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Paramount Studios presents
The Real World New York: The Complete First Season (1992)

I was not rolling around with Becky. Becky was rolling around with me.
- Eric

Review By: Kevin Clemons   
Published: November 12, 2002

Stars: Andre, Becky, Eric, Heather, Julie, Kevin, Norman
Director: unknown

MPAA Rating: Not Rated for language, sexual dialogue
Run Time: 05h:02m:12s
Release Date: September 24, 2002
UPC: 097368600843
Genre: television

Image Transfer
Audio Transfer

DVD Review

To be honest, I was a late comer to the world of Real World. My first encounter with MTV's hit reality series occurred some seven years after the show premiered with the first of numerous cities, New York. The show, which has never been anything more than mindless entertainment, had already attracted a loyal following by the time I came along as a viewer, and numerous sites on the internet were already dedicated to the happenings of the seven strangers and the events of their daily lives.

Lately, it seems as if The Real World has become a sort of parody of itself in the way that nearly every cast is comprised of a group of stereotyped individuals who seem ripe for dramatic fireworks. Perhaps this is why The Real World New York: The Complete First Season works so well, as it represents a time before the show became what it is today: an overdrawn look at a bunch of attractive people who fight for entertainment.

But what is surprising and enjoyable about the first season is that the show, in its infancy, had the intended documentary look and feel that was then swept away in favor of high quality video in later seasons. The low quality of each episode offers a more voyeuristic approach and draws the viewer further into the series. The members of the cast are also a noticeable change from the later seasons, as the seven people featured here look and act like real individuals with their own thoughts, something that is helpful when the conversations turn to more educated fair.

This is not to say that The Real World New York: The Complete First Season does not have moments where things get just plain silly. A roundtable discussion on the topic of sex—where the worst answer yields a few rounds from a squirt gun—as well as cast members obsessing about an outfit Becky is wearing, are nothing more than low level humor. It is when the show truly has something to say that it is at its best; sadly, this is only evident in about half the episodes.

Still, the low rent accommodations the unobtrusive work of the camera operators make this simply one of the best Real World seasons that I have seen. It takes a lot for me to say this, but I really hope that the first several seasons find their way to DVD if they are as entertaining as this one.

The Real World New York: The Complete First Season comes to DVD with all thirteen episodes plus the pilot, making for enjoyable viewing considering the deliciously bad acting and low production values in a hopeful effort to sell the concept to buyers.

Rating for Style: C
Rating for Substance: B


Image Transfer

Aspect Ratio1.33:1 - Full Frame
Original Aspect Ratioyes

Image Transfer Review: Each episode is presented in the original full-frame aspect ratio from the original run of the series, and the quality is nicely done given the film stock used as well as the age of the show. Colors are fine while sharpness and detail do a nice job of making the transfer look its best. I noticed no instances of edge enhancement or pixelation throughout. Wisely, Paramount has spread the material out evenly, giving each episode plenty of room on the RSDL discs.

Image Transfer Grade: B-


Audio Transfer

 LanguageRemote Access
DS 2.0Englishyes

Audio Transfer Review: The Dolby Surround track for The Real World New York: The Complete First Season is certainly nothing special, but it gets the job done. Dialogue is firmly rooted in the center channel throughout, though the quality is sometimes negligible. The surround speakers do a nice job of recreating the music on the soundtrack, but never are offered anything else to work with.

Audio Transfer Grade: C+


Disc Extras

Static menu
Scene Access with 13 cues and remote access
Packaging: Double alpha
Picture Disc
2 Discs
1-Sided disc(s)
Layers: single

Extra Extras:
  1. Never before seen PilotJulie's acceptance letter
  2. Audion Interview with series creator Jon MurrayCast Profiles
Extras Review: Though the packaging lists an audio commentary by series creator Jon Murray, the feature is really a series of audio snippets that are available in eleven installments on the second disc of the set. Murray does a nice job of recalling stories as well as offering some behind-the-scenes information, including a romance between Becky and the director (this has since become a no-no for future Real World stars).

Cast profiles as well as a copy of Julie's acceptance letter are offered.

The discs are housed in a sturdy double alpha case, quite nice considering the rampant use of single-disc cases for two-disc sets, which is a large pet peeve of mine. There is also an insert outlining each episode.

Extras Grade: C


Final Comments

Fans of The Real World, which god knows there are some, will likely get a kick out of the set. Paramount and MTV have done a nice job packaging the show. Do yourself a favor and check out The Real World New York: The Complete First Season rather than the silly "moments you never saw" releases.


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