UF students react to Lochte's reality show

In this Feb. 9, 2013 file photo, Olympic swimmer Ryan Lochte arrives at The 3rd Annual Cartoon Network's "Hall of Game" Awards in Los Angeles. His new reality show draws mixed reactions in Gainesville. (Photo by Richard Shotwell/Invision/AP)

Published: Friday, April 26, 2013 at 1:08 p.m.
Last Modified: Friday, April 26, 2013 at 1:08 p.m.

Balls and 101 Cantina made their television debut Sunday night when Ryan Lochte's new reality show, “What Would Ryan Lochte Do?” aired on E!.

While reactions were mixed, those who watched the show were more interested in seeing how Gainesville was portrayed and less interested in seeing Lochte in a Speedo.

Pedro Macellaro, a 21-year-old industrial and systems engineering senior, said he had never watched E! before, but his friends were talking about the Lochte show and he decided to tune in. Macellaro said he liked the new reality show because he got to see the bar he frequents on the weekends. To Macellaro, the show is a great way to get Gainesville on the map.

“If anything,” he said, “it'll bring more people to town.”

Several University of Florida students who were asked if they had watched the premiere replied they haven't, but one still had an opinion.

Yaissy Solis, a junior journalism major, said she doesn't plan on ever watching “What Would Ryan Lochte Do?” She said she thinks Lochte is arrogant and gives UF a bad name. Although the show will bring fame to Gainesville, she said, it wouldn't be the good kind.

During and after the show's debut, social media like Twitter and Facebook blew up with comments and responses about the show. On Twitter, the hashtag “wwrld” was used to bookmark both positive and negative Tweets.

Carter Leathers (@CarterLeathers) wrote: “Putting this show on mute is actually an improvement. #wwrld.”

Ashley Morrow (@Babyd1584) said: “I guess I should've looked up Ryan's credentials. Sorry, I had NO IDEA that boy went to college. Sorry #WWRLD.”

Brienne Friedman (@BrienneFriedman) wrote: “#WWRLD was a great on-demand choice. @ryanlochte you're one lucky guy to have sisters like you do! But seriously who doesn't like sushi??”

Jamie Wilson, a journalism senior graduating in May, tweeted a photo to Lochte of herself and her roommates at their viewing party. Even though he didn't respond or retweet her, Wilson said she still enjoyed “What Would Ryan Lochte Do?” Wilson said she has been a Lochte fan since the 2012 Olympics.

When she heard about the reality show he was starring in, she said she was excited to see the Gainesville angle.

She added it's a really good source of mindless television for college students who are swamped with school, jobs and internships.

“He's legitimately an airhead, but it wasn't as bad as I thought it would be,” she said.

Wilson said she liked seeing him interacting with his family. She doesn't agree the show will make UF look stupid because to her it's not a representation of the entire school.

“You either embrace him,” she said, “or repel him.”

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