For a few weeks now, we’ve started to think that on The Real World, maybe crazy Paula wasn’t so crazy after all. I mean, she’d barely said a peep about her eating disorders, and we’d even seen her munching on food from time to time. Maybe everything was gonna work out great in the end! Eh, not so much. Crazy Paula was back again this week, and she she was back with a vengeance. We always knew she was screwed up, but the anorexia was just the icing on the uneaten cake (as it usually is). Turns out Paula had an abusive boyfriend named Keith hanging around, and oh yeah, she also channeled her need for affection into lipstick lesbianism. Add to that some casual pill addiction, and you’ve got a lovely cornucopia of maladjustment, perfect for the aspiring therapist. Forget The Real World. Get this girl onto Starting Over, STAT.This week’s show began with the mysterious “Keith” calling up for Paula. We knew he was bad news because the music became suddenly grim and scary. The type of music that seems to say “Ax wielding, druggy enabler with a bad temper and a badder fist.” Anyway, Keith was Paula’s ex-boyfriend, and in case you couldn’t tell, he wasn’t a good guy. Paula, of course, tried to put a good spin on her vice by generously saying that it was “a very intense relationship.” Uh huh. Pretty much he yelled and you threw up, right? Might not have been far from the truth. Paula then said, “It was emotionally and physically abusive. And I took it.” Yes, Keith was a wifebeater, or girlfriendbeater as it were, and as the girl with all the self-esteem problems, Paula was the punching bag. I guess we can thank her father for his hand in this. It’s called taking your daughter for a pony ride once in a while. LOOK INTO IT!
Things soon got worse for Paula as Keith announced he would keep calling her. Normally, this wouldn’t be a problem since there was nothing obligating Paula to actually take his calls. But then again, Paula is self-loathing and dying (quite literally) for affection, so even if it comes from the angry, abusive mouth of Keith, she’ll be running to that phone when it rings. Huh. Kinda sad. “He’s a very tough character,” Paula then described him. Well, yeah. I’d say he’s tough. He does BEAT YOU.
Later, Paula explained her Keith problems to Svetlana. She said that once Keith did something so horrible, it was hard to talk about — which of course meant she wanted to talk about it. Well, Svetlana made an educated guess about Keith’s transgression. “Had sex with a guy?” she asked. Uh… well, that’s actually not out of the question, but no. I was highly amused that that’s where Svetlana’s mind immediately went. I wonder if she harbors those sorts of fears for Martin. He is afraid to fight, after all. Sissy boy. Anyway, Paula finally revealed to Svetty that Keith once put her in the hospital and that she had to put out a restraining order on him. But aside from that, he’s a really swell guy!
Well, this was rapidly moving from bad idea to seriously, bad idea. It’s one thing when these cast members have co-dependent and annoying boyfriends or girlfriends, but when they’re actually abusive, that’s truly disturbing. We then learned that Keith got Paula’s contact info via a friend, which leads me to believe that Paula should probably reexamine her friends. (Then again, we don’t know what sort of physical duress this friend was in when Keith came a-callin’.) The whole situation had really confused Paula as she said she wasn’t even 100% sure that everything was okay now. Uh, how about being 0% sure. The dude is a psycho who was beaten and molested by his father. STAY AWAY.
Ah, but it’s never so simple with poor, poor Paula. No sooner than you can say “black eye,” Paula was already making excuses for Keith’s behavior, weaving stories to justify her irrational patience for the man. “They don’t have a right to judge me because they don’t know the whole story,” she said, adding, “You see, the beating was a GOOD thing!” Okay, she didn’t say that, but man, I really hope she wasn’t thinking it.
Meanwhile, over in the living room, the Council of Geniuses that was the rest of the house began speculating about Paula and this nefarious Keith character. “Do you think there was some traumatic experience that she’s had?” John asked. NO! NEVER! Paula clearly had a bright and sunny childhood! Where do you get these fanciful ideas, Jon?
While everyone babbled in the living room, Paula was on the phone with Keith, who was none too pleased about the whole situation. “You’re going to go away for four months and get these ideas in your head!” he charged. Yes, she’ll get these crazy ideas like “Beating is bad!” and “Assholes should rot in hell!”
I was really hoping Paula would just hang up on him right there, but instead, Ms. Codependent told us, “I love him, but I hate myself for loving him.” Great. This won’t lead down a path of self-destruction and pain…
“I’m just permanently messed up, and it’s never going to go away,” she then said, seemingly resigning herself to a life full of Keith-beatings and eating disorders. Seriously, why hasn’t a team of therapists not descended upon this house and hauled her away. This girl need a padded cell and some Rorschach Tests (not to mention a few slices of pizza too).
Back on the phone, Keith continued to work his mind games, asking, “Do you honestly think I could be what you need in your life?” How about she needs FOOD, not you.
If this all sounded a bit too real world for The Real World, don’t worry. We finally took a break from Paula’s cold hearted snake, and straight up went partying. Yay! Drinking! Having fun! Paula faking that she’s okay and happy! Yes, the gang went out to the club, and before you could say “repression,” Paula was hopping about with a big, phony smile plastered on her face. Plus, for shits and giggles, she even made a new friend. It was some pixie-ish, lesbian girl who seemed to really like Paula. I could tell because she was grinding up on her vaginal region. “I think she’s a lesbian,” Paula then said. Oh really? What gave you that impression? Was it the short hair or the fact that you two then KISSED in the club. Ah yes. Girl-on-girl action. The best way to purge memories of violent, abusive ex-boyfriends. (Cut to Keith watching this episode and throwing a chair against the wall.)
Elsewhere in the club, John met two lively young women clearly pining for time on MTV. Their names were Elena and Erin, and they were a double dose of horniness. The girls came back to the house with John, and almost immediately, he and Elena were making out. “I’m a good girl,” she said. Translation: “I’m a raging slut.”
While these two continued to swap spit, we then cut to Paula who told us she felt obligated to call Keith. Okay, this is just making me frustrated. Let’s go back to the sluts.
Out in the backyard, John and Elena had jumped into the pool and were cavorting with hormonally-inspired glee. This made Jose quite excited as he hoped and prayed that his buddy John would get laid. Unfortunately, John wasn’t so great with his game (as in, he really had none), but that’s okay. If someone like Wes could get some action in Austin, surely John would be able to get to third base here in Key West. Well, ever the good wingman, Jose sat around with bachelorette #2, Erin, but being a buxom young lass herself, she didn’t want to simply sit on the sidelines while her friend got all the action. Erin wanted to be on camera too! And so she stripped down to her thong (yes, she was topless) and jumped into the pool. Yay sluts!
This totally threw Jose for a loop. He told us that he didn’t think Erin would jump in the pool because she had been fully clothed. Oh Jose. Since when have clothes ever stopped a slut? Nevertheless, Erin wanted to Jose to come in the pool and play also — she even made sure to pull herself out of the water high enough to flap her breasts around a bit — but all this was too much for our quiet roomie, and he slunk away back into the house, leaving Erin’s boobies (and dignity) flapping in the breeze.
Well, rejection is always a buzzkill, and Erin quickly turned into a pill. Later on, as John and Elena were talking sweetly to each other, Erin totally cockblocked the situation and said, “I gotta get up early tomorrow.” Yeah, man. The early slut catches the worm.
Ever the gentleman, John called the ladies a taxi, and when the cabbie saw the two ladies, she remarked, “How lucky were you!” Actually, all told, not very lucky at all. The girls slid into the car, and so ended this evening’s exciting saga of romance and breasts.
Back in Paula land, we were diving even deeper into the bizarre nether regions of her psyche. “I find women attractive, and I don’t think that makes me gay to say so,” she told us. I think it was Stewart Smiley who said “Denial ain’t just a river in Egypt.” Well, conveniently enough, Paula could not remember kissing another girl at the club the night before (isn’t it great when blackouts cover up those crucial, embarrassing moments? Too bad there was a camera there!) To be honest, I’m not sure that Paula is gay either, and I agreed with Tyler who said that she was probably just happy to get love and affection anywhere she could find it. I’m shocked that Tyler did then yell at Paula, “WHY ARE YOU KISSING WOMEN? IT’S BECAUSE YOU’RE IMMATURE!!”
Later, Paula got on the phone again with Keith, and guess what? He was mad! If there was any hope that he’d left his abusive ways behind, it was certainly gone as he yelled, “You PROMISED me you would call me before you went to bed!!” Relax! So she didn’t call you. Aren’t there worse things to rage over? You know, like war in Iraq or something?
Keith then revealed that he knew alll about “Jen.” And who was “Jen”? We then cut to Paula’s audition tape to find out that Jen was actually a friend of Paula’s and, um, they kind of made out. A lot. Okay, basically they were carrying out a lesbian relationship. But she’s not a lesbian! She just plays one on TV. Many guys would be totally excited about this (unless Paula turned into a skinny version of Chastity Bono), but not Keith. He was pissed. “I can’t DEAL with this!” he screamed. Dude, you don’t have to deal with it. You’re NOT DATING ANYMORE.
“I’m really getting fired up right now!” he then seethed. But seriously, he’ll never beat her again. At this point, I was hoping that Paula would just hang up the phone, but it’s Paula, so she sat there and listened as Keith became increasingly ridiculous with his comments. When she told him that she was going to be seeing a therapist in Key West, he all but lost it. “What are you talking about, you’re going to be talking to some sort of therapist?” he asked incredulously. Uh… did I miss something? Was it wrong to see a therapist? Maybe Keith is a Scientologist. That would explain a lot of this. It also makes me question his sexuality, but I was kind of doing that anyway.
Well, the two began bickering about who knows what. I could barely even follow anymore. Instead, I just kept hearing the lyrics to Itchy and Scratchy in my head: “They fight! And bite! They fight and bite and fight! Fight fight fight! Bite bite bite! The Paula and Keith Show!”
Afterwards, Paula and Svetlana talked about Keith, but nothing was really accomplished in the conversation. Svetty insisted that as soon as a man lays a finger on a woman, that relationship should be over. In fact, she thought that Keith could wind up killing Paula. “Stop saying that!” Paula whined. Yeah, Svetlana. How could you say such vicious things? I mean, just because Keith already put Paula in the hospital once doesn’t mean that he’ll actually do it again. And again. And again.
Eventually, Svetlana simply gave up on Paula — much like many other people, I’m sure. It was just too hard to get through to her, Svetlana said. And coming from Svetlana, that says a lot. Oh well. Looks like Paula’s still heading down a dark and evil road. She’s gonna need quite the therapist to save this ship from sinking.
What do you think? How much more f*cked up can Paula get? Will she step out of the Keith relationship?