Yo dolls, how ya doin’? Consider that my lame attempt at Brooklyn-ese, as we start our journey to the latest season of the Real World, set in Brooklyn. Of course it’s not set in that part of Brooklyn, it’s in the pseudo-downtown hipster area of Red Hook, cause this is MTV of course. Join me as I journey to the part of NYC where the yellow cabs won’t go to tour the house and meet the cast…
The MTV PR department is kind of enough to supply a screener of the first episode, delivered via messenger to my house, which makes me feel very legitimate and important. But it’s a bunk copy, so I actually don’t get to see who we’re working with until I get there. Bummer, but I try to paint a happy face on it telling myself that it will be better to meet the roommates without preconceived notions.
And going along with the Real World theme, let me do a little confessional time myself. If you’ve read my recaps before, you know I’m here to skewer ‘em. And this presented a real conundrum for me, because I really, really liked all the roommates I met. So I don’t want to say mean things about them, but hey, no one’s paying me to…okay, scratch that, no one’s paying me, period, but I’m not here to write about how nice everyone was. When you sign up to have yourself and your life documented on television, you’re signing up to let people like me judge away. And I consider myself officially absolved for it.
The journey begins with me taking the red-eye in from LA, getting to JFK and hustling over to Red Hook, where the Real World house is located on some pier. I have nearly three hours to do this, so I decide to take public transportation instead of a cab, but somehow end up on a street corner in Red Hook with a little less than ten minutes until my scheduled interview time, trying to figure out how the hell to get to the pier. I finally find a car service – unfortunately, the driver has not a clue how to get to the pier. “How can you not know where the pier is? Just drive toward the water! How big can Red Hook be?” I complain grumpily. I’m on three hours of sleep, on the verge of being late, my screener didn’t work, and naturally, this is all the poor Red Hook cab driver’s fault. Who am I supposed to blame, me?
The poor driver is trying to get directions from his dispatcher and dodging my passive aggressive complaints (okay…perhaps they weren’t quite so, ummm, passive) from the backseat. We finally reach the pier, and we drive up and down the damn thing like five times (yes, the driver was tipped generously) before I get frustrated and hop out near the water. Luckily, a girl from in a van spies me looking very, very confused and asks me if I’m here for MTV. “Yes!” I cry gratefully. She directs me to the house, which I successfully lose my way finding about three more times. Look, I have many fine qualities, but geography isn’t one of them. To wit, a recent conversation between me and Fabulonista, as I’m on my way to her office, where I’ve been dozens of times, for lunch:
ChickBomb: I’m leaving now. How long do you think it will take me to get there?
Fabulonista: Well I’d say fifteen minutes, but it really depends on how many times you get lost (note dripping sarcasm).
*** It took a half hour. I got lost twice.
Anyway, I finally make my way over to the Real World house! I step in the front door thinking, wow, how conveniently located the house is to world renowned Real World decorator, Ikea, which is on the pier next door…but am quickly disappointed with the place. You know how when the roomies enter the house they’re all running around and carrying on like “Look at this!” and “Cool!”? I was kind of hoping for that reaction, but all I got was “This is it? Well, maybe there’s another floor.” There was not.
I’m greeted by the publicist, Jessica, who I started calling my arch-nemesis because she kept cutting off my chatting time with the roomies, and also cause, well, I’m dramatic that way. But I’m just kidding. Jess was a doll and she’s promised to provide the Gasmii with lots of exclusive clips and stuff.
Naturally, my first order of business is the bathroom, which is not that big, and has only little tiny cosmetic mirrors on the sinks. How are you supposed to be TV ready with such tiny little mirrors? Also, they’re out of toilet paper, but luckily I had a Starbucks napkin in my coat pocket. Was that too much information? I head out of the bathroom, and saunter over to the kitchen, where I notice coffee and pastries. Oooooh, coffee! And food! I’m ecstatic, until Jess corrals me away and tells me we’re on a schedule and the interviewing must start now. My arch-nemesis is very, very good at her job. I could make a day of wandering around randomly with a cup of coffee. Actually, I normally do make a day of it.
I will be meeting with the cast in groups of two, and the first team up is Katelynn and Devyn. Katelynn takes me into their shared room. Katelynn is tall with long brown hair, striking blue eyes and gorgeous eyebrows. Anyway, because my stupid screener didn’t work, and the stupid pier took forever to find, I really have not a clue about this girl at all. So I start making small talk and reading about her from the press release at the same time, and hello…Katelynn’s a transgender! Did I say that right? Am I being politically correct? She was born a boy, and did her surgery in Thailand a month before she moved into the Real World house.
Well, I’m fascinated, but I don’t want to spend all my time talking about the used-to-be-a-boy business, cause I don’t want to define Katelynn by this. Katelynn is a South Florida girl, like myself. She met her current boyfriend Mike when they were in high school, and she was still a boy. Mike lives in Wisconsin, where Katelynn is currently relocating, but we’re not gonna get to meet him, cause for whatever reason, he wasn’t able to make it to Brooklyn during filming. Either that, or he’s not cute enough for TV and Katelynn banned him.
And Katelynn is super, super cool. I like her immediately. Actually, I kind of like all of them immediately. To my huuuuuge disappointment. The best dirt I get on Katelynn is that she was cast with pink hair, but the producers asked her to change it for filming. But later on, Scotty will tell me that Katelynn used to be a cage dancer. This was conveniently not mentioned during my conversation with her.
The main question I have for the roomies, and this something that I’ve always wanted to ask a Real Worlder, is why go on the show? I think the real reason is either a) to be a little famous, or b) because you think your coolness must be shared with the world, but I’m guessing no one will actually answer honestly. And I’m mostly right. Katelynn tells me she went to an open call with a friend, just for fun, and lo and behold, they ended up casting her! I don’t know if I totally buy it, but I like Katelynn, so I pretend I do. Taking a cue from Andy Cohen, I ask her if she feels any obligation toward being a role model for the transgender community, and she tells me she’s a pioneer – which I disagree with, because that girl on America’s Next Top Model beat her to it – and that she has no big agenda, but would like to raise awareness.
So, as I’m bonding with Katelynn, Devyn is lounging on her bed, resplendent in a sexy purple dress and boots, texting away. Devyn’s kind of fucking fabulous with an adorable little accessory dog. Also, she had the good sense to compliment my shoes when I walked in, so I like her immediately too. Suddenly, Arch-Nemesis Jess walks in to remind me that I’m supposed to be interviewing both girls at the same time. “Did you just get me in trouble?” I accuse Devyn. No, she tells me, she was just lounging there when Jess walked in. Did I mention Jess rocks at her job?
So then I turn my attention to Devyn. Devyn is a beauty queen from Missouri, and she’s really gorgeous. Her skin glows. Her press release bio makes a big deal about how she’s a tease. “It’s easier to get into Heaven that into Devyn” is her catchphrase. I want a catchphrase. Actually, I have several, but none of them rhyme. I need one that rhymes. The bio also says Devyn’s a diva, which I definitely can see, although she’s very sweet to me. But if there’s going to be any drama this house at all, Devyn may be our girl.
Like I said, she’s a beauty queen, and all her answers are very pageant-y. Because of the whole “tease” thing, I ask her if she’s a virgin, and I think she tells me no, but it’s disguised as a pageant answer so I can’t say for sure. It is at this point that I decide I just love interviewing people on reality television. I totally feel justified in asking them whatever the hell I want. When else can you walk up to complete strangers and ask them about their sex lives? Wait ’til later, when I start to ask them if they’re worried that they’re too boring.
Devyn has no steady boyfriend, but what she calls a “gift basket of cuddle partners”. See, rehearsed pageant answer, right? I ask her if there was any romance in the house, and she tells me that at first she had a crush on Scotty, but it dissipated quickly, once she realized that he needed to be “fed constantly”. His ego, or his stomach I ask her? Both, she replies. Like every other man on earth, honey. Learn how to cook and gaze adoringly or get ready to die alone. Devyn, age twenty, does not like to date men under age twenty-eight. Devyn is a smart cookie and will probably be divorced with a fat settlement by the time she reaches the age of the men she currently dates.
Another thing I learn during my conversation with Devyn is that this season, the Real Worlders were tasked with finding their own employment. Devyn hooked up with a job in PR with a clothing line called Jovani. She is also going to be modeling for them. I think Katelynn did some volunteer work with the GLBT (Gay/Lesbian/Bisexual/Transgender) community.
Of course I’m just glossing over the getting-to-know-you stuff, cause all I’m really interested in is who hooked up, who hates who and who got arrested. To which the answers are no one, no one and no one. Do you see why I’m having concerns about the season?
And before I know it, there’s Arch-Nemesis Jess shuttling me over to interview number two, with Scotty and J.D. Of course his name isn’t Scotty, it’s Scott, but I call every Scott I know Scotty, and this one isn’t going to be any different. I read from the bio that Scotty is a personal trainer with “award-winning abs”. I half-jokingly ask to see these notorious abs, and next thing you know, Scotty’s unbuttoning his shirt! I whip out my camera and encourage him to get all Zoolander on me which he happily does. Scotty’s not my type physically, but he’s adorable times a million.
Abs of Blue Steel.
J.D.’s a little quieter. At first I think he’s a little standoff-ish, but he warms up after a while. J.D. had what’s described in the bio as a “rough childhood” in an abusive home, but I really don’t want to talk about this. J.D. is a dolphin trainer, and has been since a very young age. “I’m kind of a prodigy,” he tells me. Is that like being kind of a big deal? J.D.’s another do-gooder with the GLBT community, and organized a HIV benefit bike ride during his stay in the Real World house. Good for him, but not good material for me. I’m really starting to miss Meathead Joey and Brianna the Stripper already.
Scotty and J.D take me on a tour of the house. I’m still looking for another floor at this point, by the way. We start with the bedrooms, which are small and all attached to each other (except for Chet and Ryan’s room, which is off to the side). This is my first time in a Real World house, and I’m surprised at how small it is. I wonder if they’re all that small, cause things look bigger on TV.
Our next stop is the phone room, which has a comfy lounger that looks like a big rock. I tell Scotty and J.D. the story about how my last season of Real World recaps were sponsored by a chair company (which I refuse to name check here, cause I never got my free chaise) and of my intention to work whoever the new house sponsors are for whatever I can get. J.D. poses for me in the phone room. I ask him to pose like he’s having a phone fight, and he looks at me like I need to get a life.
When a Real World roommate looks at you like you need to get a life, well, you have some serious, serious thinking to do.
But they do share that there was a phone throwing incident! Finally, someone admits that someone got mad here! What else are they hiding? He and Scotty giggle about it, but they won’t tell me anything more. Oh, have I mentioned I am assigned an escort on the house tour? It’s not Arch-Nemesis Jess, it’s another PR girl. The MTV PR girls know a troublemaker when they see one. Perhaps they should have been in charge of casting.
Then we tour the bathroom, which didn’t get any more interesting the second time around. I pointed out the lack of full length mirrors, and they told me they had mirrors in their rooms. The showers are, as usual, totally see through except for a strategic strip of frosted glass. The boys strike a pose, and we’re moving on.
We hit the computer room, where I’m informed that this season of the politically correct Real World is “green”. That means that the computer is powered by a bicycle. That’s right, to get online, you have to pedal. Personally, I’d have bid a fond farewell to the internet for the duration. J.D. tells me they actually figured out a way to rig it so they didn’t have to pedal but then got in trouble and had to go back to the pedaling thing. There’s a living room-ish area, and there’s an X-Box area where they have Rock Band set up. And that’s kind of the whole living quarters. I can’t believe there were eight of them in there, it’s really pretty small.
We head outside and downstairs to the (drumroll, please) hot tub! It’s covered, and the memory card on my camera chooses this moment to decide it’s full, so I don’t get a shot of it because the PR girl is hustling us along and I have to delete some pictures to make room for new ones. I’m deleting and walking, and then we walk up to a pickup truck on the pier. J.D. tells me that because they couldn’t turn the lights out until everyone is asleep and he’s an early to bed person, he used to come sleep in the pickup truck. “Like Jewel,” he tells me. I doubt he came up with that one on the spot, but still, good one.
Who will save your soul?
Our last and final stop is the gym…sponsored by Crunch! Crunch is a fabulous gym. I would love a membership at that wonderful gym, Crunch. They have great classes at Crunch, and I had the best personal trainer in the world when I used to work out there. At Crunch. See where I’m going with this? Crunch? Anyway, they’ve provided a great gym for the roomies, complete with stripper pole! Which I’m told didn’t get too much use. I ask the boys to pose on it for me, but they don’t want to. Crunch.
Am I making myself clear?
We head back into the house, and then it’s time to meet Chet and Ryan. These two are my favorites by far because the first four, while lovely to talk to, seemed a little sanitized. Chet greets me with a devilish smile, and compliments my watch. Then he one-ups me with what might possibly be a real Rolex. Does he really want to get into a battle of expensive accessories with me? Cause he will lose. But then I decide I appreciate the charming/obnoxious thing he’s got going.
Chet’s attired in tight jeans with narrow ankles, a purple t-shirt and a vest – “Oh, you’re emo!” I tell him. He laughs and agrees, scoring another point with me by not being offended. Another one who’s not my type physically, but adorable nonetheless. Chet continues to endear himself to me by admitting that he indeed has joined the Real World for exposure. He hopes to host a talk show one day. He’s even already got it titled – Chet Chat. He tells me he’s better at interviewing than being interviewed. Then he mulls it over for a moment, and tells me on second thought, he’s good at both.
“What would you say you aren’t good at?” I ask him through my giggles. I am thoroughly enjoying my time with Chet. “Well, maybe sex, but that’s only because I haven’t done it yet,” he tells me. Oh, that’s right. We’ve got another virgin on our hands. And a Mormon, too. Then he makes a joke about me and him getting it on right there, cause we’re doing the interview on his bed. I am a bastion of professionalism. So I ask him if he thinks being on the Real World helped him score girls, and he says yes. Then Chet enlightens me on his philosophy toward women, which is that you always have to “dangle the carrot”, and make them think you’re willing to give more than you are. Which in Chet’s case, would be sex.
At some point during our exchange, I tell Chet he’s the Chuck Bass of the Real World house, which he is also smart enough to realize is the biggest compliment I could give. Chet will be the star of the Real World Brooklyn. Remember I said that.
And because every breakout star needs a sidekick, we come to Ryan, who is adorable with curly brown hair and very nice eyes – totally my type. He’s laid back and quiet. Chet pretty much speaks for both of them, peppering everything he says to me with a “we”. Chet tells me it was important to have a “strong ally” in the house. Ryan sits there and smiles adorably. Cute and keeps his mouth shut. Very, very much my type. “It’s a bro-mance,” Chet explains to me. I beg him not to use that stupid word, but I think we’re stuck with it in the cultural vernacular now, and there’s nothing I can do about it.
Fine. I give up. It’s a damn bro-mance.
I ask Ryan why he chose to join the Real World cast, and he replies, “Why not?” Okay, works for me. Ryan is an Iraqi war vet, and if he hadn’t already endeared himself to me yet, this would have done it. He tells me that he’s hoping to bring some attention to the returning veterans, and I like this. Nobody takes care of these poor soldiers coming home with missing limbs. Oh, and Ryan has a girlfriend. I ask him how that went, cause hello, Real World house, but surprise, surprise, humble soldier Ryan was faithful.
And if Ryan’s not cute enough already, he throws in that he plays guitar too. I request an impromptu concert, but suddenly he’s shy. I ask what kind of music he plays, and am advised of a song he wrote about tampons. I know, huh? Whatever, I’m curious, so I ask to hear that one, but they just laugh at their inside joke and deny me. Then they continue with the party line of everyone in the house being best friends and getting along. They were all very “goal-oriented”, they tell me. That’s great, but really, the only goal a Real Worlder should have is to get wasted and cause as much drama as possible. The best I got out of these two is that they played a lot of pranks.
And then comes Arch-Nemesis Jess to herd me away again. This time I’m bummed, I could have hung out with these boys all day. But it’s time to move on to the next set of besties, and that’s Sarah and Baya.
Sarah and Baya are both very nice girls, and very cool, but in a very conscious and studied way, which I find a bit counterintuitive. Sarah’s got a bunch of tattoos all over her arms, and Baya’s a hippie chick. Sarah’s another one who came from an abusive background, and now she works with art therapy, teaching people to be survivors and not victims.
Sarah’s lived her life pretty much bisexual, but is now in a serious relationship with a guy who her Mom set her up with. They’ve been together a year, and are going to get married. Um, and that’s kind of it. Tattooed arms don’t make you all that interesting. I quickly run out of things to talk about with Sarah, and move on to Baya.
Baya, (pronounced BAY-uh, and not BYE-uh, and get it right cause she corrected me) is tiny and adorable. She’d fit perfectly in my purse. She’s very serene. She joined the Real World to “meet new people”. On television, but I don’t call her out on it. Baya’s into nature and traveling. During her time in the Real World house, Baya worked as a DJ at Angels & Kings, the lower east side bar owned by the dude who knocked up Ashlee Simpson. According to what I read online, they were frequenting that bar because no one in Red Hook wanted them around, and Angels & Kings already had a relationship with MTV. But I don’t mention that either.
According to her bio, Baya suffers from panic attacks, but she tells me that it wasn’t really an issue in the house. “Did you read your official MTV bio?” I ask her, cause hers makes her sound like a total basket case. She rolls her eyes and laughs. Baya is into animals and the environment – she tells me about how the Real World house was infested with mice, and how Scotty would catch them and set them free. I added my two cents about how my beach house was infested with rats and we set those box traps that electrocute them, and I don’t think Baya likes me anymore.
Then she starts expounding about all the “positive female energy” in the house, and how lucky she felt to have been roommates with such “powerful women”. Oh, come on. This is the Real World, it’s not a female empowerment seminar. Then she tells me that she, Devyn and Scotty are moving into an apartment in Manhattan together, so she can pursue her dreams of being a DJ and a dancer. She asks me not to publish the neighborhood where they’re moving to, because everyone knows going on the Real World brings Brangelina type fame, and she doesn’t want all those pesky paparazzi and fans stalking her.
I half-heartedly ask them about any house drama, knowing by now it’s a totally lost cause, and big shock, I am informed that everyone got along great and they’re all just BFF. It seems the only ones anyone had a problem with were the damn mice and even they got released back onto the pier with nary a scratch on ‘em. It is at this point that I sigh and ask them if they’re worried if they think their season will be boring, and they tell me no because they’re interesting people. Concurred, but interesting people do not necessarily make for interesting reality television.
Cooler Than You + Female Empowerment – Drunk People Having Sex And Going To Jail = Bigger Dud Than Denver
And that brings my time in the Real World Brooklyn house to an end. Thanks to the cast, who despite the best efforts of my reality-hardened heart to dislike them, charmed me to pieces, and thanks to Arch-Nemesis Jess and her entourage of PR girls for hooking me up with the visit. I really hope I’m wrong about the season, and that there was lots and lots of dramz that they just didn’t want to ruin for me…we’ll find out soon enough. See you January 7th!!