Good news, everyone. Paula Walnuts has officially checked herself into therapy. In a much heralded episode of The Real World (at least, according to the New York Times), our favorite dysfunctional roomie finally sought some professional help from a local psychologist. Will this bring an end to her drunken tantrums, rampant eating disorders, and occasional panic attacks? Eh, probably not for a while. But at least now when we see Paula going bonkers in the house, we don’t have to feel guilty about it. We no longer need to feel ashamed for mocking a girl so lost and adrift in life. She’s getting help, people! It’s okay to laugh! Right?Last night’s episode began on a very The Graduate meets Karen Carpenter note: Paula floating in a pool. As the opening bars of “The Sound of Silence” chimed in my head, Paula relayed to a nearby Svetlana how her conversation with John the previous night had really brought about an epiphany. For those of you who missed it, last week, John told Paula that she didn’t have to be the same old troubled girl. She could take this chance to start fresh. Yay!
“Oh my God. John is right,” Paula told us this week. “It almost woke me up to have it laid out so simply. Like you don’t have to not be okay. He’s like you can be okay.” Wow! What a bombshell discovery. Paula doesn’t have to feel crappy. She can feel good! Well, that solves that! Who wants tacos?
Alas, nothing is ever that simple, but at least Paula felt moved to action. The camera then trained on footage of the pool’s deep end, followed by some random b-roll of the fish tank. Get it? It’s like saying she’s gonna go off the deep end unless she breaks free of this fishbowl. Or something like that.
Anyway, the phone rang in the house, and Paula answered it with her regressive baby-girl voice — the same one that Paris Hilton uses from time to time (to equally annoying effect). I feared that the ugly specter of Keith would be on the other end of the phone, but thankfully, it was a guy named Fred Covan. He was a psychologist, and hopefully, he’d be able to reverse Paula’s high speed sprint towards total self-destruction. It wouldn’t be an easy task. Paula had to first shed her nerves. “I’m really scared I have to go and talk to a stranger,” she said. Uh, what exactly have you been doing for the past month? Oh, that’s right. Divulging your inner-most pain to ALL OF AMERICA. I think somehow you’ll deal with Dr. Covan.
In less fascinating news, Zach’s local buddy Crystal (once “new friend,” now “Zach’s Crush”) came over, and the two hung out in a hammock where they babbled about all sorts of inane things. Zach rambled about how the Key West experience was going to be so important to him and how this was going to be a once in a lifetime experience and blah blah blah. Crystal happily humored him and then said, “I’m more of a people pleaser, you know? I like other people to be happy. If everybody’s happy, then I’m happy. That’s how I am.” Basically, that was her way of saying she wanted to give him a blow job.
Later, the two lovebirds (or likebirds — can’t really get a read) retreated up to Zach’s bed where they spooned and giggled and ultimately kissed. It seemed like a perfect recipe for some night vision fun, but alas, Crystal put the kibosh on this party. Bitch wanted to go home. Boo! Whore it up, Crystal! But no amount of dissuading could keep her in bed, and so Zach suddenly became overly formal with the sensitive wording as he said, “I can see so many positives of you staying, but I respect your decision.” And by “so many positives,” he meant “ravenous, sweaty sex.”
Zach then tried to explain to us his mentality with this whole Crystal thing. He said, “I’m not trying to get anything more from Crystal than a friendship and fun and someone that I can talk to and make out with and kiss.” So… basically a girlfriend. That’s like me saying, “I don’t really want a car. I just want a vehicle that has wheels and doors and a steering wheel and can drive and run on gas and stuff.”
Well, Crystal eventually left the house, and afterwards, Zach wandered into the computer room to give a full report to his nosy roommates, Paula and Svetlana. The girls ribbed him for not having any game, and personally, I was surprised that Paula didn’t hop up from her seat and chase after Crystal in one last desperate attempt at a cockblock. Ultimately, the evening ended with Zach getting into bed alone and sad — only a case of blue balls to console him.
Actually, John was hanging out in the next bed, and he told Zach that Crystal looked like she was hunting for a relationship. Zach then said that he didn’t want a relationship. But then John said that’s what Crystal wanted. And then Zach said “But I don’t wannna.” And then John said he was like “Dad.” And then Zach said he didn’t want to be like “Dad.” And then I said “SHUT THE HELL UP AND GO TO SLEEP.”
The next night, everyone showed up at Crystal’s bar, and I thought we’d be segueing into the next fascinating chapter of this romance, but I was mistaken. This was Paula time. The chance for her to shine once again. She was throwing back the drinks, and we knew that could lead to only one thing. No, not Crystal’s lesbian conversion. I’m talking about some crazy, drunken antics by our favorite crazy drunk. Yes, no sooner had those refreshing libations settled in Paula’s pea-sized stomach than she was dancing up a storm, bouncing from one place to another, ultimately hugging some defenseless utility box on the street.
Sadly, this box is a better boyfriend than Keith ever will be.
“Me and my box boyfriend, we gonna get married! Y’all can kiss my ass!”
Things didn’t get much better once everyone returned to the house. Paula ran screaming from room to room, despite the chorus of “Shhhh’s” from Zach. Her giddiness was amusing, but I had a nagging feeling it would soon turn into rage and then tears. Sure enough, Paula soon began ranting about magic markers, saying, “The fact that people don’t cap markers drives me INSANE!” Other things driving her insane: rampant low self-esteem, lack of nourishment, and all that pesky ephedrine coursing through her system.
Eventually, Paula began play-kicking cupboard doors, giving an incoherent commentary that sounded something like “Put.. things… unnhh…” It was like watching an anorexic version of Anna Nicole Smith attempting kung-fu — except with less grace.
Jose, meanwhile, decided to play caretaker to his drunken roomie and asked, “You want something to drink? You want some water? Aquafina?” Oooh. Very smooth. He managed to be responsible AND toss out a product placement all at the same time. He really is a business man, isn’t he?
Well, Paula’s drunken stupor took an inevitable turn as she headed into the phone room and dialed up her ever lovable, ever abusive boy Keith. Amazingly, he didn’t yell at her or administer some sort of beating through the phone. Maybe he was as taken aback as we were by Paula, who had now entered new realms of disturbing baby voice-dom. Seriously, she was so high-pitched and annoying, you just wanted to smack her — that is, until we remembered that Keith sort of had that under control. Anyway, Paula squeaked out that she didn’t want the therapist to tell her she was unfixable, to which Keith replied, “You’re fixable, baby. It’s not that anything’s broken, either.” Well, except for her face that time he bashed it in, but that’s neither here nor there.
Eventually, Paula announced/tweeted, “I’m real tired so I’m going to take my pillows and put them on the ground.” YOU DO THAT. Paula then rolled onto the floor and laid down on her makeshift bed, but oops! The phone didn’t reach far enough. Paula yanked on it, causing the little end table to fall over and disconnect the call. What a mess. Oh, but this wasn’t the end. Turns out this table was made from some sort of cast-iron, super heavy metal because it severed the phone cord upon hitting the ground. If there’s anything that’s not acceptable in the Real World house, it’s a broken phone. Look at all the commotion that came when Tyler merely hid the handset a few weeks ago. Now imagine if that handset didn’t even work? PURE CHAOS.
Well, the roomies all poured into the phone room and attempted to cure what ailed their poor telephone. You could tell that everyone was trying to keep a positive attitude, but deep down, they were furious at Paula. How could the wretched wench commit such a blasphemous crime! Well, Paula walked off to the computer and told the roomies, “Everyone else can die!” That wasn’t very nice. She then revised her threat to “Everyone can be sad.” There was something mildly tragic about that statement. I don’t know what it was. I guess it was the way Paula wanted to drag everyone down to her emotional abyss. Nevertheless, had it been me, I would have sneered, “Everyone can be MELANCHOLY!!!” That would have gotten them good!
We then cut to a friendly puffer fish in the tank and oh no! He just chomped down on one of his fish tank buddies! Murder!!! Might this foreshadow a vicious attack in the Real World household? INDEED! We then returned to Paula who was now hanging over the side of the staircase, shooting middle fingers at her roommates. Why? Don’t know. Maybe she was mad at them for fixing the phone that she had broken. Or maybe she thought everyone was using the phone behind her back. I don’t know what it was, but she was deep in Crazy Town, and there was no way she was coming back tonight.
John then told us that whenever Paula says, “Kiss my ass!” it’s always a bad sign of things to come. Sure enough, Paula then said “Kiss my ass!” which then led to a random attack on poor, simple Zach. She called him a boring idiot that no one takes seriously, which isn’t too far from the truth. Paula then wandered off to another part of the house, leaving a shocked look on Zach’s face. Don’t worry. The roomies don’t actually think that, John explained. She was just lashing out to be hurtful. Cut to John wiping his brow and saying, “CLOSE ONE!”
The good news out of all this was that John managed to fix the phone (yay!), but then it was time to return to Crystal (boo!). Zach told his girly that he didn’t want to get too attached to her. “I just don’t want anyone to get hurt,” he said.
“Then stop hurting people. IDIOT!” Crystal replied. Ooh, I like Crystal now. The two laughed this off (although, I’m not sure if Crystal totally meant it as a joke), and now that they’d established that they definitely were not anything more than friends, they promptly had sex in Zach’s bed. Wonderful.
The next morning, Tyler drove Paula to therapy, and on the way over, he asked, “Paula, do you want me to be light-hearted or serious to get you in the mood for whatever?” Wow. So accommodating. Thirty years from now, when they exist, this is how I want my robotic butlers to ask. I wonder if Tyler has a little dial on his back that people can switch from “Light-hearted” to “Serious.”
Anyway, Paula opted for “serious,” and Tyler gave her some encouraging support, telling her that it was going to be a good experience — she’d do just fine. Finally, they arrived at the doctor’s office, and as Paula kissed Ty Ty goodbye, he said, “Hey, go get ‘em girl!” Uh, she wasn’t going off to a gymnastics meet. She was only going to therapy. Nevertheless, I understood what Tyler was trying to convey, and it was very thoughtful.
Finally, it was time to meet the therapist. Basically, Dr. Covan was a fuzzy, old man with a pointy face. The sort of guy who probably dresses like Richard Dreyfuss for fun. He asked Paula some introductory questions, but she was crazy nervous. I mean, insanely nervous. I thought we’d be seeing another one of her panic attacks. “What do you think about your weight?” Dr. Covan asked.
“I think it’s fine,” Paula replied. Ouch. This was gonna be a loooong recovery.
Now, why would anyone have trouble opening up to this man… and his cold, penetrating stare of judgment?
Dr. Covan then talked to her about Ephedrine, and oddly enough, he seemed to be actually laughing at her. And when he wasn’t laughing, he was being mildly confrontational. Is this what therapy is all about? I like the Dr. Melfi style better. Eventually, Dr. Covan told Paula that he wanted to restore happiness to her life, to which she replied, “I don’t think it’s gonna happen.”
“If you think that, you might be right,” he responded. Oh snap! COVAN SLAM!!!
We then broke away from this surprisingly intense scene and found our three favorite knuckleheads, Zach, John, and Jose, driving down the interstate. The guys questioned Zach about his night with Crystal, and finally, John asked, “You didn’t bang her, did you?” Yup, he did. Zach nodded his head, incurring praise and high-fives all around. Yay! Rah Rah Rah!!!
Zach then reminded us that “Whatever we did, and whatever we’re going to do physically is a reflection of our relationship with each other, not a reflection of being a twenty-two year old horny guy.” Yeah, but your relationship is a reflection of you being a twenty-two year old horny guy, so it doesn’t really matter. Stop trying to be so thoughtful. We all see through it. You’re a dawg, dawg!
We then shifted gears yet again and went from Zach’s raging libido to Paula’s raging psychosis. Dr. Covan told Paula the hour was up and then gave her a book to read as homework. I don’t know if a book alone would be enough to help Paula along, but I guess a start is a start. Zach then picked her up, and as the two drove back to the house, I could already imagine the conversation:
Zach: “How are you?”
Paula: “Oh great. I just learned that I’m severely depressed and suffering from anorexia and have deep-seeded issues that will take me years to resolve. How about you?”
Zach: “I banged Crystal.”
Paula: “Cool.” (hyperventilation ensues).
Sadly, the conversation didn’t go quite like that. Paula did talk about therapy, but that was about it. The show ended with her curled up in bed, reading her book. In all honesty, I really hope she climbs out of this rut. And dammit, drop Keith!
What did you think about this episode?