Our Favorite Real World Casts

(This is a preview of the PopRox column in Sunday’s Pocono Record. And don’t forget, just a couple more hours to enter for the tickets to see AWOLNATION at the Sherman Theater tomorrow, find out how to win tickets here.)

I’m legally bound to start this blog post thusly:

This is the true story … of seven strangers … picked to live in a house …

Wait, I’m not? Then how come everything that’s ever written about The Real World starts that way? Weird.

Anyway, like just about everything with MTV, The Real World already peaked and is in severe decline, but the only ones that don’t realize it are the people at MTV.

So we watch it season by season, hoping the new cast mates will snap a spark of the old magic.

They don’t.

But hey, there’s always the new season, which starts Wednesday and sends a new cast to Portland, Ore., only a few years after it a became a popular city for young people to live in. Timely as always, MTV!

Maybe, just maybe, we can get one of the new cast members in this 28th season to crack the most memorable list:

yup, i had a big crush on elka, virgin or not.

Most influential cast: Before Boston, the show’s sixth season, we had to wait around a couple weeks for the house mates to be cooped up together before they started fighting, which is obviously the only reason people watch the show. But Boston was the first season to introduce the show to its most important ingredient — alcohol. I don’t know if drinking was banned previously, or whether the producers told the cast members to take it slow or whether they just didn’t want to film the cast members boozing. Who knows. But Boston house mates Sean and Syrus hit it off immediately, went out for beers the first night they were there, brought some girls home (one of whom I dated once or twice when she was in high school, no lie) and the show hasn’t looked back since. The season even managed to show the bad side of alcohol when Montana got fired for (still allegedly?) giving an 8-year-old a sip of wine on a field trip to Philly. Good times! And other than Sean and Syrus, it was the first time where cast mates really didn’t hide their disdain for the rest of the people in the house and were pretty inconsiderate of each other. Another current Real World staple.

is it just me, or does NO ONE look happy in this picture. sounds about right.

Craziest cast: The Boston cast may have introduced alcohol, but the Las Vegas cast perfected it. Nothing was off the table, and the tourism bureau is still reaping the benefits of what happened in Vegas with this crowd. Not surprisingly, it’s the one edition of The Real World that spawned a legitimate reality celebrity (Trishelle Cannatella) and the one edition that was so ridiculously over-the-top MTV asked the entire cast to come back for a reunion season. This is the season that obviously made MTV say, Let’s just put pretty, vapid, charming 20-somethings together in a house and pay their bar tab for three months. That’s right, Snooki, you can thank Alton and pals for your fame.

Biggest post-Real World star: For all the ill-conceived hopes and dreams of these young, naive, willing participants, no cast member really has broken out into a famous Hollywood star. Kevin from the first New York season is now a quasi-famous journalist, author and aspiring politician. Trishelle probably had about 16 minutes of fame after the first Vegas season. Sean from Boston is a two-term member of the U.S. House of Representatives. But only one person — Michael Mizanin — actually made it big. During his stint as a cast member on season 10’s Back to New York, his alter ego came out briefly. That alter ego was The Miz, and now that alter ego has held a slew of different belts in the WWE, including a six-month stint as WWE Champion in 2011 and 2012.

you're a cop, you're a cop, you're a cop

Craziest cast member: How do you even start to narrow this down? Coral from Back to New York was delusional and marvelously confrontational, Ruthie from Hawaii set the record for being the subject of the most 9-1-1 calls (since broken by Brad in the 2004 San Diego season) and in a show history littered with douchebags, C.T. from Paris somehow distanced himself from the rest of his brethren to easily claim the title of Head Douche. But there have been 25 casts since San Francisco, and still, no one can touch Puck. Oh, people have tried. My, how they’ve tried. And MTV deliberately looks for a Puck type in most seasons to stir things up. Until someone snot rockets on another cast member, Puck’s spot here is safe. Throw in the fact that he’s currently in jail on charges of stalking, and it will take a murder rap for someone else to throw him off the list. Not that I’d put it past these people.

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