Gothamist reports today that MTV's The Real World — where young people stopped being polite, and started getting real — aired today for the very first time. Created by Mary-Ellis Bunim and Jonathan Murray, the show was based off of a 1973 documentary series An American Family. After the Hawaii season, however, the show seemed more like something based off of Cinemax After Dark. But before The Real World dipped its toes into ill-advised roommate-on-roommate promiscuity and binge drinking, San Francisco played host to the series' arguably greatest season. (Fine, it might tie with NYC's Season One.) We are, of course, talking about Pedro, Cory, Judd, Pam, Mohammed, Rachel, and Jo. (Puck too. But, ugh, whatever. Puck was awful.)
While New York (Eric Nies! Heather B!), Los Angeles ("It wasn't not funny"), and Seattle (the slap heard around the world) all had choice moments, none of them compared to the San Francisco installment. Airing in 1994 smack dab in the gay '90s, audience members were introduced to Pedro Zamora, who was not only openly gay but also HIV-positive. He changed the way many people viewed gays and HIV. He was also not a fan of people sticking their snot-covered fingers in his peanut butter. Which is exactly what horrifying and crass bike messenger Puck did, prompting his (just) eviction from the household.
Pedro and Judd became close friends, and when Pedro died a few months after the show aired, he went after Puck on the reunion special. Still mourning the death of his friend, Judd angrily accused Puck of saying "Good riddance" and that he "deserved to die" with regard to Pedro's death, among other things. Behold:
As far as the other housemates: Pam and Judd were not only noteworthy for being tolerant and intelligent, but also for getting married. (They tied the knot in 2001 two days before 9/11.) Mohammed took us to the Bammies (the Bay Area Music Awards, now called the SF Weekly Music Awards). Cory cried a lot and had adorable hair. Rachel was a Republican who got on everyone's nerves and later married Sean Duffy (from The Real World: Boston) and had a thousand babies. And Joe was a vegetarian with an British accent who once barfed on camera after ingesting pork.
The castmates lived in a tricked out pad at 949 Lombard in Russian Hill. On June 8, 2000 a blaze sparked by scented candles caused around $2 million in damage to the house. years later, the building was renovated. The house no longer looks anything like it did during its MTV years.
Gothamist, who are also strolling down MTV memory lane, note that "the show has diminished throughout the past 28 seasons." And over at DCist they've marked The Real World DC as the worst installment, ever. (Side note: the house where the cast lived is now a museum of forced labor prisons in China.)