Welcome to the 29th season of The Real World, the reality show that first aired in 1992 when Billy Ray Cyrus‘ “Achy Breaky Heart” was climbing the charts, Miley Cyrus was still in diapers and Robin Thicke was 15. This season takes place in San Francisco. The first Real World season in San Francisco confronted homophobia and HIV/AIDS, and one of its cast members, Pedro Zamora, was credited by then-President Clinton as someone who humanized those living with HIV. This season, the cast members will confront each other in uncoordinated brawls under the influence of alcohol, and at least one cast member will be credited as achieving the title of “Mayor” of Some Gutter in the Mission District After One Too Many Jagermeister Shots on Foursquare. Progress!
This season there is a new twist to the tried-and-true formula of “seven strangers… picked to live in a house… to work together and have their lives taped… to find out what happens… when people stop being polite… and start getting real.” Instead, seven more people move in, and they happen to be the cast members’ exes. Orange is the New Black had enough drama with one ex-couple living in a madhouse. Seven ex couples? With an unlimited supply of booze? Glancing at the season trailer, if it were up to Mr. Healy, the entire cast would be sent to the SHU—at the same time.
At this point in The Real World‘s run, MTV has abandoned all pretense of The Real World being anything other than 12 weeks of bad decisions being caught on tape to make us all feel better about ourselves but despondent about the future of America. In the intro segment, we are treated to a heart shaped balloon that is pierced with an arrow and projectile vomits a liquid that looks like a mix of bile and nuclear waste. The word “EXPLOSION” appears immediately thereafter in a font reminiscent of B-grade horror flicks, which is apropos.
And now, let’s dive into the toxic bile-and-Chernobyl-sludge explosion!
The episode starts by rewinding 29 days earlier to the final casting step: recording the cast members at home.
The first person we meet is Arielle, because in any situation where drama may unfold, lesbians are first out of the gate.
While surfing an online dating site at her home in Oakland she tells us about one of her deep seated demons that she has not been able to shake: “When I meet someone in person I just want to sleep with them. That’s the problem.” Wow. That’s deep. How deep? Knuckle deep? Elbow deep? I guess we will find out over the course of the season.
She tells us that sometimes people ask her whether her love for the ladies is related to having an absentee father. Really, people? Is that why straight guys exist too? All of their dads decided to disappear into thin air, so they decided that they fancy women? She tells it like it is. “No, I just really like pussy. Can you just shut the fuck up?”
Arielle is also a model. “I actually hate that I am a model. Can you tell? I hate it?” she implores.
I’m too sexy for this shirt
She continues, “I want to become this badass horror film director and if I have to be half naked on the runway, I’m totally cool.” Well, you’ve been cast in a scary television series where each person wants to kill at least one other person in the house, so that’s a start. Let’s hope you end up being the final girl so your dreams can come true.
Next we meet Jay from the Bronx. He lives in a tightly knit Italian neighborhood and has a special power: “I can go to a club and get any girl to do anything that I want.” Be careful what you claim, Jay. This guy claimed he could walk on water like Jesus. Hilarity did not ensue. As we lesbians know, walking into a sea of ladies in a nightclub with too much hubris can bring about similar results.
Then there is Cory in Los Angeles, a personal trainer originally from Grand Rapids, Michigan. His ex-girlfriend Lauren keeps texting him as he is introducing himself to us, so he doesn’t get many words out. We do learn that he seems to like walking around without a shirt though.
In Forth Worth we meet Thomas, a kid from a rich family who likes to use the word “bro.” He tells us that he is not your typical love-em-and-leave-em frat guy and he likes to treat his ladies well. He likes girls with a “bad ass” attitude. He and his friends also wear a lot of pastel.
Like “Entourage” but in coral and aqua
Jamie is a bartender who lives in Houston. She and her rocker boyfriend split recently and she is ready to be single and to mingle.
Back to Los Angeles, we meet Jenny, originally from Kansas City. A self-described party girl, she says “I can see myself at 70 being at my grandkids’ party going, ‘Whoooo, we popped the bottle!’” She and her ex-boyfriend recently split because he wanted her to be a quiet goody two shoes, when she’d rather be the life of the party.