“I don’t want to put my parents through that again,” he says, his voice fading to a whisper.It’s a soul-crushing scene, far more real than we’re prepared to expect from television.I remember the first time "The Real World" hit the airwaves back in the summer of 1992.I had just graduated from 8th grade and I use to watch it with one of my older siblings, who had graduated from college.Conklin enlisted in the Army at age 17 after the events of Sept. Although he tries at first to keep quiet about his service (“I wanted them to get to know me for me,” he says), the MTV series skillfully reveals him as a young man dedicated to his country.He’s also opposed to the war, and the series films him becoming involved with the activist group Iraq Veterans Against the War.
Rainey was a cast member on the MTV reality TV series The Real World: San Francisco in 1994.Conklin seemed to fill the role of the sheltered, small-town guy who would bristle at his roommates’s differences and show flashes of intolerance, before ultimately learning to be a better person. But while Conklin did provide a few early awkward moments (befuddled by Katelynn, who had not yet explained her gender status, he referred to her once as “it”) he proved the warmest presence on the show: a good guy eager to absorb all New York has to offer, entertain his roommates with spoofy songs on his guitar, and go to school to study film. Late in the series (when it was shot in mid-November), we see Conklin talking on the phone with his brother, who grimly informs him that “you got the packet in the mail that you’ve been dreading.” His brother tells him that he’s been called back to Iraq through the Individual Ready Reserve (IRR), a program that allows the Army to recall soldiers who have completed their tours of duty.Conklin goes through a rapid succession of denial — “Don’t mess with me,” he says, convincing himself his brother is lying to him — and frustration, before crumpling into tears to a roommate.-- and during tonight's brand-new episode, the largest cast in the series' storied history said goodbye to this raw and real experience.MTV News recently caught up with most of the roommates to hear how their lives have changed since leaving Seattle, what their current status with their frenemies from the past is and what advice they would give to anyone who might want to "stop being polite" in the not-so-distant future.Although the producers informed the housemates that they would be living with someone who was HIV-positive, they did not reveal who it was, and as a result of these injuries, which included scabs on his face, some of the other castmates incorrectly assumed the HIV-positive cast member was Rainey.