It’s a ‘Real World’ after all: Exes show up in new season

Hey, remember when “The Real World” was an earnest show about diverse but well-meaning people from different walks of life sharing a house for a few months, a series that forced millions of teen and twentysomething viewers to think about issues of race, religion and sexuality?

Well, MTV is doing its best to make us forget all that.

For the upcoming 29th season of the long-running reality series, premiering Jan. 15, the network has cast the usual assortment of young and attractive people. But in an obvious bid to inject new life into the aging franchise and keep pace with its tawdry imitators, such as MTV’s own “Jersey Shore,” producers have added a new twist: Several weeks into the season, the single housemates will unexpectedly be joined by their exes.

According to a news release from MTV, “This new living arrangement throws a wrench in the roommates’ love lives as jealousy, scandal, fights, hookups, breakups and makeups take over the house, and everyone has to learn to live with one another.”

The cast this season includes Jay, a commitment-phobic “heartthrob” from the Bronx who boasts 60,000 Twitter followers, and Jenny, a bisexual aspiring actress from Los Angeles. So, it’s kind of educational, right?

Over the years, “Real World” producers have tinkered slightly with the show’s format. For a time, beginning with the Miami-set fifth season, each cast was given a seasonlong task or job to work on together.

The producers have also mixed up the roommate formula, casting as many as eight housemates and sometimes including people who knew each other prior to the show (beginning with David and Nathan of the Seattle season.)

But the surprise addition of exes to the cast represents the biggest shakeup so far in the 21-year history of the show.

Making the twist all the more unsavory, at least for ‘“Real World” purists, is that the upcoming season will be set in San Francisco, the city that played host to perhaps the most memorable installment of the series in 1994.

That year, the young and attractive cast included Pedro Zamora, a 22-year-old HIV-positive AIDS educator who married his boyfriend on the show and succumbed to the disease just hours after the season finale aired.

He frequently clashed with Puck, a hygienically challenged bike messenger, but formed a bond with his other roommates, including die-hard Republican Rachel and lovelorn cartoonist Judd.

His appearance on the show helped put a human face on the AIDS crisis for many Americans and is widely viewed as a critical milestone in the quest for LGBT acceptance.

More in Life

The ‘Whimsical Woman’ shares what she learns on the trail

Jennifer Mabus came here from Nevada and Hawaii. She leads hikes and blogs about them.

Branch out: ‘Tasting Cider’ recipes call for hard apple cider

Top cider makers share how they like to make hush puppies, bread pudding and the pear-fect cocktail.

‘Tasting Cider’ a sweet resource for hard apple cider fans

Erin James, the editor-in-chief of Cidercraft magazine, wrote a book all about the fermented drink.

For Texas BBQ, look for the school bus at the reptile museum

This husband-and-wife team has been serving up brisket and more for a decade in Monroe.

You won’t be able to stop eating this colorful chicken salad

The slaw of bell pepper, cabbage and carrot holds up well overnight in the refrigerator.

Raising grandkids can feel like the second time around

The responsiblities of serving as a parent can compete with the joys of being a grandparent.

Commentary: Community Transit to keep up with regional growth

Snohomish County’s bus system prepares for more people — including more older residents.

Fur & Feathers with energetic Lincoln and big-attitude Chase

One dog is not a fan of cats or men. The other definitely prefers adults only.

Almost everyone has questions about Social Security

The most frequent guestion about retirement benefits: ‘When can I start receiving them?’

Most Read