‘Cast members of “Real World Seattle: Bad Blood,” which premieres Wednesday, Oct. 12, lived on Capitol Hill and visited various Seattle spots during filming.
When MTV’s “The Real World” first filmed in Seattle 18 years ago, smartphones were almost a decade away from becoming ubiquitous. But in the show’s return-to-Seattle 32nd season debuting Wednesday, Oct. 12, cast members for the first time ever had access to smartphones while they were being filmed.
“Normally, we had just one phone line in the house they all had to share and that allowed us to video record all phone conversations, but it wasn’t true to how young people are today,” said “Real World” executive producer Jim Johnston. “Nobody has a [traditional] phone line anymore.”
But the cellphones cast members use are not their own. They used cellphones provided by the production — producers held onto their personal phones for the two months of filming — and producers had access to the cast’s texts and calls so they can use those conversations in the show as they had previously used landline conversations. The phones provided by the production also limited cast members’ access to social media.
‘Real World Seattle: Bad Blood’
10 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 12, MTV
“We don’t want publicity on story lines on social media ahead of the show airing,” Johnston said.
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Regardless, the show’s return to Seattle for “Real World Seattle: Bad Blood” generated publicity on social media when people came across the cast and their film crew entourage while partying in clubs and bars.
In another first for the series, producers cast a star of another MTV reality show as one of the housemates. Mike Crescenzo previously appeared on MTV’s “Are You the One?”
“He left [‘Are You the One?’] early, and I think the feeling was nobody had a chance to expand and learn about Mike,” Johnston said.
For the show’s first visit to Seattle, cast members lived on Pier 70. This go-round, cast members lived in Capitol Hill’s Ballou Wright building at 1517 12th Ave.
“The space we rented was just perfect for us,” Johnston said of Seattle’s second “Real World” house. “The timing, the price, the size of the space and the fact we could walk out the door, and there was so much to do.”
Johnston said the cast frequented Poquitos, Sam’s Tavern, Cupcake Royale, Nate’s Wings and Waffles, Trendy Wendy and Tia Lou’s in Belltown. Daytrips included Ocean Shores, Snoqualmie Falls and Alki Beach.
Since the 1998 Seattle season, “Real World” has morphed from a half-hour to one-hour episodes — 12 are planned for this season, which includes this week’s two-hour premiere.
The biggest change to “Real World” over the years is the addition of twists, and for this new season the twist is in the title: “Bad Blood.” The seven cast members introduced in the premiere will come face-to-face with people they have unfinished business with by the fourth episode.
“It’s really a way to make the roommates think more about their lives and where they’re going from here,” Johnston said. “These people are generally 21 years of age, and they’re all at that point in their lives where they’re struggling to become an adult. We wanted to challenge them with people from their past.”
That includes exes, former best friends, squabbling sisters and battling buddies.
“When the camera is there it almost feels like they’re forced to talk about it,” Johnston said. “It’s not like you can walk away from your problem because now your problem is sleeping in the room next to you.”
Does the twist damage the show’s original intent to show how the roommates “stop being polite and start getting real,” as the opening credits once proclaimed?
“Our goal has always been to continue to make it as true as possible,” Johnston said. “Yes, we do plan a twist, but what happens when those two people come face-to-face is up to them.”