If you’ve been following the first five episodes of Fox’s hit reality-TV show “Love Cruise: Maiden Voyage,” the name Greg Kendig might ring a bell. As one of the 16 original “Love Cruise” passengers, Greg occupied the niche of resident stud for his three-episode stint on the show. Yet, by the end of the third episode, ease with the ladies backfired, leading the female contingent to join forces and vote him off of the ship.
Now back at home in Delaware almost a year after filming, Greg spoke to scene reporter Elizabeth Gunnison about his experiences on the show.
scene: So I watched “Love Cruise” last night for the first time.
Greg Kendig: The first time???
scene: Yeah! I knew the season had started — it had a lot of hype on Fox — but last night was the first episode I got around to seeing. I know that there are two goals. One is more explicit: to kick other passengers of the boat and wind up getting the prize. The other is to “find love” with one of the eight members of the opposite sex that Fox shacks you up with. What was your personal impetus for wanting to go on the show to begin with?
GK: Ahh — at first you don’t think about those things. At first it was just a great opportunity to go on a monthlong vacation in paradise. I didn’t really think upfront about those things. In fact I didn’t even find out I was on the show until five days before I left. So it was sort of “Find out, don’t have any time to think about it, pack your bags, and get on a plane for Grenada.” The whole thing was a whirlwind, I didn’t have time to think about anything before I left.
scene: So the whole thing just kind of took off with you in tow? Was it something you really wanted?
GK: It wasn’t anything I lost sleep over or anything. They just kept calling and I was like “All right, I’ll talk to ya.”
scene: And did it end up being enjoyable? I know most of us would kind of modify our behavior with cameras around. Did that noticeably, either in you or other people, change the dynamic of things?
GK: Absolutely, how could it not? Every emotion we have is amplified exponentially. And of course you’re going to change your behavior. For one, you are going to self-monitor more than you normally would in a given environment. It’s unbelievable, I can’t even describe it — the stress you are put under, you never really acclimate yourself to it. You can’t.
scene: I know that the premise of the show is that it is “unscripted” — but did the production staff interfere in any way, maybe encouraging certain relationships or stimulating conflict?
GK: It wasn’t scripted by any means. They didn’t get involved in anything. In fact, you couldn’t talk to them at all — they wouldn’t talk to you. If they were standing with their face to the camera and you looked at them and said anything, they would not acknowledge you — just give you a blank stare. There was a good example when the guy in “Survivor” fell into the fire. After this I realize what he was going through. The cameramen were standing right next to him and, people say, “Why didn’t anyone help him?” The production company came back and said, “Well if the crew had interfered, they would have been fired.” They’re not there to interact with the people. You have to sign a waiver concerning the environment you’re going to be put into so you can’t act against the production company. They know it’s risky to you.
scene: So that in itself must be odd, being surrounded by people who won’t talk to you.
GK: Yeah, it’s unbelievable. It’s not scripted, but I will tell you, they cast certain people to fit certain roles. Everyone in the cast itself had a very strong personality, one, but they also had a certain role that they filled. Whether it be physical humor — there were the comedians — or alpha males, good-looking guys, whatever, as with the girls too. Fox didn’t write it per se, but they did cast certain people. You had to go through psychological evaluations, and physicals — it’s unbelievable. They knew what was going on.
scene: Have you watched any of the show?
GK: Of course!
scene: Does it seem to reflect what was actually going on or is it edited in such a way that some aspects are skewed?
GK: For the most part it is real life. There are some things that are embellished or edited in such a way that makes you think it was different than it was. Like, certain peoples’ personalities are not what they seem to be. This isn’t just my personal opinion; they edited certain things in such a way as to leave out prominent events that would make viewers probably form different opinions about certain characters.
scene: So you don’t feel like there were any potentially lasting relationships you missed out on just because of the circumstances of the show? Were there any girls that under different circumstances you think you would have been faithful to?
GK: We’re all friends still; we keep in contact every day. There are a few people who no one wants to talk to, but that has nothing to do with the show. These are people you wouldn’t want in your life under any circumstances. I’ve let bygones be bygones, but there are certain people I’d never choose as friends. But the rest of us are really close.
scene: I guess going through circumstances like this together would really bond you. As you were saying, it has continued to have an effect on your life even a year after shooting.
GK: Oh, absolutely. It’s amazing what I’m going through. “Love Cruise” is just airing now, so it’s all heightened right now. I am doing TV interviews, radio — everyone recognizes me on the street.
scene: So it’s worth all of this?
GK: Absolutely. I am sure there are a lot of other people there who I’m sure don’t think that way. There is one girl — Lisa — and I don’t know how she’s going to go on from here. I don’t know how she’ll carry herself professionally. She has come off as — well no one likes her — she’s come across as an insecure crybaby, and I don’t know how that will affect her professionally.
scene: Would you ever think about moving into the entertainment industry? Have you gotten offers?
GK: Yeah, I have gotten some interests. I’m not sure what I want to do with it. Not a lot of people who do these shows go into them with a real career or strong educational background — a lot are bartenders or aspiring writers — so they don’t really have anything to lose. If I would take that step, the success rate is so minimal that it’s not really worth it to me. But I am considering doing some things in addition to the job I already have. I am considering modeling, but not acting. People do approach me with print ads.
scene: Do you have any last comments about the show? Anything I haven’t touched on?
GK: I think everyone should know that, while this is reality TV, it’s not really real. They are getting people involved in something like this — remember this is the entertainment industry, this is what they do — they get people who are larger than life or that fit these certain characters. So it’s not written, but essentially it is. Viewers really need to know that a lot of people they are seeing are not who they seem to be. These are not role models.