The Real World: New York is the first season of "The Real World" that aired from May 21, 1992 to August 13, 1992.
It is the first season of the series to be filmed in the Mid-Atlantic States region of the United States, specifically in New York and the first out of three seasons to be filmed in New York City.
The cast consisted of seven people who were paid $2,600 to appear on the series. They were filmed living in a loft in SoHo from February 16 to May 18, 1992,
Isiah Thomas, Dennis Rodman and Bill Laimbeer make cameo appearances in Episode 5 when castmates Eric Nies and Kevin Powell attend a New York Knicks game at Madison Square Garden.
Larry Johnson appears in Episode 7 to meet castmates Heather Gardner and Julie Gentry, who attend a Hornets game at the Brendan Byrne Arena.
Matt Pinfield (a radio host for 106.3 FM) has a cameo in Episode 8 when cast member Andre Comeau's band, Reigndance, appears for an interview with that station.
In Episode 9, the cast members attended a rally for 1992 U.S. Presidential candidate Jerry Brown, at which both Brown and Michael Moore are shown speaking.
"The Real World" was originally inspired by the popularity of youth-oriented shows of the 1990s like "Beverly Hills 90210" and "Melrose Place."
Bunim and Murray initially considered developing a scripted series in a similar vein, but quickly decided that the cost of paying writers, actors, costume designers and make-up artists was too high. Bunim and Murray decided against this idea and at the last minute, they pulled the concept (and the cast) before it became the first season of the show.
Tracy Grandstaff, one of the original seven picked for what has come to be known as "Season 0") went on to minor fame as the voice of the animated "Beavis and Butt-head" character Daria Morgendorffer, who eventually got her own spinoff, "Daria."
Dutch TV producer Erik Latour claims that the ideas for The Real World were directly derived from his television show "Nummer 28" which aired in 1991 on Dutch television.
Bunim/Murray decided upon the cheaper idea of casting a bunch of "regular people" to live in an apartment and taping their day-to-day lives, believing seven diverse people would have enough of a basis upon which to interact without scripts.
The production cast seven cast members from 500 applicants, paying them $2,600 for their time on the show.
The production personnel (which included up to 13 people at one time) utilized a work space with a separate entrance. The cast lived in the loft from February 16, 1992 to May 18, 1992.
The production discovered a 9-story, 10-unit residential co-op building at 565 Broadway, at the corner of Prince Street, in Manhattan's SoHo district after much searching & converted the massive, 4000-square-foot duplex to be the residence and filming location.
The walls separating two adjacent apartments on the second and third floors were removed in order to form a single 4,000-square-foot (370 m2), four bedroom residence and were renovated for the filming of the series.
In 1992, "The Real World" spawned a new genre of television with its fresh documentary/soap opera formula.
Seven diverse young people from all over the country moved into a New York apartment in the SoHo neighborhood of Manhattan.
All seven pursued their own dreams in the big city: a model, a dancer, a writer, a rapper, a rock singer, an artist, and a singer. We witnessed their triumphs and failures.
A possible romance developed between two of the roommate Eric and Julie, the lone gay castmember, Norman embarks on a serious relationship & racial tensions heat up between Kevin and the roomies.
List of EpisodesEdit
- This is the True Story (Season Premiere)
- Julie and Eric... Could It Be Love
- Leather Chaps and Sequins? What is Eric Getting Himself Into?
- Trouble Throughout the House
- Kevin and Eric Mend Their Relationship
- Kevin... Come Back!
- Heather Wants to Grab His Booty!
- Becky Falls Into Troubled Love
- Julie in a Homeless Shelter?
- He's So Ugly He's Cute
- Julie Thinks Kevin is Psycho!
- WWF Is In the House!
- Goodbye to the Big Apple! (Season Finale)
At the time of its initial airing, reviews of the show were mostly negative.
Matt Roush, writing in USA Today, characterized the show as "painfully bogus" and a cynical and exploitative new low in television, commenting:
"Watching The Real World, which fails as documentary (too phony) and as entertainment (too dull), it's hard to tell who's using who more." The Washington Post's Tom Shales commented, "Ah to be young, cute, and stupid, and to have too much free time...Such is the lot facing the wayward wastrels of The Real World, something new in excruciating torture from the busy minds at MTV."
Shales also remarked upon the cast members’ creative career choices, saying, "You might want to think about getting a real job."
Nonetheless, the series was a hit with viewers and the initial seasons have come to be reassessed. Writing in 2011, Meredith Blake of The A.V. Club found the cast's career goals to be "ambitious, articulate, and thoughtful," particularly in the context of the time when the show was produced when cast members may have sought to be on TV to further their career goals, but not to be reality TV personalities which was not yet a common goal at the time, stating:
"What's so curious about the show’s somewhat chilly critical reception is that, compared to today’s reality fare—Jersey Shore, the Kardashians, the various Real Housewives—The Real World: New York now seems incredibly, achingly earnest, bracingly raw, and sweetly idealistic."
Blake contrasts this with the casts of later seasons, such as that of 2011, who tend to be defined more by their pasts than by their career goals and who are never unaware of their own onscreen "narrative."
After filming the season, the cast reunited for the second season premiere and provided their predictions, advice and other thoughts regarding the Los Angeles cast. Heather Gardner predicted that someone would leave that cast (David Edwards eventually did so).