The Real World: Los Angeles
is the second season of MTV
's popular reality television
series The Real World
, which focuses on a group of seven diverse strangers living together for several months, as the cameras follow their lives and interpersonal relationships.
The Los Angeles season featured a total of nine cast members over the course of the season, as one cast member was evicted and replaced, and another was replaced when she got married. The Real World expanded to 22 episodes with this season.
- When this season first aired in 1993, the original title for this season was The Real World: California. Years later, the season's title was changed to The Real World: Los Angeles, mainly to avoid confusion with later seasons filmed in California (San Francisco, San Diego, and Hollywood).
- This season was the only one in which two housemates, Tami and Dominic, picked up a third housemate, Jon, at his home in a state other than the one in which the show would be set, and journeyed overnight to their new home in a Winnebago RV. Journeying in a Winnebago would later become a regular motif on the series' sister show, Road Rules.
- The location in which the cast lived was far more colorfully and elaborately decorated than in the previous season, a trend which would continue in the subsequent seasons.
- The house now featured a small sound proof room for the weekly "confessional" cast interviews, and became known itself by that name.
- This was the first season in which cast members left the show during filming: David, who was asked to leave by his housemates, and Irene, because she got married. Consequently, it was the first season to feature a season total of more than seven cast members, as two additional castmates, Glen and Beth A., moved in to replace David and Irene. The season's total of nine castmates is the series' record.
- In what would become the norm for The Real World, the entire cast was sent on an overnight trip abroad, whereas in the previous season, only the women were. The group was also sent on a day trip to Joshua Tree, California, the only such season to conduct such a trip.
- The episode run expanded from 13 to 22.
Age at the time of filming.
||RW/RR Challenges |
||Orange County, California
||Aaron is a 21-year-old business/economics major at UCLA already with an accounting job lined up for the next fall. Originally from Orange County, California, Aaron appreciates the diversity of the people in Los Angeles, but his conservative politics are at odds with the liberalism of the area. Aaron voted for George H.W. Bush, and isn't happy about having a Democrat in the White House. Despite his conservatism, he is pro-choice on abortion, which provides conflict with Jon in one episode.
||Beth is a 24-year-old graduate of Ohio University, where she studied film, television and radio production. She is an avid fan of the entertainment industry, and is in Los Angeles to pursue her career, to meet new people, and challenge herself. Her friends describe her as a "drama queen" whose life is like a soap opera. She has worked as a production assistant, worked in a casting office, but is not interested in acting. During the season, she clashes with David, and later, with Glen.
||Challenge, Battle of the Seasons, Battle of the Sexes, The Inferno II, The Gauntlet II, The Duel, The Gauntlet III |
||David is a 21-year-old stand-up comedian from Washington D.C. who has been in Los Angeles for a couple of months. He has been doing his comedy in local clubs, and has appeared on FOX's In Living Color. He often often comes into conflict with his other housemates, especially Tami and Beth S., which at one point, leads to his eviction from the house.
||Battle of the Sexes |
||Dominic is a 24-year-old writer who writes reviews of bands and television for magazines, though most of his income comes from bartending. Born and raised in Dublin, Ireland, Dominic first came to the United States for a vacation, but liked the weather and people so much he that decided to stay. Distinguished by his spiked black hair, he becomes closest friends with his roommate, Aaron. He visits his family in Ireland during the course of his season, and his drinking sometimes causes incidents, such as one during the group trip to Mexico in which he fell asleep face down on the beach.
||A Southern California native, 25-year-old Irene is a Deputy Marshal for the Los Angeles County Marshals Department who works as a courtroom bailiff, delivers subpoenas, and handles evictions. She develops a close relationship with Jon. Irene met her fiance, Tim, at work, who is also a Deputy Marshal. Their wedding is one of the highlights of the series.
||Jon is an 18-year-old country singer, and the youngest in the house. He is taking a semester off from Belmont University in Nashville to pursue his music career in Los Angeles. In Owensboro, Kentucky, he is a local celebrity and performs regularly at Goldie's Best Little Opry House in Owensboro. He hopes one day to be a successful recording artist. He becomes known for drinking copious amounts of Kool-Aid, for his outspoken conservative views, his devout Christianity, and his status as a pro-life virgin who has never drunk alcohol.
||All-Stars, Battle of the Seasons, The Inferno 2 |
||Los Angeles, California
||Tami is a 22-year-old African-American singer from New York state. She works as an AIDS care specialist, but as a part of her aspirations, she is a member of a four-girl R&B group.
||Originally hailing from Pennsylvania, Glen was chosen from three candidates to replace David after David was evicted. Glen is the lead singer of his band, Perch. Much to some of his roommates' dismay, Glen doesn't take too much time to get to know his housemates, and invites his band out to L.A. to spend time at the house. Glen's ultimate career goal is to make movies and film.
||Beth A. is a craft services employee from Eugene, Oregon who replaces Irene after Irene leaves the house to get married. Although she initially gets along with all her housemates, her status as a lesbian causes Tami to ponder her own biases, and she comes into conflict with Tami on the Mexico trip.
The $2 million (1993 dollars), three-story, 6,000 square foot, four bedroom, four bathroom house is located in Venice Beach on 30th Avenue, one block east of the beach. According to the owner, after the filming of the series was complete, the interior and exterior of the house was repainted back to its original pink color. The only room not to be repainted was the room that was renovated into the Confessional room, which was painted blue with white clouds for the filming of the series. When the current owners purchased the house in 1996, the house was painted light blue/gray with a white trim and the interior pink carpeting was changed to gray. A sign outside the house read, "This area is being used by Bunim-Murray Productions for taping of a television program. By your entrance into this area and your presence, you give unqualified consent to Bunim-Murray to record, use and publicize your voice, actions, likeness and appearance in any manner in connection with the program. If you do not wish to be taped as part of the program, please exit the area until all taping has been completed.
- Situations involving racial tension and other types of bigotry were a recurrent theme during the season. In the very first episode, Dominic, an Irishman with spiked hair, and Tami, an African-American, experience a bit of culture shock when they pick up country singer Jon at his Kentucky home, whose doorbell plays a country music-inspired horn. Dominic and Tami intend to leave with Jon then, but Jon is under the impression that they would leave the next morning, which entails a discussion in plans, and tension experienced by Jon's family because of Tami's presence. During a rest stop meal on their way to Los Angeles in a Winnebago, Jon is incredulous when he learns that Tami is a Muslim, though he is curious about the religion, which Tami explains to him. Jon attempts to express the tension that his family felt at his associating with "people like them", and questions if Tami and Dominic’s families would not feel the same way, but Tami takes exception to the phrase, and Dominic responds that his family would probably feel comforted at his spending time with a young Christian man like Jon. Later, during the Winnebago ride to Los Angeles, Tami taunts Jon's aspirations of being a country singer, condescendingly saying that she wishes him luck, and dismissing the minor celebrity status he enjoys in his "hick" town. Jon retorts that Tami is saying this because "trash like her" isn't allowed in such towns, and although she initially reacts with laughter, she then becomes angry. Later, in her confessional interview, she expresses the opinion that this sentiment was what Jon was feeling all along about her, begins to cry, and asks the camera to be turned off. After arriving at their new home and meeting their other four housemates, Jon is irritated when her overhears Dominic discussing Jon’s “nasal twang” with Aaron, and accuses Dominic of “stabbing him in the back”. By the end of the first episode, Jon, Dominic and Tami agree to try and put their differences behind them, and start off with a new blank slate. Jon and Tami would go on to become the closest of friends, forming a trio with Beth.
- One of the season's most controversial highlights occurs early in the season when the roommates are in the girl's bedroom, and David tries to pull the blankets off of Tami, who screams that she is not fully dressed. As Tami and BethS struggle to hold onto the bedcover, David pulls it (and them) into the corridor, where Tami is left in her underwear, before dashing into a bathroom. Dominic watches from across the hall, and Jon, thinking the three are enjoying a playful episode, slaps the floor where Tami and BethS are deposited, in the style of a wrestling referee, after David escapes with the blankets. Emerging from the bathroom in a robe, Tami places David's boots into a toilet and pours mouthwash on his bed. Finding David hiding in a closet, Tami kicks and slaps him. When David expresses surprise at Tami's anger, arguing that she and Beth were on the floor laughing along with him during the blanket pull, Tami asserts that it "wasn't not funny," and is so upset that she leaves the house for the night. Beth reacts by comparing David's reasoning to a rapist's rationale that his victim asked to be raped, a comparison that David angrily rejects. When David discovers what Tami did to his boots, he charges the women's bedroom, but is dissuaded from doing anything. When she returns to the house, she, Beth and Irene tells the men that they no longer feel safe with David in the house, and will leave if he does not. David moves out, but had later mended fences with Tami by the time of a reunion show with the combined casts of the first four seasons of The Real World, that took place years later, in which he said he took responsibility for pulling Tami's blanket, but not for "being called a rapist".
- The housemates are sent on a group trip to Joshua Tree, California, but they clash with their two guides, who the cast feels treats them in an infantilizing manner, by refusing to answer questions about their destination, by not stopping for adequate breaks, and for becoming upset when the housemates begin listening to Aaron's instructions on following a map, etc. At one point, the guides, feeling that the housemates are exhibiting an "attitude", have them sit in a circle, where they excoriate their behavior, with the male guide angrily criticizing them for not respecting their authority, arguing that their situation is akin to a "war," an analogy that the housemates reject. Later noting that their normal conflicts evaporated as they came together against the treatment of the guides, Dominic argued to the guides that they were not children, that Irene, for example, is a Deputy Marshall, and that the guides should treat them with greater respect. During a rock climbing portion of their journey, Tami, who was having trouble, erupted in anger at Aaron, criticizing him for not complimenting others on their accomplishments, though she later conceded in her confessional interview that the outburst came about because he was doing well at the activity. Tami also revealed that she was pregnant in the episode. At the end of the journey, the guides presented each member of the cast with merit prizes that they instructed to bestow upon another member that they felt was deserving. In a show of friendship, Aaron bestowed his on Tami.
- In the episode following the Joshua Tree excursion, Tami had an abortion. The episode featured a parental advisory title card at the beginning of the show. Tami's mother came to support Tami during the crisis, and offered her own perspective on abortion, saying that she could not have had one herself when she became pregnant with Tami because abortion was not yet legal. Jon, who is pro-life, is against it, and has a discussion with Aaron and his visiting girlfriend, Erin, who are pro-choice.
- In one episode, Glen invited the other members of his band, Perch, to stay in the house, apparently without informing the other housemates, who, with the exception of BethA, felt that the band were not pleasant guests, playing loud music, eating the group's food from the refrigerator, using the hot tub while fully clothed, etc. When they confronted Glen over it, Glen responded that he invited them in because he didn't find any of his other housemates interesting.
- A recurring motif during the season are the "cliques" into which the housemates divide, sometimes to the exclusion of the others. Roommates Dominic and Aaron, for example, become close friends, as do Beth A. and Glen, with Tami, Beth S. and Jon left amongst themselves, which becomes a point of argument during the group's trip to Mexico. When the latter three enter a Mexico nightspot, BethS shouts "Hola, chicos!" and Jon does a chicken dance, which Glen and Aaron later admit embarrassed them. The others are incredulous at this, pointing out that Glen, along with Jon Aaron, participated in a drag show in which they were dressed as women, and even jumped into a pool fully clothed after publicly joking about urinating in it, and that Dominic got drunk and passed out face down on a beach, for which neither were embarrassed. BethS challenges what she perceives as a belief on Glen's part that they are above them, with Glen responding that he doesn't consider himself "above" them, but "beyond" them.
- The Los Angeles cast was so prone to argument that on their last day in the house, six of them (with the exception of Beth A.) attempted to do a group confessional (the confessionals are generally conducted individually) in order to appear less contentious than they did during the season, but ended up arguing and storming out.
- The show was also satirized in the October 2,1993 episode of the sketch comedy show, Saturday Night Live. The episode, which was hosted by Shannen Doherty, featured a skit depicting a Real World cast patterned after the Los Angeles cast, and poked fun at the discussions of racism, bigotry and political differences that served as a recurring theme that season.
- A Season 1 episode of Chappelle's Show parodied The Real World franchise but is particularly aimed at the events of The Real World: Los Angeles. During the DVD commentary Dave Chappelle notes that he is a friend of David Edwards, and helped to get him on the cast of The Real World. He notes that much of the impetus for the Chappelle Show skit was his perception that the casts of The Real World often display their racist perceptions of African Americans, especially black men, as typified by the incident with Edwards.
- The incident that led to David's eviction was parodied in a 1993 episode of the sketch comedy show, The Jon Stewart Show, with Jon Stewart portraying Tammy in the skit.