Image Credit: Tao RuspoliThe argument regarding predetermined fate versus free will may never be settled, but starting Oct. 6, at least one 25-year-old guy will know who’s calling the shots. ControlTV, the new online reality series from Robot Chicken creators Seth Green and Matthew Senreich, stars a former IT recruiter named Tristan Couvares (pictured, left). Like most reality shows, Tristan will be constantly followed around Los Angeles by cameras, and like the voyeuristic experiment If I Can Dream, it’ll all be streamed live on the show’s official site. But with ControlTV, there’s one key difference: You get to decide what Tristan does.
At least a dozen times throughout each day, a poll will appear allowing viewers to vote on whether Tristan should wear boxers or briefs, date a blonde or brunette, buy a ticket for The Social Network or Case 39, that kind of thing. So for six weeks this poor young man will not only give up every ounce of privacy, but he’ll also become the Internet’s human puppet — an interactive lab mouse that may or may not reach the cheese at the end of the labyrinth. It all depends on how wisely (or poorly) y’all guide Mr. Couvares along.
EW.com recently talked to Tristan about handing his life over to the Web and becoming a digital Truman Burbank. His responses, plus the show’s trailer, just ahead:
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY This experiment is rapidly approaching. How are you feeling about it right now?
TRISTAN COUVARES: I think my adrenaline’s going, and obviously, it’s a daunting thing that’s going to happen. Of course I’m scared, but I’m also excited because I think it could be really fun.
How did you find out about the show?
It was on Craigslist, and somehow I had a search string that made this pop up. They had a casting office around the block from where I was working [at the time], so when they emailed me back, I figured, “Why not?” I’ve never done anything like it before, and now I’m on the phone with you.
How did you present yourself during the casting audition?
As a 25-year-old guy from Connecticut who’s lived in L.A. for two years and is sort of having a bit of a quarter-life crisis. Someone who doesn’t really know what he wants to do with his life yet, and he’s working this job [as an IT recruiter], but it’s just a job and not a calling.
What about ControlTV appealed to you?
Right off the bat, I just thought it was going to be very interesting in terms of, you know, a cultural study, from an anthropological or sociological standpoint. It was going to be an interesting experiment.
Do you think your willingness to reveal so much online is a generational trait?
I think it’s definitely less shocking [for my generation]. For me, personally, it’s still a jump to present yourself in such extreme openness. But if you were to pitch this to people our parents’ age, that would be shocking to them. I think we’ve adjusted to having less privacy, so that jump to giving it all up is a little less of a leap.
And you don’t mind freely giving up your sense of privacy?
That’s where some of the nervousness comes in, but I don’t think I do anything that’s too outlandish. I’m a pretty average, boring kind of guy, so I feel like anything that I do now is not really that exciting or interesting. [Laughs] So it’s nothing I’m afraid for people to see.
How do you feel about giving up your free will, then?
If somebody asked me if I’d be willing to do it forever, the answer would be absolutely not. But how bad can it really be for six weeks?
You don’t envision yourself rebelling against the viewers?
I hope not! I don’t think it’s going to get that bad.
But you know there will be some nut out there who watches you the entire day.
It’ll probably be my mom [laughs].