The Real World is in its 28th season (!), which got me thinking about how the show has degenerated over the past 20-plus years from a truly groundbreaking docu-series to just another pseudo-reality shitshow with weird green-light PG-13 sex scenes. But remember Season Three with Pedro? That season, filmed in San Francisco, dealt with AIDS in a mature but relatable way when the disease was still misunderstood and extremely taboo. They all had real jobs. When some of the housemates when to mass, others engaged in different forms of worship while the remaining roomies engaged in natural discussions on God and religion. Sure, the early seasons lacked the naked three- (and four- and five-)somes and catfights of The Real Worlds to come, but I miss the real Real World, where normal-looking people with average backgrounds came together to work, play and explore a new city.
Fast forward a couple decades to the current season, which takes place in Portland, Ore. Funny, between Portlandia and an as-mainstream-as-it-gets MTV show, this hipster capital of the world’s coolness bubble is about to burst. But I digress. Portland is an awesome city to transplant a group of 20-somethings for a couple months. It’s known for being easy to traverse via bikes or public transport, the dining and nightlife scene is bustling with offerings and you’d think there would be endless festivals, arts, outdoorsy stuff and other events to keep you occupied for the 24 hours you’re being filmed each day. But no. These douchers have managed to visit the same handful of neon-lit night clubs, sushi joints and SUBWAYS (pretty sure it’s in their contracts to eat at least on six-inch sub per day) through the past 10 episodes (…yet I still watch. I don’t know, I’m a masochist).
Pictured: Rejected applicants from The Bachelorette, Survivor, Big Brother, Amazing Race, Bad Girls Club and Judge Judy.
I originally tuned in to scope the digs (though the allure of the The Real World space and home décor is starting to fade), see what kind of quirky job the roommates would end up with (they all work at a normal pizza shop, except two girls who were too inept to even bus tables; they serve frozen yogurt out of a cart. I repeat, they’re in their 20s.), or find any other example of ripe Portland weirdness. Last week, my watching finally paid off as Averey, Johnny and Jordan attended a totally awesome overnight zombie survival course at Portland’s Trackers Earth — and I think we finally got a glimpse at the real Portland. For the first time this season, the people in the background didn’t look like extras from a Smirnoff Ice commercial!