Interview with MTV's 'The Buried Life'

By Laura Crowley

Arts & Life Editor

The cast of “The Buried Life” visited the University on March 10 to present a more in-depth explanation of their MTV show. The cast, which consists of four men in their 20s (Jonnie Penn, Duncan Penn, Dave Lingwood and Ben Nemtin), has embarked on a mission to complete 100 things on their “bucket list.” The items range from streaking in a stadium to running a successful business.

In an interview with Jonnie and Dave, the two said that they got the idea to complete their bucket list when they were in college and “all had this frustration with what we were doing.” Dave explained that they were all “going through the same thing at the same time,” as they were largely unsatisfied and restless while attaining their undergraduate degrees.

With this restlessness, the four decided to cross items off their list over summer vacation while filming it as a documentary. Segments were uploaded onto YouTube, and offers to make a television show ensued from various networks. Jonnie said the group turned down tempting offers because they felt they did not match their vision and only later accepted MTV’s offer because the network allowed them to act largely as their own producers.

While the group is enjoying their contract with MTV, one grievance Jonnie noted with the network was the labels that they recently gave to each group member. MTV labeled Ben “the agent,” Dave “the optimist,” Duncan “the pragmatist” and Jonnie “the think tank.” While he says they are somewhat accurate, Jonnie resents the labels because “we don’t want people to think MTV casted us.”

The originality of the group is clear when they help a stranger accomplish something on his or her bucket list in each episode. In this part, one group member will ask an unsuspecting person, “What do you want to do before you die?”  In recent episodes, the group has promoted awareness of depression, helped a band get signed by a record label, and united a father with his long-lost son. Each experience, Dave noted, “triggers a different emotion in each of us.”

One emotion that may be the common denominator in the outlandish goals they try to achieve is nervousness. In episode four, “#74: Help Deliver a Baby,” Dave said he was “terrified.” Jonnie said he was similarly terrified before “#50: Streak a Stadium and Get Away With It” and that Duncan was nervous before asking Taylor Swift out in “#59: Ask Out The Girl of Your Dreams.”

The group has acquired visible fame while accomplishing these extravagant goals. They are now sponsored by Pizza Hut, were nominated for VH1’s “Do Something Award” in the TV show category and recently shot a commercial with Orbit gum. The “Orbit lady,” Jonnie noted, is “like a Barbie” and is not actually British, but from Vegas.

In future episodes, the group hopes to run a marathon, party with a rock star and travel to space. The latter, Jonnie emphasized is “a huge, huge task for us.” In 10 years, Dave and Jonnie said they hope to still be entertaining their friends one way or another. Perhaps most important to future episodes in season three, according to Dave, is “to keep on talking to people” and “hearing peoples dreams and list items.”

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