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