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Friday, October 30, 1998
Houston, Texas
Volume 64, Issue 49

Whitlock on Voting

Staff Editorial

About the Cougar

In the real world, The Real World isn't worth watching

Laura Spenke
Guest Columnist 

So I'm sitting there the other night in my apartment watching MTV's The Real World with several of my friends. It is late, we are tired and we have all become one with our choices of furniture.

Lili mumbles some comment about one of the characters and looks over at me with a sleepy little laugh. "Ya know?" she asks, waiting for my agreement.

It is then that I realize I have not been paying attention to the story. I have been sitting here staring blankly at the television for the past two hours, not even slightly understanding what was going on in the characters' lives.

I believe it was due to a lack of interest in the lives of people I don't even know or care about. For some reason, my own problems and my friends' problems are good enough entertainment for me. I don't think it is fun to watch the problems -- and of course, the good times -- of strangers when my friends in real life provide this quality entertainment for me every day.

Except for right now. Glancing over, I find that quite a petty conversation has developed. My friends are making all sorts of comments, opinions, arguments and disagreements about the lives of the characters. And people all over the world are doing the exact same thing we are right now.

For crying out loud. Do they have a problem with their own lives, problems and relationships? Do the lives, problems and relationships of these boring strangers actually interest them? Perhaps they don't know how to handle their own problems, so they need to turn on The Real World and state how those people should be handling their problems, in order to make them feel better.

Or even worse, they have nothing to do with their own boring lives, so they turn on the TV, not even looking for The Real World, and look! The Real World is on! It's people exactly like themselves, except they're on TV, so they must be cooler. What a joke.

The characters are not even interesting or funny to watch. They are all very average people. One character was upset that nobody understood her because she was gay. Boo-hoo for her. I'm straight, and my life is not perfect. We all have problems. I would be a lot more sympathetic to a gay person I cared about than some stranger crying on TV.

Even when the characters are enjoying themselves, the show's still stupid. There's something about having to turn on the TV to watch strangers have a good time, instead of actually having one, that just seems sort of, oh ... pathetic.

To me, The Real World is a pointless, mind-numbing, boring show that people seem to watch only because it's on. People will watch anything on TV.

Now Road Rules -- that is a whole different show, because the characters are on a road trip. That is interesting. They actually do fun things that many people never get to do.

The Real World is far from interesting. People who are watching it: Look at yourselves! Is this really what it has come to? Something else has got to be on.

I would much rather watch my friends hanging out on videotape than this poor excuse for "fun." Unless, of course, they were sitting there watching The Real World.

Spenke, a sophomore journalism major,
can be reached at

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