There is a 10-part series on MTV’s homepage providing an “exciting” behind-the-scenes look at The Real World in the run-up to the new season (Brooklyn we go hard), which premieres tomorrow night, because that is what the world needs, a 10-part series of dull interviews and forcefully told lies about a withering reality TV franchise well past its prime. So, if you really want to see how deep the rabbit hole goes, you can click on the blue pill, or whatever, (Matrix jokes, 2009), but personally I think a one-part series providing an “exciting” behind-the-scenes look at The Real World is enough, especially considering how tightly packed the bullshit in these appears to be. So let’s just talk about the first installment:
I have to say that despite this show having been around for 1,000 years, and the obvious fact that MTV is going to do whatever it can to present any interview about the show’s integrity in as flattering a light as possible to the show itself, there’s still something so appealing about the idea of getting to see what we’re not shown on TV. Questions like “how real is The Real World?” still seem totally relevant and vital as they did when Joe Patane wrote that tell-all after season 5. More so, probably, since we as viewers are so much more aware of all the manipulations that go into all of these shows*.
And similarly, it’s equally disappointing to watch something like this, with grown adults insisting that what happens on the show is so “real.” Oh, I believe that they tape what happens in the house with cameras and use that footage to create a show, so in that sense what they’re saying is true. But it’s actually surprising they would even show a clip from season 2 with so many less-than-attractive cast members highlighting just how much the show has changed and how hard it works to keep everyone fit and tan and drunk and empty. Not to mention the post-season 4 installment of forced group activities, which are absolutely created to keep the kids from being left to their own (potentially undramatic) devices. From the casting to the editing to the dorm-style bedrooms to the sponsorship clubs and restaurants that provide free food in exchange for airtime, even without scratching the surface there’s not any debate as to how deeply and completely the manipulations go. So give us something. No? Nothing? Nothing.
Obviously, I’m not saying anything even remotely new, but it’s still disappointing, every time, to have MTV piss on my leg and tell me it’s raining, or some other shitty metaphor that describes what’s happening here.
*For example, on Momma’s Boys last night, one of the bachelors asked one of the girls to sneak out of the house unseen and meet him behind a tree to talk, which she did, and their secret rendezvous was very illicit and exciting except for the fact that there were TWO GIANT STUDIO LIGHTS not only keeping them well-lit, but actually visible RIGHT IN THE SHOT. It’s like TV has given up trying to even pretend anymore because we all know what’s going on here.