"I wasn't totally happy with how I was portrayed ... so much so that I didn't go to the wrap party."
In 2000, Jamie Murray appeared on "The Real World: New Orleans," one of the franchise's very best offerings. But while it was a favorite to many, Murray himself wasn't necessarily a fan of how he came across at the time. Perhaps that's part of the reason why he joined his six former roommates for a trek back down to the Big Easy 20+ years later to film Paramount+'s latest "Homecoming" season.
Kicking off this week on the streamer, Murray is reunited with Melissa Beck, Danny Roberts, David "Tokyo" Broom, Matt Smith, Julie Stoffer and Kelley Wolf -- some of whom haven't seen each other in two decades. After after so long outside of the reality TV world and away from their ex-roomies, Murray admits he had a few concerns about diving back in.
"I did. I had some hesitations. You know, my feeling was like, if the money's not right I'm not in," he told TooFab. "Because I love my cast mates. Would I love to hang out with them in New Orleans again? Of course, but if the cameras are rolling, this just adds a level of intensity to the whole thing. So it wasn't about not wanting to be with the cast mates, it was more about the fact about being on reality TV in 2022."
Going into the show, Murray had watched some of the previous "Homecoming" outings, so he knew producers would be showing video footage from 2000 to prompt conversation and reflection between the houseguests now. "It wasn't as 'real,' per se," he added, calling the revival more of a "hybrid" type of show.
"I'm not living with my head in the sand," he continued, "We're living in an era where you can step in it and not even mean to step in it."
When the show first aired, Murray came off as a bit of a frat boy and, in one focused on race, did not look too great after her roommates -- and Jamie, particularly -- didn't initially understand Melissa's outrage over a white swamp tour guide casually dropping the n-word while describing a bird. By the end of the episode -- in which Melissa and Black roommate David also educated Julie on racial slurs -- Jamie and Melissa patched things up. Speaking with TooFab, Melissa confirmed it was brought up again during the reunion and closure was had.
"The race question has been around since the dawn of man," said Jamie, addressing some of the talks sparked on the revival. "In a way, I think that you can have healthy conversations around a lot of this stuff if you go into it with the right intentions and that kind of was my thought process going into it. It was like, maybe we can share our thoughts and land the plane in a smooth fashion."
"I don't even know if they'll broach this on the show or anything like that but I wasn't totally happy with how I was portrayed out of the gate on the original show," Murray continued. "So much so that I didn’t go to the wrap party. I was pissed. And the producers were like, 'Don't worry Jamie, you'll come around, you’ll come around.' And I'm like, 'But you're making me come around from something that's not really ... that I didn't think that I was."
"Coming around from being a reformed racist isn't like a really good coming around, you know?" he added. "But I know who I am and they have to do what they have to do with how they present the show. Ultimately, I feel like it was all good."
One person the reunion certainly wasn't "all good" for was Julie, who came into the house with long-simmering tensions with both Danny and Melissa -- see what Melissa told us about their issues here. The trio actually wasted no time getting into hashing out their past issues, diving into it all headfirst on the very first night back in New Orleans. While viewers may be shocked by the confrontation, Murray said he wasn't exactly surprised it happened so quickly.
"I knew that there was a lot of unsaid. Again, it was one of those things where I know from Melissa's standpoint, she's so moved on from it, it was hard for her to even address it and yet, we're doing this, you might as well talk about it. For the fans!" he joked. "She didn't really care and yet it kind of needed to be addressed. So the fact that it just happened right out of the gates wasn't surprising to me."
"My feeling like, whatever was the past, can we address it, figure it all out and have a new experience in this next two weeks," he added, before teasing we'll have to tune in to see whether that could really happen.
Murray also teased that his flirtations with Julie and some of his female roommates will also land him in the "hot seat" during the revival. On the original show, he and Stoffer were a little touchy-feely, while both Melissa and Kelley were into him too.
"I think that at the time, we were all post-college, out in the world and, weirdly, I kind of in my own mind was like, 'I'm not gonna get involved with anyone in the house.' And so I think in my own mind that might have caused some drama between Kelley and I," he recalled of filming back in '00. "Whether that was what caused the drama, I don't know, but ultimately we did have kind of some awkwardness in those months or whatever. I think it's just all about a bunch of single young people living in a house, so there's gonna be all that energy happening."
According to Murray, he didn't even watch the series in its entirety when it first aired and only recently sat down to check it out ahead of filming the reunion.
"I was like sitting there in bed watching it ... it was amazing watching it for the first time and I was like, 'Wow, that was a decent show,'" he told TooFab. "But it was funny 'cause I was like, 'Dude did I never actually watch the show when it aired?' I liked the D-list celebritiness, it was fun, but I didn't really capitalize or try to lean into it, you know?"
He did, however, appear on three different Challenges in the years after his season aired, culminating in a win on 2006's "The Gauntlet 2." Since then, however, he's been MIA from reality TV. When asked why he didn't keep going -- as people like Mark Long are still competing on various iterations of the show -- he said he simply felt like he'd aged out.
"If you really look at the arc of the Challenges, there's like the 'First Generation Challenges' and then there's this middle generation that happened with Derek and Brad and CT. But in the first generation, which I was a part of, if you were in your late 20s and 30s, you were considered ancient," he explained. "And I would make fun of Cyrus and Mark Long. I'd be like, 'If I'm doing this when I'm 30, please shoot me.' But it was dumb, like, why not? It's a fun thing."
"I think there was just a different attitude towards it and now I guess CT won the last one. He's like 41 years old," said Jamie, adding he felt at the time he was "good" with putting it behind him. When asked if he'd be down to do "All-Stars" now that he's back in the Paramount+ bubble, he jumped at the opportunity -- telling TooFab, "Yes! If they call me I would consider it."
Looking ahead, it also sounds like communication between him and his former roommates is at an all time high -- and didn't rule out future, un-televised, reunions.
"I've been texting with Danny and as far as I'm concerned I'm cool with everybody and Danny's gone back to New Orleans a bunch over the years and he's like, 'Dude, you should come down for Halloween or Jazz Fest or whatever," he explained. "I could see myself doing that now that Airbnbs are a thing. Anybody can get the New Orleans feeling by just renting an Airbnb and hanging out there for a week, you know? II would love to have a future where Danny and I meet up. I love everybody, I think everybody's great and I'm on good terms with everybody."
We'll see how it shakes out for everyone else when "The Real World Homecoming: New Orleans" premiers April 20 on Paramount+.