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Video Review: 'The Real World You Never Saw' and 'The Making of Road Rules'

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Puck, The Real World
Puck: Everett Collection

The Real World You Never Saw
1997
SONY
$12.95
UNRATED

The Making of Road Rules
1997
SONY
$12.95
UNRATED

With the knockdown quarrels, ejected housemates — and Puck’s fingering of other people’s peanut butter — it sure felt like trailblazing TV. But now even granola-bar commercials ape the shows’ slackers-in-a-fishbowl formula. After a combined 10 seasons, MTV’s twin vérité series, The Real World and Road Rules, simply need to get a little realer.

Which is the promise held out by two new tapes spun from the shows. The Real World You Never Saw acknowledges, if casually, the invasive impact of the show’s hidden crew. In segments recorded in the Boston pad while the gang was out, the hosts (Brit hunk Neil and last season’s spitfire Flora) confirm what we always suspected: The producers like to coax controversy out of the casts during on-camera Q&A sessions. But contrary to its sex-‘n’-sin packaging, the video is mostly 45 high-spirited minutes of pratfalls, bleeps, and blunders that would make Dick Clark flush with pride. True, we glimpse a pre-balding Eric Nies’ bare butt (twice — oh, joy), but most of the outtakes are butt-headed: Sean gets beaned with a boom in Boston. Miami’s Melissa lead-foots it when a crew member strays in front of her car, and dorky London crewbies sneak bounces on Sharon’s trampoline. And, of course, crew confessionals (”Cory? Hate her”), openmouthed chewing, and nose picking.

Quality comedy, sure, though it’s tough to believe that after nearly six years of 24/7 surveillance there isn’t better fodder. But where Never tantalizes, The Making of Road Rules forges ahead. Nearly an hour long, it actually celebrates the crew, tracking the technical and political logistics behind Real World‘s scavenger-hunting little sister. In documenting last year’s second season (from burnout of the flummoxed production coordinator to the disastrous burglary, in New Orleans, of the hard-won footage of two ”missions”) the formula is reversed, and the beleaguered staff — led by frazzled-but-toothsome producer-director Clay Newbill — clicks so dramatically into focus it could populate its own series. Next to their long-suffering staff, those pampered Roadies look downright dull. With its Real shows feeling somewhat canned these days, MTV might quit recruiting self-indulgent twen- tysomethings. The realest scene-stealers are already in the union. Real World: B Road Rules: B+

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