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Mary McNamara: The surprising wisdom of 'The Real Bros of Simi Valley'

Mary McNamara, Los Angeles Times on

Published in Entertainment News

"It was not intended to be shots at Simi," Tatro says during a brief break on set. "It was shots at deep Valley bros. My aunt lives in Simi," he adds, "and she hit me up after the show came out, saying, 'What the hell, man?' "

"We should have the wrap party in Simi," says Pierce.

"Except no one would go," Tatro answers with a laugh. "They'd be like, 'Send me the uploads and I'll post.' "

Simi Valley was chosen more for its sound than its actual location. Tatro and Pierce, who had found success on YouTube with the sketch comedy channel LifeAccordingToJimmy, wanted to send up the "Real Housewives" franchise with a show based in the Valley, where Pierce grew up and Tatro attended private high school.

"We thought about Santa Clarita or Valencia," says Pierce, "but Simi just sounded funnier."

Both are quick to acknowledge that they "know these guys," although -- their often "Real Bros" cadence and vocabulary choices aside -- they definitely are not those guys.

 

Or maybe they are those guys, if Xander had decided he wanted to be a filmmaker rather than a mechanic celebrating his 300th rim installation.

Although some members of the crew are older than the show's creators and stars, many are not. At the Studio City shoot, the air smells strongly of spring rolls and vaguely of weed, and the chairs around the monitors are filled with young women and men who fit into the same Vans-wearing, smartphone-thumbing, Instagram-obsessed demo as the show's characters.

All the characters have actual Instagram accounts, by the way, though they are run by Tatro and his staff to increase audience engagement with the show.

And therein lies the difference, a disparity between image and reality that often confounds older folks trying to make sense of millennials and Gen Zs -- they may look and even sound like slackers, but many are just as hardworking and ambitious as their counterparts in previous generations.

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