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TV Tonight: The Real World Turns 20

Think fast: Which Real World was your first? Mine was the San Francisco season, the show's third, with the consciousness-raising storylines of HIV-positive Pedro and the attention-grabbing antics of troublemaker Puck. That season got me hooked on the show, which I followed regularly for the next decade or so, watching as group after group of attractive 20-somethings moved into an immaculately decorated house together to "stop being polite and start getting real."


Tonight, the 20th edition of The Real World premieres on MTV. It's strange to think how different television has become since the series first took the air in 1992. I'm sure there were reality series before The Real World, but the show's influence is unmistakable in so many of today's shows — notably anything that puts strangers in a house together just to watch what happens.

For the longest time, there seemed to be something pure in The Real World — like the people had chosen to do the show more for the experience and less for the exposure. But recent seasons have seemed less honest and more like all the other reality shows the series spawned, with cast members seeming to have great aspirations of Hollywood fame. So it's oddly appropriate that for its 20th season, The Real World is blatantly going Hollywood. Every member of the cast aspires to work in entertainment, whether as an actor, a model, a reporter, or a singer. On the one hand, that could make the made-up drama even more annoying, since it's clear everyone wants to get noticed; on the other hand, at least they're being honest about it.

Will you be checking out this milestone season of The Real World? To watch a preview, just read more.


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