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 Posted: Tue Feb 16th, 2021 12:08 am
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KGB

 

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tamalie wrote: The first season of "The Real World" was groundbreaking because little to nothing like it had ever aired before. This was a huge key to its success because the roommates didn't go in with preconceived notions about how they should behave while the producers and directors didn't as blatantly attempt to engineer storylines as would later be the case.

The second season in Los Angeles was pretty good too. However, some of the problems that would later undermine the show started to seep in. One of the roommates, Beth S, turned out to not be who she claimed to be. She put herself over as midwestern college grad from Ohio and publicity from just before the season premiere, at which time the show was still shooting, described her as such. There was no internet as we know it in 1993 and background checking people was harder. If you go back and watch this season, you'll notice that references to her background disappear at a certain point. One of the behind the scenes people noticed some inconsistencies about her backstory when she discussed it and also that she was playing to the cameras in a way that went beyond what they'd consider normal in such circumstances. Beth S was taken aside, asked what was going on, and copped to being an actress who essentially came up with the midwestern gal gimmick because it improved her chances of being selected for the show. They didn't remove her from the show and instead had her stop working the gimmick while not actually stating that she wasn't what she claimed to be.

The San Francisco season was by far the most noteworthy season. Puck was the first real villain on the show. Roommates had acted annoying and self centered, but he was the first guy who seemed to be openly hostile towards the others when it came to his selfish behavior. It definitely influenced the producers when it came to them deliberately looking for shit stirrers in his wake. The other roommates have said that the editing made Puck look not nearly as bad as he actually was and that there was an effort to show him in a more positive light to viewers than they experienced while living with him because he had some potential for other MTV projects that required him to be somewhat likeable. I'd buy that Pedro Zamora was put over too strongly and that if not at that time then later, had he lived, he'd have admitted to that. Him living with AIDS but looking relatively alright while they were taping from February to June of 1994 only to die the night after the season finale aired in November was pretty heavy for the time and got the show a ton of publicity.

The eventful San Francisco season and the dreadfully dull London season that followed killed the show to a great extent. The San Francisco season was a hard act to follow, but MTV and the producers seemed to cast the London season in an attempt to deliberately create more fireworks. Instead, the roommates largely got along and when faced with personality conflicts and disagreements seemed to legitimately try to work things out in a mature manner. Meanwhile they couldn't get work visas for the American roommates who had to largely sit around doing nothing which wasn't good for storyline purposes. In the aftermath, big changes were made for the Miami season which stuck with the show long term. Notably, the roommates from then on all had jobs at the same workplace in an effort to generate more storyline and more conflict. However, the lack of the roommates chasing different pursuits robbed the show of some uniqueness because it made everyone too much the same. This also took an already contrived show and made it unbearably more so. The other issue is the effort by the producers to select much more obviously vapid personalities as well as more easily irritated people, not to mention people after TV careers who played to the cameras, became more deliberate and pronounced. The show went on for a long time afterwards, but was never as good.


Interesting information.  Thanks.  Like many have said, the game was over when the lightbulb went off for all the participants that they could try and parlay the Real World gig into something else by acting in a way that would garner attention, i.e. like assholes.  I don't know if Puck was actually doing that, I think he may have actually been an asshole, but he also had a strong bullshit meter, which made him stick out like a sore thumb in a house full of poseurs.   



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 Posted: Tue Feb 16th, 2021 01:11 am
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srossi
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I think the one thing missing from tamalie’s synopsis is the most obvious. In the first season, no one was hot. I mean even the virgin that we call hot because she was cute in a real life sorta way would have her audition tape thrown into a garbage can upon first glance if that was sent in to “Big Brother” at any point in the past 10 years. They really chose normal people who looked normal and acted normal because they didn’t know any better. It’s a bit odd because hot chicks have always sold, it’s not like MTV didn’t make millions off of them by that point already. But they really didn’t cast any and this made it seem much more real. 

Now the “reality” experience is completely ruined by the fact that almost no one really looks like this in real life, and they’re mostly all hostesses or some such job that requires the same look and same personality, almost all under 27, almost all hoping in vain to become models or actresses, something that actually happened 20+ years ago for a few but which never happens anymore because the novelty of reality TV stars has worn off. Of course there use the usual exceptions which are now a trope that’s been invented by previous reality TV series. The guys can be a little older and sometimes there can be the “dad” of the group who’s 40, there can be one geeky girl or geeky guy who’s still fairly cute, you need your gay or lesbian character, you need someone with a secret that isn’t all that big a bombshell (battling a mental disorder or some such thing that will be revealed later), there’s always a sassy black girl but she’s “white guy approved” meaning she still speaks and looks like she went to a boarding school except when she puts the ghetto act on. 

The first season having such completely unattractive people on TV is actually jarring to watch in retrospect, because they look uglier just based on the fact that they are on TV.



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 Posted: Tue Feb 16th, 2021 01:53 am
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I remember Real World came out when I was in high school, and at first I was annoyed because I used to watch MTV a lot mainly for music videos and the show made me go "what's the point of this?" Gotta admit, though, I got hooked on it...at least for the first couple of seasons. After a while I just lost interest.

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 Posted: Thu Feb 18th, 2021 06:40 pm
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tamalie
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It's a stretch to say this, but The Real World could be blamed for inadvertently helping along an already brewing situation that led to the deaths of 2Pac and Notorious BIG. Kevin Powell was the black roommate from the first season who was pursuing a writing career. He's actually done quite well for himself. The show undeniably helped his career along because the profile it gave him led to Vibe Magazine giving him a job not long after the first season concluded.

In that capacity, Powell interviewed 2Pac while the latter was incarcerated at Riker's Island while awaiting transfer to a state prison to sever a 1.5 to 4.5 year sentence for a sexual assault conviction. Near the end of his trial, 2Pac was shot and wounded outside of an NYC recording studio in what appeared at the time to have been a robbery that got out of hand when 2Pac resisted, but has generally been accepted since then as an attempted hit set up by an NYC underground figure named James "Jimmy Henchman" Rosemond who had been friends with 2Pac until a bad falling out.

2Pac had been invited to the studio by the Bad Boy crew and, to his grave, insisted that they knew he was going to be set up and didn't warn him. The interview with Powell was essentially 2Pac's declaration of war against Biggie, Puffy, and Bad Boy. I think a lot of the anger he felt towards Rosemond went towards them because the man behind his shooting wasn't someone he could call out, although he eventually did later to an extent. 

2Pac likely would have started this beef anyway, but this interview put the situation in the public eye and was so incendiary that things heated up to a greater degree than might have been the case in other circumstances. Suge Knight eventually paid the bail 2Pac was granted while appealing, but couldn't meet on his own, in exchange for the latter joining Death Row, further escalating things until the two rap stars were dead.

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 Posted: Thu Feb 18th, 2021 07:16 pm
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Interesting question that came up...


Not counting Road Rules (I think that Kit Hoover chick has a long running gig on Access Hollywood or Extra or one of those shows), who has gone on to the most success after the show? Give me a top three.


1- Miz?

2- Judd Winnick (writer, went on to work on DC Comics' Green Lantern)

3- ?



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 Posted: Thu Feb 18th, 2021 11:20 pm
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srossi
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Blazer wrote: Interesting question that came up...


Not counting Road Rules (I think that Kit Hoover chick has a long running gig on Access Hollywood or Extra or one of those shows), who has gone on to the most success after the show? Give me a top three.


1- Miz?

2- Judd Winnick (writer, went on to work on DC Comics' Green Lantern)

3- ?

Jamie Chung got quite a few acting gigs and is generally considered the most successful Real World cast member. Miz would have to be 2nd, and I bet he’s made a lot more money even if he isn’t as mainstream. I’d be hard-pressed to name a 3rd. 



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 Posted: Fri Feb 19th, 2021 12:29 am
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Blazer wrote: Interesting question that came up...


Not counting Road Rules (I think that Kit Hoover chick has a long running gig on Access Hollywood or Extra or one of those shows), who has gone on to the most success after the show? Give me a top three.


1- Miz?

2- Judd Winnick (writer, went on to work on DC Comics' Green Lantern)

3- ?

Former Congressman Sean Duffy and his wife, Fox News host Rachel Campos-Duffy. 



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 Posted: Fri Feb 19th, 2021 08:35 pm
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tamalie
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While he'd be after Jamie Chung and Miz on the list, as well as Sean Duffy and possibly Judd Winnick, Kevin Powell belongs on the list of success stories. Between writing 14 published books and writing in periodicals like the Washington Post, Rolling Stone, Vibe, Esquire, and Newsweek, as well as appearing as a talking head on clip shows and documentaries for HBO and BET, plus public speaking tours and curating the Rock & Roll HOF's hip hop exhibits among other gigs, he's constantly worked in his chosen fields since The Real World.

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