I’m getting a bad feeling that after all my prognosticating on The Real World, Lacey might not end up being the house outcast that I always thought she would be. I don’t really know why that is. Maybe it’s because there are so many nutso women in the mansion, her transgressions pale (no pun intended) in comparison. But luckily tonight she took a step towards the dusty corner by finally being the stick in the mud, the thorn in the side, the normal in the Abercrombie. Lacey deigned to put her foot down with the documentary project, and for the first time all season, we heard the faint grumblings of perhaps a future witch hunt. Plus, that whole South By Southwest occupational plot turned semi-interesting for about two seconds too. Oh, and Nehemiah had a flip out of Landon/Karamo proportions. Hey, this episode wasn’t half bad!The show began with Nehemiah working on his “portrait” of Wes in the editing suite. For those of you who may have missed last week’s installment, the roomies had all been assigned the task of documenting each other in an effort to educate them about the basics of video production. Luckily, Nehemiah had a degree in “Media Arts,” which meant surely this opus would be a grand-slam of epic proportions. “I think it didn’t come out too bad,” boasted Nehemiah, adding, “Aaaaand star-wipe!”
Well, the kiddos all met with their advisor, Paul Steckler, and of course Nehemiah outclassed everyone with the amount of work he’d put into his project. Score one for Media Arts! Lacey admitted that she was “selfishly annoyed” — or as most Real Worlders call it, “annoyed” — that Nehemiah had shown up everyone by working so diligently on his project.
“I can’t help but feel that Nehemiah just wants to be in the spotlight and kind of be like, ‘Look Teach! Look what I did!’” added Lacey. Wow, a reality star wanting to hog the spotlight? Now you’re talking crazy, Lacey-poo. Meanwhile, as much as I respected Lacey’s candid grudges, I still couldn’t really feel too badly for her. I mean, how long does it really take to add some transitions, titles, and music to a project? One hour? Two hours? You know, the person I was most disappointed in was Rachel, who just last week boasted that she had made “numerous iMovies.” I assumed a film making auteur of her stature surely would have no problem advancing her project beyond just the “assembly” stage, but I guess you can’t force inspiration. It’s sort of like sending cotton candy ice cream through the USPS: Not very effective.
Well, after hearing much about his soon-to-be staple of Current TV, we finally got to see Nehemiah’s Media Arts degree in action. Thus, the grand premiere of Wes’s portrait, or as it was poetically called, Still Waters Run Deep. That’s quite the title for simple ol’ Wes. Maybe Nehemiah accidentally thought he was commissioned by Lifetime. I half expected Meredith Baxter to be playing to role of “Ma,” Wes’s abusive, unstable, but distinctly empowered mother who’s driven to murder when she catches her husband in bed with another woman. Sadly, it was not meant to be.
As for Nehemiah’s burgeoning career as an MTV video director? Well, let’s just say he might want to look into master’s programs. I mean, the multi-colored 1992 PrintShop fonts were cool and everything, and that artistic filter was waaay rad — totally a throwback to 1987 — but I’m thinking he might want to take a few lessons from Rachel, the Steven Spielberg of iMovie, if you will.
Nehemiah: All the resources of MTV with the panache of cable access.
After a few “artistic” shots of trees and a foot, Nehemiah’s presentation ended with Wes informing us that “There’s more to Wes than most people think.” For instance, Wes really likes daisies. Oh, and daffodils too. And you know when you take some aluminum foil and bunch it up into a ball? Yeah, he LOVES that. So many dimensions.
When the lights finally came up in the theater (or rather, the VHS tape came to a stop), Nehemiah had a contained look on his face as if he were about to rush the podium and say, “I want to thank the Academy, Jesus, mom, my family, Wes — you’re my dawg! You’re my DAWG!” But alas, the fantasy was cut short by Steck, whose decidedly tepid reaction was just slightly better than saying, “Eh.” Yes, the advisor shrugged his shoulders and said, “Not bad,” which was his polite way of saying, “My three-year-old daughter is more skilled.” Ouch. Sorry Neh. And here I thought Gwen Stefani would be hiring you for her new video. Shows what I know.
By the way, is it me, or when Steck talks, do you just want to pet his big, puffy hair? I’m pretty sure somewhere in his family tree is a sheep.
Go ahead. Pet the Steck!
Anyway, Lacey’s clip was up next, but oopsy daisy! There was some raw footage on the tape that shouldn’t have been there. Luckily, it consisted of nothing too embarrassing like someone’s breasts or testicles, but for Rachel, it was still mortifying, as Steck got to hear her say, “When I’m drunk, I like to pleasure myself.” I’m guessing masturbation was never touched upon in any of her numerous iMovies.
As for Danny, he didn’t really have a portrait done yet. He was a bit, uh, nervous when it came to the technology: “I am so camcordah and computah retaaahded.” No, Sully, YOU AHHH! Danny then made out with Rachel Dratch. It was very strange.
Okay, in reality, Danny did not reenact an SNL skit, but he did say he was “camcorder and computer retarded,” and you know, maybe if he were my grandmother, I’d give him some slack, but dude, it’s 2005 and you’re like 22 or 23. If you can’t figure out how to press a button and look through a viewfinder, it’s not that you’re camcorder retarded. It’s more like you’re mentally retarded — and even that I’m not so sure about.
Anyhoo, the next assignment for this sure-to-be awesome documentary was that the roommates then had to sift through CDs and records to find bands that they wanted to profile. Lacey immediately gravitated to the unorthodox or original voices, taking a keen liking to bands Enon and DMBQ (not to be confused with the gay cover band, Dave Matthews Band Queens). Johanna, meanwhile, liked the group Hellogoodbye, which, by the way, is also the reigning principle behind her love life. Unfortunately, Lacey hated Hellogoodbye, saying they sounded just like the All-American Rejects (who in turn sound like every teen-punk band out there).
“I’m not saying they’re awful,” ranted Lacey, “But it’s like, come on. ‘We’re all anorexic boys squeezing into little jeans and getting girls’s haircuts.’” Funny, the last guy I saw with a girl’s haircut was Lacey’s boyfriend. Wait a second. Has he been pulling double duty as the lead singer of All-American Rejects? That would explain the rash of wheelchair songs they’ve had recently.
Okay, I kid. I kid. Nevertheless, after Lacey’s anti-teen/pop/punk tirade, Danny revealed, “I can’t lie because I like some stuff like that.” Wow. Danny likes unoriginal garbage by bands like A Simple Plan and Yellowcard? Who would have thunk it?? (Actually, I can’t front either. Last weekend I went to two Dave Matthews shows AND downloaded an mp3 from, er, Yellowcard. [grinning sheepishly].) Later, as a totally bland and generic rock riff came on over the stereo, Danny bopped his head and happily announced, “This is exactly the music I listen to at home.” You see, I would NEVER do that on national TV. It’s one thing to have your embarrassing stash of Yellowcard and My Chemical Romance MP3s on your iPod. But it’s quite another to profess your love for them across America. Gosh Danny, at least try to be hip and mention The Shins and Modest Mouse. Pssssh.
After the commercial break, we met up with Danny who was now overcoming his camcorder retaahdedness by shooting his portrait of Nehemiah. We knew it was gonna be a good one because Danny was gettin’ all super artsy with some provocative angles… from behind. Hey, it’s called “talking head,” not “talking butt.” Nehemiah, meanwhile, babbled on about his mother and his family, and I couldn’t help wondering why he seemed to look younger and younger with each passing episode. I swear, in three weeks I’ll have to call Child Protective Services.
Back at the University of Texas, everyone met with Steck again to talk about the bands. Lacey pushed her Enon agenda, but then everyone else sided with a band called Halifax. Things got really interesting, however, when Steck suggests a little band I like to call HELLOGOODBYE. A.K.A. Johanna’s favorite band EVER! The kids — minus Lacey — all piped up with excitement, and it looked like Lacey would be taking her first steps towards official outcast-dom. Steck played a few Hellogoodbye tracks on his Dell MP3 player, one of many Dell electronics surfacing on MTV these days. Sionara Apple and HP. There’s a new techie-whore on reality TV. And by all means, good people of Dell, feel free to advertise here on the lovely pages of TVgasm (me: smiling, doing my best Vanna White presentation of the website).
After the meeting, Operation Outcast moved to new levels as everyone but Lacey and Rachel met for lunch at Chipotle. Everyone noshed on their burritos, and Nehemiah suddenly had an aw-shucks moment as he gushed, “You like Hellogoodbye? I do, too!” YIPPEEE!!! YAY FOR HELLOGOODBYE!!! By the way, I hate Hellogoodbye, but only because they’re one, big, annoying word. Let’s get some spacebar action, folks. By the way, is it ironic that “spacebar” does not require the use of a spacebar? These are the thoughts that keep me awake every night.
Anyway, now that it was clear that Nehemiah lurved Hellogoodbye, everyone suddenly realized something was afoot. You see, Lacey had told everyone that Nehemiah had liked her bands, not Hellogoodbye. That scheming, manipulative, not-as-attractive BITCH. Wes laid it all out for us: “Lacey is sitting there behind the scenes, conniving her way to get the band that she wants the most!” Yes, and this was evidenced by footage of Lacey nefariously typing at the computer, all under an EVIL sepia lens filter. You know, I didn’t think she was that conniving, but without color in the frame, I knew she was like a modern-day Hitler.
Typing in sepia tones? Bitch.
Nevertheless, Danny actually ended the Chipotle roundtable with a rather strong, if inarticulate point: “Lacey’s so stuck on the fact about not being cliché that she’s, she’s like that cliché girl that’s like that. She’s just like every other girl that does that.” Ah, but what’s worse? A clichéd fan or a clichéd band? And when the f*ck did Real Worlders care so much about clichés? Let’s just move on.
While everyone munched on their Mexican food, Lacey feared that Danny would be a disaster calling up the bands to interview. “Hey dude, it’s dope. I’m gonna do this dope documentary. Yeah, man. Dude. Sure,” she mocked. C’mon, now. That’s not fair. Danny clearly would have thrown in some “wicked” also. At this point, Rachel noted that Nehemiah was really slacking. After all, if this job were something that would help out her career, she’d be working her ass off on it. Hey! Nehemiah has been working his ass off. Did you not see his stirring piece, Still Waters Run Deep? One word for you, missy: GENIUS.
Later that evening, Nehemiah and Wes hit the bars but not before pimp rolling down the street first. “Dude, I’m gonna be so black by the time I finish this whole thing,” joked Wes. Well, it’s not so much that he’ll be black as he’ll be black-and-blue from all the beatings he’ll receive. And speaking of beatings, this docile episode about video production suddenly turned violent as some local hooligans tried to start shit up with Nehemiah in the bar. There was lots of shouting, and when some jerk spilled a drink on Nehemiah, everything got out of control. Granted, no stools went flying (like in Philly), and no racial profiling went down (also like Philly), and no skulls were broken either, but, well, there was still enough tussling that the little “Here’s Nehemiah!” circle had a hard time keeping up with its subject. Luckily, Wes had his back, right? Right? Eh, not so much. You see, Wes was in the corner canoodling with his beloved WREN. Oops! Bad time for the dreamgirl to stop by!
Well, Wes and Wren and some others finally caught on to what was happening, and as they were all kicked out of the club, Nehemiah began shouting his mouth off at anyone and everyone. Oddly enough, Wren tried to hold onto Nehemiah’s arm, but she was about as sturdy an anchor as an empty plastic bag. Needless to say, she was tossed around. Wes, meanwhile, tried to get his roommate to simply keep walking, but Nehemiah was on a tear as he pushed his boy away violently, making the blurred out crowd of locals cheer in excitement. Uh oh. Memories of skull fractures flooding back…
When we returned from commercial, Nehemiah still seemed P.O.’d, but at least he was further from the fray. Don’t know why he was so inconsolable. Not even the gentle touch of Wren could calm the beast as Nehemiah actually shoved her away too. And then he shoved away LINDSEY!! Whoever she was. (MTV felt the need to write her name. Don’t know why.)
The next day, we were greeted to mournful images of rain (isn’t it nice how the Austin weather always conveniently parallels the emotions in the Real World house? Who knew God loved Bunim/Murray so much?), and in case you couldn’t tell that things were sad in the house, we then saw Wes sitting by the pool, his feet dangling in the water. A repentant Nehemiah joined his buddy and noted that he had called Wren and Lindsey to apologize for the night before. This led to a dull interview with Wes who said that as men, they had to grow up and not fight and… yawn… I’m sorry, I dozed off for a sec. Nehemiah then went into the phone room to call his mom, but what did he talk about? The fight? Losing his temper? Controlling his rage? Nope. He complained about Lacey. YES! You know someone’s on the road to Outcastville when the roomies vent to their parents. Smell ya later, Lacey!
To be honest, I really couldn’t understand most of Nehemiah’s conversation with his mother. For some reason, even though they subtitle every other interaction on the show, the producers left this phone talk relatively untouched, which meant I had to decipher static and muffled voices to figure out what the hell was going on. Basically, what I could discern was that when Neh was dissing Lacey, his mom said that maybe he should try to find out why she operates that way, find out who she really is. They then talked about how growing up, everyone always teased and made fun of each other in the household, but as Nehemiah smiled fondly, his mother told him not to act that way because that sort of communication was unhealthy. Wow, Nehemiah’s mom is pretty cool! Or “dope-ass,” as he later referred to her. Yes, when the call was over, Nehemiah retreated to his bed, and with tears in his eyes, he relayed to Melinda how he’d just had the longest conversation ever with his mom. Furthermore, he realized he was pissing away this great opportunity to advance his video career. I gotta admit, this was a nice scene. The two of them had such warm, thoughtful things to say about the situation, my cold heart melted a teensy bit.
But then it firmed right back up again as the next morning Nehemiah woke up at 8 AM and edited Danny’s “portrait.” Neh claimed that because Danny had other stresses in his life at that moment, he didn’t want to burden him with the project. God forbid Danny spends two of the eighteen free hours a day trying to learn a new skill. Nevertheless, it was a nice gesture, and later, when it was shown to Steck, the advisor praised it, saying it was good. “It definitely feels good to have Paul compliment me on the profile of Nehemiah. It shows my roommates that, you know, I’m not just gonna lag behind and that I can do the work, and it makes me feel like part of the team,” said Danny. Huh? But Nehemiah did the most difficult part for you! How is that proof that you can do the work? PLUS, as far as we could see, Danny didn’t even step up and tell Steck that he didn’t even do his own editing. Lame. Still, as the “portrait” concluded and we saw Nehemiah on screen say, “I am Nehemiah,” I thought for sure we’d get the slow-clap to roaring applause bit, but alas, no such luck. Instead, the show ended with Nehemiah quietly beaming in the corner. Aww. Just when we thought Nehemiah was turning into a jerk, he brings us back in.
Next week, the roommates head to a ranch to do dumb cowboy stuff. Yay! But don’t get too excited. It’s the return of the Danny and Melinda Soap Opera. Boo!
What did you think of tonight’s episode?