The thirtieth season of MTV's reality staple is moving to the Midwest: The Real World: Skeletons' house is in Chicago's West Loop, in a city that hasn't hosted the show in 13 years. Chi Town hasn't always been the most welcoming place for reality TV cameras. In 2001, the Real World: Chicago house was frequently vandalized by their neighbors in the area who protested the show's intrusion into their city. But for the 2014-15 season, the Real World producers have learned from their mistakes and are doing things a little differently by choosing a new neighborhood to host their show.
In 2001, the Wicker Park neighborhood was transitioning, between an artsy community of broke students (think Williamsburg a few years ago) and longtime locals who saw the presence of TV cameras and an indication of the incoming gentrification. Unfortunately, both communities reacted negatively to The Real World crew. The artists were proto-hipsters, so they saw it as destroying their new hood's cred. Meanwhile, the longtime residents saw it as yet another sign that they were losing control of the area.
The location of the Skeleton house, in Chicago's West Loop, is also a rapidly evolving neighborhood. New businesses are moving in, fancy restaurants are popping up, and luxury condominiums are being built. So it's up-and-coming, but it's more of an urban center than the Wicker Park location.
The Skeletons house used to be a club called Bon V (map below), a popular spot that was totally revamped by MTV to become a highly modern, temporary apartment for the cast. While the place looks good, with new furniture and a fresh coat of paint, you can still sense the DNA of a club underneath, especially with its wide-open layout and big front window that have left the house vulnerable to gawking passersby. And they've even kept the bar on the first floor, which I am sure will be well-used. But so far, the citizens of the West Loop seem a lot friendlier than their counterparts in Wicker Park, so no reason to worry about vandalism this season.
All in all, the ex-Bon V seems like a good choice for the Real World house. New businesses can get exposure when the cast go out for a night on the town, but it's not filled with parents, families, or longtime residents who will be outraged at the late nights of drunken shouting as the members of the house are reintroduced to the "skeletons" in their closets.
Image: Google Maps