There have been 27 seasons of MTV’s The Real World, with number 28’s Portland season debuting tomorrow night: In a superhuman accomplishment that my future grandchildren will surely idolize me for, I have somehow watched them all. Somehow this show has stuck with me longer than all of my friendships. It’s almost as old (in years, not seasons) as my youngest sibling. What began as something that could at least pass the laugh test as a social experiment has evolved (devolved — let’s be honest) to something that is both a relic and emblematic of MTV’s binge-drink/hookup/fight wheelhouse. Still, I’ve found something fascinating in almost every season, watching twentysomethings barely formed as human beings thrown together and left to bounce off one another and approximate social behavior.
So, after 27 seasons, which one ranks the very best? The very worst? And everywhere in between? Time to get crazy, everybody. Or is it just time to get real?