10 Ways The Real World Has Changed

For many of the people reading this blog, 1992 was a time before you were born. Much has changed in the world since then, but one thing that has not changed is The Real World’s presence on MTV. Despite the fact that she show has been on the air for almost 21 year, there have been some major changes over time. So let’s check them out!


1. The cast got jobs. During the early seasons, the cast didn’t have job and needed to find their own employment when they needed money. Starting with the Miami season, the cast was required to work. For the most part, that has remained.

2. TVs got turned off. The house used to have a TV in it. Around season 4 or 5 production too the TVs out of the house.

3. Seasons start filming earlier and spoilers get leaked. Did you know that The Real World Los Angeles started airing while the cast was still in the house? On one of the episode Beth S. picks up a TV Guide where is mistakenly called a lesbian (having been confused with Beth A.). The Real World Portland had at least 4 months between the end of filming and the airing of the season.

4. Potential roommates send in casting tapes or go to casting calls. In the early seasons all you had to do was send in a photo of yourself and your application. I’m not entirely sure when this changed, but I do know that Sharon from the London season only sent in her picture to apply. Of course, now every cell phone can capture video, a luxury that the cast did not have in 1992.

5. The Real World was once thought of as the end of your reality TV career. After the Miami season, Road Rules All Stars gave cast members an opportunity to return for a second show. After Real World Seattle the Challenges started. It’s sometimes hard to remember that people like Beth, Paula, Wes, and CT were ever on The Real World because they’ve appeared on so many challenges.

6. Locations never repeated. After season one, the intention was to travel the country. In fact, season 2 was originally called Real World California until the third season came out in San Francisco. Then, season ten returned to New York. Since then, we’ve had a handful of repeat locations.

7. Partying wasn’t always that main focus of the show. While I personally still believe that it is not the main focus, it is a much more central theme than it was in earlier seasons. Most people attribute the transition to the party lifestyle to the Vegas season.

8. The show became an hour long. Up until the Sydney season, episodes were only half an hour and their season lasted approximately 24 weeks. Now we have hour long episodes that last about 12 weeks.

9. For a while, we had eight roommates. From season 21-24 that was the cast. Then we moved back to 7 roommates.

10. We know more about the cast than ever before! Between the exclude online content, Twitter, blogs, aftershows and reunions, we get to learn more about the cast than fans of the show in 1992 ever learned.

Don’t forget to tune into the #RetroMTV presentation of Real World New York (March 22), Las Vegas (March 23) and San Francisco (March 24)!

4 thoughts on “10 Ways The Real World Has Changed

  1. Mike, great observations! But I think you forgot one important thing: The Real World used to be about “real” people in the 90’s. People who were casts were very much like our neighborhood’s girl/boy next door. (Remember Norm from RW:NY, Season One?)

    Started right around 2000, Chicago and Vegas seasons, there were more beautiful and intense/dramatic characters… (like Tanya from Chicago.) Then it became remarkably obvious through Vegas season when all the casts in Vegas were beautiful and over-21 (to be allowed in the casino): The sexy small-town girl Trishelle, smart and beautiful Brynn, and more hunky and good-looking guys like Alton, Frank… IMHO with the success of Vegas season, casting good-looking (trouble-making) people has become the golden rule ever since.

    I guess this comment is related to your number 4 casting application observation.

  2. London was why the television was removed from the house. Saw that in a Jon Murray interview. Some of the Americans were so homesick they would stay up all night watching headline news or whatever just to have a touch of home instead of taking advantage of being in London or interacting with the other cast members much. I think Jay was one of them he said would sit there for hours at a time just staring at the TV. I forget the others he said.

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