Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.
Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

The Real World, the old reality show battleaxe in a mesh top from Strawberry still yelling "Who wants a body shot?" at the end of the television bar, has for several seasons now given MTV viewers a close approximation of what it's like to stop being polite and live inside a Senor Frog's. Now, the show is dropping the approximation and basically filming eight strangers as they live inside a Senor Frog's. That's right, in its 22nd season, MTV has said, "Fuck it. Let's do Real World: Cancun."

The trailer is about what you'd expect from The Real World: Cancun—discussions of Mad Men, nightly readings of the poems of Louise Gluck, purpose—but watching it, you get the feeling that these 8 strangers were born to one day be on a reality show. The main reason you get that feeling? Their names. Sure, there are a couple of normal, non-future-terrible-reality-show-cast-member names, like Joey and Jasmine. But the parents of some of these people clearly held their tiny helpless baby in their arms and said, "She's gonna be on The Real World some day. Yes she is!" And so they gave their baby a ridiculous name, and thus her future was sealed.  

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In general, predestined reality show cast member names fall into four catagories:

1. Close.  

These are names that are thisclose to being acceptable names for human beings. For example:

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Almost there, Emilee's parents. If you had gone with a "y" instead of a "ee" she might not be heading off to yet another foam party in Cancun while an MTV production crew follows. This category can also include names that just feel wrong, such as:

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Maybe they were going for a creative female version of John? Or a vowel-tweaked "Jenna"? Either way, "Jonna" will look very good scribbled across the bottom of a screen during Real World/Road Rules Challenge: The Cramazing Duel V.

2. That's Not A Name It's A ______

For example:

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Bronne? That's not a name it's a toilet paper manufacturing company. or

Bronne? That's not a name it's a city in the Ukraine.

Also in this category: London from America's Next Top Model Cycle 12 (That's not a name, it's the capital of England), Suede from Project Runway Season 5 (That's not a name it's a fabric/cheap way to make yourself sound more colorful than you actually are), and Spike from Top Chef 3 (That's not a name, it's what I want to drive through my eye whenever I see you in that hat).

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3. Colorful (or nonsensical) Abbreviations

The Real World Cancun doesn't have one of these, but possibly that's because Hell's Kitchen 5 took all the good (i.e. confusing) abbreviations. For example:

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Coi? That has to be short for something. Then there's

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Sure. Fine. People call you "La." Whatever you think makes you sound edgy. But my favorite is:

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J. One letter. He should change his name to "No just the letter J." because I'm sure he has to say it all the time.

4. Art

The predestined reality show cast member names in this category can't be explained. They can't be understood. They should just be appreciated for the works of art that  they are.

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From The Real World: Cancun:

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Three "i"s. In a row. Who's a reality show cast member now? (Answer: obviously Ayiiia)

But even Ayiiia can't beat the best reality show cast member name in the history of the genre. A name so incredible it could fit in three of these categories. From America's Next Top Model, Cycle 9:

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