Real World: Ex-Plosion Even before it became a freshman course in shot-glass toasts and hot-tub three-ways, MTV's The Real World was never all that real. Since it debuted… Real World: Ex-Plosion Even before it became a freshman course in shot-glass toasts and hot-tub three-ways, MTV's The Real World was never all that real. Since it debuted… 2014-01-08 Reality TV MTV
TV Review

Real World: Ex-Plosion (2014)

REAL RECOGNIZES REAL and this world is looking explosively unfamiliar
Image credit: MTV
REAL RECOGNIZES REAL and this world is looking explosively unfamiliar
EW's GRADE
D

Details Start Date: Jan 08, 2014; Genre: Reality TV; Network: MTV

Even before it became a freshman course in shot-glass toasts and hot-tub three-ways, MTV's The Real World was never all that real. Since it debuted in 1992, it's been a fascinating look at performance, with the roommates choosing the roles they'll play: the bumpkin who's never had black friends, the party girl who's always crying, the brah with anger-management issues. Back when people were arguing about privacy and the Internet, that all felt prescient. But more than 20 years later, that ''realness'' isn't just fake — it's a performance of a performance. The kids on Ex-Plosion seem to have cast themselves as even-more-over-the-top versions of the usual ''characters'': Take Jay, the naive white kid who wants to touch a black woman's hair for the first time, or Ashley M., the wild child who gets blitzed and threatens to leave the house in the first episode. The series looks like a bad imitation of the reality TV it's spawned. In fact, the premise comes straight from Big Brother 4: The roomies are forced to live with their exes, which might be the only surprise in a season with two personal trainers, multiple love triangles, and at least one scene where a curvy blonde professes, ''Oh my God, it just got really real.'' Reduced to their base elements — hookups and fights — episodes of Real World have become indistinguishable from the supercuts MTV uses to promote them. It's only a matter of time before the network premieres Real World: Facepuncher. D

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Originally posted Jan 08, 2014 Published in issue #1294 Jan 17, 2014 Order article reprints