January 22nd, 2003

JOY

Not Enough Real World in Vegas.

Let's talk about the Real World for a while. I hate to say I'm disappointed with this season, but there's really not much to say about it. The disappointment was mostly unnoticeable until the Real World/Road Rules Battle of the Sexes began airing, but in contrast, BoTS really illustrates how good bad television can be in comparison. I have been trying to figure out for the past few months why I haven't had much to say about it this time: whether it's just not good or I'm not looking closely enough. I also hate to lapse into the standard "it was better in the beginning" argument, especially since it is downright unfair to compare Irulan to Heather B. or Trishelle to Julie. Maybe it's because I was younger than the cast then and thought that their problems were so mature and grown up, and now that I'm older than the cast I can't imagine having to live with people who behave this way. I do not want to get on a "media is destroying girls' self esteems by only showing people with flawless bodies on TV" soapbox, as there's nothing to say about that, really. I hate to fall back on the standard "this is not how young adults actually act" chant that is incanted across entertainment magazines and other such publications over and over again. We all know this is not how young adults really act. But for the most part, young adults rarely live in casinos, exposed to film crews 24/7.

I think the problem with this season is how the cast is poorly striking a balance between being normal and being abnormal. Having a threesome with your new roommates on the night you move in is abnormal. Being torn between the opportunity of new love and the stability of a current relationship is normal. Losing a girl to your buddy is normal. Having that girl and your buddy make out on your lap is abnormal. Normal behavior rarely translates to good TV. The Osbournes are not normal. Nor were the Brady Bunch or any other legitimate sitcom cast. These are mostly abnormal people in an abnormal environment dealing with very normal predicaments. Most specifically, the very normal predicament of the "will-they-won't-they" theme. Throughout the last two seasons, in both BTNY and Chicago, we were inundated with this theme: will Kevin succumb to Lori's feminine wiles? Will Lori get over it? Is Kyle just using Keri for her body? Will Keri realize that she shouldn't be barking up a taken man's tree?

Bo-ring. This season, sadly, we have to endure two budding relationships at once. After Trishelle dropped the refreshingly normal Frank like a pack of hot birth control pills, she clung steadily to Steven's jock until he drunkenly confessed his love for her, at which time he had to backpedal out of it by explaining he meant he loved her like he loves the sky and shit like that. Meanwhile, Irulan, the whiny "tough chick" whose open relationship with her home boyfriend allows her certain sexual freedoms so long as they are unspoken; and Alton, the whiny "tough guy" whose realization that his love for a girl who is already in a relationship leaves him no choice to park his cock in the ass of anyone who walks by him (TM Puck). This, of course, upsets Irulan, who finds it tremendously hypocritical for someone to say they love someone and then crawl into bed with someone else. The two have a talk, solve everything, snuggle in bed all night, and then are awoken by a phone call from Irulan's boyfriend for whom she springs out of Alton's bed to babytalk her love to. Clever. And yet, shockingly normal.

This type of crap is not the type of crap we are looking for from the Real World. I don't really care to see the type of nudity that Brynn brings us in her neverending attempt to validate her own good looks. I want to see the type of nudity that Aneesa brought to us last season in her neverending attempt to prove to the world that naked is beautiful, even when you are wiping your own butt. We want less vapid and questionably gay Steven; and more vapid and questionably gay Stephen.

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