Volume 47, Number 15 - March 29, 2010


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Monique Dos Anjos
Monique Dos Anjos


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Picture of the boys from the buried life
Ben Nemtin, Dave Lingwood and brothers' Duncan and Jonnie Penn are on a journey.

Their bucket list

By Monique Dos Anjos

Four friends in their mid-twenties write a bucket list and plan on completing every last item—no matter how ludicrous it may seem.

The Buried Life is more than a TV show on MTV; it’s a project that Ben Nemtin, Dave Lingwood, and brothers’ Duncan and Jonnie Penn started in early 2006.

They managed to get No. 53, “start a television show,” crossed off when they were approached by MTV. As executive producers, MTV gave them freedom to stay true to their original goal.

“I think the list is emblematic,” Lingwood said. “It’s not about crossing off a list of 100 things to do before you die; it’s about going after what you want to in life and what you’re really passionate about.”

The list can range from the closest thing to teenage normalcy like “growing a moustache” or the most obtuse like “play ball with Obama.”

“We’ve always been about raising the bar,” Nemtin said. “When we found out we got the show we chose the biggest things; like playing basketball with Obama and sneaking into the Playboy Mansion.”

But the show’s series premier almost did not air when Playboy found out about the boys and their illegal rendezvous at the mansion. Playboy threatened to sue them for filming without their consent.

“We had to write a handwritten letter to Hugh Hefner [the creator of Playboy] to get it aired,” Nemtin said. Along with their letter to Hefner was a copy of the episode.

Inspired by a poem written by Matthew Arnold in 1852 called, The Buried Life, the debonair quartette use it as their foundation; the backbone for the start of the project.

“[The] Buried Life has become our lives in every sense of the word,” Nemtin said. “We’re finding our balance, but it’s a challenge.”

The guys spend at least 15 hours a day, seven days a week working, and struggling with the balance in their lives.

On their blog, they say that, “the question, ‘what do you want to do before you die?’ became our tool to ‘uncover’ goals and dreams.”

But the guys found themselves impacted most by the stories of young people they met along the way.

The boys of The Buried Life have helped strangers reach their goals of what they wanted to do before they die: a blind man riding a horse for the first time in 20 years; a young girl visiting her mother’s gravesite for the first time.

“We met so many young people doing such incredible things that we got a wakeup call,” Nemtin said.

They also encourage others to start lists of their own with friends.

“If I’m trying to conquer something I’m nervous to do,” Lingwood said, “I just look at the benefit of doing it and it always outweighs not having the regret of not doing it.”

The reaction from season one was positive from the general public, but it’s unclear if the boys of The Buried Life will be granted a second season on MTV. But what is clear is that there future still looks bright. The boys plan to hit the road again this summer to continue their mission.


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