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Tired of B-side and all his Hills silliness? No? Yeah, me either. So for those people that can’t get enough of contrived, pseudo-Real World-y, romantically-angled reality shows, we have One Ocean View, a reality show starring twentysomethings that all have somewhat impressive jobs, yet still manage to act stupider than Coral and the Miz combined. Sure, it’s full of contrived situations and has all the reality of Wrestlemania, but these are the dog days of August. Summer and bad reality TV are as American as apple pie and porn. So sit back and let the soothing sounds of summer take you to a place called Fire Island. A place where if this show is any indication, no gay people ever set foot. A place where up and coming New Yorkers take weekend breaks in a fantastic beach house, stop being polite, and start getting real. Or something like that.The show starts by introducing us to our erstwhile hosts, the sassy twins with the organic pizza bar in NYC, Miki and Radha. Miki is our stilted narrator. Here’s just a taste: “My name’s Miki, and no, you’re not seeing double. That’s my twin sister Radha”. That is an exact quote, which pretty much also makes Miki the most awkward narrator EVER. Hell’s Kitchen guy can just pack it in.
Miki continues her uncomfortable introductions. Miki has come up with a great idea for the summer. A beach house to share on the weekends away from the city. The whole “and bring a giant film crew from ABC with us to tape our exaggerated reactions to every situation” was more implied. And what better spot to get away for the weekends than Fire Island, a neighborhood that will soon grow to hate these people with a passion just as we start to fall in love with them!
First up Miki tells us about Mary, who designs handbags. Miki thinks she’s a “Cool chick, but she’s had her heart broken recently.” What better way to put your life back together than on ABC Mondays at 10? Then there’s K.J.. Miki says he’s “intense. But one of the sweetest guys you’ll ever meet.” I’ve always wondered what sweetness would be like if it was highly intensified. Now I’ll find out! John is funny and a “total catch.” And then there’s Usman. He’s like, totally into himself and stuff. But Miki thinks there’s something else deep down beneath the mousse and cologne. Miki describes Lisa as the shy one “but He-lloo! Look at that body!” Yeah well according to the ABC website she’s a stripper, oh wait, I mean “exotic dancer” so how shy exactly can she be? All it takes is a few crumpled up dollar bills. The couple to watch however is Zack and Lauren. They were together, but now they say they are just friends. “Yeah right” Miki says. Wow, narrator burn!
Miki and Rhada are the first to arrive at the new swinging singles pad on Fire Island. Then we cut to the waterfront where KJ and Mary have just gotten off the boat and are introducing themselves. When TJ asks where she lives Mary informs her that she’s “bicoastal”. She like totally lives in New York and LA. This being a reality show it doesn’t take long before the awkward questions about each other’s love lives comes up. Both KJ and Mary are coming out of long term relationships. As they talk, they both laugh that awkward laugh that means “I want to see you naked.” At least that’s how I interpret the laugh. The CT state Supreme Court judge told me differently. But what does he know about love, dammit!?
When we first see John, he is calling Miki saying that he’s lost and doesn’t know where to go. I suppose he could’ve asked the production crew that is five feet away filming him, but I guess that would ruin the illusion of the pseudo reality show premise. Miki gives him directions, but first tells him to go pick up Usman at the pier. Usman is the self-involved pretty boy of the group. He’s kind of Like Harold and Kumar meet Zoolander. He is coming to Fire island in a black pinstriped suit. He thinks it makes him look cool; we laugh because it makes him look ridiculous. I mean he’s on a boat. On Fire Island. In the summer.
Back with KJ and Mary, good old KJ is still spilling his guts about his lost love. They were together for years and then on a bit of a break when she went off on vacation. When she came back she was pregnant. The kicker to the whole story is KJ then follows this up with “I’m still friends with her and everything.” Oh that’s good. I mean lets keep this in perspective. It’s not like she did something crazy and came back with a tattoo.
When KJ and Mary finally make their way to the house, the One Ocean View shenanigans start up in earnest. Miki and Radha decide to do the old “identical twin trick” and keep going in and out of the room switching it up and keeping the same conversation going tricking KJ. It’s about as dumb, forced and unfunny as it sounds. When they finally do the big reveal KJ can barely muster a smile. And it’s that pained smile you get when your boss tells you a really bad knock knock joke. Yeah it’s horrible, but you have to respond to it with something.
Next to the house is Zack and Lauren. They used to date but are now “just friends” or they think. It’s all so complicated! Lauren tells Zack that she really hopes their house, located at One Ocean View, is on the beach. She also wonders if the orange juice she’s drinking is made from oranges. The Lauren experience continues as they all meet out on the deck, she looks up at Miki and Rhada, and exclaims “Are you guys twins?” These are the moments that make reality TV worthwhile.
That night after they all get settled in, Miki and John are asking Zack and Lauren about their whole “together but not together” thing. John says he’s never even had another girlfriend. Lauren then pipes in and says that he’s tried to meet other girls, but he never likes then because “they’re stupid.” Cut to Zack on the beach licking sand. Apparently, even though they go out on dates with other people, they spend the whole time text messaging each their during the dates, and then when the dates are over, they end up going over each others apartment and having sex. But they aren’t dating. You see, they are both so smart their relationship exists on a mental plane that is beyond our comprehension. If they tried to explain it to us, our heads would actually explode.
Later when they are all having dinner together at a local restaurant, Usman shows off his “vain guy character” by proclaiming to everyone that vanity is a good thing and that “fat Midwestern people have no concept of looking good.” Usman, by the way has a receding hairline and bad caps, whereas this woman is from Grand Rapids, Minnesota. You make the call.
When Usman is done with his little tirade, Mary and KJ both laugh at his face (ooh, a bonding moment. I see sparks flying already!) which Usman tells him is like, totally rude. Don’t make Usman frown people, he doesn’t look nearly as beautiful. But Usman isn’t all beauty. He’s all charm too. Later when he goes over t hit on some girls in the bar he first asks them what school they go to. A startlingly original line of attack I must say. When the girls tell him Boston College he responds with “BC, that’s a good party school. So you guys are continuing to party here in Fire island huh?” Wow, even I’m getting a little moist in the seat listening to him. That’s almost as smooth and debonair as saying “Can I see your tits?” (which by the way, isn’t as effective as you might think). When Usman gets back to the house he calls the girls that he met at the bar (that’s right, he got the digits, but remember, he had a TV crew with him). When he talks to one of them he asks them, nay, commands them, to come over and join him in the hot tub. He gets a fairly non committal response. Don’t worry Usman, it’s only the first night. And another thing, it’s tough to come up with a crazy nickname for a guy whose name ends in “man”. I mean you can’t call him the “Usman-man”, and Usinator just sounds like a urinary tract infection. Take it from Eddie Spaghetti, finding good nicknames is tough.
In the hot tub Usman regales KJ about how he can single-handedly bring all sorts of European models up to the house. He knows these models because “I’m rich, and I’m handsome.” You know, I know Usman is supposed to be the “shallow pretty boy” character we’re supposed to love to hate on this show, but he’s so over the top with this stuff it just makes me look at him with more of a bemused detachment than anything else. Mary however is having the opposite reaction. She can’t stand him and is bitching to the other girls she can’t take much more of him. So much so that we almost get our first fight of the show. Unfortunately it just creates a slightly tense exchange of words, instead of a big fight. Where’s Johnny Fairplay when you need him? This house needs to get “Fairplayed” stat!
The next morning we are greeted to a nice montage of the beach, the surfboarders in the waves, and then deer on the beach, and then sand dunes. Wait? Deer on the beach? Huh? That’s a new one on me. But that’s not the only beautiful creature on the beach. Usman got loaded and decided to fall asleep in the cabana outside. His beautiful hair is all a mess. But that’s OK because today everyone is going out for massages! Hooray for happy endings!
When they get there, the One Crazy Summer/Better Off Dead style hijinks continue as John shows us why he is the “funny one” by sneaking up on the masseuse giving one of the twins a massage and takes over. Ohmigod she doesn’t even know that it’s John massaging her now! John then quietly and silently snaps her neck like a twig. Yeah OK, that didn’t happen, it was more of a crazy “I’m massaging your nose until you open your eyes and we all have a hearty laugh” type moment, but a guy can dream can’t he?
Usman meanwhile is dealing with a crisis in the other room. He left his products in Manhattan, and he is near tears. He then tells the masseuse lady the intricate details of his hair management. It involves all sorts of clays and space age polymers. I think he has tiny little doozers living deep inside his hairline working around the clock to keep things looking thick and lustrous.
That afternoon outside the house KJ strikes up a conversation with a woman and her kid. Mary looks on lovingly as when she sees KJ being nice to the 2 year old she realizes that this means he “likes kids.”. Because if then he started whaling on the kid with his fists, that means he’s not ready to be a father yet. When the laughably staged conversation moves into the subject of KJ and his lack of kids, we then find out, surprise surprise, that this woman is a “matchmaker.” Goodness, what an amazingly odd coincide that she just happened to show up outside the One Ocean View house the weekend the entire group of single people were there filming the new love-filled reality show! Fire Island truly is a place of miracles. Then Usman pipe in from the deck asking her for help ebcause he says “I have no game here on Fire Island”. Oh Usman, you and Fire Island have a lot in common. You just need to come to terms with your sexuality. Don’t worry, we won’t judge.
That night at dinner, our group continues their awkwardly orchestrated vignettes by deciding that they are going to go around the room and tell each other a secret that no one else knows. No, nothing good like “I once killed and feasted on the flesh of a homeless man,” but boring stuff like “I used to like, totally be a swimmer and stuff!” OMG! That is so weird! KJ also swam when he was a kid! That’s like so crazy! I mean, who would’ve thought that two people out of a dozen would have both swam in water in their youth? What!?! They both breathe in oxygen and convert it to carbon dioxide!? They are like so destined to be together.
Lauren continues confession hour by saying she was both a preemie and adopted. KJ then pipes in and says he plans on adopting at least 3 kids, preferably in the nation of Namibia. Usman just says that he wants to meet hot chicks and hook up. Oh Usinator! Zack says he just wants to find a job he loves. And since being on One Ocean View doesn’t make him eligible to spend the next ten years on MTV’s The Gauntlet, he is still searching for that dream job.
When Usman then asks Mary what her romantic plans are for the summer, she says she is “open to anything and everything that comes my way.” From a Kansas City Reach Around to an Angry Pirate, she’s ready for it all! KJ then starts to talk all philosophical about how he is like so ready for a relationship and hopes to find one. A coy look at Mary then follows. Will this be the man that gives her a Columbian Gas Mask? When someone asks him what he looks for in a girl, he says he likes ethnic looking brunettes with dark hair. Cut to Mary with a look of shock and sadness on her face that makes her look like someone just told her they canceled the Gilmore Girls.
That night the all decide to go to Flynn’s by the water, and it’s ladies night (oh what a night!). Mary tells Miki that the guys she is attracted to are blonde and short. “So you’re attracted to KJ?” she says. Well, yes technically physically he is her type and so on and so forth. God I love it when drunk people try to talk about romance and relationships. It really is the best part about these shows. Then she tells her that “of all the guys, she feels the most comfortable around KJ.” Oh sweet jesus, will they screw already? This is getting tiring. And to make things even more awkward, when KJ finally goes over to her and starts dancing, we see that Mary is also an extremely awkward dancer, which for a hot chick is kind of cute I suppose. For guys like KJ and well, me and everyone I know (with the possible exception of J-Unit and his robot dance), not so much.
Usman meanwhile is upset with Zack. He is just sitting at the bar looking mopey and not hitting on any of the hot chicks. When in a situation like that, always think “WWUD”? What would Usman do? He accuses Zack of always wussing out when it comes to chicks because he always ends up, as Usman puts it, “hooking up with like, your ex-girl, dude”
“You know how hard I want to meet women?” Zack tells Usman in an unfortunately constructed sentence. In Usman’s defense, Zack was sitting at the bar staring off into space, which is not a good way to meet chicks. Zack tries to explain away his behavior to Usman by saying that Lauren always tells him that she loves him when they are alone together, and he doesn’t want to hit on chicks in front of her because of that. He doesn’t want to disrespect her like that. Cut right to Lauren on the dance floor giving out hand jobs like lollipops at a dentists office. OK, that was an exaggeration, but she is grinding with John on the dance floor like it’s going out of style. Cut to a few minutes after where she is sitting next to Zack, and as he gazes lovingly into her eyes, she says “I wish you could read my mind.” Very good move. Simply say something leading like that while flirting that leads the person to believe something but since she doesn’t actually say anything specific, she creates enough wiggle room later to say that she never “led him on.” It’s a brilliant move on her part.
Her plan is put into effect the next morning where in the harsh light of sobriety she tells Zack that she values their friendship, but she doesn’t love him and wants to see other people. So I guess when she was sitting in his lap and gently kissing him while saying “I wish you could read my mind”, she meant “God I wish you could tell how much I want to bang John’s brains out right now.”
The next night as everyone is gathering for a dinner of shish kebobs on the grill, we find out that everyone is heading back to the city. The only people staying behind are Lisa, Nick, KJ, and Mary. Oooh, KJ and Mary! Everyone teases them at the conveneice of it all. KJ and Mary, you see, slept together last night. But not the kind of sleeping together where certain things were inserted into other things. It was more of the cuddling all night kind of sleeping together. At least as far as ABC has led us to believe.
When the 4 remaining people gather that night for a final drink, the conversation turns to Zack and Lauren. KJ then says slyly that he could have “flamed those fires.” When the girls then grill him for info he says “OK, but for your eyes only.” Well yeah that and a national TV audience, but go ahead. Apparently when they were all saying goodbye at the dock, KJ went to give Lauren a kiss on the cheek and she turned and gave him a kiss on the mouth. Oooh! Scandalous!
Cut to two nights later in Manhattan where a group of them coincidentally and without prodding from producers (cough..cough) meet up at Miki and Radha’s pizza joint. Miki wastes no time in stirring the pot by asking Lauren point blank “So like, what happened with you and KJ on the boat?” Lauren goes into backtracking mode by saying that she went to give KJ a little “peck on the cheek,” just like she would give her dad. Of course remember she was adopted so who knows what that means. Miki doesn’t let it go and asks “who kissed who?”, to which Lauren says it was mutual and KJ is making it into something it isn’t and blah blah blah. Ugh. Do twentysomethings really have conversations like this? Thank god I and all my friends, as well as all the loyal TVgasm readers, are intelligent and witty so we aren’t subjected to such nonsense. I mean I half expect someone to hand Lauren a note saying “Do you like me? Check yes or no”.
Afterwards everyone goes out to a club to party, as they are wont to do. When they are at the club we are introduced to Eric, who is described as “KJ’s cousin.” Of course we all know him as Eric Nies from Real World 1 and about 30 other MTV Gauntlet Road Rules Trinidad and Tobego Fresh Meat Cage Match The Grind challenge shows. It’s like they aren’t even trying to pretend it’s reality TV anymore. Still, seeing the great Eric Nies of MTV’s epochal show known as The Grind (funny story, a friend of a friend years ago in NYC was one of those goofy background dancers on that show, and we went out one night, and he tried to get us into a ritzy club using his MTV’s The Grind special cast pass or something because I wanted to go see their bathrooms that had the stall doors that were clear and when you closed it would release this blue gas that would block out your view. Yeah, well it didn’t work so we ended up getting drunk in a dive bar in the East Village. OK, I’m rambling now.) In fact I’d have to say it was the biggest crossover since Superman fought the Hulk. Actually, I’ll go a step further. It was the greatest crossover since the episode of Magnum P.I. when Murder, She Wrote’s Jessica Fletcher showed up. It was that special. Unfortunately we catch Eric on a rare night where he is not walking around without a shirt so we unfortunately, or fortunately, don’t get to see his weird-ass giant varicose vein that runs across his pectoral muscle. That thing is messed up.
Of course the conversation still centers around the great Lauren boat kiss controversy of 2006. KJ still maintains she was the kisser and not the kissee and warns him away from Lauren. “She’s got horns coming out of the back of her head.” Why the back of her head KJ never explains. Later as Lauren goes up to ask Zack if they want to meet up after he kind of noncommittally blows her off and says he wants to hang out with his friends. Then he grows a pair and asks Lauren why she lied before. Lauren says “If I was wrong, and I said something that led you to believe different, then I’m sorry.” Damn she’s good. Apologize yet admit no wrongdoing.
The ploy works as Zack thinks everything is hunky dory until KJ tells him know that Lauren just sent him a text message. The first one said “For crazy jokes delivered to your phone every day text 6356!”, but the second one is the one that stings. “So glad you are doing the show with me. Thanks for everything this weekend.” Zack is shocked. I am shocked too, but for different reasons. The date on the text message is from June 15th 2006. They got this show filmed and to air in less than a month and a half? That’s impressive.
The show ends with the crushed look on Zack’s face as he reads the text message on KJ’s phone. How will he handle the situation next weekend on Fire Island? What will Usmans hair look like without is product? Well, we’ll all find out next week.