'Real World: Portland' Premiere: 6 Lessons From the Episode


Twenty years and 28 seasons later, MTV's The Real World, is alive and kicking (but mostly drinking and yelling). The most recent installment is set in Portland, America's hipsterest city. The names may have changed but the game is still the same: Seven (suspiciously attractive) strangers are picked to live in a house together and then try to vacillate as quickly as possible between loving and hating each other. Though the title is no more accurate than it was two decades ago (the living conditions are hardly “real”), the teaching moments are just as poignant. Here are the top six life lessons from the Real World: Portland premiere.

1. Chicks Dig Accents

And so do dudes. It seems that despite ever-increasing globalization, meeting someone with a different accent can still be a source of delight. Southern Belle Jessica and Johnny from “Bah-ston” were a big hit with the other roommates right out of the gate. The charm doesn't last forever, but as a person without a thick accent I can't help but wish I had one for the sake of first impressions. Am I right, y'all? Fuhgedaboutit.

2. Everyone Wants to Be First

The roommates on Real World: Portland are as eclectic a group as ever, but one thing they definitely had in common was a desire to be the first to arrive at their MTV-sponsored digs. The allure of the pioneer is apparently still as important as it was centuries ago. Admittedly though, the motivations have changed since the days of true pioneers: some wanted the best room, some wanted to arrive early to play pranks, and others simply wanted to be first for its own sake. This year's first arrival was Averey from Arizona and her diminutive dog, Daisy. Naturally. The dog got to pick their bed.

3. Token Black Guy is Still a Viable Role in 2013

Political incorrectness notwithstanding, the role of Token Black Guy is just as important to the vibe of The Real World as it was 20 years ago. Portland's TBG is Marlon, who is the son of a military pastor; a double-whammy of strictness. We've yet to have a racially charged moment in this young season, but I have hope. There's also the mysterious Nia, who is in teaser clips and has a bio on MTV.com, yet hasn't taken residence in the Real World house.

4. Barbecue is a Great Way to Bond

I've watched every MTV mix n' match family from Road Rules, to Jersey Shore, and barbecue is always the best way to bring people together. Even vegetarians can get in on the action with the proliferation of veggie burgers. Crowd-sourcing grilling methods from the men at a gathering is a crucial phase of bro bonding. It's almost impossible to completely botch, and when it does go wrong the calamity and hunger serve as a unifying forces.

5. Giving Yourself a Nickname is Not Flattering

If Snooki, The Situation, and J-Woww taught us anything, it's that self-styled nicknames can rub people wrong way. On Real World: Portland, the culprit is Anastasia a.k.a “Bird.” She explains the moniker as resulting from her tendency to be flighty, but something tells me it's more of a Sweet Dee from It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia situation. Maythe be it's tactical though, because “Bird” might actually be able to get away with her attempt at self-nomenclature due to the obvious pejorative interpretation.

6. Alcohol is the Cause Of, and Solution to, All Of Life's Problems

Everything was going fine until they got to the club ...