Screen

The Real World’ started a Vegas party that just won’t stop

Image
Kids those days.
Photo: Jane Kalinowsky/AP

It seemed like Season 12 of MTV’s The Real World set records for drunken debauchery and hookups … or maybe that was just because the roommates lived in a 28th-floor suite at the Palms casino-resort in Las Vegas, partying and “working” at nightclubs and the pool. Sin City lived up to its name for Arissa, Frank, Trishelle, Alton, Brynn, Steven and Irulan, so much so that Season 12 stands as the point where the once-groundbreaking series moved away from its almost anthropological origins exploring young adulthood into a showcase for immaturity and irresponsibility.

But the true impact of that season wasn’t on reality TV, it was on Vegas. It debuted in September 2002, when George Maloof’s off-Strip resort wasn’t even a year old. The show put the Palms on the map, and the property became successfully bipolar—locals’ casino by day, wild party spot by night. The Hard Rock Hotel’s opening seven years earlier had already started the cool new Vegas ball rolling, but post 9/11, the city was kinda dead. When college kids and 20-somethings saw The Real World crew getting crazy, it brought the classic Anything Goes ideal of Las Vegas to a brand-new market segment.

Funny how that has become the dominant market on the Strip today—the endless Spring Breaker. If not for The Real World, we might not have tens of thousands of young visitors packing the dayclubs and nightclubs every weekend, spending their money, making their own Las Vegas.

Share
Photo of Brock Radke

Brock Radke

Brock Radke has been writing about Las Vegas for almost two decades. He currently serves as editor-at-large covering entertainment and ...

Get more Brock Radke
  • UNLV ends its football season against its intrastate rival.

  • I pretty much always have a copy of Ray Bradbury’s The Martian Chronicles handy. I feel like we’re living in that Mars landscape—like it’s the ...

  • The 2016 album Hardwired… to Self-Destruct is the band’s best in many years, and the setlists on the current tour haven’t skimped on its songs.

  • Get More A&E Stories
Top of Story