I must apologize for my late post on the Real World: Philadelphia premiere. Sometimes even TV bloggers have things like work and meals to contend with. But alas, enough about me. (Those are words never uttered on Real World, by the way) Let’s get down to business. Tonight’s season premiere was a solid one hour journey into the world of idiotic comments and naively fake friendships. It’s the same every season, but unlike other tired Bunim/Murray cliches, this rite of passage feels less like a recycled motif and more like a warm tradition. A warm, annoying tradition.Of course the show opened with little clusters of people meeting in random touristy locations across the city and then taking unique transportation to the house. Willy and Sarah immediately bonded for no real reason except that they quickly sniffed out that they both like men.. A LOT. Sarah in fact went to all lengths during the episode to prove just how sexual she is. First it was her stupid padded bra that she pulled out, then it was a little tour of her sexual costumes, then it was her fake breasts (she comments that she’s always been very comfortable with her body, as evidenced by the need for some silicon enhancements), and then it was her making the guys touch her fake breasts. Somewhere in there Sarah noted that she’s always wanted to be sexual ever since she was a little girl. I wonder, was that before or after she was sexually abused?
Anyway, it didn’t take long for Sarah to pounce on MJ, the Southern gentleman who once hoped to play for the NFL. MJ was mildly attracted to Sarah, it seemed, but he came up with a jokey excuse as to why he wouldn’t be hooking up with her: she wasn’t a blonde. It was a superficial comment, but I actually think it was his non-confrontational way of saying “Look, it’s not gonna happen because I think you’re crazy”. Well, now Sarah had a quest. No, it wasn’t a quest to make MJ realize hair color shouldn’t really matter. That would be a little too high level for Sarah. Instead, she set out to prove that red heads are just as good, if not better than blondes. Glad to see that whole body image security thing is going well.
With her mission ahead of her to lay the tallest straight man in the house (of which there were only two, but more on that later), Sarah spent the first episode flirting with all the subtlety of a vagina on a billboard. Her most awkward move was a lame hair dryer seduction where she wantonly dried MJ’s shirt while giving him the Come Hither eyes. “He’s drawn to the cheapest tricks,” bragged Sarah. I wonder if she was referring to herself when she said “cheapest trick”.
Later Sarah piled herself into a bikini and showed off her surgically enhanced rack. Once again, I was glad that she had no self-image problems because her boobies looked like two polarized cue-balls repelling each other to the far ends of her torso. There was more flirting in the hot tub, which led Sarah to believe there was sexual tension between her and MJ. In fact, she said that many many times. Truth is that Sarah feels sexual tension with houseplants. This girl really needs to shut up. We get it, you’re sexual (and lame and pathetic). I just don’t know if she was trying to convince us or herself.
When MJ wasn’t fending off Sarah’s herpes-filled advances, he was dealing with other new crazy things, like gay people! Arriving at the house with fellow curly haired roommate Landon, MJ first concern was figuring out who the gay guy would be. Actually, it was his second concern. First he had to oggle the new house with a series of “OH… MY… GOD!” exclamations. Now come on people. You know the house is going to be sweet. Just relax a little. (Note to Bunim/Murray: Next time put them in a shit hole and make them renovate it like The Complex: Malibu. That would be awesome). I will admit that this season’s house is pretty impressive, but it’s sort of cold and impersonal with it’s echoey two story foyer and stolid Neo-Classical facade. I guess this is why people don’t pattern their houses after merchant banks.
After the usual house splooging came to an end, MJ used his expert gaydar to sniff out Willie. Wow, Inspector Gadget over here did a real good job with that one. Willie’s practically a one man Pride parade, minus the assless chaps. Still, he was incredibly cool with MJ who made it a habit of saying patronizing things like “Just so you know, it’s cool [living with you and your alien gay ways]“. Someone must have distracted the Bunim/Murray casting machine because instead of reacting like a completely stereotypical gay man and flaming out (like Reese in Amish in the City), Willie simply smiled and politely respected MJ’s attempts to be on the level.
At this point in the show, everything seemed to be rolling along nicely. Karamo, Shavonda, and Melanie showed up, representing the last pieces of the Real World minority quota: the angry black man, the angry black woman, and the white girl with short hair. But wait – Real World 15 had a few tricks up its sleeves. The angry black woman wasn’t really angry, and the angry black man was… gay! Dunh dunh dunh! In a surprise twist that I think caught just about everyone off guard, Karamo revealed himself to be a man who will enjoy the City of Brotherly Love to its fullest extent. Sure, there were a few warning signs. Karamo did get a little touchy feely with Willie moments before the big reveal, and he did announce that he wants to confess to the world. The thought crossed my mind that he might be the other gay one, but no, the stereotypes that have been so pounded into my head by reality TV insisted that this could not be true. But it was, and I sincerely applaud Bunim/Murray for momentarily casting outside of their strict personality rubric.
Willie and Mel were the first ones to hone in on any gay tendencies, but Mel wrote it off with a classic “I think he’s just very friendly” line. Karamo came out to Shavonda, who was shocked and then seemingly bored with her uninvited role as fag hag. Then, in another great reality moment, Karamo came out to MJ and Landon, who had to spend a good five minutes picking their jaws off the ground. MJ seemed more shocked that his trusty gaydar didn’t seem to register anything beyond the Richard Simmons frequency. By the end of the episode, the only person who he hadn’t come out to it seemed was Willie. Instead of being upfront, he simply teased the guy with ambiguously gay comments like “My ex is named William”. Okay, that’s not so ambiguous, but I enjoyed Willie’s reaction to it which was something along the lines of “I’m not going to sit and listen to probing questions that are supposed to make me probe him in turn.”
It was therefore only appropriate that the episode wound down at a cozy gay club where MJ saw the “biggest drag queen of my life”. It also happened to be his first. I’m just glad he knew the difference between drag queen and Dairy Queen. By the end of the night though, MJ was having a fabulous time, even pulling Willie aside to say that it’s been his best night out ever. God, the whole cast is turning gay. Willie actually was very kind though by replying that if MJ had wanted to walk out the door, he would have walked out with him.
So it appears that sexuality, and not just sex, will be the dominant theme of this season. Well, that and rampant arguments and hookups and pettiness. The first episode was actually pretty good, and I can only hope that Sarah crashes and burns in her attempt to outdo Trishelle.