Welcome to the debut of the weekly Newsroom Poll, where we will give you a sneak peek into the lives and minds of some of the correspondents, writers, editors and producers here at MTVNews.com. Every week, they'll answer a poll question that will reveal some of what we talk about behind the scenes here in the newsroom. Enjoy!
In honor of last night's premiere of "The Real World: Cancun," we wondered: Through 21 seasons of the show, who is your favorite "Real World" cast member? Check out the staff responses below and be sure to sound-off on your own favorites in the comments or at Your.MTV.com.
I'm going to have to go with Brooke from the Denver season. Just when you thought no one could ever top Puck's psycho behavior or Stephen from Seattle's famous slap-heard-round-the-world, Brooke came out of the reality woodwork and and put a new face onto TV meltdowns. When she was upset, her behavior could quite possibly be equated to that of the Hulk's: Her face would go bright red and she would scream so loud you could almost see a vein popping. And that was only when she couldn’t locate a nail salon! There was no predicting when her rage would erupt, so for that reason, Brooke, you take the cake as one of the most memorable Real Worlders yet.
Matt from "The Real World: Hawaii," only because he enrolled at NYU Film School the same time I was there, and denied being on "The Real World" to a bunch of classmates. And everyone was like, "Um ... we just watched 20+ episodes of you on television. You were obsessed with Ruthie. You're, like, 23 years old. Don't lie." Second runner-up: Sharon from "The Real World: London," because I like old ladies.
Norman Korpi, from the first season. This one is a little biased, because Norman is from my hometown of Williamston, Michigan. As viewers saw on the inaugural "Real World" season, Norman was an amazing artist, and he got started at a young age, painting murals all over my small town before heading off to New York to study photography at Cooper Union. One of those murals was in the then-middle school, which is now a community center. As the story goes, when the openly gay Norman made his MTV debut, the middle school mural was promptly painted over. I wasn't even 10 when the show premiered, but that story had a profound effect on me — probably the opposite effect than the erasure intended. Just as Pedro Zamora put a face on AIDS for so many people in season three, Norman's mural being painted over made homophobia a very real and tangible thing for me at a young age. With what it's become, who knew reality TV could be so educational?
It's totally Neil from "The Real World: London." This is a no-brainer. For the first half of the season, he was nothing more than the brooding, spiky-haired, sorta-Gothic, British intellect/cyber-punk that your girlfriend probably wanted to sleep with. Then he ascended to "RW" immortality when, during a gig by his "underground, alternative-oriented punk/performance art" band Unilever, he attempted to kiss a male heckler in the crowd, only to have half his tongue bitten off. The resulting carnage — and subsequent episodes featuring him flashing his gauze-wrapped tongue like Flick from "A Christmas Story" — changed him into a sympathetic character, which probably only made your girlfriend want to sleep with him even more. And then, without even trying (or seemingly caring), he totally stole the sweet American girl who fenced (I think her name was Kat) away from the square-jawed, totally boring, totally rich Formula One driver, which foiled the grand schemes of show producers and gave the rest of the world yet another reason to laugh at us. And his crazy artist girlfriend sent him a pig's heart for Valentine's Day. And he always wore leather pants. Oh, and post-show, he launched a failed e-commerce site and a laughable cyberpunk portal that sort of looks like it was created by an S&M killer on "CSI: Miami." So it's gotta be him. Or maybe Dominic from the Los Angeles season, because I'm pretty sure he was the first RWer to get totally, uncomfortably hammered on the show (on a beach in Mexico, no less), which sort of makes him the Neal Armstrong of reality television, when you think about it.
Heather B from the very first season! She was real as hell, had a crush on my then-favorite basketball player Larry Johnson, hung out with Boogie Down Productions and recorded that total jam, "All Glocks Down." She even took Julie's "Do you sell drugs?" question in stride and befriended the naïve Southerner (that's not a slam — I'm a naïve Southerner myself), forming one of my favorite TV duos of all time. She called Eric out when he got too obsessed with his own beauty and basically kept everyone’s egos in that loft in check. Heather is one down ass chick, and everyone on the show has gotten progressively faker since her season. Heather B. kept it real on "The Real World." What’s she up to now? Let’s hang, Heather!
This is the question I was born to answer. Flora (from the Miami cast) was the best, most terrific, fantastic-est "Real World" castmember ever. Why was Flora the greatest roommate? Well, I'm going to make like Flora and refuse to explain myself. (Honorable mentions: My fellow Persian Parisa from Sydney, Teck from Hawaii and Neil from London, who I loved very dearly).
Hands down, Julie from the first season! The whole season essentially became her coming-of-age tale: Sweet, naïve, Christian girl from Alabama comes to big, bad New York City to be a dancer and learns about poverty, racism and gay rights. She was everyone's friend (except that time Kevin almost hit her); she had a sense of humor; and she was brave — remember when she spent the night out by the river with the homeless woman? It's clear that they've tried their best to find a Julie for every season since.
Mine is CT from the Paris season. He had that perfect combination of charm and sociopathy. The arguments he had with Adam were pricelessly ridiculous, and he also made a tremendous foil for the specatularly laid-back Ace. CT is one of the many reasons I fear Red Sox fans, and the sequence during his season when he lies to the girls in the house about buying them flowers is staggeringly wonderful, as he can't figure out why they are mad at him when they find out he lied. (Whenever we have troubles with our lady-folk, my friends and I still affect CT's accent and say the line, "Now I'm BACK in the doghouse.") He became something of a maniac on the "RW/RR Challenges" he has appeared on, but we'll always have Paris.