Big news on Real World: Austin this past week. We finally met the man behind the myth, the man behind the legend, the man behind… the cotton candy ice cream fiasco. Yes, Rachel’s boyfriend Erik surfaced in Austin, and while sadly he brought no melted dairy confections, he did arrive with a small, annoying pooch in hand, thus ensuring that we’d have at least one thing to mock about him. Surprisingly enough, I was okay with this story though. Normally I hate the “hometown honey” arcs that have plagued so many seasons before this, but I’ve come to accept a strange truth about Austin: whenever an episode centers on Rachel, it’s usually pretty good, if only because we leave with a treasure trove of laughable moments. Then again, maybe I’m just exhausted from the never ending chaos that is Danny and Melinda. Oooh, I shouldn’t have even mentioned their names, lest I awaken some dreaded reality beast…This week’s episode didn’t kick off in the Dizzy Rooster (phonograph scratch!) nor did it open with Danny or Melinda lying in bed (an old woman just fainted at the dinner table!). No, the show began with Rachel babbling on the phone with her boyfriend Erik. You see, the big man was coming to town, which meant it was time to begin Rachel’s Amazing Technicolor Cocktease. Step 1: promise Erik sex. Step 2: arrange for a dogsitter. Step 3: prepare a vat of cotton candy ice cream. Step 4: nap. But poor Erik didn’t realize his trip to Texas was going to leave him deep in the heart of blue balls. And who could blame him? Of course he’d be expecting some action, especially after Rachel told him, “And we can have someone watch Reese while we’re having sex!” For those of you wondering, Reese is Rachel’s puff of a dog: tiny, white, and perfect for kicking. Anyway, because it was super important that this tiny mongrel accompany Erik on his voyage to Austin, Rachel then went from room to room, asking her roommates if the dog could stay in the house for the weekend. To her credit, this gesture was a lot more selfless than just about anything else we’ve ever seen over the past sixteen seasons. Unfortunately for Rachel, her Reese reunion seemed to hit a snag when Wes revealed he was allergic to white-haired dogs. Dunh dunh DUNH! Oh wait, he was just joking. Never mind! A little of the ole pet dander humor. That stuff kills in Vegas! It kills! Just wait until he pulls out his Claritin material. Watch out Joan Lunden: Wes has got your number!
All this was fun and everything, but I went into insta-groan mode as we then cut to Danny and Melinda holding hands and walking the streets of Austin. Great. Was this going to be some ill-fated attempt to parallel the dramas of two relationships: Danny and Melinda vs. Rachel and Erik? Thankfully no. Turns out Danny hadn’t pressed charges on the douchebag who had broken his skull, but now he was ready to hunt him down. It was clear that the entire situation was making Danny-boy tense, but luckily, he had the undying support of Melinda, who really stepped up to punchbag duty in typical happy form. “Take your aggression out on me. In bed!” she suggested in one of those “Ha ha ha ha, wait, that’s f*cked up” moments. Nevertheless, Danny connected with a Detective Sullivan (not to be confused with EVERY OTHER DETECTIVE in America) and soon the wheels of justice began to turn ever so slowly. Yay!
Meanwhile, over at the airport, Rachel eagerly awaited the arrival of her boyfriend and dog. And because being annoying takes more than just a small dog, Rachel also wore her super special “I [heart] Erik” tank top, clearly purchased at a store that should burn down and never be rebuilt ever ever ever again. Well, Erik eventually lumbered down the escalator with wee Reese pokin’ out of a carry-on bag, and while the happy family hugged and kissed, we then zipped back to the mansion where — uh oh! — Lacey was gossipin’ to her boyfriend Ryan. LaceyGossip is always one of the high points of every episode, mostly because a) she’s usually pretty dead-on with her gabbing, and b) it makes all the other roommates so mad. I mean, this girl has something to say about everything. I’d love to see her sports commentary: “Daunté Culpepper goes back to throw to Nate Burleson, but it’s incomplete! I don’t know why he always passes to Nate. You can tell they don’t get along. Daunté’s always like ‘Let’s hang out and talk,’ but Nate’s all like ‘No, I don’t want to,’ which I think is really dumb because Daunté can’t keep living through Nate, but I guess he’s just not at that place in his life where he’s ready to accept that.” Or something like that.
Well, tonight’s gossip was all about Rachel and Erik. You see, Rachel had been boasting about how Erik’s been saving up for a wedding ring, which might seem counter-intuitive considering the two have been on a “break” for the whole season. “I’m like this guy puts money in every month to save your ring, and you’re on a break??” Lacey asked Ryan rhetorically. Exactly. And because it wouldn’t be a Lacey rant without a touch of “logic” (a curse word in Real World houses), she then elaborated to us during an interview: “I don’t think breaks make any sense because I think it’s very disrespectful, and it’s hurtful, and you know what? If I’m not good enough now, I won’t be good enough later.” Where was Lacey last season when we had to sit through episode after episode of Shavonda and her sucky boyfriend Shaun?
Lacey then finished up her convo with Ryan by expressing concern about meeting Erik: “I want to be like dude, you’re either like ‘Love is blind’ or you’re really dumb.” Um, I’m going to go with option B (one word: ice cream in priority mail).
Speaking of dumb, Reese soon made his grand entrance into the Real World mansion, and for some reason, Danny really wanted to see if the little guy could swim in the pool. The experiment was short-lived, however, when it became glaringly obvious that Reese would have succumbed to a watery death had he ventured one doggie-paddle further into the vast estuary for infection that is the living room pool. Luckily, the struggling dog was scooped out of the water and placed on the carpet where it amusingly scampered around like an overactive dreidel.
Because Reese wasn’t ratty enough when he was dry.
All this was well and good, but ahem, there was sex to be had. Erik and Rachel jumped under the covers (with Reese happily chilling out above them on the comforter — hey, what happened to the dogsitter?), and just when we thought the night-vision would turn on and the boom-boom-boom would get started, Rachel announced, “I don’t want to have sex.” Insert Debbie Downer “Wah wah wah” here.
“There’s just not that chemistry there anymore,” Rachel later explained. Well, I hope you’ve got some chemistry with American Airlines because you best be paying for Erik’s flight home. (Wow, I just turned into Mo’nique.) Yes, instead of porking, Rachel just wanted to lie down and cuddle, maybe nap. I know: very kinky. Well, Erik wasn’t so into the whole nap scene, so while Rachel dozed, he headed off to the living room and played fooz ball with Wes (while Reese amusingly zipped by in the background. Huh. Maybe this dog’s grown on me after all.) “I’ve never met one man in the military that I haven’t liked, just cause they’ve got such a good outlook on life,” Wes announced, clearly never having met, you know, a wacked-out homeless Army vet.
Later, the gang headed out to the Dizzy Rooster (wave of relief overcoming me) where a drunken Danny announced that he was going to marry Melinda someday. Uh, earmuffs Erik. But it was too late. Erik told Rachel he felt the same way about her, to which she responded, “We’ll talk about it later.” Yes, true love indeed!
The next day, we showed up at the Bow-Wow Festival where all sorts of diminutive dogs (and possibly rappers) showed up to run around and jump through hoops. This exciting scene was short-lived, however, as it was merely just a segue to a good old-fashioned pooping dog sequence. Yes, Reese left a little digestive artifact on the bathroom rug, and Melinda almost stepped in it. To be fair, had it been Danny’s shit, she gladly would have mashed her heel in it. Sorry, gross image.
After Rachel cleaned up the mess, Danny then picked up Reese and reprimanded, “Poop in the toilet, just like Wes.” Hey, how do we know that poop wasn’t Wes’s in the first place? An ode to the groupies, if you will.
VENUS FLYTRAP ALERT! That night, a confused and horny Erik meandered upstairs to the computer room where he found Lacey supremely holding court. “I need an outside opinion,” he said regarding the Rachel situation. You could almost hear Lacey licking her chops. I’m surprised she didn’t curve her face into a grinning rictus, tent her fingers, and say, “Why yes, my pretty!” I mean, this was the most ill-advised meeting since Ariel asked Ursula for legs.
Well, with the vulnerable Erik pliant for manipulation, Lacey got to work. “Just from my perspective, I think you’re getting the short end of the stick, for sure,” she said. “I would NEVER do that to my boyfriend!” Hey check that out! A little vintage Melanie from Philly. Now, I can’t say that I disagreed with Lacey — in fact, I thought she was fairly on-the-money, but, well, it wasn’t really her place to say anything, especially since those tricky producers had designed the house to be as eavesdrop-friendly as possible. Sure enough, guess who was listening in on the whole conversation? Rachel! Just when we thought last week’s caught-on-tape debacle was drama enough, here came Rachel quietly lurking under the loft, listening to Lacey say, “Honestly, I like Rachel, but I think what she’s doing to you is really shitty.” Cat fight? Please??? No, instead Rachel simply vented to us in an interview, saying, “I cannot understand Lacey for the life of me. She’s really kind of becoming almost a snake to me.” A snake in a Halifax sweatshirt, no less. See! She even turned on ENON!!
And you call yourself an Enon fan…
Later, Rachel and Erik got all fancy and such and forwent the Macaroni Grill for P.F. Chang’s instead. While the two waited in line, Rachel revealed that she had heard all of Erik’s conversation (doh!) and didn’t want him to discredit everything just because he was listening to stupid Lacey. Stupid Lacey — a.k.a. the voice of reason, albeit inappropriate reason. Well, the emotions of this impasse really killed the whole P.F. Chang’s vibe; so the couple jetted and found a nice tree to sit under and talk. What would happen to them? What would their status be? Did they still love each other? Let’s put it this way: Erik was head over heels with Rachey, but as for her? Eh. “Would it hurt the least to be still ‘Rachel & Erik on a break,’ or would it hurt the least to say, ‘Okay, let’s just be friends for the next two months?’” she asked, clearly providing two distinct options to chose from. It was like saying, “Would you like mashed potatoes or mashed potahtoes?” In the end, one thing was glaringly obvious: “Reese has got divorced parents,” bemoaned Erik. Yeah, and in other news, Reese probably just spent the past two hours licking his balls. I don’t think he’ll care that much.
Back at the house, Wes decided to cheer up ol’ Erik with one of his poseur events. “We have a plan for tonight. At R-Bar, there’s a VIP section in the basement… And then we’re gonna call every girl in our groupie drawer, any girl that’s ever jocked our nuts, we’re just going to call them all. All of them up, all the same time, and bring them to the VIP section of this bar tonight… And it’ll just be a vagina-fest. Just don’t tell Rachel about it,” Wes said, clearly not seeing Rachel standing RIGHT BEHIND HIM. Wow, it was like an ’80s movie and an ’80s sitcom all wrapped up into one!
Nevertheless, Wes and his loyal follower Nehemiah got to work calling all their “groupies” (a.k.a. fame-starved skanks), and the big story of the night was that Wes was telling the sorority girls that Erik was actually a casting director for the MTV show, “Sorority Girls” (ahem, it’s Sorority Life, R.I.P.). Unsurprisingly, Rachel was none too happy about all this activity. “It hurts if I see you with girls with my own eyes,” she moped — because clearly he’ll never have to see her with other guys. Oh wait, never mind. That already happened and it was broadcast ACROSS THE COUNTRY.
Well, Wes and the gang headed to the VIP room of R-Bar where a whopping three groupies showed up to partake in Vagina-Fest 2005 (starring the biggest vagina of all, Wes). In true territorial fashion, the ladies of The Real World showed up to make sure their boys were under control, but of course, Rachel had a hard time dealing and left soon after. Not to fear, my little fluff of cotton candy: at the end of the night, Erik turned down all the feminine wiles of Wes’s harem and returned to the mansion, faithful as ever.
Hey, remember that Danny subplot? Yeah, well, Detective Sullivan called to say that a warrant was issued for the guy’s arrest. Would have happened sooner, you know, but there were a few flower burglaries that needed tending to first. Ultimately, Danny told us, “I just hope that kid gets what’s coming to him. It’s not a revenge thing.” Uhhh… actually, it sort of is. Well, I guess you could say “justice” too. I won’t press it too hard though because that guy should be held responsible. He broke Danny’s skull! His dickish, asshole skull!
As the show came to an end, Rachel bid adieu to Erik and Reese, but confusion still lingered. “He’s got to understand,” she said, “It’s not worth it for me and him to get married and be in an untrue situation.” Well, then break up with him. Don’t toy with his heart. You think he’s capable of dealing with this mental anguish? HE PUT ICE CREAM IN THE MAIL. Then again, who knows what Erik would do if they broke up… “Hmmm… she loves Cherry Coke. I’ll send her some to win her back!” Cut to Erik pouring a can of Cherry Coke into an envelope and sealing it.
With nothing to do but embrace some comfort food, Rachel whipped up a pot of matzoh ball soup and then dialed back the women’s rights movement a few years: “It’s important to get rid of the party-girl side of me; so I can embrace the housewife, grown-up side of me.” You know, she’s right though. That party side of hers has been waaaaay out of control. Like the time when she had two drinks! Holy moly!
In the end, it was Wes who had the most winning advice of all: “You suck at life.” Sort of like how Wes sucks at brains. What did you think about this show? Are you excited for tonight’s episode?