The year was 2007. MTV was in an odd, transitional stage, and they were experimenting with new content ideas. While The Real World and The Challenge were still going, seasons like Denver, Sydney, and The Inferno 3 were only finding lukewarm success.
But the network was also trying new things with the franchise. This is when we saw Road Rules: Viewers’ Revenge, and The Real World saw all seven Vegas roommates reunite for a mini-series.
It was the first and only Real World season to get a second chance on MTV, and it was pretty odd. We can’t stream it anywhere, and it feels like the network has mostly scrubbed it from its records.
So what was happening here?
Well, the 7-episode mini series reintroduced us to the cast, and to be quite honest, they were kind of a mess. Not all of them, but a lot of them.
Brynn was probably the most normal one. She had two kids and was now married. She was very tame compared to the original season and her roommates “decided” to throw her the bachelorette party she never had, though it was clearly staged.
Trishelle was also quite tame, but her persona was truly a relic of the mid-00s. She was in her professional poker-playing stage, and had recently filmed the move “Ninja Cheerleaders.” While this seems a bit odd, and potentially desperate for fame, it was quite common for former reality stars to pursue future on-camera roles. Trishelle was able to extend her 15 minutes for a few years after the original Las Vegas season.
Production really seemed to want some drama with Arissa, Irulan, and Alton. Apparently the three were quite close at one point, and Arissa played a role in Alton & Irulan’s break up. They argued about this for a bit in episode one where Arissa uttered her semi-famous phrase “bone out ****o” (use your Spanish to fill in the blank). Beyond this, she was pretty mild on the season.
When the season first premiered, fans were likely most eager to see Irulan because she had been away from the camera for a while. Most of her story revolved around her relationship with Alton. While they seemed to end on OK terms, any chance of rekindling the flame as out the window. The two declined an invitation from production to have dinner together.
Really, the issues with the cast dealt with the men. The least problematic was Steven who was mostly level-headed. But early in the season he got banned from the hotel pool for drunkly throwing a chair and girl into the water. Frank gets him unbanned, but do we really need to spend an afternoon watching an episode of The Real World about swimming in hotel pools?
Alton is in the middle of a wild phase, and seems to come onto this season with a stand-off attitude (we see this to a lesser degree on The Inferno 3). He seemed uninterested in reuniting with Irulan, which is understandable, but he also made some anti-Semitic comment toward Steven. It was such an odd turn of events, and one that left a sour impression on the season.
And then there was Frank.
It felt like he was upset that he didn’t party enough on his first Real World season. This time, he was going to make up for lost time. This resulted in him hooking up with random girls (who accused him of having an STD), partying way too much, and spitting (or gleeking, as he claimed) on Irulan.
So Why Is This Season Forgotten?
When we look at The Real World Homecoming, we see a lot of people who have spent years thinking about their time on The Real World and hoping to make amends with the past. This season, filmed 5 years after the original, was a simple cash grab. It felt like the hungover after the ultimate party season, and no one wants to experience that.
The season is also built around really ugly drama and blatantly forced scenarios. Production is much more transparent about this with their “incoming messages” on Homecoming. This time, the cast was acting unnaturally because they weren’t interesting (or invested) enough. For example, we see Trishelle trying to set up Frank in a scene that feels like its ripped out of one of MTV’s afternoon dating shows.
But at the time, there weren’t a lot of successful programs on MTV. The Hills was probably the only noteworthy show, while The Real World was starting to feel stale. Later in the year, MTV would have a bit of a revival, but this would also be accompanied by changes. Most notably for The Real World and Challenge, the show would move to the one-hour episode format after 2008.
Even in 2007, this season was tone-deaf and fairly unsuccessful. In today’s climate, it would be a huge blemish on the network’s legacy. So they let the season fade away, and they’re going to hope they can keep it hidden.