About 10 years ago The Real World, began as an experimental television show that showed “the story (the true story) of seven strangers picked to live in a house and have their lives taped, to find out what happens when people stop being polite and start getting real.” The real world.
It grew into a cultural phenomenon. It was a brilliant display of diversity and viewers who tuned in were exposed to a variety of issues. L.A.’s Tami got an abortion; San Francisco’s Pedro was a gay Cuban man living with AIDS; Seattle’s Irene suffered from Lyme disease; and Hawaii’s Ruthie and L.A.’s Dominic were both alcoholics.
The show was a learning experience because there was someone for every viewer to identify with, whether they admired, despised, laughed at them or were offended by them. The people were charismatic and intelligent and multi-dimensional. And they were real.
But this season, which MTV advertised as “the lost season,” should be called “the last season.” This time seven people are sent to live in a Las Vegas casino to play out trashy roles. I’m convinced that this is MTV’s master plan to dumb- down an entire generation of insecure, impressionable youth.
MTV feeds nothing but sex. The only thing these seven people talk about is sex. They look for someone to have sex with, they consider having sex with one another, and then they have sex with each other. There’s no character development, just sex. Maybe the characters do have depth but all MTV allows us to see is their ass.
While Seattle’s Janet exudes sex appeal, she also has intelligence and layers of personal conflicts that many viewers could relate to- she has depth.
But no one in the Las Vegas crew is revealed to have complexities where they can examine them and deal with them. Issues are raised but never resolved unlike what a “real” person must do living a real life.
The Real World has become a warped zone with a warped sense of reality that helps to blind the youth to the world. Sniper kills unsuspecting citizens; United States threatens attack on Iraq; a huge oil tanker cracks in half and sinks to bottom of Atlantic Ocean in what some say is the worst oil spill in history. Such world events that will affect the world’s future steadily unfold while these seven people throw parties in casinos.
The show says to viewers “this is reality” but doesn’t encourage viewers to think critically about the past, sensibly about the present or actively about the future. This is semantically wrong and deceptive.
The show has strayed so far from what it originally was that it shouldn’t be allowed to keep its name.