Saturday, March 21, 2009

Yes, I still watch The Real World.

McGrath, Tom. MTV: The Making of a Revolution. Philadelphia: Running Press, 1996.

Yes, I'm 42 years old and I still watch MTV's The Real World. This documentary/sociology experiment started back in 1992 when 7 strangers were chosen to live together in an amazing Manhattan apartment for a few months and have their every move taped.

Johnson, Hillary, and Nancy Rommelmann. The Real Real World. New York, NY: MTV Books/Pocket Books/Melcher Media, 1995.

Each year the show takes place in a different city with different cast members. The Real World is often credited as being the first influential reality show on national television. In fact, it is even featured in the Paley Center for Media.

Maupin, Armistead. Michael Tolliver Lives. New York: HarperCollinsPublishers, 2007.

The San Francisco season was especially ground-breaking because one of the cast members, Pedro Zamora, had the AIDS virus. He passed away only a few months after the last episode was aired and his death made national news. As President Bill Clinton said, Pedro had become a part of all our families and that now none of us could say that we didn't know someone living with AIDS.

Winick, Judd. Pedro and Me: Friendship, Loss, and What I Learned. New York: Henry Holt, 2000.

To learn more about Pedro, I highly recommend Judd Winick's book Pedro and Me: Friendship, Loss, and What I Learned. One of my favorite authors, Armistead Maupin writes:
"Pedro and Me is as lovely and resonant a tribute as one friend could possibly pay another. Judd Winick takes us beyond all those tilty camera angles into the realest world of all: the hearts and minds of the people who actually lived this wrenching but triumphant story. I was utterly captivated."
I met Judd Winick a few years ago at an ALA conference, but I was too shy to say much. I did get him to sign my copy of his book, though.

ps. In my opinion, Honolulu, Las Vegas, and Denver were the worst seasons because the kids acted like drunken springbreakers throwing off their clothes and getting into bar room brawls. It was kind of like watching the Jerry Springer Show, only with better looking people.

pps. I think this year's Real World: Brooklyn is the best season since San Francisco. I actually cried when I watched last week's episode. To learn more about Real World: Brooklyn, visit