Happy 20th Anniversary To The Real World!

If you’re a child of the 90s (like me), you may have become hooked on reality television via MTV’s groundbreaking (at the time) show, The Real World. While the show has now become what television critic Andy Denhart calls a “frat party,” when it first aired it was a far more interesting look into the lives of people in their 20s. In Denhart’s Daily Beast article, he nails it when he points out that in the past, you had to have a life to get on the show, and now getting on the show is your life.

The Real World’s first few seasons made an attempt to be socially aware; who can forget Season 1’s Kevin Powell arguing in the street with the “fish out of water” cast mate Julie over race issues? That would literally be unheard of in the Real World that exists today unless major amounts of alcohol were involved. Denhart says the major turning point for the series was its first Las Vegas season, the one at the Palms that gave the world one of its biggest D-listers, Trishelle Cannatella, and I would agree. Here is where I just had to tune out, and where most people apparently started to tune in.


From that moment, The Real World was all about partying, all the time. They gave up the pretense of fake companies and fake jobs, and they certainly stopped trying to raise awareness like they did when they cast Pedro Zamora who was HIV positive. Its easy to see how the show’s predecessors, Laguna Beach, The Hills, Jersey Shore, etc just copied the formula: cast a bunch of kids no one had ever heard of who weren’t that interesting, film them in fake situations, and let their unspoken notoriety become the show’s new tension.

Whatever the motivation is now, the show continues, picking up new viewers, ostensibly young teens who want to think living in a tricked out mansion with literally nothing to do all day but drink and flirt with your hot housemates is a real thing to aspire to. Its upcoming season, number 27 was filmed in St Thomas and MTV has already started posting teasers to their Remote Control blog.

As for me, I thought we could take a walk down memory lane and share some of my favorite Real World moments, in no particular order:

1. The Dan vs Melissa show down in Real World Miami (so much drama due to stills from the movie Birdcage!)

2. On Real World Boston, one of the most depressing seasons due to the weather, Montana gets a text message ON HER PAGER that her boyfriend is breaking up with her. She calls him back and it’s not pretty. The roommates listen in and provide commentary:

3. Any Real World fan knows the below scene by heart. It’s what happened when cast member Irene of Real World Seattle left the house early and got herself slapped by cast mate Stephen.