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The First Decade Of "Real World" Houseguests, Ranked From Worst To Best

Here's to the people who stopped being polite, started getting real, and made television history in the process.

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MTV, Jenny Chang for BuzzFeed

In 1992, producers Mary-Ellis Bunim and Jonathan Murray selected seven strangers to live in a New York City loft, have their lives taped, and show the world what happened when people stopped being polite and started getting real.

Twenty-two years and 30 seasons later (The Real World: Skeletons premieres Dec. 16), the show has boasted an incredibly diverse roster of houseguests and called attention to major issues, both global (the AIDS crisis) and deeply personal (abortion).

While recent seasons have ensured the show's legacy, there is truly no comparison to the first decade of houseguests — the ones who helped define the franchise and influenced multiple generations. So here are the cast members of every season of The Real World from New York (1992) to Las Vegas (2002), ranked from worst to best.

87. Justin Deabler, The Real World: Hawaii

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There's nothing wrong with being a reality TV villain, but unlike so many of his brethren, Justin is also utterly forgettable, proving his duplicitous deeds were for naught (his most memorable scheme involved emotionally and mentally manipulating the already emotionally unstable Amaya Brecher during their vacation in India). Justin left the house early, citing a family emergency as the reason for his exit. No one missed him.

86. Kaia Beck, The Real World: Hawaii

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The Natasha to Justin's Boris, the oft-topless Kaia wasn't much better — or more capable of intentionally causing controversy — but at least she stuck out the season.

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84. Kevin Dunn, The Real World: Back to New York

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With such an poignant backstory (Kevin was in recovery from testicular cancer), there was an expectation for inspiration. Sadly, that never happened.

83. Glen Naessens, The Real World: Los Angeles

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Sure, it's tough to leave an enduring impression when you're a replacement roommate (see No. 64), but if your legacy includes letting all the members of your crappy rock band squat in MTV's shared sublet, perhaps you were better off not applying?

81. Frank Roessler, The Real World: Las Vegas

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Everybody knows someone like Frank: a perfectly pleasant dude with zero personality who focused all his energy on getting a six-pack. So every conversation is like, "Shut your mouth and take off your shirt."

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79. Colin Mortensen, The Real World: Hawaii

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Colin's island time was basically tanked the instant Amaya laid eyes on him because that Stage Five Clinger latched on to his biceps like a barnacle. That said, Colin had control over how he treated Amaya and he couldn't have been more careless with her emotions. Not cool, guy.

76. Rachel Braband, The Real World: Back to New York

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All I remember about this Aeropostale mannequin is that she was underage and nothing makes a bouncer do their job more thoroughly than a camera crew attempting to follow an 18-year-old into their bar.

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75. Matt Simon, The Real World: Hawaii

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I liked Matt. He developed a sweet relationship with Ruthie's twin sister, was the ringleader in getting Ruthie help, and had excellent taste in late '90s clothing. (I also owed this terry cloth polo shirt.)

74. Irene Berrera-Kearns, The Real World: Los Angeles

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Irene was a cop, had a wall of bangs that would make Elaine Benes jealous, and left the show 14 minutes after it started to get married. 10's across the board.

72. Pam Ling, The Real World: San Francisco

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Pam was a med student and, therefore, had no time for your drama. Sadly (for her, not us), she ended up on one of the most dramatic seasons of The Real World ever.

71. Jamie Murray, The Real World: New Orleans

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As far as I'm concerned, The Real World: New Orleans was the best season from top to bottom. And I would still feel that way if you edited Jamie out of every single episode.

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70. Jay Frank, The Real World: London

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I never got the sense that Jay enjoyed his time in London. I feel this way because I distinctly remembering him wearing the uniform of depression (basketball shorts with white socks and shower sandals) in every single episode.

69. Jo Rhodes, The Real World: San Francisco

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Jo moved in after Puck was evicted and, let's be honest, by that time we all needed a break from his particular brand of insanity. And whoever replaced Puck would seem low-key by comparison, but I'm pretty sure MTV had to routinely check Jo's pulse to verify she was still alive. Pretty accent though.

67. Sarah Becker, The Real World: Miami

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Sarah's good in my book because, one time, she made the adorable puppy she adopted (it's possible she stole it, jury's still out) ride a skateboard.

66. Rebecca Lord, The Real World: Seattle

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Rebecca recorded a song with Sir Mix-a-Lot while she was in Seattle. Did you ever record a song with Sir Mix-a-Lot in Seattle? Thought not.

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65. Mohammed Bilal, The Real World: San Francisco

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Mohammed gamed the system, because he actually lived in San Francisco, so he was able to stop being polite and start getting real while continuing to see his girlfriend (the stunning Stephanie) and all his friends.

64. David Edwards, The Real World: Los Angeles

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The stand-up comic had to take a damn seat when his prank on a sleeping Tami went horribly awry and he was booted from the house.

63. Kelley Limp, The Real World: New Orleans

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Kelley's entire legacy is defined by the people she surrounded herself with: best gay Danny, best friend Melissa, hot doc hook-up Peter. These days, it's, "Kelley from The Real World married Scott Wolf." Can't knock her hustle.

62. Nicole Mitsch, The Real World: Back to New York

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I remember Nicole being very smart (and a Google search confirms that she graduated from Morris Brown College in Atlanta with a 4.0 GPA), which explains why she knew better than to do anything embarrassing on camera.

61. Kyle Brandt, The Real World: Chicago

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All-American apple pie-face Kyle spent most of the season in a flirtmance with someone I don't remember (oh, it was whatsherface at No. 77) and trying to be an actor. The second sort of worked out for him.

60. Jon Brennan, The Real World: Los Angeles

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This Kentucky boy brought his 10-gallon hat and learned prejudices all the way to Los Angeles. Thankfully, he lost the latter after being exposed to people of different races and orientations on the show, which used to be the point of The Real World.

58. Mike Johnson, The Real World: London

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Here are all the things I remember that Mike liked: racing cars, sleeping all day, crushing on Kat, and pretending he didn't crush on Kat when it became clear Kat liked Neil more.

57. Cynthia Roberts, The Real World: Miami

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Cynthia wasn't the most memorable houseguest, but she was one of the most unabashedly lovely. Like, genuinely kind and sincere. Let this be a lesson for ya, children of the internet: Treat people nicely while on a reality show and you too can end up in the middle of a mega ranking one day!

55. Nathan Blackburn, The Real World: Seattle

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Nathan was the Kelley Limp of Seattle, and by that I mean he was only interesting because of the company he kept, namely his best friend David. In fact, I'd venture a guess that Nathan wouldn't have ended up on this show had the producers not taken to the idea of having two military cadets in the cast.

54. Arissa Hill, The Real World: Las Vegas

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Even the roommates who arrived in Sin City with significant others were not safe from the most sexually charged season of The Real World (and possibly television) ever. In Las Vegas, Arissa pretty quickly cuddled up to Steven, despite loving her long-distance boyfriend, Dario. This season's sexual pull was so great, even Dario wasn't immune: It turned out one of Irulan's friends knew Dario and informed Arissa he cheated on her and got another girl pregnant (the second part turned out not to be true).

53. Beth Anthony, The Real World: Los Angeles

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Beth wore a t-shirt that read, "I'm not gay, but my girlfriend is," and that's still my favorite article of clothing from the history of this show.

51. Janet Choi, The Real World: Seattle

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Janet was great, but there were few things better than Janet with Lindsay! She also had the best laugh (which can be heard dancing through the Seattle sky in the opening credits).

50. Sean Duffy, The Real World: Boston

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Putting a dyed-in-the-wool Republican in the house with a liberal (Kameelah) and a lesbian (Genesis) should have resulted in tons of thought-provoking arguments. But aside from a few small spats, Sean was pretty middle of the road. At least openly.

48. Joe Patane, The Real World: Miami

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While I don't remember how tall Joe was, I do recall that he had a very — VERY — tall girlfriend named Nicole. In fact, one of my most enduring memories from this season is of Nicole dwarfing Joe while they walked on a treadmill together.

47. Chris Beckman, The Real World: Chicago

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Chris had a lot going for him as a reality TV character: He was a gay, a recovering alcoholic, an artist, and an aspiring model. He really should have been more interesting.

46. Syrus Yarbrough, The Real World: Boston

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While I'm sure a lot of good was done by having the roommates volunteer at an after-school program, there were also some predictable downsides (most of which will be discussed later in this ranking in regards to Montana), like when Syrus began dating one of his kids' mothers, much to the chagrin of their boss.

43. Beth Stolarczyk, The Real World: Los Angeles

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Beth was an unstoppable instigator and, therefore, bore the brunt of a lot of her roommates' frustration. But she maintained an admirable ability to shake it off before Taylor Swift was allowed to watch The Real World, most likely.

42. Kat Ogden, The Real World: London

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If the point of being on The Real World is to expose yourself to sights, sounds, and ideas that are outside your norm, then Kat truly maximized the opportunity afforded to her.

39. Jason Cornwell, The Real World: Boston

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Jason brought most of his drama into the house, thanks to a rocky relationship with girlfriend Timber (real name, she swears). In one particularly memorable episode, she went full Ricky Fitts and erected a love message in fire outside the roommates' building (which was, ironically, a converted firehouse).

38. Irulan Wilson, The Real World: Las Vegas

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Irulan came into the house with a boyfriend, Gabe, but that didn't stop her from getting wrapped up in an on-again, off-again relationship with Alton that would come to define her time on the show.

37. Cara Kahn, The Real World: Chicago

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OK, so I can't find any evidence to support this on the internet, but I swear there was an episode where Cara got caught smoking pot in the house — or maybe she admitted in one of the million Real World retrospectives I've watched over the years (that have been lost to time in a pre-YouTube era) that she got in trouble with production for smoking pot. In any case, that's part of my memory of why I loved her.

I also was #TeamCara after she became a lightning rod for controversy once the show depicted her having sex with several men over the course of the season (something the men of Real World have done almost every season to little or no judgement).

I distinctly remember one episode that used night vision cameras to show Cara mounting a guy in bed as a condom wrapper was thrown to the floor. I always felt like her Scarlet Letter was unfair. I mean, she was 22 years old, on a reality show, and using protection. We should all be so lucky.

36. Elka Walker, The Real World: Boston

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I will never, ever forget the image of Elka hunched over her mother's grave (she'd recently died from cancer) and crying, "Mommy." It broke my heart then, and reliving that viewing experience while typing this out is breaking my heart all over again. Those are the kinds of raw, unfiltered, deeply personal moments that The Real World does its audience a great service by broadcasting.

35. Flora Alekseyeun, The Real World: Miami

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Flora warrants a high ranking on this list for forcing herself through the glass shutters on their bathroom window in order to get a firsthand view of Mike and Melissa's threesome.

34. Becky Blasband, The Real World: New York

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The Real World has a storied history of on-camera talent breaking the fourth wall and hooking up with production people (which is to be expected when rule-flaunting twentysomethings are your bread and butter). That trend started in Season 1 when Becky began dating one of the show's directors.

33. Brynn Smith, The Real World: Las Vegas

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Whether she was making out with Steven and Trishelle in the hot tub (and then regretting it) or attacking Steven with a fork (and then regretting it), the ups and downs of Brynn's emotional instability made for tough, but compelling, viewing.

32. Amaya Brecher, The Real World: Hawaii

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OK. Real talk. Everyone hated Amaya. Everyone in the house. Everyone at home. Everyone. But with a little time and perspective I've come to realize that the reason we (or, I) disliked Amaya so much is because she's so relatable. And sometimes it's uncomfortable to see yourself reflected so accurately in the crazy eyes of a lovestruck fool.

31. Tonya Cooley, The Real World: Chicago

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There are a handful of roommates who have gone on to have very illustrious post-show careers on MTV's various incarnations of The Challenge. Therefore, it's difficult to separate one's opinions of them as a result of that show versus The Real World. For example, Tonya has been a drunk and disorderly hurricane of hellfire on The Challenge, but was more reserved and judgmental of others' messy behavior on her Chicago season.

27. Kameelah Phillips, The Real World: Boston

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Kameelah was unapologetic about who she was, what she wanted, and how she would go about getting it (one episode was even titled "200 Things a Guy Has to Be to Date Kameelah"). She stood up for herself, never backed down, and made for constantly incredible television.

25. Alton Williams, The Real World: Las Vegas

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No one had more sex on any season of The Real World than Alton — both with his roommates and with local randos. And it's easy to understand why: Dude was jacked and charming as all hell.

24. Julie Stoffer, The Real World: New Orleans

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What's the Mormon version of Rumspringa? Whatever it is, that's what this experience was for Julie — a Mormon with no real awareness of the outside world who wanted/needed to expand her horizons (boys with spiky hair!) in New Orleans.

23. Aneesa Ferreira, The Real World: Chicago

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Aneesa, like her roommate Tonya, has gone on to have a memorable Challenge career, but the take-no-prisoners attitude that has come to make her a staple on the competition series was front and center in Chicago as well.

22. Steven Hill, The Real World: Las Vegas

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Steven's biggest contribution to this season was his penis. By that I don't mean its size — although, who knows, there was probably something special about it since so many women were dickmatized by it. What I mean is that, from day one, his sex life (and the fallout from it) was the thrust of his storyline. From threesomes to pregnancy scares, Steven basically created drama without ever having to leave his bed.

21. Melissa Padron, The Real World: Miami

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Melissa opened envelopes and pushed boundaries during her short but memorable time on the show as she moved out of the house following her attention-grabbing threesome (although she continued to work for the business).

20. Lindsay Brien, The Real World: Seattle

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Lindsay's hair was as big as her personality. She never really caused waves, or did anything particularly memorable; she was just an awesome person you actually wanted to be friends with and have by your side for adventures.

19. Rachel Campos, The Real World: San Francisco

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Rachel had two storylines: learning from Pedro and fighting with Puck. The first was an informative and inspirational journey we're all better for having taken with her, while the second was a slow-motion car accident none of us could tear ourselves away from.

18. Heather Gardner, The Real World: New York

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There are many things I remember about Heather B. She was an awesome lyricist, she seemed genuinely invested in educating her roommates, and she always sounded like she had a cold.

17. Stephen Williams, The Real World: Seattle

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The Slap Heard 'Round The World was — and is — one of the most significant moments in Real World history. In the wake of Stephen's shocking assault on Irene, the houseguests had to evaluate his place in the house and, in the end, opted to send him to therapy instead of simply evicting him. A more beneficial choice, certainly.

16. Irene McGee, The Real World: Seattle

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Irene has to rank higher than Stephen for two reasons:

1) She assaulted no one.

2) She accurately assessed that he was a homosexual, and a marriage between them would have truly never worked out.

15. Mike Mizanin, The Real World: Back to New York

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Before he became The Miz professionally and before he dominated The Challenge, there was just Mike, a sheltered 20-year-old who had never truly interacted with gay or black people before he moved to New York City. His education was a solid reminder that there can be so much more to The Real World than hot tubs.

14. Coral Smith, The Real World: Back to New York

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Much of Mike's education came courtesy of Coral (and considering they went on to be a dynamic duo on several seasons of The Challenge, I felt it apt to pair them here as well).

13. David Burns, The Real World: Seattle

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I can still hear him cry-shouting, "You're killin' me, Kira!" Yes, David's on-camera romance with Kira, the casting director who put him on the show, made for damn good television.

12. Trishelle Cannatella, The Real World: Las Vegas

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Trishelle's season-long relationship with Steven resulted in a hot tub triple kiss, a pregnancy scare, a jealousy-induced fork attack, and many, many other moments she also regretted.

11. Kevin Powell, The Real World: New York

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It's essential that The Real World not only cast the inquisitive, but also the intelligent, so their questions are met with thoughtful, helpful answers. For the inaugural season, Kevin was more than up to the task, and his argument with Julie about race remains the most important in the show's history.

8. David "Puck" Rainey, The Real World: San Francisco

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The most infamous of all houseguests, Puck was like a human snot-rocket to the senses. He was unapologetic, unsympathetic, and we were unable to turn away. Perhaps that was because, despite all the tough-guy fronting and peanut butter licking, you could sense Puck's heart and wanted so badly to mend it.

7. Ruthie Alcaide, The Real World: Hawaii

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It quickly became clear that Ruthie had a drinking problem when paramedics had to be called to revive her in the first episode of Hawaii. What followed was a series of increasingly worrisome episodes that placed a spotlight on a very damaging issue that The Real World's target audience should be learning about.

6. Genesis Moss, The Real World: Boston

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Genesis was the first lesbian roommate on The Real World (besides Beth A. from Los Angeles, since she was a late addition toward the end of the season) and an incredible person to boot. By the time one of the kids at their after-school program told Genesis she hated gay people, we cried right along with her and loved Kameelah for setting a child straight about LGBT issues.

4. Danny Roberts, The Real World: New Orleans

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Danny was the guy every girl (and gay) wanted to bring home to mom. Sweet, sexy, and with a swoon-inducing Southern accent, Danny's legacy could have easily ended there. But his time on the show also turned him into a poster boy for our country's arcane "don't ask, don't tell" policy when his boyfriend, an officer in the military named Paul, was forced to have his face blurred out on-screen.

3. Tami Roman, The Real World: Los Angeles

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Tami's Real World experience ran the gamut from silly (verbally sparring with her jaw wired shut) to scary ("It wasn't not funny") to incredibly powerful (allowing cameras to document her abortion).

2. Julie Gentry, The Real World: New York

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A reality show only gets to become an institution if the first season succeeds, and Julie is to The Real World what Kelly Clarkson is to American Idol: the example held up by producers to say, "See! This works!" Julie not only engaged, thoughtfully and passionately, with Kevin about race and with Norman about sexuality, but she also used her time in New York City to learn more about the homelessness problem that plagued the city, going as far as to spend a night with a group of homeless youths.

1. Pedro Zamora, The Real World: San Francisco

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In short, Pedro Zamora was a game changer and the kind of advocate every cause needs. A prominent figure armed with facts on an undeterrable quest for equality. He also transformed an incredibly scary global issue into a deeply personal one for millions of viewers and brought AIDS and HIV care to the forefront of household conversations. So, yes, Pedro is No. 1, and that's because Pedro should be No. 1.