HERE'S the pitch: get an eclectic group of young people together, rent
them a funky apartment in a trendy area with all the latest Ikea furniture, then
film every waking minute of their existence for a television show.
Oh, and don't forget to inject some conflict. If there's a gay person, he or
she must have a homophobic counterpart; the black person has to have a closet
racist to fight with; the classics lover rooms next to the headbanger. You get
That's probably something like how the meeting went before MTV's most popular
new show was born. An idea so contrived could have only been given one name and
MTV obliged, dispensing all irony when they called the series ... Real World.
Australian viewers - or at least those with cable - are getting their first
taste of Real World now with series one, which was set in New York, screening 10
times a week on MTV Australia.
Since then the show has moved to San Francisco, London and Miami, with
different "casts" at each setting (the positions are advertised before each new
series and the eventual housemates have to get through a rigorous auditioning
It's like being able to tune into Sylvania Waters every week, only the people
in this TV goldfish bowl are young, hip and good-looking - perfect
representatives of the perfect MTV demographic.
In America the show has developed a huge cult following among the sort of
people who arrange their social lives around Melrose Place and Savannah. MTV has
even managed to spin it off into a book and a video, including all the juicy
But despite all this, Real World has been singled out by critics as
symptomatic of an MTV decline. These naysayers, who mainly come from the music
industry, reckon MTV is losing touch with its original directive: ie, to help
make the music industry more money by endlessly playing its video clips.
Come to think of it, there's an idea for the next Real World: The members of
dysfunctional rock band Oasis could be set up in a pad with Mariah Carey,
Whitney Houston and, oh, death metal group Pungent Stench.
There'd be conflict aplenty - and not even the record companies would