A popular MTV reality show played loose with the facts in its portrayal of San Luis Obispo and the city’s Police Department, local law enforcement officials said Thursday.
“The Buried Life” tells the story of four young men determined to complete their comprehensive list of “100 Things to do Before You Die.” The show’s first season finale aired Monday.
“Throw the Most Badass Party” — No. 85 on the list — brought the group and their film crew to a ranch on O’Connor Way in an unincorporated area near Cuesta College in September.
But the plot takes a controversial turn when the men’s car is pulled over, and they appear to be pestered by a San Luis Obispo police officer.
San Luis Obispo Police Chief Deb Linden said the traffic stop did not take place in the city, as it appeared on the show. The officers who participated in the traffic stop were from the Los Angeles Police Department, she said, not the San Luis Obispo police.
There are differences between the officers in the show and SLOPD. The uniforms, gear and patrol car, which carried the LAPD motto, “To Protect and To Serve,” make it obvious they were not local, Linden said.
San Luis Obispo police cruisers do not carry that motto. In addition, Linden said, the uniforms and patches the officers were wearing are unique to the LAPD.
“The footage was designed to mislead the viewers into thinking these people rolled into town and were harassed by San Luis Obispo Police Department,” Linden said. “Their traffic stop had nothing to do with their efforts to throw a party in our city.”
Karlyn Nelson, a spokeswoman for Reveille Productions, “The Buried Life’s” Los Angeles-based production company, did not respond when asked where the footage was filmed.
The officers’ faces and parts of their vehicles were blurred, Nelson claimed, because the officers did not sign the appropriate waivers.
Rob Bryn, spokesman for the San Luis Obispo County Sheriff’s Department, watched the episode and said he agrees with Linden that officers in the traffic stop were from the LAPD.
In another segment, members of the Sheriff’s Department are shown driving to the party with sirens blaring, but no emergency rotating lights.
Linden and Bryn said sirens on a patrol car cannot be activated unless the emergency lights are also activated. The audible sirens were not authentic, but were added to the footage, they said.
The deputies did respond to the party, Bryn said, but as a pre-emptive measure.