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There was more crazy fun in Florida last night as the seven roomies of The Real World headed to the mainland to avoid the breezy wrath of Hurricane Rita. On the upside, they were safe and sound from gale-force winds and airborne debris. On the downside, the group had to cram into one hotel room as if they were a bunch of rabbits in a burrow. If there’s anything reality TV has taught us, it’s that close quarters breed high tension, and this precarious situation was no exception. Faster than you can say “claustrophobia,” the roomies were already tossing drinks at each other. Oh, did I say, “claustrophobia?” I meant, “homophobia.” Mild difference.The show opened up with dark and brooding images of the storm approaching. There’s a hurricane a-comin’! Take shelter! Find safety! Get drunk as soon as possible! Yes, Mother Nature was breathing down the neck of our roommates, but they sidestepped a waterlogged fate as they checked into the not-so-swanky West Palm Beach Marriot. As I mentioned earlier, they all stuffed themselves into one oppressive suite where they had to brave the storm and each other. Everything seemed fine at first. There was a tingle of adventure in this little trip (and let’s hope for their sake that this didn’t count as their “vacation”). Tyler and Jose trekked down to the hotel bar to check out the weather, and guess what? Rita was now officially a hurricane. Dunh Dunh DUNH! Oh Rita. You devilish storm! I have to say, I had a hard time summoning much dread for this hurricane. Let’s face it. Rita’s always been the Jan to Katrina’s Marcia. You know that if we’d all just ignored Hurricane Rita, she probably would have run away. Of course, then we’d have to all get in the station wagon and patrol the neighborhood for her, and who wants to do that? Wait, what am I talking about again? Oh yeah. The Real World.
Anyway, after we’d had enough of Tyler and Jose’s fascinating experience with the Weather Channel, we then saw footage of the ocean, and yup, the surf was raging. A storm was brewin’! And speaking of storms, we then found ourselves with Paula, who proudly told Svetlana, “I can eat anything. Anyplace we go, I can find something to eat.” Not to be cruel, but it’s not so much about the eating but the digesting, if you catch my drift. Nevertheless, Paula found a large salad to chomp on and then returned to the subject du jour: John. For those of you who may have forgotten, Paula and John got into a ‘uge fight last week when she cockblocked one too many of his girls. Insults were exchanged, tears were shed, and sexual orientations were questioned. Unfortunately, the roomies didn’t kiss and make up, and now they were stuck in the same room together, courtesy of Hurricane Rita. Thanks, MOTHER NATURE.
Well, Paula was very frustrated with John, and she told Svetlana, “No matter what is in his head, this whole thing is my fault.” Seriously, John needs to get over it. It’s not her fault that she cockblocked John. Why should she be held accountable for her own actions? Clearly it was HIS fault for not stopping her. A real man would have beaten her, nay, put her in the hospital! Somebody get Keith!
Nevertheless, Paula then insisted, “I wasn’t drunk. I had three beers!” Three beers? She weighs less than two beers. A swig of Listerine in the morning, and she’s dancing on tables, singing “Tub Thumping” at the top of her lungs. Three beers + one anorexic girl = total inebriation.
Anyway, Paula noted how according to John, she was now a lesbian. Yes, just something else for the therapist to deal with (assuming she ever gets one). Svetlana then decided to crack a funny by saying, “That is a full-time job: bulimic, anorexic, and lesbian.” She then realized she was talking about full-time jobs and immediately offered to be the manager of Paula’s bulimia, anorexia, and lesbianism, but oddly enough, the job was already promised to Zach. He really is very enterprising.
Speaking of Zach, he had now joined Jose at Mission Control (a.k.a. the Marriot bar), and the two sat transfixed by the Doppler radar on the TV. As fascinating as it is to watch weather reports from six months ago, I still found myself less than enthralled. Luckily, the scene ended very quickly; although, not before some philosophical ramblings by Zach on how weather reports can be so much more meaningful when they actually apply to you. Uh, yeah. That’s sort of why people from Colorado don’t check out the weather in Bulgaria.
Night soon fell on West Palm Beach, and since this was The Real World, what else were the roomies to do but hit the bars? Yay! Time for some bumpin’ and grindin’ and throwin’ drinks! The gang went out to a hoppin’ club where Paula immediately made a new buddy. His name was Alex, and he had the privilege of being labeled “Paula’s friend.” I wasn’t sure if he was a West Palm Beach local or a fellow hurricane refugee finding sweet asylum in the sweaty confines of this club, but either way, Alex and Paula had an instant rapport. I guess that’ll happen when the first thing you say to a girl is “Oh my god. You’re so cute!” By the way, gaydar — kind of going off, which would be appropriate. God forbid Paula meet a nice guy who’s actually attracted to her.
And speaking of gaydar, Janelle’s was going off like crazy. Once again proving to be little more than a faithful hag, Janelle quickly pointed out that some guy kept on giving Tyler furtive glances from across the room. This man, it turned out, was named Bobby. Ahem, I mean “Bobby, Tyler’s admirer.” I’m sure that’s on all his business cards too. Anyway, Tyler (who seems to be getting shorter and shorter every episode) waltzed up to his potentially amorous suitor and began flirting with him. This amused John to no end, and in a typically loud and brash way, he walked up to both guys and blared out, “Uh oh! Tyler met a nice young female!” Uh oh. Don’t tell Paula! Anyway, this effectively killed the budding romance (looks like John was paying the cockblock forward), and next thing we knew, Tyler told us that he had tossed a drink at John. Of course, we didn’t get to see this. Instead, we saw the camera zooming into John’s face in slow-motion, which I guess was supposed to represent the shock and awe of a flying libation. We then cut to Tyler whose shirt was covered in liquid as well. Don’t these guys know anything? If you’re going to hurl cocktails, wait until the camera man is back from the toilet! So frustrating.
Anyway, apparently John threw a drink back in retaliation (maturity oozing all over this scene), and then suddenly we found Tyler marching out of the bar, admirably removing himself from the situation before it got violent. Poor guy. He seemed to be having such a fun time with BOBBY, TYLER’S ADMIRER. But it wasn’t meant to be. As we cut to commercial, we then observed Tyler quietly waiting for an elevator to scoop him up, and gosh, in the bright light, we could really see how wet he was. Did John empty a pitcher on him? The guy was soaked.
After the break, we returned to West Palm Beach and more images of stormy weather. Oh, so metaphorical. It’s almost like a symbolic Hurricane Rita has been brewing amongst the roommates! I finally get it! Somebody give me a gold star! Well, a few hours had passed since the dreaded Drink Toss Olympics, and now the roommates were all returning to the suite. Everyone seemed to be happy and doing well — everyone but Tyler. Amazingly, he wasn’t gearing up for a full scale catfight — he reserves those for when Svetlana does something really bad (like breathing). Instead, he quietly told Jose, “I’m not going to compete for attention right now.” Well, that’s a first. But I won’t really rag on him because honestly, he had a right to be mad. He was pissed at John, but in an effort to remain mature and rational, he explained that he was more pissed at himself because he had never really set limits about gay jokes and whatnot. You see, he didn’t want to be the sensitive gay guy (no reservations about being the prissy gay guy though).
Well, Zach joined the conversation, and ever the mediator, he told Tyler that if he were to confront John, “I’ll always have your back.” Pun INTENDED! Grrrrowl! Oh, sorry. I forgot — now’s not the time for gay jokes.
Anyhoo, John then entered the room, and since everyone was clearly talking about him, he exasperatedly said that if Tyler had something to say, please tell him. But no, John. This wasn’t about you. This was about Tyler. He was mad at himself, remember? And so Tyler said they would talk — just not right then. Maybe tomorrow. We then cut to the next morning where we found rescue crews clearing away debris on all the streets. Ah, the symbolism — so rampant! It’s as if Mother Nature consulted with the producers. Somebody get her a credit. Surely I thought this would segue into a Very Special Tyler and John scene, but no. We instead found John talking to Zach and Jose, also known as JewFro and Señor Silent. The three discussed the previous night’s activities, with John doing the whole “Next thing I know, there’s champagne on me” act. Zach tried to explain where Tyler was coming from, but he spent so much time trying to carefully phrase his words that he sounded more like a corporate supervisor than a friend. As you can imagine, little was accomplished.
We then cut to images of dolphins in the ocean, and… no, sorry… I don’t know what it represented. I think MTV just showed the dolphins because they were pretty. Hey, not everything can be imbued with meaning. Anyway, that night, John and Tyler finally had their talk, and at the end of the day because they’re fairly reasonable people (at least as far as Real World stars go), the two made up with a minimum amount of drama. They hugged, and John immediately joked, “I think Tyler got an erection.” Have you learned nothing, John?? You don’t make a gay joke after you’ve JUST finished an argument about gay jokes. Hey, I said he was reasonable, not sharp.
With the Tyler fiasco behind us, we could focus on other fun things: namely, Paula. We went right back to the club that night where Paula was chatting with her ambiguously gay friend Alex. I couldn’t help but wonder if maybe another drink would be thrown. Two in one show would certainly be spectacular, especially if one of them wound up on camera for once. Anyway, Paula, Alex, and Svetlana were all sitting at the bar together. Alex and Fitz decided to talk about how awesome Paula was, and then suddenly, Svetty announced that she just couldn’t compete with Paula’s beauty, so she was going to step away. It was kind of her friendly way of leaving the two possibly lovebirds (depending on that whole gay thing — on both their parts) alone, but nothing’s ever that easy with Paula. As Svetlana went off and danced with some guys, Paula shot daggers at her and then told us, “Svetlana’s the type of girl who wants to be the center of attention and wants to be the only girl that every guy likes.” Well, it wouldn’t be an episode of The Real World: Key West without a transparently jealous rant from Paula. We’ll just pretend to ignore that it’s in fact Paula who flips out when she doesn’t get the proper attention at a bar. Luckily, this evening, she had plenty of attention, courtesy of Alex. He doted on her as she began to cry right there in the bar. Yes, she was crying. Over literally nothing. All that had happened was that Svetlana had walked away and danced with girls.
“You think that I like Svetlana just because she is prettier than you are?” Alex then asked. Uh, that’s probably not the right thing to say to Paula. Oh wait, it was just a hypothetical question. Alex then made good by saying, “You are 10 times more gorgeous than she is and have 100 times more personality.” Of course, what Paula heard was “You are the ugliest girl here, you stupid ugly girl.”
Paula then said, “People look at Svetlana and are like ‘Oh my god.’ And I’m second best.” But seriously, it’s Svetlana who has the problem wanting to be the girl that all the guys like. I did feel badly for Paula. I mean, she was so consumed with this jealousy, she was incapable of hearing Alex say why she was so much better than Svetlana. Then again, maybe that’s also because Alex kept calling her “Lana,” not “Svetlana.” I think it’s time for Alex to just go away now.
Later, Paula confided in Alex that her ex-boyfriend / perfect gentleman Keith beat her up so badly, she had to go to the hospital. And speak of the devil, over in the hotel, Mr. Keith called up to speak with Paula. God, STALKER! Luckily, by this time, Svetlana was already back in the room, and she quickly cockblocked Keith’s call away from Paula. I’m just waiting for the day when Svetlana answers Keith’s call drunk and tells him off. That will actually be pretty sweet. If it happens. Then again, it just means forty more lashings for Paula when she gets out of the house. I hate Keith.
Paula then returned to the suite acting perfectly normal — as if she hadn’t just had a tearful, jealous meltdown of insecurity. No problems here! Just smiles and sweetness! Ah, the wonders of repression. Meanwhile, she then talked to us about Keith, saying, “He is my problem, but he helps make me happy and get me back to a good place.” Uh, Paula, the hospital is not a good place. Luckily, she did concede, “Unfortunately, he’s the reason I’m in a bad place.” Hmmm… Maybe if you stay away from him, he won’t put you in a bad place that he then needs to take you out of. You know what that’s called? An abusive relationship. And how do you know when you’re in an abusive relationship? When your boyfriend puts you in the hospital… LIKE KEITH DID.
Well, showing all sorts of restraint and class, Alex then gossiped to the roommates about Paula, revealing that Keith had once put her in the hospital. And by the way, what did Jose do when he learned this? He laughed! What the? He must not have been listening. Maybe he was distracted by the random, unexplained hoochie hanging off his arm. Who was that?
Anyway, time for an epiphany. Paula suddenly realized that she has been trying to protect every woman from men for fear that they might go through what she’s gone through. Hence her flagrant cockblockage of John. Well done, Paula. I’m sure Dr. Phil would be proud of your pop-psych analysis.
The next morning, the kids all packed up (and in the case of Tyler, walked around naked) and returned to Key West. The streets were sort of messy and whatnot, but overall, everything seemed intact. As they walked in the front door, one of them flicked the light switch, but nothing happened! OH MY GOD! “Where are the lights?” someone asked. Clearly, the concept of a blackout was a bit more than they could handle.
We then were treated to a little “Cleanin’ up after Rita” montage, and with the house back up and running, it was time to return to the perils of Paula. She and Jose had a neat little heart to heart in the pool room, and honestly, I don’t remember what they talked about. I’ll just assume Keith or abuse or John or whatever. Next up, Paula pulled John outside for a talk. She wanted to finally clear the air about last week’s cockblock argument and explain where she was coming from (Looneytown is my guess). Paula kept doing the “It’s not you, it’s me” gambit, which John was happy to hear, but he wasn’t going to be happy until he understood what the hell was driving her to act so crazy. For about the twelfth time, Paula explained that Keith put her in the hospital, and then she had the line of the night: “It’s not that I don’t like men, but I HATE THEM!” Oh. Makes perfect sense.
Well, after some more babbling, John told Paula that she didn’t have to worry about who she used to be or what people thought of her. She could start with a clean slate in this house. For some reason, this really resonated with Paula, and she told us that she felt so much better once John said that. Yay! She’s cured! And all it took was a random cliché from John!
One warm hug later, and the show was over. How long before Paula reverts to her crazy ways? Five seconds? Seven? What did you think?