The Real World is Real Again

If you liked The Real World back in its early years, you might consider checking out the current season. If you are like me you stopped watching this show years ago when the “characters” became helplessly one-dimensional and cared only about booze and hooking up. No matter what kind of projects or obstacles MTV threw at them, they seemed incapable of having anything to say about anything other than the aforementioned booze and hooking up. In the early seasons the characters had something more going on in their lives and their minds than just being on the show. Some held jobs, most had hobbies or some kind of interests or expertise that went beyond getting into the entertainment industry. At some point the characters or the producers decided that trashy and brainless was the way to go. There were so many low points over the past 20 years that it is hard to choose a nadir. I couldn’t pinpoint when it got bad, but it stayed bad for a long time.

How about the lame group that lived in Paris and were supposed to help update a travel guide but prefered the hottub in their suburban home over the glories of the City of Light? Or the Las Vegas cast who were so trashy they might have made even Vegas blush?

But this season in Brooklyn, it almost feels like it is 20 years ago. Yes, there is still much in the way of immaturity, drunkenness, and hormonal outbursts, but the cast overall seems to have much more nuance and humanity than the program has shown us in a long time. Trust me they are not all paragons of intellect and virtue and there is plenty of needless drama. But there is also a lot of heart. The season must be more than half way over and still none of the cast members have hooked up with each other (or with anyone for that matter). Cast members buck the stereotypes in many ways–like the gay guy who seems intent on being the insensitive guy of the group, while the straight Iraq war vet has a heart the size of a tank. Even the pranks pulled on the show and the reactions to them seem endearing compared to the booze fests of seasons gone by.

I am not saying this is a brilliant show, it never was, but if you liked the old Real World you just might like this new one. Apparently I am not the only one who feels this way, after writing post here, I came across this assessment of the current season.