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''Real World'' Rejection

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Last year some 25,000 people competed for the privilege of sharing their food with the finger-lickin’ Puck. After submitting 17-page essays and homemade videos and surviving seven rounds of interviews, all but seven Real World roommate wannabes found themselves the unhappy recipients of a letter that began, ”This is very difficult for us to write….” The selection process left few personality quirks unexplored: aspirant (and former EW intern) Heather Beach was asked, ”Would you ever want to sleep with David Letterman?” (She didn’t.) The losers have one consolation: They’re not airing their dirty laundry — underwear included — on TV. But are they bitter?

Well, they aren’t exactly rooting for the show. ”They did a lousy job of picking the people,” says Beach, 21. ”They’re so boring and stereotyped, even more cookie-cutter than usual.” (She does admire the million-dollar Real World mansion. ”When I saw the house on Lombard Street,” she says, ”I turned green.”)

”Judd?” gasps Real World washout Shayne Ireland, 28, an advertising executive. ”Limp noodle! I mean, get some personality! He just sits there picking his nose. Well, no, that’s Puck.” Yeah, that is Puck. ”I know I’d have a problem with him if I were on the show,” Ireland continues. ”I’m way more hygienically sound than he is.”

”I’ve been having nightmares that I lived with these people,” confides rebuffed Anna David, 24, an editorial associate for Parenting magazine (also a former EW intern). ”What is my problem? I’m never thinking about the Real World again.”

Despite their disdain for the winners, some outcasts remain a bit sensitive about the experience. Media planner Amy Levitin, 23, asks nervously, ”You’re not going to reject me from the reject article, are you?”

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