A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that, like its parent show The Real World, this reality series thrives on arguments, partying, hookups, and struggles with emotional issues. Drinking is constant and often results in drunken silliness or confrontation. One-night stands are also common, as are scenes of couples in bed together or making out (sometimes in flashbacks). Some cast members are outright rude to one another, and angry confrontations about everything from which room someone will sleep in to whether or not someone forcibly kissed someone else are standard fare. Young viewers will get confusing messages about both appropriate behavior and finding respectful ways to disagree or otherwise resolve conflicts.
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What's the story?
REUNITED: THE REAL WORLD brings together previous The Real World cast members five years down the line to see how they've changed -- and how those changes affect their group dynamic. Despite the cast members' ostensible increased maturity, the same angry confrontations, wild drunken antics, and sexual tensions of the original series quickly emerge. The familiar confessional set-up -- in which cast members comment on their roommates' behavior -- is still in place, as are many housemates' catty, judgmental attitudes.
Is it any good?
Fans of the original Real World episodes will definitely be interested in catching up with their old favorites, but some will be disheartened to know that the elapsed time has done little to change some folks' problematic attitudes. Some do change for the better, but these transformations aren't as titillating -- and therefore seem to get less airtime than the same old petty arguments. For example, in Reunited: The Real World Vegas the original cast of seven reconvenes in their old suite in The Palms hotel and casino. Most are happy to see one another, though tensions from past events -- including a relationship that carried on after the show ended -- affect the group from the start. And while some of the cast members are still partying like their five-year-younger selves, some have moved on -- one is married and has two young children, and all but one are in serious relationships. So without the strangers-getting-to-know-each-other element, Reunited delivers familiar goods but packs a little less punch.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the appeal of voyeuristic reality shows like this. Why do people watch? Is it to feel better about their own lives by comparison? Families who've seen the original Real World episodes featuring the cast can talk about how the housemates have (or haven't) changed. Is it more or less than you would have expected? Have you ever reconnected with someone and been happy or unhappy that you did? Have you ever avoided someone you recognized because you didn't want to deal with unresolved issues? How can parents help teens deal with relationships dissolving or transforming over time?
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