The Real World: Key West

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The Real World: Key West
The cast of The Real World: Key West
Created by Jonathan Murray
Mary-Ellis Bunim
Starring Svetlana Shusterman
John Devenanzio
Paula Meronek
Tyler Duckworth
Zach Mann
Jose Tapia
Janelle Casanave
Country of origin United States
Original language(s) English
No. of episodes 25[1]
Running time 30 minutes
Original network MTV
Original release February 28 – August 15, 2006
Preceded by The Real World: Austin
Followed by The Real World: Denver

The Real World: Key West is the seventeenth season of MTV's reality television series The Real World, which focuses on a group of diverse strangers living together for several months in a different city each season, as cameras follow their lives and interpersonal relationships. It is the second season of The Real World to be filmed in the South Atlantic States region of the United States, specifically in Florida after The Real World: Miami.

The season featured seven people and was shot in the Key Haven neighborhood of Key West, Florida from August to December 2005. It premiered on February 28, 2006 and consisted of 25 episodes. The season premiere was viewed by 3.33 million people.[2]


The production faced a lawsuit by tourism mogul Ed Swift, a neighbor to the Driftwood Drive house, who sought to stop filming at the location, on the grounds that the production's floodlights, commercial-sized air conditioners, and outdoor cameras capable of rotating towards his house were a nuisance, and that local zoning laws prohibit commercial use of Key Haven homes. After MTV threatened to cancel production in response to the lawsuit, a judge threw out the lawsuit and allowed Bunim-Murray Productions to continue filming the season, with some minor production restrictions put in place.[3]

During filming, Hurricane Rita made landfall, forcing the cast to evacuate to West Palm Beach. Subsequently, Wilma hit the area, forcing them to evacuate again, first to Ft. Lauderdale, and then to Orlando.[4][5]


Almost every season of The Real World, beginning with its fifth season, has included the assignment of a season-long group job or task to the housemates, continued participation in which has been mandatory to remain part of the cast since the Back to New York season. The Key West cast was assigned to assist in starting a Mystic Tan franchise at the Pineapple Gallery. It closed briefly after Hurricane Wilma had devastated the store, and later reopened.

The residence[edit]

The cast lived in a nearly 6,000-square-foot (560 m2) Spanish Mediterranean-style, five bedroom, four and a half bathroom house at 32 Driftwood Drive in Key Haven, just north of the Key West city limits. The property spans 32,000 square feet (3,000 m2) of waterfront property, and includes a tennis court, indoor racquetball court, gym, and an open dock. The house, which, along with two adjacent lots, was leased from June 28 to December 30, 2005, also included a 12-foot (3.7 m) x 20-foot (6.1 m) indoor pool that was converted into a sunken lounge area for filming.[6] The house also included an outdoor pool.[7] The house sustained some damage from Hurricane Wilma.[8]


Cast Member Age1 Hometown Biography
Zach Mann 22 Vashon Island, Washington A communications grad from Lewis and Clark College, Zach comes from a Jewish family. Zach was at one time overweight, but has since transformed himself and emerged as an energetic, confident young man. He angers Svetlana when he informs her that he would also like to apply for team leader of Mystic Tan. At the reunion show, all of the castmates laughingly point to Zach when asked who "got the most booty."
Jose Tapia 20 Brooklyn, New York Known to his friends as "The Don." He was raised in Brooklyn surrounded by drugs, violence, and the influence of "the wrong crowd". During the season, viewers learn that while living in Key West he is in the process of moving out of an apartment he shares with his former girlfriend. He attended Florida State University, and is the owner of multiple rental properties and the holder of a real estate broker license.[9]
Paula Meronek 23[10] Meriden, Connecticut[11] Since her graduation from Quinnipiac University, Paula is a corporate employee by day, and parties at night. Paula is still experiencing problems with an abusive ex-boyfriend, and with her body image.[11]
John Devenanzio 22[12] Fullerton, California[13] A recent graduate of Pennsylvania State University, his casting made headlines in the Daily Collegian, PSU's student newspaper. During this season and onward throughout numerous challenges, he was appointed as "Johnny Bananas". He initially flirts with Svetlana but she remains faithful to her boyfriend at home. At one point during the season, he jokingly removes Janelle's bikini top in the ocean. Concerned about being asked to leave the house, he apologizes to Janelle and she accepts but not without reprimand. He and Tyler share a relationship characterized by numerous practical jokes they play on one another.
Janelle Casanave 23 San Jose, California Friends describe her as "independent." She was accepted to the University of San Francisco School of Law, but before becoming a lawyer, is launching a career as a makeup artist.[14] In 2008, Janelle later appeared on The Real World: Hollywood, in which she dates cast member William Gilbert.
Tyler Duckworth 23 Minneapolis, Minnesota A gay gymnastics and figure skating enthusiast who describes himself as "manipulative" and "mischievous". At one time, he was on track to becoming a world-class swimming champion, until a freak accident that nearly took away his ability to walk shattered his Olympic dreams. A recent graduate of Tufts University, he must decide what to do with his life. In the show, he admits to feeling the closest to Jose in the house.[15]
Svetlana Shusterman 19 Richboro, Pennsylvania Svetlana is a pre-med student at Temple University who was born to a Jewish family in Odessa, Ukraine. A first generation immigrant with a reputation for being the "crazy Russian chick," she is torn between her dependency on her family, and the need to venture out and experience life.[16] During this season and her only challenge season, she was nicknamed as "Fitz". In 2007, her 21st birthday was featured on MTV's My Super Sweet 16.[17]

^Note 1 : Age at the time of filming.[18]


Ep # Total Title Airdate
1 364 "Welcome to Key West" February 28, 2006 (2006-02-28)
The seven house mates come to Key West after waiting out Hurricane Katrina in separate locations. Paula tells the girls she thinks all of the guys are attractive, and John and Zach are drawn to Svetlana, who has a boyfriend.[19]
2 365 "Roommate Anxiety" March 7, 2006 (2006-03-07)
The roommates try to have a little fun before their job starts. The roommates believe that Paula has an eating disorder. John comments about Paula's weight causing her to confide in Zach about her insecurities. She appears to experience an anxiety attack and Janelle and Svetlana calm her down.[19]
3 366 "Club Hoppin" March 14, 2006 (2006-03-14)
Tyler introduces the others to Key West's gay nightlife, but John prefers chasing girls. Elsewhere, the roommates urge Paula to get help dealing with her issues.[19]
4 367 "Svetlana's Tough Times" March 21, 2006 (2006-03-21)
The roommates prepare to open the tanning salon; Tyler doesn't want to work with Svetlana, who he says is immature and irritating.[19]
5 368 "Troubled Waters" March 28, 2006 (2006-03-28)
Svetlana has a spat with her boyfriend and considers dumping him for John.[19]
6 369 "No Friends of Mine" April 4, 2006 (2006-04-04)
Svetlana wants to manage the tanning salon, but she gets competition for the job from Zach.[19]
7 370 "Zach Steps It Up" April 11, 2006 (2006-04-11)
The looming deadline for the store is causing everyone's true personalities to shine and conflict.[19]
8 371 "John's Got Game" April 18, 2006 (2006-04-18)
John brings home two women, and Jose ends up playing wingman; Paula reveals a startling secret about her ex-boyfriend.[19]
9 372 "John and Paula's Fight" April 25, 2006 (2006-04-25)
Hurricane Rita spoils the housemates plans for the opening of their tanning salon. Elsewhere, Paula interferes with John's date, and he accuses her of being a lesbian.[19]
10 373 "Gettin' Stormy" May 2, 2006 (2006-05-02)
Hurricane Rita's arrival forces the roommates to evacuate to West Palm Beach, where they have fun partying until John and Tyler start arguing about John's insensitive remarks regarding gays.[19]
11 374 "Clarification" May 9, 2006 (2006-05-09)
Paula knows she has issues but is afraid of going to therapy, and Zach begins a relationship with a local.[19]
12 375 "Tyler's Night of Fun" May 16, 2006 (2006-05-16)
Tyler has a one-night stand with a hottie, who Svetlana doesn't think is gay, but starts to wonder if her boyfriend is.[19]
13 376 "Opening Day" May 23, 2006 (2006-05-23)
The roommates open the tanning salon, and Paula is angry at John for sleeping on the job.[19]
14 377 "Janelle and Jose's Fight" May 30, 2006 (2006-05-30)
Janelle questions Jose's work ethic, and he doesn't take kindly to her remarks.[19]
15 378 "The Burn Book" June 6, 2006 (2006-06-06)
Svetlana tells John about Tyler talking trash behind his back. They make up and make a burn book against Svetlana; A possible visit by Paula's abusive ex-boyfriend causes a reaction among the roommates.[19]
16 379 "Zach's Girl Trouble" June 13, 2006 (2006-06-13)
Zach is torn between three women at once; Svetlana goes home to be with her boyfriend, Martin, after hearing his father is terminally ill.[19]
17 380 "Let's Get Physical" June 20, 2006 (2006-06-20)
John and Tyler work on a float for Fantasy Fest as a hurricane approaches. And Janelle is cross with John after he jokingly removes her top.[19]
18 381 "Hurricane Wilma" June 20, 2006 (2006-06-20)
Hurricane Wilma forces the roommates to evacuate to Fort Lauderdale, but the storm follows them.[19]
19 382 "Wake of the Storm" June 27, 2006 (2006-06-27)
The roomies return to Key West and survey the hurricane's impact on their house and business. Elsewhere, Svetlana gets angry with Tyler when she finds the burn book.[19]
20 383 "Spanish Getaway" July 11, 2006 (2006-07-11)
The roommates vacation in Spain, and John's out every night cruising for girls. Meanwhile, Svetlana is mad at Tyler and Janelle, so she mopes in her room.[19]
21 384 "Jose Gets Stranded" July 18, 2006 (2006-07-18)
Tyler obsesses over arranging a publicity visit with Olympic gold-medal-winning swimmer Amanda Beard, causing friction with the other roommates and an argument with John.[19]
22 385 "Relationships" July 25, 2006 (2006-07-25)
When Janelle's ex-boyfriend Kasib visits, the couple get into a fight and he's thrown out of the house with nowhere to go.[19]
23 386 "Regaining the Pace" August 1, 2006 (2006-08-01)
Tyler plans to run a marathon, but wants only three roommates---Jose, Paula and Zach---to be there in person to cheer him on, which offends the others in the house.[19]
24 387 "Svetlana's Birthday" August 8, 2006 (2006-08-08)
Svetlana's looking forward to her boyfriend visiting for her birthday, but she doesn't know that Tyler is planning a surprise for him. And as Paula's therapy ends, she reflects on how she's changed.[19]
25 388 "Time To Say Goodbye" August 15, 2006 (2006-08-15)
The roommates bid farewell to each other and Key West. After being postponed by Hurricane Wilma, the roommates finally go to Fantasy Fest and enter costume contests. John ends up encountering trouble with the gang's parade float.[19]

After filming[edit]

After the cast left the Real World house, all seven of them appeared to discuss their experiences both during and since their time on the show, Fun, Sun, and Now Totally Done: The Real World Key West Reunion which premiered on August 22, 2006, and was hosted by Susie Castillo.[20]

Devenanzio, or "Bananas" has become a mainstay on The Challenge since 2006.

In 2006, Paula Meronek was arrested for assault for allegedly biting then-boyfriend John Alyward.[11] She has since married another man and has two children.

Svetlana Shusterman became an aspiring actress and model who appeared in FHM as one of the "Girls of FHM". In 2007 she was arrested for disorderly conduct.[17][21] She is now an artist. In 2014, Shusterman filed a restraining order against Incubus frontman Brandon Boyd. Boyd has responded that does not know Shusterman and does not believe he has ever met her.[22]

Real World/Road Rules Challenges[edit]

Cast Member RW/RR Challenges Challenges Won Total Money Earned
Zach Mann The Gauntlet III None $0
Jose Tapia
Paula Meronek The Duel, The Inferno 3, The Gauntlet III, The Island, The Duel II,
Fresh Meat II, Cutthroat, Rivals, Battle of the Exes, Rivals II
Rivals, Rivals II $126,000
John Devenanzio The Duel, The Inferno 3, The Gauntlet III, The Island, The Ruins, Cutthroat, Rivals, Battle of the Exes,
Rivals II, Free Agents
, Battle of the Exes II, Battle of the Bloodlines, Rivals III, Invasion of the Champions, XXX: Dirty 30
The Island, The Ruins, Rivals,
Battle of the Exes, Free Agents, Rivals III
Janelle Casanave The Inferno 3, The Gauntlet III The Inferno 3 $40,000
Svetlana Shusterman The Duel None $0
Tyler Duckworth The Duel, The Gauntlet III, Cutthroat, Rivals Cutthroat, Rivals $92,000

Challenge in bold indicates that the contestant was a finalist on the Challenge.

Note: Paula appeared on the 2010 MTV special Spring Break Challenge as a color commentator.

Note: Johnny appeared on the six episode special Champs vs. Pros along with nine other champions.


External links[edit]

Coordinates: 24°35′15″N 81°44′17″W / 24.58750°N 81.73806°W / 24.58750; -81.73806