It’s easy to picture MTV’s “The Real World” standing on the outskirts of Las Vegas, staring wistfully at the city and quietly lamenting, “I wish I knew how to quit you.”
If the rumors are true — a publicist for the series was unable to comment Wednesday afternoon — the long-running reality series is set to make its fourth trip to Las Vegas, reportedly setting its upcoming 31st season at the Gold Spike.
Leaks and speculation began trickling out around this time in 2010, the last time the show filmed here, with official confirmation coming in October.
When it debuted in September 2002, the 12th season of “The Real World” turned the recently opened Palms into a sensation after George Maloof offered his hotel’s services to the producers, who’d been rejected up and down the Strip.
Five years later, that season’s cast — Steven, Trishelle, Frank, Brynn, Alton, Arissa and Irulan — moved back into their 28th floor suite for two weeks to tape the six-episode “Reunited: The Real World Vegas.” It remains the show’s only full-fledged reunion.
For the 25th season that aired in 2011, eight strangers moved into a custom suite at the Hard Rock Hotel.
Now, just six seasons later, if speculation, innuendo and mouthy “Real World” crew members — or mouthy people claiming to be “Real World” crew members — drinking at the El Cortez are to be believed, the show’s coming back once again.
It all feels a bit too soon.
Of the cities that spawned multiple years, “The Real World” spent seasons one, 10 and 21 in New York. Seasons two and 20 were based in L.A.. Seasons three and 29 took place in San Francisco. And seasons 11 and 30 were housed in Chicago.
That’s plenty of time apart.
But the Hard Rock has barely had time to clean up the destruction from the previous visit, during which cast member Adam Royer was evicted and charged for damages to the suite. According to MTV, the hotel sent him a bill for $3,105 for replacements and repairs, including a “biohazard deep clean.”
But, as they say, any publicity is good publicity, and that’s something “The Real World” has struggled with in recent years. As ratings slipped, the past two seasons have been the stuff of gimmicks. “Real World: Ex-Plosion” had cast members’ former lovers move into the house, while “Real World: Skeletons” featured different visitors each week confronting a roommate over something from his past.
Still, it would be hard for any twist to top the show’s first trip to Las Vegas. That was the season when producers finally seemed to realize that they’d get more drama if they marinated their stars in booze. This led to the then-shocking bathtub threeway with Steven, Trishelle and Brynn that christened the suite.
Talking about his season after the five-year reunion, Steven Hill admitted, “We ruined ‘The Real World.’ ”
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