“The Real World: Brooklyn”
Wednesdays at 10 p.m.
MTV

2 out of 5 Stars

In the latest season of “The Real World,” shit’s getting real — real boring. This is in spite of MTV’s desperate attempt to switch up the formula. Grasping at its waning relevance, MTV moves the cast to streetwise Brooklyn, ups the so-called diversity and adds an eighth cast member. But while the subsequent potential for controversy may be higher than in past seasons, the actual level of conflict doesn’t live up to expectations.

Most diehard “Real World” fans take pride in the fact that they can predict many of the seven token cast members — the hot slutty white girl, the big white fratboy, the sheltered God-fearer, the gay one, the racially diverse one and the fame-whore are sure bets. And those still watching will feel an empty sort of recognition in “Brooklyn” — many of the regulars are still here, though MTV attempts to disguise them as something else.

In “Brooklyn”, there’s no hot slutty white girl. Instead, there’s Baya, a relatively chaste aspiring dancer, and Sarah, a bisexual with a tattoo sleeve and a heart of gold. There’s a definite fame-whore in Devyn, a would-be singer/actress whose fake breasts could be credited as a ninth cast member. Then there’s Scott, the big white fratboy who’s too boring to take up more than a minute and a half of airtime per two episodes. And while sheltered God-fearer Chet is Mormon, he’s also, in classic “Real World” style, an admitted metrosexual, who wears eyeliner and exclaims loudly about his virginity with or without prompting. The token gay one, JD, is somewhat of an angry drunk, but other than that, he’s almost too good of a person to be entertaining.

Then there’s the wildcard, Kaitlynn, a post-op transgender who’s allegedly meant to shake everything up. And she does — sort of. Chet displays an anthropological confusion about Kaitlynn, while Ryan, a soldier just back from Iraq who’s occasionally quite delightful, calls her “it” and can’t quite seem to wrap his head around the whole thing. When the cast goes to a gay bar in a neighborhood that Chet fears will be overrun with “assless chaps,” Ryan is playfully kissed on the cheek by a drag queen. He promptly runs home to wash himself compulsively. Viewers can sigh with relief — even after allegedly amping up the diversity, MTV hasn’t gotten rid of the threads of intolerance.

So what comes of all of this potential? Not much. The most dramatic episode thus far involved Sarah’s creepy father constantly calling the house only to be hung up on. In a very un-“Real World” fashion, he never physically appeared asking for money. And Chet’s Mormon mother, who scrubbed his eyeliner off in episode two and warned him never to wear it again, only said “Well, that’s why he’s so nice!” after learning of JD’s sexuality.

“Real World: Brooklyn” is at least suspenseful, if only for a few episodes. Viewers will stick with it in hopes that something exciting might actually happen, making it compulsively watchable. But after four hour-long episodes in which no one really fights, no one hooks up and everyone pretty much enjoys each other’s company, its hard not to wonder what exactly the point might be.

For the first time, MTV may want us to understand that it is, in fact, possible for eight strangers to live blissfully in a house together and have it taped. Tune in to see what happens when people keep being polite and never start getting real.

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