Okay, The Real World Philadelphia can hardly be classified as “Ho-Town”, but I really wanted to come up with one last punny title for this subpar season. Yes, just when we thought it was over (you know, because there was that whole crazy “season finale” last week, whatever that means), the cast reunited tonight to dish the dirt in a highly edited forum. As usual we just had to know what they look like now, or at least how they’d respond to the No-Spin-Zone questioning of MTV’s ingenue VJ du jour. The results were fairly predictable. Lots of uncomfortable laughing, lots of “Oh, it was such a small thing” rationalization, and lots of awkwardly hostile comments from Karamo. Let’s reunite!First things first. MTV trollop Vanessa descended from the TRL studios to moderate this sure to be heated exchange. Gone sadly was Lala who had performed so well in similar capacities. I suppose she was off getting married to Carmelo Anthony, or at least seeking out another syllable for her name, lest she become pigeon holed in the Yo Yo Ma clique.
Not much appeared to be different with the cast. Landon had buzzed his moptop while MJ had unwisely let his Grecian ‘fro puff out to increasingly unfashionable lengths. Luckily, he managed to weigh down his hair with probably half a can of wax so as to keep it at a somewhat manageable radius. Still, I was fairly disappointed. One of the most pleasing elements of these reunions is when a cast member realizes just how unsightly his or her hair is and chops it all off. CT from Paris, I’m looking at you. Probably the most radical hair transformation was Melanie who ditched her cute bob in favor of a platinum blonde ‘do. I couldn’t tell if it looked really good or really bad. For the sake of online snarkiness, I’ll go with the latter.
Anyway, a slimmer Karamo began talking about how this was the first time everyone had been together since the show wrapped. Honestly, he said, I wanted to walk away. That makes two of us, my brother. Nevertheless, Karamo glossed over his comment with some laughter and an eventual admission that he was happy to be there. He’s kind of like those jerks who say “When I first met you, I hated you. Now I think you’re cool.” Thanks…
So what was the most pressing question on the mind of hostess Vanessa? You guessed it: are Landon and Shavonda still together? Rejoice everyone. The answer is NO. Apparently she visited him in Wisconsin, and the two suddenly realized they were completely different outside of the show. You know, he was a drunkard and she was a chatterbox. As for Shaun (who Karamo still cares waaaay too much about), Shavonda said that as of three weeks ago, they had still not been talking. Huh? When did they stop talking? I guess “not talking” means only calling each other three times a day, not five. These days, however, they are talking and even dating, but they’re not boyfriend and girlfriend. Fantastic. Please go away now.
Willie meanwhile was slightly perturbed that he had been presented as the ultra effeminate gay guy of the house. He confessed that he only wanted to be the chill New Yorker who just happened to be gay, but that sort of subtle portrayal from MTV is sort of like asking a gong player to tone it down a little. Willie said he knew he’d be in trouble when he found out that straight-acting Karamo was gay too. Well, to be honest, the endless supply of sleeveless shirt didn’t help either.
As for MJ, he was proud to announce that he and Ashley were still together. Hey, she was even there in the audience. Luckily, she hadn’t had to endure again the life-altering trauma that is a two hour airport delay. Apparently she’s still in therapy over that one.
Eventually, talk came around to the group’s eventful trip to Fiji. Karamo defended his famous throat-slashing comment by saying “I said I would cut MJ’s throat too!” Oh, OKAY. Never mind then. As long as everyone’s throats get slit, that’s cool. I was afraid it was just a directed hostile attack at Landon, and I didn’t want anyone left out. What sort of a group bonding activity is that? By the way, has Karamo mentioned how much he hated everyone but now loves them? Wow, such a friendly guy devoid of any hostility issues.
Melanie meanwhile received grief about her PA explosion in Fiji. It wasn’t that bad, she said, laughing off the entire altercation. Um, yeah it was, said Willie. The rest of the cast then backed him, proving that they all still hate Melanie most. Well, we know that one person likes Mel. “My mom called and said Mel really cares about you,” said Sarah. Oh great. If there’s anyone who knows anything about character, it’s Sarah’s mom — a.k.a. the woman who told her to hit the treadmill because she had gained five pounds. Sarah’s mom then added “I like this Melanie girl. She seems to make you feel badly about yourself. You know, really keep that eating disorder brewing.” Shit, I’m going to hell. I might have to do my little “We are writing about the characters we see, not the real people” disclaimers. Phew! Guilt assuaged.
Vanessa then tackled the thorny topic of Landon’s burgeoning alcoholism. He brushed off the entire question by saying that the show tried to paint him as Dr. Jeckyll and Mr. Hyde and that he wasn’t so aberrant with his drinking or divergent in his behavior. He also noted that at home in Wisconsin, everyone drinks like that. Yes, especially the alcoholics. Here’s the problem with Landon. From what we can tell, whenever he drinks, he seems to deal with his problems or grapple with whatever emotional burden that’s weighing on him. That’s what the experts like to call, I don’t know, alcoholism? Still, he managed to excuse himself from any drinking problem he had, even after all the women confessed that they always felt scared around him when he was drunk. Classy. Landon proudly demonstrated his power over the bottle by declaring “I haven’t picked up a knife since!” Baby steps, Landon. Baby steps.
Willie later made the funny of the evening when Vanessa asked Sarah what she was thinking when she tried to have sex with a gay guy. Sarah said she just wanted a conquest but could tell it wasn’t working out, causing Willie to quip “He always asked you to turn around.” Touché! That was TVgasm-worthy.
As the show entered its final third, we were treated to a montage of never-before seen footage. Let’s see. There was an ’80s prom (glad we missed that), girls tripping (I do love slapstick), Sarah flashing her boobs (hey, why the hell not, right?), Landon getting in trouble with the police (wait, huh?), and some slip and slide antics (how glorious). The cast members gave various uninteresting explanations for the footage, culminating in the unpleasant image of a shard of glass piercing some dude’s kidney. Thanks Landon!
Then the really salacious stuff came out. Yup. Karamo and Willie hooked up, and the producers even had grainy dance floor footage to prove it. Even better, we got to see Karamo giving a noticeably intoxicated Wille a casual hamstring massage. What in the? How did this not make it to air? Well, apparently, after it happened, the two never talked about it ever again. Listen, if anyone knows about repression, it’s a gay person. Actually, Karamo and Willie weren’t the only surprise hook ups. Sarah and Landon smooched a few times too. Ahh so. Looks like Shavonda only got the sloppy seconds of a girl who scared away three horny British teens. Now that’s embarrassing.
As the show wrapped up, we learned that MJ and Landon weren’t the bestest buds they had been portrayed to be on TV. In fact, they’re two very different people who just so happened to have a shared admiration for man-perms. Landon then took the opportunity to whine that he was an individual. He really really was. And he’s sensitive too. Just because he’s got muscles doesn’t mean he doesn’t have heart! Mommy!
Surely though this reunion wouldn’t be about petty relationship drama and bickering, right? I’m sure Vanessa would ask how Karamo’s racial and trust issues had changed over the course of the show. Or maybe how Sarah had dealt with her self-image and eating-disorder? Nah. That’s stuff is like too, I don’t know, real for The Real World. Hey, let’s watch footage of them tripping again. Yeah, that’s the stuff.