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The Real World

In 1992, MTV released a modest show that soon created a new genre of television.  The Real World was a show that straddled the line between documentary and soap opera that is widely considered as one of the first reality TV shows on the air.  A show that combined seven diverse young people from all over the country and placing them in an apartment in some of the most desirable cities in the world.  Spanning months of interaction, The Real World definitely spawned an endless array of imitative reality TV shows like Big Brother and The Loft.

The Real World has been so successful because it has a simple but effective formula: put together seven sexy strangers in a hot locale where they are free from any parental authority and videotape their inevitable antics.  The Real World has produced some of reality TV’s funniest and most poignant moments.  Tensions abound between strangers, fights break out between contestants, and lessons are learned when each contestant tapes a confessional.  Although the show may seem a bit contrived, it is always interesting to see real people grow over the course of a television series.

Through its fifteen editions, The Real World has perfected its formula for entertainment.  Although there is definitely an element of real world living in that these young individuals are confronting events and parts of the world that they have never had to before, there is also definitely a contrived feel to The Real World.  The contestants on The Real World often act in extreme ways and the people in charge of casting this show seem to take great pains of coming up with disparate people that are sure to clash while living together.  This means that there are episodes of The Real World that will make viewers groan, however, this doesn’t mean that the show isn’t entertaining.  Considering that it’s been on the air for over a decade, The Real World seems like it will be a show that will be on the air for many more years.

One of the most interesting things about The Real World are its locations.  The current Real World is taking place in Philadelphia but previous editions of The Real World have taken place in steamy Las Vegas, tropical paradise Hawaii, big city New York City, and of course world cities like London and Paris.

With its cast of colorful characters, depictions of roommates from hell, incisive discussions about issues ranging from the nature of discrimination to whether Biggie is better than Tupac, The Real World always feels like it’s a cutting edge look of what is going on in youth culture.  Many of the participants on the show hope to use the brief fame of reality TV to launch entertainment careers and The Real World has introduced many eccentric personalities to the world, including the notorious Puck from The Real World: San Francisco.

Like the Matchbox 20 song or the Peter Gabriel song, The Real World is part of the cultural landscape.