Long before reality TV star was a viable career option, there was Season 1 of "The Real World," with seven Gen Xers sharing a SoHo loft and a relative lack of self-consciousness.
The newly launched MTV Classic is dipping into its archives to air all 13 episodes of the pioneering show, starting at 1 p.m. Sunday.
While "Real World" castmates across the 25 seasons quickly became camera-ready and hand-picked for maximum combustibility, the original show had the charming awkwardness of a first date. Eric the model, Heather B. the rapper, Julie the dancer and the rest of the inaugural group seemed to share the confusion with viewers about what the show was and wanted to be.
Of course those seven strangers, the series and creators Mary-Ellis Bunim and Jonathan Murray also shoulder some of the blame for much of what has followed, from the Duggars to the assembly line of "Bachelor" and "Bachelorettes." While not the first reality show, "The Real World" definitely set the template for the U.S. genre, a framework that MTV and sister network VMA refined with like-minded shows including "Road Rules" and "Surreal Life."
Since we're already doomed, having repeated our history many times over since "The Real World" debuted on May 21, 1992, why not just settle in for a binge of one of the first bingeable shows. A marathon of genre's apex, "Bridalplasty," in which brides compete to win plastic surgeries before their big days, will have to wait until E! Classic is a reality.