Seven cast members return nearly 30 years later to the iconic Venice Beach home hoping to settle their differences in The Real World Homecoming: Los Angeles. Jon Brennan and Irene Berrera-Kearns explain how issues addressed during the 1993 show still exist today, but their opinions have evolved.
CBS’s Katie Johnston spoke to Jon and Irene before the series debut.READ MORE: "Time for the village to step up": Volunteers help ease nationwide baby formula shortage
KJ- Tell me a little bit about why you decided to come back.
IBK- For me, it was to address unresolved issues that happened 20 years ago. And to get to know, my roommates on a different level, because after 20 years, we have matured a lot. And some of us haven’t. And just get to know one another again.
JB- Yeah, for me, it was just a great experience. I look back 30 years ago and say, hey, while it was very stressful, and there were some great times, and there were some times that weren’t very great. Overall, it was a really tremendous experience. Now that I’m 47 years old, I look back and I say, that was a lifetime experience. That was a really cool thing to get to do that people don’t get to do. I mean, I’m one of a very small group of people that got to do something kind of crazy and wacky, but really awesome. Now that I’m 30 years older, I would love to do that again. I would do a couple things differently. Then that phone rang. Yes, let’s do that.
KJ- I love the enthusiasm! On the note of changes, the Venice Beach home, the centerpiece of your season still sits on the same block as it did so many years ago. However, the neighborhood around it is dramatically different. To that point, I want to ask, what’s changed between you guys and your castmates since 1993?
JB- Well, that the house, it looks the same. All of the décor, of course, was updated and different. But the neighborhood, Venice Beach, has really made a comeback. It’s a great place to go and visit again. They’ve really cleaned it up. There’s a lot of great businesses that are there. Then you put us back in the same environment. Boom, you have fireworks again, because there we are in the same house having some of the same discussions. You know, really just butting heads again as seven different personalities, all type-A and all very sure that they’re the ones righting everybody else’s wrong. It made for a great television show.
KJ- What about for you, Irene?
IBK- Definitely the neighborhood has changed. What was really interesting were some of the neighbors are still there. They’re like, “you guys are back?” So that actually kind of shocked me because they remembered us. They were very warm and welcoming and made it feel like home again.
KJ- That’s crazy. What an interesting fact! It’s cool that they remember you. I mean, it would be hard not to remember your characters from the show and all the action happening around the house at all hours. The Real World is touted for being the starting point for reality TV. Now seeing the vast spectacle of this genre, do you guys feel like you’re sort of pioneers in that space?READ MORE: Video: Likely tornado spotted in Charlestown, New Hampshire
JB- It’s funny that you use the word spectacle, because I feel honestly like a spectacle. When we were on the show in the 90s, it made quite a scene. Then our homecoming is going to be spectacular. I’m telling you, it felt like we were back in the 90s. To me, Irene, it just felt like, wow, here we are (inaudible). While some of the events and conversations are unfolding and some of the conflicts even in the homecoming, you can tell in that moment that it’s going to be great television.
KJ- Absolutely. Irene, do you have any thoughts on that?
IBK- It’s very interesting to go back and and talk about the things that happened in 1993, because they’re so relevant now. To be able to address those, I think people are going to really relate to us even more.
KJ- To that point, there were so many serious real world issues that you guys tackled during your season. What are some of those conversations that viewers can expect during Homecoming?
JB- I mean, obviously, Tami, 20 years ago on television, became pregnant and had an abortion. You got conservative people like me that have opinions about those things and you’re living with these people that have become family to you. Now we’ve got 30 years of retrospect and, honestly, love for one another. We’re a family, a dysfunctional family. Now we’re talking about a sensitive topic like that. Then all of this stuff that has unfolded in the last couple of years. We all went through Coronavirus and are still going through it, but we’re in different parts of the country going through that. We’re watching our TV screens, and we watch the George Floyd incident. We look at all of the tension and the conflict that’s happening in our nation. We’re real people. So when we get back together and we talk about current events, the bothersome things that have been happening in our country, we talk and we talk about it from all different perspectives and opinions. You’re getting the real world all over again. That’s really why I love the show is because you’re getting real, raw opinions from real people that are passionate. They’re coming from all angles and backgrounds about it. There are a lot of topics that are talked about. We talk about Black Lives Matter, we talk about abortion, we talk about some of our roommates that have children that are going through some issues, and all of that is is a huge part of our homecoming.
KJ- Irene, do you have anything to add to that?
IBK- Like Jon said, we get to address some of those issues like the #MeToo issue as well. We we shed a lot of light on what’s going on now. I think people will want to tune into that because it’s completely different from, say, the Bachelor or the Bachelorette and those type of reality shows. I think you’re going to really get a lot out of connecting with each and one of every one of us.
KJ- Very raw and very authentic. Guys, I want to thank you so much for hanging out with me today and for also for going back to the Venice Beach home. Just we’re all so excited to see what this season brings.
JB- Thank you very much.MORE NEWS: Bail hearing postponed for Nathan Carman, charged in mom's death at sea