Noah Robischon
May 19, 2000 AT 04:00 AM EDT

Each new season of The Real World betrays MTV’s assertion that the show is pure nonfiction: The roomies get more typecast, more predisposed to fighting — and there’s that house no normal twentysomething could ever afford. The parodic The Real Whatever (www.twistedmojo.com) may actually be closer to reality — and it’s loads funnier. The first few episodes follow two uninspired producers as they audition roommates (a virgin, a lesbian, an angry black man, a Republican) and select a claustrophobic house guaranteed ”to provide the most conflict possible.” It works: Billy (the token Southerner) is immediately booted for taking a room without first engaging in a communal discussion. While the camera faithfully mimics MTV’s jump cuts, Whatever‘s dramatic scenarios are a bit too believable to be farcical. But this weekly send-up still captures the soul, if not the truth, of shockumentary programming. B-

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