The residence usually includes a pool table, a Jacuzzi, and an aquarium, which serves as a metaphor for the show, in that the roommates, who are being taped at all times in their home, are seen metaphorically as fish in a fishbowl.This point is punctuated not only by the fact that the MTV logo title card seen after the closing credits of each episode is designed as an aquarium, but also by a poem that Judd Winick wrote during his stay in the 1994 San Francisco house called "Fishbowl".
Zamora’s friend and roommate during the show, Judd Winick, went on to become a successful comic book writer, and wrote the Eisner Award-nominated graphic novel Pedro and Me, about his friendship with Zamora, as well as high-profile 2004 San Diego castmate Jamie Chung, who has appeared in various television and film roles, including Dragonball Evolution, Sorority Row, and The Hangover Part II, is regarded as the Real World alumnus with the most successful media career.
Other Real World alumni who have gone on to media careers include London cast member Jacinda Barrett, whose acting career includes films such as Ladder 49, The Namesake, The Human Stain, and Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason, and Hawaii cast member Tecumseh "Teck" Holmes III, who appeared in films such as National Lampoon's Van Wilder and in TV series such as Friends.
Cast members are paid a small stipend for their participation in the show.
The cast of the first season, for example, was given ,500.
San Francisco alum Judd Winick is a noted comic book writer and artist, with the majority of his work appearing in comic books published by DC Comics, including writing such well known characters as Batman, Green Arrow, and Green Lantern.
Winick also published Pedro and Me, a graphic novel about his friendship with fellow castmate Pedro Zamora, who died of AIDS related complications not long after his experience on the show.Each season consists of seven to eight people, aged 18–25 (a reflection of the network's target demographic), usually selected from thousands of applicants from across the country, with the group chosen typically representing different races, genders, sexual orientations, levels of sexual experiences, and religious and political beliefs.Should a cast member decide to move out, or be asked to do so by his or her roommates, the roommates will usually cast a replacement, dependent on how much filming time is left.At the time of its initial airing, reviews of the show were mostly negative.Matt Roush, writing in USA Today, characterized the show as "painfully bogus," and a cynical and exploitative new low in television, commenting, "Watching The Real World, which fails as documentary (too phony) and as entertainment (too dull), it's hard to tell who's using who more." The Washington Posts Tom Shales commented, "Ah to be young, cute, and stupid, and to have too much free time...Real World (formerly known as The Real World from 1992 to 2013) is a reality television series on MTV originally produced by Mary-Ellis Bunim and Jonathan Murray.