality program becomes successful.
“Myrtle Manor,” which was filmed in a portion of Patrick’s Mobile Home Park off Highway 15 in Myrtle Beach last year, is set to premiere at 10 p.m. Sunday on TLC.
“It hasn’t really hit me yet,” said Jessica Burke, 20, of the possible local stardom that could come with her involvement in the show. “It was all really hush-hush who’s on the show, so now that the commercial’s out there my friends are like, ‘That’s what you’ve been doing.’”
Many cast members acknowledged that sometimes shows can be edited to portray the people on them a certain way, but most said they were always themselves during filming and couldn’t be upset if anything they did made it to TV.
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Trailer park owner Cecil Patrick said he’s not concerned about being portrayed in a way that wasn’t true.
“This really started when [producer Matt Sprouse] built trust with us,” Patrick said. “We’re the type that we either trust you or we don’t. ... They’re all like family now.”
The family has owned the trailer park for generations since 1923, Patrick said, and his daughter, Becky Johnson, said she has lived there her entire life.
The 10-part series follows Johnson, who takes the reins of the family-built mobile home park from her father. She is trying to turn the community into a five-star resort, according to promos about the show.
Johnson said she saw Sprouse riding through the neighborhood a few times last year before he asked to rent a few mobile homes. She said he approached her about filming a show there after looking for a community to showcase in town.
Alon Orstein, vice president of production and development East Coast for TLC, told The Sun News last week that the network wanted to dig deeper and learn more about the local population and the city of Myrtle Beach itself.
“We were also intrigued by the Patrick family and wanted to follow their story of running a multi-generational, family-owned trailer park,” Orstein said.
About half of the 17 cast members were either born and raised in Myrtle Beach or have lived here for years. Other cast members said they have been in the city for anywhere from a few months to a few years.
Many Grand Strand residents have expressed concern and disappointment about bringing a reality show to a Myrtle Beach trailer park. Patrick said he’s not concerned with any negativity being said about the show.
“The way our family looks at it, if you don’t pay our bills, we don’t care what you say or think,” he said.
Johnson said she didn’t understand how people could have so many negative things to say and make assumptions about a show they have yet to see.
“Just because we’re in a trailer park doesn’t mean we’re dumb,” she said. “We choose to live here. We could live anywhere in Horry County.”
Georgia native Amanda Adams, 26, said she gets upset when she hears people have accused them of working from a script.
“People worry about us being scripted, but we’re all 100 percent,” said Adams, who has lived in Myrtle Beach since September. “I couldn’t even remember lines if they gave them to me.”
Myrtle Beach native, 28-year-old Taylor J. Burt, gets angry to hear people say the show is going to make Myrtle Beach look bad.
“The show’s not about Myrtle Beach at all,” he said. “It’s about a group of people that could be anywhere in the country.”
He also said he expects the show to drive the tourism industry in the area up by putting images of Myrtle Beach on TV screens across North America.
Patrick said he’s already had some people contact him about wanting to come and rent a trailer for the week. When asked if they currently provide vacation rentals he said: “We might have to now.”
Most cast members, especially the younger ones, said they had no reservations about allowing to their lives to be filmed for all to see.
“I could have said no, but who in their right mind would?” Adams said.
And all of the cast members said they hope the show does well and that they get picked up for more seasons.
“I think we’re gonna be another ‘Honey Boo Boo,’” said 24-year-old Ohio native Jared Stetson.