As I sat there watching the final episodes of the Real World: Austin the other night the mix of emotions that went though me ranged from sentimental, to sadness, to laughter. It truly is one of the most bizarre shows that you’ll find on TV. And for all its pros and cons, the Real World is nearly always entertaining. But the secrete to its success is the range of emotions the show is able to dig up and drag out of you, much like a movie.
We all know the deal; the show features seven usually pretty and usually just interesting enough people in a cool house in a cool city. It wouldn’t work if one character/people was a ton more interesting that the rest… you can get away with boring characters/people if they bring something to the table every few weeks. And you actually grow to have favorites on the show… it’s sort of like picking friends or something.
But that’s where the show stops being real… okay bad cliché. But the beauty of the show is that I’m not sure if I actually care about any of the people/characters though the years. There are only a handful of people that I would actually be interested to hear what they are doing (quickly off the top of my head: Lori, Janet, Elka, Ace). Obviously you’re able to make some sort of connection with these people/character... but I don’t think it’s with the individual. Rather you make the connection with the feeling that they are feeling.
For instance, when the cast is packing up and leaving the house and they’re upset about leaving. Now I don’t care that they are upset or that they are leaving… rather it brings be back to when I lived in London or when I left the dorm for the summer or I moved away from Chicago. Those emotions and experiences come rushing back and I’m taken back to that time in my life.
For that reason, the emotion connection to the experience, along with pretty faces, and the music/sound track makes the show a success. In my eyes at least. It seems so simple, but it’s not. A cast of lazy, hard drinking, nut jobs doesn’t get it done for me. For instance there are a lot of people that love the Las Vegas season… but I can’t connect in anyway to the experiences and people who were on that season. Others can and they love it.
Moving on a bit, The Austin Reunion special was fantastic if for no other reason than watching Nehemiah go after everyone for no reason what so ever. He was out of control, it was as if Puck had descended into his body or something… but get this unlike Punk not everyone turned against him! It was great, here’s Nehemiah taking pot shots at Lacy, Mel, and Danny and everyone once in a while someone backs him up. It was great… and then the host, who I’d never seen before, having no control over the show. Fantastic TV. This whole “host of show loses total control and chaos ensues” should happen more often.
And since I’m on a roll… here are my top Real World Seasons for whatever reason:
1) Paris – I know nothing happened. But you know what the people were actually sort of interesting. And since they were in Paris and I had just come back from London and all I wanted was to be in Europe… well this season I connected with. I know I know, I’m nuts and should get a life but whatever, it’s my pick and I’m sticking with it.
2) San Francisco – Easily the best Real World season of all time, but I was just a bit too young to really appreciate it. MTV would be wise to get these out of DVD which for some reasons they have not done so yet. (For that matter only Vegas and the first New York are on DVD which makes be wonder. Can they not get the pas cast members to sign off on it? Problems getting random people who were on the show to sign off on it? What gives? Seems like putting these on DVD would be a no brainier).
3) Back To New York – Okay I’m starting to notice a trend… I like casts that are, for the most part, normal people you’d hang out with. Granted, I’d probably never hang out with any of the people who have been on the Real World, but this season features both Kevin and Lori whom I could easily see having a few beers with. And need we forget they were in New York JUST before 9/11? What a totally different season this would have been if it was made even today.
4) Seattle – I think this is one of those times when you remember the city more so than the cast. Quality cast no doubt about, there was Janet, Lindsay, and of course Stephen along with the rest of the crew. And who can forget David and that girl and the cab and him acting like Rob from “High Fidelity”…
5) Austin – I have no clue where to place this season. To be honest, the people weren’t my type of people besides maybe JoAnna. Nothing really happened besides the boring Danny and Mel crap, their incredibly dull documentary, and Wes and Nehemiah doing their Wes and Nehemiah things. (BTW, I’m on the fence about this whole “Is Wes the first great Male philosopher” debate that I’ve been having with various people for the past six months. Some days I think he’s the second coming of Plato, the next I think he’s a moron. Right now I’m leaning towards the moron because he got together with JoAnna, and good for them, but I think that sort of ruins his cred as a Male Philosopher).
6) Los Angeles – My first season! I remember next to nothing besides Dominic getting drunk and everyone leaving and new people coming in…
7) New Orleans – You know this was such a random cast that I’m shocked they were able to pull it off. Did anyone in this house like each other besides Danny? I remember everyone as individuals instead of as a group. But this season did give us David who probably is insane and Julie who everyone hates. So that’s good.
8) Boston – I watched. I enjoyed. I sort of wish I owned DVDs of these seasons just so I could remember half the shit that went on.
9) Chicago – Not a good season I don’t care what anyone says. Kyle was a tool, Theo wasn’t around, Tonya is not that interesting… there was that Kerri girl but she wasn’t enough to carry the show… and then Cara. I have nothing more to add.
10) Philly – Huh?
11) Hawaii – Most overrated season by far. Where’s Teck though? And remember that creepy dude and that creepy girl? I miss them. And then there was Amaya who helped me fully realized how nuts women can be.
Still reading… geez even I’m bored with this. Get ya.