Have you ever watched MTV’s The Real World? Even if you’ve never seen a single episode, I’m sure you’ve at least heard of the reality show. It’s currently on its 29th season, and has been running since 1992 (it’s the same age as me!) I’ll admit it. The Real World is one of my guilty pleasures. It’s a guilty pleasure because…well…have you SEEN the show?
The thing is, it hasn’t always been this way. It hasn’t always been a guilty pleasure. A few years ago, MTV had all the previous seasons online (except for the very first one). If you live in the States (MTV.com), I think you can still access them, but I can’t find them on MTV.ca anymore. Anyway, the point is, during this time, I decided to watch the second season. The Real World: Los Angeles (1993). I had been sick with mono for weeks, and I had been binge-watching more recent Real World seasons. One day, I was curious. I wanted to see what had changed since 1993.
It turns out, a lot has changed. And I don’t just mean people’s clothing choices.
I guess there was always the drama…I mean, it still was a reality TV show. I only watched half of the season, but I’d say in those 10 episodes there was about as much drama as half an episode of Real World: Ex-Plosion (the most current season, currently on episode 3). People on The Real World: LA acted like adults. Sure, they argued, and they had disagreements. Lots of disagreements. Many of these disagreements were about things like race and racism, sexuality, and differing world views. They generally resolved in a mature manner, without violence. Or drunken yelling matches.
You don’t really see that anymore because now, the cast members are pretty homogenous (‘m sure MTV would argue against this, though). They are pretty much ALL THE SAME. Yeah, there’s some black people and white people and gay and straight people and people from poorer backgrounds and people from richer backgrounds but pretty much everyone agrees with everyone and there are no differing viewpoints. They all like doing the same things and act the same way. This was not so in the early seasons. In LA, there was an 18 year old cast member who was a strong Christian and had never had sex. In Ex-Plosion, there are no Christians. There doesn’t seem to be anyone of any religious affiliation. There is no one who doesn’t like to go to clubs or party. There is no one who isn’t sleeping around. There is one “conservative” guy who has “only” slept with 3 people – and that’s a HUGE deal to everyone in the house.
In the more recent episodes, there is basically this routine for everyone: wake up, cause some drama, whine about an ex, go to Subway, go to the club/bar, get hammered, have sex, cause some drama, pass out.
In LA, people actually did things besides get drunk. They went to Los Angeles to actually experience the real world. They looked for jobs, and went to interviews, they looked for love (aside from the girl who was engaged!), they tried to figure out things like who they were, and what they really wanted to do with their lives. It was really a group of people experiencing what life outside their own bubbles was like for the first time.
But not now. No, instead, it’s a bunch of people doing what they did before they were on the show – have sex with lots of people and get drunk.
The Real World is trying SO hard right now to create a drama-filled show that they literally find the cast member’s ex-boyfriends and ex-girlfriends and 30 days into the show they bring them in to live with the cast. Oh. My. Goodness. Like there wasn’t enough drama already? Were people really not content with the amount of drama that was going on before this season that they truly felt the need to bring in?
If you’re curious, you can watch the trailer here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z9QGjfgsFaU
I really want to know why this is happening. Are we really telling the younger generation that the “real world” is having no responsibilities, drinking every night until you pass out, and sleeping with however many people you want…wherever you want? I know it’s not MTV’s responsibility to parent teens or teach them values. But when something like this is so popular, you have to wonder if anyone’s kids are being influenced by this. MTV’s viewer demographic is ages 12-34. Doesn’t really matter for the 34 year olds are watching this…but 12 years old?! Dang, I was still playing with beanie babies and toy horses at that age!
Why isn’t the Real World showing us what we saw in LA? Seriously, what’s happened to our young adults since then?