It's easy to hate Anthony Crapella. He's loud and sarcastic and has a penchant for dropping his pants and streaking through crowds.
"My goal is to get famous before I'm famous," he boasts.
At first glance, the unemployed 25-year-old Coral Springs party bro looks like he just stepped off the assembly line of a guido factory. Gauges in each ear, an off-centered chin piercing, and shaved head accent his Italian complexion.
"You either love me or hate me," Crapella says. "I'm a good character. I'm a good face for reality TV."
And that's his ambition.
Earlier this month, Crapella uploaded a nine-minute audition tape that he hopes will land him a spot on the upcoming 28th season of MTV's Real World. In the video, Crapella is at once revolting and endearing. He shows off his fridge that's stocked with a few slices of cheese, some milk, condiments, and a dozen bottles of Yuengling. Then, true to form, he drops trou and strides through a dark parking lot wearing only a Dwyane Wade jersey to ring in the Miami Heat's 2012 championship.
But beyond these antics is a worried and ambitious byproduct of middle-class dysfunction. "My life has been all ups and downs," he says. "MTV might be my last shot, honestly."
For Crapella, a spot on the iconic reality show is a ticket out of a contorted life that's dealt him some severe blows. His dad was sentenced to 15 years for racketeering when Crapella was just a kid. Asked if Italian heritage and a dad in the clink for racketeering means Mafia, Crapella laughs, then says, "That's a word the government made up to make Italians look bad."
After making it out of high school in Plantation, Crapella went to a community college in Gainesville, where he studied graphic design and advertising. But there was a problem: He arrived when the Gators won both the NCAA basketball tournament and the BCS National Championship football game in a single year.
"I don't even remember those two years," he says. "I would wake up and there was either weed sitting there or beers sitting there. I did so much crazy shit up there, way more than just getting naked and streaking."
Unsurprisingly, Crapella ran out of money and never finished his coursework. He moved back to Broward and started coaching lacrosse at the University School, a Fort Lauderdale prep school associated with Nova Southeastern. There he fell in love with a senior on the girl's team. He proposed, she said yes, and he moved to Tampa to be near his fiancée when she went to college.
"Then I found out she was going my behind my back," he says. "She got pregnant with that guy and then married him."
With a broken heart and empty wallet, Crapella had little choice but to head to Maine and move in with his mom and her new husband. Quaint New England was a far cry from the beaches and nightclubs he was accustomed to. "I got off the train in flip-flops and there was two feet of snow," he says. "I was like, 'This is wild.'"
Maine would get much wilder. Soon after arriving, Crapella and his stepdad got into a verbal altercation. The stepdad then allegedly took a baseball bat and bashed in Crapella's head. For safe measure, the stepdad also allegedly hit Crapella's mom in the face with the bat. Cops reported finding a trail of blood in the snow. Crapella won't comment because the case is still going through the courts.
Bruised and battered, Crapella and his mom packed up and moved back to Florida. Now he lives in a two-bedroom townhouse with his ex-con father, mother, and grandmother that he admits sounds like a far more interesting reality show than the Real World. "It's wild, dude," he says. "We bump heads a little bit, but it's family, so we stick it out."
The MTV show is currently accepting applications with the only stipulation being that those interested must be older than 20 and "appear to be between the ages of 20 and 24."
Crapella fancies himself a modern-day, South Florida version of Puck, a loudmouth boozehound who brought plenty of controversy to a show that has been stagnate for some years. To increase the odds of getting cast, Crapella has been hard at working making himself into a human meme while keeping regrets at bay.
"You'll never catch me embarrassed," he says. "And there's no such thing as a hangover."
He's confident that MTV will have no option but to cast him. And he says that's all he needs to make his mark on the world.
"I want to put Broward County on the map," he says. "The Real World is just a stepping stone. Once I get there, it's going to be nonstop. And you've had to pleasure of talking to me before I get big."
If you like this story, consider signing up for our email newsletters.
SHOW ME HOW
You have successfully signed up for your selected newsletter(s) - please keep an eye on your mailbox, we're movin' in!