This “Real World: Original Cast Reunion” Sucks — Surreality Television & The Democratic Debates

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“Strangers picked to get on a stage (and fight for 5 minutes of airtime). Find out what happens … when people stop being polite … AND START GETTING REAL.”

I knew this sounded familiar. I recognize the characters, but it took me a while (God, they didn’t exactly age well). Anyway, if you’re binge-watching the “Original Cast Reunion” with me, I figured I’d give you a character list — it’s been a long time, and who remembers well enough to distinguish them anymore? After all, the characters are pretty much the exact same very damn season.


Reintroducing the cast:

Rich, sleazy, stands-way-too-close white guy with beached Chiclet teeth who sexually harasses everyone but is somehow SHOCKED and indignant when housemates finally stage an intervention; fake cries while Sarah McLachlan wails mournfully on the soundtrack: JOE BIDEN.

The chick who tried our for Real World seven times before getting a slot on the cast, after perfecting her “sassy one-liner comeback” persona and “Daria but more attractive” aesthetic. She “didn’t come here make friends”; guaranteed to make everything about herself and is overdramatic as hell: KAMALA HARRIS.

Bland, generically attractive “good guy” who’s best friends with all the girls in the house after moving to LA from Nebraska (where he was the high school football star) and can’t understand why he “keeps getting friend-zoned”: BETO. Definitely Beto.

“Wholesome” boarding school graduate in her carefully structured hippie rebellious phase (don’t worry; it’ll pass when she “decides to gets clean” from weed) who loves her peasant skirt and new SUV (with Grateful Dead and ‘Save the Earth’). She’s secretly thrilled to flaunt the “controversy” of her first interracial relationship: ELIZABETH WARREN.

The poser guy whose “real past” (he went to private school but said he got kicked out by his parents and had to get a GED while in juvie — thinks it’ll help him get laid) inevitably comes out in an ultra-dramatic episode when castmates express feelings of betrayal: “it’s like I never even knew you! We would have liked you for the REAL you, but it’s like you LIED to us!” (Cue REM, “Everybody Hurts”): CORY BOOKER.

That abrasive lady obviously cast to be the “bitch of the house,” but you can never tell if it’s selectively dramatic editing by the producers, or whether she just actually sucks; in college had a flock of BFA acolytes drawn to her selectively edgy politics and love for righteous indignation and antagonistic attitude in class: TULSI GABBARD.

Obligatory boring, sheltered, and easily shocked Plane Jane who was homeschooled before “peaked early” as an RA at her college dorm; always feels the need to act like everyone’s mother, nosy as hell, and doesn’t get why she has no friends. Performatively cries at night by loudly gulping and sniffling in the bathroom around 11 pm; hopes someone will come check on her to show they care. They don’t: AMY KLOBUCHAR.

Son of famous CEO (selected by producers for maximum drama), desperate to be cool after a lifetime of bullying. Always buys drinks for the entire house, hoping someone will be his friend. His favorite band is Blink-182, because they’re “totally alternative.” Virgin: ANDREW YANG.

Nerdy late bloomer who constantly reminds everyone he was valedictorian in high school. Super nice guy, but you just can’t convince yourself to hang out with him, and he’s so grossly earnest it always makes you cringe. Definitely wore a bow tie until 9th grade. You can never remember his name and forget he’s in the show until producers give him 6 minutes of pity screen time once in a while: PETE BUTTIGIEG.

Bizarrely endearing weirdo with zero fashion sense who talks way too loud, and can never find his keys. Tensions in the house finally break out because he forgets to flush the toilet, and always leaves the bathroom disgusting. It’s never quite clear if he actually lives there, or is some homeless dude that just wandered inside. Nemesis of Chiclet-tooth Chad: BERNIE SANDERS.

Guy who ran for class president in high school, lost, and never got over the trauma; super awkward, clingy and insecure. Negative charisma. He’s the only member in school (specifically: LAW SCHOOL. He never shuts up about it). Not even a foreign name and cool mom make him interesting. JULIAN CASTRO.

Dude who only shows up in two episodes; he quits the cast early because” he’s homesick” (but really it’s because no one likes him and he’s not cool enough to be there) but who cares, because you forgot who he the hell he was even when was on screen: STEYER (maybe? I can’t remember).

God, I forgot how stupid The Real World was. What producer gave the green-light to a 3-hour reunion episode of this shit — and why the hell am I watching?

One comment

  1. Current politics is very exhausting. Many of the Democratic candidates are not that good (especially Tulsi and Pete). Don’t get me wrong. I would vote in a heartbeat for almost any Democrat (Trump and the GOP must be stopped). I personally have the most faith in Bernie. I don’t know what your personal political beliefs but by seeing the mass of Right-wing/pro-Trump trolls in your twitter (I only lurk the site infrequently instead of making a account for obvious reasons) I assume you don’t like the political Right (so I’m also assuming you are a independent voter). Also, why are there so many trolls in your Twitter stuff? I thought the expertise that scholars of MENA or Islamic studies have would be uncontroversial. Well… I just remembered that many people (especially conservatives/Republicans) don’t care about facts or expertise. Anyway, I totally understand your skepticism over the Democrats. My biggest reasons for voting Democrat is to see action on Climate Change, to stop the internment camps in the southern border (this issue hits close to me as a Mexican-American), and to stop the mainstreaming of racism and Islamophobia (as a student of Islam and Islamic culture in Asia, this latter issue is also important to me).


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