Czechs and Slovaks under the same roof

Czecho-Slovak Vyvoleni, photo:

A popular Czech reality show came to grips with reality very unexpectedly indeed last Sunday when the cast and crew were evicted from their Prague villa at dawn by 40 security guards and dogs sent in by the landowner following a disagreement over rental payments.

At first it looked like a smart publicity stunt but it soon became clear that the contestants and crew had been left homeless. Within hours TV Prima had turned the crisis to its advantage. It accepting an offer from Slovak TV JOJ -broadcasting the very same reality show /called The Selected/ - for the Czech team to move to Slovakia for a unique merger. It was a dream situation for the publicity department and both stations milked it for all it was worth. Twelve years after the break up of the Czechoslovak federation, young Czechs and Slovaks together under one roof - watched by millions of viewers in both countries. How would they behave, would there be a language barrier? Unexpectedly the reality show acquired a whole new dimension. For some nostalgic Czechs and Slovaks who never wanted the break up to happen - it like watching a fairy tale that they knew would never come true: Czechs and Slovaks living together again. When the Czech team trouped into the Slovak villa unannounced, you could cut the tension with a knife. Then the Slovaks caught on and gave them a boisterous welcome. Outside the crowd was roaring its approval. The hosts were happy, the contestants seemed happy and even linguists are happy predicting that the reality show merger would help people in both countries brush up their language skills. Although before the break up Czechs and Slovaks had no trouble understanding each other - today many teenagers allegedly have problems. So for the next few weeks viewers in both countries will watch them sampling each other's dishes, struggling with unknown phrases, and finding out how much they have in common. But, given the strain of life in a fishbowl, we will doubtless also be treated to some dramatic bust-ups. And, after the happy reunion, viewers could soon find themselves watching a less-than-velvet divorce in action.