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MTV's 'The Real World' launches its 25th season! Crazy!

March 9, 2011 |  9:14 am

Vegas

This is the true story ... of seven [or eight] strangers ... picked to live in a house ... work together and have their lives taped ... to find out what happens ... when people stop being polite ... and start getting real ... "The Real World.”

“Let’s be honest, it not the ‘real’ world,” said Judd Winick, 41, who appeared in the San Francisco-set third season of the long-running MTV series. “But within the context of living in a luxury house with strangers while cameras follow you … real things do happen.”

And for nearly two decades, viewers have been tuning in to watch it all unfold. 

“I watched the show when I was in high school!” said Trishelle Cannatella, 31, whose drunken antics and pregnancy scare were highlighted in the first Las Vegas season in 2002.  “I remember the Los Angeles season with Tami shouting,  ‘It wasn’t not funny!’”

Now “The Real World” is launching its 25th season Wednesday night with a return to Las Vegas.
“It’s truly amazing that we’re still here,” said Jonathan Murray, who, along with the late Mary-Ellis Bunim, created the show. “As long as people keep tuning in, we have no plans to stop.”

Alums of the show are surprised by its longevity.

“I never would have thought it would still be going,” said 31-year-old Julie Rogers, formerly Stoffer, whose Mormon beliefs were tested in the show’s first visit to New Orleans in 2000. “It’s unbelievable to me. Truly. And it’s weirder that I was on a DECADE ago. Where did the time go?”

One need only look to the scores of cities the show has visited to be reminded. From San Francisco and Seattle to Hollywood and New York.

In its early years, "The Real World" aimed to capture intensely personal dramas while also bringing to the forefront hot-bottom topics such as race, AIDS, abortion and addiction.

“It’s almost like a college experience,” said David Burns,  33, who appeared in the Seattle season and is now the managing director of advertising for Los Angeles Times Media Group. “You’re realizing things about yourself that you never really thought about along with people your own age. But, you know, things have changed since I was on.”

The shift can mostly be traced back to a hot tub and some sexually charged roommates during the show’s first stay in Las Vegas in 2002.

“You’re in Vegas,” said Cannatella, who is now a professional poker player signed with Absolut Poker. “What else are you supposed to do?”

There are not a lot of options when living in a controlled setting monitored by a nearby crew.

“One time ‘The Real World: Chicago’ was on in a TV in a bathroom,” Cannatella said. “I was in there and the mic must have been on because the crew busted in. They did not want me watching it. But from the little I saw, I was so worried that I would be considered this season’s Tanya. That was my biggest fear.”

Because despite all the time that has passed, the show follows its alums.

"I will always be known as ‘the dude who was on 'The Real World,' " said Ryan Conklin, a young Army veteran who was redeployed during the Brooklyn season in 2009. “It could be worse. I’m not carrying around the shame of being a child molester or something.”

For the new cast taking the baton, Burns had this bit of advice:

“Look at the show for what it is. Enjoy yourself while you’re on the show, but continue to work hard toward your career and your true passions. The way someone edits you on a  show isn’t going to equal you anything.”

For more on "The Real World," check out this story, and reacquaint yourself with past seasons in our photo gallery.

-- Yvonne Villarreal

twitter.com/villarrealy

Photo: The cast of "The Real World: Las Vegas," which premieres Wednesday. Credit: Reuters

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