Wednesday, February 04, 2009

Real World Trans-ition

Of all reality television, I believe that the king of all shows would be The Real World. This show is what kicked off the "reality" craze back in 1992 and is the longest running reality show in history. And even though it's so popular, I started to lose interest after about the tenth season.

Just like many shows, the "plot lines" started to become repetitive and boring. After a while, all you see are the roommates going out and partying at clubs...and that's it. It used to be so controversial in the beginning, covering topics from racism to homosexuality to AIDS awareness. But recently within the past few years, nothing new has been introduced. In the Real World Sydney,there were no people of color or anyone of homosexuality as there had been in every single season previously. And in The Real World-Hollywood last season, the most interesting thing that happened was when castmate Joey had a minor stint in rehab for cocaine abuse, which was barely covered for two episodes until he left the show. I was beginning to think Real World was falling victim to "reality t.v. syndrome" and it wouldn't be long before it would be cancelled.

However, this season has so far proved to be different. The Real World-Brooklyn is about 8 (always a 7 roommate house) strangers who come to Brooklyn to live with one another and pursue their dreams in New York. Unlike other seasons, Brooklyn has gone back to its' roots in that the roommates are encouraged to find their own jobs instead of all being required to do the same one together. And the cast is better than ever. Some of the more interesting castmates include a soldier named Ryan who has just returned from Iraq; an aspiring television host named Chet who is a Mormon from Salt Lake City; a hip-hop dancer also from Salt Lake, although not Mormon, and many more. But, the one roommate that stands out the most is Katelynn, a transgender women from West Palm Beach, Florida.

Katelynn began life born male, but realized her unhappiness was because she felt she was the wrong gender. She had gender reassignment surgery in Thailand and now lives life like all other women. In my opinion, Katelynn gives the Real World exactly what it has been lacking for quite some time. This is the first time someone who is transgender has ever been on the show, and it is already making for some interesting conversations and situations in the house. I think The Real World made a great choice in selecting Katlynn not only because it makes for interesting television, but it allows The Real World to remain true to its' standards in setting itself apart from the rest of reality television.

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