The Real World Homecoming: What Happens When People Start Getting Real…Old

I never thought The Real World would bring me back from a multi-year writing hiatus, and then someone decided to do a reboot of the first season so (dusts off the recapping machine) here we go! And apologies for no pretty pictures, I can’t get this thing to work properly. Shuddup, you’re lucky I even remembered my login. 

Seven strangers picked to live in a loft on Prince and Broadway back in nineteen freaking ninety two which is (math, math, carry the one) twenty-nine years ago. The show has been credited as the very first reality television show even though it was like the second or third, but since it was the first one that people watched (the others were on PBS or something) it gets the crown. And it spawned a whole new genre of entertainment that, if you think about it, is pretty much responsible for the entire Trump presidency. But you take the good, you take the bad, you take ‘em both and there you have…the wrong theme song stuck in your head. Ugh.

Anyhoo, let’s reunite with these formerly young but now solidly middle-aged roomies. Who’s up first?

Julie, in a cab, NO MASK! It is truly disconcerting to see people maskless in New York City. She looks good, but she’s still annoyingly chipper so I need to move on to literally anyone else.

Becky—mask up, Becky! She wanted to do The Real World because she had a lot to say to people and a lot to offer. I cannot remember her on the show at all except for that one time she put Dixie® Cups in her bra so maybe “Look at my boobs!” Is all she had to say? I have no idea what she’s up to now because the producers have turned their attention to…

Kevin! Wear. A. Mask. He notes that back in 1992, they had a phone in the loft with a cord that ran into the wall, but now everybody has a phone in their pockets and…no cord. Yes, Kevin. Technology. But speaking of things that change, Kevin was so ahead of his time when it comes to social justice, or more like the rest of us were just way too far back from where we should’ve been. I’m guessing this will be covered more in later episodes, but I feel like we have a well-deserved “I told y’all” coming.

Norman is wearing his mask because he’s a good human. Be like Norman. It should also be noted that I went to college with Norman. Or, more accurately, we were in the same college at the same time but did not know each other. So you can just stop hounding me for autographs, please. Anyway, in the intervening twenty-nine years, Norman made a laptop stand. I want to slow clap that, but my laptop stand is a bunched up blanket on my leg so I’m actually kind of impressed with his ingenuity.

Andre. No mask. Just saying. He very quickly drags a mattress into the weight room so that he doesn’t have to sleep with anyone else and it’s the smartest thing I’ve ever seen a reality contestant do. He still has an amazing head of hair, plus he’s got a kid who wants to speak to his “fwends” which is pretty freaking cute. For anyone who’s keeping track, Norman made a laptop stand and Andre made a cute kid.

Dead pet segment, pour one or two out for Gouda and Smokey.

Heather B WHERE IS YOUR MASK? Oh my gawd, Heather brought a freaking bar in her luggage! She’s journaling and I would like to do a dramatic reading of whatever it is she’s writing, but only after half a suitcase of alcohol.

And, for the moment three of you were waiting for…Eric. He’s still less interesting than he is attractive, and what he’s definitely not is in the loft. Because he has Coronavirus. So he’s on a screen sporting a spirit sweater. And by spirit sweater, I mean a truly ugly cardigan that you’d find in the hotel gift shop at a Holiday Inn Express just outside of Santa Fe. Tears are being shed by the other roommates. Not because Eric has a potentially fatal and highly contagious virus, but because Eric can’t be on the show.

That’s pretty much it, your basic starter episode. No fauxrage or manufactured conflict or drinks thrown in anyone’s face. It’s just a reunion of seven people who used to know each other almost three decades ago.

Overall grade? Meh. It’s a decent dose of nostalgia, but it doesn’t make me want to gather up all of my former roommates and relive the glory days. It doesn’t even make me want to watch the next episode, but honestly, it’s a pandemic and there’s a lot of time to kill so let’s do this all again next week.

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