After two rounds of semi-serious episodes, The Real World: Key West took a chill pill this week with an installment that was as light and fluffy as the bath foam Tyler frolicked in at the end of the half-hour. Tuesday’s show was pure pettiness topped with a dash of snobbery and a random touch of supernatural ghosts. There weren’t any major fights, and there weren’t any major breakdowns this week. Paula’s eating disorder barely even appeared on screen (and don’t worry, we saw her eat a potato chip. Baby steps…). All in all, it was just mindless fun, and even though the central conflict of the episode was mind-numbingly silly, I still appreciated the attempt to tell a story other than the usual “I got wicked drunk at the Dizzy Rooster last night” yarn.The show began with Tyler ganging up on Svetlana over some stupid thing. Bashing her has pretty much become his raison d’être. He might ascribe it to some “tough love” psychobabble, but I like to think of it as the product of boredom and the need for a power trip. Sort of like how this blog got started. Anyway, Svetlana was getting pretty annoyed with the constant harassment, and she told us, “Sometimes he says things without thinking.” Really? A Real World star?? I would never have guessed!
Meanwhile, an anonymous courier arrived at the house with a message. No, it wasn’t time for the vacation already (and by the way, of any cast, this one the least needs a vacation. I mean, look at where they are! They had better get sent to Helsinki or something). Anyway, the kids learned that it was time to start the job! Or as I like to call it, “the five hours a week where you show America how incapable you are at the simplest tasks.”
Well, Jose was all excited. I mean, of course he was. The kid probably was a finalist in the Apprentice auditions. He LOVES business! Zach, meanwhile, spent the afternoon pondering what the group’s job would be. He thought it might be deep sea diving. Others thought it could pertain to art. I was thinking something simpler. You know, like picking up litter on the side of the road.
Later, Tyler and Jose sat out on the porch and talked about how super psyched they were to work. And yes, I too had never seen a Real World cast ever seem more excited about responsibility than drinking. Anyway, Tyler alerted Jose that he would be the first one to crack the whip on Svetlana. After all, she was spoiled. Or maybe not. Sometimes apparently she bragged about being poor and from Brooklyn. Other times she flaunted her new BMW. This perplexed Jose, but it made perfect sense to me: she’s a nineteen year old drama queen. This is what they do.
Tyler then said that at some point, everyone should sit down and discuss skills and weaknesses. Um, don’t people with skills not go on this show? And I’m not talking about roofing/shingle skills, DANNY. Nevertheless, I can drop my asshole façade for two seconds to appreciate that these people do have discernible talents and abilities. For instance, Tyler can do a high kick really well. And John can speak really loudly and quickly. And Paula can go days without eating. And Jose knows how to be really, really quiet. Hey, they really are a skilled group. This business doesn’t know how lucky it is!
Jose and Tyler eventually wrapped up their conversation with Jose noting that no matter what, people are going to bump heads. And this was evidenced by a stray cat scurrying across the deserted Key West streets. Hark! A feline beast of workplace conflict this way comes!!!
And now for something completely different. This hunky dory episode suddenly took a random turn as Janelle announced that the whole gang would be going on a ghost tour. Ooookay. Sometimes you just don’t question things that happen on The Real World. Well, everyone headed out into the dark and rainy night to meet with Brant, their instantly annoying tour guide. Within seconds, Svetlana was already scared — or at least fake scared for attention. Yeah, probably that. Anyway, Brant had barely said “I’m Brant,” before her eyes went wide and she began to shiver. Man, if she had seen that stray cat from before — wow, she’d already be in a fetal position.
By the way, if there job is to lead ghost tours, that would officially make this the easiest and silliest job of all time. (Don’t worry, it wasn’t their job).
Anyway, the group marched through the wet streets and up to a building that used to be a church. Brant told a story about how the church had burned down, killing seventeen children, and then when it reopened as a cabaret many years later, the audience couldn’t hear the singers because the voices had been drowned out by the cries of CHILDREN!! A chill certainly went down my spine! And by that, I mean “I rolled my eyes and laughed.”
Amazingly enough, Svetlana and Tyler both freaked out, making annoying noises and acting like they’d just encountered Jason Voorhees. Zach, however, was unimpressed. He just wanted to get out of the rain. The gang then headed to the local Hard Rock Café, which hardly seemed like a logical stop on the ghost tour. But I guess when you want an overpriced burger, you just have to have an overpriced burger. As everyone ate, Brant continued his tour, which now had dwindled down to the lame act of passing old photos around. We learned of a haunted doll named Robbie who was allegedly feared throughout the island, and later on, after the dumb tour had ended, the guys decided to play a Robbie-like prank on the girls. Late at night, when the ladies were all fast asleep, the guys would wrap Jose up in toilet paper and turn him into Robbie The Doll. Technically, I think that would make him Robbie the Mummy, which is actually quite different, but hey, who am I to judge?
Well, at 4:15 AM, the guys woke up and quickly wrapped Jose up. He didn’t look very scary. In fact, once John and Zach applied some electric tape, Jose sort of looked like a character from a Tim Burton movie. The plan was that the guys would then sneak into the girls’ room and moan and cry like children. This would cause the women to wake up and find the towering figure of Robbie the doll (a.k.a. Jose the Mummy) standing over them. Pure terror would ensue.
Real monsters wear their initials.
The way it played out was somewhat different. The guys basically entered the room, made an indistinct ghoulish noise, and the girls… just kind of woke up. Svetlana said she was scared, but I think she was just being nice to the guys. Laughs, chuckles, and hugs were had by all, and then it was time to hit the hay once again.
The next morning, everyone got ready for work. Zach and Tyler both dressed up. They had this whole notion of “first impressions” and “looking good for work.” Crazy talk, I know. But seriously, what’s the deal with people taking work seriously this season? This is totally unheard of. I mean, no one even wore a short-brimmed cap!
The seven strangers made their way to an empty place called Pineapple Gallery, and immediately, Svetlana began to complain. “I don’t want to sell art!” she moped, saying that she simply doesn’t “get” art.
“What could you possibly be pouting about right now?” Tyler asked. “We have this beautiful open space, and you’re being an ornery, little brat right now. Just cut it out and be happy.” Okay, a little rude, but needed and awesome. And Svetlana’s response? Nothing. This was a surprise. Most drama queens thrive for this sort of conflict, but Svetlana wasn’t of the Coral/Johanna/Melissa/any female Real World star mold. She didn’t wave one finger or even raise her voice, which counts for something. I don’t know if it was because she was the youngest of the bunch and felt silly, but Svetty looked like the rug had been pulled out from beneath her (an expression she’s had since last week’s browbeating over brunch). Might there be hope for this girl after all? Eh, probably not.
Anyway, a guy named Ricky Croft entered the room and asked if anyone’s started their own business before. Svetlana quickly announced that she had. Huh? Yup, according to her, she’d started up a pharmaceutical business of some sort.
Actually, er, her parents started the business. But she helped out! Just… be quiet for now, Svetlana.
Rick then announced that he had created a business — an unfortunate business that has plagued the women of Long Island (as well as Charlize Theron) for many years now. I’m talking, of course, about Mystic Tan. Oh my gaawwwd!! Yup, the Real Worlders would be starting their own Mystic Tanning business. Now that’s the sort of art that Svetlana likes! I personally thought it was great that they were finally providing the one service that the Key West community so obviously needed: fake tans. There really weren’t enough opportunities for the locals to get out in the sun, you know?
Well, Rick babbled on about Mystic Tan, and we even got to see a free demonstration, thanks to what looked to be a scene from the Mystic Tan Corporate Training Video. He then explained the payout system ($30 per tan, half of which would go to Rick) and said that the place would be opening in fourteen days. They were going to have a big premiere event, and to pay for it, Rick was going to front the group $5,000. Ouch. Big mistake. You know they’re gonna splurge it all on ghost tours.
Sex in 2046.
Afterwards, the group headed out to lunch at a Cuban restaurant, and they all discussed their skills and strengths. Zach also proposed that everyone keep workplace drama at work — don’t let it carry back to the house. Yeah, we’ll see how that goes.
Tyler then babbled to us about careers and life goals and blah blah blah. “There’s nothing worse in life than people that don’t fulfill their potential and just idly watch it pass along by like a turd in a river,” he told us. We’ll see how you feel about that after you’ve appeared on your fifth Real World/Road Rules Challenge.
That night, Tyler returned to doing what he does best: beating up on Svetlana. He told her that he didn’t want to work with her on the job because she’ll get on his nerves and he’ll get on hers. (Countdown to tears: t-minus 60 seconds). I did feel badly for the girl. Even though Tyler had been right on earlier when he scolded her for moping about the job, she didn’t necessarily deserve the full wrath he’d been giving her, especially since she really hadn’t done anything to him. I think Tyler pretty much based everything off that initial encounter when he found out she was Russian, and because of whatever has happened in his life, he’s decided that he just hates her type and has been making her suffer for it. But that’s just me, the armchair psychologist.
The best part of all this though was that Tyler had the nerve to patronizingly say, “I don’t dislike you. I dislike the bullshit that comes out of your mouth on a constant, constant basis.” Hey man. You both were trembling on that ghost tour. She’s not the only one spewing bullshit.
Somehow, Janelle got dragged into this. It happened when Tyler said that other people in the house had found Svetlana annoying, and Svetlana replied that Janelle didn’t count because she was just like Tyler and therefore shared the same opinions. Unfortunately, Janelle was right there. I thought for sure we’d be gettin’ some yelling and screaming up in here in this joint — you know, a little of the old “Bitch, what you saying about me? Say it to my FACE!” But instead, Janelle opted for simple snobbery. She said that she was not, in fact, like Tyler. How so? “I choose not to deal with you. That’s how I’m different,” Janelle told Svetlana.
“You don’t really have much etiquette when it comes to talking in conversation,” Janelle then added. Wow. I think this is the first season where cast members opted for elitist snobbery instead of cat fights. I liked it!
At this point, Svetlana walked away in tears (told you so), eventually curling up in her closet and taking cover in the dark expanses of her hoodie. Zach tried to console her and tell her that no one was annoyed by her, but you could see her spirit slowly drifting out of her eyes. Poor Svetty. She was just too young to deal with these sharks.
The next morning, Zach tried to talk to Tyler about the whole Svet thing, but Ty-Ty would near nothing of it. In fact, he said that he was just being honest and that Zach couldn’t keep living in a non-confrontational way. That would be a salient point… had Zach not been in the middle of confronting him. Ultimately, Tyler was proud of his actions. “I’m glad I left her in tears ’cause maybe she’ll actually start thinking about what comes out of her mouth for once,” he said. So to recap the show thus far: Svetlana thinks that Tyler needs to think before he speaks. Tyler thinks Svetlana has to think before she speaks. How about they both just stop speaking and be done with it?
Later, the kids headed over to the Pineapple Gallery which they had to transform into a Mystic Tan paradise. Step one: some good old fashioned painting. Tyler and Janelle, who NEVER let bullshit pour from their mouths, soon filled the room with useless chatter. “I know why you grabbed blue [paint],” Janelle told her boss, adding “Because it’s complimentary to brown!” Yay! She figured it out! Give her a cookie! And a ribbon for “Etiquette in Conversation.”
Tyler, meanwhile, said, “This is, Rick I will tell you, my signature baby blue color. It makes my eyes look so blue!” See, Svetlana? Stop spewing verbal dreck and take a page from these two. They’re genuine wordsmiths.
Nevertheless, Svetlana announced to us that she was going to pay more attention to what she said and would stop interrupting people. Now, we didn’t know about this whole “interrupting” issue, and as someone who detests interrupters, I can now totally see why Tyler and Janelle were annoyed. I even understand the whole “conversation etiquette” point. Still, Tyler had been a huge dick about it all, but in the end, he actually apologized for his behavior. As he and Svetlana painted together, they agreed that they’d be fine.
“You’re the little sister I never wanted,” he said. Aw, that’s so… not sweet at all.
That night, just to show how much these two really did like each other after all, we then found them cavorting with bubble bath foam outside. Basically, Tyler was taking a nude bubble bath, and he wanted Svetlana to get in with him. However, she resisted; so he began flinging bubbles at her, leading a full scale bubble fight. Eventually, a fully-clothed Svetlana wound up in the tub, but she quickly fled once she felt Tyler’s johnson on her booty. As the show came to a close, Tyler’s hot tub overflowed with bubbles, and the two cackled the night away. All’s well that ends hypocritically.
What did you think about this episode? Was Tyler being a dick? Or saying things that Svetlana needed to hear? And when will MTV stop showing that stupid bit with John giving the Overdrive “forecast”?