Facing Up to Reality

Courtesy MTV

The day after MTV kicked off its latest Real World season in early June, cast member Adam King was in his Los Angeles home nursing some emotional wounds. “It’s difficult for me,” he said. “Millions of people saw me act like a raging asshole.”

King, ’01, had just watched himself and six housemates interacting in the two-hour premiere of Real World Paris, the 13th segment of the popular and groundbreaking series that debuted in 1992. The show’s premise is simple: throw together seven young, unmarried strangers for five months, turn on the cameras, and follow the action. With rare exceptions, the camera goes wherever the cast members go, including the bedroom. Unfortunately, says King, “the setting really got to me” during the first few days of filming last January. Toward the end of the first show, King and a housemate, Leah, argued heatedly and King made some insulting comments. “It would be easy to blame MTV or say the editing captured me unfairly, but I did say those things. I have to accept the fact that I did it and now people will make judgments about me.”

King, a communications major and aspiring songwriter, knows a little about show business already—he grew up in Beverly Hills, the son of one of the Commodores, an R&B group. When an MTV casting agent saw him try out for Making the Band in March 2002, she interviewed King on the spot and six months later called to offer him a place in Real World Paris. “I had never even watched the show,” he says.

Despite the bruising first episode, “I’m not sorry I did the show,” says King, who is confident viewers will have a positive impression of him if they watch the entire series, which runs through the summer.