The Real World Hits the 20-Year Mark!

Who could have predicted the monumental impact The Real World franchise would have on viewers after it made its debut back in 1992.

The Real World: New York introduced us to the spicily chaotic world of a selected group of youths, trying to connect and vibe with other members of their tribe. As the MTV crew documented their every move, these willing guinea pigs were completely unaware of the fact that they were literally laying the foundation for a very profitable and dramatic future ahead.

After the New York debut, there were many more to come, each one more explosive and shocking than the other. But there were episodes of uneasy realism, like when Pedro Zamora from The Real World; San Francisco bravely allowed his battle with AIDS to be filmed. His untimely death was a breathtaking tragedy. Another cast member Frankie Abernathy from Real World: San Diego suffered from cystic fibrosis and the cruelty of the disease was also captured on film. She died in 2007, three years after she left the show. But there were also some good times too just like real life dictates, and as the show’s tentacles made its way to other major cities, it became undeniably clear that every struggle was basically the same. Race, jealousy, unrequited love, and self-esteem issues are still consistently represented themes.

Who knows if co-creaters Jonathan Murray and the late Mary-Ellis Bunim realized what they were unleashing to the airwaves when they conjured up the idea for a reality show about REAL people living in the REAL world. But twenty years later the formula still works like a charm, leaving residue in all the usual places