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A Changing Boston in Danger of Being Type-Cast

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Irony is the new accuracy as TV producers comb Boston looking for Bostonians increasingly divorced from what's happening in and to their changing-forever-in-big-ways city. Take this flier for a would-be reality TV called The Real Beantown, per Herald columnist Peter Gelzinis (leaving aside who actually says "beantown"):

The logo on The Real Beantown flier that’s been handed out in a bunch of watering holes features two pint glasses of Guinness flanking the message: “Work hard. Drink Harder.” ... “You say Jersey Shore ain’t got nothing on you?” the flier boasts. “Prove it. You’ve got friends that would throw fists for you, bartenders that would pound fifths for you ...” Now, we recently spent our first St. Patrick's Day here, so we're not necessarily going to quibble with the drinking part. What we will quibble with is the idea that the Bostonians sought by these producers from L.A. are at all representative of the city anymore. They're not. They haven't been for a while. They've been usurped and replaced by fresh representatives of Boston, newcomers to neighborhoods like the South End, the North End and, especially, South Boston. The problem, then, is that the city is in danger of being forever type-cast.

In Southie, new development and a changing business climate mean you're more likely to encounter a 25-year-old techie with a latte in a recyclable cup than a gangster with a bottle of Bushmills. It's not The Departed anymore; it's whatever romantic comedy of the last 10 years that you can think of (cast Mark Ruffalo in the role of the techie with a latte and Reese Witherspoon as his love interest; they live in a loft; and they're coming to terms with things, usually just as it starts raining... Acting!). Seriously, throughout previously empty or underused lots in South Boston, more than 1,700 apartments will arise starting this year, many in buildings with amenities like gyms and wine-tasting rooms; and some will be so-called "micro-apartments" meant to appeal to the upwardly mobile who haven't got time for network TV and its reality shows.

And tech! The city's government, led by a boy from Hyde Park, seems to get what's going on for real: They've gone all in on the tech sector and its accoutrements, using our 25-year-old latte-sipper as a model for economic development in neighborhoods like Southie and East Boston. The idea is to build what these techies want, add the retail they want, the transportation they need, and get out of the 21st century's way. That, and facilitate the building of more one- and two-bedroom luxury condos.

So where's this leave the L.A. producers and their reality TV shows? Hunting for a way to type-cast Boston, to trap it under aspic so our wider American brethren will think it's drunker, angrier and, frankly, weirder than it is or than it will be.

· Southie Reality TV Hard to Swallow [Herald]
· The Departed: South Boston to Change Forever This Year [Curbed Boston]
· South Boston to Get Hundreds of Manhattan Apartments [Curbed Boston]
· South Boston All In on Google Move from Cambridge [Curbed Boston]
· Boston Is for Lovers (Just Not Their Kids): A New Apt. Dynamic [Curbed Boston]