From solely a socio-cultural media perspective,
to put it visually:
was to .
In short, The Real World essentially invented a genre, spearheaded it’s growth to spawn off numerous crappy imitators, none of which could really reach the pinnacle until a newer, edgier, more relevant series emerged.
The Simpsons was brilliant, a prime time wunderkind that essentially spearheaded the growth of a genre – and saved a network – before becoming stale, outdated & overshadowed by a newer, edgier, more relevant series.
This is not to say that The Simpsons and/or The Real World are completely irrelevant; only that times progress, things change and the new thing does, in some cases, supplant the original.