City leaders, tourism promoters and The Sun News readers have all had their say on “Welcome to Myrtle Manor,” the distorted reality show that purports to show daily life in a local trailer park. We don’t have much to add to the criticism, which has been nearly universally negative. Like others, we watched, we cringed, we wondered why anybody in their right mind would really want to be on a reality TV show. But let us for a moment offer just a few thoughts in defense of “Myrtle Manor.”
While we do believe that besides being a poor portrayal of Myrtle Beach, the show is also simply poor television, it does at least get the name of Myrtle Beach into more households. All publicity is good publicity, especially when you’re a tourist town. After the image of “Myrtle Manor” fades – and we assume it soon will, after watching that first episode – those who tuned in will still have at least some recollection of Myrtle Beach. And when the time comes to plan a vacation, that little bit of extra recognition of the Myrtle Beach name might provide just the boost needed to convince visitors to choose the Grand Strand.
There’s also the economic boost for the area. Small though we imagine the impact was, the production did require sets to be built, trailers to be rented, and various transportation, lodging and catering for film crews. One small production certainly won’t have an enormous impact on our area, but the S.C. legislature is currently debating expanded credits for television and movie companies that film in the state. If that larger credit passes and production companies begin to think more seriously about filming in South Carolina, being able to point to previous experience with the industry would be an asset in drawing those projects to our area.
In the meantime, we probably won’t be tuning into the next nine episodes. We like our reality a bit more, well, real.