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Real World - Hook-Ups, The
Over the 13 years that it's been on, The Real World has amassed a truckload of juicy couplings to choose from for their Hook-Ups compilation DVD. Hosted by Coral (from the Back to New York season) and Dan (from Miami) the Hook-Ups DVD is full of gossipy stories about Real Worlders living, loving and losing. The main program is formatted almost like a talk show with the hosts reclining on a big poofy bed and occasionally chatting with "guests" like Hawaii's Tek, but mostly it's the salacious details of some of these situations that makes this at all compelling. Who can forget Rachel and Puck's brief flirtation in San Francisco or Flora's not-too-subtle attempt to date two guys at the same time ("Fabulous!" proclaims her Miami housemate Dan.) Perhaps the most infamous "hook-up" (and the term needs to be used VERY loosely here) was David's attempted blanket-pull with Tammy in Los Angeles. But an immortal moment like that one gets quickly lost in the rush to cram as much madness into the show's brief hour-long running time as possible.
The only segments that seem to merit any exploration are Flora's attempted window-crawl while investigating a Miami threesome (which really only results in broken glass and blood; not too sexy) and Montana's unbelievable Boston phone conversation thanks to her ill-advised "open relationship" with her boyfriend back home. While Dan and Coral warn that open relationships are always a disaster we get to hear Montana's not-too-happy ex scream "WHORE! WHORE! WHORE!" over and over at her. It's a pretty amazing moment.
Of course, fans of The Real World know that the Las Vegas season was the one where the show's creators went from producers to pimps by plying their cast with as much booze as possible. Everyone knows about the hot-tub threesome that happened almost as soon as the luggage was dropped off but has everyone experienced the messy aftermath, complete with screaming, crying and fists-a-flying? If anything, this disk serves as a cautionary tale that when passion runs hot it can swing just as easily the other way.
To that end we also have London Neil's valentine's day gift from his girlfriend (a pig's heart with a nail through it) and Julie stalking the unresponsive Matt (who is not identified here as a hard-core Christian, a piece of information that might have helped Julie save face.) New York's Julie (the original Real World sweetheart) is shown on a blind date from hell that definitively does NOT end in a hookup while frat boy Mike in London thinks he's spotted a honey who is, in fact, a man.
The Real World has broken new ground on television in one respect: The mainstreaming of gay relationships. While San Francisco's Pedro is short-shrifted here (likely because the fact that he was HIV-positive and has died in the meantime would put a damper on the goofy humor of the program) an interesting segment features New Orleans' Danny dating a member of the US military, whose face was blurred for the entire run of the show. Given the fact that the man could have literally been jailed if his relationship had been made public there are obviously improvements that still need to be made. That something as silly as The Real World can point this out says that the show is really multi-faceted.
But don't think that Hook-Ups is political. It can all be summed up in the words of Las Vegas' Brynn: "All my roommates are in the bathtub and I'm thinking 'Sweet!'"
The full-frame video looks fine. The colors are bright and punchy and the compression is well done. Clips from older seasons don't look as sharp as more recent footage.
The Dolby Digital Surround sound is fine, if nothing spectacular.
Host outtakes and interview outtakes are nothing to write home about (although they do up the cuss factor.) Info on the music included in the program should be useful to anyone who finds themselves tapping their toes along with the alterna-blah background noise. And how could MTV live with themselves if they didn't include more footage from that Vegas threeway? Undoubtedly there's some MTV editor sitting alone in a dark edit suite watching the entire unedited scene but for those who were salivating for just a little more this should do.
A bit sleazy, Hook-Ups shows some of the best of the Real World seasons while still trying to have something of a lesson for the kids (That sometimes being a slut can leave you hurt. Awwwww...) Regardless, the moral value of the show is still secondary to the entertainment value which, to the Real World fan, is considerable.