Group 1: Refer to the episode you watched of The Real World. What comments do you have about the ways in which each character is presented? Is there anything you notice about the cast as a whole? Feel free to mention an example from the episode you watched.
Before this class, I had never heard of the MTV show “The Real World”, so I decided to watch an episode from Season 14 which was filmed in San Diego, CA in 2004. I watched episode 1 of this season and was quickly introduced to a wide variety of personalities from the eight individuals who lived in the house. In regards to how they were presented, the shows editors definitely made an effort to pick very different personalities. Each character is presented in a very broad generalized way, so as to appeal to a majority of audiences watching the show. The entire cast as a whole was hand selected to be the most polarized and set to clash at times due to their opposite living styles/personalities. Also, each character had a stereotypical bio in my opinion which also allowed more individuals identify with them on screen. For example, a bio for one character reads, “Jamie is a second-generation Korean-American woman raised by traditional parents in San Francisco. She works two jobs to pay her tuition, but also enjoys partying.” (The Real World, 2004). Or another which reads, “Brad is an Italian-American from Chicago who has just graduated from Lewis University with an accounting degree. He enjoys extreme sports and motorcycles. MTV.com describes him as a “hunky, fun-loving daredevil.” (The Real World, 2004). Clearly, these are two individuals who have fairly stereotypical youth upbringings and are used to appeal to younger audiences watching them.
The creators of the show also put them in various situations which would encourage conversations on controversial topics. Many of the outings are at bars or clubs with excessive drinking which exacerbates tensions between the house members. It is interesting to see that many of the cast members bring up various topics: sexuality, race, religion, and more. I think eventually living in a house together these topics come up, but producers opted for lots of alcohol and tense situations to garner more intense fighting. This again achieved more audience views and better ratings for the show, so these scenarios were brought up as much as possible. However, in only 30 minutes per episode viewers do not get an overall picture of what each individual is truly like. Also, editors have a tremendous amount of power to only include certain footage of an individual to shape the audience perception of them to their liking.
Article: The Real World: San Diego (2004). MTV. Film.