When The real world launched on MTV in 1992, the slogan was simple: ‘This is the true story of seven strangers who have been chosen to live in a house, work together and have their lives captured – to find out what happens when people don’t be more polite and start to get real. “
Now, 33 seasons later, that is still happening and barriers are being broken along the way. “We believed that if we bring different types of people together, after all the drama and shouting, they will find they have more in common than not,” co-creator Jonathan Murray told the Los Angeles Times in 2017 – which is exactly what happened, while conversations about race, sexuality, culture, religion and politics naturally unfolded in front of the cameras.
The popular reality show also resulted in multiple spin-offs. In 1995 Traffic rules debuted, in the same vein as The real world but instead of living in a house, the cast traveled the country in a motor home. In 2002 MTV released a movie for TV, The Real World Movie: The Lost Season. In 2008, the Real World Awards Bash broadcast.
Of course, the biggest spin-off came in the form of The challenge, which launched in 1998 and features castmates from the past compete against each other.
The production company also produced Pedro, a 2008 film that made the life of Pedro Zamora, a gay, HIV positive participant in The Real World: San Francisco in 1994. Pedro died on November 11, 1994, hours after his season finale aired.
The season “did one of those things you rarely get to do,” Murray said The Hollywood Reporter in 2012. “We had to provide our viewers with entertaining television, but also television that would change their lives. There were so many people affected by getting to know Pedro in a way that reality TV allows you to. It’s as intimate as those cameras are out there 24/7, and when he finally died, they felt like they knew someone who had AIDS. As a gay man and someone who has lost friends to AIDS, I am extremely proud to have put him on the show. ”
Former president Bill Clinton, who made an intro to the movie, told Murray that “Pedro on MTV made more of a difference than anything he could do from the Oval Office.”
It is safe to say, the impact of The real world – and the conversations it started – were heard around the world. Browse our gallery below for some of the most memorable stars.