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Real World You Never Saw - Paris, The
This is the true story (troooo storeeee!) of seven escapees from an insane asylum picked to live in a huge mansion somewhere on the outskirts of Paris and have their every bitchfest committed to tape to find out what happens when people stop acting rational and start drinking heavily.
MTV's The Real World has been bringing us the lows and semi-lows of foolish youngsters' exploits for a baker's dozen worth of years now. I obsessively watched the first three seasons (New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco) and then lost track entirely somewhere around Miami or Hawaii. I did end up seeing a good deal of the most recent season in Paris, however, and I found myself utterly confused. It was like the housemates decided to play a trick on the producers by assuming entirely different personalities from one day to the next. CT was a violent, psychotic maniac in one episode and then a thoughtful, introspective fella in the next. Christina went from mature, sensible roommate to petty, breast-augmented pole dancer. Ace was the cute, sensitive bachelor and the strip club obsessive. Nothing made sense.
But that's, of course, what makes The Real World fun. The Real World You Never Saw isn't much of a compilation of events from this past season but rather a peek at unaired footage which was either too dirrty, too clumsy or just plain wrong.
The hour-long program, which starts with some fake black-and-white French art-film footage, is mostly a series of shots of people falling down and saying stupid things. It actually adds to the season in some ways (really expanding on the idea of the roommates as terrible French language students, for example) and brings out a funny character trait of Christina's which I either missed on the show or which just didn't make the cut: Her hilarious use of malapropisms. There are a good deal of nude buttocks on screen as well, which is a bit surprising. Mostly it's the guys, however, who drop trou. Short of one brief (but surprising) shot of Leah topless this DVD is yet another examination of how much guys like to be nude in public.
The bulk of the show consists of roommates interviewed in groups of two or three. They spend most of their time on camera talking about each other, imitating each other dancing and just generally goofing around. Few of the more serious moments from the season are represented here, so this disk makes no sense as a primer for someone interested in getting into the show. It's really just a treat for junkies who have already seen it.
The full-frame footage looks essentially the same as it does on MTV. The short running time and pro-quality source video mean that compression isn't much of a factor. It looks good.
The Dolby Digital surround audio is fine, if a bit limited in range. It won't blow anyone away but it does the job.
The extras include a tour of the house by Simon and Christina, which isn't too terribly interesting; yet more outtakes (also not so great); and a sequence called "pizza delivery" which consists of a gag the fellas pulled on the girls. The only really good extra is a segment of video profiles on each castmember. These surprisingly interesting segments include interview footage from audition tapes, pre-show interviews and elsewhere and give a good sense of who the castmembers were before they started the show.
As The Real World continues plowing through the major metropolitan centers of the world there will be exciting seasons and boring seasons. Paris seems to have been somewhere in between, with no major advances in the Real World canon. Still, the goof-ball personalities make it compelling enough and this silly DVD is a perfect stocking stuffer for the reality TV junkie in all of us.