The Real World: Hawaii – Episode Four

closePlease note: This post was published over a year ago, so please be aware that its content may not be quite so accurate anymore. Also, the format of the site has changed since it was published, so please excuse any formatting issues.

Wednesday morning was a wet one. Kalihi is normally wet (as are many valleys on the island), but it was raining all over the island, so our plans had to change.

We took our time getting ready and met my parents downtown. Through an old friend of hers, my mum had arranged for us to visit the set of the Fox TV show North Shore (before it conflicted with CSI, Morah and I watched the show regularly, so visiting the set was an exciting prospect). The show is filmed on Super 16mm at the Diamond Head Studios.

The first thing we saw was the production office. Joe Aikala, a friend I met at EWU and with whom I graduated from the film department works on the show, so we got to see where he sits when he’s there (it was his day off, so we didn’t get to see him just then).

We walked past the Surf Hut set to the hallway/room set. The Surf Hut was originally shot at an actual, but they ended up just building a new one on the studio lot for convenience.

Next we saw the hallway/rooms stage. It was cool to walk around and see how everything worked. The rooms were, more or less, actual rooms that had doors leading in from the hallway, but there were only two or three of them and there weren’t any ceilings. All of the views out the windows are completely fake and if you knock on the walls, it’s clear they’re just plywood. It is interesting to note how much detail was put into the rooms, however. There was molding near the floor (even in the closet) and a bathtub in the bathroom (actually, the bathroom was really nice).

The fake views are really cool. Pretty much all you’re looking at is a =HUGE= photo hanging on a track (like a curtain). So if you want to change what’s outside the room, you would just have to drag a new picture into place.

Next we went to the big sound stage where the lobby had been built. Originally, they weren’t going to built their own lobby because they were shooting at Turtle Bay, but things got complicated, so they dropped $800,000 and built their own lobby. The exterior was nothing really special (of course, it wasn’t set up for a shoot, so a lot of the greens and all of the signs were missing. Also, we were told that most of the exteriors are shot at a hotel on the Big Island). Instead of beautiful glass doors for the main entrance (is that how they are on the show? It’s been a while since we’ve watched, so I can’t recall), the doors are just made of plywood.

When you first walk in to the lobby, it’s kind of hard to tell that you’re on a set, though it quickly becomes apparent. The huge lights sitting all over the place give it away, but the ceiling lights are hidden behind muslin (a trick also seen in Citizen Kane).

When you first walk in, you pass two fountains (one on either side of you). If you really look at the fountains, they look pretty crappy. On TV, they look fabulous, but up close they’re rather lackluster. I never had a good mental map of the lobby, so being on the set put it all into perspective. If you’re standing at the fountains facing in, on the far wall is the Bamboo Lounge (who puts a bar right in the lobby?). To the right of the lounge is the gift shop. Further right is the concierge desk and all the way on the right are three lifts.

To the left of the Bamboo Lounge is a seating area, presumably part of the Bamboo Lounge, but I think it may actually be part of GW, Frankie’s bar. GW itself is just through a doorway in that seating area. Further left is a hallway that doesn’t lead anywhere (none of them do) and one of the walls of the hallway has three payphones attached to it. I thought that was a clever little touch. All the way to the left is the reception area, which in my opinion was far bigger than it needed to be.

The upstairs area was pretty dull. The lifts “go up to” the second floor (of course, they don’t =really= go up to the second floor) and there are a bunch of seating areas. Apart from that, there wasn’t much to see upstairs.

The lifts are pretty cool because if you pull on one door, the other door moves as well. They’re wired together so that they open and close perfectly. They even have those bumper things that stop the door from closing on you, except that the bumpers on these lifts don’t really work, they’re just pieces of wood painted black that don’t move at all. There was one lift that didn’t have a car behind the door. It was like that scene in The Truman Show when Truman starts to figure out that something is amiss and he sees the doors of the lift open to reveal the craft service table (or whatever was behind it, it’s been a while since I’ve seen that movie).

Morah, Ashley and I also took a little time to re-enact the “Nicole pushes Tessa into the fountain” scene (I’ll have a picture online later). If you watch the show, you’ll recall that in one episode, Nicole (Brooke Burns) and Tessa (Amanda Righetti) are having a heated discussion which results in them pushing one another back and forth. Nicole ends up pushing Tessa backward into one of the fountains, so we thought it would be funny to take a picture of Ashley (as Tessa, since she looks the part more than Morah does) being pushed into the fountain by Morah (as Nicole).

After our tour of the set, it was still raining and we weren’t sure what to do. We decided to go to Ala Moana and get some shopping done. We didn’t have a whole lot of time before we were supposed to meet up with my parents again, so we grabbed a map and figured out the optimal route to take to visit all of the stores we wanted to visit. I was able to find about two dozen different food vendors that I wanted to try, but obviously we didn’t have time, nor did I have the appetite to do so.

One stop we made was to the Apple Store, where I finally got to see a 30 inch screen in person. Holy hell. I want it. I want it to have my children. The thing is =so= beautiful! I could just imagine having two, side by side.

Later that night, we all had dinner at my mum’s favourite Japanese restaurant, Irifune. It’s a fantastic little place on Kapahulu Avenue. Famed as the “Home of the Garlic Ahi”, this place is truly fantastic. I ate one of their specials, a combo of garlic ahi (of course), shrimp tempura and sashimi. If you don’t live in Hawaii and you go there, you’ll likely be the only non-local in the place. But don’t worry, the atmosphere is really friendly. A few things I should mention about the place, though, they don’t have a liquor license (but from what I’ve heard, as long as you brown bag it, you’re welcome to bring your own), they don’t take reservations (they open at 5:30, so make sure you get there no later than 6p because they place will fill up), they’re open Tuesday through Saturday and if you do go, ask them to do the thing where they turn off the lights.

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