This week, MTV will air the 28th season of The Real World. This season is being billed as “the realest Real World yet.” The sneak peaks shows us seven gorgeous 20-somethings yelling, drinking, throwing things, making out, threatening each other and their poor dog watching on. To prepare their audience, MTV aired a weekend-long marathon of older seasons, called “Retro MTV.” While I originally thought it was going to be five days long, it was three seasons over the span of three days. The choice of seasons caused it to be only halfway retro.
The first season they aired was the first season, New York. The guinea pigs of a the first true reality show, any 30-something can tell you about Julie thinking Heather B. was a drug dealer, Eric Nies before The Grind, Andre and his band, Norman and his art, Kevin and his political/racial rants and Becky, who we would later find out didn’t hesitate to break the fourth wall (and was the “artsy” one of the group). Looking back on that season, which originally aired in 1992, it truly defined the real world. Seven strangers were picked to live in an apartment in New York while they continued to live their every day lives. Julie pursued her dancing passion, Heather B continued on with her music career, Eric modeled, Norman tried to sell his art, Andre booked gigs his roommates sometimes attended … all things they did before the cameras came along.
I was so excited this marathon was going to happen. Season two was Los Angeles, where we met Tami, who is now even more famous for being on Basketball Wives. Back then, she turned heads for having an abortion and wiring her jaw shut. She was as controversial as they came. She was the complete opposite of Jon, the young country virgin who wore a cowboy hat everywhere. Los Angeles lost two roommates – one due to violent actions and was asked to leave, the other to marriage who left by choice (how can we forget the first Irene, the awesome police officer?). But MTV decided not to air this season during the “marathon” and went straight to Las Vegas (version 1.0). I was disappointed in this decision and it reminded me how much The Real World has turned into The “Real World” over the years.
I didn’t watch a minute of Las Vegas. Instead, I looked at what season would be next. To my delight, and the delight of many fans, MTV chose to air the most riveting season, one that is still talked about to this day … San Francisco.The episode one description reads as follows: “A courier, med student, cartoonist, singer, AIDS educator, student.” As a refresher, they are Puck, Pam, Judd, Mohammed, Pedro, Cory and Rachel (they must have left off student number two). Pedro, now famous for spreading the word about HIV and AIDS awareness, left his mark in this world. Thanks to the power of social media, Judd live tweeted during the marathon and answered nearly every question asked (How is Sean? Did you really use the payphone? And as hard as it was for him, he went through all of the emotions of Pedro’s death again..). After Pedro’s death, the cartoonist went on to publish a book about his friend’s life and marry his former roommate, Pam. His insight during the marathon – and interaction with the fans – was a great reminder about how special the first casts were. Then very close friends, Judd planned a big surprise for Pam’s birthday, filled with a “This is Your Life” game and cheesy tuxedo, Rachel’s “bad girl” moment was piercing her belly button (she would later go on to marry Real World Boston cast member Sean Duffy, have six kids and lose out to Elizabeth Hasselback for a seat on The View), Cory was looking for her place in the world (which apparently was in coffee shops) and then there was Puck. All I have to say is .. peanut butter. If you watched the season, you know what I’m talking about.
While watching San Francisco, which was as real as it could be, the previews for the new season played. There’s Nia, wearing nothing but her underwear, threatening to beat her roommate with a lamp; two roommates having sex in the bathroom of their job on the first day; drinking, fighting, sex; Nia’s audition tape (it’s so inappropriate I won’t even describe it). This is being plugged as the realest Real World? No way. Take a look back at San Francisco. Or even London. Maybe Hawaii (well, maybe that’s stretching it).
Twenty-seven seasons. And I can’t name a single person from the last five, maybe even 10 casts. And why would I want to? I miss the days of real issues. When we didn’t know who would walk in the house next. While the roommates still don’t get to keep their cell phones or have a television (they stopped putting a TV in the house after season four when there were hours spent just watching TV), the times have changed so much that the issues from the ’90s are different than today. Hot topics earlier in the show’s run included sexuality, religion, politics, education. Now? It’s topics like body odor, being quiet during sex, who is cleaning up the kitchen (or rather, not cleaning it…) and cheating on the person they left back home.
Maybe it’s just me, but if The Real World can’t be real, it should go off the air. Just like The Hills, Jersey Shore and other shows that finally acknowledged they had gone on too long, I think The Real World needs to do the same. Maybe they’re waiting to hit 30, have a big huge reunion special and call it quits (that actually would be cool).
Those are my two cents. What are yours? Leave them in the comments below or join me on Twitter at @FarrahWritesTV.
FK – Sr. Editor