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A Decade-Point-Five of Stopping Being Polite and Starting Getting Real

I learned today while reading Pop Candy--which is fast becoming my absolute favorite pop culture blog--that Monday marked the 15th anniversary of MTV's The Real World.  That's 15 years, not seasons--there have been 18 of those, the most recent of which just had its finale. (Apparently. I had to look that fact up on Wikipedia, because I don't watch anymore.  However, I'm going to spare you the whole "The Real World used to be so great and now it sucks so much" rigamaroll because it's OLD.*)  But I would like to observe this occasion by charting my own personal experience with the show.

Below I have graphed a line representing my ongoing level on interest in The Real World.  I gave each season a 1-10 ranking (10 being the best) reflecting my personal interest in it when it was originally aired.  The seasons that took place before I began watching MTV are ranked as zeroes (despite the fact that I now know a lot about them and their characters thanks to True Hollywood Stories and reruns). The two seasons I liked most were given 10s.  Everything else was ranked relative to those figures.


(Click to enlarge.)

As you can see, most of the groundbreaking early years passed by with little to no recognition from yours truly.  Hawaii was the first season for which age, schedule, interest, and cable privileges all finally conspired to rope me into watching, and by then most of the show's real iconic moments had already passed me by.  So though my graph peaks in the middle, it's likely that someone a few years older than me would have a graph showing more of a straight downward trend in interest over the years.

But this is my experience, and I was intrigued but not surprised to see that the years I was significantly interested in the show (1997-2005) cover the exact span of time from my first year of high school to my last year of college.  Imagine that!

Anyway, I'm curious to hear what your own personal Real World graph would look like.  What are the high points?  Lows?  What trend does it follow?  Between which two points can the greatest slope be found?  Does your imaginary mental version of a graph ALSO have a cute little Real World logo pasted into its imaginary middle?  Describe, please. 

*Seriously, old.  TV shows that used to be great and now suck are certainly a pet peeve of mine, but you know what else is? People who complain about how shows that used to be great really suck now.  I mean, I myself am guilty of having said, "God, The Real World used to be so deep, and now it's pathetic," so I am therefore including myself in the list of people I am  criticizing here, but I feel like we can officially abandon that phrase now along with a few others.  Most notably, I'd be just fine if I never again heard someone say, "God, SNL is just awful now," or "OMG, the recent episodes of The Simpsons are pathetico."  We get it.


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I largely agree with your graph, although I DID love Las Vegas!


I would have given Chicago a 10.

Rory P

LMNOP used to be so sweet, too bad things went downhill... It really sucks now


god what was that one we watched so intently? Inferno? The one where that bitch girl gets all lame because a "spider" bit her. Coral? What kind of name is THAT

The Mayor

I would have been at 10 from seasons 1-3. I watched those seasons everyday after school in middle school (right before I watched the Grind). After a severe drop for the London season, my graph would've sky-rocketed back up to around a 9 until the second season in NYC. After that it plummets down to a 4, and slowly declines to a 0 around San Diego. More than the rote story lines and over-sexed caricatures posing as "real" people, I cannot forgive MTV for never putting Real World in DC. I mean seriously, they did NYC twice, and Denver (DENVER?!) before DC. That is bs.

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