Mention "MTV reality programming," and people are likely to think "Jersey Shore," "Teen Mom," "The Real World" and other drama-laden shows more notable for the casts' questionable behavior than anything else. But the same can't be said of the network's docuseries, "World of Jenks," which returns for its second season Monday night.
In its sophomore year, 26-year-old filmmaker Andrew Jenks -- the man behind the docuseries -- spends a year with three young people in different areas of the country to document the challenges of their lives: 21-year-old D-Real, who is trying to promote peace through dancing in Oakland; fashion designer Kaylin, who had battled two different forms of primary cancer by age 24; and Chad, a 21-year-old fan favorite from season one who has autism.
But these three are more than just the difficulties they face.
"Maybe in the first episode, you see Kaylin as a cancer girl. You see Chad as the guy with autism, you see D-Real as the dude in the 'hood," Jenks told us. "Then by the 10th episode, by the final episode, they're no longer defined as that and you see them as just who they are, just like you would anyone else."
In an exclusive clip that MTV is sharing with The Clicker, D-Real talks about the inspiration for his dance tribute to his fallen friend, which went viral on YouTube:
Within the struggles of Jenks' subjects lies incredibly inspirational tales of young people moving forward to follow their dreams and make the world a better place, while not letting their obstacles define them. Jenks said that his crew shot more than 10,000 hours of footage this season to show viewers the lives of D-Real, Kaylin and Chad.
Jenks hopes that "World of Jenks" will reveal the best of his generation.
"There are other shows that are great shows, that are well-written, like the HBO show 'Girls.' They oftentimes show some of the more negative aspects of people that are in our generation, that are more self-oriented," Jenks said. "I think that's fine, that doesn't make one better or worse. ... ('World of Jenks') is a cool chance to see the best of our generation that the media doesn't typically like to report on."
His goal for this season? "Just to resonate with people," Jenks said. "Make them feel like they don't need to feel awkward if they meet someone who's young and has cancer or autism or is from a different neighborhood than they are."
"World of Jenks" airs at 11 p.m. Mondays on MTV.
More in The Clicker: