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When we last left our plucky group of Philadelphia imports, everything seemed fine and dandy in the Real World mansion. You know, Shavonda was having some money problems but people agreed to cover her, Mel was enjoying the fish tank, Sarah was fondling her boobs, and oh yeah, Karamo almost got arrested on a false gun charge. Those were good times. Amazingly, incidents like these don’t just resolve themselves with a few chords of upbeat music and a hopeful shot of the Liberty Bell, and in tonight’s episode, the lingering fallout from the gun controversy continued to cause drama in the house between Karamo and MJ. Luckily Jon Bon Jovi was around pick up the pieces. Well, maybe not pick up the pieces. Whatever. Jon Bon Jovi was around.The episode started off with MJ voicing his frustration about the whole Karamo situation to loyal gym-mate and aspiring sexual conquest Sarah, who seemed more preoccupied with her two tons of grocery bags than anything. While MJ tried to make sense of his situation, Sarah’s expression simply said “Can we just talk about my boobs?”
Back at the homestead, Karamo vented his side of the story to some girl at home. Actually, upon further review, said girl was actually a guy with a high pitched voice and effeminate inflection. Not quite the masculine type Karamo was babbling about a few episodes ago. With tensions running high, Landon and MJ hit the streets of Philly to find some undivided comfort in the form of beers and shots. In what has become a disturbing yet very funny aspect to The Real World, the citizens of the host city took it upon themselves to shower our curly buddies with beer cans, CDs and even a stool. No, not a piece of human feces. Some guy at a bar actually threw a stool at MJ. We didn’t actually get to see this though because the camera people were evidently filming some fascinating shot elsewhere in the bar. Maybe they were getting cutaways of a neon bar sign flashing! Oh, there’s nothing that the folk at Bunim/Murray love more than padding out an episode with images of lights turning on and off. Honestly, they’ll probably release a documentary on Walk/Don’t Walk signs of the world (the DVD will have bonus footage of streetlights turning on at dusk).
Anyway, MJ avoided the wayward stool – or maybe his hair just sort of deflected it – without incident. You know, we’ve seen these outbursts from citizens in San Diego and now Philly. Apparently it was a problem in Chicago too. Here’s my question. I know these people are annoying, but why do you care so much? Isn’t there anything better to do in these cities? Hmmm… Then again, I really would love to throw a stool at the packs of Bunim/Murray alums who rove around the Sunset Strip. Never mind. Carry on.
Upon return to the mansion, MJ acted as if his stool experience was like the Crate & Barrel equivalent of Karamo’s gun incident. Yeah, I guess that would be true except MJ, you weren’t almost hauled off to jail because of the color of your skin, but that’s just semantics I guess. Upon hearing the news of airborne furniture, Sarah entered a state of shock. “I don’t understand malicious people. If that gets you by everyday… then go ahead,” she said. “I personally rely on my breast implants for self-esteem.” Well, maybe she didn’t say that…
Karamo, for his part, was quite happy to hear about MJ’s plight. “Karma’s a bitch,” he snipped. Apparently he’d been boning up on Big Brother this summer where the term “Karma Boomerang” was tossed around so much (no pun intended), that I feared we might need a national clarification on Buddhist philosophy. Karamo, however, didn’t want to just throw the Karma Boomerang. He wanted to hurl some Ikea lovin’ at MJ too, apparently telling Shavonda that he’d be happy if four more stools hit the mophead. Hey now. Be nice. How would you like it if someone threw a stool at you? Or even worse – an ottoman?
Meanwhile, tonight’s episode was the grand reveal of the next job that Real Worlders would be chronically late to. A mysterious box arrived at the house with all sorts of Philadelphia Soul paraphernalia inside. Upon discovering some jerseys, Shavonda exclaimed “We’re gonna play!” Wow, I know arena football is weak, but was it in such bad shape that they’d let the likes of Willie and Melanie play? Of course not. Shavonda was just being a little dumb. Still, the group learned that they would be doing at least something with the team, which caused Mel to wax philosophical and say that she’s looking forward to gaining a greater appreciation for the sport of football and embracing the experience. Did I mention she’s from UC Santa Cruz? I half expected Mel to gather the football players in a trust circle and ask them to hone their chi.
The best buds all donned their jerseys and headed to the Wachovia arena. They appeared to be early as the arena was all but empty save for a few stragglers walking around, but sadly, that was all the people who had purchased tickets that day. Hey, when you’ve got to compete against the WBNA, it’s hard work. Clearly the matchup was less than compelling because the franchise owners decided to conduct a meeting with the Real Worlders right in the MIDDLE OF THE GAME. Not even the execs care about the team!
Anyway, the Soul brass alerted the group that they’d be getting involved with the community which is always a bad sign. Sarah commented that she’s looking forward to working with the football players and cheerleaders and children. Who to have sex with first? Whatever. She’s just psyched to have some kinky new costumes to play with.
After a long afternoon with the arena football folks, the group piled into their SUV and had Karamo drive them home. Unfortunately, Karamo’s radar isn’t as good as his gaydar and he promptly got the septet lost in the ghetto. Everyone, including Shavonda, had a wide-eyed look of fear in their eyes, which made Karamo laugh. With Willie in the backseat, it sort of brought a new meaning to the term Ghetto Fabulous. MTV played scary music which made me hope the group might get caught in the crossfire of a crack deal gone bad, but alas, just when we were really getting into this Lost In The Ghetto story, the scene inexplicably cross faded into a shot of sun bursting through clouds as if to connote, “And they aaalll made it home safely.” It sort of reminded me of the time when I first moved to LA and I took a wrong turn and wound up driving through Compton at 1 AM. That was sort of scary, and unlike the Real Worlders, I didn’t have a neat transition shot of a cloud to get me out of that one.
Anyway, the kiddos did all make it back to the mansion where they indulged in a nice round of gossip. With the stool drama still fresh, everyone decided that Karamo and MJ should talk, a decision that made Karamo feel attacked. And when Karamo feels attacked, he shuts down – sort of like Flavor Flav on The Surreal Life. Well, I’m glad Karamo nixed the whole conversation and communication thing because that would sooo have dispelled that angry black man thing that he’s going for. Oh wait, he doesn’t want to be the angry black man? Well, I guess not talking and staying angry is like… reverse psychology! Yes, that’s it!
Of course, it’s never as simple as that. Even though Karamo was blatantly angry, he pretended like he wasn’t, which only made him seem even angrier. Confused by the whole mess, MJ just asked for one simple thing: “Can I just get a dap?” One dap for MJ? Just a li’l one? A dapsy wapsy for old times sake?
Karamo – who’s not angry! – just walked away. You see, he’s not mad or anything. He’s just so overdapped. I mean every day it’s like twelve daps an hour. Sometimes Karamo just doesn’t want to dap anymore! And then he comes home and what does MJ want to do? DAP. He just doesn’t understand.
As the situation between Karamo and MJ grew increasingly strained, the group headed back out to the arena a few days later for another Soul game, but this time the Real Worlders had a big treat in store for them. Jon. Bon. Jovi. Prancing through the brightly lit tunnels of the arena with unnecessary sunglasses on, Bon Jovi descended upon the group like a well-manicured specimen of 80s history. He informed our buds that they would be spending the summer… building a playground. Oh. I mean, that’s cool, but I sort of thought they’d be doing something at the arena football games since, you know, that’s what employees of arena football teams usually do. I guess this community service is fine, although couldn’t they have just arranged it through some municipal non for profit organization? Oh, that’s right. Community service isn’t as fun if there’s not some corporate product placement involved. Wow, look at me. I became an activist suddenly. I hate me now.
Anyway, as Bon Jovi talked about playgrounds, the guys tried their hardest to suppress their childlike glee. Landon could hardly even talk while MJ seemed preoccupied by Bon Jovi’s stunning appearance. “The feathered bangs looked good and those jeans were tight as hell,” he said. Honestly, ten more minutes with Bon Jovi and I bet MJ would have smacked his ass and said “Mmmm… That is delicious!”
When Jon Bon J. was done, he asked if he could sign some stuff for the crew. Amazingly, the roommates seemed to quickly snap out of their star-struck states because none of them seemed to care at all about Bon Jovi’s autographs. Maybe that’s because they’d already received a visit from Sway and P. Diddy as part of Rock the Vote (if you don’t know, don’t ask). Finally, the crew headed down to the game where they spent the timeouts being those annoying people who throw T-Shirts into the crowd, and by crowd, I mean the first ten rows of the lower level. Damn you! It should be noted that this game was the season closer for the Soul, so all those cool shots of the Real Worlders working at the games were just pulled from this episode. I guess playgrounds aren’t as fun to advertise during the season previews.
As the episode came to a close, Karamo was still struggling with his issues concerning MJ. How do I not seem angry and upset, he lamented. Well, it’s kind of hard to not seem that way when you clearly are. Poor Karamo was so determined not to be the angry black guy that he of course turned into him. Finally though he reached a point where he was ready to communicate and to the relief of viewers who wanted to get it over with, had “the talk” with MJ. After some heartfelt words, the two dapped (MJ’s interior monologue: “YES!”) and agreed to be cool from here on out. Oh, one last thing though, MJ said. That thing about the four stools? Did you really mean that? Do you want me to get hit with four stools? Seriously, MJ asked that. Karamo reassured him that no, that’s no longer the case. Yesterday yes, but today no. So apparently MJ has a stool rating of zero now, and I think we can all sleep a little more soundly knowing that.