|The first cast of the Real World.|
Since its debut, The Real World has been responsible for setting off a national conversation about young people and the issues they face today. The series brought serious discussions to the national stage. For example, a fight between Julie and Kevin in New York culminated in a discussion about race relations in the United States. Tami allowed cameras to document her abortion in Los Angeles, setting off a discussion between roommates. Most notably, after HIV-AIDS activist Pedro joined the San Francisco cast, the series gained widespread notoriety for its attention to the global issue.
The Real World is MTV's longest running program. In 1995, the network brought the first spin-off to life, Road Rules. Road Rules came to light after Jon, Tami, and David drove cross-country in a RV during the first two episodes of the Los Angeles season. The two shows experienced a rivalry that would ultimately culminate in the Challenge spin-off in 1998. Road Rules ran for fourteen seasons and the Challenge has started pre-production on its 23rd season.
Critics argue that the series has de-evolved from an honest documentary to a drunken revelry. During the Hawaii season in 1998, out of control Ruthie was sent to a 30-day program for alcohol abuse. The Las Vegas season in 2002 brought constant partying, debauchery, and pregnancy scares. The first Las Vegas season marked a turning point for the series, when the series began to become known for its party atmosphere.
Nonetheless, the series still tackled sensitive issues. In 2004, Frankie, a castmember with cystic fibrosis joined the cast, passing away three years later. In 2009, Katelynn, the show's first transgendered roommate, battled misperceptions and insecurities in Brooklyn. And for the first time, Dustin of the show's second Las Vegas season, a castmember was forced to deal with the consequences of a troubled past that resurfaced during the show.
Congratulations to Bunim-Murray Productions for twenty years!