‘The Real World’: Creator Jonathan Murray Picks the 10 Best Moments of All Time


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In honor of The Real World‘s 30th season premiere — let that sink in for a moment, people — we asked co-creator Jonathan Murray to pick his 10 favorite moments in the show’s history, and he obliged. This is what happens when executive producers stop being polite, and start getting real.

Season 1 (New York)
“Big Fight in the Big Apple”
To me, one of the most interesting moments about Season 1 happened when Julie and Kevin clashed over race. This was the very first time Julie had really been engaged in such a heated discussion about race and the argument that started in the loft moved quickly to the street. At that time our cameras were hard wired to a control room. So we had to unhook the camera, toss the cable out the window, and then rebook it up outside. Coupled with the Los Angeles riots following the Rodney King verdict happening at that time, their fight was the perfect reflection of how the topic of race was at the forefront for all of Americans during this time.
Season 2 (Los Angeles)
“Pro-life or Pro-friendship?”

Abortion is still a personal and controversial topic in 2014, but this season that aired over two decades ago shows a discussion between a pro-life and pro-choice roommate. Tami decides to have an abortion following an unwanted pregnancy, and Jon really questions her decision. Ultimately, he decides to support Tami even though he doesn’t agree with it. I loved that their interaction didn’t have the usual rhetoric and raised voices, but that it was based on mutual support and affection.
Season 3 (San Francisco)
“SF is for All Lovers”

Pedro was the first openly gay man with AIDS on the Real World and also the first roommate to bring attention to HIV/AIDS and prejudices around the disease. One of my favorite moments is when Pedro and his boyfriend Sean had a commitment ceremony in front of their friends and the roommates. We are proud to say that this was the first same-sex union ceremony shown on TV and ultimately, we made history with it.

Season 7 (Seattle)
“The Slap”

This was a very memorable moment as it was one of the first times in Real World history that a roommate physically attacked another roommate. Irene decided to leave the house as she was battling Lyme disease, and in her final goodbye to Stephen, a roommate she had had increasing tension with, she decided to “out” his sexuality. Next thing we know, and before we could stop him, Stephen runs after her and quickly slaps her in the face before she zooms away in a car.

Season 8 (Hawaii)
“Drunk Driving Drama”

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It was obvious from the get-go that Ruthie loved to party and drink a lot during her time in Hawaii. A memorable moment for me was not only when Ruthie and Teck went skinny dipping immediately upon arrival but when Ruthie decided to drink and drive. For the first time ever, producers had to step in to keep her from getting behind the wheel; even after they warned her not to. She ultimately went to rehab and returned to the house sober.

Season 9 (New Orleans)
“Blurry Boyfriend”

Danny’s new boyfriend, Paul, visited the roommates at the house. However, he was in the military and with “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” still the law of the land, we had to blur his face during his visit to conceal his identity. Danny originally warned Paul against coming because he could lose his job if someone found out he was gay — not to mention that he had not come out to his family or friends yet. But Paul decided to take the risk and visit Danny anyway, making for a memorable moment.
Season 11 (Chicago)
“9/11 Shock”

When the housemates are on the show they have no access to television and radio. During the taping of this season the unthinkable happened — Sept. 11th. Production made an exception and brought in a TV to allow the roommates to see what was happening. From that day on, everyone around the world knew things would change. Season 12 (Las Vegas)
“Hot Tub Hook-ups”

The first season in Las Vegas definitely set a high bar in terms of hook-ups and debauchery. Steven schools roommate Frank in how to win Trishelle’s heart, and later when all three of them are in the hot tub, when Frank doesn’t take the opportunity, a frustrated Steven reaches over Frank to make out with Trishelle. And who can forget the Steven, Brynn, and Trishelle threesome in the hot tub… on night three.

Season 21 (Brooklyn)
“Boy, girl or transgender?”

When the roommates arrive to their house and are getting to know one another there is a lot of suspicion about whether Katelynn is transgender. After a lot of speculation, Katelynn reveals to JD that she is in fact a male-to-female transgender. This is a stand out moment for us. We’ve tackled a lot of identity issues on this show and this was still a first for us.
Season 29 (Ex-plosion)
“Exes Move in”

This season as a whole is a standout as it was the first time in the history of Real World that we’ve changed up the format and introduced a twist as a surprise for the roommates. Although the season started out just as any other — partying, hookups, etc. — little did the roommates know what was coming. I think the best moment in this season is when the roommates return from a fun little getaway only to be confronted by all of their exes coming to live in the loft with them. Jenny’s reaction is priceless, and really portrayed what they all were feeling — disbelief.
The Real World: Skeletons premieres Tuesday, Dec. 16 at 10 p.m. on MTV.
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