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Thursday, August 23, 2012

Will The Real South Boston Please Stand Up?

A beach on Castle Island in the Boston Harbor. (AP)(Robin Young/Here & Now)A view of the South Boston neighborhood, near Boston's airport. (Squidoo)The Castle Island fish pier. (Flickr/leslee_atFlickr)Sullivan's, aka "Sullie's," is an iconic Castle Island food shack. "We will close if there are more seagulls than cars in the parking lot," their website reads. (Chris Ballman/Here & Now)Castle Island. (Robin Young/Here & Now)Castle Island in the Boston Harbor.(Flickr/Jeremy Brooks)Broadway in South Boston in 1965. (AP)South Boston. (Flickr)Castle Island in the Boston Harbor. (AP)(Flickr/pierre lascott)(Robin Young/Here & Now)

Ever since the 1997 film “Good Will Hunting,” the neighborhood of South Boston has been a favorite choice for Hollywood producers to set films with accents and attitudes. Think “Mystic River,” “Gone, Baby, Gone” and “The Departed.”

Now TV reality shows are hoping to capitalize on the “Southie” buzz. Last year’s arrest of South Boston native son and reputed mobster James “Whitey” Bulger only fueled the race to be the first show to capture “the real Southie” and its characters. There are now as many as five companies developing programs.

One of them, 495 Productions, is responsible for the Jersey Shore reality show and that has many South Boston residents worrying that their neighborhood will be portrayed in a less-than-flattering light. As lifelong South Boston resident Maureen Dahill tells Here & Now‘s Robin Young, “You just knew it was not going to be good. It was going to be very cheesy….and we just don’t want our neighborhood exploited.”


  • Maureen Dahill, co-founder of the website Caught in Southie
  • Peter Gailunas, a Boston firefighter, husband of Maureen Dahill

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Robin Young and Jeremy Hobson host Here & Now, a live two-hour production of NPR and WBUR Boston.

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