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22 Cities to D.C.: Why Didn’t We Think of That?

July 7, 2009

Back in 1992, MTV introduced society to an innovative new television show. It was called The Real World and it was interesting, fascinating, compelling… but, above all, it was fresh.

It was the true story of seven strangers-say it with me-picked to live in a house and have their lives taped to find out what happens when people stop being polite and start getting real.

Fast forward 17 years and 20-something cities later… The Real World has started getting real… real annoying. The citizens of Washington, D.C. seem to know this better than anyone. D.C. is fighting back and telling MTV that they aren’t interested in the circus that follows The Real World wherever it goes… just six days into the taping of the hit show’s 23rd installment.

I will admit that I was a frequent viewer of The Real World back in the day. I challenge anyone who grew up in this generation to claim that that they weren’t. It was so popular, in fact, that Entertainment Weekly just ranked The Real World as the fifth-best reality program of all time. However, there was a point when The Real World changed.

The original season featured Andre the sensitive indie rocker, Julie the naïve southern belle and Kevin the strong-willed black poet, among others. All were people with their own unique interests that the MTV generation could identify with and care about. Today’s Real World seems to be cast on the basis of who will look the best making out in the hot tub that MTV so conveniently placed in the middle of the living room.

A show that, in 1994, featured a openly gay cast member who revealed to the world what it was like to live with AIDS is now casting, in 2009, a tatted-up Abercrombie reject that thinks he is so anti-establishment when he spits in his roommate’s food.

So it is with this decline in class that makes Washington, D.C.’s rejection of The Real World both admirable and not that surprising.

Less than a week into filming, locals have already drawn their line in the sand. They have contacted the media about overzealous security guards who are claiming to be passerby’s “worst nightmare,” posted You Tube videos of the obnoxious camera crews and started blogs to bash all things Real World.

But perhaps the most damaging stand against the booze-fueled drama of The Real World is that of the local bars that are refusing to allow cameras into their watering holes.

“We’re not really an MTV-style club,” one bar owner told the Washington Post. “People come here to hang out and have a drink or see a concert, not be bothered by film crews.”

It seems that the people of our nation’s capital are ready to counter MTV’s social experiment with one of their own. And I, for one, will be there to see that when it is televised.

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