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One of Gothamist's guilty pleasures used to be The Real World, but now, for a while, its lustre has faded. There's a good analysis of why the Real World has sucked so much at MSNBC.com by Gael Fashingbauer Cooper, who thinks, as many do, that needs to lose those stupid group jobs that no one likes and is always late for. Also, the show was at its best when it was set in NY for the first season, full of people who wanted to make it in New York, versus the hateful brats who audition on the show because they want their 16 minutes of fame. Cooper writes,

My dream for "Real World" is that the show somehow returns to its roots. I would vote for setting every season in New York, a city that naturally draws ambitious and talented young people from all corners of the U.S. Ditch the hot tub, dump the lame group jobs, and cast not for cup size, but for intelligence. (Hint: Stop holding casting calls at "Coyote Ugly.") Require the applicants to have a goal they plan to pursue in New York, and make them explain how they plan to go about it if chosen. Still cast a diverse group — pick one kid from a Nebraska farm, another from South Central, one who was raised by gay parents, whatever — and trust the people you choose to create both conflict and community.

Season 1 of the Real World in New York

is rightly called groundbreaking; the return to NY in season 10 was groundbreaking in how hateful and repelling the roommates could be. But then, there was Las Vegas. However, Gothamist does love realworldhouses.com that has information and floorplans about the different Real World pads, because the Real World doubles as tacky real estate porn.

Season 1 of the Real World is on DVD; we also recommend Season 1 of Chappelle's Show on DVD for The Mad Real World (set in Harlem, six black roommates and one whitey). The other scary thing about The Real World phenomenon is that at Gothamist's birthdays recently, we think, "Jeez, we're too old to be on the Real World!"