You all probably thought The Real World: Key West was over, didn’t you? Well, guess what? It’s not over until the fat lady sings, and then has a reunion, and then airs a special about the shit she didn’t sing. Or something like that. Yes, last night was the triumphant, hour-long Key West reunion hosted by intrepid MTV journalist Susie. It was everything we were hoping for: Svetlana cried, Tyler brushed off criticism, and Johnny Bananas learned he had been sleeping in ass hair. We also got to relive some of our favorite moments, which meant the glorious return of Paula’s seminal catch-phrase, “KISS MY ASS! KISS MY GODDAMN ASS!!!” All in all, not a bad way to spend a Tuesday night.As with the case of any reunion show, the first order of business was assessing everyone’s looks. There wasn’t much to report on with this gang. Jose looked pretty good in his proto-Miami Vice gettup. Zach was the same typical slob, his Jew-fro spilling forth like a science fair volcano. Tyler looked essentially the same with perhaps a more articulated faux-hawk. Janelle had straightened her hair to lovely effect. Johnnie Bananas looked exactly the same. Paula appeared to have gained some weight — in a good way, and Svetlana looked like she had taken the Mystic Tan ball and run with it as she came to us in a highly bronzed state. As for Susie, she looked just as wide-eyed and dopey as usual. Just how we like her.
Right off the bat, there was mild drama as Zach mistakenly thought he had been neglected in Susie’s introductions. “Did I get introduced?” he asked, revealing his inner-diva. Okay, okay, he was just joking. Still, Susie snarked back, “You’re so needy, Zach. What’s up with that?” Fight! Fight! Fight! Fight! Battle of the curls!
Susie then asked what the real deal was with the cast. Did they love each other? Or did they hate each other? Well, John suggested that they loved AND hated each other, hence the love/hate relationship. Zach took it one step further and said — you guessed it — they were like family. Awww. Tyler tried to say how this cast was stuck with each other way more so than others because they were half an hour from Key West and blah blah blah, but Susie had no time for that. She had had a delayed reaction to Zach’s family comment, and she wanted to make her belated response. “Zach, you guys mentioned you guys were a family? You were a dysfunctional family!” she quipped proudly, as if coming up with the word “dysfunctional” was the greatest zinger in the history of television. Sensing she was on a roll, she then added, “More like THE SOPRANOS!” Actually, not like The Sopranos at all. You went too far, Susie. You went too far.
We then watched a fun little clip package of all the dysfunction, which meant we got to see some classic “KISS MY ASS!” hijinks along with a savory dash of “GET THE FUCK OUT OF MY FACE!!!!” Afterwards, John said that when Paula got drunk, she would come at him for no reason. “Because she was in love with you!” Tyler suddenly blurted out. I wouldn’t necessarily disagree. This of course led to a bigger question in my head: whatever happened to all of Paula’s lesbian tendencies? Wasn’t she dating a girl going into this experience? How did we forget about this?
Nevertheless, Paula laughed off Tyler’s theory, and instead reminded everyone that John had a small penis. This absolutely scandalized Susie, who looked like she had just seen a live beheading. Paula then recanted her statement, saying, “I’m kidding. It’s huge!” This led to more chuckles all around, and then Jose talked about how crazy it was that first night when Paula had that famous hyperventilating breakdown. He excitedly shared how he thought Paula was going to be so cool when he first met her, but when she started to freak out that evening, he was like “Whoaaa!” And yes, that was more enthusiasm and emotion than we had seen from Jose all season.
Tyler, on the other hand, claimed that when he first met Paula, he saw that she was anorexic but didn’t want to make assumptions about her past. “Let’s get to know her a little more before we start jumping to these like crazy conclusions, being like she was like molested by kangaroos or something like that,” he said. To be fair, Paula was molested by kangaroos. By the way, I loved hearing Tyler talk about his noble desires to withhold judgments. Wasn’t this the same guy who in the very first episode wrote Svetlana off as a spoiled, Russian-mafia diva? And then held her to that for the rest of the season?
Tyler then talked about why he had signed up for The Real World. It wasn’t to make life-long friends, he said. It was to have fun. And to spout worn-out clichés like “I’m gonna keep it real,” which is what he said about five times during this segment. Yes, Tyler’s ambition was to get on the show and reprimand people who he thought were acting stupidly. I guess it’s amusing in theory, and it’s not like I don’t spend every waking minute of the day making fun of people on TV, but when it’s applied to a real life scenario, it goes from funny to maliciously obnoxious very quickly. I wouldn’t go walking around, telling people how to act and behave. Clearly, I’d do it behind their backs on a blog. Much more civilized.
Anyway, after the break, it was time to focus solely on Tyler and the wrath he had unleashed on the house. Jose amiably bashed his buddy by saying, “Tyler can take any situation and rationalize it to his benefit,” to which Tyler keeled over and laughed in agreement. Little did we know how true this would assessment would be as a surprisingly combative Susie grilled him about his in-house behavior. “Why did you feel the need to punish Svetlana?” our curious hostess asked.
“Here’s a disclaimer,” Tyler said, already preparing us for what was sure to be a ridiculous excuse. “I did not take the show that seriously,” he then said, as if that were to make all his actions acceptable. And by the way, nothing says “not taking the show seriously” like throwing a hissy fit and writing a nasty letter on the front door. Hey Tyler, you should have left your tenuous excuses at Tufts, you low-life hypocritical bitch!
Unfortunately for Tyler, Susie did not approve of the way he treated his roommates. “These are human beings. Like real people!” she said, getting mad in the process. Tyler brushed off her comment, saying that it’s not like he was cutting his roommates up and torturing them. “But you kind of were! Some of the stuff you were saying, dude!” Susie shot back. Wow, she was en fuego! When Susie become the best moderator EVER??? Sometimes though, I wish Jeff Probst would host these things, just to whip the kids into shape. Judge Judy would be acceptable also. And I suppose Dr. Phil too. Basically, anyone over the age of 30.
Anyway, Tyler defended/deluded himself by saying that yeah, he could sound awful “if you edit it into a clip package, of course.”
“But it still happened!” Susie snapped back, adding, “They made this clip package because you said those things.” At this point, I actually felt badly for Tyler. Nothing’s more embarrassing than losing an argument to Susie on national TV.
“In yo’ face, motherfucker! I’M SUSIE!!!!”
As you’d expect in this segment, the spotlight then fell on Svetlana, teary-eyed, chronic punching bag of Tyler. Svetty claimed that the experience was so rough that she doesn’t even watch the show (we’ll just pretend like we didn’t read her rant on Mystic Tan overlord Ricky’s blog), and sure enough, our favorite Russian began getting choked up right there on the stage. “I know I’m going to open up a can of worms right now, but I have every right to say what the fuck I have to say,” she said as “Sisters Are Doing It For Themselves” rang in my head. At this point, I leaned over and rubbed my palms in anticipation. Here it comes: another Tyler/Svetlana fight!
Well, I was not disappointed. A bawling Svetlana charged, “You picked me apart! Like, I wouldn’t say anything. Like, I would just be sitting there, and I would just–”
Before she could finish, Tyler tried to interrupt, but our Strong Black Russian Woman yelled back, “I’m still talking! SHUT UP!!!!” The audience then let out scattered applause, adding a lovely Sally Jesse Raphael-ish flavor to the confrontation. Sadly, Svetlana shushed them and then droned on about how she was so hurt and how she had never yelled back and all that good stuff. “I came on that show to make friends!” she yell/cried, and say what you will about Fitz, but at least her motives in joining the cast were not to specifically attack the rest of her roommates.
Mid-rant, Janelle 2.0 (the nicer, sweeter Janelle who emerged towards the end of the season) suddenly interrupted to idealistically say, “I just really hope, especially between you two, that, you know, we can resolve this today.” Aw, that was lovely. And completely unrealistic. Bitch, this storm will be raging for years.
Anyway, after Svetlana vented all her frustrations and hurt, Tyler unapologetically scoffed, “This was like nine months ago! I’m over this whole bullshit!” WELL! In that case, never mind! If the bully feels okay about it, then everyone should just shut up and move on! And by the way, nine months is not a long time to get over nonstop, abusive verbal attacks. I think if anyone should know that, it’s Tyler, who seems to still be smarting from the way his older brother treated him when he was like four.
Nevertheless, Tyler thought the whole thing was ridiculous. “We’re not in high school anymore!” he remarked brashly. This coming from the guy who spent his Key West days penning the ultimate Svetlana burn book.
“Mr. Burn Book, don’t talk about high school!” Susie then said. Wow. Susie and I were totally on the same wavelength. I’m sad for myself.
And about that burn book… Tyler of course snapped, “It was a fucking joke!” You know, the sort of joke that’s so funny that someone winds up crying in the corner and feeling humiliated. Ha ha ha. Actually, that is sort of funny. Never mind.
Well, before things got too ugly, Jose then chimed in to put a positive spin on this whole situation. He said that there were times when he thought Svetlana was a spoiled brat, but now she — and Paula too — had really benefited tenfold from this experience. Tyler then quickly interjected, “ALL OF US!” Must… have… all… the… glory… Yes, because it was just too unfair to say that Paula and Svetlana had grown the most, Tyler tried to act like he was the unfair victim of some sort of growth snobbery. He had grown a lot too, dammit! Or at least, so he said. Granted, we didn’t get to see any of that growth, and granted, he seemed to shove away any notions that he was imperfect, and granted, if anything, he seemed to regress through the experience, but I’m sure his growth was really quite impressive. And let’s not forget, he did blossom as an artist — lest we overlook the great contribution to modern painting that is RED GOD!!!
Shockingly, not everyone believed that Tyler had grown as a person. Susie asked Svetlana what she thought, and The Russian remarked that she didn’t know (translation: no). She also noted that Tyler didn’t come into the house to grow. He just wanted to keep it real. Plus, it’s not like she’s really spent any time with Tyler since the show. He’s not a part of her life, she said, but at the same time, she wouldn’t change a single thing he had said because it made her who she is today. Boring. Hold resentment! Lots of it!
After the break, we then moved onto the Paula segment, which wasn’t nearly as fun as Tyler’s. The beleaguered roommate said she was happy that the experience had been so hard and that Janelle had really helped her off the getgo by essentially saying, “Bitch, you better get help because you will not be ruining my time here.” You see? A brash, selfish attitude can bring about productive change!
Tyler then said that he didn’t think Paula should have been in the cast because she needed to get help, but Paula massively disagreed, saying it was important to show what she was going through. She then added, “KISS MY ASS, TYLER!! KISS MY GODDAMN CONTROVERSIALLY CAST ASS!!!!” By the way, we all know the real reason why he didn’t want her on the cast: it just meant there was more of the spotlight that he had to share. It was to be his! All his!!!
Well, with Susie becoming alarmingly shiny (somebody get her some powder, STAT!), Zach then chimed in to relate his own body issues to the situation. “One of the things for me, when I was younger I had gained some weight in high school and had a lot of body image issues, and I would, like, watch MTV and be like I could never be that,” he said. Yeah, um, mild chubbiness vs. life-threatening anorexia. I think Paula wins this round.
Actually, the real point of Zach’s boring story was that he became comfortable in his own skin, and he hoped Paula would be able to also. Aww. How sweet. kjxcza;k.zcxjk ,m Sorry. I just instantly fell asleep on my keyboard.
During the next segment, Susie then delved into the world of boyfriends, but not before giving a random shout-out to Janelle’s ex, Kasib. “Don’t give him no shout out,” Janelle said angrily. Bitch, you stay away from her man. She will claw your eyes out!
We then watched a clip package of the girls with their boys, and I was really eager to see whether or not they’d retread Svetlana’s moment of crisis when she thought Martin might in fact be gay. Sadly, we didn’t relive this moment, but we did later find out that she and Martin had broken up. Apparently he had been taking one too many fishing trips with his buddy Jack Twist, if you catch my hamhanded drift. When Susie asked why this seemingly perfect relationship had come to an end, Svetty said that she had been very “immature and selfless. Right now, it’s all about me for once.” Huh? Since when did “immature” and “selfless” go hand in hand? Nevertheless, I was really glad to hear that it was all gonna be about Svetlana now. She really didn’t have enough attention before.
As for Janelle, she said that she and Kasib had been friends after the show, but now they don’t talk. John then curiously noted, “She’s moved onto greener pastures.” And with that, he grabbed her hand, as if to announce something, but before anything could happen, Janelle firmly pushed him away. Methinks I smell a secret romance! Johnny Bananas had expressed amorous intentions towards her in the past!
Is love in the air?
Eh. Probably not.
But as fascinating as these relationships were (and boy were they fascinating), the real meat and potatoes were with Paula and Keith. She told Susie that she didn’t know why everyone didn’t want Keith in the house. Apparently she forgot about that whole “abuse” thing. Paula then discussed her recent arrest, saying that she had a lot of pent up anger that she assumed she had worked out, but nope, it was still there! Amusingly, as she cried (which she did throughout almost all of this show), John joked, “And now you look like your mugshot!” Nice mugshot zinger!
Best reunion ever!
Paula actually took the joke well and then described how happy she was now and how she and Keith were in couples counseling. She also noted that not every abusive relationship can be fixed with therapy, but she really felt that theirs was really working. However, Tyler then asserted that her relationship with Keith was a cycle of abuse and that he wanted to see her without him in her life. Wow! Tyler’s first salient point in five episodes!
Luckily, before this segment became fatally dull, we switched topics and talked about the whole bra incident with Janelle. For those of you who don’t remember, the hubbub began when the two were frolicking in the waves one night, celebrating the impending hurricane that would later nearly destroy their community. In a moment of horny glee, John pulled her top off, thus leading to anger and humiliation on Janelle’s part. Luckily, the incident was resolved peacefully between the two of them, but apparently, what we didn’t see was that Janelle threatened to kick John off the show unless he apologized. So you see, he didn’t make amends because he genuinely felt awful about his behavior. He merely just didn’t want his fame to end at the thirteen minute mark. Monsieur Bananas then told the audience, “What we could have used is some girls that like to get naked!” Yeah man! This whole sexual harassment thing sucks!
Susie then asked which guy had the most game, and immediately, everyone pointed at Zach. They all claimed that he would charm all the girls into thinking he was their best friend and then BAM! Next thing you know, they’re shacking it up in the lair of the Jew-Fro (Hi Crystal). Susie was shocked at this development, saying, “There’s like two sides of Zach!” And they’re both BORING.
After the commercial break, our fearless moderator then asked the roomies if there was still any bad blood (um, did she even see the Tyler segment?). “I’m good friends with everybody right now,” Jose said. Then again, who isn’t Jose friendly with? Damn him and his very nice disposition!
Janelle 2.0 then said it was time for people to step up and take responsibility for behavior (hint hint, TYLER). Actually, Tyler did get the hint and brashly announced, “I’ll say it! I’m a dick! Whatever, everyone thinks it!” Unfortunately, that’s not really what Janelle was looking for. She told him in as many words that she wanted him to be contrite, instead of “Oh, I’m an asshole, I’m an asshole.” Are you crazy, woman? You want Tyler to take actual, real responsibility for his actions? PLEASE. And I want to gallop down the 101 Freeway on a unicorn. Not gonna happen.
“Instead of owning that [the 'I'm an asshole' stance], own the fact that you’[ve learned something,” she further added.
“Exactly. It was raw, and that’s what the Real World is about,” Tyler responded. So basically yeah, he wasn’t going to own shit.
We then watched a sneak preview of next week’s episode, The Shit They Should Have Shown. There was all sorts of fun stuff: a dead rat! Tyler farting! John getting arrested! Paula freaking out more! (How could they deny us even an ounce of Paula???). And here’s something you probably didn’t expect to see: John and Jose getting into cheerleading costumes. But even better, they got into cheerleading costumes and then like true cheerleaders, they got into a fight! Jose in a fight? Why deny us? Why deny us?
We also saw snippets of a prank that ended with Tyler saying, “There’s a dead eel in my pillow.” Not sure a more random sentence has been uttered on The Real World, and I’m certainly fascinated to know the background on that one.
When we returned to the studio, we learned that John and Tyler had a little prank war all season. It was mostly fun, silly stuff like John pouring ketchup on Tyler’s pants, but apparently, Tyler had some massive prank that was so big, he wasn’t going to reveal it until the reunion show. And what was that? He shaved his ass hair on John’s pillow. Lovely! Kind of a harsh response to ketchup down the pants. Then again, the whole eel in the pillow is pretty bad too. Apparently Tyler had also taken all the hair from the bathroom drains around the house and stuck it in John’s hat too. Delightful.
There was a brief intermission from the prank stories as John complained about Zach’s hygiene, yelling that he was “washing his balls and his ass with MY LOOFAH!” And let’s face it: no one wants Zach stank in their luffa. Then it was back to the pranks. You see, I was feeling badly for John having slept happily in a nest of Tyler’s ass hair, but he had a nifty revenge. Apparently, the house all used the same set of nail clippers, and the little device just so happened to have a case that caught all the clippings. After a season’s worth of clippings accumulated, including Zach’s nasty yellow toe nails, John poured the nails in Tyler’s pockets because evidently, Tyler loves to chew on old finger nails. Yes, people. Tyler chewed on an entire household’s nail clippings — including fungus-infected slabs from Zach. I’m not sure if it was better or worse than the ass-hair incident (probably worse), but man, was it nice to see Tyler duped.
What did you think about the reunion?