Thursday, June 23, 2005

"..and start getting real" (And by real, we mean they live in a mansion, don't really have a job and talk to a camera in a box)

Do you think when you go on the Real World you take the same mindset as when you start dating the slutty girl at school? Yeah, you’ve seen what happens – she’s going to cheat on you, you’ll look like a fool – but you’re pretty sure you’re going to be different – she’ll stay with you, you’ll get married, life will be perfect. It’s like you’re saying to yourself “Man, there’s no way I’m going to act like a complete fool in front of America. I’m going to admit my love for someone three hours after I meet them, or let a negative comment about a roommate get me labeled as a racist. I’m not going to be ‘the crazy guy’ or ‘the boring one’. This is going to be great.”

But deep down, you know what’s going to happen. You’re trading in some of your common human decency for a good time and a little fame. A couple of weeks in, when no one else around you is giving any care to anything, why not start punching a stranger in the streets? Your job isn’t real, you just realized that girl you thought could be your future wife just had an orgy with half of the San Diego State baseball team and things don’t really matter as much anymore to you either. You’re on the Real World. If you choose to, you can spend the next five years touring colleges and doing Challenges until you feel like getting a real job. Your life is set.

(Well, for the next five years.)

I love the first episode of each Real World season. Everyone’s amazed that their roommates are so hot – “I didn’t get stuck with the ugly season!” – and everyone is so blessedly idealistic that they’re going to get along with all their roommates for the entire season. You also get to see the Real World house, which is always so freaking sweet you can’t help but be jealous of these people. Seriously, I’d love to find some amazingly cynical and pessimistic person who can bash the Real World houses.

“Oh yeah, that indoor pool is way too close to the wall, and those hanging chairs? Who would want to sit in those? Plus, the kitchen’s color is just so ugly.”

Usually, I watch about four weeks of a season and lose interest. I think the last one I watched the whole way through was Hawaii, although I did watch most of New Orleans, Las Vegas and San Diego, and none of Philadelphia, Chicago and New York. I don’t think I watched Philly because there wasn’t a guy on that show who was remotely regular, just two frat boys and two gay guys. I couldn’t imagine myself hanging out with them, like Brad and Randy on San Diego, or relating to them, like Frank on Las Vegas.

(I’m sure you’ve heard me say this before, but my favorite Real World moment of all time is the first episode of Vegas, where Frank just got done stating how he’s interested in Trishelle. He’s sitting on a couch attempting to talk to her…and she starts making out with Steven. On top of him. Frank was the man. He and Jacquese were easily the best two characters since Colin had to try and fight off a crazed Amaya in Hawaii.)

So what’s the potential of this season? Well, after an hour spent with the cast, here’s what I’m thinking: It could be very, very good, or get very, very tiresome. How so? Let’s look at the people involved.

Danny is the obvious lead of this year. It started with him, two girls are interested in him and if he’s more entertaining than the stack of blank CD’s sitting next to me, he’ll be better in this role than Paris’ Ace. (I really hated Paris, and looking back on it, I hate it even more because CT was involved. ”Peace.”) He, however, had the unfortunate happening of being jacked in the side of the head by a random Texan, after he and Wes nearly got a street brawl started on their second night in town. We were making fun of him for being such a wuss about getting punched, but as it turns out, the side of his face was broken in, so I apologize for that. I think it was the Matrix-style camera pan and spot-shadow used by the show that increased the impact.

Melinda is one of the girls interested in Danny, and she’s the slut of the cast. Her and her boyfriend are going to stay together because they have a promise ring, although the fact she made out with a chick eighteen minutes into the show leads me to believe that this may not actually happen. She used the term “nymph” to describe herself, but I’m pretty sure she should have went with whore. As Livey put it, “I can’t wait until they just start putting seven sluts into the house.” I said it would be like a reality TV version of Undressed, and no complaints were had.

The other girl interested in Danny is Johanna, who is the brunette, darker version of Melinda, and probably not quite as big of a whore, despite the fact she kissed her crush on the first night, only to find him getting a lap dance from Mel thirty seconds later. Right beside her. Pretty much a “Frank-Trishelle-Steven” bitch slap, but you realized that was deserved when she went bat-shit crazy the next night. She also has aligned herself with Lacey, the boring, outcast one, so the odds of her success during this run are not good.

Nehemiah is your token black guy, and he’s also the guy whose going to get really fed up with the house. He’s cool-headed and way too smart for these people, as we saw when he tried to help a drunk Johanna, only to have her attack him. He realized fighting a girl in a bar was a no-win situation, and get this: Left. Pure genius. He somehow was then blamed for Danny getting his face smashed in, and I predict he’ll just throw himself into the filming of the documentary and not talk to any of his roommates in about three episodes. And that’s a very good thing for him.

Wes is Abram somehow sneaking back onto another MTV-reality show but with a different name. He’s the albino, non-accented version of Danny, and I’ll like him during this run if for nothing other than his line on Melinda: “She’s going to hook up with everyone here…not just in the house, in Austin.” That’s quality stuff there.

Rachel is the ex-Army nurse who made out with Melinda. I thought I’d hate her from the start after watching the casting special, but she wasn’t bad at all on this episode. She’s on break with her boyfriend, but they promised “No sex and no falling in love.” That’s an awkward convo if she meets that special someone, isn’t it? “Oh yeah, I really feel a connection, but you know, I promised no falling in love to my boyfriend, so we’ll just have to ignore that feeling.” She’s guaranteed to go crazy, though. Simply has to.

And then there’s Lacey, the boring, outcast one nobody really likes. Two episodes until she wonders why she’s ostracized (Uh, Hullo? Where’s your Abercrombie?) and starts considering going back home. Sure, we complain when everybody on the show is ridiculously good-looking, but do we have to counter that with Lacey? It’s unfortunate.

So I think this has a chance to be as fun as San Diego, especially since somebody already had their head caved in and there’s already a love square established between the two frat boys and the two party girls. As long as I don’t have to hear about how Melinda is breaking somebody’s heart – she’s the slutty girl, you won’t change her – then I’ll be okay. And I want an entire episode dedicated to what Nehemiah does in his future attempts to avoid his roommates.

You’ve got some potential, Austin. Let’s see if I can stick around for an entire season again.

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