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Tuesday, June 29, 2004

San Diego season finale allows critics to reflect on the show's history and shortcomings

The very last episode of Bunim-Murray's fourteenth season of the landmark series The Real World will air tonight as Brad, Cameran, Charlie, Jamie, Jacquese, Randy and Robin will say goodbye to San Diego and to each other. According to TVguide, we will see the end of Robin's arrest ordeal as she goes to court. (Note: This is not the first time a Real Worlder has gone to court during filming. Jo (San Francisco) actually went to court to get a restraining order from her boyfriend, but we never saw the trial on camera.) And apparently, according to the teaser for the next episode, Brad gets into trouble once again at the end of their stay.

If you check out RealityBlurred's two articles on the end of the San Diego season, you'll see commentary on the decline of the series since the San Francisco season. Most notbaly, those critics blast San Diego for refusing to focus on the rape incident (One of Randy's friends visited, brought a girl a home, and now is under trial for rape.), and focusing on other demure issues like Robin and Cameran jumping in the ocean to escape work.

Although these critics do have a point and most recent seasons have been far removed from issues that once shined through in New York, Los Angeles, and San Francisco, San Diego does show promise. This has probably have been one of the most likable groups of castmembers in recent memory. They have tackled some rough issues, like Frankie's cutting or her cystic fibrosis. But unfortunately these problems were overshadowed by her confusing departure. Other castmembers also showed other promising storylines this season, such as Jacquese and his estranged father or Jamie and her distant connection to her parents. However, editors opted to constrain these issues into one-episode explanations and dedicated multiple episodes to fights and drinking.

But honestly, who can blame them? The earlier seasons of The Real World cannot be easily repeated. Reality TV is becoming a drastically changing medium that is constantly being redefined by the big networks. Shortly before Hawaii aired, BMP announced in a formal press statement that the tenth season would be the last of the Real World due to its declining ratings. But when Ruthie's problems with alcohol during the first two episodes drew huge ratings, who wouldn't decide to keep the show going in the direction that it has been?

But don't forget to WATCH the final season of The Real World: San Diego tonight!

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