After last week’s exciting and intense battle of the wallflowers, I thought for sure Jose and Janelle would continue their bickering on the latest episode of The Real World. Alas, how could I be so naive? Surely I should have realized that the resident drama queens would rebound from a week of silence to reclaim the spotlight in as dramatic a fashion as possible. Granted, there were no major fights or shouting matches, but gossip and pettiness swirled through the house like the second coming of Hurricane Rita. It’s amazing watching these people jockey for camera time, using self-delusional, hypocritical remarks to propel them into the realm of sanctimony. Wow. I’m being entirely too analytical about this. Let’s just sit back and relive all the fun, tantastic times in Key West.For a moment, I thought this might be one of those serious, touchy-feely type of episodes — the kind where nothing terribly interesting happens beyond someone crying a lot and sad music playing. Why did I think that? Because this week’s show opened up with John and Paula talking about her Issues. John noted that Paula’s therapy had already been doing wonders for her, to which I say, “KISS MY ASS! KISS MY GODDAMN ASS!!!” Sorry, natural reflex.
Conversation soon veered onto that lovable ex-boyfriend / amateur pugilist, Keith, and whether or not he was also striving to be a better person. The good news: Paula said he was trying to turn over a new leaf. The bad news: he’d been trying to turn over that new leaf for over a year. You know, some leaves are hard to turn over. Especially if you keep PUNCHING THEM.
Paula then told us, “I just need to know if there are some things that should never be forgivable.” Yes, there are. It’s called beating your girlfriend until she has to go to the hospital. We then saw some random file footage of clouds (sort of like the opening credits of Back to the Future II) and then we found ourselves at the doorstep of Paula’s therapist, Dr. Covan. Oooh! How exciting! What did all this mean? Did some ethereal being just fly from the heavens to visit Dr. Covan? Was this a lost episode of Touched By An Angel? Would Della Reese be making a guest appearance? So many pressing questions!
Sadly, this was merely a symbolic montage to represent Paula’s latest therapy appointment (sorry, no Della Reese). I didn’t know what she talked with Dr. Covan about that day, but I could tell it wasn’t good because when she returned home, the first thing Paula did was call up Keith and talk to him in her Little Girl voice. Uh oh. She wasn’t even drunk! Thanks to the somber music, I had a feeling this conversation was going to head into “Dr. Covan told me to stay away from you” territory, but surprisingly, I was wrong. Turns out Paula had talked to her therapist about Keith, and instead of passing judgment (like the way all of America has), Dr. Covan was quite open to Keith. This made Paula feel ever so happy, and suddenly, the soundtrack switched to upbeat, “Ha, we tricked you into thinking something bad was going to happen” music. The convo finally ended with Keith telling Paula, “I love you, and I miss the shit out of you.” Well, of course he misses her. He hasn’t been able to test out his left-jab in like two months!
Anyway, Paula displayed some of her new backbone by telling Keith, “Could you just try not to use words ‘I love you and I miss the shit out of you’ in the same sentence please?” You know what, Paula? He’ll use those words if he wants to. KISS MY ASS!!!
All this Paula stuff was well and good, but seriously, unless she’s drunk and screaming crazy things, we don’t care that much, which is why it was so refreshing when the action incongruously shifted over to the tanning salon where John was preparing for yet another Mystic Tan. We knew we were about to see some Grade A Johnny Bananas high-jinks when in the middle of his chemical shower, overlord Ricky told him not to open the stall door — keep it closed at all times. So what did he do? He opened the door! Insert Dennis The Menace music here. Oh that silly John! Always opening doors when he should be keeping them closed. I half expected Ricky to put his hand on his hips, roll his eyes, and mug, “Oh JOHN!” Instead, what we heard were the terrified (yet amused) screams of the girls as they saw John’s nekkid buttocks. Ah yes. Some casual afternoon nudity. Normally I’d say this was not the best thing to do in front of paying customers, but of course, that assumes that there were paying customers around — which, I’m sure, there weren’t.
Anyway, all these John antics were silly and fun, but someone wasn’t enjoying them. No, not Paula. She only objects to closet-napping. Nudity is just fine. The person who was annoyed, it turned out, was none other than a transparently jealous Tyler. “Look at me! I have nothing interesting about me. Blah blah blah! Look at me! I talk constantly!” he mocked, pretending to be John. Wow. That’s a lot of talk for someone who galavanted around the Grand Opening wearing nothing but a tiny Speedo. I mean, I’m not implying that all of Tyler’s behaviors have always reeked of an undying desire to be the center of attention. I’m just saying…
What an ass!
Tyler then told us, “When I see John like this, I think to myself, ‘Why is he like this? Did he not get enough attention as a child?’” Yeah, what’s the deal with people on The Real World seeking attention? I’ve never heard of such a crazy thing! Most cast members are quiet types, the kind that stay home and read books. Like Puck!
Janelle then turned to Ricky and laughed, “Ricky, sometimes I feel sorry for you. Do you get embarrassed by us?” I’ll just assume the answer was yes. I mean, I’m embarrassed by them. We then cut to a quick, random montage of the guys getting tans, and that included a naked Jose happily soaking up all that tanning goodness. Afterwards, Tyler got into a car with Svetlana and Paula, and good God was he orange. I’ve seen bad spray-on tans before, but this was unheard of. If he stood in front of a giant construction cone, he’d disappear.
Hey, is that Robert Evans?
Anyway, Tyler was still all pissed about John. Why? I don’t know. John really hadn’t done anything beyond acting like a goofball for a few moments. But that was apparently enough to completely unhinge Tyler. Svetlana suggested that Tyler was jealous because John was in the spotlight (NEVER!), but ultimately, Tyler concluded with prissy haughtiness, “Well, I don’t really care how he reacts because I’m a better person than him.” Wow. Talk about delusions of grandeur. I didn’t really know what Tyler was basing this assessment on, but if being a better person had anything to do with looking like a giant pumpkin, then yes, I suppose he was right.
We then caught up with Tyler at the mansion, and HELLO. His overexposure to Mystic Tan had now matured from an alarming butternut squash hue to some sort of radioactive über-orange, the kind you normally see when old people from Boca Raton fall asleep in tanning beds. Honestly, he would have made George Hamilton seem like an albino. This couldn’t have been right. Were we supposed to want Mystic Tan after seeing this?
Well, don’t let a little unnatural skin coloration get in the way of some good ol’ fashioned bitching. Tyler was STILL on his rampage (always the mark of a “better person”), and he had plenty of nasty things to say about John. “Most people find him egregiously obnoxious,” said Tyler, who’s NEVER been known to act obnoxiously in the household. He then tried to explain where he was coming from with all the John-hate: “How do you go from dealing with people are up here and doing amazing things with their lives and being forced to deal with that, and then when I say I’m like a better person, it’s like you have to understand where I’m coming from.” Okay, that really didn’t make much sense, but from what I could gather, Tyler was implying that because his friends were doing exciting, wonderful things (allegedly), he was therefore a better person for… being exposed to that? Lesson learned: being a better person is all about who you know. Social climb, kids!
And just when Tyler couldn’t be any more patronizing or condescending, he told us, “Basically, with John, his main motivation each day is to get food, get rest, and maybe have sex. I don’t know.” This is unlike Tyler, whose main motivation every day is to paint masterpieces like RED GOD!
Well, Tyler may be a smart guy, but he wasn’t bright enough to realize that if you say something cocky and dumb like “I’m a better person than him,” chances are it’ll get back to John — either through gossip or, you know, TV. Sure enough, Svetlana never saw a tasty morsel of gossip she couldn’t help perpetuate; so she told John all about Tyler’s comment, happily exacerbating the conflict in the process. John didn’t know where Tyler’s hostility was coming from, but if there was one thing he knew, it was that “He will never approach me.” Come again? Isn’t that like Tyler’s thing? He’ll confront a tree-stump if he has to. Nevertheless, John finally announced his plan of action. “I actually want to entice him into confronting me about the way he feels.” I wonder how that will work out. Cut to John wearing a maid’s outfit, holding a feather duster up to his nose, and saying, “Tyyyyler. Care to say anything to me? Am I enticing you right now?”
We then went to the commercial break, and when we returned, we discovered that a package had come in for Paula. And guess what? It was from Keith! What ever could it be? I was hoping we might have another cotton candy ice cream debacle on our hands, but then I remembered that stupidity like that could only find a home on the Austin season alone. Then, as Paula opened the box, I suddenly feared for her. This was from Keith, after all. Who’s to say there wasn’t one of those spring-loaded boxing gloves in there? The kind that’ll sock her in the eye as soon as she opens the box? Luckily, Keith did not booby trap his package. Instead, he included three or four bags of Paula’s favorite peanuts (peanuts… yay?), and oh, there were a few pictures and even a letter. How darling. Paula then explained to us, “He sends me a box full of stuff to make me smile and remind me of us.” That’s nice. Did he include your hospital bill too?
Actually, the real eye opener in all this was that Keith also sent along a $200 bottle of Cristal to celebrate the tanning salon’s grand opening. “I just thought it was so nice!” Paula gushed. Yes. The rewards are always the best part of the abuse cycle. Paula then called up Keith to thank him, and he asked, “Do you miss me a little now?” He then added, “You see, I’m buying my way into your heart. That way, I can hit you again.” Okay, okay, he didn’t say that. Don’t want to be too slanderous. Keith might appear at my workplace with a raging temper and a tire iron.
Later, Tyler found out that Svetty had told John about the “better person” comment. So what did Tyler do? He talked shit about Svetlana to Jose. But oops! Just as he was revving up, in walked Svetlana. Luckily for him, Svetty was completely oblivious to all the trash talk, and as Tyler left the room, he showered her with phony praise to mask his anger. “You look sexy tonight!” he said, but as he walked into the other room, he seethed to Jose, “Revenge is fun!” Yes, and you know what else revenge is? The mark of a better person! Consider yourself validated! I mean, think about it: who’s the better person? A goofy guy who mugs for attention? Or a vindictive, phony, and angry guy who mugs for attention? Clearly the latter!
Anyway, Tyler was absolutely fuming about Svetlana’s alleged betrayal, but if there was anyone who should have known she’d go babbling to John, it was Tyler. He really had no one to blame but himself. Still, that wasn’t healthy for the ego. He had to somehow deflect responsibility for this drama onto Svetlana. And so he began “plotting,” whatever that meant. Maybe he was going to engage in another intense round of “Hide The Phone Receiver.” We could only wish! Whatever the scheme was, Tyler at least had an appropriately catty title for it: “Operation: Bitch Takedown!” Or as I like to call it, “Operation: I Can’t Own Up To My Own Smack Talk.”
At long last, Tyler finally confronted John about all their issues, and somehow, he managed to blame the entire conflict on Svetlana. You see, according to Tyler, when he has a problem with someone, he likes to talk about it with his friends and then approach that person. It just so happens that the people that he talked about his problem with went and spilled the beans to John. Yeah… still trying to figure out how announcing that he’s a better person than John counts as “discussing an issue.” It was pretty much a bullshit excuse, and as a result, Tyler really didn’t take full ownership of his comments and actions. In fact, he then had the balls to say, “This isn’t an issue between you and I. This is more an issue with other people in the house taking it upon themselves to try and, like, play intermediary between the two of us.” No, I’d say this was an issue between the two of you. Stop trying to refocus it onto Svetty.
Anyway, Tyler walked away from the conversation saying that he’s now seen the real John for who he is (aww… so sweet, in a phony sort of way), and then immediately returned to Svetlana bashing. “I’m going to make the bitch pay!” he proclaimed. Consider that phone handset CONFISCATED!
Later, we returned to the wonderful world of Paula where Zach was musing on the whole Keith situation. “Paula has had things happen to her by Keith that some people would deem as inexcusable,” Zach said, “but if she’s willing to give him another chance, who am I to say that she can’t make that happen?” Yes, another sage pearl from the king of ineffectual interaction. God forbid Zach actually takes a stand on something.
Well, ladies and gentlemen, we had some wonderful news. Keith was coming to town! Yes, after having charmed his way into Paula’s heart with a bottle of Cristal and some peanuts, Keith was now officially en route for a visit. I personally was beyond excited. I couldn’t wait to see what this guy looked like. But wait! One problem: we soon found Paula hunched over on that sado-masochistic chair in the phone room, crying to Keith. Turns out that MTV wouldn’t allow Keith to stay over in the Real World mansion. He was too much of a liability. Ha! We can thank the shady rape allegations from San Diego for that!
Anyway, Paula was not happy about this. All she wanted to do was curl up next to Keith and lie there with him. A day visit was not enough! Well, this caused Paula to cry, and soon Tyler and Svetlana were all atwitter, talking about the abusive couple. Turns out that Tyler didn’t know about Paula’s trip to the hospital, and when Svetlana told him, he was absolutely shocked. How did he not know this by now? Nevertheless, Tyler did not like this bit of news one bit and told us that he did not feel comfortable with Keith in the house at all. Meanwhile, back in the phone room, Paula was now bawling like a baby. To his credit, Keith was being fairly mature, noting that this was just one of the many consequences of his actions and that he’d have to deal with it. You’d think Paula would be happy to hear her boyfriend talking like a rational, sane human being, but instead she just wailed some more, whining, “That was the one thing I wanted!” Keith reminded her that they would still be able to see each other, but she cried, “I don’t want to!!! …Because I don’t care now. That was the one thing I wanted! At least when we were sleeping, I could at least be next to you. That’s all I wanted!!!” This was then followed by a big, loud “WAAAAHHHH!!!!”
We then went to commercial, causing millions of viewers to ponder what fate lay in store for our star-crossed lovers. Okay, so no one really cared. Anyway, when we came back Tyler was still reeling from all these Keith revelations, saying that Paula was just like one big book of secrets. Funny how he didn’t seem to mind Svetlana’s big mouth when it benefited him. I guess it’s hard to figure out people like Tyler, what with him being better and all.
Later, after her phone call, Paula cried in bed. Svetty consoled her and gave her a nice pep talk, culminating in an order for Paula to put on a pretty face. The two girls then went out to a bar and discussed Keith and everything. Of course Svetlana gossiped about Tyler’s reaction to Keith, saying, “Tyler was like ‘I..I don’t feel comfortable.’” You just know that Tyler’s going to harp on her for that. Fast forward to the next Keith convo, and guess what? Paula told Keith that Tyler wasn’t comfortable with him visiting. Now Keith hated Tyler. Yay gossip! Anyone else sensing an impending train wreck of confrontation?
Well, now Paula was pissed at Tyler too because of the whole Keith thing. He had no right to fear for his safety. Just because some “violent” man who put Paula in the “hospital” is coming to town doesn’t mean that he should have anything to worry about. Paula also noted that because Tyler was gay, he should have been sensitive to judging someone prematurely (uh, that didn’t stop him when it came to Svetlana, John, and everyone else on Key West). Ultimately, Paula announced that Tyler was “a self-righteous prick that only listens to his own scenarios.” WHAT??? NO!!!
As the show drew to a close, we found that self-righteous prick sitting with Jose and Janelle, engaging in something that all the “better people” do: creating a “burn book.” I didn’t know these existed outside the fictional world of Mean Girls, but apparently I was wrong. For those of you who never saw the movie or encountered one of these when you were in FIFTH GRADE, basically, a burn book is a notebook filled with all sorts of vile, hateful observations about someone. Yes, maturity at its height. “Let the bashing begin!” Tyler proudly said, taking his quest for vengeance to new obnoxious levels. The group then jotted down all their favorite Svetlana bullshit, and while I wasn’t surprised that Janelle was participating, I was a little saddened to see Jose take part. I always thought he was more of a gentleman, but then again, you can never underestimate a Real World star.
The trio sat and wrote all sorts of stuff — from Svetty’s alleged allergies (lobster, nuts, latex, Tyler, etc.) to her various tall tales of spin the bottle. Granted, Svetlana is a piece of work, and granted, she’s often ridiculous, but did she really deserve this hateful burn book? Ultimately, Tyler laughed, “If she saw this book ever, I’d have a knife in my thigh.” Well, it IS on TV.
“Ha ha ha… RED GOD!”
And with that, this ever so catty episode drew to a close. What did you think about the show? Should Keith be allowed to stay over? Is Tyler in the wrong? Or should Svetlana be punished?