This week on The Real World, we saw another fight. Repercussions against the initiator were minimal, and production basically did nothing to stop the violence. While many viewers feel Violetta and Sylvia should have been removed from the house, the fact that they weren’t is not unusual. Over the course of its 30 seasons, the Real World has seen a number of physical encounters. Ultimately, production has made the decision to remove zero house guests due to their actions. People have left for violence, but ultimately the decision has always been made by the cast.
The first time a house guest was questions for a physical action was on the second season when David forcefully tried to remove a blanket from Tami. David stated that he thought he was just playing around because Tami was laughing, but Beth perceived the situation as an assault and compared it to rape. After hearing that the roommates were uncomfortable with him, David chose to leave the house. Ultimately, the decision was his own, although we can’t be sure if he would have been forcefully removed if he didn’t voluntarily leave.
The following season, Puck was asked to leave the San Francisco house. While he was never physically abusive to anyone other than a jar of peanut butter, he was routinely rude, unhygienic, and disgusting. His housemates became irritated by his behavior after racial and homophobic comments, and voted him out. While this was not due to violence, house guests having the power to vote out a roommate reappears in later seasons.
On the Seattle season, Stephen infamously slapped Irene in the face as Irene got in a taxi to (voluntarily) depart the season early. After the incident, his roommates were given the option to vote him out. Ultimately, they let him stay though the decision was not unanimous. Most notably, David felt that it was never appropriate to hit a girl.
The middle seasons of The Real World seem to have less instances of violence, but there is the incident on the original Las Vegas season where Brynn threw a fork at Steven. After speaking with his roommates, Steven decided not to evict Brynn despite his initial inclination. This marked an interesting change where Steven was given the sole decision to evict his roommate because he was the victim in the situation.
This theme returned in the Sydney season after Trisha pushed Parisa. The two hadn’t gotten along all season, and when Parisa refused to get off the phone for Trisha, Trisha resorted to shoving Parisa. This time, Parisa decided to evict her roommate despite the fact that the other roommates did not want Trisha to go.
The Hollywood season saw some explosive arguments between Greg and most of his roommates. Most notably, there was an argument where Will made numerous threats and threw objects at Greg. While Will was not evicted from the house, production forced him to spend a night in a hotel. This wasn’t the first time that production forced someone to stay in a hotel (Davis had to in Denver), but it’s interesting to see temporary removal from the house as a nonnegotiable result of arguments.
The DC season reintroduced the notion of giving the entire cast the ability to respond to violence after Ty pushed Andrew off the house’s porch. While Ty claimed he was drunk and did not knowingly hurt Andrew, a number of roommates felt he needed a repercussion for his actions. The interesting factor was the fact that Andrew did not want Ty to be punished, and ultimately he received no punishment.
On the Portland, we saw the largest Real World fight in the show’s history when Nia fought both Johnny and Averey. The fight began with Nia punching Johnny after Johnny threw a used tissue and an energy drink at Nia. Unlike other fights, this was not an isolated incident. After the initial battle, Nia attempted to used a hair drier as a weapon to hit Johnny. This is where Averey interjected and fought Nia. In this fight, production never interfered. Marlon and Jordan attempted to break up the fight, but were unable to. Nia also promised the fighting would not stop, even punching Averey later in the morning.
Production was seemingly absent from the fight. The cast was given the opportunity to vote out Nia, but only one of the four uninvolved roommates wanted her gone. Ultimately, Johnny and Averey removed themselves from the house for the duration of the season, though there were only a few days left and they stayed in Portland during that time.
Real World Ex-Plosion has a number of fights, though almost all were between quarreling exes (Jenny & Brian, Thomas & Hailey). There seemed to be fewer repercussions for fighting with someone with whom you had history. While there were some instances between Brian and Cory, there was always security at the thought of violence.
This all leads us to Real World Skeletons, where Violetta hit Madison and proceeded to pull her hair. Then Sylvia jumped Madison from behind. No one really tried to stop the fight, with Bruno trying to stop Nicole from interfering. While production made the cast watch the incident, no one had to leave and the roommates were left to issue their own apologies.
The Real World tries to let the roommates make their own decisions, and up until Ex-Plosion, production seldom was involved in any on-air footage. It seems that they want to continue to let everyone make their own mistakes, regardless of whose expense those mistakes are at.
Do you think The Real World handles violence well?