This is the true story of seven strangers picked to live in a house, work together, play together and find out what happens when they stop being polite, and start getting scabies.
Such was the case on this week’s lice-tastic installment of The Real World. MTV, a pioneer in portraying racism, homosexuality, AIDs, eating disorders, rape, and abortion, has now tackled that ever elusive social dilemma: SCABIES! Now before you chime in and say “Isn’t that something you get if you’re out to sea too long?” please remember that you might be thinking of scurvy, which I’m sure will be addressed in any future episodes that might take place on a pirate ship. Hmmm… Real World Pirate Ship. I like it… I like it…So anyway, Melanie has scabies, although at the outset of the episode she thought she was merely suffering from a bad case of acne. You know, the kind of acne where bugs crawl out of your pimples. Dr. Landon weighed in with his official prescription: “Don’t wear underwear.” Thanks. Curiously, that’s also his remedy for girls who fear they’re too drunk.
While Mel scratched at her cute little pock marks, the group learned that they must present a proposal to the Philly Soul execs regarding that pesky playground they’ve been working on. Are you kidding me? The top officers at this company need to approve a playground? Don’t they have more pressing issues to deal with like “How can we get people to actually watch our games?” or “How do we parlay these jobs into real jobs at the NFL?” Apparently not. I guess this playground meeting will be scheduled between other urgent proposals such as a ban on pink highlighters and a motion to purchase more coffee filters.
Meanwhile, as Landon and MJ soaked their stresses away in an intimate hot tub moment, Melanie returned to the compound with news from the doctor. She has… not scurvy, not rabies, but scabies! Mmmmm… body lice. Melanie begged the guys to “be nice!” and they obliged by practically throwing a parade through downtown Philadelphia announcing Mel’s affliction. “Mel has scabies!” they cackled as Karamo, not even really knowing what the ailment was, immediately recoiled and went running for a shower as if he were the modern day incarnation of Karen Silkwood.
Well faaantastic. Let the scabies awareness begin! The entire household, and by extension, America, received a crash course in scabies 101 which was about as stimulating as watching an inchworm getting tangled in a dust bunny. Actually, that’s pretty dope. Never mind the analogy. Still, the entire Real World mansion became a self-imposed biohazard zone as people alternately showered, sprayed their beds, threw pillows into the entryway, and then gossiped about Melanie. There was some scuttlebutt about burning all the linens, and I couldn’t help wondering if the Plague had descended upon the mansion. I half expected a prayer circle to break out, lest Jesus torment the roommates with another brutal wave of lice seeking the reality TV limelight.
Willie, meanwhile, gagged at the thought of lice violating his personal space, noting that nothing has ever crawled into any crevasse of his body (technically, penis doesn’t “crawl”). Seriously though, haven’t these people ever had a pet with fleas? Just spray around a little bit. Besides, I guarantee these pests weren’t nearly as bad as anything Sarah’s unleashed on the house from her nether regions.
In the midst of all this, a jolly doctor arrived to examine all the would-be scabies hosts, and much to their joy and happiness, everyone seemed to be largely free of critters and bugs. Everyone except pigpen Mel, whose infestation proved that she could be safely labeled house pariah. Later, Shavonda, MJ and Landon convened at a local bar to ostracize Melanie even more. Landon took offense to how Melanie had poo-pooed his reading of the scabies shampoo directions. Shavonda took offense to how every sentence Melanie started was in the middle of hers. And MJ took offense to… well, he had a far off expression which made me think he was either pondering Niels Bohr’s contributions to society or daydreaming about the color purple. Probably the latter.
Still, this whole scabies thing was a perfect springboard for Shavonda to voice her objections to Mel. “How do you sit someone down and say ‘your personality annoys me’?” she asked. I don’t know. Let me try: Shavonda, you are a miserably annoying person. Every time you talk, you spew out verbal scabies. Shut up and go away.
That seemed to work fine.
With all these critters buzzing around, we almost forgot about that all important playground proposal. Luckily the kids found a clean sanctuary in the drab offices of the Philly Soul where they could hammer out their Power Point presentation scabies free. Unfortunately, the lack of alcohol transformed Landon into the biggest louse of all as he refused to accept Sarah and Shavonda’s input. This led to the standard quarreling, with Landon pulling the passive aggressive “Fine, you do it!” resignation – hands flying over his head and all. A few minutes later, he explained “I want you to respect and listen to me.” Yeah, because in like five minutes he’ll be drunk and worthless. Gotta get him while it’s good. Poor, sensitive Landon. His ego’s been bruised. If only we could catch a glimpse of his inner psyche. I imagine it’s something like this: “Girls.. bad! My ideas… good! Rage… building! Must… drink… ten beers… in two minutes. The alcohol will make it better. I’m a good boy then. Daddy won’t beat me in my nightmares if I drink… Snowflakes are funny.”
Perhaps sensing trouble on the horizon, MJ decided to butter up the execs ahead of the presentation by schmoozing with Mimi, the sexay Philadelphia Soul CFO. While he managed to find something flirtatiously jokey about making color copies, Mimi simply smiled and asked “You’re not going to be late tomorrow, are you?” Ouch. Carolyn Kepcher, look out! The best part of all this though was watching some awkward fat guy try to squeeze by the two with a look on his face that seemed to say “Oh shit. There are the MTV cameras. Shit shit shit. Try to be cool. Act natural. Be yourself. Don’t look in the lens – d’oh! Uh… Hi mom!”
Finally, the much ballyhooed presentation was upon us. Not only was this not in the conference room of the Philly Soul, but it was way out in the middle of nowhere in what appeared to be the Northern Home coffee lounge. Wow, these execs really have nothing to do at all. They’re like “Someone’s got Power Point in the suburbs? To the SoulMobile!” Amazingly enough, even Jon Bon Jovi with his lovely, soon to be lice infested hair showed up. It was pretty nice of him to take a break from that hectic Duracell commercial lifestyle.
Anyway, the roommates all got to work on their presentation, which seemed to go quite nicely. It even survived the treacly demand, “Let the children play!” Honestly, they should have just busted out some old White Lion: “When the children cry, let them know we tried. ‘Cause when the children sing, then the new world begins.” It’s probably funnier if you can hear me actually singing…
In the end, everyone was incredibly impressed. Bon Jovi even gushed “I only hoped that you’d make us proud. You did it tenfold.” He then added, “One might say you came through in a blaze of glory.” Polite laughter. “One might say, this presentation was more than just halfway there – you were not living on a prayer. One might say, had you been disorganized, it would have been a shot through the heart. One might say…” At which point the president said, “Jon, we get it.”
Actually, he said none of that. Instead he told the roomies that they’d be receiving a surprise later that afternoon. A surprise! Bug-eyes all around. We then cut to the mansion and lingered on the fishtank. So the surprise was new fish? Wow, worst season EVER! Actually, the surprise was more than just a piscine upgrade. At 2 PM, the doorbell rang and everyone bolted to the front door… which was jammed. Curses! Landon and MJ tried to turn the knob, but to no avail. Were there scabies in the lock? Or did the producers merely want to lock down the premises for a full scale fumigation? Didn’t matter since the crafty dullards managed to unscrew the doorknob and snag their “surprise.”
You know the drill – STA Travel bags, mp3 players, general chaos: they were going on vacation. But where? Everyone frantically searched their new luggage until someone had the bright idea of reading the attached itinerary. Turns out they were all headed to Fiji. Or as they said it, “FIJI!!!!!!!” The room devolved into a cacophony of shrieks, yelling, and dry humping as everyone acted as if they had just won $100 million from Powerball. Well, everyone but Sarah who was still rummaging through her bag for perhaps a wayward dildo. Someone had to actually fill her in. How did she not know? Could she not hear the six other idiots bouncing and screaming all around her? Well, not to fear. Sarah was soon jumping around like a Price Is Right winner after a successful round of Plinko. Scabies or no scabies, no one could take away this very special, dumb moment. Now only one question remains. Will the inevitable vacation fight ever be able to top last season’s epic brawl in Greece? Methinks not!