City Pulse

By Matt Dorville

After 21 years, The Real World has finally jumped the bridge and chosen a neighborhood with style, culture and substance. The eight new members live in a huge home on the water in Red Hook that half the people in Williamsburg would kill for and every now and again venture out to bars and restaurants in the city. While they at times leave their house, the show mainly sticks to the colorful and needy personalities of the roommates. Sometimes they leave to go to Angels and Kings but it’s only if one of the characters get a gig as a DJ. As opposed to The City, where the characters actually venture out, The Real World: Brooklyn would do well to take a walk in Prospect Park or enjoy some shopping on Bedford Ave. Maybe later in the show we’ll see how closed off members, such as Chet, grapple with the city’s diversity but for now MTV leans on the personalities, or insecurities, of the cast to make for lively drama. Yet, at the end of the episode the average New Yorker may scratch his head wondering where all the Brooklyn is in The Real World: Brooklyn.

Whitney Port has left the sun of Los Angeles for the shade of Manhattan and with a dream job at Diane Von Furstenberg and really, who wouldn’t want to go? Whitney’s friends, Olivia and Erin, help making the adjustment easier while we see them eating at Café Noir in SoHo or walking leisurely in Central Park. At night she meets up with Jay for dinner at Los Dados in the Meatpacking District for a little gossip and wine. Yet the most wonderful aspect of The City is that New York is prominently featured in every episode. Whether Erin meets up with Whitney for brunch at Lyric Diner in Gramercy or Whitney walks hand in hand with Jay at Madison Square Park, each episode finds distinctively beautiful New York locations. The show also utilizes buzz worthy New York restaurants and clubs as a backdrop to the relationship drama. All in all, MTV may be wondering whether viewers will fall in love with The City as they did The Hills, but showing off Central Park at sundown or a gallery opening in Chelsea can certainly make anyone fall in love with the brilliance of New York.

Originally published February 2009
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