MTV is rebooting its Emmy Award-winning documentary series True Life, which originally ran from 1998 (!) to 2017. Okay, so "reboot" is kind of a misnomer here, since it aired as recently as two years ago, but the updated version promises to take on distinctly ~millennial~ issues. So people tuning in may be wondering: will True Life/Now be like the original True Life? From the looks of it, the format is very much the same.
Each episode will document the lives of a few people all struggling with the same life-disrupting issue. The series premiere, which airs on Jan. 2, is titled "Obsessed With Being A Kardashian" and tackles the lengths to which three super fans will go in order emulate their idols. The extremes range from a Brooklyn woman who spends tens of thousands of dollars on plastic surgery to get the coveted Kim K. body to a military husband in North Carolina who slowly alienates his partner as he dresses in drag and feminizes himself more and more in the hopes of getting Kim's creative team's attention. His ultimate goal is to work with her, but the strain it puts on his marriage — and the feasibility of becoming part of her style team while his husband lives on a military base — presents obstacles.
The next two episodes plan to deal with similar body image issues. "Obsessed With the Perfect Booty" documents a high school senior, an army wife, and a social media influencer as they pursue obtaining butt injections, shining a light on the potential risks and dangers of the procedure. And "Obsessed With Looking Like a Snapchat Filter" follows three young women who pursue plastic surgery in an effort to look more like their filtered selves IRL. Then, the series will switch gears a little bit to focus on the court battles of three young women attempting to bring revenge porn cases against people who have released sexual content featuring them without their consent. The episode is titled "Avenging Revenge Porn" and it will air on Jan. 23.
In addition to winning an Emmy, the original series was hugely popular at awards shows honoring marginalized communities. In 2000, it won an NAACP Image Award for an episode called "I Am Driving While Black," and in 2005, the series won a GLAAD Media Award for the episode "I'm Gay and I'm Getting Married." True Life was also nominated for GLAAD Media Awards in 2000 (for a segment on Matthew Shepard's murder), 2003 (for the episode "I'm Coming Out"), and 2016 (for the episode "I'm Genderqueer").
As you can see, the format of True Life/Now is virtually identical to the classic, but the question of what exactly makes this a "reboot" remains. After all, plenty of OG True Life episodes focused on extreme body dysmorphia, plastic surgery, and other obsessive compulsions, just as the new version seems to. But in any case, the series has always proven to be groundbreaking for the network and True Life/Now is sure to follow in its predecessor's footsteps.
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