Passing Opinion Off As Fact Since 2009

Passing Opinion Off As Fact Since 2009

Monday, August 24, 2009

The Real(?!) World: A Generational Commentary Disguised As Reality TV Bloggery, pt. 2

20 something’s in the 90’s had to deal with lots of ish: AIDS, finding jobs in a booming economy, thinking of ways to spell words with X’s, slackerness, trying to go outside after finding out the internet had porn on it, picking a Screaming Trees song that perfectly expressed their slackerness, homosexuality was invented but no one was allowed to ask or tell about it, saying the name Newt Gingrich, and other exxxxxtreme things. One show and one show only was able to capture these trials and/or tribulations, Real World.

I’m not going to offer some hackneyed break down of the show because its 17 years old and I think I know what hackneyed means. No, instead I wonder if the differences in the shows focus in recent years are actually as premeditated as people like to say it is.

My senior year of high school corresponded with the Real World Las Vegas season. These 7 strangers for the first time did not seem at all “real” mainly because they were all crazy sexy*. They partied and acted a fool and threw cutlery and had threesomes and cheated when on vacation and partied and had jobs in nightclubs. Additionally, it was awesome.

So awesome that many** have argued it marked the beginning of the end of what the show once was. I am not sure if there was an outcry but if there was an outcry the outcriers would have been outcrying against the shows producers. The argument is the show started casting fame starved, crazies, who were sexy/slutty/punchy because that would boost ratings. On paper, this makes all the sense in the world (the Real world) but screw paper, this is the internet – paper is for squares and old people.

As I mentioned about 142 words ago, the pivotal Las Vegas season corresponded with my senior year of high school, and I believe this is not in the least bit meaningless. That season was the first season made up mostly of “real” people of my generation. So I am here to argue that the show didn’t need to go out looking for sexy/slutty/punchy fellows, we are just a generation of sexy/slutty/punchy fellows (sexiness varies).

We as 20-somethings have little to none of the trappings of our 90’s counterparts previously mentioned. Instead we are escapists in our real world, so it makes sense that we have a more escapist Real World. College-aged/early-post-college-aged folks used to be defined by the pressure to find oneself and grow up and get a job in a great economy (or average one). We are just trying to ignore all that jazz as long as our parents let us. College for a lot of kids has become a very overpriced vacation. Our parents’ generation’s live-for-todayness has translated poorly.

The fact is the economy is bad right now, so there aren’t jobs to have and then hate. The result, we are left to remain kids (sexy/slutty/punchy kids) a little longer and ride it out***. I am very much not saying we are villains here, I think we were given little to know choice***. If you told previous generations that the economy/job-market is not going to improve for a few years, I think they would act-a-fool as well*****.

That is why I argue the producers of Real World have been doing a bang up job. Regardless of the staggering opposition they face, they maintained the same mission statement they have since the start, “this is the true story, of seven strangers, picked to live in a house…” I lived in Brooklyn during the Brooklyn season, and at first (well actually until right this second) hated them there. I thought they were going to ruin my Brooklyn and so did many others*****. There were stories of stones thrown and spit spat.

Yet I am reminded of this guy named Jesus H. something who once said to bunch of potential stonethrowers “Let the one without sin cast the first stone.” We are those eager stonethrowers and maybe we all need to take a look in the mirror (and throw a stone at it).

*Just look at them: . Two have since been playboy, which I am not going to link to because this is not that type of blog (yet…).

** I actually have 0 idea if anyone has thought this other than myself, but they definitely should have.

***The best example of this is that there are investment banks and law firms paying recent graduates a good amount of money to take a year off before entering the work place. WHAAAAAA!

****Even I auditioned for a reality show when I was in between jobs a year ago. I was a finalist but was passed on (thank God?).

*****Save the Greatest Generation I guess. But they were really, really good people. My Great-Grandfather sold apples during the Great Depression. APPLES!!!!!!!

******I am aware many of these “others” probably think I ruined Brooklyn during my stay there.

A DREAM DEFERRED by Langston Hughes

What happens to a dream deferred?

Does it dry up
like a raisin in the sun?
Or fester like a sore--
And then run?
Does it stink like rotten meat?
Or crust and sugar over--
like a syrupy sweet?

Maybe it just sags
like a heavy load.

Or does it explode?

1 comment:

  1. I feel a lot of pressure with this comment. I'm listed in the first post, as a loyal reader, and while yes I do read this blog loyally, the sheer mention of me makes me feel robbed of any credibility to comment objectively.
    So, I'm going to craft this comment with the perfect degree of detachment, aloofness and insight:

    Clever thoughts. I feel like this sentence accurately sums up the life experience of most people born between '80-'90.
    "Our parents' generation's live-for-todayness has translated poorly."