Last night was the season finale of MTV’s The Paper. Who knew? About 1.4 million people, not including me. As the marching band and drill team ushered in editor-in-chief Amanda’s NYU acceptance letter/mailbox scene, I wiped away a solitary tear (hello! college!) and thought “Wait, that’s it?” But I want more! The kids are still in their first semester! There are so many more notices to scribble with colored markers onto Ms. Weiss’s huge white board! (Inspecting these scrawlings, especially the ones from section editors who use hearts to sign their names — aww! — was by far my favorite part of the show. I actually paused my DVR whenever there were new ones. That’s so weird, and a little pervy.)
We didn’t cover The Paper on PopWatch until last week’s Q&A with drama queen Adam Brock, but it’s been a solid antidote to The Hills and an EW Must List staple for a while now. (Read Jezebel.com’s weekly posts for a rundown of the season, or you can watch the entire series online at MTV.com.) I initially started loving The Paper because I was these kids in high school and college – probably most like Cassia, The Circuit’s entertainment editor who generally stayed out of people’s way but was usually smirking somewhat dismissively in the corner. But beyond that, The Paper is as “real” a reality show as you can find — the students’ often petty (but important to them, which is the point) high school catastrophes were embarrassing, but cool, in a geeky, “TKTKTKTKTK” sort of way. (If you have to ask, don’t, it’s that lame.) We all know an Amanda Lorber (pictured, scheming), the overachiever with an affinity for colorful school supplies and a tendency to page through the same 10 nostalgic photos on her digital camera whenever possible. We’ve all had a high school identity crisis that turned us into an indecisive, obnoxious, withering mess, à la managing editor Alex. And everyone knows a Giana, the girl who scowls at everything (that’s not endorsed by her circle of boy-worshipers, of course). They’ll all grow up and get it together soon enough. Anyway, it was damn refreshing seeing real people who weren’t on TV because of their rich parents, willingness to do anything for cash, or big asses and sex tapes.
R.I.P., season 1 of The Paper. And Amanda — welcome to New York!