The lure of The Real World

I used to love The Real World. There, I said it. I mean, everyone should know that I love documentaries, and when RW first aired that’s what it was. A production crew documenting roommates lives. Of course it was a precursor of reality television, but it was still a little bit real, wasn’t it?

By the time I started watching (Hawaii, 1999) it still seemed like the people on the show were “real” even if the production was semi-staged or whatever you want to call it. I was talking to my friend, Jamieson, last night about RW and we both enjoy watching it, but say that some of the people are just too good-looking, perfect, or an archetypal MTV-type personality. He’s a little older than me and watched seasons before Hawaii and asked what happened to average people.

Since that season I watched there has been 16 more. I haven’t watched every one. Some seasons I couldn’t even tell you who was on it. There are some seasons I didn’t even know existed. What baffles me is that the 26th season is premiering later this year. So why do people want to be on it? To become famous? I’m sure that’s it. It seems so easy: get on reality television, be a grade-A personality, have people fall in love with you.

But is it worth it? The Village Voice just obtained a copy of an MTV contract that makes me wonder if any of it is. I always wanted to be on RW because, well, I love documentaries and would love to be the subject of one. However, it seems like you’re signing on to become a character of yourself. An actor imitating the real you.

Everything I’m saying has been said time and time again. It’s not news that RW is a far stretch from being anything like the real world. But isn’t there still something alluring about it? I love seeing people my age act like idiots. Now that I am over 21, I watch episodes and think, “Hey, I did that while I was drunk.” Making it all seem a little more realistic than what I thought life would be like in my twenties.

As I’ve been typing this I realize that a major pull for me watching RW is to meet the people who are going to be on the Challenge. Which last night I found out there have been countless seasons that produce ridiculous moments. I mean, what’s better than taking a group of reality stars that all know each other, and pitting them against each other? It’s great fun seeing people in physical competition as well as seeing there personal interactions. It’s like Survivor with booze and sex.

And what could be better worse television than pretty people drinking and sleeping together? I guess it’s the case of bad being good, eh?

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