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Returning to ‘The Real World’: MTV to screen old seasons

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In 1992, MTV debuted "The Real World" to follow "seven strangers picked to live in a house and have their lives taped to find out what happens when people stop being polite and start getting real." This weekend, MTV has marathons of three past seasons, starting with the first.

Though you wouldn't know it from my feelings now, I once was a fan of some reality television.Yep, you read that right. And in the early days, I was a big fan of MTV's "The Real World." That was back when alcohol, sex and partying were part of the antics, but not the entire focus of the show.I was an especially big fan of the first season. That's why I'm pretty excited that this weekend, in advance of Wednesday's premiere of season 28 in Portland, the network is airing marathons of three past seasons, including the first.It airs from 8 p.m. Friday to 3:30 a.m. Saturday and is followed by season 12 in Las Vegas, from 2 p.m. Saturday to 4:30 a.m. Sunday, and season three in San Francisco, from 8 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. Sunday.I couldn't care less about Vegas because by then the show had become what it is now — a showcase for debauchery. I am excited for the other two, though.The show was still new then, as was the reality TV genre, and those seasons were more real. It really was about, as the show's intro goes, having their lives taped — as in, the lives they were already leading.Since then, the focus of the show has become being on the show. That's what defines the cast's lives; that's their reason for existing. They even have a group job to work, further keeping them in their own little world.In early seasons, though, the cast members already had their own careers. They were out living their lives with some help/manipulation from MTV, not living lives for the sole purpose of being televised. In season one, Heather, Becky and Andre were musicians; Julie was an aspiring dancer, Eric was a fitness model and Kevin was a writer.In season three, Judd was a cartoonist, Pam was a med student, Pedro was an AIDS educator and Puck was a bike messenger.I can remember the first cast attending political rallies, Julie spending the night in a homeless community and Kevin mentoring a troubled teen. In season three, Pedro's struggle with AIDS and his work as an AIDS educator were chronicled, as was his commitment ceremony to his partner, Sean.I can't remember later seasons having much worthwhile footage like that, though, granted, I haven't watched regularly since season nine, New Orleans, in 2000 and not at all since Paris in 2003.

I'm looking forward to seeing those seasons again. Now if only Snooki (among others) weren't going to pop up with occasional commentary, reminding me how far the network has sunk ...

***At 10 p.m. Wednesday, "Psych" will celebrate its 100th episode with an extra-special "Clue"-themed episode. Not only does the hour include appearances by actors from the awesome '80s cult film, it also features multiple endings, with fans choosing which one will air!Among the suspects in the case are a band manager (Martin Mull, aka "Clue's" Colonel Mustard), a groupie (Lesley Ann Warren, Miss Scarlet), an author (Christopher Lloyd, Professor Plum), the butler (Garrett Morris, "Saturday Night Live" and "2 Broke Girls") and the host (Steve Valentine, "Crossing Jordan"), Tears for Fears singer Curt Smith also appears, marking his second time on the show.

During the episode, fans can vote for the ending they want at the Psych website,, or on Twitter using one of the following hashtags: #PsychButlerDDit, #PsychGroupieDDit, #PsychManagerDDit, #PsychAuthorDDit and #PsychHostDDit. (Dunkin' Donuts is the social media sponsor, hence the double Ds in the hashtags.)East and West coast broadcasts are voted on separately, so the same ending may not air for each. The day after the episode, you can see two of the three endings online or On Demand. You'll have to get the season 7 DVD in order to see the third. (Or just wait for someone to leak it onto YouTube.)

***Series premiere: "Married to Medicine," 9 p.m. Sunday, Bravo (Atlanta women who are doctors or married to ones).Season premieres: "Wife Swap," 8 p.m. Thursday, ABC; "The Voice," 8 p.m. Monday, NBC (with Shakira and Usher subbing for Cee Lo and Christina); "The Game," 10 p.m. Tuesday, BET; "The Real World," 10 p.m. Wednesday MTV.Returning: "Revolution," 10 p.m. Monday, NBC.Extra episodes: "1600 Penn" Thursday and March 28 at 8:30 p.m., NBC.

Season finales: "Last Man Standing," 8 p.m. and "Malibu Country," 8:30 p.m. Friday, ABC (possible series finales); "The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills," 8 p.m. Sunday, Bravo; "Chasing the Saturdays," 8:30 p.m. Sunday, E!; "Hotel Impossible," 10 p.m. Monday, Travel Channel; "The Face," 9 p.m. Tuesday, Oxygen; "The Neighbors," 8:30 p.m. Wednesday (possible series finale);"Whitney," 8:30 p.m. Wednesday, NBC (possible series finale).Specials: "Kids' Choice Awards," 8 p.m. Friday, Nickelodeon (hosted by Josh Duhamel); "Kristin Chenoweth: The Dames of Broadway," 8 p.m. Sunday, PBS (performing American Songbook classics).Of note: Courteney Cox guest stars on Matthew Perry's "Go On," 9 p.m. Tuesday, NBC.

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