The Real World: Seattle (Courtesy Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia)
The Real World: Seattle is the seventh season of MTV's reality television series The Real World, which focuses on a group of diverse strangers living together for several months in a different city each season, as cameras follow their lives and interpersonal relationships. First airing in 1998, the Seattle cast lived in a house on Pier 70 of Seattle, Washington's Elliott Bay. This was the third season of The Real World filmed in the western United States (after The Real World: Los Angeles in 1993 and The Real World: San Francisco in 1994). It is notable for an incident in which cast member Irene McGee was slapped by Stephen Williams as she moved out of the house, which is cited as one of the series' memorable moments by Time magazine.
This season was the first to feature cast members who knew each other before arriving at the house. David and Nathan were both cadets at the Virginia Military Institute, which is why they say "This is the true story of seven people" instead of "seven strangers" in the opening sequence.
Almost every season of The Real World, beginning with its fifth season, has included the assignment of a season-long group job or task to the housemates. The Seattle cast worked as "modulators" at KNDD FM, an alternative rock radio station. Their job begins as a series of promotional duties but eventually leads to producing and hosting a live radio show.
The cast lived at Pier 70, a pier located at 2815 Alaskan Way in Seattle, just north of the intersection of Alaskan Way and Clay Street, on Elliott Bay. It was built in 1902 by shipping industry pioneers Ainsworth & Dunn, One of the largest docks on the waterfront, Pier 70 initially served sailing and steamer ships, such as the famous Blue Funnel Line, a fleet of large freighters that operated between Europe, the Orient and the Pacific Coast. In 1916, a spectacular fire destroyed the upper Pier and roof, and required rebuilding of the dock. During World War II, the Washington State Liquor Board used the Pier as a warehouse, and from 1946 to 1955, the United States Coast Guard used it as its Seattle base. In 1970, Ainsworth & Dunn converted it into for retail and restaurant space. Triad Development bought it in 1995 and converted it into office/retail space for tenants such as Pier 1 Imports. A pier would again be used for a season residence on The Real World: Brooklyn in 2009.
For filming of the season, the interior design was handled by Two Downtown, Ltd. Residential use of the Pier is prohibited by urban harborfront districting, which required the production to obtain a special permit declaring the Pier a 24-hour film set. It has since been completely remodeled, with its brick surface replaced with conventional siding, and no longer resembles the pier seen during filming. It is now used for retail and office space, and is home to the Waterfront Seafood Grill, which changed its name to Aqua by El Gaucho in 2011.
Janet is a Korean-American woman whose parents worked long hours at their family-owned restaurant while she was raised by her grandmother, whom she adores. She has struggled between loyalty to the traditions of her parents' culture and her own. She is a junior at Northwestern University with a double major in broadcast journalism and international studies, and is preparing for a career in international investigative reporting.
Nathan was raised by his father from the age of five to 15, when his father died of cancer. He then moved in with his grandmother, and took on adult responsibilities. Nathan recently was reacquainted with his mother for the first time in 15 years, and met his nine-year-old half brother. Like David, Nathan is also a fourth-year student at the Virginia Military Institute (VMI), and they lived together in Prague during a semester abroad. He and the long-distance relationship he struggles to maintain with his girlfriend Stephanie is another focal point of the show.
MTV describes Rebecca as an old-fashioned Victorian romantic who pines for an ideal love. She immerses herself in books and music, but is also an extrovert who's the first one to step up and sign with a band or take a stage dive. She also has an avid interest in feminist theory, and studies and women's studies at the University of Virginia. She is an aspiring singer who gets to record a song with Sir Mix-a-Lot during her time in Seattle. She reveals in her audition tape that she is a virgin.
MTV describes Lindsay, who is an Aspen, Colorado radio show personality, as a 5-foot-1-inch, hyperactive wild child. She is a junior at the University of Michigan who says her mother and brother may be the only people who know truly know her, as the loss of her father when she was a teenager made them very close. During the season, when she learns via a phone call that a friend committed suicide, she is inconsolably heartbroken.
San Diego, California
Stephen is the oldest of five children raised by his mother in a black Muslim household. He converted to Judaism at age 15, and met his father for the first time when he was 17. He's an active member of Sigma Alpha Mu fraternity and is a business major with a minor in African-American studies at the University of California at Berkeley. During the show, Williams made a number of homophobic comments, including his response to the accusation of his being gay and ironically, years after the show finished taping, Stephen came out as gay.
Irene's trademark, according to MTV, is her quirkiness. She is a student at Georgetown University, but having Lyme disease makes things difficult for her. She also has problems with commitment, which she attributes to being too high-maintenance. Irene develops a close friendship with Nathan. She eventually leaves the show, who are upset to see her leave, especially since Irene had talked Janet into not leaving when she was considering it. In what has become one of the most infamous moments in Real World history, Irene is slapped by Stephen after she claims that he is gay.
David grew up in a tough neighborhood, and lost many childhood friends to violent deaths and jail sentences, but was saved from the streets by his tennis coach and mentor. He was eventually recruited to the Virginia Military Institute, from which he knows Nathan, on a tennis scholarship. In response to problems in his beloved hometown, David and his mother helped form a neighborhood drug task force. David begins a relationship with Kira, a casting director for Bunim-Murray Productions. This is a violation of the rules, and Kira lost her job as a direct result. David knew Nathan from VMI before they joined the show. David naturally has one blue eye and one brown eye.
Nathan must deal with the perils of a long-distance relationship with his girlfriend, exacerbated in part by his close friendship with housemate Irene.
Lindsay is horrified when she is told over the phone that a friend has committed suicide. She does not attend the funeral, wanting to remember her friend how he was. The cast tries to console her, but she pushes them away. Janet and others worry about Lindsay's mental and physical health because she will not talk about the suicide. Lindsay says that keeping things to herself is how she deals with things.
Stephen's mother has another baby, and Stephen is worried about his mother surviving the delivery. He is seen crying on his bed and Lindsay comforts him, assuring him that both his mom and the baby will be fine.
The cast traveled to Nepal. In addition to the customary exotic vacation that is handed to RW cast members in each season, the trip was also used as a means of promoting REI, a local outdoor equipment store, and also for creating an audio diary to support their radio program. The cast climbs part of Mt. Everest, and Janet smokes on the trek. She eventually passes out from the elevation, and this frightens the cast.
The cast reacts negatively to the way the city of Seattle takes to The Real World being videotaped there. At one point, they notice a lot of people selling and wearing shirts that say, "Seattle says: The Real World sucks!"
In Episode 15, Irene moves out because, as she explains, she is experiencing a relapse of Lyme Disease. As her car pulls away, Stephen, who had been exchanging insults and other heated gestures with her, slaps her. The cast is subsequently shown the video, and is appalled. They are given the option to evict Stephen from the house, and after some deliberation, they agree to allow him to stay, provided he attends an anger management course.
In a previously unaired interview filmed at the time of her departure that aired during the 2000 reunion show, The Real World Reunion 2000, she explained that the main reason was her ethical objections to aspects of the show's production, which she characterized as an inauthentic environment designed to fabricate drama and conflict, and not the social experiment it was portrayed to be. McGee further explained that this was an unhealthy environment for her to live in, and that the stress and manipulation of the production exacerbated her illness.
While earning a masters degree in broadcast and communications from San Francisco State University, Irene McGee began a youth-oriented radio show/podcast, No One's Listening, The show has included interviews with Noam Chomsky, Lawrence Lessig, Brewster Kahle, Violet Blue, and Jimmy Wales, and won the 2006 Pubbie Award as Best Bay Area Podcast by the San Francisco Bay Area Publicity Club. She tours colleges to speak about media manipulation and reality television, has appeared on VH1 and E! Entertainment Television and was involved with a documentary about Lyme Disease, Under Our Skin: The Untold Story of Lyme Disease.
Lindsey Brien went on to become both a TV reporter for local affiliate KHAS in Hastings, NE and eventually to become part of the cast of morning team "The Bert Show" at radio station WWWQ in Atlanta. At last knowledge, Brien was co-host of a Tampa, Florida based TV show called "The Spot."
Stephen Williams was arrested in 2001 for prostitution, and again in 2002 for stealing a car. At the 2008 Real World Awards Bash, he announced that he was gay, and engaged to his male partner Sheldon. He also stated that he apologized to Irene, and had rekindled his friendship with her, but Nathan refuted this.
Rebecca Lord recorded a song with rapper Sir Mix-a-Lot. She is the leader of the pop band Becky, in which Keanu Reeves once played bass.