Throwback Thursday: MTV’s “The Real World” Seasons 1-9

As much as it pains me to admit this given the current state of the channel but, I love MTV. I think almost anyone in my generation really grew up with the channel. The first foray into reality tv 20 years ago was MTV’s The Real World. A true portrayal of what life was like in the 90s living with 7 strangers in various cities all over the world. Not to mention they always had the most kick ass pad.

For this Thursday I’ve decided to highlight what I think are The Real World’s golden years, seasons 1-9. It’s not that the new seasons are any less interesting, I think my character has evolved past watching 20 somethings drink and hook up all season. Onto my take of the best seasons.

The Real World: New York (1992)

The first season. Also one of the best. Premiering in 1992 this was the first of its kind to show every aspect. Imagine being an experiment for a tv show where you live with 6 random strangers. We loved it. I happened to love the dynamic between Eric Nies and Julie, the small town girl from Alabama. It’s great to watch this show again and really see how New York has changed.

The Real World: Los Angeles (1993)

The second season, Los Angeles. Complete with David’s wild antics for two weeks until he got booted from the house in record time. This season was one of the most dramatic with clashing personalities. The blanket incident involving Tami and David was certainly a contender for “best fight” in a reality show. Also, who could forget John the singing cowboy?

The Real World: San Francisco (1994)

One of the most riveting of the series was San Francisco. Apart from the usual drama of the series this was the first time a cast member who was HIV-Positive was to live in the house with them. The cast was informed before they moved in but production wouldn’t reveal the identity before the move in date. During the 90s HIV and AIDS were such a misunderstood topic, with most people believing that it was an immediate death sentence. Pedro Zamora spent his time in the house educating others in the community about the importance of  safe sex.  This season was more than a reality show to many of this generation and still continues to be one of the most poignant in the series.

Unfortunately Pedro Zamora lost his battle with AIDS in November of 1994, just after the season finale aired on MTV.

The Real World: London (1995)

The first time MTV skipped across the pond to bring us a season abroad. The London installment has to be one of my favorites, not only because of the awesome cast but basically because of the city. I fell in love with London on this tv show and it wasn’t till years later that my infatuation was realized when I stepped onto the street myself.

I loved this cast. From Lars the German DJ to Neil the British punk rocker this cast had the mid 90s all wrapped up. I particularly loved watching the cast pursue their own paths on the show. Jacinda was a model/actress, Sharon was a blues singer, Mike (one of three Americans) was an aspiring race car driver, Jay was a playright, and Kat was a student at NYU on a fencing scholarship. My favorite part in the series would have to be when Neil got his tongue bitten off while playing with his band.

The Real World: Miami (1996)

Oh, Miami! What a tumultuous season this was. From the famous Dan and Melissa fight to the failed attempt at creating a business, this show was nothing if not amazing to watch. I always thought Flora kept the whole show together. Thankfully I still have my old tapes with these episodes to keep me busy. I loved that this was the first season to put all the housemates to work together. They did spend the whole season arguing over what kind of business to create. Needless to say, they didnt.

The Real World: Boston (1997)

Love Boston. Love. I had the biggest crush on the sensitive poet type, Jason. Swoon. Did everyone see that list of 200 things that a guy had to be to date Kameelah? Ha. It actually made sense. Elka and Walter, Montana and Vaj- there were numerous reasons to love this show. Set in an old firehouse I also secretly wanted to live in this house. Please find this online and watch it.

The Real World: Seattle (1998)

Seattle, the city I long to visit and one of the inspirations for this blog seeing that I do love grunge music. This was the first season that MTV brought on two cast members who knew each other prior to the show taping. David and Nathan went to VMI together which called for an interesting mix. Apart from Irene’s departure now known as the “slap heard round the world”, I always thought their job was the best part. For 4 months they worked at KNDD, the alternative rock station in Seattle. Working at a radio station in 1998 in Seattle? Somebody pinch me.

The Real World: Hawaii (1999)

Oh Hawaii. I feel like I’ve been to Hawaii after seeing this show. From the partying, the mindless self reliant existential daily ramblings of Kaia and Justin this season was just too good. Amaya and Colin were comic relief to say the least and who could forget anything that came out of Tek’s mouth. The main arc of the season was Ruthie’s then drinking problem in which production stepped in to intervene. A first in the show’s history. Thankfully, now Ruthie is doing great and has even appeared on some Real World Challenges over the years.

The Real World: New Orleans (2000)

The last of my trip down MTV memory lane. This was the last season that I truly enjoyed and couldn’t miss an episode. Danny. Enough said. I think I may have had dreams about him when I was in high school. Melissa, can she please be my best friend? David’s weird song and the whole cast trying to put together a tv show on cable access. Oh how the times have changed. You want crazy, well you got it. After all, they are in New Orleans!

Hope you enjoyed the trip down memory lane with MTV classic, The Real World.

images via google

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    Wow, as a kid these were truly a window into what coming of age was like in a big city. I learned a lot about compassion through adversity like homosexuality and HIV – Pedro taught us a lot. I can’t imagine any seasons after the early ones that would teach anyone anything.

    Great fashion, too. I am inspired! Love your blog and Instagram!

    <3, Am

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