After 21 years and 28 seasons of making slight tweaks to The Real World’s formula by adding copious alcohol and only casting terrible people, producers of the long-running MTV series have decided it’s time to see what happens when people stop being polite, and start getting convoluted. They’ve announced that their upcoming, San Francisco-set, yes-holy-shit-it’s-really-the-29th season will be retitled Real World: Ex-Plosion—not because it finds its cast forming a shitty, backbiting superhero team or spontaneously combusting, but because it will also involve their exes.
According to Entertainment Weekly, this first genuine shake-up to the show’s once-groundbreaking format will take place in a season that begins like any other, with seven strangers moving into a ridiculously nice house they will then fill with their own tears, vodka vomit, and self-satisfied farts. But after four weeks, they’ll all take off on a day trip, only to return and find that their ex-girlfriends and ex-boyfriends have all moved in with them, thus bringing a slightly more personal edge to their pointless and petty carping.
Series co-creator Jonathan Murray says the change was necessary not only because of the dwindling ratings, but also owing to the way the show’s “strangers living together” concept is now the commonplace basis of so much reality TV, as well as their realization that “diversity is a fact of life today. A lot of young people date people of different races, or have friends who are gay. The world has changed." And diversity sometimes means being forced to live with your exes, or something.
And so, The Real World must change to reflect that diversity, and also that one season of Big Brother. (Though Murray insists this decision came about more organically than copying that show—or, as organic as any engineered twist on a reality show can be.) He also suggests the addition of these sorts of twists may well be the future of The Real World, with each season introducing some new, additional concept, until at last we reach The Real World: Drowning Your Enemies In A Hot Tub that we’ve all been patiently awaiting.