YMMV / True Life

  • Alternate Character Interpretation / Bumbling Dad: The wanna-be rocker dad from "I Have Embarassing Parents." Sure he's an immature glory hound, but it's abundantly clear that he really does love his son and just wants his kid to think that his dad is cool and/or funny.
  • Ensemble Darkhorse: Most viewers who can't stand MTV's glut of reality shows have a soft spot for True Life, mainly for two reasons: the show covers a huge number of America's subcultures the average viewer knows nothing/little about, and the realistic depiction of teens/twenty-somethings often selected in the show. Sure, there are throwaway episodes like "I'm a Staten Island Girl", but for every disposable installment, there are several more episodes worth watching, with the occasionally unforgettable episode (e.g., "I am Dirt Poor" is an utterly gripping look into America's downtrodden youth, "I Don't Trust My Partner" ends a typically run-of-the-mill True Life episode with a Sudden Downer Ending). Compared to the insane exploits of party-holics MTV loves to film, True Life is wonderfully grounded counter programming.
  • Never Live It Down: A pretty common occurrence on the occasional "Where are they now?" show is that a lot of the people profiled will say that after seeing themselves on the show, it held up a pretty harsh mirror to their behavior, and encouraged them to reform and better themselves. Unfortunately, a lot of viewers don't realize this, and assume that they're still as mean/bitchy/self-destructive as they were on camera. On a more comedic note, Anthony, the bodybuilder from "I Want the Perfect Body" said he still gets teased about the scene where he was preparing for a competition and had his dad shave his ass on camera.
  • The Woobie: Many of the subjects have shades of this.