How MTV Revitalized The Real World

The granddaddy of reality shows comes off life support
Photo illustration by Alis Atwell; Source: MTV(15), Alamy(9)

The Real World, which first aired on MTV in 1992, has always introduced itself with the same slogan, longer than a tweet but just as easily reduced to nothing: “Strangers picked to live in a house … to find out what happens … when people stop being polite … and start getting real.” Each year the show followed the same formula of trapping different demographics together in an often comically gorgeous home. Virgins flirted with the less so, rich Republicans clashed with perma-drunk liberals, and Ikea furniture (it’s always Ikea) broke during brawls.

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