The Real World turns 25 tonight, an unapologetic, drunken shadow of its former self

The Real World has been on the air for 19 years, but it turns 25 tonight with the debut of The Real World Las Vegas, yet another season named as if the previous season set in the same city never existed. (Here’s why it now recycles cities.)

Yes, the show is so old it will soon no longer be able to apply for itself. MTV keeps ordering seasons because while it’s no Jersey Shore ratings monster, it appeals to its demographic, which is perhaps why some of us who grew up with the show now find it repulsive.

Earlier seasons that I’m nostalgic for are far from being free of drama, stupidity, or immaturity–after all, they hosted Tami and David’s fight, Irene’s meltdown, and Montana giving wine to a kid, among other things–but those things came from cast members with actual lives and jobs and careers beyond being aspiring famewhores. (This season, the one person with a career, gay porn star Dustin, may not ever be identified as a porn star; at least, his bio completely ignores it.)

Has the show devolved into a drunken shadow of its former self, or have we just outgrown it? I think it’s both, and explain why in this essay.

Review: Married at First Sight

Marriage At First Sight

In an era of Tinder and Grindr, instant acceptance or dismissal of a potential partner, or instant sex with another body, Married at First Sight offers the thrill of watching strangers deal with the very basics of relationships.

Beyond the headline-grabbing premise, the series has turned out to be a stripped-down, authentic exploration of something very interesting. Read the full review.

about the writer

Andy Dehnart is a journalist who has covered reality television for more than 15 years and created reality blurred in 2000. A member of the Television Critics Association, his writing and criticism about television, culture, and media has appeared on NPR and in Playboy, Buzzfeed, and many other publications. Andy, 36, also directs the journalism program at Stetson University in Florida, where he teaches creative nonfiction and journalism. He has an M.F.A. in nonfiction writing and literature from Bennington College. More about reality blurred and Andy.