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Paramount Studios presents
The Real World You Never Saw—Back to New York (2001)

"Are you ready?"
- "The Miz" (Mike)

Review By: Dan Heaton   
Published: November 14, 2002

Stars: Coral, Kevin, Lori, Malik, Mike, Nicole, Rachel
Director: Varied

MPAA Rating: Not Rated for (contains adult language)
Run Time: 0h:50m:33s
Release Date: December 04, 2001
UPC: 097368788541
Genre: television


Style
Grade
Substance
Grade
Image Transfer
Grade
Audio Transfer
Grade
Extras
Grade
C+ C+BB C

DVD Review

In 1992, MTV introduced The Real World—a reality series that followed the lives of "seven strangers, picked to live in a loft and have their lives taped to find out what happens when people stop being polite and start getting real." It sounded like an especially misguided concept. Would audiences really tune in to watch the mundane daily lives of average people? The response was astounding and spawned a durable franchise. New seasons appeared each year, and different versions like Road Rules and Tough Enough arose to significant popularity. While edited to maintain a simpler storyline and filled with more attractive kids, the series maintained at least shreds of realism that helped it to draw numerous viewers.

The first New York cast did have real jobs and were not just playing for the cameras, which gave it a grittier feel than its successors. Now in its twelfth season (in Las Vegas), the present version retains little of the original charm. The cast is more attractive, obviously plays for the camera, and are given unique jobs by the MTV producers. From the recent seasons, the most interesting cast appeared in New York for the show's 10th anniversary. They had the usual arguments and daily problems, but the individuals did vary from the series' expected formula. The Real World You Never Saw—Back to New York showcases the diverse cast and includes moments not originally aired. The material often focuses on pranks and silly activities, but it basically remains entertaining for its expected audience.

This 50-minute feature contains a series of short vignettes that showcase the peculiarities and odd moments of the past season. Certain sequences—including Mike giving Rachel's friend an atomic wedgie and dropping him into a trash can—were broadcast in a shorter form during the series. Others have never been seen before and mostly consist of lengthy pranks and circumstances a bit too racy for television. Viewers expecting "Girls Gone Wild"-type material will be disappointed. The main difference here is the absence of bleeps over the foul language. While some moments are very entertaining, throwaway scenes occupy much of the short running time.

Following the usual formula, this cast includes seven strangers who spring from divergent cultural backgrounds. Each one of them has their own points of interest, but four individuals stand apart from the others. Rachel would be my dream girl (if I was 19)—a pop-punk loving, spiky blond-haired girl with plenty of energy. Malik is a mild-mannered, intelligent young man with a bright future who sports a large afro. The two cast members who receive the most screen time are the crazy, wrestling-loving Mike and Coral, who refuses to take flak from anyone. Mike's wrestler alter-ego—"The Miz"— delivers some of the biggest laughs through his pure ridiculousness. This character receives a lengthy segment early in this feature, which becomes tedious but still provides some silly moments.

One thing that is especially noticeable during The Real World You Never Saw—Back to New York is the almost incessant mugging for the camera. The series producers deserve credit for ignoring much of these actions for the actual broadcast. While viewing this disc, I found myself equally annoyed and enthralled at the same time. This conflict is very similar to the feeling experienced as the series airs. I understand the formula and how it manipulates, yet it still finds a way to keep us from changing the channel.

Rating for Style: C+
Rating for Substance: C+

 

Image Transfer

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


Image Transfer Review: This presentation appears in an acceptable full-frame transfer that conveys the silliness in fine fashion. The colors are bright and little grain appears, which is all that's really necessary for this type of show. The images are less polished and have more of a digital camera look than the episodes aired, which actually works better for the material. While this release offers nothing truly memorable in terms of visuals, it still does its job effectively.

Image Transfer Grade: B

 

Audio Transfer

 LanguageRemote Access
DS 2.0Englishno


Audio Transfer Review: The 2.0-channel stereo transfer offered is comparable to its visual companion. It never becomes overly noticeable or memorable, but it keeps the dialogue clear and easily understandable. Plenty of volume emits from the speakers, which leads to an enjoyable experience.

Audio Transfer Grade: B

 

Disc Extras

Full Motion menu with music
Scene Access with 19 cues and remote access
Cast and Crew Biographies
1 Featurette(s)
Packaging: Amaray
1 Disc
1-Sided disc(s)
Layers: dual

Extra Extras:
  1. Cast haunts
  2. Audition tape clips
Extras Review: This disc contains a few minor extras that should please the series' most devoted fans. One-page biographies of each cast member are a nice inclusion, but they really don't provide much worthy information. Each entry also contains a brief clip from the star's audition tapes, which reveal a few small details. We learn about Coral's dislikes, see Malik's eclectic room, and see Mike fighting a heated boxing match. Nothing here is particularly enlightening, but it is an entertaining bonus.

In a nine-minute featurette, Mike and Coral give us a tour of their plush house. They do have a lot of fun with it, but it's not very exciting. This piece was obviously shot after their time in New York. The other supplement is a collection of quick clips of their favorite haunts in the city. Each one has a short introduction, and then we see them drinking and dancing the night away. The sites include several dance clubs, a trendy bar, and a vegan restaurant.

Extras Grade: C

 

Final Comments

The Real World You Never Saw—Back to New York ignores most of the nasty arguments and conflicts between the cast members. Instead, it presents the idea of the series as one big party of silliness. Devoted fans will enjoy additional scenes with their favorite characters, but other viewers will probably continue to shy away from this pseudo-reality show.

 


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