It’s summertime on MTV, and that can only mean one thing: hot sun and blistering personality conflicts. That’s right, it’s time for the eighth season of MTV’s ”The Real World.” (A one-hour casting special airs Tuesday night at 10, and the season officially kicks off a week later.) This year seven roommates were picked to live in a house in Honolulu and manage a cafe…and on their off hours they managed to squeeze in enough debauchery to make the second-season L.A. house look like an Amish barn meeting. Here’s a sneak preview of the trials and titillations that this year’s cast will encounter. (Those who want the unfolding to be a surprise — just like real life! — are advised to back-click quick!)
The Problem Child During her second night in the house, Ruthie — a 21-year-old bisexual native-Hawaiian foster child and Rutgers student — drinks to the point of passing out and is rushed to the hospital after lapsing into seizures. While the producers say she clearly has a drinking problem (but maintain they wouldn’t have cast her if they had known), Ruthie disagrees. ”I don’t think I’m an alcoholic at all, but the phase I went through in the show seems to look like I am,” she says. ”I got labeled. It’s not fair.” Problem or not, the cast intervenes, and Ruthie becomes the first ”Real World” participant to take a 30-day leave of absence from the show.
The Quitter With about a month to go in the season, Justin, a 21-year-old bottle-blond gay activist and Harvard Law School student, jumps out of the fishbowl, citing illnesses in his family and leaving his roommates perplexed about his abrupt departure. ”To tell you the truth,” says Colin, 19, a frat-boy type who’s also a student at Berkeley, ”I just woke up one day and Justin wasn’t there.”
The Nudists Blame it on the let-it-all-hang-out Hawaii vibe, but from day 1, three of the roommates swiftly turn ”The Real World” into a veritable Harvey Keitel movie: Within minutes of arriving at the ”World” abode, Ruthie and Teck — an aspiring filmmaker with Dennis Rodman hair and a Chris Tucker voice — go skinny-dipping in the pool; moments later, Kaia loses her shirt and pretty much keeps it off for the rest of the season. Teck relishes every opportunity to strip for his unsuspecting roommates. ”I’m proud of my (manhood),” he says. Retorts Amaya, 21, a UCLA grad and the cast’s only female shrinking violet: ”He shouldn’t be THAT proud.”
The Lovebirds Colin and Amaya become ”The Real World”’s first ever full-fledged intracast couple. Neither one will say if they’re still together, but it doesn’t take a genius to read between the lines. ”I have one piece of advice for anyone out there in the world,” Colin says. ”Don’t EVER date a roommate.” Shrugs Amaya: ”The whole thing would have been different if we were just regular people in the regular world.” The regular world? How boring.