105: “Stop Being Polite” – MTV’s The Real World Part 1

What do RuPaul, Guy Fieri, Jennifer Hudson, Ozzy Osbourne, Honey Boo Boo, and the Kardashians have in common? They all owe a debt of gratitude to MTV’s THE REAL WORLD, which popularized the tone, format, and style most reality shows still adhere to today.

In 1992, a show that followed regular people in their ordinary lives was groundbreaking. So extraordinary, in fact, that many contemporary critics thought reality television was a laughable fad aimed exclusively at brainless teens. The Real World’s first season, set in a New York City loft, got the formula down surprisingly quick, featuring all the partying, pranks, and heated debates we came to expect from the series in later years.

For this podcast, Chris, Seth, and Becky reminisce about their own experiences “being taped,” discuss their memories of the reality TV boom that blew up right around the millennium, then check out The Real World’s most memorable – AKA most notorious – episodes in honor of the show’s 30th anniversary. This era of the series covered topical social issues ranging from AIDS to abortion to “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” so there’s a lot to cover here!

Pack your bags for a whirlwind trip through one decade in America, with stops in New York, Los Angeles, Seattle, New Orleans, San Francisco, Chicago, and Hawaii. Controversial opinions are mandatory, but clothing is optional!

Follow When We Were Young on Twitter and Instagram at @WWWYshow, on Facebook at and email episode suggestions to Don’t forget to subscribe and review us on Apple Podcasts and Google Podcasts (or wherever you get your podcasts) so more folks check out the show. And donate to the National Network of Abortion Funds at

75: “Sal’s Famous Pizzeria is Here to Stay” – Do The Right Thing

Riots. Fires. Police violence. Ruinous bigotry. A cacophony of voices calling for justice for Black Americans. These are all very present in today’s newspaper headlines and social media feeds, and also set the scene for Spike Lee’s seminal modern classic DO THE RIGHT THING, which is no less urgent in 2020 than it was upon its 1989 release.

Lee’s film was praised by most critics but received a backlash from some, who wrongly believed the film itself would incite riots upon its summer release. Instead, When We Were Young happily joins in the thoughtful conversation on racial tensions Do The Right Thing has prompted for thirty years and counting, finding the film not only rightfully angry but also vibrant, loving, insightful, and incredibly funny.

As the world mourns the senseless killings of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, and countless others by those meant to serve and protect, our cohosts discuss just how difficult it is to “Fight the Power” when that power is armed with a license to kill citizens without cause, and debate what “doing the right thing” even means anymore. Black Lives Matter — and that’s the truth, Ruth.

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When We Were Young is a podcast devoted to the most beloved pop culture of our formative years (roughly 1980-2000). Join us for a look back to the past with a critical eye on how these movies, songs, TV shows and more hold up now. Follow us on Twitter and Instagram at @WWWYshow, on Facebook at and email your episode suggestions to Don’t forget to subscribe and review us on the iTunes and Google Play Stores so more folks check out the show.